Abide: Faithfulness

February 17, 2019

Faithfulness is a mix of action and words beginning with a posture of obedience.

We become more faithful when we abide in a faithful God.

Good morning. Good morning. Quick question for you guys. I don’t know if you’ve ever have this experience where you’re hearing or listening to something, and all the sudden you kind of get this quick glimpse like your past right? Like you have this kind of mental picture of something that happened in your past when you were younger, when you’re a kid. It’s been happening to me as I’ve been listening to Pastor David preach about the fruit of the Spirit, the Abide series that we’re in. This glimpse that I’m having as I’m thinking and listening to him speak about the fruit of the Spirit, the glimpse is me as a little kid, probably six seven eight years old, I don’t know exactly how old I am, and I’m sitting in front of the family HiFi stereo. Anyone remember the family HiFi stereo? I did a kind of informal survey earlier today this morning with our worship team, and we determined that if you’re 40 or older, you have this memory maybe. If you’re younger than 40, you don’t quite remember it. The specifics of it is the record player, right? You’re not just sitting in front like your Spotify or your tape cassette or your CD. It’s the record player, the big vinyl records. In my house we listened to only Christian music. So for me, those records were like the Imperials or White Heart or DeGarmo and Key. Some of you are having blank looks on your face right now, like I have no idea, it’s another world that you’re talking about. You know, maybe there were some Disney records, whatever Disney records were there, but the one, the one that likes this is, the glimpse that I have is this record and it was called The Music Machine. Anyone have any idea, remember The Music Machine? Okay. So The Music Machine was a record like kids play, a kids musical. All right, and so is this record and it was magical machine and so, you know, there was no pictures, there’s no screen, there’s no images right? You had to make this up in your head. All right, so it was the music machine and we were watching we were listening. I’m listening to this record and it’s this magical machine that you put something in the machine and a song comes out. It was really exciting when your 1970s and you’re 6 years old. This is the most incredible thing in the world at that time and and you’re sitting there and you’re looking at the album artwork. Again, if you’re like younger than 40, you have no idea what I’m talking about. But you’re you’re listening to the record and you’re looking at the album artwork, in this case there’s like multiple pages of it. And so there’s certain songs that like go over and over and over in my head. I can remember these songs and they put like a fruit in and out with Tom patients and patience was Herbie the impatient snail. And snail are slow but not Herbie. He slides around and does things you shouldn’t do, and it’s, “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…” And it just goes on from there, right? And the other one was self-control. And these were things I probably needed to work on. Patience and self-control self-control is the very best way to go. I think that I’ll control myself… Literally 40 years ago I listened to the songs and they’re still stuck in my head. Now here’s the great thing about the music machine, is it taught me the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I know that the holy spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I know those are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. Here’s the problem with the music machine. I never learned how to have the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It taught me what they were, but it didn’t teach me, at least I don’t remember it teaching me, how I go about learning the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Since the beginning of the year Pastor David has been teaching us Abide. How do we have the fruit of the Holy Spirit? How do we have more Love? More Joy? More peace? More patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? It’s not because we do more of these things. It’s not because we love more, be more kind or more gentle or more faithful. It’s because we are – and he uses the word abide, David has been using the word abide – we abide with Jesus. We connect to Jesus. For me, this is a kind of a reminder is my phone. I am lost without my phone. Anyone here lost, like you go for 30-45 minutes, you don’t have your phone, you’re like, I’m disconnected. I do not know what’s happening in the world. That’s me. I feel disconnected, literally disconnected, if I don’t have my phone near me.

So we Abide. What does abide mean? How do we abide? The word abide means being present. We’re persevering, we’re remaining. So when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, we’re present with Him, we remain with Jesus. We persevere, we go through hard times, so that we can connect with Jesus. And when we’re connected to Jesus, when we’re abiding with Jesus, we have the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We love more, we are more faithful.

Today we’re talking about faithfulness. I want to talk to you about faithfulness from the life of Abraham. Abraham is from the Old Testament. And Abraham was kind of like very beginning is found in the Book of Genesis Genesis, chapter 12 is the beginning of Abraham’s story. We won’t go through the entire thing obviously today, but I encourage you, I love the story, I love Genesis. It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible. I love Abraham’s story. It starts out Abraham, we meet Abraham when he 75 years old. He’s living with his father and a brother and his wife and a nephew who’s from a different brother who that brother passed away, and he’s living with them in a certain town.

And God tells Abraham at the age of 75 want you to leave. I want you to leave this town. I want you to go. Which is difficult in and of itself, leaving your family, leaving everything you know at 75. But the really difficult part is he tells him to go to a place where I’m not going to tell you where to go. You just got to leave and when you get there, I’ll let you know that you’re there. That’s pretty difficult, right? That’s tough, that’s a challenge. And so we find the Abraham is faithful. He Faithfully follows what God calls him to do. And he’s also faithful because God promises Abraham that he’ll make Abraham into a great nation. He’s going to have lots and lots of descendants, more than the stars in the sky, more than the sand that’s on the seashore, more than the dust that’s in the earth. That’s a lot of people. The problem is, Abraham doesn’t have any children. So, how, Abraham wonders, is that going to work? It’s a crazy promise, especially since Abraham hits 75 and 80 and 85 and then 90 and then 95 and 96 and 97, 98, 99 years old, and I don’t have a child. But this is what we learn.

God is faithful.

Two things we learn about Abraham, about God and about faithfulness in the story. 

The first one is that God is faithful. God promised something to Abraham and God is faithful. God gave Abraham a child through his wife Sarah. Sarah was ninety years old and Abraham was a hundred. Sometimes in Bible years we get confused. Adam lived to be a thousand years old. Why can’t I Abraham have a child when he’s a hundred? Well, by this point in time, it’s still kind of crazy. It’s crazy to think that anyone would have a child, especially when the woman is 90 years old and the husband is a hundred. It’s a crazy promise, but God fulfills. He’s faithful to fulfill his promises. We also know the God’s faithful in the midst of our unfaithfulness. Because the other thing, this is one of the things I love about Abraham is, Abraham messes it up multiple times. In this case, he thinks, God has not given me a kid through my wife Sarah. Maybe if I take her handmaiden, Hagar, I can have a child through her, and we’ll kick-start the process. Right, God? No, no, no. No, that’s not the way I’m going to be faithful. But God continues to be faithful to Abraham in the midst of Abraham’s unfaithfulness. God’s faithful. That’s who He is. God is faithful. That’s his nature. He knows no other way than to be faithful. That’s the first thing we learned.

Our faithfulness comes from a relationship with a faithful God.

The second thing we learned is that our faithfulness, Abraham’s faithfulness, came from a relationship with that faithful God. Because God is faithful and Abraham had a relationship with a faithful God, Abraham himself became faithful. He wasn’t perfect, alright? It’s not Perfection. It wasn’t discipline, right? For me, I think of faithfulness is, I will become more disciplined. I will get up earlier. I will read the Bible every day. I will get on my knees and pray. I will do ABCDEFG, all the way through Z, and then double AA, then BB. I’ll follow all these things and I will become faithful. But that’s not what faithfulness is. Faithfulness is a relationship with a faithful God. Then we become more like that faithful God because of the relationship. So we learn all of those things through those 25 years of History in Genesis, in the life of Abraham.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about today. I went to school, I went to college at MidAmerica Nazarene University. When I graduated it was still college. It has since become a university. Nothing’s really changed about the school other than the name. When I went, I was a religion major. And so I took theology classes. I was like taking a pre-Seminary degree. I ended up not going to Seminary, but I took all the religion classes. And my favorite Professor I had for one semester in one class. His name was Doctor Metz. He was a Professor Emeritus, he had retired I don’t know how many years earlier, and he came back to teach at least this one class, I don’t know. He was filling in for the professor who normally taught the class who has been on sabbatical. He came and he taught this class and honestly, how do I know he’s such a great teacher? I have no idea what class he taught. I think it might have been a church history class, but I loved him, right? I loved sitting and going, he must have been about eighty years old, and he really didn’t care about teaching the material as far as I know. He just sat and he kind of chatted. It was like coffee time with Doctor Metz. He would chat and we would raise our hand, and we would ask him questions. I learned probably more about God and more about the Bible and more about life in that class than I did anything else that semester. And I remember this one in particular question that someone asked Doctor Metz. I was sitting in that class and it struck me dumb, his answering. The question was this, the question was, Doctor Metz, does it get easier to follow God as you get older? And his answer is what struck me dumb because I thought, well sure it gets easier, right? You know all the things you’re supposed to do, and you do a b c and d, and you just do it. He said, No. Oh no, it gets harder. I’ve learned in the 20 years since I took that class and sat in that class with Doctor Metz, that’s really true. Life doesn’t necessarily get easier, living for God doesn’t get easier. It becomes harder because the challenges become more difficult.

And we see that in Abraham. He’s lived 25 years of faithfulness, and he’s had his ups and downs, but it’s when he’s well past a hundred years old when God asked him to do the most difficult thing he’s ever done in his life. And today we’re going to look at that story that God challenges Abraham and we’re going to see where and how Abraham is faithful God.

But let’s pray first, okay? God, I thank you that you are faithful. That’s just who you are. It’s your nature. You know nothing else but being faithful. And God I thank you, that because we can have relationship with you, you’ve made us a way to have relationship with you, God we could become faithful like you. And so God, I pray today that we would learn from you. We would have connection with you, we would hear your voice. You would use me to speak your words. So that God we can become more faithful like your servant Abraham. We can become more faithful like you. Pray this in your name. Amen.

