Sunday, May 31, 2009

weekend report

We began quietly today and it was great! The whole weekend just kind of felt reflective instead of so big. It was nice!

Our set list:

Instrumental: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
As the next instrumental began we had three readers take the stage for scripture
Instrumental: Breathe In
Worship: Breathe On Me Hillsong
Worship: Rescue Desperation Band
Worship: Surrender we jumped into this about half way through the song
Praise: Our God Saves
Message: Qualified Surrender
Closing Worship: Surrender

You can see what songs all the other ministries around the country were using by going to Fred McKinnon's site!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

chaos can be good

Our kids arrived home safely on Friday, and it was soooo good to have them home!

Our kids are back and our house is a disaster. First there were all the little (amazing) gifts that had to be pulled out of hiding in the suitcases upon arrival. This demanded that every piece of clothing be removed from every bag at once. Next we turned our focus to sorting through all the 'merch' for their band tours that begin next week. This required every bag and box storing exciting band merch be emptied at once to create displays and prices in preparation for future high dollar sales that will fund all the travel. (I have been purchasing merch while they were away!)

So how strict and critical are you with your kids, or spouse making messes? How highly do you value everything being organized at all times in your home? I am not suggesting that you allow complete free reign in your home, but do you ever allow messes? Our home is often messy, very full, and very, very musically loud. I highly treasure each mess and each note.

I had a blessed conversation today with a lady at church. She spoke of never being celebrated as a child, never! How horribly sad!!

This is what I feel messes allow, celebration! Messes allow experimentation, learning and great creativity. Messes make you feel free as if you don't have anyone looking over your shoulder, as if this time exists only for you. I think kids need to be allowed to create messes. Yes, they also need to learn how to clean up. But, how cool if their memories are that we all lived, really lived in our home. I want them to remember that there was space to create, and write, and lay stuff around while they worked on projects.

I want them to go out remembering all their little 'important' things were celebrated and that we gave them space and together we created really good chaos!

Friday, May 29, 2009

conditional praise

I am praising God for His amazing goodness as I just saw a call from our daughter which means they landed safely in LA!

I'm on the computer only in the hopes they were on their computers, but they don't seem to be so it's off to bed before getting back up at 4:30 to get them. I was actually going to skip posting, but...

It dawned on me as I was praising Him that my praise may truly be conditional. What if the outcome had been different?

I have to say many times I only think about thanking Him when things go my way. When the ending is a good one. When all is as I think it should be.

I wonder instead if I could condition myself to praise? Practice it. Repeating something makes it become a habit, so I choose to praise my God, for being the only true God, when I wake up each morning, for my family and friends and ministry, and because He is worthy of praise!!

A praising habit. When I begin to praise Him constantly as He deserves, only then my praise will become unconditional.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

coming home

Our kids are on their way home in just a few more hours, please pray for them. (They are the two on the right in the picture).

Coming home from far away lands...will God call them back to stay ? That remains to be seen, all I know is I couldn't be more thankful for kids interested in God. Kids seeking to discover and follow God's calling. Not perfect kids, but definitely God's kids.

My heart thanks God with every thought of them. I am a mother blessed far more than I ever imagined when they were only my dream as a young wife.

All they need to know for now is they are chosen, called and secure in Him for eternity. I cannot wait to see them again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

what I learned today

As I studied Matthew 25: 20 & 21 in preparation for the Artists Small Group tonight, I was extremely encouraged by the fact that God only expects from us what we are capable of according to our individual ability. Don't you find that so freeing?

We all spend time sizing up the competition, deciding in our minds that we don't measure up to those around us who we perceive to be more accomplished, or the opposite, puffing ourselves up because we think we've done something better. Oh yeah, but, we keep a big smile on our faces at the same time! What a waste of time! God doesn't look at us all lined up comparing what the person next to us accomplished with his talents. So then, why do we? I guess it is just to try to make our selves feel better. We either compare in order to justify slacking off (I did more than he did!), or better because we've killed ourselves working so hard (I'm such a martyr look how hard I work)!

There is no comparison in God's eyes one to another, only in ours!

Different talents are given to each, according to our ability, and the return on God's investment is measured the same way, according to our ability!! We become paralyzed anticipating failure, instead of laying at His feet ONLY what He created us to be able to do! He offers us success in the assignment He gives us, (not of our own doing).

I learned today, I need to focus totally on what He has given me a talent to do and not set my eyes on anyone else. That's what you call, Freedom In Christ!

Monday, May 25, 2009

our dear deering

Some people are just so easy to tease or take advantage of, such is the case with our dear friend and fellow staff member Deering Dyer. I have been accumulating pictures demonstrating this fact and decided it was time to share...

