Tuesday, September 30, 2008

what I learned today

Today as I sat down to see what I could learn, I had in my reading pile Larry Osborne's article entitled Sermon - based small groups keep people from exiting the back door. North Coast Church in Calif. has 20 weekly services on 5 campuses. One of the things they are known for is their "small back door". They lose very few people from their ministry.

I recently have started 2 new small groups and I am enjoying them more than I ever thought I would. I can tell already both groups are going to bless me as much as they bless anyone else.

I have been a member of several small groups in the past that seemed to serve their purpose then gradually fade away. What I once thought was a problem with my focus and steadfastness, turns out to be a very common ending to many groups. North Coast doesn't worry about the size of their groups, when they become too big or unhealthy group members just naturally break away to begin other groups. What North Coast Church has discovered is that their Sermon-based groups have the most staying power. This is due largely to the fact that these kinds of groups only require a facilitator rather than a leader skilled in inductive Bible study. What a relief, even I can facilitate!

The cool thing about this article is that Crossroads is offering the same thing to our small group leaders! Deering Dyer creates a Pulpit Study Guide each week to go along with the weekend teaching. This enables our leaders to just stop by and pick one up! What a great concept to keep the discussion going all week long. This creates a sense of community and mission within the body.

After I read this article which confirmed that Crossroads is on the right track with small groups, I received an email. Deering sent me several videos to look at for a big January Small Group series! How ironic!

I learned today that God is working at Crossroads, a large ministry can feel connected and can have a sense of community if we are intentional with small groups!

Monday, September 29, 2008

my day off

My day off went quickly. It was an entire day of errands. Five minutes here, five minutes there, gone!

5 minutes to drink coffee
5 minutes to get gas
5 minutes to deposit my daughters check
5 minutes to mail some letters
5 minutes to drop off a picture to my mother-in-law
5 minutes to look for fabric for a chair I'm recovering
5 minutes to go through a drive thru restaurant
5 minutes to talk on the phone (0k, so several 5 minutes calls!)
5 minutes to send an email
5 minutes to read an email
5 minutes to write a blog

As my day off drew to an end I thought back to Pastor Tim's teaching in the "One Month To Live" series this weekend. If I had only one month to live would I have spent my time the same way? In the light of eternity was my day significant?

How do you feel about the accomplishments of your day? If you had one month to live would you have spent today differently? Please leave a comment answering these questions!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

weekend report

This weekend went very well as we launched the new "One Month To Live" series. Attendance was up and there was an air of excitement as the brass began with a rousing version of "Higher Love". Things ramped from there with the next 4 praise songs.

Pastor Tim then took the stage and had everyone in stitches with his near death experience story.He transitioned us into the Saddleback drama "To Pass The Time" done on video. (You can watch it by clicking on the link in one of my previous blog entries "sneak peek"). That seamlessly transitioned into the song "The Light of Eternity" performed by Cody Roland. It was amazing!

This weekend was such a great combination of creative elements, high praise and worship and a message the world needs to hear! You can watch video of the services on Monday at www.crossroadswired.com.

We have our actual set list on Fred McKinnon's site. Go check it out!

haunting eyes

We began the One Month To Live series at Crossroads tonight. After the service came to an end a girl walked up to me that I had never seen before. She was much shorter than I am so I kind of bent down to talk to her. She turned her face up to me and spoke with complete honesty.

She was hoping to talk to our senior pastor. I explained that he was in a post service review meeting. Her eyes looked sad.

She explained that she was Bipolar and had been struggling recently. She went on to say she was glad she had come to church tonight and things had actually gone well this week. Even in a good week she was uneasy not trusting how good things were. Almost as if she didn't deserve to have things go right. She said she had not been faithfully attending church and was going to try. I hugged her and encouraged her to come next Saturday.

She began to walk away twice and turned back to me with haunting eyes. Eyes that had a trace of tears in them. She seemed so lost in her condition. Unsure in coming now unsure in going.

I thought of her as I drove home tonight, what must it be like to have her struggles? I wondered about her perception of God, how did those eyes see Him? I often sit in our tech booths and wonder what problems and struggles are represented by the audience seated in front of me. How overwhelming would it be to know?

