- Runners to the starting line.
- Hey, welcome to Crossroads.
I'm Andy, and around here we run.
We run after the things that
God has called us to as a church,
and we aren't slowing down.
for Brian to talk more about that later.
But first, we're going
to get started with worship.
We have this time every weekend
to take our focus off
of the craziness of life
and turn our attention towards God.
So turn up the
volume, go full screen and sing along.
- Come on. Put your
hands together like this.
We sing to remind
ourselves of how faithful,
how good God is. Sing this with me.
- The battle belongs to Him.
You know, these songs we sing
aren't just songs that
were created recently.
that have been sung for generations
and truths that we find in Scripture.
The song that we're going to sing next
is found in Ephesians 3:20.
It says this; I want
us to read it together.
It's true, His faithfulness,
His glory endures all generations.
You know, I grew up
singing a song in church
because I grew up, I'm an old Baptist kid
and we grew
up singing Great is Thy Faithfulness.
And that was the song, man,
that just touched me every time we sang it.
And and it was
a reminder of exactly who God is. It goes:
- Lord, we thank You. You're so mighty.
You - Whoo, I just love singing to You
because it just puts me in a place of
remembering exactly who You are.
It helps me to knock
back the noise of life,
of mistakes, the noise of the enemy.
And it reminds me
that, God, You're faithful.
You're so good. You're so true.
You're so consistent.
And because of that,
I have something to look forward to.
I can lift my eyes up, because You're good,
because You hold all things together.
So for that, we thank You
and we'll always
sing to You because You're worth it.
It's in Your Son's name s we pray. Amen.
- You know, Brian Tome always talks about
the benefits of being outside.
And I get
to be outside at least an hour every day
when I start my week, I get to dance.
I get my steps in.
I recommend it to anybody. It's so much
- When I first started
serving for Kids' Club,
I thought I was just signing up
for community service hours,
but I ended
up finding connection with the staff,
the other volunteers,
and especially the kids.
And now it's something I look forward
to every Sunday.
- Sometimes when you just come to service,
you take things for granted.
And what I found out was how many people
are behind the scenes helping out
and how I've been
able to contribute to that.
- When I started serving at Crossroads,
I thought it was going to be an experience
for me to learn how
to do electrical work, how to do plumbing.
But it actually turned into finding
a friend here at Crossroads
and it became about relationships.
It was labor that was in the trenches,
but enabled me to connect with God.
- I found that serving here at Crossroads
just gives me a huge sense of purpose
and being able to help this community
spread the Word of God to people that are
perhaps watching this around the world.
It's just awesome to be able to take
the skills that God has blessed me with
and be able to give back to our community.
- I signed up for volunteering, I felt that
it was going to be maybe burdensome,
it was going to be long
days and exhausting.
What I found is that
it's a great opportunity
for me to share my gifts with my community
and I find myself being closer to God.
- Volunteering is one of the ways
that we run
as a church, and it's an amazing way
to make a
difference and have fun while doing it.
Crossroads was started by volunteers
and we still run on volunteers today.
started as a volunteer 15 years ago.
Learn about the ways
that you can get involved
There are so many
different things happening
depending on where you live,
whether you live near one of
our Crossroads physical locations
or anywhere around the globe.
You can stay connected by downloading
the Crossroads Anywhere app,
by selecting your location
and you're all set.
way that we run together is by giving,
we pool our resources to accomplish things
that we could never do on our own.
The money that goes to Crossroads
goes right back out to life changing work
both locally and globally.
To learn more
or to give, check out Crossroads.net/give.
Today and over the next five weeks
I'm so excited because we are taking a look
at our purpose as a church, the things that
God has uniquely
given Crossroads to run after.
This is us,
it's who we are, and it's in our DNA.
- Talking about running after the lost,
running after our friends
who don't know Jesus,
that's in our DNA as a church, as a team.
What does that look like for you?
Are there stories that you have of, like,
I've been run after by this place?
Is there something that you've done
or your team has done
that's really you've
seen the fruit of that?
- I can share it from the beginning.
I would say when we had this idea to start
a church for our friends
that didn't go to church,
we were like nobodies from nowhere
who knew nothing about starting a church.
But we had this
idea and we just started running towards it
and we figured God would guide us
along the way.
And He did. So He brought people around
who knew something about starting churches,
He led us too so that we hired Brian Tome.
kind of need one of those pastor people
when you start a church.
So yeah, he's still our pastor.
And we ran towards, you know,
finding a place where we could meet.
where People's Middle School came out.
But I think if we had
just kind of had the idea
and didn't start moving, we probably would
still be sitting
around our living room talking about,
"Hey, be nice to have a church like that."
- I think the people
that we look up to in life
are always the
people who were crazy enough to do it.
And so, you know,
when you get to sit around
in a half circle with a bunch of folks
who are crazy enough to do it and me being,
kind of coming in on
this on the back end side,
what I am
in is a training ground of crazy people
who are crazy enough to do it.