While he was away - his office was emptied!

Simply because he didn't lock his car (bad mistake) his trunk was emptied!

And taking a break in my office - he should know by now I always have a camera nearby!

Dear Deering, you make us laugh so much!! Thanks for the fun times in the midst of hard work!

my day off

Each spring I post a picture of my favorite spot on earth so here it is again, my deck! This is where many of my favorite things happen, Bible Study, reading, writing, thinking, hanging out with family and friends.
I woke up early today only to discover a Starbucks only decaf - which is reserved for friends that stay late at night - I need caffeine! Thank goodness for "The Walmart" and Starbucks coupons!

All is well, and I am back with coffee and reading in hand. So, I'm thinking leisurely day, catching up on reading, and my passage for the day was Romans 14. And that chapter gets right to the point, vs. 1 - "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." So my day off begins with a confrontation from God. I have had quite a judgmental week- throwing my opinions around way too freely, and each time I did the Spirit within me warned me...sometimes I listened sometimes I didn't. Reading this chapter comes on the heels of Pastor Jesse's teaching yesterday about being held accountable for every word spoken...Man am I in so much trouble!

The thing about gossip or speaking in a judgmental way is it typically doesn't affect the person I speak against, it makes me look foolish. This is especially true in leadership positions. Our authority can rise or fall based solely on our words. If our words do not match our actions - our words become empty - the respect of others slips away. They know deep in their hearts if you will speak this way against others, you will also speak against them. Something Rick Muchow said when he was here a week ago stuck with me, "no one comes to me to gossip or criticize, because they know I don't gossip. If they do come to you to gossip, they know you will participate." This is a harsh fact, if they come to you to gossip - they know you will participate...I don't want to be known in this way!

So I've made a decision, today is a "day off'" from words. I won't speak a word of gossip or judgement (with a lot of help from above), in fact I will try not to speak many words at all and instead listen. Easier said then done.

So what this becomes then, is in fact a day off for my husband! ha ha!! I challenge each of you, join me in this attempt! God bless!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

weekend report

What a blessing to have a Youth Guy that can preach, really preach! It was so much fun working with Jesse Rider this weekend to prepare the weekend services. And he delivered big time!

Jesse taught from James and reminded all of us the importance of every word that we speak!

We began our service as we honored the servicemen who so bravely gave their lives to defend our country with a video tribute, to begin our service!

Announcements: complete with a live feed from our Town Square area

Mighty King of Love
Everlasting God
Scripture Reading: James 1:19 - 26 Grandmother and Granddaughter
Filled With Glory

Message: Communication

Video: We shot a "man on the street" video in our Town Square asking people various 'age related' questions ie. do you know what Twitter is, Facebook, an Icebox, a Davenport... you get the idea. This video helped establish how different words are known to different generations and how that affects communication.

Message continues: Communication

Closing Special: In The Living Years with James 1 video

Closing Prayer

Take a look at what other teams did in their worship services this weekend, click here.

You can watch this service at on Monday!

Friday, May 22, 2009

my son

Not so long ago I held my son, now he holds others.

I taught him everything God has ever laid on my heart for him, now he teaches others.

I cared for his every need to the best of my ability as a child, now he cares for children across the world.

Releasing your children, I have discovered is an ongoing everyday thing, because somewhere along the way you believe they are yours.

When really they never were.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

phone call from Asia

Well, I started writing on my blog an hour and a half ago, then our kids called from Asia - via the greatest invention ever - Skype! We talked for over an hour, what a blessing to hear from them for the first time in several days, God is good!

We talked about the future, great details about their trip to Asia and how they were just beginning to miss home...then it happened, as we talked we heard the room on the other end fill with screams (not what you want to hear when your kids are across the world)!! We soon discovered that a small snake had slithered across the bedroom floor! Such is the life of a missionary. Needless to say this brought our conversation to a screamin' halt!

They will be home next weekend God willing, cannot wait to hear the stories!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

facing forward

Have you ever followed a man driver and watched him closely? I did today.

I followed a pick up truck with a man and his dog. If the man ever faced forward as he drove I didn't see him do it! I am not kidding, the guy's head turned back and forth looking everywhere except straight forward! I have seen this in many men as they drive.

I keep my eyes straight forward when I drive. Mostly out of the fear of hurting someone else and partly because I usually am not interested in anything except my destination. This is not only how we should drive but also how we should live, facing forward. There are certainly things we need to pay attention to along the way, but we need focus and know where we are headed.

When I do get distracted looking this way and that, it always has consequences.

