Matthew 18:20
I Corinthians 10:16-17

I had been teaching my three-year-old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord’s Prayer for several evenings at bedtime. She would repeat after me the lines from the prayer. Finally, she decided to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us from E-mail.”

Seriously though, as helpful as e-mail can be, it one medium that is to blame (if I can use that word) for the increasing isolation psychologists are seeing across the board. Yes, many experts are noting in various studies the trend of people moving away from face to face communication with even our friends preferring more and more instead to relate to them electronically. And this trend is rapidly growing through the ever increasing use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and texting.

Similarly, psychologists say that as the number of people who participate in worldwide online, virtual reality video games, there is mounting concern that many are squandering their real lives by obsessing over their imaginary ones. According to a survey of 30,000 gamers conducted by Stanford University nearly 40% of men and 53 % of women who play online games rated their virtual friends as better than their real-life friends. 1

A study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center revealed that Americans have fewer people they confide in than past generations. In 1985, the average American had three people in whom to confide matters that were important to them. In 2004, that number dropped to two. Perhaps even more striking, the number of Americans with no close friends rose from 10 percent in 1985 to 24.6 percent in 2004. 2

It all adds up to people spending less and less time in the company of fellow human beings.

Psychologists have even come up with an acronym for the phenomenon; PSI is Perceived Social Isolation. From an online article I read this morning about the relationship of PSI to health:

There are clear linkages between PSI and the cardiovascular system, neuroendocrine system, and cognitive functioning. PSI also leads to depression, cognitive decline, and sleep problems. 3

It’s even happening in the church where more and more Christians are preferring to remain isolated by watching church on television or online.

From my perspective, that’s tragic and that’s an opportunity for the church.

And it serves to highlight the importance of Christian fellowship in the church; whereby we through our faith in Christ are joined together as the body of Christ. The New Testament includes what I call the ‘one another’s: accept one another, abide with one another, bear one another’s burdens, care for one another, comfort one another, be devoted to one another, encourage one another, forgive one another, honor one another, be ye hospitable to one another, be kind to one another, serve one another, and of course, above all, in all, and through all, love one another, love one another, love one another! In order to be able to practice the one another’s, we must be in proximity! We cannot be the church in isolation.

I love the fellowship we enjoy with one another. I believe the greatest asset we have as a congregation is the love that we share with one another.

We need each other! Paul encourages us to “laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Today we have the privilege of ‘laughing with those who laugh’ as we celebrate graduates from high school, college and Disciple I Bible Study!

And we share in the privilege of ‘weeping with those who weep’ as we mourn the passing on this past Tuesday of both Gail’s father and one of our original 10 founding members of CrossPointe, Mike Stuver.

In Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, Kathryn Greene-McCreight describes her tortured journey through ten years of extreme depression and bipolar disorder. Concerning the importance of Christian fellowship while in recovery, she writes:

This is why it is so important to worship in community—to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for you. Sometimes you literally cannot make it on your own, and you need to borrow from the faith of those around you. Sometimes I cannot even recite the Apostles Creed unless I am doing it in the context of worship, along with all the body of Christ. When reciting the Creed, I borrow from the recitation of others. Companionship in the Lord Jesus is powerful. 4

Our Disciple III class just finished reading the letters of Paul. A couple months back, the application part of the lesson suggested the possibility of writing a letter of encouragement to someone and I suggested that the class write a letter of encouragement to CrossPointe. They put their heads together and came up with a beautiful letter:

Dear CrossPointe Family,

Grace to you and may peace be with each of you.

Be encouraged in your faith. You are a warm and wonderful congregational family, comprised of individual followers of Christ, willing to join together and reach out to others in the community who are in need of God’s love and grace.

We thank God through Jesus Christ for you and our shared belief in the resurrection and your unwavering mission to love us to sanctification.

Remain steadfast in your faith, trusting in God to use each of you to fulfill his plans for his church. Be grateful for each person who is drawn to God through his church. In all things give thanks for what God has done and continues to do through you, through CrossPointe.

You have greeted and accepted each of us through your action, encouraging us to be more involved in God’s work. Be encouraged that the love that you have for others and show to others, is an impactful blessing to our entire community and attracts others to join us in our faith journey.

This community is filled with opportunities to serve, honor and love our God, who has seen fit to provide fruitful ministries through His church here at CrossPointe. Continue in your ministries, reaching out to those in need, sharing God’s grace with all. Be encouraged to continue to love and care for those who are in need by feeding the hungry, helping those who are struggling with addiction, comforting those who are grieving, providing a safe, loving, and fun environment where children and youth can come and connect to God. Continue to provide and support teaching and learning opportunities of God’s Word for everyone. Be encouraged to continue in the music ministers providing opportunities for folks to develop, nurture and share their gifts through song and instruments, always worshiping the Lord.

You continually provide a wonderful, warm and inviting atmosphere for Sunday worship service, where one can easily say “Surely God Must Be in This Place”, for his love is reflected in your face, flowing from your hearts and heard in your songs. Your warmth is an encouragement for others to accept the invitation that is truly sent by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Always give thanks to our Lord for the wonderful blessings that abound us here at CrossPointe.
There is an undeniable visible, loving, and caring fellowship amongst the CrossPointe family of believers, that is overflowing with love for God and each other.

When you find yourself getting discouraged; don’t falter! Tap into the strength and faith power of the CrossPointe community and family. Remember to keep your hope in the Lord, knowing that those “who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 Let’s continue to build each other up.

Through God all things are possible and through each of you wonderful vessels of faith, the joy of the Lord will prevail.

In closing, our hearts are filled with great joy, love, and gratitude to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We give thanks for each of you and we continue to keep you in our prayers so that we all can share in the ministries here on earth and in heaven above.

With Love,
The Disciple III Class of 2018.

In addition, here are some thoughts of love and words of wisdom from Marie Kehoe (February 1, 2018) before she passed away:
What a warm and wonderful church. Always encourage others to believe. Lead us to share with the community – thanking God for caring for us. Bring others to Christ by belonging to a church family, which provides friendship, love and sharing of our lives to completion.

I know that the canon of scripture has been closed for some 1,600 years, but who moves it be opened again so as to include this marvelous and encouraging letter? (lol).

A pastor tells about how he got a call from a young friend to say she’d admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital. While she was there, I visited her when I could. One of my visits was on Good Friday. I asked her if she’d like for me to bring Communion to her. She said she would and asked if some of the other hospitalized Christians could join us. On that spring afternoon, five or six of us gathered in her room and shared the sacred meal. It was the most meaningful Communion service I ever shared; half a dozen strangers, each scarred by heartache, sitting helpless in a locked ward. Yet Jesus was there because we were there as His beloved. He was not only among us, but He was there within us. Even as broken people, we were one with each other. We were strengthened by His presence; we were nourished, washed, and rejuvenated all because we shared in the fellowship of Jesus. 5


1 Janet Kornblum, “Study: 25 Percent of Americans Have No One to Confide In,” USA Today (6-23-06), 1A; submitted by Bill White, Paramount, California

2 Ibid.


4 Kathyrn Greene-McCreight, Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness(Brazos Press, 2006), p. 88; submitted by Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois

5 Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois