60th Anniversary of Centerpoint

The More Things Change

(Back then)

 “Remember your leaders who spoke to you the word of God””

It has been my honor to serve as the pastor of this beautiful Centerpoint family for 29 years now. I vividly remember the names and faces of the men and women who were leading this church when I first arrived. Although at times, as people come and go, I considered installing revolving doors on the worship center, God has always supplied the mission and ministry of this church with just the right people at just the right time. The names have changed, yet we hold to the same doctrine as our founders, teach the same inerrant Bible, and obey the same mission outlined by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) 

One hundred and seventy years ago, the French author Alphonse Karr spoke the truth when he wrote, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” or, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” The pace of change around us is accelerating. But the truth of Scripture is as timeless as God Himself; a rock-solid foundation upon which a Christian can stand. The Bible still speaks to the sin and need of mankind and reveals the grace of God found through faith in Jesus Christ. As varieties of sin rapidly multiply, Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and peace with God remains the same.

In 1961, only 8,000 people called this sleepy little town “home.” Royal Avenue was a dirt road and 2369 was a walnut orchard. Since the inception of our church, many world-changing events have occurred. And during our first ten years, the riptides in our culture were especially  tumultuous. In 1961, John F. Kennedy was our president. In 1962 he pulled us back from the brink of a nuclear exchange in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and in 1963 he was tragically assassinated. The Vietnam war raged, and the protests at home were inflamed. Woodstock and the summer of love happened in 1969, signaling the beginning of a rapid slide in the morals and values we held dear. The six days of the Watts riots in the summer of 1965 left L.A. with 34 fewer citizens and a broken heart. In 1968, our nation suffered another tragic loss with the assassination of the Baptist pastor and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.. And on July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong took the first walk on the moon, declaring, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” In subsequent years, many more epic, culture-shifting, world-changing events have occurred, and the pace of change has increased.

And even though our name has changed from First Southern Baptist Church, to Royal Avenue Baptist Church, and now to Centerpoint Church, our doctrine and mission have remained the same. Many faithful servants of God have come and gone, but I’m especially grateful to the ones who came and stayed – a solid core of Bible-loving, Jesus-preaching people. Relationships, residences, jobs, leaders, and even governments change, but Jesus Christ “is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Have no fear; 12 men have sat in the oval office during the life of our church, but Jesus has always been, and always will be, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:16) And remember; Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” And the Kingdom of God “cannot be shaken.” (Luke 12:32 and Hebrews 12:28)

All for Jesus with love,

Pastor Steve

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:7-9a 

(Steve and Joyce today)

Never Alone

A Personal Tribute to David Reeves from a Grateful Pastor

The Monday before David Reeves fell asleep on this earth and graduated to Heaven, I had the great honor of speaking with him in the hospital. Although his body was quickly failing, he insisted on sitting on the edge of his bed to talk to me. This seemed like an odd juxtaposition as David was most often the one who sat by the bed of those in the hospital, bearing burdens and praying the comfort of Christ on those who suffered. 

David and Bobbie were the ones who drove folks to the hospital and sat with people as their loved ones had procedures. No one who suffered ever wondered if David loved them, as he made love a verb. Faith without works, after all, is dead faith. (James 2:14-26)

Just four days before his passing, David asked me about all those in the church for whom he was concerned. He asked about those who had been sick, and about those we haven’t seen in a while. He wanted to make sure that his flock of friends and care recipients were in as good a shape as possible before he could be excused to Heaven. “And how’s that young man who plays the guitar . . . ?”

David’s friendly smile and welcoming ways led many to join with us at Centerpoint. First-time visitors were often invited to lunch, and he would faithfully introduce them to me and learn about their needs. And when asked how we’re doing, David has all of us saying, “Mighty fine!”

Bobbie and David were married for 64 years to the great glory of God. Jesus used the foundation of their love and commitment to bless the generations of their family. He left a legacy of honesty, honor, hard work, and respect for people that has permanently marked their three children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  

And I’ll never forget the first time I saw them dance! Not some quiet, subdued waltz, but a lively 50’s jitterbug and swing. This seemed like the perfect expression of their zeal for life and love. And they knew how to have fun!

Great, impactful churches are built on the lives of men like David Reeves. The New Testament knows nothing of followers of Christ who are unwilling to faithfully fellowship with a local church. There are 59 “one another” commands in Scripture that cannot be obediently fulfilled without regular fellowship in a local church. All 59 were on display in the life of this man of God.