- So the first time I
ever came to Crossroads,
my parents brought me.
I was 19 years
old and they had found this new church.
And they go,
"Come with us. You're going to like it."
At this point in my
life, I did not like church,
I hated church, wanted no part of it.
okay with like, God and Jesus, probably,
but not -- but not church.
And so they brought me and I hated it.
When I walked into
the atrium, there were these,
like, really expensive flat screen TVs.
They were plasmas, like, back before LCD
and then LCD,
and they were like $1 billion apiece.
It's like, why are these here?
I sit in the
service, everyone's wearing blue jeans.
That's not okay for church.
has coffee. That's crazy. No one can --
You can't take
coffee in the sanctuary, the place of God.
What are you doing? You know?
And then they
played a Dave Matthews band song,
and I was
like, this is -- this is freaking terrible.
we leave. We're in the car ride home.
say, "You know, what did you think?"
I was like, "I thought it was awful."
And I went through
all my -- all my reasons.
And my parents listened patiently.
And then they were like, "Okay, but you --
You hate church, so
isn't that - isn't that good?
Don't you like coffee
and Dave Matthews Band and TV?"
And I was like, "Uh, yeah."
And I came back the next week and I --
And I heard the gospel
in a way I'd never heard it before.
I heard people who were sharing things
you weren't supposed to share,
mistakes you weren't supposed to admit,
and that sort of we run,
we'll do anything short
of sin to reach people,
for me, that got me.
That was like, "Oh, I can hear it."
And I got to take that back to my
friends at college. It's pretty cool.
- Years ago we
had a Crossroads running group starting up,
and the whole point of it was to be able to
pair physical with spiritual,
like, the tactile with the spiritual.
That's when we were
trying to get a college ministry started.
And so it was the thing
we were doing at church.
So I was like, "Well, if Crossroads doing
a running group, I
guess I'm learning to run."
And so I called people
I knew who were runners
and was like, "Will you start this group?
And I'll just get in it
and get my friends to do it with us."
And so I ran a half marathon
and had an awful
experience, coming out of both ends,
if that's enough information for you.
It was awful and
I was like, "I will never do that again."
- [indiscernible] Nah,
you don't need to, Kyle.
- You joined a
running group to reach people for Jesus,
like an evangelism group?
- Yeah, it was
the thing we were doing as a church,
running, which now I look back, like,
that was really spiritually insightful.
And so, yeah,
that's actually how our uptown community,
like, the first official Crossroads thing
on the website that
we did was a running group.
- Nice. - Yeah - That's really cool. - Wow.
- But I got
one question I would like to throw out
a memory of anything short of sin moment
that I heard about but I wasn't around for,
the infamous beer on stage incident.
- You weren't there?
- No, I wasn't here for that.
- That's happened multiple times.
- Yeah. Someone tell me that story.
- Where I remember it was we were doing --
We did a series called
either the Front Porch --
Backyard Gospel. Backyard Gospel.
I don't know if that was the first time,
but that was definitely one of the times.
And Brian was talking about like, "Hey,
I want to be the same person here
that I would be
if you were with me on my back deck."
And as a
part of that, he cracked open a beer
he drinks it, because he's like, "Listen,
if we weren't
here and you were on my back deck,
I would offer you a beer and it wouldn't
be an issue,"
you know? And so it was really powerful.
But I think like the number of people
for whom that moment was like,
that's when I knew
this was a place for me. It's powerful.
- Yeah, I've
actually done that beer thing a few times.
I'm not going to do
it this series, though I'm due.
I'll tell you what's amazing.
When you have three beers by noon
at church as part of your job.
God bless America. That is great stuff.
Now, some of you might be saying,
would you do that? Why would you?"
there would be confusion about that
and other things, that's
why we're going to do a series on this.
Today we're going to be deep Bible,
so get ready for a moment, get ready
for a moment here.
I just want to make sure you understand
there's no ask is coming in this series.
There's no ask coming after this series.
We have -- We want nothing from you.
We want something for you.
We have been in deep, deep growth mode
and we just got
a high, high percentage of our church
that is like, "I don't --"
And so those have been around a while,
we also need
a refresher who we are as a church,
why we do what we do.
I was talking with Johnny G.,
our community pastor down in Lexington.
Our Lexington campus is up 30% since March,
March till last week, 30%.
Over the summer church
is supposed to shrink.
actually all of our campuses combined,
we're up 24% from March to today.
That's really, really nuts.
And I want to help us understand
this basic stuff that's in the Bible,
basic stuff about churches, basic stuff
who want to follow after the heart of God
that actually isn't very basic anymore.
In fact, when
someone starts doing some of these things,
And I think God
is confused over what we're confused by.
I think if we actually had early followers
of Christ said,
"Here's what followers would look like
in the 21st century,
"they would go," What?
