Thursday, April 30, 2009
When people share their stories God changes lives, both the person telling the story as well as those hearing it. This will be the case on Mother's Day, I'm sure of it! So many extraordinary things are coming.
I do not exaggerate when I say, the new opportunities and 'community building' aspects of our ministry that will be taking place in the next few months are super exciting! God is so good!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It seems the opportunities just keep coming for our kids to serve the Lord, but, they are increasing in the amount of trust that is required from us as parents left behind! As Jocelyn turned a blew a final kiss through the air I have to admit the thought crossed my mind, 'will I ever see them again'...
I wonder if they were taken from us, would I become a bitter angry woman? Would our marriage be destroyed over the grief? Would I walk away from God?
We have prayed since they have been born that God would use their lives to honor Him, to serve Him to be fully devoted to Him! Brother and sister off together to discover what God has in store for them. The past few years as they have neared adulthood we have seen signs that God may be preparing them for opportunities we never even considered. Ministry in somewhat unconventional areas of service, music, writing, political involvement (yikes!), ministry to the less fortunate or unloved.
I am anxious already to hear their voices again, I cannot wait for the day I hear their amazing stories, I already want to hold them...but I couldn't be more thankful to our God - for kids willing to follow Him to the 'utter most parts of the world' unafraid...
Today we put action to our words, to our prayers. We released them and we came home alone.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Nathanael Wolfe describes Creativity this way:
“Taking what you uniquely possess and doing something unanticipated, unexpected and extraordinary with it.” Even though there are millions of artists, musicians and designers in our world, there are only a few in your immediate circle. Your ability to draw, paint, design and create music or drama is your God-given unique ability. Not everyone can do what you have been enabled to do.
Nothing like pressure. I have found working with artists over the years that there is nothing worse, or less productive than putting an artist under pressure. Kind of like hitting an "off" button. So I continue on that percharious journey of trying to balance accomplishing things and encouraging "no pressure" creativity. Time is the great limiter as it is in my own life.
I have been looking carefully at my life, do I truly not have enough time in my days, or is it poor planning? What is it that never lets me get to the creative relaxed period of my day? As the above excerpt says, God has enabled us to do things that are our unique ability - artist or not.
I find myself still caught in the frenzy of the now, today, never moving into what I refer to as "there is always tomorrow", there is no such place I guess. I have been called to identify and nurture ability in others and I LOVE doing that, but, how do I get to my creative place, or is it only in others I create best? It takes a disciplined life to live fully so I once again begin today trying to dedicate this precious "once in a lifetime" day to Christ and allow it to become what He has intended it to be. Live today purposefully, thoughtfully and mindful of Him!
Monday, April 27, 2009
In communicating this week with one leader I learned his father had unexpectedly passed away. He was of course devastated, but went on to lead worship. Wow! It could only be a supernatural power that would allow someone to carry on and even lead under this kind of horrible experience!
I don't like to be away from God's people - even in tough circumstances. I draw comfort from them. I don't think the congregation realizes what it means to those of us who create and lead the services each weekend - what it means just to be with them. To lead God's people - it is why we work hard, why we seek God's leading, why we pray and rehearse and prepare as best we can. What I learned today was that I am part of something far greater than myself, or even greater than our ministry. I am small part of a whole - the whole being the body of Christ that is spread across our amazing country and the world!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Instrumental: Sweet Home Alabama
Worship: Holy Is The Lord original by Chris Draper
Praise: Love The Lord
Praise: For All You've Done
Special Music: Talk About It Nicole C. Mullin This song done by our Senior pastor's wife, Michelle Armstrong and Beth Minnear really got the crowd excited! The phrases in the middle of the song "I am not ashamed", over and over really drew a 'hand raising' response from the crowd. The thing I loved about it the most was the creativity one of our worship leaders, Milo, came up with. He placed electric drums in front of the regular set, and used it only for this song and man the contrast of the sound when that special began was brilliant! Loved it! Great idea, I love my team!
Message: Be Sure! Pt. 2
Along the way we had fun celebrating Steve, our Media Coordinators birthday and teasing the sax guy about packing up to leave following the first service. He got confused and thought it was time to go! Good thing Pastor Tim and I were standing at the front doors greeting people! It's going to be a long time before he lives that one down!
To see what other ministries used in their set list go to Fred McKinnon's site, click here.
