Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I don't do resolutions

Pointless. That is how I feel about resolutions! No offense to any of you that have great success with them. They do nothing for me.

Consistency is one of the things I admire the most in people. Consistency requires commitment to something for a long period of time in a very similar way. This is something to aim for.

The people in my life that I most admire waiver very little in their everyday lives. Most lead a simple life, not grand in the world's opinion. These lives are unaffected by the chaos around them, they simply carry on.

This may seem to be a contradiction coming from me, I like change a lot!! But, the kind of changes I enjoy and thrive on are temporary things, not lifestyle changes. A lifestyle that is obedient to the Lord for a long period of time is much more amazing than a short success.

My desire is to lead a life that stays committed to the Lord, consistency in our walk with Him will win people to Him. This is why I don't do resolutions - too temporary!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

what I learned today

I don't know about you but I just cannot stop sinning. No matter how much I pray, how much time I spend in the Word or at church, I sin everyday! Discouraging!!

How would you feel if you sinned and had to choose your own punishment? That would be the worst! That is what happened to David in I Chronicles 21:11-13. David messed up big time by taking a census that God did not approve of. In return for his disobedience, God gave David three choices of punishment.

1. 3 years of famine
2. 3 months of destruction by sword at the hands of his enemies
3. 3 days of devastating severe plague

Can you imagine having to choose your own punishment? Having it handed to you so cut and dried? Having to choose a punishment that would devastate and cause great suffering not only to you but to your family and friends and entire town?

I am sure my sins are just as far reaching and damaging to His kingdom even though I don't often know the consequences. I have no doubt that many things I have said and done have been devastating to others along the way. But, man, what a blow to be publicly punished and others thrown in too because of your sin. None of these would be good choices! But, by God's mercy he let David choose 3 days instead of 3 years or months, and allowed David to choose the punishment at God's hands instead of handing him over to his enemies! How completely gracious!

I learned today that despite my ongoing struggle with sin, I can still be a woman that seeks God's heart. And, regardless of my sin I can go to the Lord and even in punishment He reveals His love for me! How amazing!

Monday, December 29, 2008

my day off

Bodies continue to fill all areas of my house, young adult bodies, bodies that eat and watch movies and make me laugh really hard. Bodies that have tons of dreams yet to become realities, dreams that are filled with great possibilities including lives lived to serve the Lord.

What could be a better ?

others first

This is a common site at our house. How difficult is it to think of others, to think of the one who comes next?

One of my love languages is acts of service. I show my love by doing for people. This serves me well in ministry, but, not so well with my own children. So, have I not taught them enough, have I failed to prepare them to take care of themselves and their families. I don't know- the empty toilet paper roll makes we wonder...

We try to honor our volunteers in our Department to treat their service with high regard. These are amazing people that work hard all week long, then come to the church to serve. Just a couple of the small ways we try to make their experience great are pictured here. Cup holders on camera stands, name tags so everyone knows one another and the tags also get them free coffee from our cafe. We also provide coffee, tea and water bottles in our volunteer areas. Just little things that put others first.

I care deeply about others feeling honored. Whether it is toilet paper being put on the spindle, or caring for volunteers and connecting people through ministry opportunities or small groups. Putting others first could make our churches the most amazing places to be! Knowing you would be treated with great consideration, wouldn't that draw you in? People are looking for something different from how they are treated out in the world. Not only do we know God's most amazing message, the message all people need, but, we can treat people better than the world treats them by following Jesus' example of putting others first.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

sad today

I got a call today that my uncle who is suffering from cancer just had to go into hospice care. My uncle received the Lord a few months ago, so we are very, very thankful for that, but it is sad when you consider that a whole life could have been spent walking with God.

I wish he had accepted the Lord early enough to really know Him. So, I am waiting to hear from my mother for more details, the kind of call you dread. This makes me very sad.

Then right after church today we went to see one of our favorite Crossroads members, Ben. He was not feeling well the past few days and by the time they got him to the hospital and diagnosed he was in really bad shape! It was very hard to visit him because we care so much about him. He has congestive heart failure and his kidneys were failing as well. We prayed with him, talked to him and tried to comfort and reassure his wife. Even in the shape he was in, as he drifted in and out of consciousness, he teased me. I gave it right back to him which made him smile. It made me very sad to see him this way.

Some preachers teach the false doctrine saying if you pray to the Lord believing strongly enough, He will grant your every wish. False! He sees the universe in its entirety, every age all at one time. He knows what will happen next, He knows how our action or lack of action today will affect our tomorrow. He knows every sick person by name, they are after all His creation. I understand as much as I am able with my limited perspective. One thing I do know is that He chooses not to heal every person. This makes me sad, but I totally trust Him.