My personal friendship with David was warm and beneficial (he fixed all the broken things in our home). We had disagreements from time to time, but he never walked away. Love compelled him to gather with those who love Jesus. He didn’t have to call me “Pastor,” but he always did as honor was one of his highest values. For the rest of my life, I will hear the voice of honor in a Texas drawl. “Pastor, here’s someone new I want you to meet . . .” Honoring people makes us strong.

I will always have deep respect for David’s great love for his family, friends, and church. Some knew him as “Tex,” and some called him “coach,” but all who knew him experienced his irreplaceable love for the Body of Christ.

Born in 1935, David was a holdover from the “greatest generation”; he worked hard, made deep commitments, and loved with his whole heart. Great families and churches will always be built on men like him. Now I’m desperate to find ten godly men to fill his boots at Centerpoint.

Love and miss you Dave,

Pastor Steve

Never Alone

Easter: The Right Side of Eternity

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 

Isaiah 43:19

Spring is here and a new season of optimism in is full bloom. Thanks to vaccinations and “herd immunity” our children will soon fill our parks and schools. Young people will play sports and churches will gather without hesitation. As our nation’s reopening begins, many are experiencing a new sense of freedom.

All true and lasting joy, however, is sourced from the ancient message of Easter – the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is truly “Good News.” And like my mom used to say, “Some news is so good it must be told!”

During this Covid Captivity, I’ve been consuming more than my usual diet of pod-casts and Youtube videos. I’ve learned some new tech skills and, thanks to some sacrificial volunteers who love Jesus, our church’s reach is now far beyond the walls of the building in which we gather. We praise the Lord for more open doors to tell people about Jesus this Easter season!

Many churches have greatly increased their audience size by mastering the art of online messages. A few, however, have squandered this opportunity by attempting to make messages more palatable. The line of thought goes like this; “The culture has shifted so it’s time for us to adjust our messaging to something a little more sensitive and a little less, well . . . insulting.” But if the goal is to reach millions of more people with only a partial gospel, then all our efforts are in vain. (1)

The frequently stated fear is that we will be caught “on the wrong side of history.” Truth be told, history is “His-story.” Jesus is the unchanging Lord of history. (2) I’d rather be found with Jesus on the wrong side of this “crooked and perverse generation” than on the wrong side of eternity without Him. * (3) 

Along with Pilot in the crucifixion narrative, our culture seems to be shrugging its collective shoulders and saying, “What is truth?” When we reach this point, the message of salvation is lost. Easter reminds us that Jesus is not one of many paths to truth, He is The Truth and the only way to salvation. (4)

Once again this Easter, we will celebrate Jesus; the Seed who was planted in the ground, and who has now borne the fruit of eternal life! (5) When received, the message of His death, burial, and resurrection produces the joyful fruit of salvation, eternal life, and a love relationship with God. When peace with God is established, our relationship with Him bursts forth with the beautiful colors of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (6)

I choose to follow Jesus. I’d rather be on the wrong side of history than the wrong side of eternity. Human history is just a breath; eternity is forever. This Easter, I hope you’ll choose to follow Him too.

Happy and Joyful Easter!

Pastor Steve

  1. I Corinthians 15:12-19
  2. Hebrews 13:8
  3. Philippians 2:15
  4. John 14:6
  5. John 12:24
  6. Romans 14:17

* The elders of Centerpoint take their stand on the inerrant Bible. The primary content of our preaching and teaching will always be exposition of Scripture, centered on knowing “Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2) For more, see “What we Believe” on centerpointsimivalley.com

Never Alone

The Warp and the Woof

“This is the law for a case of leprous disease in a garment of wool or linen, either in the warp or the woof, or in any article made of skin, to determine whether it is clean or unclean.” Leviticus 13:59

I love to read portions of God’s word every day, and from cover to cover every year. One might think that after 45 years following Christ and reading His word, I’d have the content of Scripture nailed. But once again this year I was surprised by terms with which I was not familiar. As I read from Leviticus, I noticed the reference to the “warp” and “woof” of a garment. This is in regard to cleansing the cloth of mold, mildew, fungus, or skin disease. As far as I knew, warp was the top speed of the starship Enterprise, and woof was the only word in my dog’s vocabulary. So I dug a little deeper.

Warp and woof are terms which refer to the work of ancient weavers on primitive looms. These looms consisted of a large wooden frame with woolen threads fastened at the top and bottom. The threads that create the horizontal lines are referred to as the “warp” of the cloth. The vertical lines are the “woof.” Together, the warp and woof create the structural strength of a garment. 

