Archive for January, 2009

31
Jan
09

habitat for humanity

J1M GUEST BLOGGER: I have invited my friend, Hugh Patrick to be our guest blogger this weekend.  Hugh and his wife, Carolyn, are total Kingdom players.  They both epitomize the CrossPoint spirit to serve as ministers.  Hugh is the team leader of our Habitat Project, as well as this summer’s Adult Mission Trip to Kentucky.  I asked him to blog about both of these endeavors.  Please contact us through our congregation’s webpage if you would like to participate in or support either one of these mission opportunities.

I am very excited about the upcoming construction ministry that we have planned for February and March for CrossPoint.  This will be a Habitat for Humanity home in Roebuck – constructed by volunteers from CrossPoint.  We will build this house completely from the slab up.  This includes all interior finishing, such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, finished trim and painting.

Our wonderful people at CrossPoint have responded overwhelmingly by turning in commitment cards the last four Sundays.  The Mission Construction Planning Team will be meeting this Sunday afternoon to assign all of the CrossPointers to a specific team for this construction project.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Habitat for Humanity program, here are some interesting facts.  Habitat is not a give-away program.  It is a program that provides low-cost housing for people who could otherwise not afford to own their own home.  In order for a person to quality for a Habitat house, they must meet certain credit and debt requirements, just like everyone else who purchases a home.  They, then, are required to work a number of hours on another Habitat home prior to qualifying for their own home.

We have been privileged to meet some of the Habitat home owners and have been impressed with the people that Habitat has approved for ownership.  In the coming weeks, we will have the privilege at CrossPoint of meeting the family who will occupy this home.

The goal for Habitat is to dedicate this home and several others on Good Friday.  This should be a great experience for all CrossPointers who participate in this ministry.

30
Jan
09

please pray for the men of crosspoint

J1M GUEST BLOGGER: I have invited my friend, Hugh Patrick to be our guest blogger this weekend.  Hugh and his wife, Carolyn, are total Kingdom players.  They both epitomize the CrossPoint spirit to serve as ministers.  Hugh is the team leader of our Habitat Project, as well as this summer’s Adult Mission Trip to Kentucky.  I asked him to blog about both of these endeavors.  Please contact us through our congregation’s webpage if you would like to participate in or support either one of these mission opportunities.

If the Lord is willing, tonight more than 275 men will gather at CrossPoint for our inaugural Men’s Weekend Retreat.

What was just an idea a few weeks ago is now a reality.

Initial plans for the weekend included a simple schedule combined with Christian fellowship, followed by Christ-centered worship.  Those plans still remain in place today; however, we are preparing for 10 times as many men to participate than we originally expected.

What we are experiencing in the registration response is already a God-thing!

Please pray for the men of CrossPoint.  We will gather to eat Charlie’s Barbeque tonight, followed by two sessions of God-glorifying worship.  The plan is basically the same for Saturday morning – a hearty breakfast followed by two more sessions of God-glorifying worship.

The purpose of this weekend is as follows:

  1. To glorify God
  2. To glorify God by reaching Just One More man to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ
  3. To glorify God by reaching Just One More to CONNECT with God, with God’s people and God’s plan
  4. To glorify God by providing fellowship for the men of CrossPoint
  5. To glorify God by challenging the men of CrossPoint to grow spiritually in some spinoff small groups

I look forward to reporting to you on Monday the wonderful work of God during the weekend.  My heart is already bursting with praise.

For from him, and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever!  Amen.

Romans 11:36

29
Jan
09

the pastor’s 10 make or break questions

When I answered the following questions I got excited, very excited.  These inquiries describe CrossPoint.

Ask yourself these questions about our family of faith, and then tell me what you think:

1. In the last 30 days did you hear church members talk about your church’s vision?
2. Is your church’s identity unquestionably contagious?
3. Does your mission roll off your tongue with clarity and heartfelt conviction?
4. Does your staff embrace the value of values?
5. Have you planned an activity in the next three months that will help you see God’s future for your church?
6. Does the staff enthusiastically agree about how to accomplish the church’s mission?
7. Do you have a process on paper that shows how your church will develop leaders?
8. Does all church communication reflect and reinforce your vision?
9. Is there crystal clarity about the next ministry to launch and staff role to fill?
10. Have you identified a person to help you develop as a senior leader?