So Genesis 22 verse 1 – you can look there if you want – and this is how the story begins. And actually before I read it, just, I’ll give you a little back story. So Abraham has had Isaac his son. And he also has this other kind of half-son to his wife Sarah, Ishmael. And there’s conflict, there’s issues. And so it comes to a head, and so Abraham sends Ishmael and his mother off, sends them away. This happens in Genesis chapter 1, immediately before, and then there’s this connection point between Abraham and a neighbor, and they make a covenant together, and they decide to share water, the most important thing that they have. And then it comes to the story. So we don’t know how long, how old Isaac is this point, but we know he’s gotten older right? He’s been weaned at least from his mother. And this is what Genesis 22:1 says.

Genesis 22:1 (NLT) 
1Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. 
“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”

So let me take a quick change here. Does anyone here ever deal with lower back pain? Not chronic lower back pain, but just, you know, every once in a while your back is stiff and sore? I was doing some research on that this week. And what is the common response that you get like, ah, my back hurts? Well, it’s your posture, right? You need to fix your posture. And if you, like me, the correct posture seems to be, you need to stand up or sit up straight, and kind of have a rigid back, and kind of that military pose, head up, and you need to have correct posture. Well, this article that I was reading about posture, this guy who was a doctor of Physical Therapy, he did some research and there was a study done of 17 year old girls who had correct posture. And they found that these girls, they had correct posture, they sat correctly almost all the time. Their back, still there was minor pain. And at the same time they studied these girls, they also studied boys and they found the boys who would kind of sit slouched and not really correctly, right? They didn’t sit in the correct way, they didn’t have the pain. Well, why didn’t they have the pain? The reason they didn’t have the pain, they found, is because the boys did more movement. They were more active and they moved more, which caused their muscles in the back to be stronger, and the movement itself is actually the important part. Which goes to what this guy was saying, he says the best posture is actually your next posture. The best posture is your next posture. So you need to be constantly moving, sitting up straight some the time, slouching some of the time. Getting up, walking around, doing active things.

Your best posture is your next posture.

So we see here – I’m going to tie these together, it’s magical, watch – Genesis 22: Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. Abraham, God called. Yes, here I am. When it comes to faithfulness, our best posture is the posture of obedience. And that’s what we see here in Abraham. God calls, and Abraham’s response is open hands. Yes, here I am. He doesn’t even know the question yet. It’s simply, Yes, here I am. Open arms, open hands. God, here I am. Yes, here I am. What’s next God? Here I am.

Let’s compare that, contrast that with another story that also happens in Genesis. And it’s the story of Adam and Eve. And Adam and Eve have been created by God. The entire world has been created, all creations has been created. God has made this incredible Garden and put Adam and Eve there. He says, Here, it’s yours. You take care of it. You take care of the animals. You live life how you want to live life. There’s only one rule is, you can’t eat this fruit. Can’t eat this fruit from this tree. And the serpent comes and he deceives Eve. And Adam is right there with her, and they think he deceived them both. And she takes the fruit and she eats it, and hands it to Adam who’s right there with her, and he eats it. And they sin. And their eyes are opened. Their eyes are open to the reality that their sin and they’ve sinned. And then they see that they’re naked and they cover themselves and they hide.

In Genesis 3 verses 8 and 9, it says:

Genesis 3:8-9 (NLT) 
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

And earlier we find that this is God’s pattern, that he comes and he walks and he spends time and he wants to remain, connect, abide with Adam and Eve. But they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees. And then listen. Then the Lord called the man, Where are you? And instead of them saying, Yes, here I am, they hid. And God had to go and find them. And so instead of having the posture of yes, what’s next? it was closed and hidden and shame. I don’t want to connect with you God right now. I’m disobedient. I can’t connect with you. Whereas Abraham’s posture, even though Abraham was imperfect, he had made mistakes, he had done the wrong thing, it was open arms, open hands. Yes, here I am. What’s next?

So my question is, What is your posture? 
Is it, Yes, here I am, what’s next? 
Or is it closed, I don’t want to connect with you right now God?

Faithfulness begins with a posture of obedience.

And that posture is really important for Abraham. We find that in the next verse that says, Genesis 22:2, it says:

Genesis 22:2 (NLT) 
2“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

Reminds me of this family that I knew that came here to Cross Points years ago. They’re a little bit older and they had a child, an only child, and they had adopted this girl. And I don’t know the whole back story, but I’m assuming they tried to have children naturally and they weren’t able to, and so they adopted this girl. And they loved this girl. I mean love this girl. In particular the Dad, right? The Dad. She was the center of his world, the center of his Universe. There was nothing better on this Earth than this girl in every conversation I would have, he would just brag and gush and tell everybody how incredible this girl was.

Well, it makes me think of that, when God says take your son your only son, take your daughter your only daughter, the one that you love so much, and go and sacrifice. Go sacrifice her. How difficult that was for Abraham to hear. And we don’t know what Abraham’s response was. We don’t know that verbally, we don’t know if he cried, we don’t know if he moaned, we don’t know if he argued, we don’t know what he said. But what we do know is the next action he took. And the next verse says:

Genesis 22:3 (NLT) 
3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about.

Abraham acted. Faithful action is faithful obedience. He did the next thing. Why? Because his actions reflected his faithfulness to God. My actions, your actions, they reflect our faithfulness to God. What we do matters. It’s not just having a posture of obedience, but then it’s following through and taking the next step when God says to step.

But He doesn’t just act, He also speaks. He speaks faithfulness as well. So, in Genesis he takes the journey, he’s almost to the mountain, and he stops. He has his servants and Isaac and the donkey and himself, and in Genesis 22:5 it says, Stay here – speaking to the servants – stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there and then we will come right back. Hebrews 11 it tells us, it references this story and says something to the effect of, Abraham had this faith that even if God, even if he was forced to sacrifice his son Isaac, he had this faith that God would at least raise Isaac from the dead. He had this intense faith that God was going to come through in this moment. And so when he says, We will worship there and then we will come right back, he believed that we – me and Isaac – we will come back to this place. Because I believe in a faithful God who keeps his promises. I’ve seen him do it before, and now I’m going to see him do it again, in this moment. What he’s asking me to do is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, but I believe that God is going to come through in this moment. And we see it happen a little bit later. Isaac, we don’t know how old Isaac is, he may be as young as 5, 6, 7, probably was at least 10 or 12 years old. He could have been the oldest 35 you don’t really know how old he is. He’s probably in his young teens, maybe maybe early twenties, but he’s old enough to kind of figure out something is not right because what Abraham does is, he gives the wood for Isaac to carry? And Abraham has a knife, and the the flint to start the fire, and something starts turning in that head of Isaac, and he says, Hey Dad, I got the wood, got the knife, got the fire. Don’t have a sheep. Abraham’s response is, God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering my son. And they both walked on together.

Genesis 22:8 
8“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

My actions reflect my faithfulness to God.

My words reflect the faithfulness of God. What I speak reflects how I believe that God’s going to come through. What I do reflects that I’m going to be faithful to God when he asked me to move. What I say reflects, God, I believe that you’re going to come through in the situation. I don’t necessarily see it. It’s a little bigger than me, outside what I can see. But I believe, I choose to believe that you will show up in this moment.

Two points of action. 

1. What action do you need to take? Has God spoken, but you need to take the step? Your hands have maybe been open but then, when He’s told you to move, you were like, that was a little too much? What action do you need to take? 

2. Or what language do you need to use? Do you need to change the words that you speak so that you’re reflecting that God is able to do the impossible?

Well, we see that Abraham goes and he lays Isaac on an altar that he makes, on top of the wood. And his hand is raised ready to sacrifice son. And then God comes through. And I love the symmetry of the beginning and the end of the story. The symmetry is this, in verse 11 it says at that moment the angel of the Lord called him from Heaven saying, Abraham! Abraham! Abraham!

Genesis 22:11 
At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”

And what’s his response? Here I am. His hand was literally raised to strike his son. And I don’t know if he kind of waited a half beat. He’s like, okay, God this is it, show up? I don’t know what was in his head. But his response was Yes, here I am. And God shows up. And He provides the Ram, provides the sacrifice.

But the story continues to get better. Because it’s not just about faithful obedience, it’s not just about faithfulness, but God loves to bless us when we’re faithful to him.

Faithful obedience leads to blessing.

The story ends by saying, then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. And this is what the Lord says:

Genesis 22:15-18 (NLT) 
15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. 16“This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

God’s doing something bigger than Abraham could ever see in this moment. He’s doing something that really wouldn’t be seen until thousands of years later, He’s foreshadowing something that happens beyond this moment. You see God told Abraham to take his son, his only son, the one that he loves so much, and to take him to sacrifice it. And then he brings Isaac to this certain point, and he stopped and he put the wood, the element of Isaac’s destruction on his back. And he walks up a hill to the place where he was to be sacrificed. I don’t know how old Isaac is, but he’s probably like 13, 14, 15 years old. And I don’t know whole lot but I know that 15 year olds can outrun a 115 year-old every single time. But Isaac in this moment, he’s aware. There’s like the spiritual awareness, that he allows himself to be bound and laid on top of this altar. His faith is just as strong as his father’s faith. And he puts himself into the father’s hands and he says, okay. This is what you say Dad, I believe. Like you believe, I believe.