I sometimes wonder what opportunities I didn't even see due to 'looking around' instead of facing forward. Funny thing is I have had many opportunities lately to encourage others to keep moving forward, walk in His will only, don't compromise. I need to listen to my own advice. And although I don't spend my days committing horrible sin in the world's eyes - Jesus had to die because of sin like gossip, and pride, and jealousy and stinginess too! Think of that! Not one of us are without sin and not one of us are without need of a savior. Facing forward means doing what He called each of us to do on this earth, it is not that hard to discover what you are created to do. Just face forward - keep moving toward God - live obediently, study God's Word and move forward, straight forward!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

what I learned today

Today I realized that no matter how much we work "it" will never get done!

"It" is all the stuff to be done in our lives.

I admit I'm not gaining significant ground in any area of my life, that's not good! So what to do?

I admit to myself that I will never get "it" done and stop worrying about it. Easier said than done!

So what is your "it", what discourages you when you don't get "it" done?

I encourage you to just remain in Christ and pray for clarity on how to spend your days then you can place your "it" in God's hands and partake in what He really has planned for you each day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

my day off

Airports and mushrooms.

As sad as it was, the time had quickly come to take Rick Muchow back to the airport! Our fantastic weekend had come to an end. It is always very hard to say goodbye, especially to friends you are not sure will ever be able to return to Crossroads!

We headed home and got a call from my dad asking if I thought there were still mushrooms in our woods...I highly doubted it, but they headed over anyway.

I know, I know several weeks too late, but, it's the first time we have had any time to go, so we went anyway. Of course we found no mushrooms, but, had a blast looking! (I bet when you saw this picture you got excited thinking we found it???!! - naw, it belongs to some other lucky hunter!) I think we spent as much time hunting for one another in the woods as we did for mushrooms! We kept hearing phones ringing as my parents called one another when we got separated! Funny!

Although we would have much preferred eating mushrooms, we finally gave up and went out to eat. Our choice for fine dining was the World Renowned Bellville establishment the famous, the V & M! ha ha...The same location as the "World's Fair" held each year on the main street of the little town!

I love my parents and I enjoy spending time with them as much as I possibly can!! All that hiking made me tired, so got to go!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

weekend report

Well, well, well just got home from taking Rick Muchow to the airport.

A weekend to remember indeed...God is very very good!

We got the privilege of worshiping with Rick Muchow as our worship leader this weekend! Rick has been Rick Warren's worship pastor for the past 23 years, but this weekend he left Saddleback behind and came to Crossroads! What a blessing!

Here is the set list, including several of Rick's original songs. He is one of the most authentic, genuine Christ followers we have ever known. My hubby and I look forward to seeing him once again when we head west to the Saddleback Worship Conference in June... Until then, Thanks Rick!!

Instrumental (Crossroads band) Gonna Be Alright

Announcements - featured our Asia's Hope update and first Beth Moore event announcement

Praise - Everybody Praise the Lord
Praise - I Will Boast
Worship - Trust God
Message - Worship Pastor Tim
Worship - The Heart of Worship no band - vocals and keys
Worship - Fall On Me (featured on video above)
Worship - Lord I Give You My Heart
Worship - The Heart of Worship - starts quietly - then band came in

Fabulous! Unbelievable to have Rick in Mansfield!! God is so good!!!!!!

To see what other ministries had in their set lists this weekend click here!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

worship poem

Rich teaching combined with authentic worship tonight at Crossroads - amazing!
It caused these words ...

I lift my hands to God
Offering Him my praise
For He alone is worthy of my praise

Longing to dance with abandon I remain reserved
As David did - I long to dance
Settling instead for the appearance of control

Control comes from the earth not heaven
For in heaven every earthly thing forgotten
Face down we will fall on our face in front of Him

No longer will the cares of the earth influence
For finally we will be truly free
Free for eternity to worship our God

Just a glimpse of true worship I saw tonight
An awareness of His presence filled His church
Again tomorrow I will worship Him, forever I will worship Him!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rick arrives early tomorrow

We are all very excited that Rick Muchow will be flying in tomorrow morning from the Saddleback church in California! Pastor Rick Warren will have to lead services out there without him this weekend because he will be with us at Crossroads instead! What a privilege to bring him once again to Crossroads!

I am so thankful for Rick's desire to serve the local church! He will lead us in worship all weekend and then have lunch with the Magnification Department! He blesses our teams so much.

Please plan now to join us this weekend at Crossroads! 1188 Park Avenue West - Mansfield, Ohio. Saturday at 7:00 or Sunday 9:30 or 11:00. All three services are identical!

Thursday, May 14, 2009



Still not sleeping through the night due to my shoulder...

