Cross Pointe Church

Address

1800 Satellite Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30097

More Info

Service Times

Sunday 9:15 AM

Sunday 11:00 AM

Contact

678-812-4500

Do Not Worry

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“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

“Do not worry…”  Jesus’ words are easier said than done, aren’t they?  It’s hard to even imagine a life completely free from all worry.  Whether it’s big, life-altering circumstances or the daily nuisances of life, we all struggle with worry.  Maybe that is why Christ, in the first sermon He ever delivered, spent a significant portion of His time on this very subject.

The word “worry” in this section of The Sermon on the Mount is actually translated as “anxious.”  It literally means, “to divide the mind.”  Isn’t that a great mental picture?  Worry divides the focus of our minds.  It takes our attention from what is utmost, and scatters it here and there, resulting in a complete lack of direction if we aren’t careful.

So how do we guard against a divided mind?  Jesus’ answer was clear:  “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).  So maybe the question isn’t, “How do I keep from worrying?”  Maybe a more fruitful approach is, “What am I seeking?”  Nothing focuses the mind like the Holy Spirit of God.  He puts our lives into perspective, pulling out the weeds of this world that can choke out the fruit of the Spirit. 

As a child of God, we have the incredible privilege of coming to Him in prayer.  This sacred time with Him is our opportunity to lay all of our burdens at His feet.  The problem is, we tend to lay them there, and then pick them back up.  Are we more capable of solving problems than He?  Have we more resources?  More knowledge?  More wisdom?  More love?  Of course not!  So we must lay them down in sincere faith, and leave them there in unwavering trust.

Where are your burdens?  Are they dividing your mind - distracting you and robbing you of joyful living?  Or, are they where they belong—in the capable hands of Your loving, sovereign Father? 

Prayer: Father, Please forgive me for worrying, especially things that do not really matter.  Please increase my faith and help me trust You in every detail of my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Perseverance

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Testing--“That by which something is tried and proven.” According to this passage, trials test (or prove) faith.  And faith develops perseverance, which is necessary if we are going to be spiritually mature. Most believers would likely agree with this truth.  But, what about the joy?  How many of us consider it pure joy to face trials?

Perseverance is not a characteristic that is easily developed. In fact, it cannot be developed without challenges. When we learn to persevere, however, we connect with Christ in a deep, meaningful way. Jesus suffered, and the choice to share in His sufferings for the sake of His name deepens our faith and love for Him.  This is where the joy amidst trials is rooted – not in the trial itself, but in the deep connection to Christ that trials can bring.

The roadblock to joy for many of us is a divided heart. In order to find joy in the midst of trials, Christ and His glory must be the object of our heart’s affection.  In every situation, our goal must be to know Him more and to reflect His character. Only when this is true can we have joy when our faith is being tested. 

Perseverance is not easy. Just ask any long-distance runner.  It hurts to keep running when everything in you longs to stop. The motivation to continue is the reward. The same is true spiritually.  Considering it joy to face trials does not mean that we enjoy the hardship. God is not asking us to be happy to have cancer or to lose a job.  Jesus was not happy when He went to the cross… but “for the joy set before Him” He endured (Hebrews 12:2).  The joy comes because our hearts are fixed on Jesus--He is our reward.  And to be mature in Him we must learn to persevere.

So, if you are struggling to have joy when your faith is tested, examine your heart. Where do your affections lie? Take heart and persevere! The reward is worth the hardship. 

Prayer: Jesus, You are my reward. Please help me to remember this when I face the trials that test my faith. I want to be found faithful, Lord.  Help me to rely on Your strength to persevere. In Your name, Amen. 

Your Treasure

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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:21

In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus offers the foundation for a worry-free life.  To summarize, He says to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth.  His reason?  Because earthly treasures will disappear, but heavenly investments last forever… and more importantly, they matter forever.  “Treasure” here means that which is of most value to you.  I believe Jesus speaks of not only monetary resources (but of course this as well), but also the precious resources of our time and effort.  In other words, where and how we spend our lives.

Our lives, as Christ followers, are to be poured out for eternity, not for the passing pleasures of this world.  Our checkbooks, calendars, and agendas should reflect a heart pointed heavenward, and a life lived that way. 

So what does treasure have to do with worry?  Everything, according to Jesus.  Our hearts follow our treasures.  If our hearts are divided by worry, then maybe it is because our resources are not being invested in the eternal.  Maybe we have gotten “sucked in” to the American Dream of more, more, more.  Perhaps giving to the poor and to the advancement of the Gospel has taken a backseat to driving a nice car, wearing stylish, name-brand clothes, or having the latest i-gadget. 

Jesus wasn’t anti-money… and He still isn’t.  He is, however, anti-selfish.  He is for us; and His desire is not to take from us, but to give to us.  In His economy, receiving what matters requires giving up what does not.  Jim Elliot, who gave his very life to bring the Gospel to savages living in the deep jungles of Ecuador, understood this truth.  He said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Prayer: Father, Show me where I am investing in the temporary instead of the eternal; and help me to change.  I want my life to be for the sake of the Gospel, not the passing pleasures of the world.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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