"And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good." Romans 8:28 esv

My uncle and Ben both know the Lord and believe this promise, and tonight they both rest in his arms as they sleep.

weekend report

One of our worship leaders Dan Fleming was on vacation this weekend, so Milo took over. Worship went well and the following is our set list.

Opener: What I Was Made For

announcements: Pastor Tim

Love The Lord
Let God Arise
You Alone

message: A Fresh Start in 2009

Deering Dyer, our Small Group Pastor taught this weekend and did a great job!

go to this link to see set lists from other ministries:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve rocked!!

I have never, never had so many people tell me that our Christmas Eve service was the best ever, as I have this year.

I have to give credit, where credit is due - the picture shows our Magnification Staff. What an amazingly talented group! From the left is Jonathan Pierce, the most brilliant human being I know in the areas of IT and all things technical, next to him is Milo Sgambellone - band recruiter and worship leader extraordinaire, that's me on the piano, to my right is Dan Fleming worship leader - scoring genius and vocal coach of America! and next to Dan is Sr. Pastor Tim Armstrong, not a teaching goes by that someone doesn't tell me they have never learned as much as they have at Crossroads due to Tim's teaching, very, very gifted, very, very ornery! Last but certainly not least, in the front is Steve Browning everyone's right hand man - creative genius with everything video related, also oversees sound, lighting, roadie team and everything else no one else knows how to do or wants to be responsible for. The most exciting thing about this team is that they are my friends as well as co-workers! Cool!!

This team can take any wacko idea that Pastor Tim or I come up with and make it happen. They can shoot it, edit it, write the music for, score for any instrument known to man - anything it takes to support Tim's teaching and the mission of Crossroads!! You can watch the Christmas Eve service here.

This picture was taken immediately after the final Christmas Eve service at Crossroads - we were exhausted but oh so thankful for the amazing attendance and God's goodness!

The Christmas Eve drama was out of control good!!! Maureen Browning and Jeff Fellure were AMAZING and brought the house down with their performance of the Skit Guys drama "Innkeeper's Dilemma". Click on the title to watch it on God Tube!

The music was fabulous, the artistic video support was top notch, we tapped into all the senses to bring everything toward, A Baby Changes Everything the theme of the night supported with the new song by the same title from Faith Hill and performed by Michelle Armstrong who rocked the walls out! Amazing performances also by Cody, Melissa and Penny and Milo and Dan!! Magnificant!! I couldn't be more thankful!!

AMAZING Christmas Eve services

I can't talk long tonight, but, tomorrow I will be talking about the details of Christmas Eve at Crossroads. I wanted to wait until it was uploaded and I could include links.

It was just the most amazing service. And tons of people came, we had to get chairs from every area possible to add to the auditorium. Just so amazing! I'll post concerning the details tomorrow. Until then, may God bless you!

Friday, December 26, 2008

busy holiday

More company coming! Family mixed with, fun, fun.

My parents were the first to arrive, followed my my mother-in-law and brother-in-law and nephews. My dad was anxious to meet his granddaughters' special friend and had a surprise waiting for him!

Finally the 4 from Michigan arrived. We had a Michigan vs. Ohio game of euchre and dare I say Ohio prevailed!! We kept doing the O H - I O cheer as we won hand after hand!

Of course there was food and more food, and dishes and more dishes! Next year, throw away plates!

I am exhausted and heading for bed, hoping I can sleep despite all the noise outside my door, laughing, cell phones, computers and friends! Wouldn't have it any other way!! Good night.

deep breath - it's over

I love Christmas, but I am soooo tired! Deep breath...aaaaaa finally, sleep!

We had a great day with family, and a few friends along the way. God is good!

I am so thankful for the fact that our family gets along well and enjoys being together. A blessing!

My kids love their cousins and grandparents, so after being away at school last semester, they were ready to spend time with them! We really did have a great day.

I pray that each of your enjoy the rest of your holiday and we will see you on Saturday at Crossroads!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the process

Yesterday morning I got out all the ingredients and began to make my husband's families famous yeast roll recipe. As I covered the kitchen with ingredients it soon got ugly. My recipe book showed years of wear and stains from years gone by and I started laughing at myself when I looked down and saw that I was adding more stains as I worked.

Things went smoothly for a while until I noticed the second batch of dough didn't look at all like the first. Same ingredients, different results. (sounds like raising kids instead of dough - ha ha!) For whatever reason it just didn't work, so I pitched it and started a third batch. Not a happy time!

