Monday Musings (3-21-16)

Coffee cup on Black– We had a great day at North River Church yesterday for Palm Sunday. The worship was sweet.

– Loved finishing up our sermon series “What If…” yesterday. I have been challenged greatly and I think it has been good for our church. What if we prayed, loved, and gave? I fully believe God wants to do more in and through us for his glory.

– If you missed this series you can listen here.

– One of our church members gave me a UGA Bulldogs tervis yesterday. It has been fun getting picked on for being a DAWG fan here in Gator country.

– Speaking of the Dawgs…is it fall yet? I’m ready for college football to return!!

– Our girls are out this week for Spring Break and my wife has planned some fun outings. I plan to join them for several of these. There is no greater joy than getting to spend time with them!

– This coming Sunday is Easter and it is usually a big day for most churches. Many people who do not normally attend will be at churches this week. It is important to think through different aspects of the service in light of this reality.

– I will be starting a new series this week through 1 Peter. The first 12 verses of 1 Peter are some of the richest verses when you consider what they say about Jesus’ resurrection. Everything hinges on the resurrection.

There Will Be No Savior In Washington

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I know that title may cause you to scratch your head but it is true. There will be no Savior in Washington regardless of what the political candidates promise.

They do not have all the answers. In fact, they don’t even have all the questions. It is really quite an interesting predicament.The nature of politics is tricky. The name of the game is to over-promise and under-deliver. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter if they deliver at all. They are salespeople. Every candidate is attempting to sell the American public on a particular vision for the future.

One side is selling a robust economy and strong national defense. The other is selling free college tuition and accessible health care. Neither is telling the truth. Remember, the name of the game is to make promises…not keep them.

I enjoy politics. I will vote in this presidential election and on election night I will be watching the election results with great anticipation. But, my faith does not rest in any particular candidate.

You see, I know that none of these candidates will be America’s Savior. I’m not at all saying that the election does not matter. It does matter and you should vote.

But, I am encouraging you not to get so wrapped up in this election season and lose sight of reality. There is only one Savior. He promised and he delivered on his promises. His name is Jesus.

 

A Time Of Transition…

This past Sunday I announced to our Crosspoint Community Church family that we would be leaving for me to take over as Lead Pastor at North River Church in Parrish, Florida. Here is the letter I read to our church family on Sunday:

Church Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I stand before you this morning. In June of 2012, I began serving as your pastor. The 3.5 years since have only served to confirm that God was in our coming here. You have been a loving, supportive, and gracious congregation. It has been a great joy for our family to live life together with you, to worship with you, and to serve alongside you these past years.

But now the time has come for us to say goodbye.

Last Sunday morning, I preached at, was voted on by, and was offered the position of lead pastor at North River Church in Parrish, Florida. We have been talking with this church for several months, and it became clear, as we continued in the process with them, that this was where God was leading us.

As I result, this morning I offer my resignation as the pastor here at Crosspoint Community Church. Our last Sunday here will be December 27th and we will transition that next week.

Even though we struggle with strong feelings of grief over having to say goodbye, we are excited about what God wants to do both here and in Parrish in the years ahead. As we have experienced God’s hand at work in our leaving, we can also trust that he will provide the right man to come and faithfully serve here for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We love you. And if you will allow it, we will leave Crosspoint Community Church feeling as if we have a forever-family in Dublin, Georgia. Thank you for loving Janie, Anna, Leah, and myself. We feel blessed to have been a part of this church family. Thank you for taking a chance on me, knowing that I had never been a senior pastor, and allowing me to serve you over the past 3.5 years. God has done incredible things…to Him be the glory!

I want close with the words of the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 1:27-28, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”

Thank you.

Thanks for your prayers as we make this transition!

A Heart That Serves (Reading Notes)

“Some time ago I had dinner with a man who was a deacon in his church. With great energy he told me about how he loved to serve the people at his church. He was so enthusiastic that he gestured a lot as he spoke, and I became a little embarrassed because we were in a packed restaurant. Yet nothing could keep this man’s excitement down as he continued to tell me of his passion for serving God. He constantly looked for opportunities throughout the week to serve the needs of fellow church members, and on Sunday he couldn’t  wait to get to church so he could continue his ministry of service. This man’s zeal for service may seem excessive at first glance, but in actuality, he was exhibiting yet another mark of a man after God’s heart – a heart that yearns to serve.