Well, you mean they're
not? What you mean not? What? What?"
Yeah, we've lost some things.
Those of us who
call ourselves believers in our country
and at Crossroads, we're not
trying to be better than other churches.
trying to be different other churches.
We're trying to
understand the scriptures as best we do
and apply them
in a meaningful and aggressive way
in our culture today.
So let's pray before I go any further.
God help me to explain
and to encounter You in a fresh way today.
You know, I don't really care all that much
how many people are a part of Crossroads,
but I care a lot how
many people are actually
a part of You
and Your family and are engaged in it
and running correctly,
Help us to connect with You today.
Help me, God, to accurately talk about
Your amazing character.
And I pray these things according to
the identity of Jesus. Amen.
So the story I'm going to look at today
is known as the Prodigal Son.
It's a classic story.
It's called the Prodigal Son, even though
the word prodigal is
never in the scriptures
though Prodigal Son is never titled it.
I'm going to show this today, I was --
this last week or a couple weeks ago said,
"You should share that thing."
I said, "Really? Didn't
I just talk about that?"
And I went back and looked at my old files
and it was actually five years
since I've talked about this, five years.
The reason why it feels like to me that
is I probably reflect more on this story
than any other story in the Bible,
because I think
I understand the character of Jesus,
the character of God in ways
that no other story actually paints.
It's really profound.
So we're going to jump into it today.
Jesus would make
stories up. They're known as parables.
And there's only one time where He
has the same point
told three different times in three
different ways. It's the only one.
He starts his story,
this parable off, says,
has got ten coins. She loses a coin.
And she doesn't celebrate she's still
got nine coins left.
She does everything she can to find a coin.
She turns up the house to find it.
Then goes right from there and says
there's a guy who's a shepherd.
out watching sheep. He loses a sheep.
And he's got
99, but it doesn't matter that he's got 99.
He leaves the
99 because he wants to find the one.
Jesus is hitting from every angle:
Woman in the first story, Man in the
Inanimate object in the first story,
animate object, something that's alive,
a sheep in the second story.
And then He moves in for the close,
which is the longest story He's told
and maybe the most
profound story He's told.
It's from Luke chapter 15.
I'll just read it and we'll talk about it.
And he said there was a man
who had two sons. Let's stop right there.
When Jesus tells a
story, normally every person
or thing relates to something else.
So we've got a man, a father.
This is going to be God.
This is the God figure in the story.
And then there's two
other people, actually,
there's three kind of people in this world:
Those who can count and those who can't.
But there's two people
actually in this story.
There is the lost son
and there is the found son.
There is the younger son and there is
the older son.
There is the younger brother
and there is the older brother.
Everybody in here,
you're going to be either
a younger brother or an older brother.
If you're not doing that right now,
your inclination is to be
one of these people. Let's keep going here.
Today, if your parents have resources,
it's not uncommon
to ask for an early inheritance.
Normally happens if you've made
some bad spending decisions, you're
totally in debt
and you're thinking, "Mom, dad,
if you've got resources
you're going to give me
later on when you die.
If you want to just take my portion
and help me get out
of this crushing debt, that'd be great."
I've known people who had parents
who had resources
and they were going to start a business.
And so they asked for an early inheritance.
A mom or
dad may or may not do that these days,
but they don't take it as personally
as they did back then.
guy is saying in that cultural context is,
"Mom, dad, dad, I wish you were dead.
I don't want to be with you.
I don't want to be in your household.
I just want the things that you have.
I want the blessings from you. I want
in an ancient Middle Eastern culture
would know that's
exactly what he was asking.
"Don't care about you. Don't like you,
don't want you, just want your money."
This is the way most
of America is: "God, don't care about You.
God, don't want to be in
Your family. Don't want to be around You.
But any blessings
you got, bring them to me.
Any nice things, bring them."
This is what younger brothers do.
Now a classic father
figure in ancient culture
would not go for this at all,
offended, and he would power up on him.
Look what God
does in this story, who this represents.
So he gets the money,
his early inheritance.
He takes all the money and blows it
on wine, women and song, and then
a famine hits.
This happens with
many of us who run away from God,
don't want to
be around Him, want the blessings of God,
but don't really want
to be in a in a relationship with Him.
We go away and we're
just barely getting by,
but then a famine hit
hits or rock bottom hits
or something we're not prepared for.
And all of a sudden,
oh, no, I can't. I can't,
I can't handle it. And
this happened to this guy.
He blows all of his resources
and now he has nowhere
to go, nothing to do.
Now this is -- Jesus.
I know it's going to shock some of you.
Jesus was a Jew.
Yes, Jesus was a Jew.
All of his early followers were Jews.
They understood the
dietary laws that had been
given to them generations, generations ago.
It was called kosher, being kosher,
not being dill,
not being pickled, but actually kosher.
There was all these laws that were there.
