The Fishing Business

How many of you have ever been deep sea fishing?  I was shocked to learn that more than 2.4 million people participated in this sport last year, resulting in retail sales of almost $2.4 billion dollars and a total economic impact of almost $4.5 billion dollars. Deep sea fishing provides jobs for nearly 55 thousand people.
You may be asking what does deep sea fishing have to do with the church? Deep sea fishing is a picture of the deep soul fishing we are to be about as a church. I asked myself this question, “If Jesus was here today, what would He see and what would He say?” I believe He wouldn’t see a building.  I believe He would see a boat.  In this crowd, He would see two types of people–fishermen and fish.  Let me let you in on a little secret, you are one or the other.
I have no reason to doubt that the very first thing He would say to us would be the very first words He spoke to the very first people who became His disciples.  “As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen and Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.'” Mark 1:16-17. That one statement tells us what our primary business is, both as a church corporately and as followers of Jesus individually.
It never ceases to amaze me that the first two words Jesus ever said to those who would become His followers were “Follow Me”. There are two amazing things about those words. What He said and why He said it. Think about it. When He said those two words, He was talking to complete strangers.  He gave them no formal introduction.  He presented no credentials, no proof of id, no drivers license and no social security number.  He just simply said, “Follow Me.” Can you imagine what immediately went through their minds, “Follow you?”  I don’t even know you.”
Look at their response, “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:18. They were gone in sixty seconds! In the blink of an eye, with a snap of a finger (just like that), gone, left home, business, friends and family and began to follow Jesus. If you want to know what a true Christian is–there you have it. A Christian is a follower of Jesus. That is where the Christian life begins and ends–following Jesus in life and following Jesus through death.
The lesson to be learned here is to follow is to fish or to put it even more simply–“Followers Fish”.
–James Merritt


shutterstock_51132958The country music group Rascal Flatts has a song titled Life Is A Highway.  That really is true.  Life is a highway a highway that eventually ends.
Most everyone hopes that highway ends in heaven, but there is a roadblock on that highway called “sin.”  Unless we find a way around that roadblock we will never make it to what should be our final destination.
It is a driver’s worst nightmare.  You are on a long highway, stuck in traffic, there is nothing but chrome and concrete in front of you and everything and everybody is at a complete standstill.  You have hit a classic roadblock. Time is of the essence. You’ve got to move.  You have a destination to reach and it has to be quickly.  There is no exit in sight.  You have only one hope or at least you think you do – find a detour.  Find someway around that roadblock.  Find someway to get to that destination.
As we face this roadblock called “sin” there is a detour that appeals to the vast majority of the human race and it seems like the logical way to get away the roadblock.  The detour can be called “religion”.  The detour can be called “good works.”  The detour can be called “giving your best.”  The detour can be called “doing good things.”  The detour can be called any number of things, but it all amounts to the same thing – trying to work your way around that roadblock.   There is only one problem with taking that detour, the detour around the roadblock of sin leads to death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23
Eternal life is a gift that keeps on giving.  God does not give us eternal life just so we can enjoy it and use it to get into heaven.  God gives us eternal life so we in turn can give it to others.  One of the ways you do that is by finding people who have gotten off on this wrong detour and letting them know that detour only leads to death, but they can receive the free gift of eternal life.
The mission of every Christ-follower is to share their faith—their story in Christ.  It is by sharing our story that we lead others to love God. 
No Detours!
–James Merritt

How Can I Please God?

shutterstock_132299630One of the most exciting events in track and field is the relay races.  It takes a combination of speed, timing, precision, and teamwork in order for a relay team to be victorious.  Now the suspense is much greater than an individual race because in an individual race the fastest person always wins.  In a relay race the fastest team can lose if one thing happens –they fail to pass the baton. Any track coach will tell you that relay races are won or lost not in the sheer speed of the team, but in the transfer of the baton.  There is that critical moment when everything can be lost by the slightest miscalculation.
In the 1988 Olympics, the world just assumed that the United States would be victorious in the 400 meter relay because we simply had, by far, from top to bottom the best team.  From the crack of the opening gun, we took the lead and extended the lead through the first three runners.  After the last curve, the unthinkable happened.  The United States was ahead by ten meters and no one was going to catch them.  At the last hand off the impossible happened.  They dropped the baton and the fastest team in the world lost not only a gold  medal, but any medal because of a dropped baton.
I thought about that when I read something that Dr. James Dobson once said. “According to the Christian values which govern my life, my most important reason for living is to get the baton – The Gospel safely into the hands of my children.”
I could not agree with him more.  I can tell you both as a pastor and as a dad, you will never teach your children a greater lesson than the lesson of having faith in God.  I have said before, nobody can change your life like God, but even God cannot change your life until you place your faith in Him.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith.”
Why is faith so important?  It is just this simple. You cannot please God without faith, because you cannot know God without faith. You cannot be saved without knowing God and that is why the greatest lesson you’ll ever teach your children and the greatest lesson you’ll ever learn yourself is what real faith is, how to get it and how to live it.
–James Merritt

Up Close and Personal

Dr. Merritt begins a new teaching series for June 2012 entitled “Up Close and Personal”. What is your relationship with God like? Is it distant, like there’s an ocean between you? Or, could it be something more? Something closer, more intimate and personal than you imagined? Join Pastor Merritt for this fascinating teaching series entitled “Up Close and Personal” as we open God’s Word to discover just how close He really can be in our lives daily.

Up Close and Personal is a four-week teaching series, June 10 – July 1, 2012.

Welcome to Cross Pointe Church

Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia, has started this blog to keep our members and guests up to date on all our ministry happenings and opportunities. You can subscribe to the feed to get all the information straight to your in-box as it happens. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.