Is It Still Possible?

Yesterday at the Cross Point Nashville campus we continued our DNA series by talking about three phrases which sum up the kind of community Jesus created while on earth.  At Cross Point we believe this kind of community is still possible today. Messy? Very. Difficult? Absolutely. But we refuse to settle for anything less than…

EVERYBODY’S WELCOME

Jesus modeled a community for us where everyone’s welcome. He would welcome, love, accept, embrace, and include anybody who came up to Him. It didn’t matter—prostitutes, Samaritans, tax collectors, Gentiles, lepers, or sinners. We dream of a church where people, even if they don’t agree with everything we believe yet and even if they don’t understand everything we teach yet, can discover a place where they are welcome “as they are.”

NOBODY’S PERFECT

Jesus helped us understand we’re all equally in need of the forgiveness of Christ. Because of this there is no need for any sense of spiritual superiority. We dream of creating a community at Cross Point where there is no need for hiding, no need for reputation building, no need to impress anybody because we are all sinners, saved and living by grace.

ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE

Jesus continually chose to believe the best in people. He looked at people like Peter, who was inconsistent, unpredictable, and shaky in his faith at times, and still chose to believe that transformation could happen. Likewise, as Christians we’re called to believe the best in all people. We’re called to look one another in the eyes and see the men and women that we can become through the power of Jesus Christ.

Here’s my question. Which one of these three elements of community is most difficult for you to practice with others? Why?

46 Responses to “Is It Still Possible?”

  1. sherri says:

    To be really honest here…
    I believe all sinners are welcome, and should be reached, and anything is possible. My hardest would maybe be sitting next to a child molester. And always wondering, in the back of my mind, if they were truly free from it.

    I want them to be free, I believe Jesus can free them, that would just be the hardest for me.
    .-= sherri´s last blog ..PMS for Dummies =-.

  2. Lindsey says:

    I don’t know if this answers the question but what I struggle with keeping the focus on what I need to transform. I love that “everybody’s welcome” and certainly get that “nobody’s perfect” and I have faith that “anything’s possible.” But sometimes I focus on how others’ walk and how they should/could change instead of my own walk.
    .-= Lindsey´s last blog ..Attention: RSS Subscribers =-.

  3. Jessica says:

    At one time in my life I have probably struggled with all of these, but most recently my issues is with: Nobody’s Perfect. Reason? I’ve watched the “spiritually superior” devour those in community. Slithering and lying their way to places of leadership. Which is exactly why so many find it difficult to be real, transparent and authentic within “community”. For me it is difficult to accept others because of the masks…and because I’ve been burnt. I am still longing for authentic community and I am so relieved that it actually exists.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..My Story… =-.

  4. Sean says:

    I believe it is possible, if not necessary. If we ever truly want to live out the life that we are called to, as true followers of Christ, then this is imperative. As far as which of these areas are the most difficult to overcome? That seems to depend on the local community that you take part in. I know of situations where all three of these areas serve as stumbling blocks, unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about that overall mindset. Now, besides that group mentality, my individual focus is already set on this Acts church picture. It breaks my heart that I am in an atmosphere that puts faith and the Church into a very small box, with no room for progress or change of any type. I will just continue to pray for CP as they step out in this, as well as pray for my local congregation, for revival and renewal. Side note, if you haven’t yet, check out the thoughts and ideas coming out of Cornerstone in Simi Valley, CA. Francis Chan is the lead pastor there and he is constantly hammering on the Church being discussed, trying to bring it to reality.

    Sorry this was so long.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..The smell of the ole pigskin is in the air… =-.

  5. Jessica says:

    I agree with Sherri- there are some things that people do that I have a hard time looking past (like child molesting, rape, etc). However, in this season of my life “Anything’s possible” is the hardest. I’ve been bombarded by scenarios where the best outcome was prayed for as hard as anyone could pray, and the worst situation still happened- a baby died after 3 months of life in the NICU, my childhood pastor cheated on his wife, my friend is getting a divorce and she is only 23. I know in my heart “Anything’s Possible” is true, but I am unable to reflect it the way I would like at this time.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Helpless =-.

