Archive for September, 2007

28
Sep
07

The Gospel of Man

There is a growing theme in some “Christian” circles today that causes me great concern. The theme centers on man, and his purpose, rather than on God and His will. No longer do we hear prolific messages on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, the modern message today is the Gospel of Man.

Some of the buzzwords words associated with this man-centered gospel include, but are not limited to:

  • success
  • achievement
  • accomplishment
  • prosperity
  • wealth
  • goals
  • health
  • happiness
  • objectives
  • fulfillment
  • satisfaction
  • destiny
  • affluence
  • victory
  • ambition

Scores of books, sermons and songs of our day focus on man, center on human beings, and concentrate on what we want to do and what we want to become with God’s help. Note that last phrase…with God’s help. That is the heart cry of many messages today. You can do it…with God’s help. You can succeed…if you will let God help you. Your destiny awaits you…if God is your guide. You will be rich…when you plant the right seed in the right ministry (which just so happens to be their ministry).

Various teachers and preachers of the church in America propagate the message that God is here to help us. The widespread followers of these preachers are convinced that God is our servant, and that He exists to make us happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.

Countless have reduced the Bible to a book of principles about success. Some have so humanized God that He has become nothing more than a benevolent grandfather who exists to help us prosper. The Gospel is no longer a message of sin; it is now a talk about self-fulfillment. Perhaps I am just super sensitive to the subject, but the more I read and listen to the modern day “preacher” the more I am repulsed by his message.

I have read the Bible through several times. I have studied several different books of the Bible through my years of preaching and teaching. If I have gained anything from reading and studying the Scripture it is this—the Bible is not about us, the Bible is about God.

How did we move so far away from the truth?

Allow me to take some space to bring to light some common biblical misrepresentations:
  • The Bible does not say God sent His Son to make me successful. The Bible says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
  • God’s Word does not teach that those who follow Christ will live a trouble-free, self-satisfying life. Instead, God’s Word says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:13).
  • The Bible does not teach man’s purpose is to fulfill his destiny. The Bible teaches. “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…” (1 Peter 1:15).
  • God’s Word does not teach that God is my spiritual advisor, available to guide me through life. God’s Word teaches, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
  • The Bible does not teach that every human is basically good and desires to be spiritual. The Bible teaches, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).

There are countless other spurious examples that could be sighted. Surely by now you get the point.

And what is the point?

For those of you who still do not get it, perhaps this will help:

  • The Bible is not about us, the Bible is about God.
  • The Bible is not about goals, the Bible is about faithfulness.
  • The Gospel is not God’s plan for success; the Gospel is God’s plan of salvation.
  • Jesus did not die for our destiny, Jesus died for our sins.

I just do not get it. And what amazes more than the false messengers preaching false messages, is the great numbers of misguided people falling for the counterfeit messages. What are these people thinking?

Ah, I may have just answered my own question by asking, “What are they thinking?” They are not thinking. Neither are they reading, praying and studying God’s Word. For if they were practicing these disciplines they would see the error of this heresy.

Recently I have had more than a few people tell me they like the way CrossPoint uses the Bible in worship and the way in which I refer to it so much in my preaching. The question I want to ask is, “What else is there to use?”

I dare you to do something extremely novel today. I dare you to read and study God’s Word to learn what it actually says, rather than listening to someone’s preconceived notions about what they think the Bible says. Perhaps if more people would do just that, less people would buy the next book or listen to the next sermon or sing the next song or attend the next seminar which glorifies man.

27
Sep
07

CrossPoint’s Missionaries

I received the following email update from one of my favorite people, Kristen Seay. CrossPointers should recognize her name as one of the missionaries the Lord has called out from our family of faith.

I thought you would be inspired by her email. Kristen is an amazing young woman.

Dear family and friends,

Finally! I am in Peru and able to send you all an update. First, I want to give you all an update as to why it has been so long since I have written. My original departure date as most of you know was August 23rd. However, the Lord had different plans. I became sick with some type of unknown stomach sickness the day before I was supposed to leave which kept me in the States for an extra two weeks. It was a difficult time for me because I felt so sick, but it was even more difficult knowing that I was “supposed” to be in South America. However, the Lord was simply trying to teach me that His plansand timing for me are perfect and that I was not supposed to be in Peru yet. He used that time to teach me some very important things about Himself that I needed to know before coming to Peru. So, I was initially frustrated with the situation, but I know now that it was all for His perfect purpose and for His glory. Praise be to Him for having control of my life!

After those two weeks in the States, I left for South America on September 6th. The Lord provided the opportunity for me to fly into Ecuador and then travel from there to Peru. This opportunity allowed me to spend some time with the Ecuador family that I lived with for a few months last year. This time with this family was so special because of the work the Lord has done in their family over the past year. When I arrived in Ecuador the first time a year ago, the family did not believe in the Lord. After 3 months of sharing the Gospel with them, daily Bible studies and sharing the love of Christ with them, the entire family accepted Christ the week before I left their home last year. So this visit was a time of rejoicing because it was the first time I could be with them as a Christian family. The Lord has definitely changed their lives as individuals and their lives as a family. Please pray for continual growth in their lives as believers in the Lord.

