Hope Through The Church

Worship Service for May 24, 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.

But before we begin to worship, I have a few church announcements:

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Our leadership team will be meeting this afternoon at 1:00pm to discuss if we are still going to open for worship on June 7th. Please pray for them.

Speaking of praying, our next quarterly Prayer Vigil will take place this Wednesday, May 27th from 7 am to 7 pm. You can still sign-up for one of seventeen 20 minute time-slots still available by clicking the link on the e-mail sent Thursday. We will be praying for this current pandemic situation: that God will bring us through this, wisdom for our leaders (country and church), and that souls whose hearts are opening as a result of this pandemic will be filled with faith in Christ.

Next Friday is our monthly Community Meal. We will proceed as we have the last two times; by offering curbside service. John and Amy and their helpers will be offering: Boneless BBQ Rib Sandwich, JoJo Fries, Asian Slaw, and Snickerdoodle Bars for dessert. Yum! We are still in need of two volunteers to help out.

Gather to Scatter would normally take place next Sunday, but in light of the current situation, we are canceling. We have checked with the food pantry at The Church at the Lake. They are presently good. Thanks to those of you who have assisted them financially.

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.

I will be at the church building again between 12:00 noon and 1:00pm for those of you who choose to drop off your offering. Look for a box on a stand in the lobby. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is

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

Now I wish to call you to worship with these awe-inspiring words spoken through the Apostle Peter:

CALL TO WORSHIP

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

I Peter 1:3-7

SONGS OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE

As We Gather

Coomes, Tom/Fay, Mike

As we gather, may Your Spirit work within us.
As we gather, may we glorify Your name.
Knowing well that as our hearts begin to worship,
We’ll be blessed because we came.
We’ll be blessed because we came.

(REPEAT)

We’ll be blessed because we came.

©1981 Maranatha! Music (admin by The Copyright Company)/
Coomesietunes (admin by The Copyright Company)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Blessed Be Your Name

Redman, Matt & Beth

Blessed be Your name…in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow…
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name…
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name…
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be…
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name…
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

©2002 Thankyou Music/PRS, admin by EMI Christian Music Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

Jesus, Name Above All Names

Hearn, Naida

Jesus, name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

©1997 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music & Word Music (a div. of Word Music)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Blessed, blessed, a thousand times blessed!
Blessed by the Father, blessed through the Son,
blessed by the Holy Spirit, blessed three in one.
We’ll be blessed because we came.
Blessed be Your glorious Name.
Amen!

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

PRAYER SONG

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

THE MORNING PRAYER

Alan Robbins

Please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father.

As your loyal and faithful servants of Cross Pointe Community Church we have come together to listen and learn how Christ Jesus is binding us together in love. While we may be physically apart ….we are still the Body of Christ and we are truly together in His Spirit.

We pray about the ultimate love of Jesus Christ, by his sacrifice on the Cross and the Grace he has given to us all.

And on this Memorial Weekend we pray about all of those that have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to keep our country free. And we also pray for those first responders and all the others that provide us with health and safety to our communities and families.

Lord we know you will listen and guide us as we want our prayers to reach out and to hold….. to give help….. and to give Love to those that are grieving, for those that are ill, for those that are hurting in any way and prayers for our own needs.

We pray for our church, we pray for our members, we pray for our community, we pray for our friends, we pray for leaders to help us do the right thing and to give God’s Glory and Grace to our community and the world in which we live.

For these things we pray. Amen

INTRODUCTION TO THE SCRIPTURES

Before the reading of the scriptures today, I want to remind you of the occasion for the writing of the hope-filled letter we know as I Peter. And that is that its recipients were undergoing severe persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire.

These persecutions began when the Roman Emperor, Nero, made the decision to blame the burning of Rome on the Christians.

In his commentary, William Barclay quotes Tacitus, the most noteworthy Roman historian who was living at the time and wrote about how:

“Nero rolled the Christians in pitch, set light to them and used them as living torches to light his gardens. He sewed them up in the skins of wild animals and set his hunting dogs upon them to tear them limb from limb while they still lived.” 1

Many of the more fortunate Christians had to endure both the seizure of their property and/or a prison sentence. If anybody needed a little hope, it was these first century Christians living under the boot of the Roman Empire. It was to these good but suffering people that Peter wrote his first letter.

Last week, we opened the first letter of Peter to the church, where we saw that the main theme of his letter is “a living hope” (I Peter 1:3). Primarily, the living hope that on the day we leave this earth that God will usher us safely into His heavenly Kingdom. But I also told you that there was much in this letter to enable us to maintain and nurture hope for living in these days.

With this in mind, let’s turn our attention to the scriptures; first the Gospel According to Matthew and then to First Peter.

THE SCRIPTURES

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.

Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

Matthew 16:13-19

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

I Peter 1:1-2

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”

Yes, you who trust Him recognize the honor God has given Him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

I Peter 2:4-10

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Hope through the Church

“Wait a minute pastor . . . I was listening, but I didn’t hear the word ‘hope’ once.”