In a more modern vernacular, warp and woof are sometimes used to refer to the base of foundational or organizational structure, as in “The Constitution of the United States and The Declaration of Independence are the warp and woof of America.” These documents of origin provide the strength of our nation and identity as a people. To Jewish Christians in modern times, the warp and woof (shethi we`erebh), with their intersecting vertical and horizontal lines, have even provided a secret reference to the cross!

If threads of both warp and woof are strong and complete, a garment is strong and durable. On the other hand, if the weave is done poorly, the garment won’t prove to last long. It will “fall apart like a K-mart sweater,” so to speak. And if the garment is polluted, it must be cleansed for continued use.

If I may borrow the analogy, the warp and woof of our faith are the inerrant Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures reveal all the foundational truth needed for life on earth (the warp). (1) And the gospel of Jesus Christ is the vertical woof. It leads to a personal relationship with God and eternal life. The warp and woof of a robust and strong faith are knowing and obeying Scripture, and believing and trusting the gospel message that reconciles us with God. (2)

Our lives, churches, and communities depend upon structural integrity. The warp and woof of the inerrant word of God and its focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ create the structural integrity that make us able to stand even in the midst of great opposition. When the fabric of our lives is polluted by the world and by sin, we must cleanse our lives by washing in the word and refocusing on Jesus.

Today, if it seems like your life is falling apart, cleanse the fabric of your life by spending daily time reading God’s word and refocusing on the Living Lord of glory. By His grace He will make us stand.

Only by His grace,

Pastor Steve

1. II Timothy 3:16, 17

2. II Corinthians 5:18

Never Alone

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (N.L.T.)

How many of you made a difficult job transition during 2020? I did. After having the honor of serving as the Pastor of a wonderful local church for 28 years, my role shifted. Serving as the pastor of a local church in the new environment created by the Coronavirus shutdown has required many new approaches and fine tuning of the old “ministry tool kit;” it feels like starting all over again. This new wine needs a new wine skin – the old wine skins have all burst.(1) This transition has been tiring and discouraging at times. But I’m grateful to Jesus, who has used this season to draw me closer to Him. He’s accomplished this by revealing areas where I have failed to fully trust in Him alone.

There were many reasons to submit to fear and anxiety in 2020; unrest and riots in cities, the unleashing of a pandemic and economic losses due to shut-downs, the most contentious election in recent history, and the pain of a sharply divided nation. This fear and anxiety, however, revealed the shallow quality of our faith. It’s obvious now; our trust in the Sovereign Christ would last only as long as life was relatively conflict free.

So here’s my confession; I’m actually grateful for the challenges of this past year. As tough as these months have been, nothing else could have exposed the shallowness of my trust in Christ more effectively. I “believed” all the right things, and had enough faith to be saved but, in truth, circumstances still had the power to shake me.

God has faithfully called His church back to Himself. He’s accomplished this by exposing the terrible trinity of idols unique to American Christianity; comfort, convenience, and safety. We’ve been willing to hold to a form of faith as long as it didn’t threaten these three big idols. But if we fully trust Jesus’ power, faithfulness, and goodness, we will live in perfect peace come what may – even when life becomes uncomfortable, or inconvenient, or unsafe for Christians.

Those of us who claim to follow Christ have had a major wake-up call. We have unintentionally negotiated a treaty with Satan that goes something like this; this wonderful nation will keep us comfortable and safe, and Jesus will guarantee us Heaven after this life. We have settled for a subtle form of idolatry, but our idols were not golden calves. Comfort, convenience, and personal safety have supplanted our full trust in Jesus Christ, the commander of the Hosts of Heaven.

The cure? To put our trust so fully in Christ that our hearts remain at peace in spite of circumstances. Then the joy of the Lord will become our strength and the peace of Christ will guard our hearts. (3) And all we’ll need is His promise to always be with us.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

  1. Mark 2:21-22
  2. Isaiah 26:3
  3. Philippians 4:7)

Never Alone

Hope for the Sinner

“ . . . if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

Joyce and I had a great adventure last week. We went to Lowe’s just to walk around and look at plants. Not exactly the same level of thrill experienced in high-elevation rock climbing, but in the midst of the Corona Virus stay-at-home order, we felt the thrill of risk all the same.