But I am telling you, her eyes, I can't get them out of my mind.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

step back in time

It was a great day to enjoy the fall at Malabar Farm. For those of you not familiar with the Mansfield, Ohio area I call home, this was the home of the Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield. This was a favorite retreat for people like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

My mother in law was a good sport and posed with the friendly natives. We moved at a relaxed pace just taking in all of our surroundings.

All of our senses experienced a step back in time. From the beautiful fall setting, to the farm smells, to the home made textiles to the cold sarsaparilla and home made corn bread and bean soup cooked in a huge kettle over an open fire. It was a great way to spend a Saturday!

Crossroads in the community

I love the fact that our church joins with various community agencies who are experts in identifying people that need our help. This time we served the elderly in our community by helping with a fall clean up. Work was done in the yard, light painting or any number of outside jobs.

Many homes were blessed today by the generosity of God's people giving up a Saturday to serve their community!


Routine, this word has 6 different meanings, I have listed two of them.

2.commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity: the routine of an office.
3.regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.

As I woke up this morning it occurred to me that a long standing routine of mine would be broken today for the first time in as long as I can remember. And that is Saturday morning 'breakfast out' with my husband. Since Ron was not at home today, the day's plans were totally up to me. A weird feeling when you are used to deciding everything together.

So of course I headed to my deck. Although the above definition suggest routine is unimaginative I think routine is a desire inside each of us. It is within this context that I accomplish anything, without routine I'm scattered. I value routine highly, but have to force myself into it.

One reason I came outside first thing this morning, even though it looks rather dreary, was because I noticed that the routine of seasons changing is close at hand. The summer flowers on my deck are withered and the leaves on our trees are just beginning to turn. One thing dies another comes to life...

God knew our world would be full of chaos because of man's fallen state. How awesome that He cares so much for us that he created the routine of seasons and a desire for habits and practices in our lives.

Friday, September 26, 2008

sneak peek

Ok, bonus to all you faithful blog followers...a sneak peek at the finished video project that will be used in this weekend's services! My blog entry from last Sunday night showed pictures of the video shoot in the graveyard, if you missed that entry you may want to take a look so you can appreciate the finished product! Steve Browning is such a blessing to this ministry, he's our Media Coordinator and he always delivers quality work!

Now, you need to still come this weekend to see how we programmed it into the service that kicks off the One Month To Live series. Saddleback Church was good enough to send this drama script to us. This month should be really exciting as we all invite our unchurched friends! Please join us! Click here to watch the video --- To Pass the Time .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

and so it begins

The Crossroads group going to Asia is on their way. It took 3 vans to get 8 team members to the airport!

Each person packed everything they needed for 2 weeks in one suitcase, and took another full of supplies for the orphans of Cambodia and Thailand. How cool!

We snapped a few quick pictures of the team and said a prayer of protection over them.

To watch the team's progress and see new pictures check daily at www.ronbiddle.com . It should be a blessing to watch them serve across the world sharing God's word with some who have never heard!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

vocalists a plenty

I was very excited as I entered our Worship Leader, Dan Fleming's office tonight after our MidWeek service at Crossroads. Much to my delight we had a room full of perspective vocalists in our vocal class.

We use this class as an opportunity for our worship leaders to evaluate each vocalists abilities. The duration of the class is six weeks. By the end of this class we know what the ability level is as well as the dedication level of each singer.

The vocalists that are at the level that meets the Magnification team's requirements are then invited to try out at an actual audition. Following the audition those vocalists chosen are added to the team if openings exist. I love new team members!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

what I learned today

Whenever I am quiet, whenever I study, God is there. I move so fast, I read and look at so many blogs, websites and articles that I seldom completely digest anything. I pick and choose the bits a pieces that jump out at me, but often do not look at anything in it's complete context. Shamefully the same sometimes applies even to my Bible study.

Today I sat down on my deck, like I try to do each Tuesday, determined to learn whatever it was God has for me. He was waiting.