To watch this service on the web, go to www.crossroadswired.com.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Needless to say, Ohioans have a greater appreciation of a clear beautiful day than do the folks from some of the other perfect weather states.
As I was sitting down preparing to study, I was of course distracted (how I spend much of my life), by a huge crow or blackbird...whatever! ...strutting around the yard below me. He walked around not looking down at all, almost like you do when you are getting ready to sneak and do something and you are trying to look all nonchalant (also how I spend a great deal of my time). Suddenly without any warning he pecked the ground and came up with a huge worm...
Ok, so that does not just happen! A God given instinct is the only explanation. Creation cries out it's testimony to the existence of a creator! No way it's just by accident, no way this all just exploded and landed in the right configuration. I think the only way an atheist could exist is to lock himself inside and never look out! The order, the purpose, the planning and the variety...My God is truly an awesome creative God! This was planned and God knew long ago I would enjoy his creation on this day! Instincts to survive, to learn, to change are God created. Just think about that today as we all enjoy this beautiful Saturday gift from Him.
PS> Talk to ya later, I just came in to post this so I wouldn't forget about the idea later (another way I spend much of my time these days...trying to remember) I have to hurry back outside before the weather changes - I'm in Ohio remember, could happen any second now. Enjoy the gift of this day!!
Friday, April 24, 2009
What is it about sports that make people through the generations so nuts! Who is the best??! When you think about it much of what we do is spent trying to determine who is the best. At work, at school, musically, financially, the most attractive, the tallest, the shortest, the fastest, the strongest...on and on it goes.
So for tonight I know who is the best already, at least as far as basketball goes...Go Cleveland Cavilers! I'll try not to scream too loudly as my team wins tonight. (Hopefully pride cometh before a fall doesn't apply to my overly confident assumption of victory!)
We have a natural desire to communicate, God desires communication with us. Can you believe it? He knows what is going to come out of our mouths, so why does He want to hear it?
He created us at least in part to commune with Him, He has every right to assume His creation would cry out in worship to Him...man, how disappointed He must be with the choices I make with my time! So what is it God values from us?
I would assume He simply wants us to realize He is our creator, He deserves our praise! I am never disappointed in my time with Him, but, sadly it is ME that has to decide to give him time. The enemy's trick is to so occupy our minds and our time with the distractions of the world that we forget who gave us our minds and our time...I am soooo easily distracted!
"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.'
And my heart responds, 'LORD, I am coming.'"
Talk to Him today...more than usual.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Things are not where they are supposed to be. I need to do filing.
I love my things arranged in individual file folders. Folders - weird word...
So after church tonight, I took my filing home and began to punch holes, I put things where they are supposed to be. I am finally making sense of all the piles on my desk.
My life often mirrors my desk. Messy, running behind, never enough time to completely finish. It is very difficult to keep an eternal perspective during the overwhelming messes of my days. So where do all these messes come from? I make them, no body to blame but myself. Filing keeps things neat, but not everything fits in folders. Have you ever felt like you just don't fit? I have...
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
First I came across a reminder that We didn't choose God, He chose us! The disciples were busy helping their earthly fathers fish among other various jobs and activities. Jesus chose them and called to them to follow Him. I grew up believing that my spiritual life was totally in my hands. This was always very hard for me to buy into mostly because I know myself so well. And believe me, I'm not capable of saving myself, of deciding when the time is right, or living well enough to get to the place I could ever face Him. He chose me, I'm convinced of it.
As I went on in study in John 19, I read through the place where Jesus speaks from the cross and talks to John concerning the care of his mother. How amazing that He would have been so concerned with that as He was dying. It had been a long time since I thought about how difficult it was for Jesus to even breath hanging on the cross, let alone speak. He cared so much more about those standing around the foot of the cross then himself. That is why He was willing to die.
We have heard it before, He could have taken himself off the cross, "He could have called 10,000 angels" (blast from the past), but He didn't. He chose us...He chose me...that is really hard to wrap your head around, of all the people who have ever lived or will ever live He chose us! Wow!!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Later in the afternoon we visited a relative in an out of town hospital recovering from a stroke.
And now, before I head off to bed, I am trying to create a Mission's campaign for the final launch of our Mission focus in Asia. God has a soft spot for orphans, and He honors those who love the helpless, children, the "least of these"...