And we see thousands of years later, that the Son of God, Jesus Himself comes to Earth. And he carries his cross, the element of his destruction, and he carries it up a hill. And he willingly lays himself down on that cross to be sacrificed. He puts himself in the hands of his father. Knowing that his father has the power to resurrect him and he has to trust and choose to believe that God is faithful to his word, that what God said he would do, he will do. That’s blessing. Because of the faithfulness of one man to do – Abraham, to do what he was called to do – He used the line of Abraham to save us, all of us.

Faithfulness. My faithfulness comes because I have relationship with a faithful God. Your faithfulness only comes because you have a relationship with a faithful God. And that relationship comes through Jesus.

And I want to offer the opportunity right now right where you’re at to say I need Jesus. I need relationship. I need connection. I need to know that guy who’s faithful. So if you wouldn’t mind right now just taking a moment and reflecting. Where am I at? Do I have connection with this guy? Do I have connection with the One who laid his life down so that I could have relationship with the father. So right now where you’re at, while you’re thinking about that, I just want to give you that chance, that opportunity to say, I need Jesus. So if you’re here and you say, I need Jesus, would you just raise your hand? I need connection with the father. I see that hand in the back. See the hand back there, too. Anyone else say I need Jesus? I see that hand. See a hand over there. . . Anyone else? I need Jesus. I need connection with the father. If you raised your hand, and if you didn’t raise your hand, would you pray this prayer with me? Actually if you wouldn’t mind, church, just praying out loud with all of us, saying, Dear Jesus, I thank you. I thank you for the blessing that you gave me. I thank you that you laid your life down so that my sins could be forgiven. Jesus I accept your offering. I choose to make you my Lord. I choose to make you my God. May I have connection with you? In your name.

Pastor David?

Amen. Can we give Pastor Andy a great big hand this morning for teaching us? Amen.

I thought that was so good. Your best posture is your next posture. I just want you to go home this week thinking about that. I know I’m going to. What’s the posture that God has for you next? What is he speaking to you? Often times we get kind of hurried and harried with the with the cares in the concerns of this world. And God is speaking to you, and wanting you to take the next step. What’s the next thing he has for you? I want you to have that kind of ring in your ears this week. God, what’s my next posture? Hopefully all of us would say, God, here I am, whatever you want. Amen.

Would you stand up with me this morning? I want to pray for you and bless you.

But before I do that, if you need any prayer this morning here we’re dismissed, to my left and your right, there’s some banners there that say Next Steps. We’re going to have our prayer team over there. And if you need prayer for any particular reason today, whether you have a physical need or maybe have something else that’s going on at work or maybe at school, we’d love to pray with you. Again, over to my left and your right, after the service make your way over there

And also if you’re new to Cross Points, you’d like to learn a little bit more about who we are as a church, I teach a class. It takes about 30 minutes immediately following this service. We have a small lunch for you as well. Again, I’d love to get to know you a little bit better. You can meet us over by the coffee house. There’s a banner there that says Grow. I’d love to connect with you. Again, takes about 30 minutes of your time, and you’ll learn a little bit more about who we are at the church.

Well, if you wouldn’t mind receiving God’s blessing by raising your hand, just as a sign of surrender. . . Father, I pray that your people, Lord, would have a posture that says, Here am I. That we would have open hands and open hearts. Father, I pray that you would speak to your people this week, and that we would be obedient. And that we would be faithful to you with our actions and with our words. I pray that over your people, that they would go forth with joy and be led forth with peace this week. In the name of Jesus. And the church that wanted that said, Amen. Amen. God bless you. Have a great Sunday.

March 11: Spring UP Playdate –  Rhythm & Music: Monticello Library
followed up with lunch and play at McDonald’s right across the street.

March 13: Spring UP Playdate – Wonderscope  Children’s Museum
10am-11:30am $8 General admission (2 & under free). 

March 15: Spring UP Playdate (Movie Day) – “Wonder Park” at B&B Theatres
Keep posted for theater and movie time.

April 13: Community Egg Hunt – 
Location and details coming soon! 

April 19: Good Friday Services  – at Bridgeway Church

April 21: Easter Services 9am & 11am
Join us between services at 10am for our free egg hunt

May 5: Kid’s Sunday + Picnic 12:30pm – 
An awesome afternoon full of free food, lots of fun & great community
Bingo, lawn games, gaga ball, face painting, cotton candy and a moon bounce!

May 24: Kickball Tourney – 
We’ll have a hot dog dinner, inflatable games, and the Kickball Tournament.
More info to come.

We are going to do less for the next 40 days in order to experience more of God’s power in our lives.

Less is More – a 40 day season of focused prayer and fasting. We’ll be giving up things like convenience and control to attend more carefully to God’s voice in our lives. Join along for the next 40 days!

March 3, 2019

March 10, 2019


Due to the incoming inclement weather, Cross Points Church will have only ONE service this Sunday at 11am.

We want everyone to stay safe and in case you are not able to join us in person, we will be streaming our service LIVE at 11am.

You can experience church from the comfort of your home!  Please click here to visit our Facebook Page or our YouTube channel at 11 AM this Sunday.  

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – walk with CPC
Sunday, March 10 • 12:45pm

Join us March 10 for the Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Meet at Johnson Drive & Rosehill before 12:45 p.m.

We want to make a positive impact on the Shawnee community. We encourage everyone to walk in the parade with us. We will be passing out candy along the parade route! This is a great way to connect with the people of Shawnee.  Remeber to wear green!

Less is More: Reset Service (@Park City Church)
Wednesday, March 6 • 7pm-8pm
6709 W 75TH ST OP KS

You know the feeling. That drawer in your kitchen that accumulates more and more stuff, making it harder to ever find what you’re actually looking for. A schedule so frenzied it’s increasingly difficult to be actually present anywhere. A life so full of noise, you can hardly hear yourself think – much less what God may be trying to say to you.

We know the feeling, too.

It happens to all of us. In the midst of all of those deadlines, diapers, and demands on our time and energy, we become dulled to God’s voice in our lives.

It’s why we want to help you do less over 40 days in order to experience more of God’s power in your life. Less is More – a 40 day season of focused prayer and fasting. We’ll be giving up things like convenience and control to attend more carefully to God’s voice in our lives.

We want to invite you to join us for a Reset Service as Bridgeway KC, Cross Points Church & Park City Church kick off this season of prayer and fasting. Wed, Mar 6 at 7p, we want to invite you to come and reset. 

Active Patience
February 3, 2019

Today we’re going to talk about patience. How many of you get just a little bit nervous, like when things aren’t quite like going as quick as you want them to go? Anybody get a little bit like, you’re making me uncomfortable? Anybody here like that? Okay, good. This message is going to be for you then. This is perfect. We’re going to talk about one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit today. Patience. And how important patience is in our lives. That it’s not just a good idea, but it’s a god idea. And that when we walk in patience, God does something in us that’s really powerfully significant. I would say even more than that. It’s supernatural. God wants to develop supernatural abilities within us, and it comes through patience, this idea of being willing to wait on one hand, and being persistent on the other hand.

Would you join with me in prayer as we get started? How many of you were here today cuz you want God to speak to you, believe that he speaks, he communicates, and you want to hear his voice? Father, I pray for those who have their hands lifted high this morning. I pray Holy Spirit that you would open up our eyes and you would open up our ears that we might hear and know and understand and perceive what it is that you have for us today. In the name of Jesus. And everybody that wanted that said amen and amen.

Well, last September I was on a run. And if you don’t know, I’m a long distance runner. And I was on an 18 mile run. And I had made the halfway point. I turned around and come back, and I had about six miles left to go, and I saw this little park, and there was a a water fountain and a restroom and all that. And like I’m going to stop get some water and then kind of make my way onto the last part of the six miles. And soon as I get there, it’s a hot day, I’m sweaty, I’m just, I’m exhausted. I go to the drinking fountain and get some water and then I noticed that someone is watching me. And it’s this little old lady and she’s she’s dressed in a running outfit. She has like these powder blue shorts and pink top and she’s got her running shoes on. 
And she looks at me, and she’s sitting on a bench, and she says, I don’t bite, you can sit by me if you want to, cuz you look awfully tired. 
And I was like, oh thank you so much. I’m afraid that if I sit down, I’m not going to be able to get up again. And if you guys ever worked out like that and you’re like, I just have to keep going because if I stop right now, I’m not going to be able to keep going. 
And she says, I totally understand. And she looked at me and she was like, so are you out for a long run today? 
And I said yeah, you know, I’m just running 18 miles. 
And she said, Oh my, that’s a long way. 
And I looked at her and I said, Well, are you out running today too? 
And she says, Yeah, she says, I’m going six miles. 
And I said, Well, do you mind me asking you, how how old you are, or how young you are? 
And she says, I’m 81 years old. 
And I was thinking to myself, she’s running 6 miles, at 81 years old. 
Like, that’s impressive. And so we began then at this point, I went over to her and I sat down a little bit and I was sweating all over, and she’s like, so are you training for anything? 
And I said, Yeah, you know, I’m training for a marathon. 
She said, Oh that’s nice. Have you done any marathons before? 
I said I’ve done three or four marathons. 
Oh my that’s wonderful. 
And then I said, They’re all in different states and my goal at some point – maybe, I don’t know if it’s a real goal – it would be cool if I ran a marathon in every state in the country. And I said, There are people that do that. 
And she said, I’ve heard about that kind of thing. 
I turned to her and said, Have you done any marathons? 
And she says, Yeah. I’ve done a few. 
I said, Oh really? How many of you done? 
She said, Oh I’ve done 75. 
What?! I’m not kidding. I was having this conversation with her and I thought I was a little delirious. I was like, 75? 
Oh yeah, 75, every state. I’ve run all the marathons. 
So then I get up and I’m just like No way! You know, you’re just patronizing me, like a little grandma, patting me on the back. Then good for you. So I go over, get some more water in the drinking fountain. 
And another guy comes, and he starts kind of having the same similar conversation that I was having with her. And as I’m getting something to drink I overhear their conversation. 
And she said a hundred and seventy-five. 
And I said, What? What did you just say? How many marathons have you run? I thought you said you ran 75 marathons. 
She said, No no no. I ran a hundred and seventy-five marathons. 
Mind blown right there at this point. 
She says, I’ve run a marathon in every state at least three times. And I’ve run overseas as well. And I’m 81 years old, and I’m still running today. 
And at that point, I had nothing left to say. I say God bless you, and I went on my way and started running.