  6. Sarah says:

    Nobody’s Perfect- Except it has to do with myself. The hardest thing for me is to be part of a community when I’m not in the mood for it, to be part of something when I’d really rather be alone. Only child syndrome & the desire for community don’t always work together :)
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Summertime Blues =-.

  7. Pete Wilson says:

    @Lindsey, wow, very insightful. I struggle with the same thing.

    I think the aspect of “anything’s possible” should fuel us to not give up in the people around us. This doesn’t mean we take on their problems or try to manipulate them to change but it means we’re in their corner. We’re praying for them knowing it’s never too late.

  8. susan j says:

    “everyone is welcome” While the sign on the church may say it, I’m not so sure we all reflect it. I am working really hard on loving people and truly loving them where they are. The Spirit is helping me in amazing ways but it remains a daily cross.

  9. joyce says:

    I think the ‘anything is possible’. While I know that all things are possible there are people in my life, one situation in particular, that I struggle to see how it can be made right. I know it can because in my head I know that all things are possible with God, that he can make a way where there is no way. God is God and I am not but the reality of how that will happen is not something I can conceive of in my human-ness. Which speaks to the greatness of God and why I need to be in prayer. I really like The Message version of Matthew 19:26-

    ‘Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
    .-= joyce´s last blog ..The BBC and our MGB…you know, British stuff =-.

  10. *~Michelle~* says:

    Probably the nobody’s perfect….Being honest, I also sometimes will be quick to point out others’ speck of sawdust in their eye with a big ole plank in my own.
    .-= *~Michelle~*´s last blog ..Not me Monday! =-.

  11. Jim F. says:

    It for me would be a peice of each of those. Different parts of each of those I see as a struggle where I am. I know that God is going to grow us into the church that he wants us to be as long as we are willing.
    .-= Jim F.´s last blog ..Passionate Ministry =-.

  12. Harold says:

    Ok, time to be honest for me too.

    The biggest problem I have is with

    “Nobodies Perfect”. Really my problem lies more with

    “Nobodies perfect but that doesn’t keep them from thinking they are”.

    Give me a drug addict and a child molester any day over a “saint” who never makes a mistake and doesn’t entertain the idea that they might. My grace bucket runs out real quick for people like that. Pray for me.
    .-= Harold´s last blog ..Isaias Gabriel – Making The Difference in the DR =-.

  13. Anita says:

    It hit me during the sermon yesterday that “Everybody’s Welcome” includes Christians who live life by the downward cast. That’s the hardest thing for me.
    .-= Anita´s last blog ..See that Moutain? =-.

  14. sheri says:

    At the moment, it’s ‘anything’s possible.’ I know it’s true, but it’s hard to be confident in that when you seem to be in an abandoned waiting room.

    I feel like I’ve been begging God for such a long time to work in the lives of a few people who just continue to move farther away from Him. I’ve also been asking for some friends at church – a place to belong, but still haven’t found that.

    I’ve tried to love and witness to my friends and family who are running from God, and to get involved at my church. I’ve asked for wisdom, patience and just a bit of encouragement or insight while I wait for God’s timing. God must have different plans…

    I know He’s still God and I’m still not, but I’m struggling to figure out how to believe Anything is Possible without having Circumstantial Faith.

  15. Pete Wilson says:

    @Harold, You mean “everyone” includes them too? Oh shoot, I’ve got some work to do.

  16. Harold says:

    @Pete, I thought it did but it’s your call.
    .-= Harold´s last blog ..Isaias Gabriel – Making The Difference in the DR =-.

  17. ally says:

    Every now and again I’m struck by how small I pray, which shows me that I don’t really believer “anything is possible.” Instead of praying for radical healing and reconciliation, for example, I’ll pray that the person will have a better day. There’s nothing wrong with the second prayer, but I need to hope and pray big because through Christ anything is possible; and I believe God wants us to dream big dreams and pray big prayers.
    .-= ally´s last blog ..Quite the Summer =-.

  18. Nic says:

    I think all of these are difficult at different times for me. They’re especially difficult at church board meetings. (Particularly board meetings that cover topics like zoning issues.)