And for whatever reason, one of these laws
in the Old Testament was, hey, man, God
was anti-anti pig.
No -- There's theories as to why this was,
but it means being kosher means you
don't eat bacon,
you don't eat ham.
The first time
I went to Israel years and years ago,
I went down to the little hotel
and I had the little breakfast there.
And it was, like, there was no bacon,
there was no sausage.
I went to the manager and I complained.
I was like, "Dude, man, this is."
as he looked at me, it dawned on me,
"Oh, that's right. I'm
in Israel at a Jewish restaurant.
There's no pig products."
Like, sucks to be you, dude. Come to
So I -- This
guy who is in a Jewish audience, right?
Again, this is a made up story.
But what Jesus is trying
to say here, you know,
a Jew being around pigs, feeding pigs
would be like saying somebody who went to
vacation Bible school in a Baptist church
being in the porn industry.
Like, this is a
massive fall, massive fall spiritually.
He not only is around pigs,
but he's looking at what he feeds the pigs
and he says, "I wish
I was having that pig --
I wish I was eating what that pig ate."
This today isn't about
diet, not about diet.
We're going to
see in a moment a climax of this thing
is about running, running.
We run is
a phrase we've said around Crossroads
for a long, long time because
it traces back to this story,
because we're going to see in a moment here
that God runs. God runs.
And if we want
to be like Him, we're going to have to run.
Now, there's ways that the physical world
mirrors the spiritual world.
So in the
physical world, our country is getting
further and further
and further and further out of shape.
Our waistlines are expanding
higher and higher and higher and higher.
levels are going down, down, down.
Our cardiovascular ability is going down.
I mean it's crazy, the most wealthy nation
is supposed to have
the greatest health care
in the world,
we're decreasing in health expectancy.
Where our life of living is going down
because physically we're not in shape.
Just like spiritually we're not in shape.
I ran across the video this last wee.
When I was
growing up, if you're, I don't know, older
you might have had
in your when you were in high school,
the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
It comes from Kennedy.
It comes from Kennedy.
And he had all
these kids back in the '60s and the '70s.
These are clips I found from a school
their basic physical education class.
All the guys. Right?
to have shuttle runs, 600 yard dash,
50 yard dash, pull ups, sit ups.
You had to hit
these marks to get a little blue patch.
the Presidential Fitness award for you.
It was really, really cool.
As I was watching this stuff from the '60s,
"What would happen if you lined up
every kid in the average high school?
Would the entire high school be able to do
20 push ups like
we just saw there? Would anybody?
Would there be anybody in the high school?
Like maybe one out of ten?"
You know, we're just - we've really --
We've really fallen out of physical shape.
And I believe, I'm not
that bummed about that.
But I believe what God's bummed out is
-- we've fallen out of spiritual shape.
We don't do the
things early Christ followers would do.
We don't have the same passions
that Jesus and his early followers did.
We just kind of bolt Church on as
I should go to every once in a while,
just kind of bolt on the the worldview
instead of actually getting into the world
and actually living.
It's a problem. It's an issue.
And that is part
of the reason why it's so astounding
been growing the last couple of years.
It's so astounding because every --all
we're going down in
terms of church engagement, down.
Gallup recently released a poll and said
if you are a church
attendee, isn't that great?
I guess if you're
here today, you're a church attendee.
What a wonderful label.
I am a church attendee.
If you are a church attendee,
for the first time in American history,
you are in the minority
according to Gallup,
in the minority, it's just been going down.
And it's been going
down in large part because
those of us who are engaged in a church,
hopefully means engage with Jesus,
we're not running.
We're not going to
people who don't know who Jesus is.
That's not what we're doing.
gathering only for our own edification,
which is great. We're gathering.
Gathering only to be
affirmed, which is fine.
We all need be affirmed.
We're gathering only be around people
who may think like us, and that's fine.
But we're not gathering,
I'm talking now across the nation,
I'm talking where Christianity is right
we're not gathering
for a purpose of running.
We're gathering for
a purpose of navel gazing.
We're gathering for
a purpose of I don't know what
and the stats and the
condition of our country
belies this. Let's keep going here.
All right, verse 17.
Remember that from Bugs Bunny? Oh, Father.
Most of you don't. Most of you don't
know Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes.
Most of you don't know
the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
That's what's wrong with this country.
So he says, "I need to to go someplace.
I need to get back to my dad."
And he starts rehearsing
this thing in his mind.
"Father, I'm sorry. Sorry.
I'm not worthy to be called your son.
I'd rather have you dead. I told you that.
I'd rather have your blessing
instead of having a relation with you."
He's practicing this speal.
I should. I
should. I should. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
And he's rehearsing this speech because
he's going to go back
to his dad to hopefully
just go on payroll for his dad
so he doesn't have to eat
the stuff that he's feeding to pigs.
He's going to start actually moving.
He's going to start
walking. He's going to start running.
