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2601 24th Ave SE
Norman, OK 73071

405-329-0823

CrossPointe Church in Norman, OK is truly a church with a heart. With services, activities, and classes for adults, kids, students, and seniors, CrossPointe has a place for you. We offer three worship venues with three distinct styles of music.

Pastor's Blog

Passion Week - Wednesday

Mike Butler

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Wednesday

John 13:21-32 https://my.bible.com/bible/111/JHN.13.21-32

“After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.”

Meals should be a time of community that create comfort and ease. When we sit down to eat with others there should be some sense of awe and gratitude because it’s a chance to share your life with someone. That’s why it’s so disheartening that so few people really eat meals together. Too many times, it seems that to sit down and have a meal together is seen as a distraction from our endless daily pursuits of self-absorption. To stop and eat together means that I have to stop, look, and listen to the way others experience life and to be quite frank, I’ve got too much going to do that.  

In today’s text, Jesus and his disciples sat down to have what may have been a traditional Seder meal in preparation for the Passover festival.  Originally the meal was designed to allow Jewish families time to reflect on the Exodus of Israel from Egyptian slavery into the promised land. It was a way of remembering God’s presence with them and looking forward to a day when He would establish an unending reign.  The meal was meant to reconnect families to their heritage and then point them to God’s future promises. Little did the disciples know that following this meal, God’s promises would be finally coming to fulfillment.

But how could they know, they were so consumed with their own lives.  The Gospel of Luke reveals to us that as they were eating the meal they were arguing about who was more important to Jesus and his work.  (Luke 22:24) Most likely this was an ongoing debate that Jesus had to deal with more times than not. (Mark 9:30–34). As we look in on the meal, we see Jesus struggling with something and it’s a deep sadness. His pending death will be initiated by a betrayal.  His statement of betrayal would first create conflict and then concern. I find it intriguing that the disciples began asking who it was–assuming it wasn’t themselves. Peter motions to the disciple Jesus loved to get an answer. When the disciples leans in to ask Jesus privately, Jesus tells him somewhat quietly that the person he gives a piece of bread to will be the person who will betray him. While the disciple would know, the others would not have suspected anything. It was a common act of courtesy for the host of a meal to take a small portion of flat bread, dip it in a main dish of the meal and give that to a guest.  He could have done that several times that evening. So when he gives it to Judas, most of the disciples could have just seen it as an act of generosity being completely oblivious to the implications.

In the end, people might have been paying attention, but not entirely.  Maybe Peter was going to seize upon the moment but it happened too fast and maybe it was just to ‘normal’ to pick up on it.  Maybe he was too consumed with protecting Jesus that he forgot Jesus had already been promising this almost a year before (John 6:70).  However, it’s recorded that Judas’ heart was settled at the moment of receiving the bread. Satan entered and he was sent to do what he must and because everyone else was consumed with personal matters, they thought nothing of it.  

And we should all be both thankful and saddened by it.  Saddened because like Judas we have all managed to betray Jesus in some way or another.  Perhaps it was a direct betrayal–by simply denying his presence and goodness in our lives. Perhaps it was more indirect–by denying the dignity others are due because we fail to treat them with kindness and generosity or worse by just paying attention to them at all.  But we are thankful for it as well. Because Judas followed his darkened heart which ultimately led to his betrayal of Jesus and Jesus’ journey to the cross to break the chains that darkness holds over all our hearts.

Ironically enough, it’s at a meal that we learn an important lesson for all of life.  Pay more attention to people because you simply never know what’s going on in someone’s heart.  

Go in Peace!

Passion Week - Tuesday

Mike Butler

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Tuesday

John 12:20-36, NIV 2011 (https://my.bible.com/bible/111/JHN.12.20-36)

'Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’ ? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. '

Years ago, I served at a church where the person preaching the message was a trial attorney and elder of the church. Early on, I realized how powerful that was. Each week, I was challenged to see Jesus as someone rather than something.  The goal of preaching was twofold: Proclaim Jesus and walk people through the Bible. Prior to my taking over the pulpit, he told me that he and the other man who shared the pulpit before me taped the phrase, “We’d see Jesus” to the pulpit to remind them of their purpose.  At the same time, I was working on my degree in Theology. I was taking a class designed to help me improve as a preacher. I was learning how to better understand the role of the Bible in forming my worldview (thoughts of God, myself, the world around me, etc.) and proclaiming the work of Jesus.  As I was letting those influences shape me, I remember one phrase the professor said when the sermon just wouldn’t seem to come. He said in those moments all we can do is “brag on Jesus”. Over the years, I have found that in most cases, bragging on Jesus sufficiently proclaims him.