I am honored to have the opportunity to help introduce our congregation to these precious orphans that need our help. A privilege and a need for great creativity with excellence and the Lord's guidance every step of the way!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Opening Instrumental: Smooth
Announcements: full of dumb jokes - including the competition for an ESV Study Bible for the 800th person to sign up for our new data base. Deering said it would make a great Bible to thump someone over the head with, which of course drew boos from our crowd.
Praise: Glorified New Life worship
Praise: Love The Lord
worship: At The Cross
Praise: Our God Saves
Message: Luke 10: 25 - 29 Title: Be Sure
Pastor Tim's message also contained what every message should contain, a clip of Steve Martin's "King Tut"...it's a long story...
This video is our Worship Leader Dan Fleming. The band and vocalists played a joke on Dan at the end of the service unknown to the audience. They decided to switch the final exit song and tell everyone but him...enjoy his frustration...we did!To see what other ministries included in their services this weekend, visit Fred McKinnon's site - click here!
Watch our entire service by visiting us at Crossroadswired, click here!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Although she is quiet, her acting speaks quite loudly every time she takes the stage. She is a true blessing to all that witness her additions to our services or that get to act under her guidance when she directs. Last weekend she performed an "Amena Brown" monologue as part of our Easter services.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Anyway, totally unplanned, we heard that the music department was having their Spring Choral/Orchestra performance. So we went. Five dollars each. Good buy!
Amazing talent, incredible variety, a great night! My favorite was an acappella choral piece done in Latin, "Conversion of Saul" by Z. Randall Stroope. Oh my goodness, moving! How is it that something you don't understand can move you, something you have never heard before? There was chanting, spoken Latin words, you just knew what they were saying without knowing.
Then a young soprano stepped forward and went into, "No. 14 Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" - the most amazing operetic piece I have ever seen done with a live orchestra. We couldn't tell if it was her voice we were hearing or instruments in the ridiculously high staccato sections. I loved it so much!
It was good to attend something this inspirational that I could just soak in and not lead. Good indeed!!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
My husband has been teasing me about my lack of concentration today, he's right...I feel like I am in a fog.
Nothing rest won't dissolve.
I wonder how I would handle being really sick, would I be gracious and loving, or angry and unkind? Of course I hope I never have to find out, but, the thought is disturbing. The thought of becoming unproductive terrifies me. But that forces me to ask myself, what is productive anyway? Is it only productive if it's measurable by the worlds standards, what if there is no visual accomplishment, what if God laid me down and wanted me to produce in a way I have never considered before? Would I obey?
I like things my way....I hope I would obey.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
We performed the music with it live, that is Cody Roland's amazing voice, one thing however, we don't mix our video feed separately, so not a really balanced sound but the drama is amazing!
Click Here Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The immediate example that comes to mind when I think about this is in a recipe. Obviously if you leave even one ingredient out, it isn't going to turn out exactly right. But this can also be applied to many other aspects of our lives, the most important being our spiritual walk and what we believe.
I have experienced a couple of times writing something I was particularly fond of, only to be questioned about something I left out. Too much left to the imagination. Too much room left for interpretation. This also relates to our lives.
Does your life leave too much to the imagination? How easy does your life make it for those you come in contact with to know your are a child of God? Do they see a difference in you from what you once were, or from those around you who don't know the Lord? Today I was reminded that I need to continue to learn 'how to be set apart' in my everyday walk, I need to live as if I am not scared by failing economies or earthly trouble - think what an opportunity we have as Christ followers around everyone who is scared right now! We are simply passing through, this is not our home...
Monday, April 13, 2009
Now that I'm back on my computer I just watched a little bit of our service from yesterday and started looking at what other ministries did this past weekend. What a privilege that we get to help create services for God's people! Days off are welcome to rest up from the work that lead up to Easter!
Your day off is meant to be a day to rest and often that is not the case for us, but, cooking for family - running errands with our kids- and kissing them goodbye as they leave again for college...it's been a bittersweet day off!
Now the house is quiet, with all the chatty girls and big 20 something boy bodies gone for now...tomorrow routine returns as we move on to the next deadline, the next attempt at accomplishment and I am torn between the two - the exhilarating chaos of young adults or the calm of a routine....hmmmm
I'll sleep on that!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Here is our setlist!
He Is Risen - we purchased a video from Worship House Media that we used in our services and performed the song they used under the video live.