Part of the issue with us is we think
you have to do something special to
run after God
or to run for God or to walk with God.
You don't have to, you've just got to,
whoever you are, where you are right now,
just move towards God right now.
Those of you who are younger
brothers, just move towards God right now.
Just go, wherever
you are, just move. Just start.
moving with whatever you're believing.
Maybe you're believing
things that are right.
Maybe you're believing
things are wrong. Just start moving.
We as a country, again, we don't move.
We don't move physically
and we tend not to move spiritually either.
We just dig in on what
we currently believe.
We don't move.
I get made fun of like for how I work out
and what I wear when I work out because --
of you who work out where I work out,
you know what I'm talking about.
The shoes I wear.
I wear the easiest shoes to work out in.
That would be
whatever shoes I wore to work that day.
if I got to bring another pair of shoes,
stuffed in my backpack.
So these shoes right here are what normally
what I'm on the
elliptical with, these shoes right here.
And they look great when you're in shorts,
let me tell you.
Sometimes I forget to bring shorts
and I'm going to do something upper body
and I wear jeans.
I know, I know. I'm
weird. I know I'm weird.
I forget to
bring -- my kids call me the goldfish
because I have a memory of a goldfish.
I don't remember things at all.
So I forgot. I forgot. So I'll just.
Hey, the point, Brian, is not to look
the way you should look when you work out.
It's just to do something, right?
So I'll go over and all I'm saying is this:
can grow spiritually if we stop saying,
"Well, I don't know this. I don't know."
Just get moving. Just get moving.
just just start going the way of God.
Don't worry about what you you did today.
Don't worry about what you forgot.
Don't worry about the mistakes you've had.
Wherever you are, just start moving.
And this guy,
this younger brother, he starts moving.
Now, this is when it
gets really good, really, really good.
Let's keep going here. Verse 20:
So I picture this guy, this lost son.
He's come back.
"Okay. I'm sorry, Father. I'm sorry.
I'm not worthy to be called your son.
Please take me on as one of your -- Father.
I'm sorry. I'm humility. I'm sorry."
He's going through a speech and you
get the picture
that this father, it says he sees him a
long way off.
It's not like his father
has gone on with his life
and then someone knocks the door
and he's like, "What are you doing here?"
Seeing him a long way off to me indicates
he's looking for him.
It's like he's sitting
on the front porch going,
"He left that way, probably
going to come back
from that way if he
ever comes back." He's just looking.
If you're a
younger brother, a younger daughter,
He's looking for you. He's looking for you.
I would say He's waiting
for you, which is true,
but waiting only in
and of itself is too passive sounding
as we're going to say right now, because
when he sees this,
he feels compassion for him.
He feels something, feels compassion,
not indignity like, "Huh, about time he
Some of us have a picture of God,
who God just like waiting
to say, ha, ha, I told ya.
And that's maybe why we don't hang
around with people,
those of us who are older
brothers we'll talk about in a moment,
maybe that's part of
why we don't hang around
younger brothers is
because we're always indignant
to people who aren't
- who isn't a Christian.
to people who think differently than us.
We're indignant towards people
different morals than us. We're indignant.
like we're just want God to whack them
instead of God to forgive them.
It's like I really think when I hear
the average Christian talk, they're rooting
more for the justice of God
than they are for the mercy of God.
Well, didn't we all get the mercy of God?
Didn't we just talk about grace?
Well, you know, I want grace for me.
I want all these other people to feel awful
for what they've done and get slapped down
and have their comeuppance.
older brother, I'll get to in a moment.
But God, He was
not like that, says He feels compassion.
When we talk about feeling compassion,
we talk about our heart,
our heart, my heart.
Oh, I felt it in my heart, which is fine
because the Bible talks about our heart.
But here the
word that's used for feeling compassion
is the word Splankna, which is your bowels,
intestines, because it's at the center.
It's like at the center of your being.
And it actually means
my bowels are wrung out,
my bowels are twisted.
That's what the father figure feels.
God is twisted, He's internally in knots
when a child
who He's created is disconnected from Him.
And when this father
sees off in the distance,
this guy coming, he takes this --
He would have
had this robe, it would have been down.
He takes his robe and he tucks it up
inside of its belt,
his legs, which for many of us guys,
we skip leg days all the time.
Most men do
not like other people to see their legs.
And not only that, why did he do that?
He does it to run.
He put it, he sees his son and he sprints.
It's a run out. It's a full sprint.
The word here is dremo that's used.
I have a tool at home, some of you might.
It's a high speed little
thing to buff things
and cut thing, and it's called a Dremel.
It's like a dentist
tool, like, [buzzing fx]
I'm not sure if
the Dremel was invented after this word,
but this is the
words used, dremo, which means to race.
It's an all out sprint.