My study of God's word was deep, intentional, rewarding. Did I understand every word, was I able to apply everything I read immediately to my life, of course not. But, I was obedient, I expressed my desire to know Him more, and He was waiting.

After Bible study, I turned my undivided attention to work. This time determined to thoroughly read what I find, see if there is content that God wants me to share or apply to our ministry. Because we have needed to focus on getting into a building of our own (which God amazingly provided!!!), we have not been able to get out of our own ministry to experience services or conferences. This is not necessarily a negative because of my complete love of our own ministry, but I slowly have lost contact with other leaders who are serving in my area of ministry. I have lost touch with creativity different from my own. Talk about guilt! I am responsible to champion this in our ministry.

Several months ago our staff was challenged to create blogs. This has opened the entire world back up to me! Right from my deck!

By spending a portion of time to searching other worship sites, blogs and articles, I feel myself rejuvenated toward creativity. I couldn't be more excited about our ministry! I have just this past week had conversations with 2 very high profile worship leaders here in the US. They talked to me! Really willing to help us! How cool is that?

Now back to my original paragraph, just this morning as I sat down to finish a project, God brought one piece after another to my attention. I am so thankful I shut everything off, took my computer out of the house and just listened. He is good and I am almost done!

my day off

I finally had a very simple day off! It was a day of things to be thankful for.

I was thankful for a friend who spent time studying her old college books in order to try and treat my throat (dysphonia) with massage. I am so thankful for her care and very excited to see if it helps.

I was thankful for time to spend with my husband before he leaves on his amazing mission trip. We made the most of the day by eating out constantly, breakfast, lunch and dinner!

I was thankful for good reports from college from my kids, the opportunities they have make me so grateful to my Lord.

I was thankful for beautiful weather and beautiful flowers, we bought mums that were amazing!

I was very thankful for a simple day off!

Monday, September 22, 2008

another Biddle blog

My husband launched his blog just in time to report from Asia working with Asia's Hope! It will be great to watch the progress the team makes as they minister in Thailand and Cambodia with a Crossroads medical team. Go to www.ronbiddle.com to see the first post!

weekend report

All went great this weekend! We had a guest speaker so we didn't plan a worship set thematically, but it was very strong and the audience was very engaged!

Here are the praise songs...

We began with a special Undo
All Creatures Of Our God and King (Crowder)
(with no transition drummer changed tempos and went right into) For Who You Are
My Savior Lives

We ended by greeting one another and went into announcements on Home Video created by an audience member! You can click on the following link to see what worship packages other ministries across the country used this past weekend.

live drama kind of...

We found a drama that will work perfectly for the launch of our new series, our problem was no actors available for the weekend! So we got creative and shot the drama on video.

Location - graveyard!

We gathered the video troops and a couple of our actors, Maureen and Duke and headed for the cemetery.

I had the important job of closing my eyes (to avoid distractions)
and listening to the audio.

I can't wait to see the footage and use it in the One Month To Live series this weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

God's calling

As I prepared to leave Indiana Wesleyan today, I had lunch with my kids. Conversation was lively but typical. Soon however, it took a turn toward extraordinary!

Out of nowhere my son Eric announced he feels God may be calling him to create a ministry that connects churches' efforts to evangelize local communities. He feels strongly that local churches waste time and resources all trying to work separately within the same communities as if it were a competition between denominations.

I looked at my son and all the past years experiences came rushing back. I thought back to questions as a child about why all the churches and pastors in town seemed to work against one another. I remembered his tender heart toward kids he came in contact with that did not know the Lord. I remembered when he was invited to be the outreach/evangelism coordinator for his dorm. And the excitement on the other end of a phone call this summer when his band had a performance where a young man accepted the Lord. And then his most current work, his practicum where he and his buddy Moose drive a bus that picks up inner city kids and drops them off for Wednesday night church. And God willing, Eric will get to go to Cambodia to work with orphans this spring. God has been preparing his heart for this type of work his whole life. Amazing!

