Hope in the Church

Worship Service for July 19, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and hopefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

I will remain after worship until 12:30 pm for those of you who wish to drop off your offering. You may place it in the box that is located in the lobby.

If you prefer to send your offering in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Please be aware and pray for the weekly ministries that have begun once again. These include Tuesday night’s Disciple I Bible Study, Wednesday night’s training of Stephen Ministers and a Thursday night group that is studying the Book of James.

At our outdoor worship today, I will be both welcoming and recognizing that Gary Diehl will be with us this morning. Gary is a recognized expert in the field of church consulting. He will be meeting with our Pastoral Succession team after worship today to help them continue formulating their plan for how to best accomplish the task of securing new pastoral leadership.

I’m sure that all of you are aware that I am getting a little older. Notice I said a ‘little’ older; I will be 70 next January. And although I have not set a particular date for retirement, we all know that it is coming.

The good news is that I am able to be flexible on when this occurs. I will not be retiring any earlier than about this time next year and could possibly go until Spring of 2022 if that is what it is in the best interest of the church.

But regardless how that works out, I want to assure you that God has a plan for this church. He already knows where we are headed and who is going to lead CrossPointe into the future. I believe this with all my heart because I know we have a handful of prayer warriors who began praying about this would be so for several years now.

And so I will thank Gary for being with us today. And I pray that God will enable him to help our team begin to finalize a plan that will enable CrossPointe to move into the future in the sure knowledge that God is right beside us every step of this journey.

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format on the same page where you accessed this.

CALL TO WORSHIP

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
A river brings joy to the city of our God,
the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
From the very break of day, God will protect it.
The nations are in chaos,
and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
and the earth melts!
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.
Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
See how He brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; He burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

Psalm 46

HYMNS OF PRAISE

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Luther, Martin

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed,
His will to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure,
For, lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours,
Through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also.
The body they may kill;
God’s truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever.

A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

As We Seek Your Face

Bilbrough, Dave

As we seek Your face,
May we know Your heart,
Feel Your presence, acceptance,
As we seek Your face.

Move among us now.
Come reveal Your power.
Show Your presence, acceptance,
Move among us now.

At Your feet we fall,
Sov’reign Lord.
We cry, ‘Holy, holy’.
At Your feet we fall.

As we seek Your face,
May we know Your heart,
Feel Your presence, acceptance,
As we seek Your face.

©1990 Kingway’s Thankyou Music
(admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

We exalt you, our God and King, and we will praise Your name forever and ever. We will praise You every day; yes, we will praise you forever. Great are You Lord! You are most worthy of praise! A mighty fortress is our God! And so we come before You with praise on our lips and joy in our hearts. Because You and You alone are our refuge and strength. Grant O Lord that we will be enabled to put our whole trust in You and in Your Son, Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

Last week we looked at Leviticus 27:30 which in the Law of Moses prescribed, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”

Today we note that some 600 years in the Book of Second Chronicles 31:12 it is recorded that, “God’s people faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts.”

PRAYER SONG

Everlasting God

Riley, Kenneth Henry/Brown, Brenton

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.

Our God, You reign forever. Our hope, our Strong Deliverer.

You are the everlasting God. The everlasting God.
You do not faint. You won’t grow weary.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.
We will wait upon the Lord.

Our God, You reign forever. Our hope, our Strong Deliverer.

You are the everlasting God. The everlasting God.
You do not faint. You won’t grow weary.

You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.

Our God, You reign forever. Our hope, our Strong Deliverer.

You are the everlasting God. The everlasting God.
You do not faint. You won’t grow weary.

You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.

©2006 worshiptogether.com. CCLI License No. 1843349

PASTORAL PRAYER

Brad Winter

Dear Heavenly Father

Thank you for this beautiful, morning and for the privilege of being able to gather together as a family to fellowship with each other the best we can whether virtually or physically, and most importantly hear your word prepared by our Pastor.

We pray for strength and courage, Lord, during this time of crisis as the news of the coronavirus continues to get worse. We pray for healing for those who are sick and suffering from the virus.

We pray for strength and peace for those battling anxiety and fear of the virus.

We pray for courage and safety for those who are dealing with the virus each day and taking care of those who are sick.

We pray for wisdom for our leaders all across our country from the highest government leader right down to our church leaders. We appreciate our leaders who are planning and preparing week to week analyzing data and trying to make the best decisions possible to keep us safe.

We pray for our shut-ins, those who would rather be with us today, but chose to stay home to avoid the possibility of becoming ill. We love them, Lord, and pray for their well being, that their needs will be met and that we will soon be able to meet again.

We pray for our faith to be strengthened during this state of crisis and with every challenge we encounter. We know you are eager to steady us on our feet and bring calmness to the storms in our lives if only we ask you through prayer.

We pray that peace will fill our hearts today and that each of us will be empowered to keep our eyes focused forward. Focused on you and focused on serving and loving others. Please keep us safe, Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

SCRIPTURE

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

I Peter 3:8-12

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Hope in the Church

Speaking of hope . . . an Amish family from Millersburg recently went to the Terminal Tower for the very first time. The father and son went one direction, and the mother in another. The father and son were amazed by everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver doors that would open and close.

