Saturday, January 31, 2009
It gives the impression that there is nothing to hide.
If I am in, I can see out, if I am out, I can see in. I like this.
Now, if I can just have the same attitude toward my spiritual life. Why do I think if I whisper He cannot hear? Why do I think if I close a door He cannot see?
Transparent for all to see, is how I should live. To be the same on this inside as on the outside. No hidden agendas, no arrogant thoughts, no secret sin.
Our lives should resemble windows without curtains.
Friday, January 30, 2009
I love my job. I often wonder how I got here. I often wonder what God thinks of my work.
My work is seen by many, critiqued by many, there just isn’t really anything private about my work. It is just out there for all to see. This is difficult sometimes.
I sometimes wonder what it must be like to work privately, quietly, unnoticed. This sounds attractive sometimes!
Would I be as diligent, would I strive so hard for excellence? Or would I be lazy, move slower or ever step out of my comfort zone? Don’t know.
God sees us all the time, every minute, every second. Do I work as if He is watching, as if I believe that He sees all? What about my thoughts? I wonder how much of my day He is glorified by. I want to live as if I believe He is listening and watching me. Can you imagine if you never had to be sorry for any word spoken or any thought? No apologizes, ever.
To live fully committed, fully focused, fully engaged, fully forgiven. I would imagine this would draw the lost to the Lord in ways none of the services I have helped plan every have or ever will. To live a fully devoted life would allow all my work, all my thoughts to freely be examined without shame or apology. And would allow people to catch just a glance of the difference Christ can make in someone’s life. This is the reason for continuing to ask for forgiveness and beginning again and again.
We all get tired. We all question if we are doing what God intended us to spend our lives doing. We all think we can’t. We all want to give up sometimes. We must cling to Him daily and continue ‘a long obedience in the same direction’…we must!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
We tried to surprise him with both sets of grandparents, but were only able to take one grandmother to surprise him. The semi trucks were ridiculous on Route 30, we drove 30 miles per hour so I am writing as we drive, although I won't be able to post this until Thursday.
Our plans were to take Eric, our daughter and Eric’s girlfriend to dinner then return to campus with a huge cake and gifts to celebrate with his buddies. This is the photo account of his embarrassment.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3
I am truly blessed!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I have no idea when he got this old, but, we couldn't be more proud of him and I can't wait for the celebration to begin!
You all have an amazing day!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Worry: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.
Ok here is what got me started worrying. I was talking with my sister last night about the economy, she is on staff at a church too. We know the economy is bound at some point to affect the church so we were just discussing what that could look like...
This discussion led to problems in America, what if the whole county collapses, "we just have to trust God", but then we talked about all the people suffering around the world and what makes us think we are so special that God would not require us to suffer too? My sister and I should not be allowed to talk with one another...we get each other so depressed we can't sleep!
So, back to the question, do I REALLY trust God?
Trust: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
I do trust my God! His trustworthiness has NOTHING to do with my comfort, my health, my happiness. He knows all, He sees all - I see a very small area directly around me, that's it. My worry wastes my life. Distracts me from focusing on Him, is an indicator that I am not spending enough time in the Word and prayer.
I am very anxiously awaiting the next series at Crossroads on prayer. My daughter was just telling me how much time she's been spending in prayer at the little prayer chapel they have on campus at her college. She sets the example of prayer for me, this is where trust begins. A focused longing to know Him more. Worrying happens when I rely on myself, trying to figure out things alone - I commit to turn my thoughts toward the creator that holds us all in his hands. No matter what the circumstance!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Although I've been designing the services for 11 years now, I still cherish each weekend! Brand new every time. Here is the set list we used this weekend.
I Will Boast
Mighty To Save - Story
Our God Reigns
Indescribable- Tomlin live
special: Beautiful Lord - Leeland
Message: Contentment pt. 4
Announcements: demonstrating our new data base, Community Builder, live with computer action on stage.