But my thought, as I was thinking about this lady, that 81 year old lady who still lacing up her shoes, you know what she’s doing? She still running the race of life. Like she hadn’t given up. It was like age wasn’t holding her back. Her bones that were maybe not as strong, or a little bit more brittle now in life, she was still lacing up our shoes. She was still getting on the pavement. She was still running the race that was set before her.

And I was thinking about that verse in Hebrews chapter 12 that says that we are to run with patient endurance.

Hebrews 12:1-4 TLB 
Let us run with patient endurance the race that has been set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. . . For consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you will not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin.

Can you turn to your neighbor and say patient endurance this morning? That’s pretty good. I don’t know if you quite got it yet. I’m going to stay one more time. Let us run with patient endurance. Tell your neighbor one more time patient endurance.

I want you to know that we live in a world today where far too many people quit and give up in life. Oh, I need to start preaching, some of your going to have to help me preach today. Far too many people give up and quit because it’s just too hard. I’m too tired. I can’t do it. I can’t make it. No one likes me. It’s too hard. It’s too difficult. Whine whine whine whine. It drives me crazy. Anybody else does that drive you crazy? Just me today? Good, I’ll preach to myself. That’s okay. Listen, the Bible says if you’re a follower of Jesus that we are called to run with patient endurance. You’re not in a hundred meter dash race. You are in a marathon. And this marathon race that God has set for you, it goes on and on and on and on – and some of you already tired – and it goes on and on and on let me take some water here for just a second – and on and on it goes on and on and on, the race that God has for you. He wants you to run the race until you take your final breath, until the final days of your life. God doesn’t want you quitting. He wants you to continue with this. Let us run with patient endurance. You’re going to have times when you feel really good about life. You’re going to have times when things are really difficult and challenging, times when you stumble, times when you fail, times when you’re embarrassed about the things that you’ve done or said. But we’re supposed to get back up. If we fall 7 times, we’re supposed to get back up seven times, and run the race that God has for you with patient endurance.

And how are we supposed to do this? Well this is what I’ve been talking about all month long in January, is idea of abiding, of connecting with Jesus. We don’t use that word abide but it means to connect or remain. It has this idea of patient endurance, that when we run the race with patient endurance, we don’t just run it in our own strength. We run it fixing our eyes on Jesus. In other words, we’re connected to him, and it’s his power and it’s his life been enabled us to run the race with patient endurance. And if we’re not connected to him, we’re going to have problems in the race of life. And then just so that we understand this, the writer in Hebrews continues, the writer says this:

Hebrews 12:3 TLB 
For consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you will not grow weary in your souls and give up.

I want you think about this. Jesus endured the shouts of the crowd that said crucify him. He endured the whips from the Roman soldiers. He endured the two nails that that went into his hands and into his feet. And he willingly lay down his life for you and for me. And some of you were here today, you never committed your life to Jesus and I want you to know that he went to the cross for you, so that you could run the race not in your own strength in your own efforts, but so that God could give you his very life, so that you could run the race that is set for you. You may feel overwhelmed but I want you to know, if you’ve never given your life to Christ today, you can give your life to him, and he’ll give you his life, and his power, and his spirit, and he’ll allow you to run the course that he has marked out just for you. And this is what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself. And then why why why why do we look at that? So that you, so that me, so that we will not grow weary in our souls and give up. God doesn’t want you to give up. He wants you to continue to remain, to stay, to connect. He wants you to abide in him.

And then the writer continues.

Hebrews 12:4 TLB 
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin.

He says listen, you haven’t yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin. I mean, it’s not that challenging. God’s power and spirit wants to flow in you so that you can have patient endurance.

There are really when it comes to scripture, when it comes to the Bible, there are are two types of patience that we have. And I want to make sure you understand this really clearly this morning. When the Bible talks about patience, there are two ways in which we can talk about patients. And as hard as we translate from Greek for the New Testament into English, sometimes the words are hard to get an exact match in English, sometimes it takes two or three words to get one Greek word. But there are two types of patience.

The one is simply this: Patience means accepting delays or problems without anxiety, right? (Passive) makrothumia. It’s like when I’m up here and I’m not saying anything and you’re getting a little bit anxious. It makes you a little bit uncomfortable or let me give you a better example. Maybe it’s like you going to the DMV and you have to wait. Anybody ever done that before? How fun is that, right? No one wants to do that. But you have to wait. And if you’re patient, you’ll accept those delays, you’ll accept those problems without anxiety. I don’t know about you but I still struggle when I go to the DMV or when I’m at a red light or when I’m in a long line at the grocery store and I’m looking around going, Where is the extra help? Come on, I’m in a hurry. And is that just me or am I the only one that feels that way sometimes, right? So patience, that the Bible says, paint one way in which patience is lived out is that we accept the delays without anxiety. And I’m the first to say God, I need more of that, I need more patience in my life. But that’s a passive way.

What I find really interesting that I’ve never seen before until I started studying patience the last couple of months, I read this verse that blew me away. And it’s in 2nd Corinthians chapter 6:

2 Corinthians 6:6 NLT 
We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us. . .

Paul is talking, and this is what he says. He says we prove ourselves by our purity. We prove ourselves as Believers in Jesus by our understanding. We prove ourselves as Disciples of Jesus Christ by our patience. In other words, the extent to which you can be patient really proves to the world that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ. I never quite saw that way before. And then Paul wants to make sure that we understand that this patience isn’t of our self, but it’s by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. In other words the holy spirit gives you patience. Like, you can try to work things up in your in your own way, in your own strength, but really that falls really short of the patience that God wants to develop in your own life. And so this idea of being able to wait even when things are difficult and challenging, it proved to the world that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ.

I’m sure many of you have gone through those, well, those situations in your life where things just don’t make sense. My wife and I we we wanted to have kids early on in our marriage. And we’ve been married for five years, and we were ready to have kids right? Ever since the time and so we waited and we waited and we waited and waited and there were no kids and we waited and we were trying to be patient. And nothing. Anybody ever had those scenario? It might be different for you, right? Might not be kids. But whenever it is, where you just have to wait and you don’t know why. And you don’t know why. And it doesn’t make sense. And you don’t know why. Why do I have to wait? Because God is doing something in your life that the world can’t see, that those around you can’t see. But there’s something and I’m going to use this word – supernatural – that’s taking place in your life. You can’t see it with physical eyes, but in the midst of waiting God develops something in your life that’s really important for your Christian walk. And so waiting is important.

But the waiting is not just passive in nature. It doesn’t just sit and wait – it does that and that’s part of it – but there’s a second part as well, and it’s an active part. It says this. Patience from a Biblical perspective is: It’s persistence in doing what is right. (Active) hupomone. In other words, not being able to be pulled from your convictions. In other words, patience is not just waiting, it’s continuing to do what you know you should do even when things are hard. Even when things don’t make sense.

You could put it this way. My wife and I, when we wanted to have kids and we waited for 3 years 4 years 5 or 6 years. Well, we didn’t just wait and say que sera sera. We’ll just wait, and I’m just going to be patient, and I’m not going to have any anxiety, right? It’s more than just that. It’s being persistent in doing what you know to be right. So we began to pray and to fast and ask God: God, would you move? God, why? And how come? And there was this inner feeling of us not being patient, and being patient. And other people were praying for us. And that we didn’t just pray, we went to the doctors, and all of these things. And patience developed something in us as we were persistently pursuing what we knew to be right.

And in your own life, you need to be persistent in doing what you know to be right even though those around you might be able to say well, why are you doing that? That’s stupid. That’s dumb. Why are you continue to follow Jesus? Why? Why don’t you just lie, like everyone else is lying. Why don’t you just sign right here? Why don’t you just you fib on your taxes? Why don’t you do this or that? I mean a whole myriad of things. But no. We’re persistently pursuing what we know to be right. That’s called patience in an active sense.

