If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:
CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
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.” Then He sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.Matthew 16:13-20
As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into His glory, and God will be glorified because of Him. And since God receives glory because of the Son, He will give His own glory to the Son, and He will do so at once. Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for Me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”
Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”John 13:31-35
And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow Me later.”
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Colossians 3:12-15
The Primo Third Place
Howard Schultz bought Starbucks from its original owners in the early 80s and morphed the company from selling coffee beans and grinders to actually serving coffee on the premises. He led this charge because he was convinced that Americans needed a third place (beyond home and work) for camaraderie and meaningful relationships. 1 17,757 Starbucks stores in the US testify to Schultz’s insight that Americans are in need of a so-called ‘third place.’ 2
Fitness places are taking Starbucks’ ideas and running with them. One author says, “Institutions like CrossFit and SoulCycle are offering their students more than just a chance to lose weight or tone up. People come because they want to lose weight or gain muscle strength, but they stay for the community.” We’ve heard people say, ‘Crossfit is my church.’” 3 Which goes to show you that people are still hungry for connectivity, for authentic relationships in which they give and receive emotional support and encouragement. Walk into any coffeehouse or bar and you will find people seeking to find that ‘third place’ atmosphere.
I believe in and love the church of Jesus Christ because it was designed to be the primo third place where people find community, healing, and love.
Remember Acts 2:42 from a couple of weeks ago? The new Christians devoted themselves to “the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the sharing of meals and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
Concerning the second of four things they devoted themselves to what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say the word, ‘fellowship?’ Many church buildings have a ‘fellowship hall,’ where church people enjoy the church’s unofficial sacrament, coffee and cookies. But this understanding of the word fellowship falls far short of the richness of ‘koinonia.’
The word means ‘sharing,’ and implies that people engage in koinonia in one of two ways. First, sharing something with someone; be it money or clothing or a meal, as Acts 2:42 spells out, those early Christians “shared meals together.” Secondly, koinonia occurs when two or more people share in something with someone. For example, we are experiencing koinonia right now as we share the experience of worshipping God together.
In this regard, fellowship happens when two people get together to talk about the complexities of living life with one another, or to encourage one another, or to pray for one another.
By the way, did you notice I just used the phrase ‘one another’ three times? There is a direct correlation between fellowship and the one anothers of the New Testament where the various writers instruct us to minister to one another.
There’s almost a “one another” for each letter in the alphabet:
“Accept one another” (Romans 15:7),
“Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2),
“Care for one another” (I Corinthian 12:25),
“be Devoted to one another” (Romans 12:10),
“Encourage one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11),
“Forgive one another” (Ephesians 4:32),
“Greet one another with a holy kiss” appears three times (Romans 16:16, I Corinthians 16:20, II Corinthians 13:12),
“Honor one another” (Romans 12:10),
“be Kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32),
“Pray for one another” (James 5:16),
“Serve one another” (Galatians 5:13), That’s just 11 of the 59 “one another’s” in the New Testament instructing church people to minister to “one another.”
And, of course, all of these come under the general heading of: “Love one another” (which trumps all the one another’s by appearing 13 times) “Love one another” Jesus said, “just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples” (John 13:34-35). Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that has a positive impact on the community.
Dwight Moody was fond of telling a story about a little boy who attended a Sunday school in a church in Chicago. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far and mentioned that there were plenty of other churches just as good nearer his home. The boy replied, “They may be as good for others, but not for me.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because they love a fellow over there,” he replied.
And Moody wrote, “If only we could make the world believe that we loved one another there would be fewer empty churches and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door.” 4
Clearly then, koinonia describes a depth of relationship that we don’t usually associate with punch and cookies or talking about the Browns or Buckeyes.
As much as we love our church now, if we are going to be more effective in loving one another in all these ways, we must carve out time to be with one another.
Obviously, the COVID pandemic interfered with our ability to do so. And to some extent, it still is. But we must not allow the lingering effects of COVID to negatively impact either our desire or our ability to get together.
I propose that for those who wish to, we do our best to facilitate opportunities for people to get together. If for no other reason, than to just get face to face with other people and enjoy the blessing of seeing and speaking to one another and in doing so, become friends. We can facilitate this by hosting small groups here, or people could meet in others’ homes. or meet for dinner in a restaurant.
Last Monday I called Marla Wilson to ask her to meet Gail and me for lunch and I asked her if I could invite someone else along. After the fact, she told me she thought I was bringing my mother, who Marla knew was staying with me last week. But instead, I invited Ron and Rena Thomas and Drema Riser to meet us at Applebee’s. That was the first time that Marla was able to see these dear friends since the beginning of the pandemic. And all of us remarked how nice it was to be able to do that again.
The point is if we are going to love one another we simply must get together. Together is better for so many reasons!
The role of the church is to show people that what they are searching for at Starbucks or at the fitness center comes through a deep relationship with the living God and with His people.
I believe in and love the church because in the church I can find community, love compassion, and healing. You need what other people in this church offer you: love, forgiveness, grace, and friendship. We each need to not only be recipients of, but also dispensers of the same.
I want to close by telling you a personal experience of koinonia that I experienced 21 years ago, not in the church, but with some of the good folk in the Medina County Home.