Dismiss - back into Mighty To Save
If you would like to watch our service, it will be on line by Monday afternoon, click here.
Each weekend you can visit Fred McKinnon's blog to see what other ministries used in their services all over the world!!
I felt His presence as soon as I entered. Several new people again at last nights service interested upon first visit to connect.
God created us this way, not to do life alone, but, to connect. I get to watch it happen, nothing is better then this. Being a small part of people connecting to others they will spend eternity with. I watch them being called to the Savior - they can't resist. Many are not yet aware that they are taking steps toward Him. Breathtaking...amazing...
Friday, January 23, 2009
I personally, LOVE the seasons. I would not want to live in a place that stayed warm year round, although right about now warm sounds very inviting!! I was just commenting to my husband today about how much I prefer that it stay could enough NOT to melt the snow, melting, brown ugly snow is much more depressing to me than bright white! So I'm thankful that if we have to have snow, we keep the snow and that it not melt to mud.
Last night we were talking at small group about creation, and the amazing variety and detail with which God blessed the earth. He could have just created one earth that forever would just have the same temperature, same terrain, same vegetation, same animals everywhere but He chose variety. Variety in all things, God seems to love it and so do I!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I lead a similar conversation at the artists small group tonight. I posed this question to the artists, "why are artists so hesitant to share their work with others if it is clear that God has gifted them with this talent?" They talked about how personal art is, how scary it is to put it out there for everyone to see. It is scary for anyone who creates as they wait to see how their work will be accepted.
We put ourselves out there every time we create. But it is something we simply must do! God graciously gifts each of His children in some way. I love it when the church helps people discover their gifts and then provides opportunities to use them! This is as it should be!!
I added a graphic of a 'to do' list that had one inappropriate line on it, man I wish I had read it closely! Sorry if I offended anyone!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
A list is a starting point, a plan, an organized attempt, a disappointment when at the end of the day it doesn't appear to be much different than when you began your day.
I wonder whether I accomplish what God intended. Obviously He knows what I will accomplish. So, have I completed what He wanted me too, what He needed me to on any given day? I often act as if the day is my own, never thinking He created me with specific assignments for each day.
I won't always have the next day, second chances. Time moves fast. My list waits until tomorrow - staring back at me with unchanging demands. I will face it again, as if my reason for being there exists only in the completion of it. I will dedicate my day to the Lord, if I ask for His blessing and guidance, then all sorts of possibilities exist. So, in just a few hours I attempt once again to prepare for this weekend and the weekend's to come and maybe I can empty the list, maybe I can beat it, maybe I can throw it away. Tomorrow it could happen!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
It is SO simple to 'be all that' in the blog world. People believe what they read. As believers we cannot be misleading with our writing, we cannot be arrogant with our writing, we cannot manipulate with our writings, or we shouldn't write!
My position requires research. I am constantly watching and looking for the best ways to support the pastors teachings. I also look constantly for devotions or teachings for our Magnification teams. It is during these activities that I come across things I become curious to learn more about. Often I write about something God has tugged at my heart about that I discover during my search. Even though I do spend some amount of time daily in the Word in preparation for the services, study is one of my weakest areas.
It was important to me, to make sure I have not been misleading any of you who so faithfully read this blog, misleading you to think more highly of me than you should! I am a Child of God, I am dedicated to His service, but I have much I need to improve on. I created "What I learned today" every Tuesday on this blog to force myself into a habit of study. I am glad you are on this journey with me - but we walk side by side - I am not leading...
Monday, January 19, 2009
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Those without Christ seek peace from their outer circumstances. Peace will never come. They hope for a leader that can bring peace, they long for peace among their family and friends. Wouldn't we all be happier with world peace and conflict free circumstances? Peace of course is impossible in this imperfect world, impossible for a non-believer.
