Learning from the Pagans

I was trying to think of an even more offensive title, but this is the best I could conjure. My apologies to all the pagans, just trying to rattle the cages of the Christians a little.

Why the cage rattling? Sometimes, we ‘Believers’ get so good at the rules we actually break them because we hold them too tightly.

Here’s an example…

One of the best things that has happened in the professional life of our church started a little more than a year ago. After a particularly stressful period of ministry I wrote a letter to our Personnel Team and got honest.

In a nut shell I shared that I did not need a raise, a plaque, a gift, or even a secretary (although, I will put those in order of importance for anyone handing them out). What I needed was some time off.

  • The trouble was not exhaustion, but it was a part.
  • The problem was not a nervous breakdown, but it was in sight.
  • The difficulty was not a diminishing passion, but the fire had dwindled to some embers.
  • The problem was deeper than that.

I had been preaching at CrossPoint for nearly 10 years. In that time, we had grown from a small neighborhood church to a thriving multi-site congregation with 10 campuses in nine communities.

During those years there a few years I had preached 50 out of 52 weeks in a year, and never less than 48. Add to that multiple services each weekend, mid week services and special events and I would preach in 40 days what the average pastor preaches in one year.

No whining here… I volunteered. I’m just outlining how exhaustion, apathy and stress were creeping onto my turf.

So, back to the letter to our Personnel Team. They responded with great compassion and action (whew!), and told me to take two weeks off immediately and plan for another six the following summer.

It was exciting, refreshing and beautiful even thinking about the break in the routine. I gladly accepted, but shared with them that I was looking for even more.

While a Sabbatical break was amazing, the thought of a break every 10 years was actually a little depressing (and that was assuming I would get another one in the next decade).

I was looking for hope on a regular basis, and I proposed that there were planned, excused and expected breaks throughout the year, every year for myself and all church staff.

When your workdays are Saturday and Sunday, there is no holiday weekend, no three day break, nothing. There are 52 Sundays a year even if the banks are closed, the schools are out, or it’s Christmas.

What we needed was a chance to be a normal family every now and then, to hit the road, go visit extended family, or do something amazing… like doing nothing. Not a full week off, that’s a vacation. Just the weekend, a day or two.

What I was asking for was a Sabbath. A day of rest, just like God instructed. You know, the day Christians set aside to mow the lawn, pay the bills, do home maintainance, and maybe cram in a church service… if there is time.

The Sabbath was intended to be a pause, a rest, a rejuvenation and rebuilding and God was so serious about it He modeled it and commanded it:

Genesis 2

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.


Exodus 20

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Obviously, God was serious about a Sabbath rest… even for those who ‘go to church’ to honor it and those who preach to others about it. We’re the one’s who don’t take it that seriously.

So, as a church we built in Sabbath weekends for our staff… beautiful.

As I write this, I am experiencing the Monday morning Sabbath Weekend afterglow.

warriors after


warrior kissWe went camping as a family. Kathy and I ran in the Warrior Dash with the rest of our small group. We ate smores and hung out with some of our favorite people at a late night campfire. We played cards with the boys. We slept in on a Sunday. We went to the late service at a church where no one had even heard of CrossPoint. One more time… beautiful.945180_10152060855572715_2061326093_n

As a man who is usually on the job on Sunday mornings, driving around during those hours is very revealing.

I saw people taking walks. There were bike riders everywhere. The parks were active. But, more than anything else, I saw many people sitting on lawn chairs in the shade, on the porch, and in the driveway.

These pagans really know how to party… er, ‘rest’ I mean. I know there was no Godly faithfulness in their activities. If there was any worship in their plans, it was a trip to services at St. Mattress to snore out a few choruses.

But, is it possible they are closer than we ‘Believers’ when it comes to obeying the Sabbath? They work all week and then they take a break. Perhaps there are some commands that we hold so tightly to we no longer honor them. Instead, we snap them in half with our exhausting, tiresome grip.

We could learn something from the pagans.

At CrossPoint we already have, and I am refreshed, more focused and so thankful for the expectation that church staff obey the scriptures… it’s called a Sabbath. It’s meant for everyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ.

Take a break.

Mark 2

27 And he (Jesus) said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”


Recommended Books

Here is a list of recommended books. Use the “BROWSE BY CATEGORY” links on the right side to reveal more recommendations!

An Open Letter to Campus Pastors

An open letter to my brothers, friends, comrades in arms known as CrossPoint Campus Pastors.



As I have been studying the book of Joshua in my personal devotional time, I have been gleaning some lessons on leadership. I must admit, that the purpose of my study time is to hear from God and submit to Him. But, the side notepad of leadership ideas that stream from this book have caused me to think much about what I, you and we do here at CrossPoint.

I will hopefully put these thoughts all together some day and (even more hopefully) I pray they will be a blessing to us all, but something struck me today I need to share, immediately.