This process is slow and takes several hours because you have to keep punching the dough and letting it raise again and again. Finally it's time to roll the dough out and cut out the triangle shapes. I'll never forget the precision that Ron's grandmother used in this process (unlike mine - she is probably cringing as I write)... anyway, she kept from year to year a cardboard triangle to insure each roll be perfect and equal. NOT ME! After cutting the rolls out and rolling them into crousant type shapes, they have to raise again before baking. Now you know why I only bake them twice each year!

When done the reward is great and everyone is happy. But the process...long.

You may wonder where I'm going with this, not trying to over spiritualize this but while baking I thought about how much this abbreviated process mirrored life. It's a long never ending process that takes us through a lot. Original ingredients, growing, taking a punch now and then, standing back up, final product in the end is the goal. Am I moving toward the ultimate goal of community with the God of Christmas? I want to be, I have an honest desire to eliminate things that prevent me from moving toward Him this year. I asked Him just this morning to reveal what has to go. The process leads me toward the goal, it just seems too long some times.

Monday, December 22, 2008

what I learned today

In my study last night I was reading a section in my Bible study called "The Cross: Are You Beyond It?"

In it David Nasser says he has had people say from time to time to him," We need to move beyond Jesus dying on the cross to deeper things. " He goes on to say, "Like what??? What is deeper than the God of the universe becoming a man and showing his incredibly love by dying to rescue you and me from eternal damnation? The cross of Christ is not only the source of our salvation, it is our highest motivation, our clearest example of obedience.. "

What a great reminder of the importance of the cross. Jesus was born and lived a life that demonstrated complete submission to the Father, and then had to die because of my sin. Man, that puts Christmas into a different perspective. The angels announced His birth, and said, 'Glory in the Highest'... I wonder if they knew what was to come?

What a grace filled plan, God's own creation thinks they are wiser than He, or at least cared more about making their own decisions than being obedient. So due to our sin, God had to send His son. He loves us that much!

So to show my thanks to Him what do I do to celebrate His birth? Over spend, stress out about dumb gifts, due to being stressed out - don't enjoy Christmas, or worse yet, don't personally apply the gift of Christmas to my life. God has to be so saddened by my actions some days...

What I learned today is the ultimate gift was given at that first Christmas, and I am a chosen recipient. I need no other gift.

my day off

Do you feel less than excited to buy gift certificates instead of a more personal gift for friends and family? I feel like I have some how failed when I finally give up trying to find the perfect gift.

This year even my son cannot think of anything he wants or needs!

I love to give gifts and think long and hard about them, so just take my fun away! Yes, it's all about me!

Today, knowing it is the last day I have time to shop, I raised the flag of defeat and sent my hubby to the bank to pick up gift certificates. So, all done!

Seriously, some of the reason I asked him to just go get them was so I could turn my focus to what I should be focusing on instead of gifts. We have perhaps the best chance to minister to the lost on Christmas Eve then any other time of the year. Our attendance climbs at Easter too, but, at least in our ministry it seems more non-churched people come at Christmas. I will spend time praying in advance that God will reveal himself to them this Christmas at Crossroads. Please join me praying for our services. I am so thankful to share in this ministry..

I will spend the rest of my day off preparing my own mind to fully grasp the true meaning of that first Christmas. Join us Wednesday night at 7:00 or 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

weekend report

We had a great weekend! You can see my last couple posts to see details of some of the things that went on at Crossroads this past weekend.

Our set list began with Pastor Tim's only request for the season and it was a hum dinger!

Mele Kalikimaka complete with hillarious video footage to fit the mood
(it warmed us up a little from the horrible could weather!)


I Will Remember

Silent Night - Mercy Me

O Come All Ye Faithful -
Casting Crowns

Hark The Herald Angels - Tommy Walker

Christmas Offering - Casting Crowns

Message: Prince of Peace

God With Us - Mercy Me

Great music, great message, amazing weekend! Yay God!

To see what other churches did this weekend go to this link!


Preparing for Christmas Eve - one of the most important opportunities each year! Nothing like pressure!

First things first, we have to keep up our energy! Food is necessary!

Then down to work. The team worked out all the details tonight. The technical details of each song, including vocals and instruments as well as all the transitions. Each lead change in the songs call for constant adjustments from the sound team. Each person and instrument must be in just the right place in order for lighting to illuminate everyone well for the cameras. Each camera shot must be pre-determined based on the anticipated movements of each band member and vocalist. Each color command on the cyc created and programmed to support the feeling of each song, to match the color of the video support on the screens. Each word on the screens must be proofread matching the song lyrics perfectly in order for the message to be clear. And all of these elements are pointless if the directors of each area don't execute each cue with perfect percision. PRESSURE!

But, when we have prepared to the best of our abilites the message is well supported and hearts are prepared to recieve God's Word from our pastor.

