Ok, so that is just a strange phrase… church shopping. However, that is what it is often called when a person or family is out trying to find a church. The concept is totally foreign to Jennifer and I as God has simply placed us in our previous two churches (covering the last 10+ years of our life)… in fact, the last time we moved (GA to VA) it was to go to a new church!
So, now here we are in Florida without a church to call home. That said, I think we might have found our home already. The church is called Cross Pointe and I had the opportunity to visit last Sunday. While it was only one visit, I must say I felt a connection. I had found out about the church through the Acts 29 Network which is a church planting network that I’ve been following for a while (thanks for my friend Robert Greene at Redemption Hill). The thing I like most about Acts 29 is that their churches are very reformed and missional. So, when moving to FL I decided to see if they had a church in the area. Not only did I find that they had a church here, but Cross Pointe Church is one of the top 25 church planting churches in the nation. That is cool because one of my life dreams is to be a part of planting churches. So, seems like a good place to be.
I think the thing that sealed the deal for me during my “church shopping” excursion last Sunday was that I sensed in the service a reverence for Jesus and his word. For me, this is of primary importance in a church. I need to know that when I go with my family that we are going to encounter God’s word preached with Jesus as the hero (not me). Cross Pointe nailed it for me on Sunday. To begin with, the church is currently going through the book of Ecclesiastes… Yup, you read right, Ecclesiastes. This was encouraging on two points. One, to preach through the entire book of Ecclesiastes you have to really believe that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16). Second, to preach it well, you really have to understand that all of scripture points to the sacrificial death of Jesus on a cross for sin. I think Cross Pointe and the pastors get it… and I’m excited!
On Sunday, Pastor Ryan (who was ordained as an elder that morning) preached from Eccliesiastes 7:15-24… which, by the way, was only the 5th sermon he’s ever preached… talk about jumping in the deep end of the pool)… anyway, after walking through the scriptures he took us to Romans 3:21-26 and explained how the gospel helps us to understand everything we just read. It was really great. Then, after the sermon we celebrated communion (which the do every Sunday -double bonus points- ). After communion and a song of worship the lead pastor, Chan, came out for the benediction. He said, “In light of the message this morning, here is your benediction, (he reads Romans 8:1-4) Now, go and be the church.” … uh … home run derby!
So, this Sunday we’ll go as a family and I’m really excited. In fact, I have a lot more to write about the church, but I really need to go study Hebrew and work on some websites… so, more to come later.