By the way, if you just said ‘hurry, hurry’… you may need to take a weekend off.

Chapter 12 of Joshua is one of those pass by chapters. It’s just a list of names of conquered kings and geographic designations you can’t even find on the maps in the back of the book.joshua map

I know there is a significance in each name and location, but let’s be honest; most of us just skip a chapter like this and leave it to the seminary profs.

However, I want you to see the placement.

Joshua is a 24 chapter book and this ‘pass by’ chapter of names and places divides the book in half. From a leadership perspective, the division is important.

The first half of the book is about conquest, war, taking the land, fulfilling the promise and achieving victory. It’s exciting, fast-paced and the stuff found in most pulpit pounding sermons.

The second half of the book is about maintenance, administration, putting out ‘fires’ and setting up the systems to inhabit this new promised land. While it has it’s highlights, the second half of Joshua just doesn’t seem to have the same power-punched excitement of the first half.

Despite the difference between the front and the back of this book… both are equally important aspects of leadership.

We all love the passion of the vision, the launching of the new, the exhilaration of pioneering. And, guiding a church through these waters is most definitely in your wheelhouse… it’s what you do, what you’ve been called to, it’s what you’re gifted in, it’s the requirement of being ‘the pastor.’

And, in the same breath, the distribution of resources, the placement of people, the mediation of grumbling, the discussions on direction and the day to day mechanics of sustainable ministry are also your direct responsibility… it’s what you do, what you’ve been called to, it’s what you’re gifted in, it’s the requirement of being ‘the pastor.’

I am thankful for your partnership in the Gospel. I am privileged to know and work with you. I am more confident in this day than I have ever been in my professional life that I am surrounded by the finest men I have ever called brothers and pastors.

I offer this letter to you, not as a rebuke… not at all. I send this to you as a reminder to us all.

Taking new ground, blazing a trail and pounding out Kingdom victories are what we do. But, JUST AS IMPORTANT are the day to day, grinding it out, working the process and using what you’ve got moments that God has given you the privilege of getting done.

Be the leader.

Be the pastor.

Much love to you all and blessing on your families.

Seeking more of Him and less of me,

Andy Addis
Lead Pastor, CrossPoint Church

The 'In Betweens'

Mark 5:1-2 “They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat…”

This is one of those days in ministry my seminary professors warned me about. I have spent the entire day knee deep in email, receipts, setting up chairs and tables for women’s Bible study, and in all kind of routine office details…

Not exactly charging hell with the water pistol on a day like today.It can be hard to remember that these days are often just as important as the days of monumental spiritual battles and great victories for the kingdom.

I am reminded of this every time I read the Gospels and see that Jesus and his disciples were either coming from some place or going into another.
When I read a passage like that, I’ll often turn to the maps in the back; just like we did when we were kids in Sunday school doing anything to stay awake.

If you look real close you might find the dot on the map where Jesus and His disciples started walking, and then where they stopped.

Honestly, sometimes I’m still flabbergasted that in one small verse Jesus may have traveled mile after mile. What I read in less than three seconds would’ve taken them a day or more to walk on foot.

Those are the ‘in betweens’… the transitions between amazing stories of Jesus healing someone and then moving to another place where He has a royal rumble with the local religious leadership.

Those stories are exciting, powerful and very important lessons, but between them is the drab, mundane, plodding along from point A to point B, otherwise known as the ‘in betweens’.

Those in between moments aren’t really worthy of publication, and they don’t get your attention, but in reality there would be no great story after story if you didn’t have the connections in between.

Most of our life isn’t spent on the mountaintops, or in the incredible climax of adventure. Life is mostly about the valleys in between, the day today duties and responsibilities that get us to the high points of life.

Peter was there when Jesus raised that little girl from the dead, but he was also there on the boat ride that took the entire night before. James saw Jesus throw down on the Pharisees and shame them for their religious pride, but he also spent the days before walking dusty roads, sleeping on the ground and just staying close to Jesus.

They aren’t fun, they aren’t glorious, but without a doubt they are necessary… the ‘in betweens’.

It’s on the ‘in between’ days that we develop our faithfulness, endurance, and steadfastness. It’s on those days we learn to listen to, follow after and be near Jesus, so that on those other more exciting days, following Him will only be natural.

Life is not about transporting yourself from mountaintop to mountaintop. It’s about reaching the peak by doing the hard work in the valley followed by the slow climb to the top, all the while letting Jesus lead the way.

Just as Jesus disciples followed him everywhere, walked with Him countless miles, and hit the road between those amazing stories, so we should also be faithful in the ‘in betweens’.

Don’t forget, if today you’re on the ‘in betweens’, it means you’re on the road to someplace great.

Be faithful. Follow Jesus. You’ll get there.