Source: http://www.visiontogrow.com

So, what do you think?  Do the questions describe CrossPoint?  I think so.

Check out my answers:

1. In the last 30 days did you hear church members talk about your church’s vision?
Answer: In the last 30 days?  What about last weekend!  What about today!  What about every time we gather as a church!

2. Is your church’s identity unquestionably contagious?
Answer: JUST ONE MORE, JUST ONE MORE, JUST ONE MORE.   A pastor once asked me if his church could steal our vision statement.  I responded, “Sure, you can steal it.  We stole from Jesus.  It is the Great Commission in three words.”

3. Does your mission roll off your tongue with clarity and heartfelt conviction?
Answer: How do you make JUST ONE MORE any clearer?  You cannot be a WHOSOEVER church without conviction.

4. Does your staff embrace the value of values?
Answer: If they did not they would not be serving here.

5. Have you planned an activity in the next three months that will help you see God’s future for your church?
Answer:  We see God’s future every Sunday during worship, every Tuesday during staff meeting, and every month during Leadership Community.

6. Does the staff enthusiastically agree about how to accomplish the church’s mission?
Answer:  See the answer to question 5.

7. Do you have a process on paper that shows how your church will develop leaders?
Answer: CONNECT!  CONNECT with God, CONNECT with God’s People, Connect with God’s Plan. Plus we place a major emphasis on the spiritual growth of our leaders in Leadership Community.

8. Does all church communication reflect and reinforce your vision?
Answer: These are just a few of the recent ways in which we reflect and reinforce our vision: we want to reach JUST ONE MORE to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ, http://www.justonemore.info, DEVOTED, http://www.crosspointchurch.info, SOLI DEO GLORIA, http://www.sublimestudents.info, SHEMA.

9. Is there crystal clarity about the next ministry to launch and staff role to fill?
Answer:  Just One More includes starting J1M Bible study class, paving J1M parking lot, adding J1M staff member, taking J1M mission venture, adding J1M worship celebration…to reach J1M to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

10. Have you identified a person to help you develop as a senior leader?
Answer: Every staff member has a team of leaders who surround them, serve with them, encourage them and challenge them to serve for God’s glory.

It is good to be a part of a church with a mission, a vision and a plan.  I am so glad I was asked these questions.

28
Jan
09

email etiquette

I need your help.  I need help your help with email etiquette.

I receive, on average, 100 emails a day. That is not an exaggeration.

For instance, this morning I opened my email box with 103 messages awaiting my perusal.

Mind you, most emails are purely informational.  Less than 10% require a reply.  On average, only 30% are important or beneficial, while the remaining messages are junk.

Email reading can consume a lot of time, can’t it?  That is why I limit my email checking to twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.  If I leave my email box open all day, all I will do is respond to email.

Can I get a witness?

When it is time to study God’s Word, I close my email box.  I also put my phone on “silent mode”.  My time with God is too valuable to be interrupted by email or voice mail.

This is where you come in to the picture.

A good portion of the emails I receive say in the subject line, “You must read this” or ask, “Have you seen this” or state, “I thought of you when I read this.”

For those of you curious, if you think I need to receive, see or read an email, there is a REAL GOOD CHANCE I have already.  I am dead serious.  Fifteen other people thought the same thing and sent it to me last week, last month or last year!

What’s your point, you ask?

My point is: how do I communicate with someone in a gentle, Christlike way that I do not want to read, see or receive anymore of their forwarded emails?

You cannot imagine how many people have included me on their mass mailing list.  I am not talking about junk mail.  I am talking about CrossPointers and others who must do nothing but sit at their computer all day long and forward emails to everyone on their contact list.

Some names in my email box are immediately deleted when I see them.  I don’t even read the email because I know it is going to be junk.  And what bothers me most about that is that there may be an occasion when I do need to read it but I don’t because of all the junk they sent me previously.

