Top 12 of ’12

Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

While New Year’s Day can easily fall in the cracks, overshadowed by Christmas, it’s a great time to look ahead with fresh eyes. It’s also a perfect time to look back and see what God has brought us through the past twelve months.

Before you jump full-bore into ‘13, try jotting down your Top 12 (Memories) of ‘12.  Here are mine:

#12) CrossPoint’s send off gift of over $40,000 to Matt, Lisa, and Ava Popovits as they moved to New York City. What an expression of generosity!

#11) Hiring Dr. Debbie Roesler as our Chief Operations Officer to oversee the operations side of CrossPoint. What a combination of wisdom, financial knowledge, and leadership all in one person!

#10) Our wonderful staff switching gears & adapting & rising to the occasion through a crazy year of transition. What a great group of people, excited about what God is doing here!

#09) Over 500 attendees at our 2012 FiveTwo WikiConference. What an impact, from the USA to Europe to Panama to Brazil. Wow!

#08) Helicopter Easter Egg Hunt at the Westgreen campus. What a frenzied crowd of egg-hunting kids!

#07) Every baptism Sunday, and especially watching parents being baptized with their children. What a humbling, moving experience.

#06) The Dominican Republic mission trip and the upcoming New Orleans and El Salvador mission trips. What an honor to make a difference in these locations, among God’s people!

#05) The leadership of our new preschool director, Mari Rudge, and the record enrollment of over 360 at CrossPoint Christian School. What a fantastic school and fantastic staff!

#04) The incredible generosity of God’s people, especially this past Fall. What an answer to prayer.

#03) FiveTwo’s growth and multiplying from 7 to over 30 local groups around the country. What amazing growth in our church replicating network. Wow.

#02) Watching EightTen reach the Spring Branch community, especially through movie nights and FallFest, and the upcoming community park. What an opportunity, to bless that community with the love of Jesus.

#01) YOU! Getting to meet you, talk with you, and see what God is doing in your lives. From my CrossPoint friends, to FiveTwo friends, to all my new and old friends- your large and small individual stories have been the most rewarding part of this year! What a privilege to know each and every one of you!

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Spread the Joy

Posted by on Dec 25, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Christmas is about how God’s Son, a baby, was born, for you, given to you and belongs to you.  And to know him and love him, to be His and he yours, means that now your life depends only on him.  A baby has your life in his hands. Which is pretty serious.

While Christmas is about laughter and celebration, it’s meant to be taken seriously.  If you believe in Christmas, that baby born into the world is also born into your family.  You’re now striving to turn from your old way of depending on yourself, believing in yourself, living for yourself, celebrating yourself.  Stop that. Instead celebrate Him, depend on Him, live for Him. Allow the forgiveness and grace He gives you at Christmas to ripple through every day, every month, every year into every life. Allow the joy the angels sang of to be a joy that you sing of. Because of the baby, God doesn’t hold your stuff against you.  Don’t hold your brother’s, your mother’s, your son’s stuff against him.  Let it go. Friends, there is too much good in life to let your life be defined by the hurt. 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

See, Christmas is a giant reset on the world.  It should be a day of pushing reset on your family. My prayer for you this Christmas is that the joy that comes from knowing your sins are forgiven and your future secure would ripple through your life and create great joy in those around you.

Merry Christmas.

 

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Christmas exists because evil is real.

Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

 

You and I don’t often think of God visiting us. We might go visit God when we die, but we rarely think of God visiting us.

When we do, it’s almost always associated with a visit of God’s judgment. Anytime there’s a calamity or natural disaster, God’s bringing His bag of judgment. Typhoon, tornado or the Texans lose and “God visited, and he was torqued.” If you get into that mindset, though, then you only associate God with punishment and you fail to welcome Him when He wants to bring comfort, redemption, and rescue. We become fearful of Him rather than thankful for Him. We forget he is like the sunrise that visits us every day to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

There is an entire community in Newtown, CT that is sitting in darkness, in the shadow of death. Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school revealed the depth of the darkness. Evil deeply unsettles us especially when it bears a human face. Evil planned and contemplated by one of us, a co-bearer of the Imago Dei, the image of God, well, that belongs on a deeper, darker shelf in the closet, and when it comes out, one truly wishes for a better lock on the closet door. A deadbolt keyed only from the outside, perhaps.

The depressing reality is that darkness can’t ultimately be kept at bay when in human form. It can be restrained by rules and laws and regulations, but human nature is infinitely more diabolical than rules and laws and regulations: it always wills a way to win. And when it lacks any semblance of eternal judgment, when absent of accountability to a Higher Being than the state, it strives to win at all costs.

When the human-led Sandy Hooks of the world happen, inevitably we demand a divine answer: “Sovereign gods should have a better handle on their worlds.” It is the age-old control conundrum: “I’d like evil controlled but I’d like my will unfettered.”

Evil is like darkness: both are the result of something being absent more than they are the result of something being present. They are what you get when you’re lacking what is better. Evil results when good goes. Darkness results when light leaves. Or, from the other side of the same coin, evil grows when good is kept at bay and darkness reigns when light is shut out.

Christmas exists because evil is real. Jesus came as the Savior of the world because the world needs a savior. He is God’s answer to evil. He is God’s compassionate light shining in a world living in the shadow of death.

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