Next my daughter, Jocelyn chimed in with her most recent decisions. She is second guessing her decision to make her second major International Community Development. She went on to talk about how she feels God may be calling her to work among the influential in the United States instead of with missions or overseas. She said she had been wondering whether the bigger kingdom accomplishment might be to use her writing skills to influence this American generation in politics, corporations, media or other influential areas. Some of our most celebrated people, are among the most desperate seekers. I remember her talking about this very thing many years earlier, passionately talking about how much more her own country needed evangelism then many foreign countries did. And now she was making college level decisions about how best to prepare for whatever God was calling her to.

I understand that young adults change their minds many times before discovering their life long calling. But what a blessing to hear them both talk about what they feel God may call them to do. I will never forget today's conversations and I can not believe how good God is!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

road trip

I am siting in the coffee shop at Indiana Wesleyan University with my Mother-In-Law. I love to people watch and nothing is more fascinating than a college campus. At 9:00 p.m. there are still tons of students working out at the Wellness building ( I just came from watching rousing games of racket ball that involved my kids). I watch students making their way to an evening chapel, students eating, talking and drinking coffee and Mac computers everywhere!

This is the next generation, tomorrows leaders preparing. These are the people I want on my teams, but how to get them... they are not ready to commit fully to the local church, home in the summer, back to school in the fall. But I need them, I need our congregation to see the next generation, to value our next generation.

I have come to the conclusion that they will not come to us. We have to go after them. What would attract them to serving at the local church? What would keep them connected to the church during the school year? These are questions I am trying to answer by creating MOCK - Mothers of College kids. Some like minded moms and I are going to meet once a month to send cards, care packages and ask for prayer requests from our college students. We will see...I had one student as a result of our communication this week ask to receive our Pulpit Study Guides that support the weekend teachings each weekend. A small victory, a step in the right direction! We will see!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

what I learned today

Tuesday is my study day. I love Tuesday's!

Today as I was preparing to sit down and read, I came across an article on line that contained the following, If we find our authenticity and identity in Christ, we’ll have to be prepared to stop judging our effectiveness by how people respond to us. We’ll no doubt be misunderstood by some. But we won’t, as some people fear, be disregarded or discredited for speaking or acting in each given situation according to the need.

I have a tendency to care deeply about people's perception of me or something I've done, especially related to ministry. Ministry sometimes feels more personal to me than my own life. The above statement hit me right between the eyes. ...we'll no doubt be misunderstood by some...man, that's the understatement of the world. There are many decisions made in ministry that just cannot be shared openly with everyone, leaving anyone not satisfied to jump to conclusions and judge. Obviously there are times when leadership decisions can be wrong, but even when they are Godly, we may be misunderstood. Our identity must always be in Christ then we can rest in that.

I have comforted many through the years of ministry that do not receive the response they expected after speaking to a group or presenting a new exciting idea that they are sure God gave them. In these times of less than supportive responses, we have to understand that we are leaders, we are called to lead even when the people we lead do not get it. If our ideas and teachings are from the Lord they will not be disregarded! Others understanding may come in time, but regardless of response we must remain obedient in our calling. Leading is lonely, but never more so then when we judge our effectiveness on others responses...

Monday, September 15, 2008

my day off

Have you revisited places where you spent a lot of time as a child and felt that it was so much smaller than you remembered it? That was the case with me today. I drove to my home town and went to the Ashland County Fair. This was the location of many of my best childhood memories!

My sister and I were quick to find our favorite food vendors! This was just one of many that we sampled.

Another highlight was all the kids trying desperately to control very large animals, they did well except for a couple who laid down or got away from them.
We then watched goats in costume competing for prizes. Crazy!

My parents were also with us and we all had a great time.
As I left this evening and and looked back at the fair, it truly did seem much smaller than I remember as a child. But it was still very full of big memories!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

blown away

The services are over for another weekend, all went really well! The hustle and bustle of greeting attendees, instructing volunteers, connecting with perspective members, hurrying across a busy lobby to touch a struggling sister in Christ and all the clean up afterward has ended for now. I am blown away by the obvious ways God was present at Crossroads this weekend. Now it is time for rest.When I need rest I go to my deck, no one talking, no music, no noise, just me and God and His fabulous nature!