When's the last time you've --
I'm not-- I'm talking physically right now.
last time you've done a physical sprint?
last time you've even seen somebody,
somebody you're going to watch today
on a football field, do a sprint?
We don't watch people. We don't --
We don't see people run. We don't run.
And yet the image of God is that He runs.
You don't have to run to know God,
but you've got to have the attitude
of a runner. I'm telling you right now.
If you want to
follow Jesus, that means being like Him.
If you want to be
like God, that means doing what God does.
And when God
runs, runs to people who are far away
and have jacked up morals
and have thumbed their nose at God
and may be
highly offensive and have squandered things
and maybe have hurt other people.
Jesus died for all of them too
and they're still the child of God.
They are still the coin that God goes, "Oh,
I got nine others, but
this one I really want."
They're still a sheep of God.
God says, "I know I've got 99 others
Great, great. But there's this one.
Who's going to be about this one?"
God is passionate about this and He goes.
who we are, you have to understand
the history of Christianity
and how we're trying to fit into that.
This is not some philosophical discussion
I have people all the
time who are like, "Why do you do this?"
There's a lot of things
we've done that are very controversial.
Many of them today
aren't controversial at all.
They're very normal today.
But they were
when we did them, like giving out coffee
and you can bring coffee into the service.
I was crazy, I'm telling you.
First, you would give it out.
Not pay, not a
cup to drop a quarter in. Give it out.
And you could bring it in here. In here.
Like you could spill
it in here. Oh, my gosh.
In fact, we're going to have
a Blue Team meeting.
This just reminded those of us here in
the Blue Team,
the Blue Team are
those who tithe at Crossroads.
We've got a great --
It's going to be great meeting
going to be people in worship venues
who are going to have beer and wine
and sparkling water
at the same time. God bless America.
It's going to be wonderful.
Going to walk
in here and people are going go like.
Bringing up bring a horse on stage.
A football themed Super Bowl service, an
Awaited with a --
We did this. We had somebody --
We run so
hard sometimes, it hurts me to say this.
We run so hard sometimes,
we take such pains to be creative and run
had people die doing it, literally die.
We did a Christmas production, had
come to it the last
year before we shut down.
And we had a woman who was running
and swinging from a rafter as the magi.
And right there she
fell and died, right there opening night.
All of these things
that we do, we do because
we want to be like God, make
aggressive moves and running.
One of my seminary professors said, "Yeah,
if you look at the history of the church
and the history of missions, there's people
who are always pushing
things, pushing the edge."
William Booth and the Salvation Army,
which seems normal
today, it wasn't back then.
Or William Carey and China Inland Mission
or whether it's, you know, George Whitfield
and some of the stuff we'll talk about
in our Blue Team meeting.
But he says this,
he says, "There's always unbelievable
criticism because people
don't understand it."
Judson Taylor, going
to reach people in China,
and actually growing his hair,
long ponytail to look like the Chinese.
And he's a white Englishman, like.
And my seminary professor said what
would say, always said to people was
they said this:
I think God likes how
I bring people to Christ
better than how you don't.
do you realize in the last 12 months
been baptized in our church? 2200.
you've come to know, come to faith.
2200. What? What?
It happens because
there's a bunch of people
that still run in our church.
They go, go after it.
And when somebody
comes to know Christ,
their life really doesn't get just saved,
it gets started.
Look what happens
with this guy. Let's keep going here.
He runs out and kiss him, verse 21.
And the son said to him, "Father,
He gets out his speech
he's been rehearsing,
perfectly, by the way, without notes.
And the father said to his servants,
Hey, hey, quick, quick, quick, quick.
Bring all the best robe, and put it on him.
Bring the best robe on him.
It means put my identity on him.
He cloaks him in his identity.
come to know Christ, you're not just
a new improved version of yourself.
God gives you a new identity.
He cloaks His righteousness around you.
at you, believe it or not, He looks at you
the way he looks at Jesus, because you have
the identity of
Jesus, you have the the cloak of Jesus
on you when you come to know faith.
By the way, for those of us who
are younger brothers, this is a good gig.
want to give your life to Christ right now.
Let's do that.
If you want to pray, you want to pray this,
let's do it right now. I'll do right now.
God, Just say something like God, I want --
I've heard enough.
I don't know everything, but I want it.
I ask you to come into my life right now.
Come on, ask Him. Go for it. Come on.
I want you to come into my life right now.
And I ask that You would forgive me.
I ask You to fill me with Your Spirit.
As best I can., I'll follow
You the rest of my life.
Amen. Amen. Yeah. [applause]
All right, let's keep going here.
So, uh, and put a ring on his hand
and shoes on his feet.
Ring on his hand. Why a ring on his hand?
Ring on his
hand because that is a sign of wealth.
You would seal documents with your
ring and wax,
and he gives him his
wealth back, puts it on him.
And shoes on his feet.
Why shoes on his feet?
Because I expect you to run, that's why.
Because I expect you to move, that's why.