It’s true the word did not appear here in these texts. But for the discriminating reader there is hope here. And let me clue you that the hope here is connected with being part of the church. Where do I get that?

In the two noun phrases contained in verse 1 that describe the recipients of this letter.

First, Peter refers to them as “God’s chosen people.” This is an amazing New Testament proclamation because the Old Testament had repeatedly referred to the Jews as God’s chosen; as in Deut. 7:6 and 14:2; “God has chosen you as His own special possession.”

Now in place of the Jews, the church (you and I) has become the new Israel.
As Paul writes the Galatians: “they (church) are the new people of God” (6:16).

Secondly, Peter continues, “God’s chosen people . . . who are living as foreigners.” Peter uses the word ‘diaspora;’ a term assigned to Jews who had been dispersed (scattered) to foreign lands after being conquered by the Assyrian’s in the 7th century BC. The Old Testament prophets talk about how God is going to bring them back home. Peter quotes the prophet Hosea in 2:10 of this letter to drive home this point that God has set His affections on these persecuted Christian:

Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

All the blessings of belonging to God; God’s love and grace and calling as a special people that once fell upon Israel, have now been gifted to the church.

In other words, Peter is beginning to convey hope to these persecuted people; people who are, as a result of that persecution, feeling like they occupy the lowest spot on the proverbial totem pole.

But no, Peter begins this letter by emphasizing in two noun phrases that they belong to the fellowship of believers in Christ; that is, The Church. And that they should; therefore; hold their heads up high.

“We are,” William Barclay writes, “the chosen people of God. Surely there is uplift here. Surely there can be no greater compliment and privilege in all the world.” 2

We, who have been under a stay at home order, scattered abroad as it were,
can and should draw a breathe of hope because we too belong to a special to God people; The Church.

And then, a verb, in verse 2; God the father chose us long ago.

If we are not careful, we might assume that it was our idea to come to God. That’s a dangerous game to play and can rob us of hope because if we are the ones responsible for this blessing of belonging then we can be responsible for negating the blessing of belonging.

Think about it from the perspective of the recipients of this letter. They had at one point been informed that the Creator of the Universe loved them so very much that He stooped so low as to become as one of them for the purpose of actually dying a horrible death in their place so that their sins could be forgiven and they could one day go to heaven.

“What, God loves us that much?!”

“That’s right,” the preacher said.

“Where do I sign up?” they asked. And these folks began the Christian life,
gathering for worship, studying, growing and looking forward to heaven.

And everything is going along hunky-dory until the capital city of the Empire burned and they were made the scapegoat. And the Empire came down hard on them.

“Hey, wait a minute preacher, you said God loved us very much. If this is love . . . maybe I am beginning to have doubts about that. Maybe I’ve been wasting my time trying to follow this guy named Jesus? Or maybe I’ve been messing up too much; I did skip worship a couple of weeks ago so I could mow my lawn. Maybe I’m not good enough; I’m not perfect. Maybe God is actually punishing me for the way I still sometimes behave.”

“No,” says Peter, “the fact that you belong to The Church is not dependent upon your circumstances or your personal failings, you actually didn’t choose God, God chose you; and that makes all the difference.”

William Barclay again:

If all our attention is concentrated on the hostility or indifference of the world or the meagerness of our own progress in the Christian life, we may well be discouraged. At such times, we need to be reminded that our election is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. The Church is not just a human organization; though of course, it is that. However; its origin lies, not in the will of flesh, in the idealism of men, in human aspirations and plans, but in the eternal purpose of God. When we are discouraged we may well remind ourselves that the Christian Church came into being according to the purpose and plan of God.” 3

The plan Barclay speaks of and Peter writes about has two aspects to it.

“Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but He is precious to God who chose Him. And now God is building you, as living stones, into His Spiritual temple” (I Peter 2:5).

In other words, you and I are not only joined to Christ; but also, one another.

In these days, in which we have been cooped up at home, it is very easy to become discouraged. That’s why it’s so hopeful to remember that we are a community.

Even though we cannot be together as of yet, it gives us hope to know that there is a community that awaits us. Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that there are people out there yearning to be with you, to hang out with you, to love you, to care for you, to listen to you and laugh with you? We may not be the perfect community, but we are a community.

How many of you saw the animated movie Ice Age? Three unlikely companions, a wooly mammoth named Manny, a sloth named Sid, and a saber-tooth tiger named Diego set out on a mission to return a lost human baby to his father. At one point when Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, becomes isolated on a quickly melting island of ice, he jumps to reach the others, but falls short. Dangling from the edge of the ice field, his grip falters, and he falls. Manny the mammoth, unwilling to let Diego perish, leaps into a chasm after him and tosses the tiger upwards to safety. Diego, realizing the danger involved in the rescue, is moved by Manny’s compassion, courage, and sacrifice.

“Why did you do that?” he asks, “You could have died trying to save me.”

Humbly, Manny says, “That’s what you do when you’re part of a herd. You look after each other.”