We prepared today, and we wait with great anticipation as God brings families to include attendance at Crossroads in their Christmas plans. What a priviledge to prepare!

orange cones

What do you think of when you see bright orange cones? I had to wonder that as I watched people today at Crossroads. I placed the cones so people wouldn't trip over the camera cords I had run in order to project our Kid's Christmas Recital in Town Square.

What I saw was very amusing and made me wonder if anyone really pays attention to things around them any more. Is it just that we so busy, have so many options, are on such a dead run all the time that we don't really see what is right in front of us?

I watched as people walked over the cones, jumped over the cones and even ran full blast over the cones! All the while, the kids continued to play. The most amusing thing was how difficult this was to actually accomplish. As you can see there was very limited space between the platforms and the pole beside the camera. This took great effort, more so then walking down through the main area of the hallway where there was wide open space.

The young people that played this weekend gave me hope for the future! I enjoyed their talents, excellent talent which makes me hopeful and determined to continue to provide opportunities for them to move toward being the leaders of Crossroads.

We have to see these opportunities.

The future looks bright at Crossroads based on our amazing youth! Spending time with both the under 18 at the recital as well as with the college aged earlier this weekend - I feel so blessed!

Developing the next generation may not be easy. We have to watch carefully and not jump over obstacles but ask instead why they are there. Orange cones are in our path to draw our attention to something important. Without obstacles we don't change direction, we move in the same direction always. I'm open for change, are you?

Friday, December 19, 2008


Tonight was the first Crossroads College party! We hosted 22 young adults who enjoyed getting to know one another while eating continuously and playing games. Several post college young adults agreed to attend as well and were a lot of fun for the students to connect with.

Our ministry will die without this generation's involvement. We value them highly. Their enthusiasm is contagious!

Our hope is that this group will grow and become a vital part of Crossroads. We want them to look forward to being back at Crossroads whenever they are back on breaks. They are amazing people!

preparing for Christmas Eve

Just days away from our Christmas Eve services and everyone is hard at work! Ok, so they don't look like they are too stressed out!! We received these recliners in our Media Coordinator's office today, an anonymous donation! They were the second team that I saw working hard in that suddenly popular office today.

Maureen Browning and Jeff Fellure are preparing the drama, "The Innkeepers Dilemma". It is a great drama and will kick off our Christmas Eve services this year. It will be excellent with these two amazing actors!

We will also enjoy a string quartet in Town Square as well as amazing worship and message in preparation for Christmas!

Please join us at 7:00 or 9:00 on Christmas Eve at Crossroads Community Church, 1188 Park Avenue West, Mansfield, Ohio. We will look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Family can mean many different things. It can refer to your biological family of course. In my case I am the oldest of 4, two brothers and one sister. My mother had 6 siblings, my father had 10 siblings - I have a huge biological family. And I really, really love them.

But, I am surrounded by people without family. Either due to untimely death, relocation or an absent disinterested parent. In any case, they are alone.

I feel connected to a couple of these families as if they were my own. I feel like I need them as much as they need me, not sure what makes the bond so strong. God has put us together, for life.

The teaching at Crossroads last weekend continued on the topic of The Name. One of the specials talked about "His favorite name is Father"... Father ... how do some people without family really understand the relationship that God offers them. The relationship He desires. Maybe they never do have a true understanding of what a real father can be in their lives. It seems that the fatherless have the greatest faith of all. Without the experience of an earthly father they rely totally on God and His promises to watch over us and care for them.

God the Father, loves us terribly - all of his children equally - orphans, the lonely, the strong and the weak. He asks us to love one another, we are family, His family, and we honor Him when we act like one.

who was blessed more

I have never been more proud than I was Tuesday at Crossroads! The people stepped up and provided Christmas ( a good Christmas), for 600 kids in our Community!!

They didn't have to do this, we didn't shame them into doing this, they did it to honor our Lord and take care of our communities' kids! How cool!!

Stories will no undoubtedly begin to pour in as families are blessed by their generosity! I have talked before about the difference in how we used to help our community, and how we do it now. We used to believe random acts of kindness was the best way to affect our community. Now we do it with more organization and purpose. We work with local agencies to identify the poorest of the poor, and help meet their needs. This has been a huge blessing, to use people educated in this area, people who work with our less fortunate day in and day out, they know far more than we do who needs us the most!

When I stood in the auditorium and realized that each bag represented a life that would be touched with a memory of God's church helping them...I was overwhelmed. Each bag = a child...the question is, who was blessed more?

Monday, December 15, 2008

what I learned today

The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over

Proverbs 4:18–19

Total darkness, that scares me. One of the things that first drew me toward salvation was fear of basically everything evil. I have written before about being scared. But, can you imagine how frightening it would be to not even know what the cause of your stumbling was? Weird!