Because I got something for you to do,
a place for you to be.
come to Christ, He expects you to run.
He wants you
to be like Him, and that's what He does.
And then it keeps going here.
And bring the fatted calf and kill it,
and let us eat and celebrate.
For my son was dead and he's alive again.
He was lost and he is found.
And they began to celebrate.
He says, hey, where's that fatted calf?
Time to have a party.
This is great. It's amazing.
Let's celebrate. There's
no, like, "What did you do?
What's wrong? What's wrong?"
By the way, I hear
people say, well, all religions
and all spirituality are
basically the same.
When I hear that, I go, like, "Okay.
to somebody who really doesn't know
anything about religion and spiritualities.
That's not true at all."
spiritualities have some of the same
thou shalt nots. Thou shalt not murder.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
But like, there's a Buddhist
version of this story,
and it's entirely different
than what the father does.
Let me just read it
to you. We'll do it real quick.
This is like the God
figure, fear inspiring.
Many of us feel that
God is, "Go on. Come on.
You're just an underling. Get on your
work. Don't be lazy."
See a difference? You work it off.
Okay. I'll let you work.
I'll let you come and
I'll let you work it up.
Jesus, God, the God of the Bible says,
mercy, grace, riches on you right now."
Yeah, you're going to work. You're
part of the family, that's what we do.
But no, you don't work your way up.
There's no grace,
there's no mercy, there's no blessing.
In Hinduism there's no such thing at all.
You die in Hinduism, you get reincarnated.
And it's all based on
how you work last life
and how you work this life to get yourself
eventually the brass ring.
that's in the Bible, this God of grace,
this God of riches, this God of mercy,
this God of forgiveness, it's one of a
If you like any of this stuff,
then you have
to love Jesus because it comes from Him.
It comes from
His spiritual, His spiritual down line.
Let's keep going. Here's where it gets, no.
The rest of us have this inclination
of the older brother.
Let's see what
an older brother is like. Here we go.
his brother would go, "Oh, awesome.
back? Sweet. I love my fellow man,
especially someone who shared my DNA.
No, not what happens.
See what this older brother is doing
is he's dehumanizing his brother.
This son of yours, he says, not my brother.
This son of yours.
him by all the things that he's done wrong,
all the things that he's gone out and done
that were wrong with this and that.
And he's angry because older brothers
are religious people
who think that God is fair
and we get upset when somebody gets grace
that we haven't gotten.
And actually, truth
be known, truth be told,
we'd actually prefer the people who aren't
in the family of God would stay out there
and God would smite them.
would prefer that. We never say that.
But we secretly root for the people
different things and do different things
we secretly root for God to smite them.
We don't root, generally, for them
to come in the family and get rich,
get spiritually rich with God.
And this -
we also are a bit bitter. Do you notice?
Do you notice what he says here? He
says, "All these years I've served you."
How about all
these years I've enjoyed your love?
How about all
these years I've been in your family?
No, it's about
works. It's I got to do the right thing.
I got to -- Christians don't smoke.
We don't chew. Don't date the girls who do.
We just -- We kind of -- We don't.
We just -- We just do this stuff like this.
And when somebody doesn't have my
but I'm working, that's why.
That's why many of
us end up deconstructing.
We actually become unfaithful because
we're in this bargain with God that
I do this for you and you do this for me.
No, God doesn't bargain with you.
What? Bargain with you?
Like He needs something
you would do for Him.
You're not bargaining with God.
You bargain when you need something;
God doesn't need anything.
Yet we get bitter.
And it's this older brother, he's got this
totally whacked, really weird theology.
And here's the weird
thing. It gets really weird.
The weird thing is he should have
been the one who was running.
In ancient cultures
it was the oldest brother,
the oldest one, who
would get the lion's share
of the inheritance to
take care of the family,
to employ the family,
to have the whole family business going.
And you had to take care of your family.
And he should have been the one
that actually went out to find his brother.
We still see this in some cultures today.
Back during the Vietnam War, Time
Magazine ran a story
who was known as simply "The Brother."
And the story is, let me make sure I
get his name right.
Army Lieutenant Daniel Dawson.
He got shot down over enemy lines
and he was lost.
And his brother Donald found out
about his younger brother being gone.
And he sold everything he had, and
he took 20 bucks
and left it with his wife.
Sucks to be her, I guess.
Takes 20 bucks, leaves it with her
and goes over
to Vietnam with the picture of his brother
trying to find his brother.
And the Viet Cong let him go.
him and word got throughout the ranks.
to be simply known as "The Brother,"
because they understood in their culture
this is what good older brothers do,
They go in search of.
Jesus is your older brother.
He is the first born amongst all creation.
the Son of Man, speaking of Himself.
He says, "I have come
to seek and save that which was lost."
He's the first born older brother
and He goes into seeking mode.