On the Thursday before Good Friday, I received a phone call from Becky at the Medina County Home.
She informed me that the pastor who was going to lead the Easter Service there had for some reason backed out and would I come to the home at 2:00 pm to hold an Easter Service for the residents. I’m so glad I got that opportunity. It was the most meaningful Easter Service I ever had the privilege of attending.
When I entered the community room at 1:45 there was Fin, waiting for things to begin. Fin is always the first one to show up for anything going on there. Because Fin is very healthy of body and mind he kind of takes it upon himself to be at most of these events early so he can be of help in any way he can. In the next ten minutes, four other people mozied in and took a seat. That wasn’t enough folks for Fin, so he got on the horn and reminded everyone that Easter Services were about to begin. About that time, something inside said “You don’t need to go to preaching a sermon to these folks today, even though you think you had a pretty good Easter sermon a little earlier this morning.” So I says, “Fin, would you help me move some of these chairs out of their nice straight rows into a circle?”
“Sure will, what’s cooking?”
“We’re going to do Easter a little differently today.”
So as Fin and I made a circle of about a dozen chairs, slow but sure, here came the other Easter celebrants; mostly two by two, like it was in the days of Noah so they came some moving under their own power . . .some using walkers . . . some in wheelchairs. Those who entered the door of the community room alone were immediately rescued by the ever-helpful Fin, who would ever so gently lend an arm to steady or a hand to hold as he would usher them into the circle of love. And after about 10 minutes more, we were all assembled before the Lord. when the still, small voice spoke again, “Randy, you don’t have anything to say to these beautiful people about Easter that they don’t already know . . . just listen.”
And so with a wisdom that I rarely display, I said, “Today, I’m not going to preach to you folks, rather, I’d like for you to tell me something; “What does Easter mean to you?”
On my right, Ivy stirred as much as she could for one sitting in a fetal-like position. Although Ivy has a speech impediment, the look on her face told us she could hardly contain the excitement that was building up inside her as she realized she was going to be the first to speak. She leaned forward in her chair as best she could, and hardly moving her lips, “Jesus rose from the dead,” before she settled back again in her chair to a whispered chorus of amens.
And on around the circle it went, no pretending, no hiding, no masks, just openness, and vulnerability.
Big Ed said “Easter means God loves us.”
“I like the colored eggs,” said Gail.
Joe said, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem.”
And a beautiful lady from Hickory, North Carolina, Joline McKinney, said in her sweet southern drawl, “God made rainbows.”
And John in his cowboy hat, said, “Easter means to me that we’re all going to be in heaven together someday.”
About the time we circled back to the beginning, Milo stuck his head in the doorway. Milo is a big man with a big nose and big glasses and big suspenders holding up his big pants . . . and he has a big gruff voice that would scare the bejeebers out of you if he could sneak up on you before he spoke, but luckily Milo is too big to sneak up on anybody. “What are you guys doing in here?” Milo said menacingly.
I know Milo enough to know how to get along with him . . . I shot back “We’re having an Easter service . . . come on over and sit down.” And he did.
I said, “I think you missed your calling Milo.”
“What do you mean?”
“You should have been a preacher, you’ve got the perfect voice for it.
“Yea, . . . you think so huh?”
“Yea, I do . . . hey, don’t you guys think that Milo has a great preaching voice?”
“Yea” they all exclaimed at once.
And Milo started to tear up. He sobbed, “Mom used to take me to Sunday School when I was a little kid, but I never went to church much. Then he looked at me and said, “Preacher, do you think Jesus could love a hard-nose like me?” Then I was the one all choked up.
And before I could compose an answer, the real teachers in that room let Milo know in no uncertain terms that Jesus not only could . . . but did love that big galut.
By the way, I went to the home yesterday. Found Milo and a few others watching Big Chuck and Little John. Apparently, I started something on Easter because Milo says to me, “That’s John Simon over there and he’s going to hell because he don’t know Jesus.”
Anyway, back to our circle on Easter Sunday.
“I’ll tell you what Easter means to me then . . .” Milo said, “It means having my friends here with me.”
And the heretofore whispered amen’s were transformed into a beautiful symphony of “you got that right.” And round the circle we started again, each one having a testimony of thankfulness upon their lips for the value of having one another as friends; to love . . . to share . . . to help . . . to laugh with . . . and cry with too. The people of the Medina County Home know the blessing, the richness of togetherness . . . koinonia.
Chuck Swindoll writes,
“If any group of Christians who claim to believe and practice all that God has said in His book will face up to their personal responsibility within the family of Christ to love one another; their church will impress its community with the shining goodness of God’s love. Such a transformation probably would do more to attract others to Jesus Christ than house-to-house canvassing, evangelistic campaigns, or a new church facility. People are hungry for love and acceptance and unless they find them in the church they may not stay long enough to become personally related to Jesus Christ.”
“Love one another,” Jesus said, “just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples”.John 13:34-35
2 Number of Starbucks Stores in the United States in 2022, Nov 7, 2022. https://www.scrapehero.com/location-reports/Starbucks-USA/
3 Tara Isabella Burton, Crossfit Is My Church, Vox, (9-10-18) https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2018/october/crossfit-is-my-church.html
4 Moody’s Anecdotes, Page 71-72