Standing on the Edge

Worship Service for April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday

WELCOME

Good morning and welcome to CrossPointe Community Church’s online worship presentation. I thank God for all of you and for the opportunity to spend these moments with you. If you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail me at randykmeyer@hotmail.com.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

A great big thank you again to all of you who participated in any way to support the Chippewa Lake Lion’s Club Where’s Chippy? Fundraiser. What a huge success. $50, 500 was raised! What a great effort. Those funds will help many people living in and around our community. I thank the good Lord for allowing CrossPointe to be involved in it.

Gail and I will be traveling to Florida Monday afternoon and will not return until Tuesday, April 13th. We are so very fortunate that Jim Brandenburg will not only be leading the music but also filling the pulpit. I am privy to the theme of message that he will be sharing with you and I can say with confidence that you will be blessed by what he has to bring you.

CALL TO WORSHIP

He is risen!
And I know that you just responded with He is risen indeed!

Since we have been studying in the Gospel of John, here is his version of Easter Sunday morning:

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize Him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought He was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them His message.

John 20:1-8

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Wesley, Charles

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens and earth reply: Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

©Public Domain CCLI License No. 1843349

Shout Your Fame

Bedingfield, Natasha/Galanti, Jonas Myrin/Nevison, Paul

Some say You’re just a good man,
Some say You are kind.
Some say You are in the grave,
But I say You’re alive.

Some say You’re just a prophet,
Some say You were wise.
Some say You were just a man.
But I say You are God.
You are my God.

I will shout Your fame to all the earth,
I will lift Your name on high.
And the world will know
Your greatness,
You are my God,
I will shout Your fame.

I know You’re the Messiah,
You gave Your life for me.
And I know You’re the only way
Jesus You are God,
You are my God.

I will shout Your fame to all the earth,
I will lift Your name on high.
And the world will know Your greatness,
You are my God, Jesus I will

Shout Your fame to all the earth
I will lift Your name on high
I will show the world Your goodness
As I live a life that shouts Your fame
As I live a life that shouts Your fame

Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Shout Your fame. Shout Your fame.
Shout Your fame. Shout Your fame.

©2003 Hillsong Publishing (admin in the US and Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music).
This arrangement ©2008 Hillsong Publishing (admin. in the US and Canada by
Integrity’s Hosanna! Music).
CCLI License No. 1843349

He is Lord

Fettke, Tom

He is Lord. He is Lord.
He is risen from the dead and He is Lord.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord.

©Arr. 1986 by Word Music (a div of Word Music).
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin to abundant life in Christ on earth until the day comes for each of us to live eternally with Him in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

I will be at the church today until 12 noon if you would like to bring your offering. Or you may send it in to:

CrossPointe Community Church
PO Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

As we consider once again, the call upon our lives as Christ-followers to give as Christ has given to us, here’s a verse to think about from the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (II Corinthians 9:7).

PRAYER SONG

Alleluia, Alleluia

Fishel, Donald E.

Alleluia, alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord;
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give praise to His name.

Jesus is Lord of all the earth
He is the King of creation.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord;
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give praise to His name.

Spread the good news o’er all the earth
Jesus has died and has risen.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord;
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give praise to His name.

We have been crucified with Christ
Now we shall live forever.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord;
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give praise to His name.

Come let us praise the living God
Joyfully sing to our Savior.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord;
Alleluia, alleluia!
Give praise to His name.

©1973 The Word of God Music (admin by The Copyright Company)
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Robyn Tresch

Dear Lord,

As we look back at the challenges we faced this time last year, we give thanks for Your guidance and strength. We look upon Your sacrifice as a reminder to never lose hope. For the veil of darkness around Your crucifixion was transformed to the brightest light of resurrection. The most dreadful end became the most beautiful beginning. The depths of despair faded to reveal hope everlasting.

Help us to embrace and enjoy the life You have given us each day, for it is no accident. May Your grace be with us as we gather to celebrate Your gifts and may we share Your grace and forgiveness just as freely. During both trying seasons and easy days, help us to remember You constantly. While we cannot see our own path ahead, we know You always have a plan for us.

In Jesus name we pray, amen.

SCRIPTURE

It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:42-57

For the 2021 Lenten Season, I chose to focus on the most well-known and memorized verse in the Bible: John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”

Today, we come to consider the conclusion of this verse: “might not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As I began to consider how to approach that phrase, my thoughts turned to a story Jesus told, recorded in the Gospel of Luke. When I turned there and re-read that passage, it dawned on me that it could serve as commentary on, or as illustration of, “might not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’

Luke 16:19-31

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Standing on the Edge

I couldn’t find the author, but some baby-boomer rock and roller wittily wrote: “The fact that there is a Highway to Hell and only a Stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.” 1

That baby-boomer’s wit reflects the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew (7:13-14) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

And they also reflect ‘might not perish’ (in one destination), but have ‘everlasting life’ (in the other) as well as the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

In both passages, and especially the latter, it’s as if Jesus takes us by the hand and leads over to the edge of a canyon, and invites us to take in the view, above and below.

As we contemplate the vista that Jesus paints for us, we rather quickly spot four rather obvious takeaways:

  1. all human beings have a disease called mortality,
  2. physical death is not the end of human existence,
  3. there are two destinations for those who die,
  4. how we live in this life has an impact on whether we take the Highway to Hell or climb the Stairway to Heaven.

And then after standing there for a few moments a fifth takeaway emerges: there is, or should be, an urgency in deciding where we wish to spend eternity.

Father Abraham, I beg you to send someone to my brothers and warn them lest they too come to this place of torment.

Luke 16:27-28

Beyond those five take-aways, I want to offer three observations from the edge of the canyon.

1 – Standing on the edge of the canyon draws all of life into perspective.

What matters and what doesn’t suddenly becomes clearer, and many, if not most things that we thought were so important no longer are. Suddenly the rich man was no longer concerned about his purple clothing or the luxurious life that he once lived on earth. At the canyon’s edge, no one is concerned about clothing, salaries, or positions. No one cares whether you drive a Mercedes or a Chevy. It suddenly doesn’t matter anymore who said what to who. Standing on the canyon’s edge draws all life into perspective and all the games and disguises of life seem sadly silly because life is over.

I was reading about a mother who journeys to the edge of the canyon often. Each time she goes to the cemetery, she recalls teaching her oldest son, Tim, to drive right there where it was quiet, the speed limit was slow, and there wasn’t much traffic. Tim would work his way around, braking into a curve, accelerate out of the curve, stop, back up and start all over.

Afterwards she would take Tim across the street to McDonalds, where she would recover while he chowed a Big Mac and fries. Sometimes she wondered if she would survive until he learned how to drive.

Well, she did; Tim did learn and he was a good driver. But a couple years later, his car was smashed by someone who wasn’t.

As she went to visit Tim’s grave in that same cemetery recently, her thoughts were interrupted when a little red Nissan came around the curve. There was a mother, about 35, her hair blowing in the breeze. Beside her, in the driver’s seat, sat a boy, about 15. She wanted to shout out, “Enjoy the ride! Now! Make a memory! Go get a hamburger to celebrate! Do it now while you can still look each other in the eyes!”

She envies the mom in the little red Nissan. She would love to hear Tim’s laughter again. But she also knows that the years end up stealing someone from everybody, and that all people are called to occasionally stand near the canyon’s edge. And she has learned to trust that the only place the family circle will be unbroken has been prepared for us by God.

When you are standing at the edge of the canyon, many, if not most things that we thought were so important suddenly pale in significance.

Which leads to my second observation.

2 – Standing on the edge of this canyon invites us to urgently consider where we would like to end up.

Randy Alcorn, in his excellent book, Heaven, writes about a cemetery in Indiana that has a tombstone (more than a hundred years old) which bears the following epitaph:

Pause stranger, when you pass me by,
As you are now; so once was I.
As I am now; so you will be,
So prepare for death and follow me.”

An unknown passerby read those words and underneath scratched this reply:

To follow you I’m not content,
until I know which way you went. 2

Dr. Maurice Rawlings was, before he died in 2010, a highly credentialed cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Rawlings was also a Korean War hero, personal physician to both President Dwight Eisenhower and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He and his emergency room colleagues treated many near-death cases, where many people later speak of seeing the light, lush green meadows, smiling relatives, and a tremendous sense of peace.

However; he also discovered that nearly 50% of the 300 people he interviewed after being resuscitated reported lakes of fire and brimstone, devil-like figures and other sights hailing from the darkness of hell.

Dr. Rawlings says that many of those same folks later change their story because most people are simply ashamed to admit they have been to hell; they won’t even admit it to their families.

Rawlings said, “Listening to these patients has changed my whole life. I was a devout atheist, but after these experiences,” he wrote in his book, Beyond Death’s Door, “There is life after death, and if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s not safe to die.”

Dr. Rawlings chose to trust Christ’s death and resurrection because he came to believe that Jesus gained the victory over death. 3

There once was a man who was born and raised a Muslim, who when the gospel of Jesus was explained to Him became a Christian. Some of his friends asked him, “Why have you become a Christian?”
He answered, “Well, it’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive; which one would you ask for directions?” 4

The One who died and rose again on the third day invites those who stand on the edge of the canyon to make Him the center of our lives. And when we do the third observation comes into play.

3 – After making the choice to climb the stairway to heaven, the empty tomb takes on tremendous significance.

In Rudyard Kipling’s, The Jungle Book, Mowgli, the man-cub asks the animals what’s the most feared thing in the jungle. He’s reminded that when two animals meet on a narrow path that one must step aside and let the other pass and the animal that steps aside for no one is to be most feared. Mowgli wants to know what kind of animal that would be. A monkey tells him it’s an elephant, a zebra tells him it’s a lion. Finally, the wise old owl exclaims, “The most feared thing in the jungle is death; it steps aside for no one.” 5

The wise old owl was wrong! Death did step aside for one man, the God-man, Jesus, the Christ.

He is not here, He is risen, just as He said!

Matthew 28:6

I read the blog of a man who wrote:

I remember that when they told me I had two kinds of cancer, and eight months to live, I felt a cosmic sense of loneliness. I had never felt so abandoned. Yes, there were people there with me, holding me, comforting me.