The boy asked his father, “What is that, Father?”

The father responded, “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life,
I don’t know what it is.”

While they watched, an older lady in a wheelchair rolled up to those doors and pressed a button. The doors opened and the lady wheeled between them into a small room. The doors closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights next to the door move up and then back down, and then the doors opened again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out.

The father said to his boy, “Son, go get your Mother.”

In 1963, Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book entitled Cat’s Cradle in which he is dealing with the theme of hope in light of what is going on in his world; cold war with Russia, the hot War in Vietnam, and the prospect of nuclear annihilation. In the book, a man, John, comes across a chapter in a book he is reading titled, What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth? It doesn’t take John long to read the chapter because it consists of only one word, “Nothing.”

In this way, Vonnegut’s book reveals what many in his world were thinking; there is no hope. 1

As Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And although our circumstances today are different, many people are losing hope.

Those many may include some of us. Perhaps you are wondering how this pandemic is going to affect our church in the long-term; especially if it continues like this. And others may worry about what the future holds
concerning an eventual change in pastoral leadership.

So the question is, “Does the faith we hold dear have anything to say?” “Does the church have a message of hope in the face of so much hopelessness?”

And Saint Peter answers those questions with a resounding, “Yes! Absolutely!!”

Peter knew that hope would keep his readers afloat in tough times.

Remember that they are experiencing various kinds of persecution; public humiliation, the seizure of property, torture and even death. Under the pressure, some folks were distancing themselves from the fellowship, and so all of them were fearing for the future of their church. They were in desperate need of renewed hope.

So Peter writes, in his topic sentence “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has caused us to be born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).

As we have seen over the last six weeks, he will go on to say there is hope in God’s love, hope in Holy living, hope in prayer, hope in the government, hope in marriage and today is reminding us that there is hope in the Church.

There is hope in the church for there is no other entity on the face of the earth that exhibits such wonderful qualities: unity, sympathy, brotherly love, compassion, humility and forgiveness.

These are the marks of a community that sets the church apart from and above all other communities. These are the marks of a community to which human beings will gladly pledge their commitment and loyalty, yea even their lives to. These are the marks of a community that reflect the life of the One who gave His life to bring it into existence. These are the marks of a community to which others will look in awe and wonder.

As commentator Ernest Best says it, “These six phrases represent a new quality of life which was being introduced by Christianity into the Hellenistic world.” 2

Indeed, these are the marks of a community known in Chippewa Lake, Ohio as CrossPointe Community Church. These six qualities are the marks that truly characterize us. I have not had the pleasure of serving a group of Christians more kind, compassionate, loving and forgiving people than those I am privileged to serve at CrossPointe. And that gives me tremendous hope for our future regardless of how uncertain it now may seem. And it should give tremendous hope to you too.

Peter says there is hope in the church, and because he does, I say there is hope in and at CrossPointe regardless of what our future holds.

I realize I say that in the midst of a pandemic that is keeping many of us apart.

I have a hunch what some of you who have made a decision to worship at home may be thinking. (By the way, I completely understand and respect the decision you have made). But some of you may be thinking, How in the world can we be of one mind, and sympathize with each other, and love each other with tenderness and humility and forgive one another when we cannot even see one another! And it could be that some of you are feeling left out, or left behind.

I pray you’re not feeling that way, but if you are all I can say is please don’t dwell on those feelings and allow yourself to become overly discouraged to the point that you might give up hope. Hope of worshipping again, hope of engaging in ministry together.

Peter wants us all to remember that there is great hope in the Church!

And he wants us to understand that those six of those characteristics are not feelings, they are descriptions of what we are and nothing will change that. And Peter wants us to understand that those six characteristics we share; unity, sympathy, brotherly love, compassion, humility and forgiveness bind us to Christ. We need to pin our hope on that theological truth.

In his book, The Pursuit of God, author A.W. Tozer wrote the following: “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. We bow to Christ and as we do we are tuned to one another because we are tuned to Him. 3

As we look toward the future of CrossPointe, whatever that future looks like, Peter reminds us that there is hope in the church because there is hope in Christ.

As I was putting this message together Thursday afternoon, I picked up my Jesus Calling devotional looking for a little inspiration. I turned to July 16th and read,

Hopelessness is a slimy bottomless pit. Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire. As you slide down those slippery walls, you are well on the way to depression, and the darkness is profound. Your only HOPE is to look up and see the light of My presence shining down on you. though the light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit those rays of hope can reach you at any depth. While you focus on Me in trust you rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair. Finally you can reach up and grasp My hand. I will pull you out into the light again. 4

Rest assured that because you belong to Christ and; therefore, one another, we will come back together again to bow down before Him in worship. Like filings drawn to a magnet, the Holy Spirit will, when the time is right, draw us back together again one by one.

I came across a great animal story about coming together again.