The Resurrection - we performed this Amena Brown monologue live - you can purchase it at BlueFishtv.com
Jesus Paid It All - with video from Passion
Let God Arise
My Savior Lives - New Life Worship
Mighty To Save - Story
Message: 3 Days Later
Everything - Drama and song live (many versions of this drama exist on line, but, many people thought ours was one of the best! Very cool!)
New Creation - Fellowship Church - original CD (we used artists to paint the singer as he sang demonstrating how God makes us a new creation! We put lights inside barrels and used drummers in the audience and on stage)
I cannot believe the number of volunteers it took to pull this service off. Thanks to everyone with a vision to reach the lost! We gave out 77 New Believer Packets to people who gave their lives to the Lord! What could be more worthwhile to give your life to?
To see what other ministries did in their Easter services, click here - Fred McKinnon.
To watch our service on line, click here tomorrow, www.crossroadscommunity.com,
just run your mouse over Services and then over Weekend.
God is so good!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Logic would say it takes something extraordinary to get people to come, but, we have done both regular services and concerts and everything in between, and the attendance is identical.
We had two packed services tonight, God moved through our midst pulling people to himself. We had over 25 people stop to pick up new believer packets declaring their decision to follow Christ. Each of our volunteers gets to share in the reward of their work being instrumental in winning souls for eternity! How amazing is our God! I am sad that we only have two more services tomorrow...wish it could last longer!
10 years have gone by quickly...what will God chose to do in the next 10?
Friday, April 10, 2009
What if instead we are about to witness the greatest return to God and the church that we have ever seen? When times get tough people return to God.
So how bad will it get? Who knows and who cares! If we could all just focus on the opportunity before us, the desperate people longing for what God can give them, well, we wouldn't have time to worry!
The current cover of NewsWeek Magazine reads "The Decline of Christian America". They definitely want us to believe this! Pastor Rick Warren said he found that strange because just this week he spent 5 hours in water baptizing 900 people! Doesn't sound like a decrease to me!
Quite a contrast in opinion, huh? We must be wise, most of all we need to be aware of the lost people surrounding us. We need to quit being surprised that the lost are not honest and seem to be out to 'get' us. Let's be instead, out to 'get' them!
Today in the church office some of the administrative assistants were preparing our New Believers Packets for use over the Easter Weekend. These packets are for those who accept the Lord, or want to know more. The Staff surrounded the packets and prayed for those who will walk through our doors at Crossroads this weekend.
God has chosen some to become His sons and daughters and He wants us to point them to Him. We should not be scared of what is going on around us, because we know we have the message the world longs to hear. The only message that will keep them from slipping away!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Of course my own daughter was the crazy one! It was a fun night, I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Why does God care about this kind of detail? How did He program into the birds the exact time each day to utter their first chirp of praise? Why is it important that they chirp at all, they could all just sit there and not utter a sound?
I guess He cares because He knew we would be listening. He made available to us the ability to use His birds as our alarm clock if we are listening.
Listening...God cares very much about listening. Just as He gave us the birds and all of nature to speak to us of His creativity, His love of variety and the power of His love for us, He is speaking still...I am trying to listen, to pay attention. This week it is important to listen to what God said long ago.
God spoke and the earth was created - In the beginning ... He also spoke... It is finished - through the lips of His precious son.
Many aspects I loved this weekend - amazing music, art displays, time during worship to participate and reflect - not even responding except to bask in God's presence, powerful teaching, live art...WOW
The time intensive elements were extraordinary, but the most moving moments for me:
-Senior Pastor surrounded by his own young children standing in the front row...(they are typically in kids classes - but I assume wanted to be in for worship and watch the artists)..very, very moving!
-Artists painting wasn't as moving to me as when they stepped away from the individual easels moving toward one another...stirring!
-Band member's father sitting in the crowd with tears running down his face as his son moved from playing the bass to painting to singing...powerful!
Response to God is why we lay our work at His feet each weekend- and the response was strong!
This is a picture of our finished painting when it was all brought together.
Our Set List:
Opening Easter Promo ( Three Days Later Chris McGowan (purchased from Sermon spice)
Welcome: Pastor Tim set the service up perfectly - inviting them to worship ...
Special: Lead Me To The Cross Hillsong United
Special/Praise begins...: Jesus Messiah Tomlin
Praise: Sing, Sing, Sing (Artists moved to the canvases during the end of this song)
Worship: You Are My King
Worship: The Wonderful Cross (Artists met in the center of the stage - placing all the canvases together to make one big picture (this idea came from theworshipcommunity.com site) I believe Fellowship Church performed this with a different song- we used it within worship.