But I realized in the depths of my heart that no one else could endure this for me: the most loving, caring person in the world could not have my bone marrow biopsies, or my spinal taps, or chemo. The most compassionate person in my life could not do the dying for me.

Just as I was feeling most sorry for myself, someone reminded me that the most compassionate, loving person in my life already did the dying for me. Jesus faced death at an early age, abandoned by many of His friends and family, and He willingly died for all of us.

And that wasn’t the end of the story, of course. God raised Jesus from the dead, and Jesus is alive and with me today!

I believe if we were to announce today an unmistakable cure for cancer that you couldn’t contain the people who would flood Chippewa Lake. Because people are afraid of death and they are looking for a cure. Yet I tell you, in Christ we have a cure that is greater than the cure for cancer. There is a cure for death, the very thing of which we are afraid!

Death; that is eternal death can be eliminated in our lives! It has been conquered in the person of Jesus. And as long as people want to live rather than die they will come to Christ as a thirsty person comes to a cool stream of water.

Have you ever thought about how birth isn’t a good analogy for death?

The child, before birth, must certainly feel secure and safe in its world. The environment might be limited, but it is warm and comfortable. The unborn infant knows what to count on in its existence. Birth must seem like death to the child, being thrust in such a traumatic way out of the comfortable and known.

If it were possible, we would say to the child, “Don’t worry, the birth you are about to experience is part of the plan. You can’t even begin to imagine the world that awaits you!”

But we cannot give those encouraging words. The child must pass through before finding out.

Death is going to be like that. Yes, we will leave behind all that we have come to know and experience. Even though its fleeting, we have experienced a sense of security. We think death takes us from our comfort and safety, ending the only life we can imagine.

But for the person of God, there is awaits an even greater existence! As we stand at the edge of the canyon, contemplating life and death, we are still inside the womb, on the wrong side of the door. But all of the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, we shall burst forth into a new existence!

Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.

I Corinthians 15: 42-44

For those who stand on the edge of the canyon of death, everything is going to be more than okay because the tomb is empty! The empty tomb makes all the difference. Especially for those like Tim’s mother who visit the edge of the canyon on a regular basis.

The empty tomb turns night into day, despair into hope, death into life.

You may have never thought about this kind of thing before; however, if you are in Christ you are closer to home than you have ever been before. Each moment is a step taken, each breath another page turned, each day another mile marked. Before we know it, our appointed arrival time will come and what Jesus did for Lazarus, Tim, Dr. Rawlings and that man who died of cancer will occur for us. And we will see faces that are waiting to see us again and we will hear our name spoken by those who love us.

And then the One who would rather die than live without us will remove His pierced hands from His robe and begin to applaud because by His grace you have left the edge of the canyon and made your way to heaven!

“Thank be to God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:58).

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage you to pray as you feel led by God to pray).

CLOSING SONG

Alive Forever, Amen!

Cottrell, Moffitt and Smith

Let the children sing…a song of celebration,
The God of our salvation set us free.
Death where is thy sting?
The curse of sin is broken.
The empty tomb stands open, come and see.

He’s alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive, praise and glory to the Lamb.
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive forever amen!

Let my heart sing out,
For Christ the One and Only,
So powerful and holy, rescued me.
Death won’t hurt me now,
Because He has redeemed me.
No grave will ever keep me from my King!

I’m alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive, praise and glory to the Lamb.
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive forever amen!
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive, praise and glory to the Lamb.
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive forever amen!
Worthy is the Lamb,
Worthy of our praise
Worthy is the One
Who has overcome the grave.
Let the people dance,
Let the people sing.
Worthy is the Mighty King.

Worthy is the Lamb,
Worthy of our praise
Worthy is the One
Who has overcome the grave.
Let the people dance,
Let the people sing.
Worthy is the Mighty King.

Worthy is the Lamb,
Worthy of our praise
Worthy is the One
Who has overcome the grave.
Let the people dance,
Let the people sing.
Worthy is the Mighty King.

Worthy is the Lamb,
Worthy of our praise
Worthy is the One
Who has overcome the grave.
Let the people dance,
Let the people sing.
Worthy is the Mighty King.

Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive, praise and glory to the Lamb.
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive forever amen!
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive, praise and glory to the Lamb.
Alive, alive, alive! Hallelujah!
Alive forever amen!

Alive forever amen!
Alive forever amen!
Alive forever, amen!

©2003 New Spring Publishing, Inc. CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

Now may the God of peace who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with His blood; may He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

1 Author unknown

2 Randy Alcorn, Heaven, [Sandy, Oregon: Eternal Life Perspectives, © 2004]. Page 16.

3 James Hewett, Editor, Illustrations Unlimited, [Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, © 1988]. Page 151.

4 Warren Webster, April, 1980, HIS, p. 13.
http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/e/easter.htm

5 Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book,
Contributed by Michael De Rosa on Sep 22, 2006
https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/29073/a-rudyard-kipling-the-jungle-book-mowgli-the-by-michael-de-rosa

Randy K'Meyer

Leave a Reply Text