Endgame & The Ultimate Superhero

Avengers Endgame has been out for a few weeks now, long enough to have seen it, thought about it, talked about it, tried to dodge spoilers, give up and go watch it anyway. It also has been out long enough to think about it and compare it to the grand story against which all stories stack up. It is always important for us to remember, as Solomon wrote, "there is nothing new under the sun."

Jesus then, is the ultimate superhero, someone who looked like us, walked like us, but ultimately had the power to undo what we could not undo. It makes for an interesting cogitation as well that anytime we see a superhero, they are a normal being who has a power that makes them super. Whether that is the "Spirit and worthiness of the hammer" for Thor or the Chemicals that transform Bruce banner, one can find a comparison with Jesus who was a man like us yet fully empowered by the Holy Spirit to do Super things.

E Stephen Burnett does a fantastic job of comparing "Endgame" to the actual apocalypse in Revelation and teases out how watching and thinking a little more deeply about fantasy and fairy stories, like this one can help us appreciate and understand the coming real end and more deeply engage in the real story of ourselves and the God of the Universe.

The article is a 10- or 20-minute read but it is super helpful. Warning: of course it is full of spoilers, but if you haven't seen it by now you probably aren't terribly concerned with that. Burnett answers some interesting questions as well that would make great family discussions: is it OK to cry about fictitious characters? Can we learn anything about ourselves from fiction? What does joy in crisis look like? What does it feel like when the ending isn't wholly as happy as we would like?

Burnett unlocks a level of thought about media that most of us never really engage in unless we are prompted and drawn in. But it is a level on which we are called to function as Christians, living in but not of the world. We should be drawn by a movie like "Endgame" to joyously cry and celebrate what Christ did for us, one man, giving his life, to save the rest. My recommendation is to read the article and then rewatch the movie, and talk about it. Talk about Jesus and where the comparisons fail, but experience the emotions and spend some thought on the reality of the resurrection and its glory.

~ Pastor Nicholas Rich

Thank YOU, Crossroads Sustainers!

Thank You! I am overwhelmed by the commitment of the Crossroads’ family.

It is because of your discipline and generosity, we are “making church more like family,” and contributing to our local, international, as well as global communities. I wish to express my gratitude for your significant and disciplined support.

I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi; specifically, Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Paul is thanking the Philippians for their generosity and expressing his confidence that God will bless them for it.

I, too, believe God will bless you exponentially for your willingness to give back some of your treasures.

I can assure you that all of us on staff and the Lead Team will diligently work at stewarding our resources well and, going forward, reclaiming God’s city as His Kingdom.

~ Ann Krieger, Crossroads Finance Secretary

What Does it Mean to be a Friend of God?

When we think of friendship we think of a relationship where there is trust and commitment. People equally sharing experiences and confidential information. People who have common interests and perspectives. A friend is somebody who always wants the best for you. When you win, they win.

In The Bible (James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8), God refers to Abraham and his descendants as his friends. Almighty, all-knowing, creator of the heavens and earth refers to a mortal, limited man as his friend. Someone who shared his interests and morals. Someone who was always for him and had his best interests in the center of his life. Since God does not show favoritism, if we choose to be for God, as Abraham did, then that statement is true for us as well. His word says he has literally withheld nothing from us. There is nothing he would not do for us.

Much like a friendship with the people around us, there has to be our commitment in the mix too. A true friendship is not one-sided. True friends are loyal, dependable, and make sacrifices for each other. When put to the test, Abraham proved to be loyal when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. Though God did not make him follow through with the deed, God saw his heart and that he would withhold nothing from him. Like wise, God shows that he is loyal to us by sacrificing his son so we would never have to be separated from him again. God looked at us and said we were worth it. God is loyal, to the point of death, to you and I. God wants to know if you will return the token. Will you share his morals and perspectives? Will you have intimate conversations with him and share your heart? Will you be loyal, dependable and trustworthy? Are you for him?

~Jennifer Graham, Crossroads Church Congregational Care

Gospel Families are Small but They're Not Small Groups

Often times I will get asked what the difference is between a gospel family and a small group. I think the first thing that needs to be said is that small groups are not bad nor are they not unhelpful.

In fact, small groups can be a great first step that new Christians can begin to take when creating a life where there is an orbit with other followers of Jesus outside of Sunday morning.

However, small groups often only become a place where people see each other regularly, but yet do not implant themselves as missionaries into the community together.

What the Bible tells us about the early church is that there were groups of people of different ages, background, and seasons of life who came together to do life with one another in an intentional way and also to be planted as missionaries within their community.

Gospel family is the attempt to live as these groups of missionaries who are growing closer to each other and to Jesus as well as being on mission for Jesus in the community in a specific way.

What we at Crossroads have found over the last eight years is that when someone is vested into a gospel family that their maturity in Christ increases exponentially compared to someone who simply comes to Sunday morning worship.

Lots of times there are Christians who already have this missionary mindset and lifestyle and just need to put a name on it. Gospel family is that name and it is the most important rhythm that we engage in at Crossroads.

If you have any questions about a gospel family or what it means to be a part of one, I would love to find some time to talk with you.

~ Pastor Chad Pullins