There’s this study that was done by this grad student who was from the United States and he traveled over to Japan. And when he was in Japan, he studied the fourth graders who were excelling in math. And they were beating the score of the Japanese scores in math were really, you know, so much higher than the American scores. And so he wanted to know what were they doing? And why and how come they were so much better? And so he was in this fourth grade class. He was sitting in the back and he was observing and it was a crowded classroom and everyone that day was trying to draw a 3D cube on their paper. That was kind of the the lesson for the day and he’s sitting in the back and he’s watching all these students and as they begin to write and to draw, there with this one particular student that kept having lots of difficulties and he would raise his hand and the teacher would come over there and try to help him a little bit, and then he would raise his hand again and then the teacher would come over and try. . . And so after about 5 or 10 minutes of this, the teacher looks at his drawing and says what you don’t quite have it. It looks cockeyed. He said this is what I want you to I want you to go to the board and show your work to the rest of the class. And internally this grad student was like, why would you have him go to the front of the class and write on the chalkboard? He doesn’t know what he’s doing. And so the student dutifully got up, went to the went to the chalkboard, started drawing it out. and after a little while the professor came to the board and said class, got everyone’s attention, said class, Does he have it right yet? And everybody said, nope. He doesn’t have it right yet. And everybody went back to their drawing. And then the student kept working on it. And then about a couple minutes later the teacher stopped everyone and said, does he have it right yet? No, he doesn’t have it right yet. And this grad student was like, oh my god she’s totally embarrassing this kid, what is wrong with him? This is so bad. The grad student said that this went on for 45 minutes. 45 minutes. And he would continue to interrupt the class. Does he have it yet? Nope. Nope. Don’t have it yet. Finally he said at the end of the class the teacher went up to the board and he got the class’s attention and he says, class does he have it right yet? And the class said yes, he has it right. He figured it out. And at that point the class gave that student a standing ovation.

What this grad student learned from this professor was simply this: that too often we tend to elevate those whose life is perfect. Who gets it right on the first try. Who, they never have any problems in life, and that life is easy. And so we went out lift those people up because they never have any problems or difficulties or challenges in life. But what they did is they flipped it on his head, and took the student that was having the most difficult time. And saying listen, when you persistently pursue what you know is right in terms of the math issues, when you continually do and work hard on it, you will finally solve the problem.

And how much so should that be in our lives? That you and me, that we have problems and difficulties that we fall and we fail and we make mistakes and we say things that we regret and often times we look around and the people that we hear from are those whose lives are perfect. And we feel terrible. Because I’m not praying enough. I’m not reading my Bible enough. I’m not doing this, I’m not doing that. And everybody else has got it easy. When in reality all those other students were having the same problems that student was. So it is for us. So it is for me. I want you to know that as we run the race that God has set out for us, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail you’re going to scream and yell and you’re going to do things that you regret. But let me tell you something. The Bible says that though a righteous person falls seven times, they get back up each time. And they get back in the race. And I want to encourage all of you today, that you can learn one thing today, and that is: Don’t Give Up! Can you tell your neighbor this morning? I’m not going to give up. Oh, come on. Tell the next neighbor like you mean it, I’m not going to give up. Because I want to Pastor a church that’s persistent. That even though we make mistakes and even though that we fail, we continue on with the chorus that God has set out for us.

And so as we look at the New Testament, James, who is the brother of Jesus, he says this:

James 5:10-11 
Brothers and sisters, think about the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. They are an example of how to be patient when you suffer. As you know, we think that people who don’t give up are blessed. You have heard that Job was patient. And you have seen what the Lord finally did for him. The Lord is full of tender mercy and loving concern.

He says, brothers and sisters, I want you to think about the prophets spoke in the name of the Lord. They are an example of how to be patient when you suffer. and these prophets, often times, if you know anything of church history, they they were beaten, they were persecuted, they were put in chains, they were put in dungeons. Many of them were killed and tortured. But they were patiently persisting in what they knew to be right, even though no one else around them was listening.

And I want you to know this: In your own life, you’re going to have people that are going to cheer for you, and you’re going to have people that jeer for you, right? There are going to be people that tell you that you’re doing it wrong, and you don’t know what you’re doing, and why are you doing this. . . And you need to take a lesson from the the prophets. The writer says here continue to do what you know is true.

And then the writer continues. James continues and he says, as you know, we think that people who don’t give up are blessed. Why don’t you focus on that just for second. The Bible says that that you are a blessed person when you don’t give up, when you don’t quit, when you keep going, even when it’s tough. Even when everyone else is falling away. When you continue on the course that God has for you, you’re a blessed person. Something supernatural takes place in your life from heaven above from God’s holy spirit, that he pours out on you a blessing in your life when you don’t give up. I think that’s really powerful. I want to I want to be looking at a whole bunch of people here today who don’t give up, who don’t quit, who continue to walk with God all the days of their life.

And then he says well you’ve heard that Job was patient. And you have seen what the Lord finally did for him, that the Lord is full of tender mercy and loving concern. If maybe you’re not familiar with the story of Job, Job was one of these wealthy guys in the Middle East. I mean, he owned lots of land, he owned lots of cattle and sheep and I mean he was super, and they said that, the Bible says that he was one of the most wealthy men of his time. He wasn’t just wealthy. Like, his family was prosperous as well. He had seven sons and three daughters. And he had everything that anyone could wish for. Not only did he have wealth, but people respected him. He was wise and intelligent, and he would sit at the city gates and he would he would help dispute arguments that would come his way. And people wanted to know what Job thought. He was that kind of a guy.

And one day as a sitting at the city gates a messenger is running full tilt, says, Job, Job, I’m so sorry to tell you, but there was some raiders from the East, and they took all of your cattle and all of your sheep, and they raised your crops. And there’s nothing left. You’re penniless. You don’t have anything. It’s all gone. And then while he was finishing his statement another messenger comes and says, Job, I’m so sorry, I don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but there was a wind storm that came to the plains, and your seven sons your three daughters, they were having a huge party and and the house fell and it crashed. And I’m sorry to tell you, you’ve lost your sons and your daughters. They all perished in the storm. And Job lost his, well, he lost his family in a day. It says that was at that moment that Job stood up, and he tore his robe, and it said this, he shaved his head as a way of saying that he was in mourning. And he fell to the ground and he worshipped God. I came naked from my mother’s womb and I’m going to be naked when I leave. The lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. But praise the name of the Lord.

Job 1:20-22 NLT 
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

And the scripture says that in all of this, in the loss and hurt in the heartache, when you lose your job, when your kids run away, when you’re not able to conceive, when you lose someone in your family, when you’re hurt, when you are – you fill in the blank – when they don’t respect you at work, when your boss is stabbing you in the back, whenever it is. Job said he praised the Lord. He worshipped.

The thing that Job didn’t know in life, and I believe he never found out, I don’t think he knew this, but there was something happening supernaturally behind the scenes in the spirit world that was going on that Joe didn’t know about. There was a conversation between God and Satan. And God responds to Satan and he says, have you considered my servant Job? He loves me, he’s righteous, he’s pure and everything that he does is perfect and blameless. And Satan responds, and Job is not hearing any of this, he doesn’t know any of this is going on, and Satan says, Well, of course he loves you, of course he’s righteous. You’ve protected everything around him. Who wouldn’t love you? Who wouldn’t be righteous if they had all the wealth that he has? And God says, Okay, you can take away all his wealth. You can do whatever you want to with it. God even says to Satan you can even touch his physical body but you can’t kill him. And it’s at that point, that after his sons and daughters are taken away, and after he loses his crops and his wealth and all of those things, that Job then begins to develop boils all over his body, excruciating pain. This man who was once so looked upon is now sitting in a pile of ashes. And it says this in Job chapter 2:

Job 2:8-10 NLT 
Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

That job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. And his wife said to him an encouraging word: Are you still trying to maintain your integrity Curse God and die. Did that lift you up right there? Did that spark something wonderful in you? I don’t know how I would have responded or been flip flop if I had said that my wife or whatever. But Job respond in such a powerful manner. He says you talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God? And never anything bad?

It’s a question for the ages. Like, for you and your own life. Should you only accept the good things from the hand of God? And never any of the difficulties with the trials? Because Job said, in all of this, Job said nothing wrong. He said nothing wrong. Patience is persistently doing what is right. Despite what anybody else says. Despite what anybody else tells you to do. It’s doing the right thing over and over and over again.

You can almost put it this way. That endurance and patience are twins. I have twin boys. My wife and I, we finally were able to conceive. And when they were first born you couldn’t tell them apart at all. Like I mean, they were like really hard to distinguish. But they’re fraternal twins and the older they got, the easier it became to distinguish between them. So that now you wouldn’t even know that they’re twins at all. I mean, they’re so radically different. But endurance and patience are twins.

Then this is where I want to go. When you first look at the word endurance and patience you think all those are completely different. But the more you look at it, the more you’ll realize that endurance and patience are really quite the same thing. And then the bible really translates endurance and patience the same way. Endurance holds up when things get difficult, that it continues even when things are challenging. And patience is willing to wait and be steadfast and immovable even when things are hard. So you have this passive side and this active side. And maybe some of you are going, okay that’s great, I understand what patience is.

But I want to give you the secret to patience this morning, Okay? So I’m going to dive into the meat just for a little bit and then we can be done here. But here’s the secret to patience, okay? I don’t want you to lose this. I want to go back. Job did something really powerful, in a regular way constantly in his life, that helped him develop patience. And it’s found in this verse Job 1:5. He said this: when these celebrations ended, and the kids had their big party, Job, it says, sometime after they had partied for several days, Job would purify his children. Notice it before they had passed away. But Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, well perhaps my children have sinned, and have cursed God in their hearts. And he would pray and he would intercede on behalf of his children. And the end of this verse says this was Job’s regular practice. You see what Job was doing, day-in-and-day-out, was praying. He would get up early in the morning and he would pray. Unbeknownst to job, he was putting down deep roots in his life. He was building a foundation for a day that he didn’t see coming.