I don't like to stumble and I hate to fall down! Darkness causes both.

The deepest darkness is that of our enemy. But it usually isn't the most evil things that cause us to stumble, in fact it is usually things that look lovely or fun. Satan is brilliant and knows our weaknesses and how to cause stumbling. Walk in the way of righteousness and the enemy is powerless against us. How cool is that!! I learned today - I can avoid stumbling by walking always in God's brilliant light!!

my day off

I have had a very relaxing day. Time with family, baking done yesterday, never made it to work out... a little guilt....excuse me while I loosen my belt...

Ok, so while we were driving to brunch today I was thinking about all the talking we had done the day before at church, while we were at small group in the evening, hanging out with family later in the evening and talking on the phone off and on.

I spoke many words yesterday. (those of you who know me quit laughing and saying, "They have no idea!"... shhh!!) I have a feeling I spoke many wasted words. I don't know what brought this to my mind, but I wondered how many words I had spoken the last couple of days that were good words. Words that should have or needed to be spoken. Probably not many.

Isn't that sad? I wondered if I challenged myself to only speak necessary or instructive words, work related words, positive edifying words, if I could even do it? I wondered if I should even try.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45

Ever notice how blunt the Bible is? No wasted words. Proverbs says we have the power to bless and to heal, to curse and destroy with our words. Wow, why would God entrust us with this kind of ability? Out of the abundance of the heart, what does that say about my wasted, unnecessary words?

My day off was convicting...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

weekend report

Another great weekend in "The Name" series at Crossroads!

The set list :

We opened with an instrumental version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Emmanuel (Hillsong)
You Are/You Are Lord
Your Favorite Name Is Father (New Song)
Joy To The World (Casting Crowns)
You Are Holy (Micheal W. Smith)

Pastor Tim's Message Title was "Mighty God" - amazing!

At the conclusion of Pastor Tim's teaching, he announced to the cheers of our audience that we had met our goal of "adopting - to provide Christmas for" 600 children identified in our community as Richland Counties' neediest children! What a blessing in this economically depressed area of the country!

You can listen to this weekend's service on Monday at

To see what other churches did this weekend go to :

grateful quiet spirit

We attended a Christmas Small Group Italian dinner tonight! Excellent!! I'm not gonna lie, I think I have gained 5 pounds already. You know how it goes, make cookies, test one, test two...get out the milk - I love it!

Our kids are home, sitting by fires, reading books, decorating cookies and the tree, for these moments I am forever grateful.

Of course God knew this is what Christmas would become, family, presents, commercialism and endless eating. I wonder how it makes Him feel? I wonder if He feels? I wonder if He ever felt like His most precious gift was wasted on us at times ? Then I remember that He said he would have sent His son even for one of us. The shepherd leaves the flock for one lost sheep...

I think it brings God pleasure when we enjoy our life, when we enjoy one another, when we appreciate His provisions.

For perhaps a brief moment, I praise Him for a calm, precious evening. Maybe just a pause before the next crisis, but I receive it with a grateful heart and quiet spirit. His love is so obvious if I look, and I love Him.

early morning

Don't you hate it when you wake up earlier than your alarm? Such was the case for me today. I am very tired and yet couldn't sleep.

I woke up in a dead sweat worrying about my kids again. Oh, they don't really give me any reason for worry, they are awesome, just typical "how will they ever support themselves in this economy, how will they ever be able to pay off their college loans"... type of worry. So I have laundry going and I am emptying the dishwasher, but I have a feeling this early morning awakening wasn't just by chance.

Worry 1. to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.

Interesting that the definition says to oneself, this implies worry is indeed a choice. Wow, something else to feel guilty about! (My very, very conservative Christian background kicking in again). Simply said, I think worry just means I don't trust God.

Pastor Tim taught last night about King Ahaz teaming up with a pagan King instead of placing his trust in God. He even took treasures from the Temple and gave them as a gift to a pagan king. Gee I wonder what was going to be his ending!

This made me think, when I "choose" to worry instead of falling to my knees to give it over to God, isn't it kind of the same thing. I make a choice everyday, will I trust the Almighty, Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting Father God, or will I team up with the enemy because I insist on worrying and taking matters (even small matters) into my own hands?? What a slap in His face!

This whole Christmas thing with Jesus coming to earth didn't happen just so I could accept Him to secure my eternity. He came offering me the choice to spend my whole life with Him, His offer is to daily allow me to walk with Him, to trust in Him, to find my whole purpose for existence in Him. So what do I do instead, worry! I owe Him another apology!