As fleshly humans, our natural (and selfish) tendency is to take care of our own needs first. We like to make sure there is plenty of time for the things we want to do. Then if we have any time or energy left over, we might be willing to use it to serve someone else. But as men after God’s own heart, you and I need to resist these selfish tendencies and strive instead to see ourselves as servants.” (Jim George in A Man After God’s Own Heart)

Casual Christians (Reading Notes)

“We have too many casual Christians who dabble in everything but are not committed to anything. They have a nodding acquaintance with a score of subjects but are sold on nothing. ‘Of course I’m interested in church – but with my club and my lodge and my golf and my bride and my stamp collecting and my ceramics and my African violets, I just can’t get too excited about religion.’ Our Lord had no place in His program for casual disciples. It was all or nothing.” (Vance Havner in Pepper’N Salt)

Seeing Like Jesus (Reading Notes)

When worldly men see a crowd, each sees something different. The educator sees potential students. The politician, potential voters. The merchant, potential customers. Each sees them with the thought of the way he can profit from them. Jesus never exploited any man for His own benefit. “When He saw them he had compassion on them.” And soon that compassion would lead Him to the cross.

Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare. Do we have eyes that see? (J. Oswald Sanders in Spiritual Discipleship)

A Tale Of Two Worship Services

It is a cool, crisp fall day. Everyone is up early this Saturday morning looking forward to the upcoming worship service. This is not just any normal worship service. Thousands of people show up early so that they put up tents and cookout in anticipation. Many drive hundreds of miles and spend hundreds of dollars just to get there. They love to get together, strangers even, to talk about past worship services and dream about what may happen at future ones.

As the time for the worship service draws near people pile in to the worship center. It will hold 80,000-100,000 people and you can be certain that every seat will be filled. Those filling the seats will scream and jump and sing and cheer for the entire three hours during the worship service. What’s even better is when it runs long….they call it overtime. No one complains – they actually love when this happens. When the worship service is over, people linger almost as if they don’t want to leave. They take pictures and talk to strangers, sometimes high-fiving and hugging people they’ve only just met. Interestingly, those who did not make it to the worship service in person watched it on TV with friends. In fact, they say they would “never miss one!”

The other worship service it a bit different. It happens on Sunday mornings and few people are anticipating this gathering. They roll out of bed groggily wishing they could get just a few more minutes of sleep. When they are finally dressed they casually make their way to the service, usually showing up a few minutes late. Few speak to people that they do not know and, unlike the day before, people don’t seem all that excited about this worship service. In fact, it seems like they are ready for it to be over so they can go about their day.

As the worship service starts, the people who were cheering and singing yesterday are subdued. If they do sing, it is with very little emotion. If they do clap, it is done half-heartedly. There are plenty of empty seats but it has come to be expected because there are other more important things that need to be done on Sunday mornings. After the singing, the people sit and listen to someone for a while. Many times they get distracted thinking about other things and they get fidgety if the worship service goes into overtime. At the previous worship service they willingly spent hundreds of dollars for travel, tickets and food but don’t seem to contribute much at this service. When it is over, they bolt out the door instead of mixing and mingling like they did the day before. Those who didn’t make it this week may make it next week but only if nothing else is going on.

Christian Leaders Should Serve (Reading Notes)

“Ambitious and self-seeking Christian workers, like the priest and the Levite, pass by on the other side of the street in order to devote themselves to a higher stratum of society. They are not willing to keep teaching the elements of the gospel to simple believers, or to endeavor to encourage backsliders onto the narrow way. They want a ministry more worthy of their powers.

Jesus, however, found delight and satisfaction in stooping to serve those whom most choose to ignore. His skillful, loving care caused the broken reed once again to produce heavenly music and fanned the dimly burning wick into a glowing flame. He never entirely crushed of concerned the penitent. It is noble work to care for those whom the world ignores.” (J. Oswald Sanders in Spiritual Discipleship)