And you have an opportunity in your life to put down roots and to build a foundation for a day that you might not see coming in your own life. That when you build this foundation, when you’re able to do that, and put down roots. It develops something in your life – that this idea of being willing and being able to be patient when the difficulties come. Job he prayed. And in verse number 20, he did something else that I think was a regular habit of his. It says that he stood up, tore his robe in grief. I’ve already read this before but I want you to look at it.

Job 1:20-22 NLT 
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.

It says that he shaved his head and he fell to the ground and worshipped. He fell to the ground and worshipped. You see, he only responded in a way in which, when difficulty and heartache came, he responded to his default position, which was worship and prayer. He had built this up so much in his life that it was a natural response to the difficulties in his life.

And I guess the question I have for you today is what is your regular practice? In other words, when the challenges and difficulties come in your life, how do you respond? Do you get angry and frustrated and yell and scream? Do you twist the knife in someone else’s back? Do you? What is that? If we don’t have the regular practice of seeking God, and praying, and reading the Bible – if you don’t have those practices then it’s easy to respond in a wrong way. But the Bible says that when you can sink down your roots into the soil of who God is, then this is the kind of person you’re going to be: It say this in Psalm 1:

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV 
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

Blessed is the one who doesn’t walk in the step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, who reads the Bible day and night. You know what that person is like that person is like? That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not whither. And check this out: And whatever they do, they prosper. Whenever they do, they prosper.

When you begin to have the regular practice, when you begin to have those regular practices in your life, something changes, something spiritual happens. And when those difficult days come, you’re able to respond to them in a right manner. this is what we’ve been talking about all month long. Connecting to Jesus. Abiding with Jesus, remaining with him. And that’s the way patience is developed. It’s through prayer and worship. It’s taking time every single day. And opening up your Bible and reading a little bit of it. You don’t have to read massive amounts of scripture but take the regular practice and read the word. Take moments everyday and ask God for help and his power and his authority in your life. Like that’s the secret weapon to developing patience in your life, is reading the word and worshiping God like Job did. And he made it his regular practice.

I want to challenge you this morning. Would you would you make a regular practice in your life of reading God’s word and praying, reading God’s word and praying? Pastor David, that’s just so elementary. I’ve been in church for a long time. And of course I know to read my Bible. And of course I know to pray. I know. But my question for you today is, is it a regular habit? Is it something that you do? 7 days a week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday? Like, this is not just a Sunday thing that we do. We do it every day of the week. Like God should be involved in your life. At work, and at home, and in the car, at the grocery store, and yes, even at the DMV. God should be involved. When you make it a regular habit to seek God and to connect to him, something supernatural takes place.

Would you close your eyes and bow your heads with me this morning? I want to ask you one simple question and this is just for you, it’s not for anyone else. It’s just between you and the Lord. I want to ask you a question. If you wouldn’t mind just maybe raise your hand just acknowledging it, just for yourself. I think something happens when you self-identify. Say yeah, that’s me. If there’s some of you here today, that would say yeah, I know I need more patience in my life. I really want to be a more patient person. Would you just lift your hand right now? And I just I just want to pray for you. God you see these hands? I’m not waiting around. I pray for those who have their hands lifted high. Lord I pray that you would enable them by the power of the Holy Spirit to be patient. Lord, that they would have a regular practice of seeking you in their life. Lord, they may fall down seven times but Lord each time they get back up. Maybe they’re going to miss a couple of days or maybe they’re going to miss a week or a month, but God I pray they would get back up, and instill that regular habit in their life. Lord, I pray that no one would feel ashamed or condemned today. But Lord that we would have that eye of the tiger attitude that says I’m going to get back out there, and lace up my shoes. I’m going to get back in the race God that you have for me. I pray that you would impart that kind of spirit into those that are here today. That they would have a regular practice of worship and prayer and reading the word. God that we abide in you. I pray that you would do it supernaturally spiritually, God enable us to not just wait in a passive way but enable us to be persistent in doing what we know is right. Just this year and next year, but Lord next decade in the decade after that, until you call us home. Lord, I pray that you would impart that with your people God. Fortify us Lord with that intention to follow you. Fill us, I pray to overflowing. In Jesus name. There, you can put your hands down.

If you keep your eyes closed your head down there. Maybe some of you here today, you’ve never committed your life to Jesus. Like you’ve never received him in your life. This moment is just for you. I want you to know that Jesus went to the cross for you and for me. Like he paid the ultimate price. He laid down his life so that you can have a relationship with him. So that he lay down his life so that you could run the race of life not in your own strength, but with his strength. And I wonder if there is anyone here that would raise their hand this morning that would say, Yeah, that’s me. I need Jesus in my life. I never fully committed my life to him. But today I want to give my life to him. I need his power in my life. And I’m sick of doing it in my own strength. If that’s you right now, just lift up your hands. Say yeah, that’s me. I see that hand right there yeah. Anyone else would say, yeah, I need Jesus? I see that hand back there. Anyone else that would say, Yeah, I need Jesus in my life? Amen. Yeah, I see those. Yeah, that’s great. Amen, let’s just pray. There were two or three that raise their hands. And we’re going to pray together as a church, we’re going to invite Christ to come in your life. And when he comes in he’s going to make all things new for you. But just repeat this prayer after me as the whole church joins in. Say Jesus I need You. Forgive me of my sins. I believe you died on the cross. And that you rose again to give me new life. I turn from my wicked ways. I’m going to follow you all the days of my life. Come into my heart, fill me with your spirit. In Jesus name. Lord, right now I pray for those that raise their hands, right now would you just fill them with your presence God, that you would transfer them from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. And I pray, Jesus, that you would move powerfully in their lives, as they commit to follow you all the days of their life. In Jesus name. And the church said amen. Can we give a big shout of praise and a clap offering for those? Welcome into the family of God.

If you wouldn’t mind, go ahead and stand with me this morning. I’m so glad that you prayed that prayer. If you pray that prayer I would love for you to connect with our prayer team right over here to my left and your right, they would love to meet with you, and kind of give you some next steps in your journey of your walk with God. So please make your way over there. Also if you need any prayer, or maybe you have a physical need in your own body, we believe that God heals today. Please make your way over there and they would love to pray with you. We want to see Miracles take place. And God is ready to do a miracle in your life. If you’re new at Cross Points Church, maybe even coming for several months and you like to learn a little bit more about us, I teach a class, it’s called Grow, and you get a chance to learn a little bit about me, and I get to learn a little bit about you, and we have a free lunch that’s available just for you. If you like to come and learn a little bit more about us, meet us over by the coffee house. There’s a banner that says Grow and I’d love to connect with you in a deeper way.

Alright, everyone else, if you wouldn’t mind lifting up your hands as a way of receiving God’s blessing in your life. Father, I pray that you would be with your people this week. That they would have a regular habit this week to seek you. That they would forget the past, and have eyes toward the future. Lord, would you empower them with your presence this week to follow you wholeheartedly. In Jesus name. And a church that wanted that said Amen. Amen.

God bless you! Have a great Sunday!

Abide: Who Is My Enemy?

January 20, 2019

All right! Welcome to Cross Points! Thank you all for being here so much and guests that are here today, thank you so much for being here with us. 

Okay, so we are in the middle of a series called Abide. It’s not a word that we use much anymore, but abide simply means this: to remain, to connect, or to stay. Okay, remain, connect or stay. We are as Christians. If you’re a believer in Jesus today, God wants you to remain and connect and stay with Him, and if you found yourself here at Cross Points and maybe you’re checking out Christianity and you haven’t fully like, not quite sure about the whole thing, maybe someones invited you to come, I want you to know that God is inviting you to abide with Him, to remain with Him, to connect with Him, to stay with Him. And as you do that, the scripture says when you receive Jesus into your life, when you remain with him, then God makes all things new in your life. We just sang this song that says I’m not enough, God, I’m not enough until you come. You see, when you begin to say I’m not enough, and god I know that you are when you begin to say that, God comes on the inside and he’ll take away all the sin and the mistakes and the failures of the past, and you believe and trust in him then God makes everything new you become a new person in him. And so today maybe you might be here, I’m gonna give you an opportunity at the end of the service to maybe receive Christ, to receive Jesus into your life. He died for you and he loves you so very much. He doesn’t want you to just wander through life aimlessly. He’s got a purpose and a plan for your life. So we’re talking about abide. And many of you are believers in Jesus when you abide. Jesus uses this illustration of the vine and the branch, and the vine represents who God is, that he’s the source of life, and you’re simply a branch. And when you abide or connect or remain in the vine that life force, that life flow from God Himself then is in your life as well. When you sever yourself or take yourself out of the branch then you begin to wither and die. So it’s important for us to continue to remember that we’re called to abide, to remain, to connect. And as we do that, God’s life continues to flow in our heart. Last week I talked about the idea of love, that when we connect or abide to remain in Jesus, one of the fruits of it, one of the results, one of the overflow of abiding in Jesus is love. There’s this supernatural love that takes place when we abide into the branch who is God himself. Last week I talked about this idea of loving one another, that the world will know that you’re his disciples by the love that you have for one another. It’s a big deal, like loving one another is a huge deal. If you weren’t here last week, I encourage you to go back and watch that message because it really sets kind of a platform of kind of where we’re going.

Luke 6:27-30 NLT
27 But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.

Who is my enemy?

