WHY WE DO THAT
Below you will find a little more about why we do what we do. ...
There's no dress code at Crossroads. In fact we encourage people to dress informally. Though there is nothing casual about our attitudes – we approach every aspect of our congregational life with a passion for excellence – we carefully guard against formalism and stuffiness. We want people to feel as comfortable as if they were visiting a dear friend, because they really are.
On the first Sunday of each month, Crossroads joins with Christians around the world in remembering the simple power of the Good News. We do this by eating a piece of broken bread and drinking a small cup of grape juice which will be served during our worship celebration. These remind us that Jesus allowed His body to be broken that our lives might be made whole and allowed His blood to be shed that we could be completely forgiven in God’s sight. We encourage you to let the Lord make this time of sharing in these simple elements more than just a religious ritual. (Luke 22:19).
Lifting Hands & Singing:
We invite people to express their love for God with sincerity, sensitivity, and sanity. One of the ways some of us do so is by spontaneously lifting our hands as we sing songs of gratitude and adoration. This is not an act of superficial fanaticism. There are many places in the Bible where this praise posture is encouraged such as: "I will lift up my hands in Your name" (Psalm 63:3-4), and "Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven" (Lamentations 3:41).
Lifting hands is an expression of openness, surrender, and love. It’s like reaching toward God, our Heavenly Father, as a child would reach up to offer an embrace to a loving parent. It’s a powerful symbol of the affection many of us have for the One who has forgiven and restored us by His grace. Though never a requirement, we extend an invitation to experience the blessing and freedom of this worship practice.
We want for people to enjoy the liberty to worship the Lord expressively. However, we also insist that praise not be used as a license for insensitivity toward others or as an opportunity for spiritual grand-standing. So, while choosing to be mindful of others and determining to conduct ourselves in an orderly manner, let’s honor the Lord together with the lifting of hands.
Few experiences are more awkward or intimidating than being asked to sing songs you’ve never heard before with a group of people you don’t know. Yet, that’s what happens to visitors every week at CrossRoads. The question that begs to be answered is, “Why would a church which desires to be, ‘A Safe Place to Seek,’ inflict this form of torture on the very people it claims to be reaching out to include?”
The answer is simple. We believe that the value of helping people experience the presence of God outweighs the temporary anxiety they may feel about singing along with us. Most folks who gather up enough courage to visit a church do so because they hope that in some way they will meet God there. They long for His peace, His comfort, His wisdom, His encouragement, His healing, etc.
The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Although He is always near to those who seek Him, the spiritual activity of praise increases our sensitivity to His presence. And because singing songs of adoration to God is one of the most accessible forms of praise, we don’t hesitate to encourage everyone to join in. We know that if they do, they won’t regret it.
Deciding to be baptized in water is an important step in your relationship with Jesus. Although baptism is not the means of salvation, it is the appropriate response for those who have been born again by faith in Jesus. It accomplishes three things.
First, baptism is an expression of obedience. Jesus was very clear that He wanted those who would believe on Him to be baptized (Matthew 28:19-20). Therefore, you come to the waters of baptism as a clear statement of your desire to always do what pleases Him.
Second, baptism is a means of giving testimony. It is a graphic proclamation to observers. Going under the water and rising again is an illustration of how your old sinful nature has been crucified with Christ, and how He has given you new life through the power of His resurrection.
Third, baptism is a celebration. It’s a time for you and your church family to rejoice in your salvation.
When Jesus submitted to the baptism of repentance that John the Baptist preached, three things happened (Luke 3:21-22): The heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and the Heavenly Father confirmed His love for His Son. You can expect these same three things to be a part of your baptism experience.
As you prayerfully approach the waters of baptism, your decision to obey the Lord can be like a key that unlocks a fresh opening of heaven to you. In other words, there will be new insight into the Lord’s will and way for your life as you study the Scriptures and seek Him.
You should also expect the Holy Spirit affecting your life in fresh ways. If you have not yet received the fullness of the Spirit, let this be the time. As you are baptized in water, invite Jesus to immerse you in His Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).
Finally, be listening with your heart for that intimate confirmation that provides assurance of the Father’s love for you and your place as a child in His family (Romans 8:12-17).
The question is often asked, “What about infant baptism?” In response, it must first be understood that water baptism is an outward action that confirms an inner decision. Since baptism involves a choice, the Scriptures indicate that those who were baptized were of a sufficient age that they could understand what they were doing and why.
If you were preciously baptized as an infant, you may be wondering what you should do now. If so, you should first understand that those who presented you for baptism as a small child (parents, ministers, etc.) did so out of a sincere concern for your spiritual well being. For that, you should be very grateful. Secondly, you should be baptized again now that you can do so with understanding.
Another question that is often asked concerns the mode of baptism – “Should a person be immersed or sprinkled?” The Bible says, “Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water…(Matthew 3:16).” By this, the Scripture seems to indicate that the Lord was baptized by immersion. However, this should not be allowed to become a point of contention with believers who have a different practice. The important thing is what’s happening in the heart of the one being baptized.
Being baptized in water is a precious experience with the Lord. It should be approached with preparation, reverence, and anticipation. Coming to the waters of baptism in this way will insure that your experience is much more than just the performance of a religious rite or ritual. Instead, it will be a deeply meaningful expression of your faith in Christ and a profoundly life-changing step in your relationship with Him.