I then arrived here in Lima on September 11th. The Lord has been so good and faithful during my time here so far. He has developed an incredible spirit of unity among my team members which has been a HUGE answer to prayer. But please continue to pray for a stronger sense of unity among our team that we may be even more effective for the Lord. Also, please be praying for the people of Peru. The Lord has used me to share the Gospel with several people so far, and it is so interesting to me to see just how thirsty and desperate the people are for His truth and salvation.

I am leaving Lima today for my first research trip. I am on a traveling team with two other people (Brad Borggren and Lane Brown), and we will be going on a 10 day journey to research three unreached villages. Our main purpose is to research the logistics of these areas (population, food, lodging, fuel, etc.) in order to have accurate information for future stateside churches that would be interested in adopting these people groups. Please pray that we would be able to establish relationships with some of the people in order to start a connection with these areas. The three villages are Chavin, San Juan de Yanac and San Pedro de Huacarpana, and the population of these areas combined is approximately 300 people. Please be praying for the people of these three villages, and that the Lord would give our team opportunities to establish relationships and share His Gospel.

I know the Lord is using your prayers to keep me strong in my weakness. Please continue to pray that above all the Lord would receive glory from my life and work for Him. I will be emailing again when I return from our research trip to update the Lord’s work there. Thank you all so much for your prayers.

Because of HIM,

Kristen Seay


Please keep Kristen near the top of your daily prayer list. I know her parents Chris and Joellen Seay would welcome your prayers as well. If you would like to be added to her email list you may contact Kristen at kristenmseay@gmail.com.

Speaking of CrossPoint missionaries, we have another missionary about to leave CrossPoint and head to the same part of the world. Sandy Stone and her husband Alan will be heading to Richmond, Virginia, in October for their mission training. Then, early in January 2008 they leave for Peru. We plan to commission Sandy and Alan on Sunday, October 7.

It’s exciting to watch the Lord call and appoint missionaries from our family of faith. I am praying today for JUST ONE MORE to be called to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

25
Sep
07

JUST ONE MORE Goes Nationwide

I absolutely love the spirit of CrossPoint. This past weekend the CrossPoint way was modeled for millions to see on ESPN’s College Game Day in Tuscaloosa.

Take a look at this first photo and see if you can identify what I am referring to:

Look closely. Did you see it?
You will not be able to see the CrossPointer, but in the next photo you will be able to see the result of the CrossPointer’s effort. You can see how they worked their way through the crowd.

If you did not identify it in the first photo, then see if you can identify what I am talking about in this slide:

Don’t you love it? That is so pure.

Thanks to Jeff and Jo Cook, CrossPoint received some free national publicity this past weekend. Who knows how people responded to that poster. I wonder if anyone asked their friends, “What does JUST 1 MORE mean?” Perhaps the poster prompted others to Google “CrossPoint, Just One More”. I Googled it and guess what I found? The first web address listed was hyperlinked to our web site.

Way to go Jeff and Jo. You make us proud.

The early word is that ESPN’s College Game Day may be at the Florida State and Alabama game this next weekend. Jeff and Jo plan to be there, and they have already informed me this week’s sign will be bigger and better.

This is just another reason why I love this choice church.

24
Sep
07

42 Redeemed!!

The Lord Jesus did an amazing thing yesterday at CrossPoint. During our third worship celebration more than 650 people watched in wonder as 42 redeemed students followed through with the biblical command to be baptized.

We had enough seats for 605 worshippers. Within minutes of the worship encounter beginning we were adding chairs to the worship center. Several students were sitting on the floor near the front of the room. People were standing in the back doorway entrances. It was an incredible sight.

I attended two PROJECT ONE Fellowships last night, and the center of everyone’s conversation were the 42 baptisms.

I was particularly impressed with two elements associated with the baptisms. First, I was impressed with the confessions of faith our students made. I know Jason and his team of counselors worked overtime counseling each student. I think the counseling combined with the commitment our students made showed as they professed why they were coming to be baptized. Another impression from the day came from the great number of guest attending. I estimate that 50% of our worship crowd included guests. It was significant watching each family gather around the baptistery to watch the baptism of their child. I am so glad we started that tradition.

Speaking of starting traditions, I think we are going to use the REDEEMED t-shirts as our normal mode of operations when it comes to baptism from now on. I really liked the message. Plus I think the person being baptized in the shirt can wear it from then on as a symbol of their faith and as a tool of witnessing. (I wonder how many students are wearing their REDEEMED t-shirt today at school!).

Wow, what a day. I cannot find the words adequate enough to describe it for the rest of you who were not there. For those who were there, I would like to hear your thoughts.

22
Sep
07

Two True Heroes

Okay, I cannot think of a better way for you to spend your time on a Saturday than by watching this video. This is one of many video links to Patrick Henry Hughes on YouTube. My friend Ron Ethridge sent me the video Wednesday morning. After viewing it, I remember seeing the clip on ESPN.