I am sitting with my back against the side of my house to avoid flying debris and to avoid being blown away!! We are beginning to see the affects of the hurricanes, one of our trees just fell across the road. My husband is now moving all our cars down to our open field to avoid branches. Our dog just ran and hid in the barn! But I am memorized! I can't go in! The clouds are moving the opposite direction of normal, crazy but awesome! So maybe it is not exactly a calm serene scene, but somehow natures' chaos is still comforting. Maybe it is knowing I bare no responsibility for it.

Up to a minute ago it was just me the wind and my thoughts, but they have been disrupted by a familiar sound left over from summer. My son's band is practicing with garage door open. He is home from college and trying to squeeze in a quick practice before returning. I am blown away by my son...(Eric is on the left)

You'll have to excuse me while I soak up his sound before it leaves me once again.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

community in the midst of work

One thing our Magnification teams try to do no matter how difficult the task at hand, is to allow time for community! And nothing produces community as well as food! We have a small table outside the green room to make it easier for all the teach volunteers as well as the worship team to be together. On this particular Saturday evening, Ohio State was playing football, so I purchased a thematic cake and snacks.

Of course ornery Pastor Mark had to get in on the action!

We like to play, but work very hard. We combine fellowship with our pre-service meeting. We talk through every transition, solo and any other details necessary.

I am so thankful that I get to do life with these talented brothers and sisters in Christ!

Friday, September 12, 2008

leading like a girl

I read many leadership blogs and articles and I recently came across this one about how women lead. "When Women Lead Like Women" by Carla Barnhill. The following are excerpts from that article.

Most organizations are structured on a tier system—there are levels of management or coordination, each tier getting smaller the higher up the system it is.

Women, however, tend to organize themselves into mutually dependent groups, each of which has a share in the outcome of the whole. It’s often hard to say who the real leader is because the decision-making power is spread out across the whole organization. This structure makes room for new ideas, experimentation, creativity, and innovation because everyone involved feels a sense of ownership in the organization.

Women bring an instinctive sense of how to put people first in just about everything we do. That instinct can serve us well in leadership—as long as we don’t squelch it with the false belief that tasks are more important.

We have an innate understanding of what other people need and will work hard to make sure they get it. It’s good old women’s intuition at work!

I have sometimes been concerned about my own leadership skills. Wondering why I can't lead stronger or enjoy the fact that "the buck stops here".

A light went on when I read this article. "Mutually dependent groups", that is definitely my leadership style! I love it when fellow staff or volunteers take ownership of projects or tasks and share in the accomplishments. Who cares who gets the glory when the task is completed, as long as everyone has a sense of ownership and the task is done in an excellent way.

Where the accomplishment becomes a bit muddy, is in the process. Tier structured organizations I have been involved with in the past seemed to assume there was only one way to accomplish a task and became critical of the "mutually dependent group" style. It takes on a messy look sometimes. But if grace can be granted to this style of leadership not only a task can be completed but great community can be the outcome!

I am very thankful to be part of a community of believers that allow each of us to use our own unique gifts and lead the way God created us. So I gladly lead like a girl!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

programming tomorrow

We will be programming tomorrow again live at 1:00. Just click on the 'watch live' box on the left and you can watch us create the next two week's services. We hope to see you then, oh I mean we hope you see us live!

very full day

This day was full from beginning to end. I led our first large programming meeting this morning where we invited several of our volunteer praise team members. They came prepared and we moved through the five weeks of services we had to program as quickly as we could for an hour and half . We accomplished more than I ever thought possible in so little time. I was very happy with the results of this meeting!

Then it was off to my home town of Ashland to a funeral for one of my uncles. He was a Christ follower and it was definitely a celebration of his life. He lived 95 years.

I met my parents there and rode with them to the graveside. Of course with my dad nothing can ever be ordinary. Instead of getting in line with the rest of the relatives, my dad had his car waiting at the back of the parking lot so we could make our escape! We went right to our car and away we went while the rest of the family obediently lined up behind the hearse.

We pulled into the graveyard and parked our car pointing toward the exit so as not to get parked in. We then walked around the graveyard with 20+ minutes to read all the gravestones before the others arrived. Finally the rest of our family arrived and we proceeded with the burial. The pastor did a great job and ended in prayer. By the time I opened my eyes my dad was already climbing in his car and was waving for us to get in.

He wanted to get a head start so he could make a stop on the way back to the meal that awaited us at the church. That stop was at an Amish home. We all climbed back out of the car and went into the basement which of course was dark because of no electricity. I walked around trying to see what was for sale in the basement wondering why this stop couldn't have waited until some other day. Only my family would stop on a funeral day to shop at an Amish home. We bought several chunks of cheese, some eggs and candy and climbed back in the car. We then hurried back to the church to eat with the rest of the family.

After this I headed back to church to finish the work day. We still had a Midweek service to get ready!

The service was amazing, worship was awesome and I was very thankful once again to be part of Crossroads!! You can watch tonight's message at www.crossroadswired.com.

Now I am at home with my husband sitting on the couch and eating Frosted Flakes! Life is good!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

information overload

Crossroads has an amazing new data base from Church Community Builder http://www.churchcommunitybuilder.com/ ! We had a 4 1/2 hour staff training today. Overload!

I am very anxious to explore all the many things it has to offer, but tonight my brain needs a rest! Instead of learning one new thing like I try to do each Tuesday, I learned many, many things all in one day. Now, I'm going to sleep.

Monday, September 8, 2008

my day off

Today is my 30th wedding anniversary! And guess what? I've never loved my husband more! I have no idea how I got such a man, God is good!

I am sitting in a little coffee shop trying to prepare for the week and waiting for my massage appointment! Not a luxury exactly as I have continued to suffer from a neck injury early this year, but a great way to start the day nevertheless!

We are then going out of town for the rest of the day just to eat a fabulous meal and enjoy the day!

Titus 2:4 & 5a and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure...

So why would a young woman have to be trained to love her husband? That's not what the movies show...you just fall in love and everything falls into place...NOT SO!

Any relationship is work, so why do we let our young people go into the most important earthly relationship of all unprepared? I definitely believe the home is the first line of teaching our children these things. Most importantly we are commanded to love one another, to demonstrate what a Godly couple look like and act like and serve like! This presses deeply into their very being. I was fortunate to grow up in this kind of Godly family. It has a direct connection to my training to love my husband.

I have mentioned before how much I appreciate my parents and a long Christian heritage ( I have many, many, many Christ following relatives). Today I celebrate my marriage, the marriage they prepared me for with God's help and many, many prayers! I knew what to look for in a Godly husband and I learned not to settle for less than that. And with all the training and prayers in my life I found Ron! We are off to celebrate and have a very good day off!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

announcements can be fun

Today (Sunday), we featured our first Announcement Home Video! Chris Draper produced the video and is a member of our Worship Team. I used Bill Hill our regular announcement guy to set up the segment and to make a plea for the rest of the congregation to submit their videos.

We uploaded this video to God Tube, click on this link to watch Chris' video! http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=4b8caef779a60bf58d4c

I have had a lot of fun over the years taking advantage of Bill Hill's good nature to make the announcements one of the highlights of our services. Bill has been volunteering in this role for at least 10 years! I have dressed him in thematic costumes, seasonal costumes and shot any number of different on location videos to get the congregation's attention during the announcement segment.

Here he is acting link a wise-guy posing with the College Student sign up card we advertised. (I think he would do anything I asked him to!) Bill and I go back to high school, so we've been friends for over 30 years! (Home town advantage!) If you can find this kind of a relationship with someone in your audience who has the stage presence to pull off silly as well as serious...it's priceless!

As always if you want to see how we used the announcements within the context of our service go to http://www.crossroadswired.com/ the service should be uploaded first thing on Monday.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

pre-service jitters

Yes it's true. I still get nervous before every service. It's been 10 years of services, it doesn't matter, I'm still terrified. I could rest in the fact that we have tried to cover all the bases and prepare in an excellent way. But no service ever goes perfectly, well at least not by my standards. The great thing is I have many people around me that care as much as I do about the details!

After rehearsal, we meet to talk through all the technical aspects of the service as well as transitions and solos making sure that nothing has changed that we are unaware of. Sometimes conversations go on between the singers or band members where slight changes are made unknown to us. This meeting is vital to find out those kinds of details. Our lighting is pre-programmed so we cannot manually make changes with the lights on the fly. We have to all be on the same page.

Steve Browning our Media Coordinator asked all the team to spread throughout the auditorium to pray for the person that would be sitting in the seats at the services this weekend. It was cool to watch everyone move around the auditorium covering it in prayer. He thought this would help prepare out team's hearts for the evening's message on prayer as well as cover our congregation in prayer.

Below is a picture of me and the 3 Steve's all running technical areas of our service. Notice our lovely headsets! These save many steps allowing us to talk from our various stations. Several of us have wireless headsets so we can walk around. (They know I can't sit still!)

Well, it is off to begin another service. I have the pre-service jitters once again, but God is greater than my shortcomings. So I set out bravely to see what surprises tonight will bring!
I thank the Lord for the amazingly talented group of staff and volunteers I get to work with at every service at Crossroads!

Friday, September 5, 2008

my sunrise

God blesses me every time I see amazing clouds, oceans, storms, flowers, sunsets or sunrises. I never take them for granted. His artistic nature always delights me. This is what greeted me today as I arrived at church to begin my work day.

In CLASS 501 we are taught our worship shapes. My worship shape is 'naturalist'.
Romans 1:21 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
How anyone can see nature and not believe in God as creator is impossible for me to understand. I praise Him every time I look at his nature!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

power of prayer

I launched a new Magnification Ladies group this morning. Seven of us met at 6:30 a.m. before every one's day began.

We met at Panera Bread for coffee, to share prayer requests and life. I feel a new freedom (without guilt), since my kids are gone to invest freely in others. I took prayer journals for the girls and we poured out our prayer requests to one another. We all wrote each one down and committed to hold one another up in prayer for the next two weeks until we meet again.

I challenged them is to expect God to work, watch for even unconventional ways He may answer or begin to answer. We were all aware that God sometimes chooses not to answer for a time so we all encouraged one another to 'wait on the Lord', but to be very faithful in prayer. I wrote Matthew 21:22 in the front of each journal and asked them to investigate that little verse. Does it mean exactly what it says? Are we taking it out of context by claiming this little verse alone?

I look forward to investigating God's promises connected to prayer. And guess what? The weekend teaching just happens to be on prayer as well!

ron rocks

I haven't said a lot about my husband Ron in my blog so far. I thought it was about time! (He's the cute guy in the picture! We've been married 30 years on Monday, and I still think he's cute!) Last night at Crossroads we had a good old fashioned ice cream social!

Ron became the Director of Membership at Crossroads just a couple months ago. Up to that time he had been the Operations/Chief of Staff guy. God has moved Ron "into the right seat on the bus" so to speak. Although he was amazing at his first staff position, moving us through a building project among many other things, now he is serving in his top gifted area! He loves to connect people, to build the body. He also LOVES ice cream - and so the logical first membership event involved both ice cream and the amazing people of Crossroads! Genius!

What a perfect evening... communion followed by an awesome time of prayer followed by ice cream and fellowship!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What I learned today

I learned that God likes to surprise His children. OK, so I'm not a theologian, but I will never stop marveling at how God speaks.

Today as I sat out in the magnificent weather on my deck to study, I went to a chapter in David Nasser's "A Call To Die" entitled, True Worship. It began with one of my favorite verses, " I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 esv

So often worship is only thought of as a sing-a-long before the message. Every single day our lives are acts of worship if we are a Christ follower. Nasser went on to say, "God is looking for a generation of "Walking worshipers". I like that, walking worshippers!

After reading this chapter in the Nasser book I tuned in the Bible to the chapter I was scheduled to study, guess what? Romans 12!! Surprise!

What a powerful chapter! verse 2 reads, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

This chapter goes on to explain that the many members of one body all have different functions. Everything that is offered to our Lord as a selfless act of service is an act of worship! How amazing that God can draw so many different people to one place and equip them with every gift necessary to make the body complete.

As I began to study today and was surprised by God leading me to the same passage twice I learned that God is very interested in what I study. He cares about what I am learning and wants to lead me to discover promises hidden within the pages of His words. I learned today that there is nothing more important than being available for God's surprises.

Sermonspice: always something new

SermonSpice is one of my favorite video suppliers! They organize their videos in a number of ways, the most helpful to me being "thematic". With just a few clicks I am on their site and watching many choices to fit our current series topic. They have a huge inventory of videos ready for download to be used personally, for business meetings or for church services, just to name a few.

I would encourage you today to check out their site.

Monday, September 1, 2008

to college we go

This should be my last post concerning our journey to take both of our kids to college. A couple posts ago I talked about our son leaving for college instead of us taking him. Well today we made the trip to Indiana to deliver Eric's belongings. His small car only was able to take the bare essentials, so we took everything else.

The things we took were almost all related in some way to music. Eric is an extremely talented musician and singer. We have been so impressed this year with the leadership skills he has developed scheduling, organizing tours and writing music for his band. We are very excited to watch the Lord continue to use and develop these life skills!

Once all was put in place we spent a short time with both of our children. What we discovered was they have completely assimilated into college life. So much so that we soon realized we were cramping their style. We found ourselves sitting alone at a table in the coffee shop as they chatted with friends and ran back and forth from their rooms.

You may think this made us sad. But as we packed up our laptops and waved goodbye we realized this is exactly what we have worked so hard for. Confident young adults surrounded by Christian friends, ready to prepare for the rest of their lives. God has been very, very good to us. Our kids have left our home to follow the Lord. This is as it should be.

amazing but difficult weekend

If you watched our Thursday programming meeting last week, you know this weekend was our first in house baptism. It was amazing and very moving but not without problems.

Saturday evening service was the service in which the baptisms took place. We then ran video of the baptisms for the two Sunday morning services. This proved to be tricky!

Pastor Tim asked us to design the service to build the 7 baptisms into our worship. It was such a great idea and our people responded enthusiastically. To watch each person step into the baptismal as the beautiful worship was going on, took my breath away! (You can watch this service at http://www.crossroadswired.com/).

This service was one of the most challenging technical services we have ever done on a regular weekend. We ran words for the songs on the center screen, and then as each person was baptized we keyed the name of the person being baptized on the lower third of the side screens. Some of the images/text came off of our INCA computer and some from Media Shout. Our video director was constantly giving instruction to camera operators and the character generator operator, switching back and forth between each image and text. All went well on Saturday until close to the end of the service when the CG operator thought she was clear to bring up the next lower third text. At the most crucial part of the service the announcement guy’s name come up behind the pastor. In an attempt to react quickly several more images came up on the center screen behind the pastor before the director could get things reset. Can you say tension!

I commented to our Media Coordinator on handset, that I thought that was about the craziest thing I have ever seen. But the next mistake was to be the ultimate. Following our announcement segment at the end of the message, the band was supposed to play our audience out live. When the announcement guy got done, the band just stood there, we started calling on the headsets asking what was wrong as we watched the entire band turn toward the EMPTY drum set! I called for the play list to come up to cover the silence just as one of our other drummers leaped from the audience to the drums. Somehow they shouted what song they were playing and the drummer played as if he was the drummer scheduled for the weekend! Impressive!

Sunday was full of more surprises. We played the video from the night before of both Pastor Tim introducing the new way we were doing baptism as well as the baptisms themselves. I was skeptical whether this would be moving compared to the live experience but it worked! All went well again until the end of the service when the drummer began the final exit song instead of waiting for the announcement guy to give the announcements first. I have to share in the blame for this mistake. After the drummer missed the final song the night before, neither the worship leaders nor myself (the buck stops with me!) sat down and made sure he remembered how things were supposed to run.

So my encouragement to you leaders is, you cannot over instruct! Keep repeating yourself. A five minute conversation would have eliminated this mistake.

Despite the difficulties of this weekend, I am already looking forward to our next baptism on the last weekend in October. Now that our people know how we plan to baptize within our service I am confident we will have live baptisms for all three services. Our teams have gained valuable experience this weekend that we wait anxiously to apply to our next service.