However, to brag on Jesus, we must see Him.

When these Greeks approached  the disciples saying they wanted to see Jesus, it was likely John’s way of building on 12:19, when the Pharisees had argued, “Look how the whole world has gone after him!”  The world had come to see Jesus and He essentially tells them to wait and they’ll see him soon enough–they and the rest of the world.

Jesus’ death will be the only way that people who search for him will truly find Him. The story of the kernel dying to bring life to many new seeds, brings home the point.  It is in his death, that people will truly “see him”. The challenge of seeing Jesus’ death for what it is means that we are willing to see ourselves as we are.

It means to accept that:

  • we are not as we should be.

  • we are not able to correct it on our own.

  • we are in desperate need.

  • God loves us beyond ourselves.

  • God has made this known through Jesus’ death.

Jesus tells the crowd listening that when he is lifted up from the earth he will draw all people to himself.  When he suffers death on the cross, all the earth will see him. When we speak of his death for the forgiveness of sins, everyone will see him.  When we testify to the power of that forgiveness and the promise we have because of his resurrection, then people will see him. While we might speak of his miracles as evidence of his authority, we must eventually point to the cross to speak of his work. While we hold to his teachings and the other Scriptures as reasoning for the way we live our lives, eventually we must point to the Cross to speak of the life we have.  While we might attempt to live out the call of Jesus in our lives so others might catch a glimpse of him, it is only when we point to the Cross that they will be able to see Him.

If we are to answer the question of the “Greeks” today, then we must be willing to say daily in our lives, “We’d like to see Jesus”.

Go in Peace!

Passion Week - Monday

Mike Butler

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Monday

John 12:1-11 (https://my.bible.com/bible/111/JHN.12.1-11)

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”

The events of today most likely took place on a Saturday evening following the Sabbath.  It appears a group had gathered to break the Sabbath and enjoy table fellowship with Jesus. Tensions were high, no doubt.  Passover was always a time of joy and celebration, but it brought frustration as well. Rome was still in power. Herod was still a puppet king and Pilate still had something to prove.  All this while, people tried to remember God’s history of walking ahead of Israel and his promises to provide for them hope in a world that reeked of death and despair.

Jesus and his disciples had gathered to share a meal and many in the community had come to join them.  While the story of Lazarus’ raising from the dead was fresh in the minds of those present, there was an ominous aroma in the air. Jesus’ presence always seemed to bring a savor of wonder and excitement, but now seemed to bring a notable smell of fear. Every leader has a point where it comes time to put up or shut up.  No doubt the disciples liked the positive attention, but three years of consistently ruffling the feathers of religious and political leaders can take a toll. A time comes when really the unspoken expectations of the crowd begin to surface and the scent of frustration and monotony begin to take over. People begin to say things like, “What’s next?”, “What’s your vision here?” or “Where are we going?”  As Jesus sits with his guests, I am sure that many around him had begun to wonder these questions in some way. What was rolling around in their heads had begun to come out in their conversations leaving a stench of doubt and even contempt. But others, found that the presence of Jesus still smelled sweet. Jesus’ being with them meant that life had purpose–even promise. Every time he spoke, it ushered in a spirit of peace like a cool breeze filled with narcissus in the spring. When Jesus walked in a room,  the scent of hope with every smile, nod, and laugh settled an uneasy soul.

Yet the fatigue seems to be setting in with Him as well. He looks worn and wearied, maybe even a little concerned. They can’t make it out, but he seems so focused that his demeanor is even a little unsettling. It wasn’t terribly abnormal because he was known to get a little sideways at times, but this just seems different.  His presence still brings a confidence of a new future much like rain on a thirsty land, but he seems so focused, so intense.

As Mary enters the room, she settles a Jesus’ feet. She takes out a bottle and breaks the top. As she begins to pour the liquid onto his feet, the beautiful fragrance takes over the room.  It’s a smell that speaks of gratefulness. Filling the room with the scent of thankfulness like a traveler who finds an oasis in the desert. The lavishness of the joy and appreciation is felt as Mary lowers her hair and begins washing the feet of Jesus with it. She weeps, but no one dare ask why.  We can only assume her reasons, but then again it’s really not up to us to decide why. Mary has done us all a favor. In this deliberate act of generosity, Mary has allowed everyone to give voice to their inner dialogue. In one fell swoop, Mary has allowed us all to say what is in our hearts, even if we can’t find the words to say it.

21 centuries later, the aroma still fills the room.

Go in Peace!