When I worry I say no to Him, maybe He woke me up today to get me focused on saying yes so I wouldn't give the treasures of the day to our enemy...

Friday, December 12, 2008

I feel old

I just went for the 5th year in a row to a cookie exchange party with girls from Crossroads. I have been on vacation this whole week and haven't baked a thing. Nevertheless, I love the girl hosting the party so I went without cookies just to hang out.

I knew I was in trouble the minute I entered the house, turned the corner into the dinning room and almost knocked down two pregnant YOUNG women. As I continued into the kitchen I was surrounded by no one over the age of 29! Disgusting, then I found my girl Julie! Thank goodness!

We hid in the kitchen until the group was officially ready to eat, but that didn't prevent us from shoving 5 mushroom tarts into our mouths straight from the pan when no one was looking. This is one way to appear disciplined in your eating habits, hide. As far as the group knew, we only had the polite portion of 2 mushroom puffs that they saw us take later in the main dining room!

Our hostess Angie, (Julie's daughter) had a great variety of goodies that we all enjoyed. Ok, so this party basically is just to eat! The deal is you bake 6 dozen cookies, then everyone takes home a half dozen of everyone's cookies so you go home with a great variety. This of course only requires you to bake a single kind. The pay off is great. Did I mention I didn't bake any I went home empty handed. But definitely not empty stomached. (I don't think that's a word).

Anyway, back to the subject, I feel old. These girls are all beginning or adding to families and talking about how overwhelming it is at times with young children. I remember those days, but I wouldn't trade my season of life for anything. It just made me feel really old, like they expected me to be able to give them advice or something! Ha ha! My advice is enjoy each season, they aren't really all that different. I still can't sleep when I know my kids are traveling, are sick or out on a date. And there still seems to be something going on at my house that resembles slumber parties similar to when my kids were in elementary school. The only difference is when I wake up in the morning, there are sometimes 6' 5" bodies all over my house instead small bodies.

So, I guess I really can't attach some deep spiritual truth to this event, it was just plain fellowship and a feeding frenzy. I ate too many snacks and I'm going into a sugar coma, so I better go to sleep like an old person. Maybe I'll go to the gym for an extended amount of time tomorrow...maybe.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a new visual arts team is born

I am very excited about my meeting tonight with 2 artists to brainstorm for a new Visual Arts team at Crossroads. This team will actual operate as a small group that will meet each month.

Tonight we will create the Vision and Mission for this team/small group. We will be organizing local artists in our community to provide art displays from time to time. I would also love to host a juried show in 2009. I will also propose an Easter project to begin in January if we can get it organized quickly enough.

I am very excited to invest time in this area of our ministry, the pay off is huge to our ministry. After all Art got it's start in the church - so we are taking it back for the Glory of God!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I am on vacation and it has been awesome. Originally I decided to take the week to be with our kids who are done with finals this week. But, as usual, they have other plans.

It's off to Chicago for one kid and off to Michigan for the other until this weekend. So, darn, I am home alone! excuses to not be ready for Christmas - I better get busy! Tonight my living room is once again covered with a huge project that is one of my gifts to a family member. I have a 2 day deadline, then everyone comes home! Still, I refuse to be stressed.

Stressed: To subject to physical or mental pressure, tension, or strain. No thanks-I choose not to be stressed.

My desire is to really be ready this year, to not miss focusing on what God did for us so long ago, and to avoid the stress of the holiday.

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And I will say, "Glory To God in the Highest!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

what I learned today

I came across this information today and found it to be fascinating...

A perfectionist is someone whose pursuit of excellence has become obsessive since it is a means, not of pleasing God, but of providing a sense of self-worth. This unknown source goes on to say...perfectionism is an enemy of excellence.

Perfectionism is allied with impaired productivity, emotional disturbances, impaired health, loneliness, and disturbed personal relationships. The root of the problem is embedded in dichotomous, all-or-nothing thought patterns. The perfectionist is trapped in a “saint-or-sinner” syndrome, which sees partial success as total failure. Self-esteem is contingent on outstanding achievement and total competence.

I always have viewed perfectionism as a worthy goal. I admire people who achieve things that appear perfect. I have never heard anything negative about a perfectionist, or really never given any thought to the fact it is connected to self worth.

The statement that it is the enemy of excellence is interesting as well. I care terribly about excellence, I have always wanted to offer my most excellent work to the Lord. I am by no stretch of the imagination however, a perfectionist. (Those that know me are laughing, I hear you!) So I learned today being a perfectionist is not something worth pursuing. (That's a relief)

I do think God expects our best, but he never wants us to drive ourselves crazy trying to be perfect. It certainly has no affect on His value of us. Martha in the Bible wanted everything to be perfect, guess who God complimented? Mary - she listened.

