We have created a short video that provides people with an overview of Crosstown Fellowship Church. Please send this video to others as it introduces people to who we are and what we are accomplishing.
Those 3 words could be some of the most powerful words ever spoken.
Of course, they were said by Jesus while dying on the cross, but when we look at them a bit more closely, we begin to see what really is finished and why that is important.
Since the beginning of time, man has struggled. That struggle fleshes itself out in many ways; broken relationships, hardships, pain, toil, selfishness, strong desires just to name a few. The results of those things are evidenced in outcomes such as adultery, sexual temptations, divorce, the pursuit of anything other than God and more.
The Bible calls this “sin”. Sin, an archery term, means to miss the mark. Here are 2 questions:
- Who creates the mark that needs to be hit?
- What happens if the mark isn’t hit?
Let’s begin with who creates the mark…
As we are now, we (human beings) WANT to create the mark and control the mark; maybe even be able to move the mark. It is so much easier that way, isn’t it? I mean, we get to make the rules, and we control how we interpret them. If things are going the way that I think they should go I can just shift the mark a little bit to suit me.
Relativity is something that is not new to people. Since the beginning of time, people have been taking a potential truth and rearranging it to make it relative to them. If we can control it, manipulate it and move it based on our needs, we can justify just about any action we take.
In the Garden of Eden for instance, we see two people that God created, Adam and Eve. They are in a perfect relationship with God. There are no problems, no issues, and God has given them purpose and jobs to name animals and more. He gives them instructions to eat anything they want from anywhere except one place.
From the start, we see a God that has a deep desire to have a solid, pure and perfect relationship with His creation, which, by the way, He calls the very best of all that He created. He has a desire for this not because He needs us but because we are created in His image, His design. From the very beginning, God’s desire for us was His very best.
If we go back to the way that we want to make things relative to us and our situations, this is not a new thing. In a situation like that, we see two things happen; we either see someone ignore God’s perfect design for us and His desire for a relationship, or we distort it to meet our needs. Listen to these words:
“Did God really say…”
When the greatness that God had for us was bent with a few words, man and woman made a choice that changed the course of mankind. It leads to all of the things listed above.
When we understand that the mark was set forth by God and that the mark is perfection than anything short of that mark is a miss. This is where it starts to rub people the wrong way because we want to believe that we are inherently good and it seems like a bit of a rub when we are told that we have missed that mark. I have even heard some people say, “it doesn’t seem fair”.
God created the mark and we will never be able to hit it on our own…
Point 2- What happens when the mark is missed?
Eternally speaking, not good. Day to day speaking, not good either. We don’t need to look very far to see that our world is a broken place. We FEEL the effects of this daily, some more than others. When we feel that, we have two responses; first make it relative to me and my situation so that I don’t feel that bad, or second, realize that there might be another option.
It is finished are words that Jesus spoke while on the cross. In God’s timing, Jesus was arrested, tried, brutally beaten, spiked to a cross, lifted up in the air on beams where he suffocated to death. A long and incredibly painful death.
Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. Others also made the same claim. Jesus claimed to be the one that could make things right again. All that was is and will be could be made right if someone just believes in Him.
It is finished means that it is done. The question is what? In order to make things right again with God, there needed to be a sacrifice. For centuries, people were making animal sacrifices where blood was shed, in order to pay for the sins of the people. Other sacrifices were made as well. The problem is that none of those sacrifices were enough.
Think about all the brokenness that has taken place just in the past 100 years. Now multiply that by another 50 or 100. The brevity of this problem was something greater than an animal’s blood would take care of.
God said I will take care of the problem.
Jesus, God in flesh, takes the weight of everything broken, places it upon himself and crushes it all in death. When He said the words, “it is finished”, it meant that all of this brokenness (sin) has been dealt with and taken care of. Past, present and future, all of it dealt with.
So what does this mean?
What you couldn’t do, God did. It is finished means it is done and that we don’t have to live the way we used to live. It means that the chains that hold us apart from the very best that God has, have been broken. It means that we can live a life of abundance (not necessarily with just money), joy, peace, and happiness because we have been lifted out of something so incredibly tiring.