I would be curious to read your reactions.

21
Sep
07

Most Blessed

I do not know if you realize what is going on at CrossPoint, but God is moving and He is moving in a mighty way. There are countless items I could refer to that would help you see the mighty hand of God. Allow me to point out a few.

  • This weekend we are presently scheduled to baptize 30+ students and children in the third worship hour. Needless to say, the third worship will be rockin’!
  • In addition to baptizing so many people, our student ministry will present a human video in all three worship celebrations next Sunday. My son wanted me to watch the human video two weeks ago in Sublime and immediately after seeing it I asked Jason Motte if his team would present it in worship. GET READY. THE STUDENTS ARE GOING TO SHAKE YOU UP!
  • Our Children’s Ministry is bursting at the seams as well. Beth Howe informed us in staff meeting this week (yes, can you believe the woman was already back in staff meeting after giving birth to her baby three weeks ago!) that our WWAM (Children’s Worship—Worship With A Mission) at 8:15 AM has nearly doubled in size the last few weeks.
  • Bryan Haskins tells me the next time the choir sings, which is October 14, that he will have 48 or more strong voices lifting praise to the Lord. He also told me, “CrossPoint better get ready. It’s going to be our best worship yet!” I can’t wait to see what that looks like.
  • In staff meeting Tuesday morning Steve Parr made 51 outreach assignments from our weekly guest list. It is my responsibility to contact each of the FIRST-TIME guests. Thus, I was responsible for 17 contacts this week. Make note—that is 17 FIRST-TIME guests!
  • Speaking of 17 first-time guests on my outreach list, more than half of those families expressed a favorable response to CrossPoint, saying they will be returning again this next weekend. Several of them asked me questions about how to CONNECT with a small group Bible study.
  • On Sunday, September 30 we kick off PROJECT ONE—ONE mission, ONE fellowship, ONE commitment with the observance of the Lord’s Supper. For those of you who do not know what PROJECT ONE is you will soon find out when you attend your Bible study fellowship. It is my desire to attend every Bible study fellowship. During the fellowship I want to share with each CrossPointer the extended vision the Lord has given me in what I believe is the next step in fulfilling our vision to reach JUST ONE MORE.
  • As if that were not enough, I hear we will be opening our new building sometime very, very soon. I estimate that 90% of CrossPoint has no idea the impact this building will make in the fulfillment of our vision. I took a walk through the building on Wednesday. IT IS AWESOME! As I have said before. This building will change CrossPoint—for the good.

There is so much more I want to share with you. I am saving some of the choicest stories and news for the PROJECT ONE fellowships. I look forward to spending that time with you.

If this list should cause you to do anything, I think it would trigger two responses. First, it should cause you to give a mighty shout of praise to God. Second, it should cause you to drop to your knees in gratitude.

CrossPoint, we are among many churches, most blessed!

20
Sep
07

To Rob Thee of God

E. M. Bounds wrote a book years ago entitled Preacher and Prayer. My good friend, Ron Ethridge sent me this quote from chapter 8 of that book:

Dr. Judson’s success in prayer is attributable to the fact that he gave much time to prayer. He says on this point:

“Arrange thy affairs, if possible, so that thou canst leisurely devote two or three hours every day not merely to devotional exercises but to the very act of secret prayer and communion with God. Endeavor seven times a day to withdraw from business and company and lift up thy soul to God in private retirement. Begin the day by rising after midnight and devoting some time amid the silence and darkness of the night to this sacred work. Let the hour of opening dawn find thee at the same work. Let the hours of nine, twelve, three, six, and nine at night witness the same. Be resolute in his cause. Make all practicable sacrifices to maintain it. Consider that thy time is short, and that business and company must not be allowed to rob thee of thy God.”

Wow! I realize Judson lived in a different age in which I live. He lived without many of the modern conveniences I enjoy and that also distract me. Perhaps that is why he was able to give so much of his time and energy to devotional exercises. Yet, in contrast, his way of life was much more arduous than mine, which leads me back to the useless argument that conveniences cannot be an excuse for lack of prayer, devotion and solitude in my life.

If there is anything I have to work at, it is my time alone with the Lord. So many things—even good things—distract me from my time alone with my Savior. Yet I realize I must devote more time to Him if I ever plan to be the man He has called me to be.

I have written about this subject countless times. And so I should. A pastor can never spend enough time alone with the Lord in prayer, meditation, study, and in sweet communion. And, I might add, if it is good enough for every pastor then it is surely good enough for every parishioner.

I don’t know what kind of day you have scheduled. I don’t know when you plan to stop to catch your breath. For some it may be late this evening when you return home from CrossPoint University. For others it may be this afternoon during lunch. Whenever that time is, use it wisely. Spend 30 minutes or an hour alone with your Father in Heaven. Enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. Read and study His Word. Call out to Him. Be patient. Wait. Listen. Then rest in His love. You do not want anything—business or company—to rob thee of God.