Peace for the believer is very different. A believer has peace in their heart, the Holy Spirit trains the mind to think differently then when they were lost. A believer's behavior should show that they are different, and that they truly believe that all things will work together for good to those that know the Lord! Our God does not remove difficult circumstances, He won't because we learn too much from difficulties. Instead He brings peace even in the midst of difficult non-peaceful circumstances. Peace is one of the things that sets a believer apart, one of the things that speak to a non-believer who wants peace in his life so desperately!
Can you trust the Lord with all your circumstances? I learned today, I must trust Him completely and the end result will be peace...no matter what goes on around me!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
When we met Saturday night following the service to critique what worked and what didn't and what changes to be made, we made many. We completely eliminated the opening song, started the Sunday services a couple minutes later and tweaked the transitions between songs. Pastor Tim also jumped on stage explaining to our audience that they were singing to their God, and they needed to get excited about it! Cool!
Here is the FINAL setlist:
We ran a purchased worship video when the first song was performed to help focus our congregation on worship... the song was then repeated inviting the audience to join in.
My Grace Is Sufficient
Now That You're Near
Shout out to our worship team's flexibility when we feel like a last minute change will improve the package! God blessed us this weekend!!
If you would like to watch our service, you can see it on Monday HERE.
If you want to see what other ministries around the country are doing go to FredMcKinnon.com
I have started teams through the years that serve a purpose then disintegrate. Reason? I think because they weren't a group first. People with things in common want to be together, they have instant connections. Then you add a purpose beyond the usual benefit of small groups and you have a team!
Now the group not only does life together, they accomplish together. This is the setting for a very, very strong bond to form. A bond that can withstand change and tough times. This, I believe is how God intended for us to do life...group and team all wrapped up in one.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
When I feel supported I feel as if I am capable of great things. When I am not, I become my own worst enemy, second guessing myself.
So, whose support do I need, or do I want? My boss? My husband, kids, parents, friends? God's?
It is great to feel supported, I accomplish my best work when I feel this way. But, what if you don't get the support you want, do you give up, quit? I think we honor God when we support one another. It simply means being available, paying attention, watching for opportunities to help and support. Everyone needs to feel supported, God never intended for us to do life alone.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Tonight I was watching an intense hostage show, during every commercial (and during half the show because he never got it back to my channel in time...) he would flip it to watch sea turtles crawling across the sand. Give me a break! Slippery little sea turtles crawling across the sand..yuck!
The hostage show was a little unusual for me (usually it's dance, singing, a competition of some kind or something artistic-ish which also drives him crazy!) Anyway it's one area we disagree on most of the time...
But we are really not so different,we both love to laugh, we both love to talk, we have goals in common and enjoy most of the same things (except tv). I am so fortunate to have him as my husband! He puts up with me doing all kinds of crazy things, just like now...it's 10:30 p.m. and the college kids are due in for dinner soon, pork chops, green bean casserole, baked potatoes and cookies fresh from the oven! Got to go...
Thursday, January 15, 2009
It seems to be a contradiction that creativeness must be intentional. To create intentionally does not come easy to someone who is artistic. One of our musicians was recently expressing thankfulness to me for being coaxed into a more organized schedule. So the fallacy that artistic creative people need all this freedom with no boundaries, at least in my experience is simply not true. My experience is that preparation allows for the most creativity. When I have provided information to a programming team well in advance, when we stick to the same time each week to program, when we allow input, when we don't hold too tightly to our own ideas, creativity abounds.
This is exciting to experience. I occasionally have time to take a step back and really think about how God uses our teams. Amazing, even after 12 years, God keeps showing up when we prepare. I am not suggesting that everything we plan goes perfectly, NOT SO! I wish!
Creativity put out there for all to see is a very scary thing. Several of the artists that are part of our Creative Arts Small Group, asked me while I was organizing the group if they would have to show us their work. I assured them that was not what the group was about. I understood where they were coming from. It takes complete surrender and humility to give your abilities up to the Lord, and that is why even in success it must be only His!