Three of the world’s top predators—a lion (Leo), a Bengal tiger (Shere Kahn), and an American black bear (Baloo)—were raised together as cubs but were later purchased by a drug dealer who didn’t take proper care of them. All three were finally rescued by Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia. The staff initially separated them, assuming the three predators would fight. But guess what; whenever the staff came near, they acted out all the more and were completely uncooperative. And the staff noticed that when they were left alone, they emotionally seemed to retreat into their shell and seemed depressed.

But once they were brought back together, everything changed. They calmed down, they behaved well, they were visibly happier. Today, the 3 friends spend their days together playing ball, cuddling, chasing each other, and eating cookies. 5

I don’t know if we’ll play ball, or cuddle or chase each other, but I’ll bet we eat some cookies TOGETHER . . . count on it.

Herman Edwards was the colorful, witty coach who coached the Kansas City Chiefs. He is remembered for often saying, “The players that play on this football team will play for the name on the side of the helmet and not the name on the back of the jersey.” 6

The name on the side of our helmets is Jesus!

And because it is, we are in this for the sake of Christ who gave His all for us. And because He did, we give our all for Him.

During the Great Depression, nine ordinary young men from the University of Washington rowing team accomplished an extraordinary dream. They labored together in effort and accountability, to take on much stronger rowing programs like Cal Berkeley, Harvard and Yale. And they won!

In his magnificent book, The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown describes what the boys’ coach saw as they worked with and for each other:

He observed the fragility of their confidence and heard them confess their shortcomings. He heard them declare their dreams and saw the redemptive power of their trust in one another. And he watched hope come alive in those nine boys where at first for those nine boys there was no hope. 7

Brown details the grueling training schedules, early mornings and late nights, the lack of money, and their occasional desire to give up. He examines the lives and the challenges of each of the young athletes and their years-long striving for victory.

Then he tells what the coach discovered as nine friends fought for their dream:

He came to understand how those almost mystical bonds of trust and love, if nurtured correctly, might lift a crew above the ordinary sphere, transport it to a place where nine boys somehow became one thing; a thing that could not quite be defined, a thing so in tune with the water and the earth and the sky above that, that as they rowed, effort was replaced by ecstasy. It was a rare thing, a sacred thing, a thing devoutly to be hoped for.” 8

In 1936, those nine young men took their rowing shell, the Husky Clipper, to Hitler’s Germany to take on the world in the Olympics. And they brought home the gold!

God is not yet finished with us yet; and, He will enable us to bring home the gold!

“God is our refuge and strength a very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Everything is going to work out according to His plan for us in Christ Jesus.
He has something up His sleeve that we cannot even begin to imagine. And believe you me, it’s gonna be good. He has not given up on us and we will not give up on Him.

A mighty fortress is our God; a bulwark never failing.
Our Helper He amid the flood, of mortals ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.
Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be, Christ Jesus it is He!
Glory be His name; from age to age the same.
And He must win the battle.

And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us.
We will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

What is that word?

The name on our helmets: Jesus

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Colossians 1:15-22

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also
The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever!
A mighty fortress is our God! A mighty fortress is our God!

So my friends, “Be still and know that He is God.” For you will be filled with hope for the future; a future that God has firmly in His more than capable hands.

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage all of you to pray as you feel led).

CLOSING SONGS

Bind Us Together

Gillman, Bob

Bind us together, Lord;
Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.

Bind us together, Lord;
Bind us together, Lord;
Bind us together with love.

There is only one God,
There is only one King,
There is only one body;
That is why we can sing:

Bind us together, Lord;
Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.

Bind us together, Lord;
Bind us together, Lord;
Bind us together with love.

©1977 Thank You Music (PRS) (admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Let It Be Said of Us

Fry, Steve

Let it be said of us that the Lord was our passion,
That with gladness we bore
Every cross we were given.
That we fought the good fight, that we finished the course.
Knowing within us the power of the risen Lord.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us made known.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song.

Let it be said of us: we were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love,
And delighted in meekness.
We were ruled by His peace heeding unity’s call;
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us made known.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us made known.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song.

©1994 and this arr. ©1997 Maranatha! Music and Word Music (a div. of Word Music)
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

1 Terry G. Carter, Preaching God’s Word, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005), pages 28-29.
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2006/september/5091106.html

2 Ernest Best, The New Century Bible Commentary; I Peter, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing, © 1977], page 129.

3 Tozer https://ministry127.com/illustration-search?search_api_views_fulltext=unity

4 Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, [Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, © 2004],
Page 207.

5 Kevin P. Emmert, Wheaton, Illinois; source: Steve Osunsami, “Lion, Tiger and Bear Make for Odd, Yet Happy Family at Ga. Sanctuary,” abcnews.com (8-10-13) https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2013/october/7102813.html

6 Edwards
Source: Houston Chronicle, 1/6/2010 https://ministry127.com/illustration-search?search_api_views_fulltext=teamwork

7 Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat, [London: Penguin Books, © 2013].

Randy K'Meyer

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