Message: The Cross of Christ
Ending Special: Mighty Is The Power of the Cross
Our Creative Arts Small Group really did an awesome job this weekend! The pictures don't do the projects and worship justice...but it helps to see them just a little bit!
I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEKEND !!!!
If you want to see what exciting elements other ministries used in their services this weekend click here FredMckinnon.com
Tune in Monday to watch our services at www.crossroadswired.com
Saturday, April 4, 2009
We have two Gregs on our staff! How lucky can we get?
These guys are a faithful, hardworking, talented staff duo that we couldn't do without! They are also both on our Elder Board.
Greg #1 helped me hang the Artist's Cross Display this morning and to prepare the canvases for our artists to paint on stage as well as touch up painting to name just a couple jobs on his day off.
Greg #2 helped park cars, clean the building after tonight's services as well as get extra chairs ready in case we need additional seating. This is only a short list of what both of them do for our ministry on any given day.
Between the two of them, they keep us up and running and we would not want to be without them! I consider them both close friends and love being on staff with them as well! Let's hear it for the Gregs!
Friday, April 3, 2009
cross collaboration art project
Easter meals for the needy in our community
lighting designed and on and on...
One of the greatest things about preparing for the coming weekends is working with all the many, many faithful volunteers that help me! I cannot say enough about how vital each person is to our ministry, each one comes with unique talents to help us create the services. Without them, no services - simple as that!
I hope you feel right at home when you join us, we will be waiting for you!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This was the last in a list of definitions for betrayal, and I thought it was the best. Have you ever been betrayed? I have been and it hurts!
It's a difficult thing to get over. It affects future trust. Repeated it can make you feel like you are the one that something is wrong with instead of the offender.
I have been studying about the final days of Jesus' life as we prepare for Easter. He was betrayed. He did nothing to deserve betrayal and He did nothing to avoid it although He knew it was coming. Can you imagine watching Judas take the bread and cup knowing what it represented?
People lied about him, tried to get close to Him for whatever gain it would bring them, tried constantly to trip him up with man-made religious rules, threatened Him and ultimately killed him. But, it was an insider that betrayed Him. A member of the inner circle that knew He would be in the garden.
This world is sinful and men will go to any length for position, praises of men, and even financial gain as did Judas. When betrayal comes from within the inner circle then it is safe to assume they really never were a part of it at all.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Our prayers go back to you as well. We pray for our congregation as they invite friends and relatives to our next two weekends. For many people these weekends become a turning point in their lives. People come to church on Easter, this makes no sense to me if they are not already Christ followers, but they do! So we need to be ready, and that takes prayer and lots of it.
I look forward to what tomorrow will bring even though it will be somewhat overwhelming, at least in my own strength. Tomorrow begins in about 6 minutes, so I need to go, just wanted to ask you to pray for us as we prepare for the most amazing time of the year!
Of course God had exactly what I needed to hear waiting for me. It was the scene where John is reclining against Jesus. Can you imagine leaning close to Jesus? This put everything I have to accomplish into perspective.
In the context of our daily lives how can we lean into Jesus? We lean by surrendering.
All I have to do is read about the misconceptions the disciples had as they followed Jesus, and I ease up on my lack of 'getting it right'. They seemed to be clueless much of the time about what was going on physically right in front of their eyes. They could touch it, lean on it, physically spend time with it and still didn't fully grasp what they were experiencing. When they leaned on Him, they could feel His breath. Think of it!
I know I'm repeating what I've written about before, but I find great comfort in their humanness. Occasional forgetfulness about the scope of God's generosity and a loss of perspective on the only reason I am here on earth is to be understood. But, to carry the burden of trivial earth junk on my own back, that is a choice.
If I chase obedience and surrender to only Him allowing my earthly life to 'lean in close', keeping my eyes glued to His face, then who cares about the order of details being accomplished? Who cares about grumbling or untimely 'suggestions' from those sure there is a better way of doing it? And quite frankly, who cares if I don't get every single detail perfect?
I care only from the perspective of my disorganization hindering the simple message of Christ being clearly presented with a God ordained excellence. That's what I care about. Organizing the details so that others have the opportunity to 'lean in close', laying their very best at His feet.