An intentional approach to creativeness demonstrates commitment to the Lord, a determination to give back what He has given as a talent. As leaders in ministry we must guard our artists' hearts, they are completely vulnerable when they offer their creativeness to God. But, they must offer it, they cannot resist offering it to their God who is after all the ultimate Creator!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Well, as soon as we got the word everyone began to prepare to leave. We tried to catch volunteers before they left for church and put up signs on the doors and cleaned up. The clean up included distributing the donuts that our cafe would have sold...a big sacrifice, but, someone had to do it.
Pastor Tim did the distributing...Jon and Deering did their best to help 'clean up'! Deering Dyer is our Small Group guy, pictured on the right devouring a donut! This picture will make his wife proud! Speaking of Jon (pictured on the far left), we are losing him! This is his last week with us...so hard to believe.
Jon is one of the most talented, brilliant guys I have ever known and he is my friend. I love him and I thank him for everything he has done for our ministry. Many hours, many accomplishments, many inventions, many computer programs, many requests, many experiences together. Many memories I will never forget! Thanks Jon, don't get stuck in a snow drift in the morning only two days left!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Kind of like when you learn something from the Bible, until you practice it, well, that's what puts legs to the Word. Why then when I've had such a rich legacy of great Christian relatives do I still have to discover it for myself instead of following their examples? And for that matter, the great men of the Bible and all their struggles - can't I just learn from them instead of making the same mistakes. Sin I guess doesn't allow it.
Today I was reading in Psalms
"O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, 'We have defeated him!'
Don't let them rejoice at my downfall."
My husband and I were just discussing the fact that everyone seems to embrace defeat so quickly. I do. Why does it take so much positive to offset the negative we hear? I have no idea!
So here is what I was thinking...maybe our enemies are not even our problem, maybe it's our unwillingness not to waiver no matter what the circumstance. Does God really care if our enemies Gloat, as the verse above says? That's just sin anyway. I want so badly not to be affected by what others say or do. To be so sure in my calling that I never listen or get discouraged by them! Don't know if anyone is that strong, but I aim for that!
David even says, "Restore the sparkle in my eye, or I will die"... he was really struggling! If David was a man after God's own heart and struggled like this, then that in itself is encouraging. I learned today that everyone feels alone and abandoned sometime, everyone sometimes feels surrounded by the enemy. I can't imagine living without the hope that we have in our God!
Monday, January 12, 2009
A few posts back I talked about Christmas details being completely finished up and put away...I lied. That is why you should never post before you actually do something! ha ha Today I finally took my last few decorations down from the tree and packed them away. Don't worry we had an artificial tree! I like to lay them all out, then individually wrap them.
Pathetic: I just found a gift that we overlooked still under our tree for my dad! Brother!!
We get to eat at my parents house tonight, always a lot of fun so I am looking forward to that. Meanwhile we will just enjoy our day - working around the house with HGTV on - the channel I am completely addicted to.
I am thankful for my day off, especially when the schedule is not overwelming!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
As I walked across our Town Square I watched as the Crossroads staff ministered to our people. This is ministry within the ministry. Sadly many of our attendees never get to experience the inside ministry. Many seem to think the ministry is only about coming in and going back out.
I talked to several people struggling with unimaginable decisions, illness and heartache. This is the real ministry, when you get to see into their eyes, feel their pain and wonder what you could possibly say that could make a difference. Then you wonder why God thinks you can do this. But, you know you are called, no doubt about it and you have no choice but to continue in obedience.
Ministry within ministry, hidden, quiet, difficult, constant, exhausting, rewarding, eternal
Our worship was great even though our weather was bad!
Live Out Loud
announcements - focused on the beginning of the "Hosea"series...this is going to be a great Midweek series starting this Wednesday!