Today, I’m gonna take it just another step further because I want to kind of mention to you what Jesus tells his disciples when he says to them, I don’t want you just to love those who love you, I don’t want you just to love one another. Jesus says this in Luke 6:27 He says, but to you who are willing to listen. How many of you are willing to listen this morning? You’re willing to listen? Okay, good! That’s most of you, eighty percent. That’s pretty good. Okay. But to you who are willing to listen I say, love your enemies – whoo okay, we’re gonna get deep today, I hope you’re seatbelts on, ready to go – Jesus says, If you’re willing to listen, love your enemy, right, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give, give, give to anyone who asks, and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Now I want to set the stage this morning by letting you know those aren’t my words, okay? I didn’t make him up, I didn’t print him, I didn’t put him down. These are the words of Jesus. And if you’re a follower of Christ these are his words to you. And these aren’t just suggestions. These aren’t just good ideas. This is how God wants you to live. But the problem is, as we read through this passage, I think for many of us, when we have to ask the question, who is our enemy, who is your enemy? I was thinking about this passage and reading over and I saw lots of messages and lots of people talking about who is my neighbor. But when it came to the question of who is my enemy, not so much. I think most of us think of maybe we think of the Taliban or we think of Isis or we think of maybe old school like we think about the Nazis, you know those bad guys back there, out there, way out there, way over there. Those guys that are in the Middle East, those guys, and we, and if we’re not careful, we think of enemies as those way out there because I think most of us would say, well I don’t really hate anybody. I I really don’t have any enemies, not real enemies. But Jesus is clear here in this passage that enemies are not just someone somewhere out there that’s no name, no face. That’s not what Jesus is talking about. Here I want us to read, reread these verses again with just a different context in mind. So we can go back, He says but you, if you are willing to listen, I say love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. In other words, they know who you are. You know who they are. And they hate you. Bless those who curse you.

Now I’m gonna put this in like, right where you live, there may be somebody in your life that really doesn’t like you because maybe you got the promotion that they wanted to get. Or maybe just maybe you were driving down the road and you cut someone off and they began to curse you. You ever had that happen? They flip the middle finger off at you? And on they go, or maybe there may be someone in your life that hurt you, that stabbed you in the back, that twisted the knife, someone that you really loved. Someone that was close to you, and they did you wrong. Maybe it’s someone at work. Maybe you weren’t real close to them. Maybe you were just co-workers and they said something behind your back and as a result of that, maybe you got demoted, or you didn’t get into the project that you wanted to get into, or maybe you were at school and maybe someone posted something online about you, and they said some nasty stuff about you and you ended up seeing it. Or you didn’t get invited to the big party that everybody was, that everyone else got invited to. And so you find yourself with some some real life people that you don’t like. And they don’t like you. I mean this is what Jesus is talking about here. And probably right now, there’s someone in your mind maybe that you can think of, that if I were to say their name, you would get just a little bit squeamish on the inside, then maybe the blood would begin to boil just a little bit, you would feel just a little bit uncomfortable. This you see that person, that individual, that’s who Jesus is talking about. He’s not talking about some enemy far away that you don’t know. He’s talking about the enemy that you live with, and work with, interact with, know and engage. That’s who he’s talking about. So what does he say again? If you’re a follower of Jesus – I’m not making this up – this is what Jesus says. He says, Do good to those who hate you. Pastor David, I can’t do that, that’s really hard! Yes, it is. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. But you don’t know what they did to me! I mean, it was so wrong! I’m sorry, not sorry. Jesus says, Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on the cheek then offer the other one as well. If someone demands your coat, take off your shirt. Give to anyone who asks. Maybe some of you have had some people in your life that have asked some money from you, and they’ve never paid you back. And you know how much they owe you, and they know how much they owe you, and they’re not saying anything. Jesus says, Give to anyone who asks and when things are taken away from you don’t try to get them back.

I had a conversation on several months ago here in the lobby. It was a couple that was visiting. They’ve been here for a couple of weeks and they were moving out of town. They were moving somewhere else but they chatted with me and said, Hey we’re involved in this lawsuit. These people that we know, they did us really wrong. I mean they owe us thousands of dollars, they said. So do you think it’s okay for us to to take them to court? I said, Well, you’re not gonna like my answer. They said, Well, what do you mean? I said, well, you just need to let it go. But you don’t know what they did to us. Like, it was really wrong! We’re just trying to get justice. I said, I know, you should just let it go. I said, That’s what Jesus said to do. See, this is what God calls us to do. And it’s not easy. I’m not saying that it’s easy. G K Chesterton – he was this writer author, he was also a little bit of a theologian as well – he said this:

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. – G K Chesterton

In other words, for for many of us, it’s so hard that we we just we can’t do it. It’s too difficult, Pastor David. I can’t do that! That’s too hard! I’m just curious because I want to take a pulse, make sure I’m talking to right crowd. When I talked about maybe someone that makes you irritated, that maybe has rubbed you the wrong way, your oil and why can’t anybody got anybody in mind? Just lift your hand, I’m just curious. . . Okay, good. I’m sorry, I just wanted to make sure I was talking to the right crowd, cause I can raise my hand too, okay? So I’m trying to make sure that the rubber meets the road today. I’m not trying to talk up here, I’m trying to talk about where you are. Jesus says you’re to love those people, to do good to them, to pray for them. So then the question becomes, well why why why does Jesus want us to love our enemies? Why? Well, in Matthew chapter 5 Jesus makes it clear. He says this. He says, you’ve heard that the law says love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. We’re saying the same thing here. Then He says this, He says, in that way you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

So you you could almost say that when we love our enemies, when we do good to those who persecute us, when we pray for those who persecute us, then then we’re acting like God himself. In other words, I’m gonna put it this way. I’m gonna say this a couple of times. Your identity is not wrapped up in the hurt and the pain that someone else has done to you. Your identity is wrapped up as a child of God who loves you. And if you’re not careful your identity will be wrapped up in the people that have hurt you and done you wrong. I can go back years in my own life where this one person stabbed me in the back who shall remain nameless, but really did me wrong. What happened isn’t that as a result of my bitterness and anger and frustration and hurt and wounds as a result of that my identity was was trapped in that relationship which was so negative. It kept me from being all that God intended me to be because my identity was in that, instead of in my relationship with God. I think there’s probably many of you here that your identity is being formed by the hurts and the wounds that are around you instead of your identity being in Christ. So you have an option. If you can love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you something releases supernaturally in your lives. It’s what I discovered, it took a while for me to discover, but I began to put what I was reading in Scripture into practice. I began to say to this person who shall remain nameless, God I don’t like them, but I pray that you would bless them. God they’ve hurt me, but I pray that you would pour out your favor upon them. It was really hard. I was like, God, this is hard. And I don’t like it. And I don’t want to be around that person. But God, would you bless them, cause your favored to fall upon them. And as I began to do that, my identity was less in this relationship and more in who God and I were. I was making myself a true son of God Himself. And when you begin to do that, what will happen is that those chains of identity into the hurt and the pain and – all of those things will begin to be slowly cut from your life. And as a result you’ll be able to experience the floodgates of God’s favor in your own life. But see when you find your identity and the hurt and the pain and the anguish and all of that, then you’re all tied up, and you can’t receive the goodness that God has for your own life. So in reality when we forgive others, really what we’re doing is, we’re releasing freedom in our own lives. You need to do that.

That’s why Jesus came. He came so that you might have life, life to the full. He came to set you free from the power of darkness, and he’s given you that ability. He’s given you that power, by receiving Christ in your life, okay? When you receive him in your life then you become his child. You’re not just made in His image, now you’re his child. And as a result of doing that, you’re gonna act like a true child of your Father in heaven.

Look at this next part of the verse.

Matthew 5:43-48 NLT
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Why should we love our enemies?

He says, For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good. You see in a sense God doesn’t play favorites. He sends his rain on the just and the unjust alike. And then Jesus makes it really clear. He says if you love only those who love you what reward is that? And then just to make sure He lands the punch He says, even corrupt tax collectors, even corrupt politicians, do that much. Hello? Everybody there, you hear what I’m saying? Jesus says, I have a better way for you. You see, the world the world will say, get even. The world will say, stab them in the back. If they put you down will you put them down. They said something about you online, will you go ahead and put one over on them, and put something else online? What’ll happen is that the heat and the noise will get louder and louder and louder. Jesus says, that’s what the world does. That’s what everybody does. They’re gonna love the people that love them, and they’re gonna hate the people that hate them. But Jesus says, if you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Jesus says but you are to be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect. You see, the reason why we love our enemies is because it proves that you’re a child of God, that you’re different. This is why Jesus came. Like, He’s a revolutionary. I think we forget that in our 21st century American culture that Jesus came to go against the grain of the world. He says take the low road. Take the humble road. Take the soft approach. Don’t try to make more of yourself than you are. To forgive and to love others – that’s radically different. And it’s hard to do. Jesus says love your enemies. Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.

He says this, then your reward from heaven will be very great. Your reward from heaven will be very great. There’s rewards involved. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s hard for us to kind of put our heads around that. But God wants to reward you when you do the very things that he’s called you to do. Part of that reward of letting go is allowing him to pour out his favor in your life. I don’t care about the rewards of the world, I don’t care about a promotion or more money. I want God’s favor in my life. That transcends any other reward I could even begin to think about, okay? Yeah, a couple of you got it. I want to say this one more time. God’s favor is worth more than a million dollars. God’s favor is worth more than owning the business that you work for. God’s favor is worth more than a billion dollars. It’s worth more than anything. You can’t put a price tag on it. So I want heaven’s reward. I want God’s reward. I want to step into his favor. When I let go and I forgive people and I’m doing good to those that internally drive me crazy, when I bless them and begin to pray for them, and actually are kind to them and do like acts of kindness towards them. . . oh my goodness! Not just driving through a drive-through and paying for the guy behind you. It is actually the people that irritate you the most. I’m challenging you this week to do something good to them. When you do that your reward will be very great. You’ll be amazed at the favor that God begins to pour into your life as a result of acting like him, because he looks down and he smiles. He says that’s my boy. That’s my girl. That’s my son, that’s my daughter, I’m proud of them. Then he lavishes his grace and his favor and his goodness and his kindness and his mercy in your life.