And so when you want to be like Him,
you will do like Him, which means
actually liking people
that are different than you,
actually loving people who have
a different worldview than you,
actually laughing and
having fun with people
who don't share the same morals that
you and I do.
And we do it because
it's a form of running.
It's a way to push. It's a way to go.
And it's very uncomfortable. It always is.
It was uncomfortable for the father
to tuck his stuff in and run.
It would have been uncomfortable
for the younger brother to go.
But the fact that he has this response
shows that he's lost the plot
people in churches have lost the plot.
Who is the
last person you told about your faith?
Your your prayers?
If you look, when you pray, how much
of your prayer
on your personal pain, other's pain,
ad how much
is -- how many names do you mention
of people who don't know Christ?
How many people do you know who don't
if you're one of the folks
in here who happens to be a Christian?
Is that reflected in how we operate?
If you're a normal
American churchgoer, probably not,
which is why we're so anemic
and why our country
is in the condition that it is.
It's not good.
one last thing on this running piece.
Run. Following Jesus
is not a sedentary activity.
It is one that requires some vibrancy,
some unction, as my
spiritual mentor would say,
requires some risk,
some being a bit different.
This last week, last thing I'll share
and then we'll be done.
And by the
way, when you leave, we'll have a --
I'm going to replay that song.
the band to generously redo the song
that we did very first that some of you
couldn't get in
here with a with a jam up of the traffic.
So as you're leaving, you can check that
out if you want.
But I was thinking
about this this last week.
I was in Pittsburgh
honoring a spiritual grandfather
of mine who's faithful and going strong at,
I think, 90 and
I mean going strong. Pretty impressive.
And I stay at a friend's house.
The friend's house started
There's one in Cincinnati.
There's 30 of them across the
country. It's a franchise that's growing.
It's called Peace, Love and Little Donuts
and these little, little donuts
that that he actually made by accident.
when he put the donut machine together,
he put it together wrong
and this itty bitty donut
came out and he's like,
"That's kind of cool.
I can actually take that
and put some toppings on it."
And like off to the races, away he goes.
He was telling
me the story of when he opened up
his first store in the
strip district of Pittsburgh.
This guy comes in, he was
just monkeying with this deal
and one of these little donuts plopped out
and he took some cinnamon on it and
gave it to him.
And the guy bites into
this warm, fresh donut,
this little donut with cinnamon.
He bites into it and he goes,
he said his eyes got really big,
and then he ran to the front door.
My friend Ron
is going, "Well, you're like running out
before you have to pay anything?"
He just gave the thing to him.
He runs the front door. He opens the door
and he looks up and down Station Square,
looks up and
down the street and then comes back in.
And Ron said to him,
"Well, what did you do?"
The guy said, "Oh, my gosh."
He said, "Instinctively,
I had to go find someone
to tell them, 'Get
in here. You have to try one of this.'"
If you've been running
to any doors recently?
You've been opening any doors?
Maybe it's because you haven't had a fresh
taste of Jesus.
Maybe it's because He's gotten stale.
We've only had a stale version of Jesus,
it doesn't have any life.
We don't know the version of Jesus
who actually runs.
We don't know the version of Jesus
gives us rings and gives us identities
and is sweet.
That's what Psalm says: Oh, come taste
and see that the Lord is good.
When you actually taste Him, you drop off
your older brother judgmental, static ways,
you drop off
them and you actually get in the game
dad who runs. That's what we do here.
We want to just be like Jesus
and we want
to live the Bible, which means running.
God, thank You for how you've ran after me
back when I was 16 years old,
through an organization called Young Life,
at Franklin Regional High School.
Thank You for how You ran after me there.
And there's a
lot of us in here just want to remember
somebody ran after us. We thank You for it.
God, we want to recommit ourselves
or commit ourselves
to be people who run, people who not just
things, but actually do things. Thank you.
God, for showing us Your character.
You're so generous and so good.
We pray these things
according to the name of Jesus. Amen.
- Hey, thank you so much for watching.
Now, Crossroads isn't
just content that we watch.
We really believe this
is a community that you can belong to
no matter where you live.
And if you're still watching right now,
I think you might want that second thing.
Next Sunday, September 17th at noon EST,
my friend and teammate
Emmanuel Montgomery is going to be leading
a time for you to connect with
other members in the Crossroads community,
to find groups that you can
join and even ways that you can
leverage your unique wiring, gifts,
talents and abilities to make an impact.
And you even get a
free gift card for attending.
Now, this whole series is
about reminding us who we are as a church
and what we're called to.
And our team
actually made this really sweet poster
to help us remember who we are as a church.
Now, if you have a Crossroads
profile and have Anywhere selected,
it should be in the mail on its way to you.
And if you attend one
of our physical sites,
you should be
able to get those there next weekend.
And hey, you
don't want to miss any week in this series.
It's going to be awesome.
We'll see you next week
when Kyle talks about how we go.