It was a sunny day, and a few others had ventured out too. Some were wearing masks but some were bare-faced and lovin’ it. We greeted others with the happiness of those just freed from prison. We were finally doing something normal, and our hearts surged with hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that this trial will come to an end. 

We bought a hanging flower pot to celebrate our first day of freedom with a splash of color. We raised it up like an “Ebenezer” to remind us that God is still our rock of help. ( I Samuel 7:12)

Days like these remind us of all we’ve lost. In spite of daily prayer for an end to the lockdown, the days drag on. We wonder, “Is God hearing our prayers?” Or is it possible that this is God’s discipline in response to our sin? We despair of the miracle for which we plead; will our request ever be granted by Almighty God?

God’s people pray for an end to the pandemic. We pray for God to fix our governmental gridlock and failing economy. We pray that no one we love will become ill with Covid-19. Nothing wrong with these requests, but we need to consider the Biblical model for making our requests known during times of bondage and captivity. Times like these call for prayers of personal and corporate repentance and a wholehearted return to God. 

In the book that bears his name, Daniel is presented as holy and blameless before God. His devotion to prayer was so great that it earned him an evening in the company of lions. There is nothing in the text to imply that Daniel’s personal sin or lack of devotion forced God to deliver the Jews into captivity in Babylon, but his prayers would work toward their deliverance. 

Daniel prayed in an attitude that fully identified him with the sins of his people. He never placed blame on others or raised himself up as the standard of righteousness. His brokenness over his people’s suffering led to humble prayers of repentance. Daniel didn’t pray “Lord, forgive those wretched sinners,” but instead “we have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned away from your commands and ordinances.” (Daniel 9:5) He humbly identified with the sins of his people and God heard his prayers.

It’s time to repent. Repent of the willful disobedience of our nation and our people. And repent of our personal transgressions against God. And of the sins of a weak and compromised American version of Christianity. This repentance is intended to lead us to a wholehearted return to God by His church.

Following full repentance, Daniel cried out, “For we are not presenting our petitions before you based on our righteous acts, but based on your abundant compassion. Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for your own sake, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your name.” (Daniel 9:18b-19)

When God’s people humble themselves and pray, repenting of divided hearts and weak devotion, He will restore His church. When we turn from “our wicked ways,” hope and courage will flood back into the hearts of His people.

And we will all raise up Ebenezer stones to the God who is our only source of help.

Praying for you,

Pastor Steve


Never Alone

Somedays You’re the Pigeon 

Acts 28:1-6

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10)

The crew and passengers of the Roman Cruise Lines had been battered by rough seas for many days. The Alexandrian ship was guarded by the figurehead of Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Zeus. But these false gods were no match for the true Master of the winds and the seas. The ship broke up on the rocks off of the small island of Malta.

All passengers survived the shipwreck and made their way to shore, cold and wet. Upon arrival they enjoyed the hospitality of the island’s pagan residents. They lit a fire and invited the crew into shelter. Like any good guest, Paul pitched in by gathering wood for the fire. And then it happened – as he reached into the woodpile, a viper latched onto his hand!

Here’s where the fickle nature of human opinion comes in. The Island residents saw the viper strike Paul and assumed that Justice, a Greek goddess, had singled out Paul as deserving death. In their opinion, this was probably due to an alleged murder. He must have been an evil man for this fate to have befallen him.

But he didn’t die. He simply shook off the viper and it fell harmlessly into the fire. So their logical conclusion was that, instead of deserving death, he must be a god himself! Makes sense, right? From villain to deity in under 60 seconds. Somedays you’re the pigeon and somedays you’re the statue.

Man-pleasers fall into a trap of their own making. Trying to make everyone happy, they make no one happy, least of all themselves. Jesus said, “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” Man-pleasing requires lies when truth is needed, silence when we should speak, and misrepresenting who we are and what we believe. 

This wasn’t a problem for Paul. Regardless of what the crowd said, he knew that he was neither condemned by the goddess Justice, nor was he any kind of a deity. He knew His God and he knew himself. And he knew what he believed. He had decided well before this time that he would be a God-pleaser rather than a man-pleaser. In order to please people, he would be disqualified as a servant of Christ.

Human opinion is fickle. Somedays you’re the dog and somedays you’re the fire hydrant. So decide ahead of time whom you will strive to please. The life-pattern of a child of God is to please God and love people. All people.

Then, when the time to take a stand comes, you’ll always be clear about who God is, who you are, and what you believe.