    Everyone is welcome is the easiest for me, though I do find it difficult not to wonder why some folks who hate our pastor with a passion still come, and why they face away from him or leave the room during the sermon. Welcome, yes, but it does make me curious.

    I think the hardest is believing that anything is possible. I know that I need to have faith that it is, but wow, it certainly doesn’t feel that way sometimes.
    .-= Nic´s last blog ..God is Love =-.

  19. Isn’t it funny…with all our innovations, and technology, and new resources for church the whole purpose for it is for relationship and for fellowship. That’s what I try to keep in the back of my head–the whole purpose for this “changing the methods but not the Message” is to bring as much people as we can into God’s family-and love them for who they are.

    Good stuff Pete:)
    .-= Michael Holmes´s last blog ..THE DANGER OF TRYING TO BE A “POPULAR” PASTOR =-.

  20. Tony York says:

    I think the second and third points are rooted in the first one. If we really expect to practice an everybody’s welcome attitude, it will be necessary to understand that nobody’s perfect and, with God, possibility exists to make life-impacting changes.

    So.. I would say that my REAL struggle is with, Everybody’s welcome…

    Cause, if I am being honest, there are just some people that I expect more from or don’t expect anything at all from and I don’t see God changing them.

    Think about it.. how many of us would be happy to see a Hitler or Bin Laden walk into our church on Sunday morning?

    Or even more pragmatic, how many of us have invited that person, to our church of small group, who just gets on our nerves or is hard to get along with? How about a family member that we feel has wronged us?

    Just some thoughts.
    .-= Tony York´s last blog ..Collecting Tears:Chapter 2 =-.

  21. Harold says:

    @Tony Yoke, Bin Laden would be welcome. Hitler, I would be skeptical of since he is dead. :-)
    .-= Harold´s last blog ..Isaias Gabriel – Making The Difference in the DR =-.

  22. Jason says:

    @Harold…before my serious post I couldn’t resist saying on your Hitler comment…we believe in resurrection, right? ;)

    Now, seriously…my biggest struggle is with “anything’s possible.” It’s not that I don’t believe that God can do anything and that there is no person beyond God…I’ve just had too many disappointments in life and dealt with too many “Christians” (including “Christian leaders”) who have shown me their true colors. I’ve been disillusioned so many times by men and women in whom I placed trust that I really have to fight not to go into a situation expecting the worst and hoping for the best. I can remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel that way and I honestly miss it.

    It reminds me of a closing argument I saw on an episode of The Practice. The lawyer made her case based on saying “it’s possible…but is it likely?” I struggle to get past that point…everything’s possible…not everything’s likely in a fallen world with fallen people.

    Sorry to be such a downer.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..Aisle 7: Churches, children’s ministries and sweatsocks… =-.

  23. Harold says:

    @Jason, you are a funny guy. :-)

    On your other points however, I have to say I have been and many times still am in the same boat as you.

    What I have hung my hat on in recent years is trying to achieve and then maintain that childlike faith. Waking up every morning not tainted by the day before yet not forgetting the lessons the day before taught me. Let me tell you, that is much much easier to type than it is to live out.
    .-= Harold´s last blog ..Isaias Gabriel – Making The Difference in the DR =-.

  24. Jennfier says:

    I think all of those are possible but probably one of the hardest is the second one – ‘Nobody’s Perfect’. It is one that I have seen people struggle with the most over the past few years especially. I left a church back in Nov after being a member there since I was born because I just could not deal with the closedminded I am perfect attitudes. The ministers/pastors there picked a few people who they deemed as ‘perfect’ and the rest of us were left trying to claw our way through… when certain people become the favboured ones and its a small church this causes a lot of division and problems. The church I am at now has a more unified approach and they see that everyone is a part of the church and we all have a role.

  25. Lett says:

    everybodys welcome. I’m a fairly anti-social guy and as a rule of thumb I don’t take to socializing naturally, this makes push people out and generally make others feel unwelcome.

  26. Elí says:

    I like the way you say it.
    I’ve seen so many leaders trying to put this same vision with different (and unneccessarily complicated) words and can’t transmit their thoughts. Therefore, people can’t follow them.

    How do you teach people, how do you share and trasmit what God really wanted from church?