Monday, December 8, 2008

my day off

We spent Sunday night and some of Monday at IWU, Indiana Wesleyan University. We will be home soon.

Our daughter, Jocelyn, performed with her band, "Sing For Company" at a campus venue with another band last night. It was excellent, (of course every mom would think her daughter is amazing- she is the one at the keyboard).

Today we met with our son, Eric's counselor and with the Records Department to see when he will have enough credits for graduation. His thinking is that he could finish with only one semester next year (his senior year), and finish up back home - much cheaper. (so much for the adjustment to the empty nest)... This is Eric expressing how happy he is to be graduating early next year! Eric has done an amazing job of balancing playing on weekends with his band "TheGunShow" and keeping his grades up and still finishing early!!

Time moves fast. Without regard to our plans.

I have tried never to be a doom and gloom - negative type, but I have never prayed so much for our kids future. The economy if it continues to deteriorate promises a difficult time for all. An equal playing field.

Still I think it best to continue to encourage education even though there is an accumulation of debt. Our kids are looking forward with great anticipation to being done with school and find their place in society. Where will that be? I know this question looms large on this campus...

Jobs of position, or jobs based on "who you know", may soon be a distant memory - every man for himself. A friend of ours just had to lay his own son off from work at least temporarily. This may be a time to examine our lives and decide what gifts and talents God gave us that will contribute to helping our own communities - they are going to need us like never before.

I can't imagine living in these times without the Lord. I have never been more fully reliant on Him for comfort and reassurance as I have been recently. With Him I look forward to what the future holds both from a ministry standpoint as well as what He will ask of me personally.

weekend report

We had a great weekend. Saturday started out slow because of the weather but by second service on Sunday we were full and loud! Everyone came ready to kick off the Christmas holiday.

My programming team rocks, I have no idea how they find such thematic elements. I am not just talking about things that are generally thematic, I mean very specific lyrics, mood, everything. Why I ever tried to do so much myself in the past I have no idea!

Our series is called 'The Name' and the set list was extremely thematic and not just Christmas!

We did the following set:
Opening (amazing) instrumental Lost In Paradise
Opener Angel We Have Heard (hillsong)
Praise Angels From The Realms of Glory (Tommy Walker)
Worship (scripture transition) Wonderful, Beautiful, Glorious
Worship Blessed Be The Name
video transition - Rediscover the Nativity Story
message - Wonderful, Counselor
Ending Special Music Your Name

see our service at:

(If you are interested in what other churches did this past weekend go to )

The flow of music and elements, so obviously prepared the congregations heart for what was to come in the message, it was cool to watch! Of course Pastor Tim rocked with the message God had laid on his heart. I have never seen him more excited about a Christmas series! God was present this weekend, and it was good to fellowship with other believers!

Despite a suffering economy, and many I talked to or heard about this weekend that are facing lay off and loss of jobs, it feels like the Spirit of God is moving among His people - preparing us to draw together. The ministry may take on a stronger look of caring and sharing then ever before. The church may finally come closer to being the church as God intended because we no longer can be self sufficient, but actually need one another and our God.

That is what this series represents, The Name above all names, the Name that provides comfort, strength and our physical needs. I am very excited about this Christmas season at Crossroads and the opportunity to minister to His people.

Join us Wednesday at 7:00 for a very special Christmas MidWeek!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

authentic worship

I just experienced one of the most authentic worship times in my life! I walked across the auditorium to listen to the sound levels and stopped far to one side for a while.

As I stood and began to worship, I noticed a 'mentally challenged young man' worshiping. It was one of the most moving times of worship I have ever experienced.

He had a freedom to express himself that I have never felt. He could have cared less who was watching, I often wonder who is watching me. He was filled with the Holy Spirit at a level that most 'normal' people never reach. Complete surrender, unaware that he may be the only one with a true understanding of our Savior.

I will look for this young man in the future and try to stand near to him during worship so I can also leave cares behind and become overcome with love for our God and express it freely!

crossroads grows up

Ron and I went to wish the 55+ group, safe travels. Our first ever senior trip took off for Pittsburg early this morning from the Crossroads parking lot.

How cool that a ministry contemporary in nature attracts a huge population of 55+ adults too! We desperately need the wisdom and experience that they bring to our ministry! I remember Pastor Tim saying a long time ago that he asked a senior what attracted them to Crossroads. They replied, " we want to be where something is happening!" Every age group is fired up when people are coming to the Lord and something is happening!!

Happy trails to the Crossroads 55+ group!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Godly confrontation

Is there such a thing? Godly confrontation? Yes! I have witnessed it many times. Maybe never as personally as today. I hurt one of my favorite brothers in Christ unintentionally, and he confronted me.