Amazed at the convergence of circumstances that has brought these three together, Sid muses aloud. “I don’t know about you guys, but we are one strange herd.” 4

“When you’re part of a herd, you look after each other.”

Larry and Cathy Warner have been downloading the written form of this worship, copying all 18 to 20 pages and mailing them to Drema Riser who has no computer to download the written form or watch what you are watching now.

One strange herd indeed, but it gives me hope to know we are part of a herd that looks after each other.”

Not only a herd, but a herd united to accomplish a common mission.

Peter? “You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, His very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.” (2:9).

Peter is encouraging his readers to hang in there knowing that what gives life meaning, even in the face of death, is a noble God-given purpose. There is hope, not only for us who have come to Christ, but for those who will, as a result of our collective effort.

Set in 72 BC, the 2004 television miniseries Spartacus follows the adventures of a former slave who leads an army of freed slaves against the tyrannical Roman legions. Spartacus and his men are hiding from the Roman army in a secluded forest. Spartacus says the time has come for action, but some of his followers are unsure. One man, Crixus, says, “No man tells me what to do, I go where I go.”

Spartacus calls Crixus to come and stand next to him. “This is Crixus the Gaul—maybe the strongest man among us,” Spartacus says. “Still, he’s only one man.”

Spartacus hands Crixus a single arrow, saying, “Can you bend this?” Crixus easily breaks it and throws it to the ground. Then Spartacus hands Crixus a stack of arrows bound together, “Now all of these.”

Photo by Brooklyn Museum / CC 3.0

When he is unable to break them, he throws them to the ground in frustration.

“We are like the arrows,” Spartacus says. “Separately we’re weak, but together we are invincible. And off they go to do battle with their enemies. 5

Yes, for now, we are separated and it may seem that we are weak. But together we are strong.

What can we do? We can, and primarily, we must pray. The church world-wide, as well as the church of which we are a part has a tremendous opportunity now to pray.

Here we are sitting at home. What can we do? We can and we must pray!

We must pray God will use this time to soften peoples’ hearts to Jesus.

We must pray that people will open a Bible and read about the marvelous grace of the Lord Jesus in the gospels.

We must pray that as they come to realization of who God is and what He has done for them in Christ that they will respond with faith.

We must pray for opportunities, limited as they are, to as Peter says, “show others the goodness of God” (I Peter 2:9).

I am filled with hope as I realize that, yes, we are separated, but that does not mean that the mission of the church cannot continue.

I look forward with eager expectation to what God is going to accomplish in and through us as we pray for these things this coming Wednesday from 7 am to 7pm.

Together; together, we are strong!

I love the story told by Stu Weber who was training to be a member of the 101st Airborne prior to WWII. They were on a 20 mile run in full gear on a sweltering North Carolina morning. Their motto was: “You go out together, you stick together, you work together as a unit and you come back together.”

Weber noticed Sanderson running two rows ahead of him close to losing it.
His legs were pumping but he was out of step. The man to his right reached out and took his rifle. When Sanderson’s head began to roll, the man on his left took his helmet.

A minute later, Sanderson was really hurting. He was about to buckle, when the two soldiers behind him each grabbed his backpack and carried it.

Sanderson gathered his remaining strength, squared his shoulders and continued to run all the way to the finish line.

And Weber wrote, “We went out together, we stick together,
we came back together; together is better.” 6

The Tom Hanks documentary Band of Brothers intersperses interviews with surviving members of the 101st airborne with footage from World War II. The closing scene of the documentary shows war hero Lieutenant Richard Winters telling the interviewer about the rare combination of humility and valor in so many of his men. The aging Winters, choked with emotion, quotes from a letter he received from a comrade who was also decorated for valor.

His friend wrote, “I cherish the memories of a question my grandson asked
the other day, ‘Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?’

Grandpa said, ‘No, but I served in a company of heroes.’” 7

Let us be filled with hope as we realize that we too serve in a company of heroes, chosen and held together by the Father, through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish His mission of inducting ever more souls into His body, The Church. Amen.

PRAYER

(I encourage you to stop and pray as you feel led).

CLOSING SONG

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

He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

1 Tim. 6:15b-16

1 William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series; the Letters of James and Peter, Revised Edition. [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Press, © 1975. Page 149.

2 Ibid, page 167.

3 Ibid, page 169.

4 Ice Age (Twentieth-Century Fox, 2002), written by Peter Ackerman, directed by Chris Wedge.
submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2002/june/13732.html

5 DVD (Part 1), scene 14; 01:11:02—01:12:22
Spartacus (USA Network, 2004), directed by Robert Dornhelm;
submitted by Jerry DeLuca, Montreal West, Quebec, Canada
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2007/august/10082707.html

6 Cathy Collard Miller and Larry D. Miller, God’s Chicken Soup for the Spirit. [Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Starburst Publishers, © 1996]. Pages 239-240.

7 “We Stand Alone Together.” Band of Brothers (HBO, 2001), written by Stephen Ambrose, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg; submitted by Bill White, Paramount, California 2018
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2006/january/16313.html

Randy K'Meyer

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