by James Merritt

The Spirit of Cross Pointe
James Merritt
I Corinthians 9:19 – 23


1. At a riding stable where horses could be rented, the following sign was posted: "We have fast horses for folks who like to ride fast. We have slow horses for folks who like to ride slow. We have big horses for big folks and little horses for little folks and for those who have never ridden horses before we have horses that have never been ridden."

2. That sign reminded me of something that I did many years ago that I am going to confess to today. There is a side of me that many of you do not know about and haven't seen and I've tried to bring it under control as I have gotten older and more dignified, but I am a practical joker. I really love to play jokes on people. Well, I was pastoring my first church out of seminary in Mississippi and I had two staff members, a minister of music and education and a minister to students. I decided that we would take our first staff retreat ever to a ranch, just south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

3. My minister of music was a man named Chuck Traylor. Chuck is a dear friend of mine to this day and he has to put it mildly an extremely laid back personality. Nothing ever seems to fluster him and I have never known him to raise his voice. He is always been just a very calm person with the classic poker face that never shows emotion.

4. One afternoon, as kind of a team building exercise, I decided we would go rent some horses and ride them. When I went and talked to the foreman, he told me the horses were well trained and that basically you could just let them have their head and they would take you all over the ranch. They knew every trail there was and you could ride as long as you wanted to and eventually they would bring you back to the stable.

5. Well, Chuck had never ridden a horse before. I went up to this man and said, "Do you have any horses that either have not been ridden very much or have a real ...

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