I want that. I want that. Then your reward from heaven will be very great and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those – look at this – He is kind to those who are and thankful and wicked. Anybody know some unthankful, ungrateful people in your lives? Let me see your hands out there if you know some unthankful, ungrateful, maybe even some wicked people. Well, Jesus says, what are you supposed to do: love them, pray for them, do good to them. Why? Because your reward will be great. Not the reward of the world, but the reward that God has for you. So here’s how he wants you to act, okay? He wants you to have what the Bible calls agape love. Agape is a Greek word. It just simply means love, but it’s a deep kind of love. It’s an unmerited, undeserved, unconditional kind of love. This is not just the kind of love that we have for one another. This agape love is the love that we’re called to love those who hate us, and the ones that we don’t like as well. That’s what we’re called to do. Know you are not enough. Can you repeat that after me? I am not enough, okay? Let me just say that one more time. I am not enough, okay? I want to make sure you understand that. You can’t do it in your own strength. You’ll fail. That’s part of what Christianity is all about, is you saying I’m not enough. God, I need you because you are more than enough. You’re more than able.

So when we abide in Jesus we’ll be able to love our neighbors. Follow with me just for another moment or two, and I’m going to close. If you try to love those that you don’t love, and that you don’t like, in your own strength, I promise you it’s gonna come back and bite you. You’ll get hurt. You’ll get disappointed. You’ll falter. You’ll fail. You’ll get tired of it. You won’t see any results and it’ll be just tragic for you. But when you’re able to stay connected into Jesus and his love, his agape unconditional, unmerited favor flows through your life, then you’ll be able to continue to love those people that are unlovely all the days of your life, even if they don’t change, as long as you stay connected to God. Why? Because when we stay connected to God, our first understanding should be, God, I was your enemy, I made all kinds of mistakes and failures and sins, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with you. I made so many mistakes and so many regrets in my life, but God, You loved me even when I was your enemy. God, You loved me, You died for me. You went to the cross for me at my worst, lowest moment. Even when I was at my best, which was nothing compared to who You are, You still died for me. You still gave Your life for me. You still loved me unconditionally. Even to this day when I make mistakes and I fail and falter, You still love me. You see, when you’re connected into that kind of vine, that life flows through you. You’re able to say to the people around you, I’m still gonna love you, even though you don’t deserve it, even though you irritate me, even though you make me mad, even though you know your blood boils when I’m around you. I’m able to love you. I’m able to pray for you. I’m able to ask God to do wonderful things in your life because it’s not me doing it, it’s an overflow of my relationship with God. So abide.

What does it practically mean?

I’ve given you a couple of ways throughout the last couple of weeks. The first one is, I want you reading your Bible, because when you read your Bible, it’s like the words of Christ come into your life and they continue to transform you into the image of who God wants you to be. So if you’ve been a believer in Jesus for more than 10 years, I want you reading through the whole Bible this year. And if you’re a believer maybe less than five years or so, then read through the New Testament. Take the whole year and read through the New Testament. You can find it on a Bible app, and find it online. Pick up a Bible and read it. I promise as you do that you’re abiding in Christ.

We abide in Christ by connecting with one another. I want you to go back and sign up for our connect group, a small group. It meets six weeks and I promise as you do, that you’re abiding with others who are abiding with Christ. When we have those relationships that are all loving God, it affects us as well. One way to abide with God is to abide with each other, to love each other, that we don’t isolate ourselves from one another. That’s another way in which you abide. So go back and sign up in a small group if you’re not in one and then today.

The next thing I want to challenge you to do in you’re abiding with Christ. . . you need to spend time worshiping Jesus throughout the week, okay? I just want to push you towards this. Like, you need to get in your car, if you’re driving to work, turn off talk radio, turn off the news, find a station or put a CD or an mp3 or whatever it is that you have in your car, and put some worship music in there, and start driving to work. All week long worshiping Jesus. Or you get home, take 10 minutes before you go to bed. Pop on some headphones and play some worship music. Because the reason why would you begin to do that, when you begin to worship God and sing and begin to have your eyes lifted from the things that are going on in the world, when you have your eyes tilted towards heaven, you begin to realize, God You’re good. You’re merciful. You’re kind. You’re loving. You’re beautiful. You’re wonderful. You rule. You reign. You’re the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You’re the One who forgives me and loves me and saves me. See, your mind is now taken off this world that irritates you, and it’s put on Jesus. Then you can recognize who He is. Then you’re being able to look at people around you, and you can say, I can love you the same way that God loved me. But you can’t do that if you’re not abiding into the branch, if you’re not connecting and remaining with Jesus. That’s why he wants you connected to the vine. It’s only as you do that, that you’ll be able to change the world with the people around you. And you just might – here’s the beautiful part – you just might see Redemption with someone that irritates you. You might just be the one that leads them into a relationship with Jesus. God may have put them in your life on purpose so that they could see the redemption of God. It’s much like Joseph who was thrown into a pit. His brother sold him into slavery. His own brothers were his enemies. Joseph didn’t get bitter, he got better. He trusted God, he worshipped Him. Throughout his entire life and years later, almost three decades later he sees his brothers. Instead of having bitterness in his heart, he has forgiveness. And as a result of that, his brothers are redeemed. They’re saved. Joseph said, what the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good. Could it be in your life, the people that are in your life, that God may have placed you there for a purpose? So that they could come to know a good God that loves them even when they are unlovely?

Would you close your eyes and bow your heads with me this morning? I know some of you you raised your hand with someone you thought of that irritated you or frustrated you, or maybe you might even have the courage to say, that person is my enemy right now. . . I want you to have that person or persons in your mind and we’re gonna we’re gonna pray. I’m gonna pray for you, that God would enable you to love them, even as he loved you. If you have that person or persons in your mind, and you really want to love them, then you know that you need to, and you’re asking for God’s help and grace, would you just raise your hand? I’m gonna pray for you right where you are, and ask God to give you the strength and the ability to do do that. God, I pray for those who have their hands lifted high, they know who those people are, that person is, and I pray that You would give them a supernatural love that would go beyond themselves. Lord, I pray that as they connect and remain in You this week, and in the weeks to come, that the overflow would be love, that agape love that’s unmerited and undeserved. May it flow through your people. God, I pray that we would see the miraculous take place in relationships, God, that people would be blown away by the goodness of your people here in this place. Lord, with those that are contrary, Lord, those that have put them down, have hurt them, that have been offensive to them, Lord, I pray that we would be able to release all of that. And that God, you would do the impossible in our lives, Lord, I pray that we would let go and allow your Holy Spirit to flow through us. Would you use us to pray for those people that have heard us and stabbed us in the back. God, I pray that we would be different. That we would be just like you – loving those who are hard to love. God, I thank you that supernaturally God, you’re gonna do something, Lord, even right now as we have our hands lifted high. It’s a stake in the ground that says that I’m gonna live differently now, and I’m gonna offer forgiveness and love towards the unlovely. I pray that you would do that with your people, in Jesus’ name. 


Worship Night
Sunday | February 10 • 6-7pm
@Bridgeway Church

Join Cross Points, Bridgeway,  Park City & Hope Alive Church as we come together and worship our God as one! 

This will be an unforgettable time of encountering God’s presence and connecting as a community.

We will have no other priorities than to have an extended opportunity to worship our God with everything we’ve got! Click here to RSVP!


Connecting People to Jesus.
Connect | Commit | Create


Sunday Services • 9 + 11 AM  (Kids Ministry • Birth-6th Grade)

What to expect at our services.

X Student Ministries • 7 PM (6th-12th Grade)

Directions to Cross Points Church

Cross Points Church
6824 Lackman Road,
Shawnee, Kansas 66217

Approaching Kansas City from the West (on I-70):
I-70 East, exit to I-435 South. 2 miles past East end turnpike toll plaza.
On I-435 South, exit Shawnee Mission Parkway (Exits 6A-B)
Bear left, exit Shawnee Mission Parkway East (Exit 6A)
East on SM Pkwy, exit to Lackman Road, turn right (south)
Church is 1/8th of a mile on the West (right) side of the street



Approaching Kansas City from the North (on I-35 South / I-635 South):

If on I-635 South, Exit to I-35 South
On I-35 South, exit to Shawnee Mission Parkway WEST
West on Shawnee Mission Pkwy 4 miles, exit to Lackman Road.
At Lackman road, turn left (south), 2 blocks. Church is on the West (right) side of the Street.


Approaching Kansas City from South (on I-35) or Southwest (on K-10):
If on I-35 North, exit to I-435 West / North.
If on K-10, exit to 1-435 North
On I-435 North, exit Shawnee Mission Parkway East.
East on SM Pkwy, exit to Lackman Road, turn right (south) On Lackman Road, 2 blocks:6824 Lackman Road. Church is 1/8th a mile on the West (right) side of the street.