It is finished is an invitation to the understanding that there is nothing you can do to get out of it. No matter how relative you try to make it today, tomorrow you will probably feel the same and you will need to change the mark.
Sick of changing the mark? Tired of moving the target?
It is finished was meant for you.
Is being “colorblind” a good thing? Is being “colorblind” biblical?
I (Phil) have to admit that for the longest time, including when we moved to Mound Bayou, I would tell people that I was colorblind.
When we say things like, “I am colorblind” or “I don’t see color”, we are saying that color is a problem and if we remove it, then all will be fine.
Going back to the original 2 questions… is it a good thing or does that seem biblical?
Personally speaking, I thought I was being a “good Christian” by saying those things.
Yeah… Not so much…
At Crosstown Fellowship Church, we want to “Celebrate” each other and not “tolerate” each other.
Toleration always has a breaking point.
Here is a great article addressing “colorblindness” and the ramifications of it.
As we move forward, we want to be clear as to what we believe. This also defines everything that we do as a church body. If it does not line up with our 4 pillars, we won’t do it.
The Word: We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and it reveals who He is and what He has done. We believe that it is inspired and authoritative. Even more specifically we believe that Jesus is God’s Final Word to us, and He perfectly reveals the heart of God. CFC preaches Christ and Him crucified as the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. Jesus is the One who came to heal us and deliver us and we believe He is still doing that today through the proclamation of the Gospel. We believe that His Kingdom is coming through His Word is proclaimed and people being adopted into His family.
Sacraments: We believe that Jesus’ love is made real to us, and we are set apart through the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion as we receive them by faith. They are visible words that we need to strengthen our faith in Christ. We practice common cup communion because we believe that God designed us for communion. We are made in His image and He is one God in three persons – a blessed community of love. So we drink from the common cup to declare our unity. We are called to “discern” the body of Christ as we come to His table. We take that to mean that the people sitting around us are the body of Jesus and how we treat them is how we treat Jesus. For blacks and whites to drink from the same cup is a big deal in the Mississippi Delta. Not many years ago we couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain so to drink from the same cup is saying something powerful. It is saying that this person is my sister or my brother. It is saying that we are equal. We both have inherent dignity and worth, and we are both sinners who desperately need the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. We cannot live without it. We believe that baptism is a sign and seal of our relationship with Jesus. We believe that baptism is our initiation into the body of Christ and that God promises His love to those who are baptized and their children.
Fellowship: We believe that we were made for fellowship. The Biblical word for it is the Greek word koinonia. There has been so much written about community and fellowship but what we want to focus on is the celebration of each other – especially our different cultures. Our of our mantra is “Celebrate don’t Tolerate.” I can only imagine what it was like for Jews and Gentiles to learn to love each other despite such huge cultural differences and preferences. But we know that through the Gospel they did. They really learned to participate in each other’s lives and become a family. They learned how to submit to one another and serve one another and count each other as better than themselves. To learn to truly celebrate another person you have to be willing to let go of a lot of prejudices and a lot of fear. Black people and white people do not trust each other in the Mississippi Delta and we want to press into that.
Poor: Jesus told us that the Gospel would be Good News for the poor! He also told us that the poor would always be among us. I wonder if the poor in our community think the message we are preaching is good for them? I wonder why they are not among us. If you sat a group of poor people from the Mississippi Delta down and read them the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 I bet they would say that’s good news. If you sat a group of middle to upper-class people from the Delta down and read them the same passage they might not agree. The announcement that King Jesus is taking over the world is Good News to the poor. Why? Because He is turning everything upside down. He is making everything that is wrong right. He is making all things new and in the new order, the poor are no longer marginalized and oppressed. So we are going to celebrate the poor and make it a mark of success in our church when the poor are among us. We will know we are doing the work well when the poor say what they are hearing and seeing is Good News! We want to live by a saying that the early church was known for, “We do not speak great things but we live them.”