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12/29/14

CHRISTMASAPALOOZA

This past Tuesday, Crosspoint held its CHRISTMAS @ CROSSPOINT services...three of them, at 4:30, 6:00 & 7:30.  We had a nice crowd at 4:30, and even with childcare for Pre-Schoolers, we had SRO in the next two services.  In all, we had almost 1800 people in attendance that one night.  It was a very, very cool evening.

So, the question that rattles around in my brain is...WHY?  Why did we have 1800 people in attendance on one evening?  We never have 1800 people on any normal Sunday.  Sure, it was Christmas.  But, I don't think 1800 people just showed up on December 23rd at Crosspoint Church because it was Christmas.  Let's face it, December 23rd is not the day people are searching for a church to go celebrate Christmas at.  In fact, I know for certain there were a number of folks not in attendance because of sickness, leaving town early or previous engagements.  So, the question remains...WHY?

So, why the big crowd on a Tuesday night?  I think there can be one explanation and only one.  INVITATIONS.  At Christmastime, people feel much more comfortable inviting others to join them in attending a church service.  I suppose it's a socially-acceptable thing to do...or at least we perceive it that way.  And it works.  Just look at the results.

So, that brings my brain to a second question: It's the old, "WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?" question.  Or, in this case, "DID THE PEOPLE COME BECAUSE IT WAS CHRISTMAS, OR BECAUSE THEY WERE INVITED?"  That's a pretty important question.  We tend to assume it's because it's Christmas.  But, is that true.  Or, is that simply our assumption.  It's just as likely that they came, not simply because it's Christmas, but because they were invited.  If that's the case, it reveals the power, not just of the season, but the power of the invitation.

So, one more question: WHAT IF WE HARNESSED ALL THAT POWER, NOT JUST AT CHRISTMAS AND EASTER, BUT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?  In other words, what would happen if we were as militant in our inviting this week and next week and the week after as we were for Christmas?  What would happen to our church?  What would happen to every one of us?  What would happen to our community?  What would the effect be on the Kingdom of God?  How many lives would be changed?  How many marriages would be saved?  How many addicts would be set free?  How many messes would be avoided?  How much hopelessness would be replaced by fearlessness?

WHAT IS THE POWER OF THE INVITATION?  We will never find out until we give it a try.  What if you started today...and tomorrow...and the next...one a day for the next month?  Wanna give it a try?  Who's in?

12/22/14

BEING RICH

Most of you are aware that recently I challenged my church to BE RICH...to be generous and willing to share.  I challenged them to do 3 specific things:
     *Give $20,000 to the Non-Profit selected as the agency doing the best job of meeting the needs of
       the poor and needy in our community
     *Adopt 100 families in need and bless them at Christmas
     *Commit 4,000 hours to serve our community

Our goal was to learn generosity, practice generosity and become known, as a church, for our generosity.  So, how'd we do?
     *Our church gave almost $31,000 to the Neighborhood Center
     * We adopted and met the needs of 116 families (that we know of)
     *We had so many people volunteer to serve the needs of our community, they ran out of things for
       us to do

Success?  In the short-term, absolutely.  In the long-term, it remains to be seen.  My hope is that we learn the great gift of generosity...for a lifetime.  It would change our lives and the life of our church forever.

12/7/14

PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES

GOD IS NOT IMPRESSED BY ZEROS, BUT BY PERCENTAGES.
     When Jesus and his disciples sat outside the Temple watching people throwing coins into the offering box, what do you think was going through the minds of his crew?  Kind of like watching paint dry or grass grow or a fence rust.  Excitement.
     But, Jesus had a point to make, and that point was simple.   God isn't impressed by the amounts we give away, but by the percentages we give away.  Makes sense if you think about it.  $10,000 to a millionaire is insignificant when compared to $100 given by someone with only $200 in their bank account.  The difference?  Percentage.
    So, you need to know your percentages.  In other words, you need to know...

What percentage of your income do you:  LIVE ON?
                                                                   SAVE?
                                                                   GIVE AWAY?

What percentage of your time do you:  LIVE?
                                                               WASTE?
                                                               GIVE AWAY?

Do you know them?  You need to.  Why?  Because if they're important to God, they should be important to you...right?

So, figure it out.  It may surprise you.  It may excite you.  It may concern you.  Whatever it does, you have to know it.

12/3/14

WHY CAN'T IT BE CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG?

OK, don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those Christmas fanatics that has their tree up in October and refuses to take it down till February.  Yeah, you know who you are.  That play Christmas music incessantly in their house, in their cars, in their iPods...EVERYWHERE!  That send out their Christmas cards before it's even December and have every gift wrapped immediately after Black Friday.

I am SOOOOOOOOOO not one of those people.  I actually rebel against most things Christmas.  I go along with the tree and the stockings (that's my favorite part...all those kids and grandkids) and whatever Susan forces me to do.  But, I do so with some sense of rebelliousness.

Why?  Because I truly hate what the world has done to Christmas.  So, as a result, I have a tendency to throw out the baby with the bath.  Guilty as charged.  Don't worry,...I'm not going to kick over you're bigger than life manger scene in your front yard or deflate your Frosty the Snowman giant, glowing, singing blow-up (although, I'd really like to).  I'll just keep my opinions to myself...mostly.

However, there is an aspect of Christmas I like.  (I know, I was shocked too!)  It's the way that most people start thinking about being generous.  How people start being actually concerned about those that are less fortunate than ourselves.  We think about the poor and the hurting and the underprivileged.  My only question is, Why do we wait till Christmas?  Why do we get all happy and generous one month of the year.  And, why don't we make the connection...HAPPY and GENEROUS?  They go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Why do we only connect them when it's Christmas?  Don't we want to be happy 12 months a year?  Wouldn't that be better?  Isn't that the goal?  Are we happy because it's CHRISTMAS or because we're GENEROUS?  Ever think about that one?

Seriously, the great joy...the GREATEST JOY that comes from Christmas is not the trees or the music or the lights or the cookies or even the things we receive (can you tell me what you GOT for Christmas last year?)...it's the joy of giving.  And, if that is true, why aren't we doing it all year long? That's the part of Christmas I wish would stay with us all year long.  So, why not?  Good question.