All To You - Brewster
The Rock- Neale
Lord Reign In Me
message- Contentment Pt. 2
Praise the Father, Praise the Son - Tomlin
You can watch us on line tomorrow (Monday) www.crossroadswired.com
If you would like to see what other ministries around the country did this weekend go to Fred McKinnon.com
Saturday, January 10, 2009
This week someone found a song that was the perfect ending to the teaching. This was two weeks after the team's music packets had gone out. A last minute change. But in typical fashion our worship leader, Dan Fleming prepared the music and he and Milo got it out to the band and vocalists.
As we ran through the pre-service sound check tonight we felt it just didn't have the 'feel' that we needed at the end of the message where we had planned to use it. We discussed this with our worship leaders telling them how much we appreciated their preparation, but it was different than we expected. What could we do to simplify it and make it a little more reflective instead of so dynamic and big? They said they'd take a shot at making it what we needed during the run through and if it still wasn't right, we'd save it for a different time. By the time they did the run through, Dan and Milo our two worship leaders had switched the singer, pulled some of the band out of the mix (remember the band prepared last minute this week to accommodate this song), they had the whole song quieter, simpler and exactly what Pastor Tim needed to support his teaching.
Our Magnification staff in the worship area as well as tech, simply work and serve out of obedience to their calling. They don't care what you throw at them if it enhances the message in any way. They are humble, talented, dedicated and live out their calling every time they prepare and lead a service.
The ending song was amazing and honestly could not have been a better support then it was. God is powerful enough to bless equally in meticulously planned detail or last minute changes.
Well, I for one welcome a snowy, quiet, winter retreat today. I'm very tired, even though I slept 9 hours!! I think that probably means I did too much this week. It's funny, we always blamed the kids for being too busy, but without them home there are no parameters at all on our time...not good in our case. We really need to commit to one day each week free from ministry - with personal/home to-dos or we are probably going to burn out...or our house is going to deteriorate! No one puts these expectations on us, we just love it and aren't good at resting. I'll work on that rest concept this week... I'll begin today!
So I begin today with one simple goal...sitting on the couch, watch the snow and learn how to operate my new phone before I drive everyone crazy that keeps trying to contact me.
Are any of you outside of our Mansfield, Ohio area getting storms today?
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I am pumped! We launched the new art group that I have been talking about endlessly, and it far exceeded my expectations! I thought I knew all the people that were coming! Wrong!! It was the coolest group of people!
I felt totally out of my comfort zone trying to lead these talented, experienced, creative artists! We talked about how scripture is full of amazing descriptive passages, we talked about God as Creator and we talked about how much the church needs artists. They seemed encouraged and excited to be together. One lady told me she "felt like she came home tonight". Another told me she had tried small groups before and just felt like she didn't fit.
We talked about their art backgrounds, how they feel when they don't have a creative outlet, and then we talked about field trips, and art classes and experiences we could do as a group! This was an exciting night and I am still praising God for the artists He brought to us, the artists He loves so much. The artists that He created to create!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
He endured this so I would not give up! Wow! Certainly nothing I have ever gone through comes close to this sacrifice God gave.
My study went on to discuss how we can sometimes be chasing meaningless "maturity practices" or goals that can take our focus completely off of Jesus himself. This was freeing to me, described my continuous discouragement at failed trys! Looking to Jesus, abide in Him is all He asks, no lists, no trying to live up to others expectations!
Spiritual disciplines are good things, striving to mature spiritually is a good thing, but then the author of my study went on to say this; "perhaps spiritual growth is actually as simple and natural as breathing, when our focus is on Jesus and not on the breathing itself..." profound!
He calls me to just be focused on Him, when my eyes focus elsewhere I become easily discouraged. I love Him, I live for Him, I trust Him and I pledge my focus and life purpose to Him!! Chasing maturity simply leads me into His arms.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
We sang the old hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" and one line mesmerized me, I had forgotten this line, "And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight"...when my faith shall be sight...no longer will we have to simply believe because we will see Him.
I asked myself, " do I really want the Lord to hurry up and come? Do I ask Him to Haste the day?" This bothered me, indicating a lack of spiritual maturity..