Pleasing God and loving you,

Pastor SteveCAD433DE-4AF5-4D76-AB06-BC28C82EB141

Never Alone

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Yesterday morning, I was excited to worship with my family in our living room. It was 10am and I was prayed-up, had my Bible turned to the passage at hand, and my note pad was ready to receive eternal truth. I had never experienced LiveStream worship, but yesterday our Associate Pastor was preaching. Only seven people were allowed on our church campus to implement our worship plan, so my presence was not needed. I anticipated singing all the songs, standing to read the Scripture, and hearing a powerful word from Pastor Luke. I planned to culminate my glorious experience by writing a blog. And then the train jumped the track. 

The picture on our TV screen was pixelating to form bizarre and distorted images. The music and teaching was frozen more often than it was flowing. The stage was too dark and the words to the songs were unreadable. Instead of high and lofty truth, my sermon notebook filled with questions about what had gone wrong. People checked in, but soon logged out. Not at all what I had expected or hoped for.

In 1785, the Scottish poet Robert Burns turned up a mouse’s nest with his plough, and proceeded to write a poem of apology to her. In the original version, the line he wrote said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley,” (or often go awry). In other words, no matter how carefully we plan and practice, our efforts may still result in “grief and pain” instead of the joy we’d hoped for. Sometimes our plan turns out as we’d hoped, and other times our nest gets turned up by a plough. And this, too, is in God’s strong hands.

After the confusion and momentary desperation dissipated, I prayed and asked God the “now what” question. My daughter spoke strength into my life by reminding me of our church’s love for one another. “They’ll be back,” she encouraged me. I felt more assured that our plans and God’s plans are not always the same, but He always intends good for us.

The same afternoon, I had a Zoom conference with our worship leader and our most gifted tech nerds. I had the least to contribute in the conversation – only questions clarified by six leaders who speak tech. My study of Greek and Hebrew would not be helpful in this conversation. 

The seven of us laughed about the way our plans had gone awry. And we discussed ways we can work to insure these same glitches will never happen again. We were even bold enough to lay another set of plans that might go awry. And we all felt the love and encouragement of the Body of Christ. And the unity of the Holy Spirit right there in the middle of Zooming!

Will next week flow more smoothly in cyberspace? I hope so. But even if it doesn’t, we don’t intend to give up trying. The joy, you see, is not in the perfection of implementing our plans. The joy is found in loving God, one another, and giving our best effort to glorify God. And then giving Him wholehearted praise and worship if our nest gets turned up by a plough.

We know the power and joy of abiding in Christ. We have placed our trust in Jesus and are never alone.


Pastor Steve


In Our Own Backyard – The Borderline Tragedy

Borderline Bar and Grill is centrally located in Thousand Oaks California, a city that regularly competes with Simi Valley and Irvine for the bragging rights as the Safest City in America. Now it will be known for something else – another mass shooting. This one will sting more than the others. Borderline Bar and Grill is just 19 miles from my home and proximity is a factor in how we experience the pain. 

It seems like there have been mass tragedies and large scale natural disasters almost weekly for some time, but a thousand miles can provide a buffer.  When it happens in our backyard, we will know the victims by name, the neighborhood where they lived, the school they attended, and if not, we will certainly know people who knew them. This is very personal suffering.

When suffering, there is often a struggle to place some blame. Ian David Long, the man who aimed his gun at so many people and finally at himself will certainly be blamed; but so will his upbringing, his access to mental health and to guns, and national attitudes about guns. We know this to be true because this story has become all too familiar, in Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Sandyhook, and a dozen other shootings dating back to Columbine and before. 

The theological explanations are clear – evil finds its primary source in the fall of mankind, which produced sin and selfishness in all generations to come. The chaos of our present world-system is also an evident cause, which includes man’s hatred to man. Also, suffering results from the activity of “the world powers of this darkness” and “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” These combine to create every experience of loss and pain.

The ultimate reflection, however, is this: loss causes great mourning and produces a spirit of fear. Many of us will struggle to find answers that satisfy our minds, but our hearts will still break every time more loss is experienced. Again and again, we will find ourselves asking “why?” In those moments, even the most rational explanations offer us very little comfort.

So, the real question is this; how should we respond? Jesus told a parable about a man who was attacked and badly beaten by robbers. Two religious leaders passed him by, unwilling to soil their hands with his blood. And then came a man from “the wrong side of the tracks” who took pity on the victim, cleaned and bound his wounds, and provided for his needs until he was healed. The man who showed mercy was the hero in Jesus’ story.