  27. Jennfier says:

    It helps when the Pastor/minister has that sort of vision and then can spark that desire within the church… there are always gonna be people who are more outgoing than others, more welcoming than others, etc but the key is finding a balance so that everyone can feel connected and a part of the churc.

  28. Paula says:

    By far I struggle with the “nobody’s perfect”. Well, except for me, of course. Then guess that would mean I don’t struggle with it…but since I do, maybe I’m NOT perfect. Oh, the horrors! A new realization – ugh.

    I really do suck at this. :)

  29. Lauren Kelly says:

    WOW WOW WOW! This is good food for thought. Thanks Pete!!!
    .-= Lauren Kelly´s last blog ..No lack of pictures on this Monday! =-.

  30. Sheriy says:

    Love it!! Gods heart is clearly overflowing out of the leadership team. I long for that kind of community! I think the world longs for it too!

  31. katdish says:

    Hmmm….

    I think the “everyone’s welcome”, but maybe not in the traditional sense. I really have a heart for those who are far away from God; who are looking for a place to belong, and I think I can honestly say that we welcome those folks with open arms. But if I’m being honest, I tend to be wary of those who are long time Christians who seem to hop from one church to another because they don’t feel like they’re being fed. I suppose I feel like they should know better.
    .-= katdish´s last blog ..Fixing what’s broken (by Billy Coffey) =-.

  32. amy says:

    The answere for me would be anything is possible. I guess because its something I’ve never truly believed. I look around and don’t believe that anything is possibe. I know thats terrible but its how I feel.
    .-= amy´s last blog ..The guy =-.

  33. The standard of “the world” is the opposite of The Word. God said, 1st would be last. We say, if your 1st your a winner, if not your a loser. I have to live in this world but I don’t have to use it’s standard. I think the stick that we measure ourselves with (thinking somehow my sin is less than someone else’s),that is the flesh because of a fallen world (the pride of life). We aren’t to do the measuring with our finite little minds. We have to stop the measuring, both ourselves(insignificance) and others(judgment). We are Christians(not perfect) just forgiven.

    If I can accept that God has forgiven me,I have to forgive.
    It is possible. Yes, very difficult to die to myself but if I can live like I know that, It is possible.

  34. CHRIS says:

    For me, it’s Everybody’s Welcome. Everybody’s Welcome should equate to “nobody sits alone in a pew.” I have no problem with anyone coming through the doors and worshiping, but I have a hard time with the second part of that: the embrace and include piece. I need to work on my level of comfort with that. Great question!

  35. Justin Davis says:

    I am banking my life that all of these are true, and that I have the opportunity through the power of God to help people live as though they are true. It was a powerful message yesterday, Pete!
    .-= Justin Davis´s last blog ..Shrunken Jesus =-.

  36. Shana Poisel says:

    For me, it’s not so much me not accepting others. I have a hard time feeling like I’m accepted. As virtually the only divorced, single parent who regularly attends church, it’s difficult relating to the “happily marrieds” even though I’m aware that not everything is as it appears on the surface. I do recognize that everyone has issues, and I’m even aware of some of those issues, but that doesn’t always help me during the times I need to talk about being a single parent, divorce, and being a blue collar worker in a primarily white collar community. I guess in the end this would place me in the “Nobody’s Perfect” category. I know I’m not perfect. They know I’m not perfect. I know they aren’t perfect, but they make me feel as if they are and I don’t rate, even if they don’t mean to make me feel that way.

  37. Jan C. says:

    All of those statements sound right to my heart. But under the category of “nobody’s perfect,” I have to admit that I wonder most about the idea that I should judge not, lest I be judged. How do you turn off that part of your mind that knows what it likes and sees other people doing, wearing, saying, or acting opposite to that, kwim? I’m happy to get to know all sorts of people and I find plenty that I like about them. But in my mind I still find that I have a running commentary going on about how they look and behave. What’s THAT all about? Drives me crazy. I don’t want to be judgmental, but how do you turn off the part of you that wants to compare everyone else’s behavior and presentation to your own, and is secretly hoping to come up smelling like a rose in comparison?!!!
    .-= Jan C.´s last blog ..Fire! =-.