I may be coming across as too harsh or too haughty or too mean.  If so, I apologize.   But let it be known I have seen every kind of conspiracy-related, you-aren’t-going-to-believe-this-story, written by a three year-old who once sold cocaine, but is now a born-again preacher, who plays point guard in the NBA, but also makes videos in his spare time, all the while running for president of the United States, just before he dropped out of school, after he having triple by-pass surgery, before he wrote his first song, all the while rescuing an animal off the coast of Maine, as a blind man, with one leg, kind of story.

Again, can I get a witness?

So, what do I do? I await your comments.

27
Jan
09

leslie davis’ story

God revealed a small glimpse of His glory last weekend at CrossPoint.  He used a young woman, and her story of heartache and grace to open our hearts.  Today, we are posting Leslie’s story for those of you who did not hear it.

Leslie, I speak for all of us when I say, thank you.  You are a very courageous young woman of faith.  Thank you for your transparency and honesty.  The Lord used you last weekend, and he will continue to use you.  You are a gift to His kingdom.

And now for those who have not read it, this is Leslie’s story.  Share it with as many people as you know.

I was raised by a single mom in a Christian home.  We went to church almost every Sunday.  I claimed to have accepted Christ at the age of 8 and I was baptized.  I continued to live in this manner and proclaimed to be a Christian to those around me.  When I was a teenager I started to hang out with people who were not always the best influence.  I had a boyfriend and was addicted to attention.  My relationship with my mother became fractured due to my behavior and her reactions to it.  I did not trust anyone in my life.

At the age of 18 I found myself pregnant.  I had just graduated from high school and was set to leave for college at Liberty University in Virginia.  I could not wait to get out from my mother’s house and I could not let anything get in the way.  I admitted to my boyfriend that I was pregnant and he said he would support whatever decision I made.  I chose to abort my baby when I was eight weeks pregnant.  My boyfriend’s parents took me to the clinic and waited for me while my pregnancy was terminated.  It was a truly physically painful experience that I will never forget.  My mother never knew.

I left for school ten days later.  I lived in silence my first semester there.  I did not know who I could tell that would not look at me like I was a horrible person.  When I returned to school in January, not much had changed in me.  Spiritual emphasis week rolled around as it did twice a year.  I refused to go.  I went to church at school regularly and attended the required chapel services.  I did not see the point in going to extra church services.  Apparently God had other plans.

He convicted the heart of my spiritual life director to confront me about my salvation.  I remember blatantly lying to her that I was sure I would go to heaven if I died.  She had the guts to tell me she did not believe me.  She let me know that the week’s services had been extended to Thursday for the first time ever.  She wanted me to go to that extra service.  I reluctantly agreed.  I spent the next day deep in thought and sought advice from some friends.  Those friends invited me to sit with them during the service.

Jamey Ragel was the speaker and the date was January 31, 2002.  That night I got saved and became a follower of Christ.  It is forever my spiritual birthday.

For two years I continued to grow through my quiet time and through the lessons that I was taught at school and in services.  I was able to become involved in youth ministry and I was having a wonderful time.  Something was still amiss though.  I still suffered with emotional scars from my abortion that time alone would not heal.  I was stabbed with pain every time the university President, Rev. Jerry Falwell, would speak of God’s love for the unborn and for the abolishment of abortion.  I had been given the courage to admit my sin to some and those people still loved me.  I still could not tell my family.

The summer of 2004 I was blessed to go through a bible study called “Forgiven and Set Free”.  It was designed for post-abortive women who needed to be healed.  It was one of the best things that I have ever done.  I was able to meet some wonderful women who are still my friends.  We have a bond as sisters in Christ who have been in the same place.  I was able to accept God’s healing in my life and his love for me no matter what.  I was able to honor my baby with a name and a physical memorial to him.  I know that he is in heaven today waiting with Jesus.

The healing, grace, and forgiveness that I have been blessed with have caused me to take a stand for life and for the right of women to know what harm abortion does in a life.  I am part of a group called Silent No More and I am blessed to share my testimony beside many others.  While we wish we didn’t know each other through our common experiences, we are comforted to know what one another has experienced.  We will always be sisters.  I had the joy of marching in Washington, D.C., last January as part of the March for Life.  We stood on a stage surrounded by thousands of people silently holding signs expressing our regret for our actions and loss.  We then shared our stories in front of the Supreme Court.  We feel that if we are not silent then women might hear the truth.