Be the hero of the story when encountering people impacted by the shooting at Borderline. I encourage you to listen without being too quick with opinions, pray as if your life depended on it (it does). And love sacrificially in a [FUTILE] attempt to match the level of loss experienced by friends and neighbors. In this way, we will manifest the steadfast love and unlimited compassion of God to those who mourn and grieve.

After all is said and done, God is the One who “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.”

The best response we can offer is to “weep with those who weep.”

In Christ,

Pastor Steve

Centerpoint Church

Simi Valley

Simply Dynamic

I love to keep my life simple and free of unnecessary complications. This is most true of my “inner life.” To use the analogy of a hidden garden, I prefer a few bright, healthy flowering plants to a tangled jungle of rainforest proportions. My inner garden is small and humble, but it’s the safe and refreshing place that I meet with Jesus every morning.

I also love to serve our simple, straightforward church; not many fancy embellishments or long lists of programs. Just the basics of loving God and people. Our building even looks like two simple shoeboxes set on their sides. But, to the loving family of Centerpoint, this place is our “stucco cathedral;” home base for family ministry and outreach.

There are only a few biblical mandates for the local church: teaching biblical doctrine and application, discipleship, fellowship, outreach, care-giving, prayer, and service. These need to be practiced regularly by the New Testament church. But, if this requires multiple full-time staff or heavily detailed administration, I’m dead before I begin – simple, remember?

But, these mandates do not necessitate heavy administration. Simply stated, these mandates only require the people of God to live life in Christian community which is God’s solution for the American plague of loneliness. Simply people loving people, and by this all men will know that Jesus is the Christ (John 13:35).

So, two years ago, the elders of Centerpoint began a simple strategy of joining together in one another’s homes each week to fulfill these biblical mandates. We call these gatherings “Home Fellowships.” Jesus has been our presiding Leader, and the Holy Spirit is empowering folks to grow in spiritual depth and love, knowledge and application of God’s word, and ministering to one another, especially the new believers among us. All the purposes of the local church, wrapped up in the love and fun of family home groups.

Enjoy reading the following reports of the fruit born in our Home Fellowships:

Dave and Bobbie Reeves, who lead our Monday night Home Fellowship say;

“Our Fellowship group was so complete and fit together wonderfully . . . all of them felt that they learned a lot, . . . they all agreed that we were so loving and honest with each other that they didn’t hesitate to talk about anything in their lives. (We) felt very comfortable with each other.”

And, Louis Mann, who helps co-lead one of our Thursday night groups, said;

“From my perspective, our group developed a greater love and appreciation for each other. Keeping up with the needs of each of the members of our small group helped to deepen the personal relationships, but sharing together in prayer for the needs of others within the body helped us to encourage one another to be aware of the greater needs of the membership. The time spent in the Word, reviewing the scripture from the sermon, helped us to think more deeply about the principles set forth on Sunday morning and challenged us not to ‘forget’ the practicality of the message. The group session also helps to keep everyone focused upon the point of the sermon series – It’s all about Jesus.”

Dr. Paul and Martha Brandt lead our (crazy) Wednesday Home Fellowship, and share this joyous report;

“Paul and I . . . have witnessed God creating a crazy, loving family of twelve folks from our church that chose to come to our group on Wednesday evenings.  They have blessed us in so many ways! We have prayed for each other’s families, comforted and encouraged each other and grown to be an important part of each other’s lives.  We found that each of us discovered fresh insight and inspiration while studying . . . weekly sermons and the accompanying scriptures.  Our HF group provided the perfect setting for sharing these things and learning to go deeper in our study of God’s word. (We) developed deep – and occasionally pretty zany – relationships that I am confident will last forever.”

And last, but not least, Bob and Janette File share this testimony about their Friday night Home Fellowship;

“We started our group as polar opposites and quickly progressed to feeling more comfortable and opening up to one another. Each week we would “let down our hair” just a little bit more. What a joy to make new friends on a more intimate level. As we grew more accustomed to being together, laughter began to flow and honesty concerning personal and family issues became the norm. The best part of our time together was the prayer we shared for each other’s needs.”

Make plans to join a Home Fellowship for the fall semester. Our next round of groups will begin the week of September 12. Pray about hosting a group. Or, if you’d like to facilitate a group, just shoot me an email at centerpointpastor@icloud.com. I’d love to begin our next semester with three or four new groups!

Life with Jesus and His church just keeps getting better!
Pastor Steve