One thing no one can ever argue with is when you tell someone how you feel. That is how I was approached today.

Matthew 18 talks about this principle. If it was important enough to put in scripture than it needs to be practiced even today!

My brother came to me explaining how badly a decision I made had made him feel. I was devastated! I immediately asked for his forgiveness. I was humbled by his kind approach and wanted nothing as much as I desired to reconcile with him! The thought that something I did could cause him to hurt or worry, is unthinkable to me.

Just because this is a biblical principle does it always work? Of course not, it takes two to make it work. But what an opportunity it gives the offender, a chance to ask for forgiveness...and an opportunity to 'let it go' for the offended.

God knew what it would take to resolve misunderstandings and conflict. And He knew we would mess up in our relationships with one another! Brothers and sisters in unity, this is pleasing t0 our God. I am thankful for a friend who would care enough about our relationship to confront me. I am thankful for a friend who would give me a chance to ask for forgiveness. It was a good day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas is almost here

I LOVE Christmas! I love decorating, cooking, visiting, wrapping, shopping, cookies, parties, shopping, cards, planning church services, giving presents, shopping, trees, and friends.

We finished the details on all of our Christmas services today - I am so excited about them! I cannot wait to share what we have planned with everyone that attends. I have already begun to pray for each person that walks through our doors.

No matter where they come from, what background, no matter what they are currently dealing with in their lives they will come because God draws them there. They do not just accidentally come. Their attendance is a divine appointment, I really believe this! And with God's help we will be ready!!

Jesus was sent that night for us.

God was creator of the entire universe and all that there was within it and chose to give us what He treasured the most, His son!

I hope you will plan to attend each weekend as well as one of our Christmas Eve services, at 7:00 or 9:00 p.m. Celebrate the season with us at Crossroads.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Prayer - our communication with God.

Tonight at Crossroads was First Wednesday, this is a night of communion and prayer. The prayers of God's people will never cease to move me.

Tonight we prayed for brothers and sisters who are suffering from illness, people separated from family, struggling with problems at work, people who do not know how they will pay their bills let alone celebrate Christmas. These are the people I get to help care for.

To pray to the Father...what a gift. He created within us a need to communicate with Him and He gave us prayer. He asks me to pray without ceasing, I do not. I allow many things to distract and occupy my time. But then First Wednesday rolls around and I get to hear the prayers of God's people. There is nothing like it, it renews me and makes me remember that God provided this direct connection to Him. When groups of people pray it is a powerful sound, a unifying sound, a sound that God waits for and desires to hear. The whispers of the saints to their Father...

Prayer - something that blesses both man and God equally.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I work messy

I like to get everything out at one time, especially to do a big job! I work messy.

Today I decided my goal was to do all the ironing in one day and address all my personal as well as ministry Christmas cards. It got messy!

As of now, about 9:oo p.m., I'm almost done with ironing and about half way done addressing cards. Not going as fast as I had hoped!

God takes messes and creates order. No matter how big a mess I make, God can bring order! I wonder if he ever gets tired of cleaning up...

what I learned today

Faith leads to hope, and it overcomes fear.

I am struggling not to fear today. My spirit is troubled and I have been in prayer constantly since I woke up.

I read a small email daily called, "Encouraging words". Today's reading included the following sentences, "You'll look to God in trust to take care of the things you can't do because of your human limitations and needs. In the Bible, the focus is always on trusting God and letting him reign supreme." This is difficult for me to do. I tend to take charge, try to fix it myself, I am not patient.

It is hope that I long to feel, hope that God will be honored in this day. Hope that he will protect. Hope that those I pray for are very wise and cautious. If I have faith, it will lead me toward hope. My hope is only in Him. Today I learned that without faith there is no hope. This is what is missing in many peoples lives - the focus and hope of things eternal.

How hopeless it would be to only have this world...

Monday, December 1, 2008

my day off

I spent a little time cleaning up following the Drama Ministry party at our house last night. What a blessing to see this group come together! None of them had previously served together until recently. And when I asked the group last night if any of them were currently in a small group the answer from everyone except for one single girl, was NO! COOL! A group is born!

As the evening went on, I could tell we would all become close, and all complimented one another in many different ways. This is how ministry should work, attend, serve, connect, do life together!

Today as always I had errands to run and dropped some things off at the church. I am now preparing for my husband's staff to come for dinner! Fun stuff!

In the midst of my busyness today I had the privilege to encourage friends who are struggling right now. And in the midst of encouraging my friends, they encouraged me right back! When you love the Lord, serving just means being available. You don't have to have a big detailed plan or agenda, you just have to be...