I was asked once what was lost when I terminated my pregnancy and ended by baby’s life.  The answer was clear.  The world lost a son, a grandson, a brother, uncle, cousin, friend, student, husband, and father.  The world lost someone who might have cured cancer or solved a major crisis.  He could have been the leader of our county and had a positive influence on the world and society.

I know that my Lord loves me and will always be my Daddy.  He has blessed my husband and me with a son who is loved dearly.  I will have to tell him that he has a brother in heaven and I pray that he will understand God’s love through that knowledge.  He will one day learn that my Daddy knew him in the womb and loved me.  He will learn that my Daddy delights in showing mercy.  He will learn that my Daddy is abounding in love.  He will learn that my Daddy never changes.  I have learned all of these things and I pray that our son will learn them and keep them in his heart.

God has blessed me beyond compare.  He gives me courage and a smile.  He has blessed me with a loving husband, a new son, and a wonderful home.  He has given me beauty for my ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3).  I owe Him all of my praise and devotion.  He has given more than I could ever ask for.

26
Jan
09

life: imagine the potential

Last weekend at CrossPoint we crossed a worship threshold we have never before traversed in our brief history.  My words are inadequate.  After my morning devotions I settled on this singular explanation: we experienced an infinitesimal reflection of God’s glory. 

I don’t know about any of you, but I want more.  Not more worship, more of God’s glory.  Remember, God has commanded us to love Him.

For those who were present, you will agree with me that Leslie Davis’ testimony of God’s forgiveness set the stage for the Spirit-led worship.  Her words were honest.  Her testimony was courageous.  Her story was seasoned with grace.  Thank you, Leslie.  We are so thankful you and Caleb are CrossPointers.

Last Friday President Barack Obama, placed abortion back on center stage when he overturned a controversial ban on U.S. support to international aid for organizations that provide abortion services around the world.  His decision is grave.  I pray he recognizes his mistake and reverses it soon.

Once again, the Catholic Church nails it for those who believe in the sanctity of life.  It would be great if this video was shown on every major news channel.  I wonder if our President has viewed it.

After watching it, tell me what you think: http://www.catholicvote.com/

25
Jan
09

J1M For The Glory Of God

Yesterday I wrote about your pastor.  I did that because God made Ryan the way He did for His glory and your blessing.  He is the leader God has chosen to use to conform His people into the image of Christ.  But CrossPoint is not about Ryan Whitley.  CrossPoint is not about any one person or group.  CrossPoint is all about God.

I get a blessing when I hear how God’s people are glorifying Him at CrossPoint.  There few places where God is so honored… revered… loved… and manifests His presence as at CrossPoint!  I know because I’ve worshipped with you and I’ve worshipped other places.  You are different!  You are not like many other churches!  God IS powerfully at work in your midst!

Here’s what I know and have observed about you:

Why does CrossPoint exist?  To glorify God.
How does CrossPoint do this?  “JUST ONE MORE”
What does CrossPoint and JUST ONE MORE look like to an outsider?

Worship is:
God glorifying…
Joyful and passionate…
Meaningful and reverent…
Exciting and Spirit filled…
Informed (Banners galore)…
“Wall to wall God.”

Discipleship has a purpose:
CrossPoint University…
Leadership Community…
D101 Membership Class…
The Apostle’s Creed…
The Glory of God…
The Shema…
Packed out Student worship on Wednesday…
Sound Bible teachers in Sunday School…
Forty day fasts.
Etc., etc., etc., etc.

Missions with meaning:
Building Habitat houses…
Respite ministry…
5k runs…
Donating a truck for missions.
Etc., etc., etc., etc.

A People who:
Know “I.N.A.M.”
Know their purpose in life…
Are seeking God’s will…
Love Jesus…
Have God’s peace written on their faces…
Think of others before themselves…

Knowing what I know about you… about your pastor… about your staff… if I lived close enough I would be a member of CrossPoint.  Knowing what I know about you… when people I know are looking for a church in Birmingham I always tell them the drive is worth it to be at CrossPoint.  Knowing what I know about you… I can’t wait to hear what God will do next in your midst… for His glory!

God bless you all and I pray for you often.