I learned today that if I am really a child of God, then I want to walk so closely with Him that I cannot wait to see Him! My life doesn't reflect this kind of anticipation at times.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Empty Christmas Kleenex boxes tossed, gift boxes neatly collapsed and stored for next year, kids packed up and sent back to college, left overs pitched (so I haven't cleaned my frig yet - give me a break!) and thank yous completed.
Now to address the normal things I have neglected. Piles of ironing, groceries just for "two" purchased, groceries that will actually last a full week because no herds of twenty-somethings passing through our kitchen. Back to whatever schedule my husband and I agree on as opposed to waiting around to maybe catch one of our kids for a meal out, or a full conversation. (Their friends trump us in these areas these days, but, that is as it should be. We just have to remember we no longer need to make our plans based on theirs. That is a habit hard to break.)
So was Christmas what I hoped it would be?
The holiday far exceeded my expectations at Crossroads - Christmas Eve really hit the hearts of our people! I am still thanking God for that night and the messages leading up to that night.
As far as expectations on the personal side...Our kids were great, thankful, fully present when we were with extended family and still even at their age excited about Christmas itself. So I really couldn't have asked for more, but it definitely WAS NOT RESTFUL, which was one aspect I was hoping for.
On my day off, I had to wonder as I pitched the Christmas Kleenex box if it hurts Him that even believers participate in the secular hype of what Christmas has become? I don't know...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
All the staff that I talked to this weekend commented on how many new families were there, we had new musicians coming up and asking about being added to the team, and more people than I ever imagined asking about the new artist small group that begins this week! A direct answer to prayers seeking God's direction as I have tried to decide what new ministries to begin. God is moving among us!
Here is the set list that we used and God blessed!
We Need Each Other (this was done as an opening)
How Good and Pleasant (Tommy Walker)
Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing)
You Are Good (Gateway)
On Monday you can watch this service by clicking here.
To see what set lists other ministries used this weekend click here.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Most would give me the advice of prioritizing, but all are equally important. Honest! Scheduled events help push me toward decisions. Such as our new art small group that will begin meeting this Thursday. In preparation for this group, I have set aside Tuesday to finish research, project descriptions, follow up contacts with group members etc.
Beyond that it is a toss up! So toss I will, trying not to let a single unproductive moment pass. Don't worry I include the productive moments of rest and study also! Oh yeah, and back to the gym. I want to be in shape for warmer weather so the toning will also begin shortly. I don't know why I put off working out, I accomplish things while working out too - reading or reviewing new music. Overlapping tasks, that is what I like the most.
With God's help the new year holds endless possibilities. So I wait anxiously for the new week to begin, the new list of to-do's to start and the blessings that I know God will bestow upon our ministry this year!
Friday, January 2, 2009
From time to time I speak with people that say they don't have good friends, I can't imagine doing life without them. I know at any given time I could call them and they would be there. I would do the same for them.
Now that I got to enjoy an adult night out, it's back to the reality of cleaning up from the holiday messes and preparing for another great weekend at Crossroads!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
My Uncle passed away this morning, just 25 minutes into the new year. So, while things begin, resolutions, plans, the first newborn of the year, families celebrate the new year, some experience endings.
Christmas night he sat in my moms living room and opened 'white elephant' gifts with us, today he is gone.
This ending is final, no second chances, no time to try something new, an ending that we all must face. But, this ending is also a beginning - the beginning of eternity apart from this life.
Eternity: 1. infinite time; duration without beginning or end.
Infinite time...that is overwhelming. Although we think in terms of eternity beginning when we die, the definition says it has no beginning or end. So today as my uncle passed eternity simply continued. Unaffected. As he is celebrating in the thrown room of heaven, eternity with no beginning or end moves on. Completely depressing for those who have to eternal hope in Christ, just another day in God's eternal perspective...a child done with his journey...a new ending.