Epic: Elijah

This Sunday we are wrapping up our series of messages called “Epic."  We are having conversations with folks in our church about an Old Testament story that has been meaningful to them.  This Sunday, James Stewart and Serena Hicks will be talking about a wild and crazy character from the Old Testament: Elijah.  

Elijah was a hot-headed fiery prophet but also probably was a bit bi-polar.  He would go from great highs to suicidal depression.  He performed some amazing miracles: called fire from Heaven, raised someone from the dead, and saved a widow’s life with perpetual oil and flour.  But he also struggled with insecurity and depression.
 
Elijah is a complicated person, but his story tells us a lot about the things like: what we give priority to in our lives, how we treat the vulnerable people around us, what it means to trust God, how to deal with depression, and how to be a spiritual person in a noisy and busy world. 

Epic: Joseph

If you are unfamiliar with this story in the Bible, it is a story about sibling rivalry, about how we dehumanize each other, about revenge, about being unjustly accused, and about forgiveness and reconciliation.  But more than anything else, it is a mirror of God’s story – a story of a stubborn dreamer in shalom and a foreshadowing of a God who will suffer on behalf of someone else in order to save them.  

There is a reason that this story has survived for thousands of years.  I hope you can join us on Sunday as Amanda and I try to scratch the surface of the depth of this story.
 

Epic: Ruth

We are also starting a new series of messages this Sunday called “Epic."  I am having some conversations with folks in our church about an Old Testament story that has been meaningful to them.  This Sunday, Matti Stewart and I will talk about the book of Ruth. 

If you are unfamiliar with this short story in the Bible, it is about a woman whose husband dies and her attempt to rebuild her life with her late husband’s mother.  It is a thought-provoking story about loss, about God showing up in the darkest points in our lives, and about what it is like to be an immigrant in a strange country. 

If nothing else, I am sure Matti will keep us all entertained with her unique perspective on life!

Under The Hood: "Organic"

Every now and then in human history, there is a revolution that rises up with new ideas and new ways of seeing the world.  People begin to buy in to the new ideas and it starts a movement.  

The movement is not very organized at first; it is usually just a handful of passionate people who believe in a great vision of the future. Nevertheless, the movement grows, gains ground, and things begin to change for the better. 
 
At some point, someone in the movement observes, “We have put a lot of effort in to this movement.  We need to find a way to preserve the gains of the past for future generations.”  It is at that moment that a movement starts to become an institution.  Almost every institution in our world finds its roots as a radical movement. 
 
Institutions are not all bad. Institutions often find systematic ways of continuing the actions of a movement even though the spirit or ethos of the movement has died.  Every healthy organization needs elements of both movement and institution: people who think about the future, and people who honor and preserve the gains of the past. 
 
Jesus did not start an institution; he started a movement.  His followers made it in to an institution, which is why you hear so many people in our day admire the life and teachings of Jesus but say, “I am not really in to organized [institutional] religion.”  Turns out, most people do not want to join an institution, but a movement is inspirational.
 
We have been in a conversation about what drives us.  For every group of people there are unspoken agreements for how the group will collectively act. These unspoken agreements are based on the values that we have.

At CrossPoint, we want our values to be things like love and simplicity.  This Sunday, we are going to look at what it might mean to capture the ethos of the Jesus movement.  How do we avoid becoming just another religious institution that is a tribute to the past with no vision for the future?  We call this value being “organic.” 

What is Under the Hood?: Simple

Totem poles are an important part of the cultural heritage of the Native people of the Pacific Northwest.  They are more than just beautiful art, they represent characters or stories or symbols about a village’s cultural beliefs. A totem pole may have an animal that embodies the ethos of that community – an eagle, a salmon, or a bear, for example. 

Elders in the village would communicate the values to the younger generation using the totem pole. “We must be wise as an owl, cunning as a fox, strong as a bear, and as resourceful as a badger,” they would say. 

As new people would come in to their community, the elders would tell them the story of the totem pole -- “The salmon on the pole – he doesn’t give up; he swims upstream even though it is difficult, until he reaches his goal. That is who we are: people who persevere and grow stronger through our struggle.”
 
The totem pole is an outward expression of what is “under the hood” – what drives a community.  

We are in a conversation about what drives us. Last Sunday we talked about how love is the foundation of everything we do.  This Sunday we are going to look at valuing simplicity.  It turns out, it is simple to make things complex, but a complex task to make things simple.  Keeping things simple is an important way of understanding our faith, of how we do life together, and even how we make financial decisions. 

What is Under the Hood?: Loving

This Sunday at CrossPoint we are kicking off a new conversation to think about our new year and the kind of people we want to be. 

The kind of people that we become is result of what we value. Another way to put it is: the things we care about make us into a certain kind of person – for good or bad. 

As we begin this New Year, I want to challenge all of us – what do we value most?  What is “under the hood” that is driving our thoughts, emotions, and actions? 

And what is it that drives us collectively as CrossPoint Church?  Our collective heart – the things we collectively value, the things we collectively care about -- is called our “ethos." What kind of ethos are we creating at CrossPoint?  How will that ethos impact our children? How will it impact the people who visit CrossPoint?

This Sunday, we are going to talk about the kind of people and the kind of church we want to become in 2018.

"Reflections on 2017" by James Stewart

We are wrapping up our first calendar year together at CrossPoint. As I have been reflecting back over 2017, I thought a lot about how our church has grown in our unity, intimacy, and faithfulness—and I expect many more exciting things to come in the new year! I came across a passage in the Bible that perfectly represents how I am feeling at the moment:

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

As we celebrate our last Sunday of 2017 together, and move forward with a new year, I am eager to discuss with you this spiritual journey we have taken together, “rooted and built up in [Christ Jesus]!"