  38. DisneyCyndi says:

    Maybe I have been in church too long, and have become cynical but I have a hard time with the everybody’s welcome one. I have been to many places (and websites) where I don’t see me (and I don’t mean me per say, but people like me. And I’m not just talking race). Which then leads me to think not all things are possible. But since I don’t consider anyone perfect that might explain the other two!
    .-= DisneyCyndi´s last blog ..Congratulations Pam and Ricky =-.

  39. Katie says:

    I think “everybody’s welcome” is the toughest for me personally because at the end of the day, I’m still a sinner. And that sinful part of me wants to point the finger, wants to not like people who are different, doesn’t like being uncomfortable. I’m much too skeptical and untrusting of people – my nature wants to assume the worst, not the best as God commands.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Uncomfortable? =-.

  40. melody says:

    Nobody’s Perfect. And like others have said, I can fully accept that nobody’s perfect, I just struggle with those who THINK they are perfect.

    The following is a situation I am dealing with and even if nobody out there reads this, I just have to type this out for my own sanity!!! :)

    I am serving in a ministry with another woman who handed me my faults and personality flaws on a silver platter. Believe me, it stung (and some of it was true), but my real problem is that she is the first to criticize and find fault, but she will NOT take the least bit of criticism. And our team is dealing with a lot of stress and last minute stuff due to her decisions-decisions which I saw the flaws in but was afraid to voice because I was afraid of being ripped for being “bossy.” And sooooo I take deep breaths and repeat “nobody’s perfect” over and over and over in my mind. But I have also reached a breaking point where I no longer feel a productive leader of the team because I don’t want her to see me as “bossy” or a “know-it-all.” Her attitude towards everyone and her decisions are threatening to sink our ministry, but I don’t know when you just keep muttering “nobody’s perfect” and know that God is in control, or when you realize that “God is in control” and He is asking you to maybe go talk to the person–a person you risk totally offending; someone who is liable to quit and never come back to church. Sometimes church is too hard.

    Ok I at least got that off my chest! :)

  41. Dawn Bryant says:

    Love seeing vision like this. Launching a church in St. Paul, MN, with two pastors who are living this out also. It’s beautiful. And it changes people. Powerful stuff.

  42. @hasbell says:

    How refreshing to finally hear someone from the stage actually say this! I had this same conversation with someone last week.

    I think that the goal is to reach out knowing and truly believing all things are possible with Christ. Our human tendency is look at those around us who bring their bible and their junk to church with them is that we are hesitant to reach out. Why? I figure that it’s the question of what our requirement will be… What is the cost: time? money? resources? etc…

    In all actuality, all it requires of us is availability. Being there. A kind word. A prayer with someone. A card in the mail. A meal to someone who is home-bound.

    Availability is all Christ requires of us. He will do the rest through us. I’m thankful to be a part of CrossPoint where I feel welcome… with or without my junk! :)
    .-= @hasbell´s last blog ..AUTHENTIC AND UNCHANGING… =-.

  43. Leslie says:

    I have the hardest time with believing that anything’s possible.

    You see, I’m one of those people who can find good in every situation. I can find beauty in devastation and good in the presence of evil. However, I don’t afford myself the same courtesy.

    While I’m the first to cheer on a friend or loved one in accomplishing their goals. I’m the first one to tell them that “anything’s possible”, that they can do anything they set their mind to, well, I just don’t really believe that about myself.

    It’s hard being such a Type A person. I was raised in an environment where an A wasn’t good enough, only an A+ was worth recognizing.

    I hope that one day I can give myself a break and see in myself what God sees in me.
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..One step… =-.

  44. […] first was by Pete Wilson. He talked about his church’s goal of building (or rebuilding) the kind of […]

  45. Heidi Reed says:

    Off topic!

    I want to plan a family vaca. We are driving from FL to OH. We can go thru TN if we want. Give me some family friendly fun things to do for a day/night in TN. My kids will be ages 5, 4, and 18 months.

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    .-= Heidi Reed´s last blog ..Fear This =-.

  46. […] first was by Pete Wilson. He talked about his church’s goal of building (or rebuilding) the kind of […]

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