It is hard to think creatively when tired. So instead of writing a great deal, I thought we would look at the faces of our Crossroads Cambodian orphanage! Enjoy the children God loves so much...the orphans.

This beautiful little girl with our kids, is the orphan that our family has the privilege of supporting! Who would have thought on the day she was born, and then on the day she lost her parents that God would allow us the privilege of caring for her from very far away!

If you are able, and if God lays it on your heart, please help us support the orphans in the BB3 orphanage in Cambodia, Crossroads orphanage!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

kindness of strangers

Nothing is more moving than the kindness of a stranger. I am always curious about anyone who seems to nice to be true. Doesn't it make you want to know more about them? It does me. Some people constantly watch for opportunities to bless others, with a kind word, a smile or a compliment.

It is amazing to see the reaction people have when you go out of your way to be nice to them. To serve them. I don't always do this well, but, I have recently been on a mission to remain aware of opportunities around me. It is fun!

Simple things like not just saying a quick thanks, but being very specific with your thanks. Big sincere thank yous to total strangers!

Thank you - words that build up, when so much of their day they may get torn down and criticized. Makes me wonder why such simple things seem so hard. Maybe we just get used to investing our thank yous and kindness in those we already care about, or in those we will get something back from.

Let's cover the strangers we come in contact with kindness, kindness that cannot be explained except that we love our Lord and so value those around us.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

what I learned today

I have attempted to get clear through the Psalms a couple of times in the past without success. So I wasn't sure I had every read the last of the Psalms, today I began at the end and started to work backward.

I sat at a beautiful location in our area called Kingwood Center, for those readers not from Mansfield. This 47 acre estate opened as a public garden in 1953, following the original owners death. It's grounds are magnificent, a perfect get-away where I love to sit and read whenever I get the chance.

Today as I read Psalms 147...
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.

As I read and looked around me, I had to take pictures as God made the Psalms come alive all around me! ...."He covers the Earth with clouds"...I plan to continue reading the Psalms backwards...It will probably get my theology all out of whack. I think God will understand!

Monday, May 11, 2009

my day off

This will be a busy day but at least I see a bit of sunshine! I am surprised I still recognize what it is!

It is funny, since our kids are away we have drawn closer to our extended family...we got to be with them several times over the weekend and love them very much. We just hung out and ate way too much. These times are precious for on the very days God allowed us to enjoy one another, we knew others were losing their family members.

We visited one of our dear Crossroads' friends on our way home last night, just hours before their mom passed on.

God created life to work this way. He is the giver and taker of life. Every time I share in someones grief, I value my time with my loved ones more. We cannot afford to remain in conflict, ever! We will never regret giving up an hour or two of our time (as if it is our time) to be with loved ones, but we will always regret not giving that time. Time goes fast, really fast and that encourages me to move through this day with a new focus on what God wants me to use my day for!

Mexican Hat Dance Deering Disaster

We have thematic lunches as a staff the first Wednesday of each month. This month's was Mexican!

The highlight was Deering Dyer, who we affectionately refer to as Dean Deering, since he oversees our Crossroads University Classes and Small Groups.

I would like to leave you with a word of advise, don't ever dance in Flip Flops! Enjoy, I know I did!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

weekend report

Mother's Day was the best ever!

Our setlist for the weekend:

instrumental: Stand By Me I really enjoyed this arrangement moving the melody from sax, to strings then guitar.

announcements: Darlene Rudrick took care of this segment for us. Our congregation adopted another orphan this weekend. About 16 or so to go!

Praise: Only A God Like You
Praise: For All You've Done
Worship: Breathe

Special Music: One Heartbeat At A Time Steven Curtis Chapman

Michelle created a photography slide show for this song of mom's with kids
from our congregation. She was not only the teacher this weekend, but is an amazing potographer as well as our pastor's wife! You can see her photography MichelleArmstrong Photography.

Drama: Motherhood Maureen Browning was amazing!!

Message: Desperate Michelle Armstrong rocked it!

Video Testimony: Precious couple - thanks to the Thems!

Message Conclusion: Michelle Armstrong

Great weekend - Michelle had such great ideas for the service and it all came together!!!

To see what other ministries did on Mother's Day click here!

To watch our services on line go to on Monday afternoon.

Happy Mother's day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

all that jazz....awesome

We got treated to a night out unlike anything we have done for a long time! We went to a jazz club. It was so much fun!

To just sit in a small setting with the incredible sound...aaauuu so sweet! When that rhythm kicked in. the whole audience began to sway to the beat and it was so easy to just get pulled in.

Every once in a while, to step out of the regular is a really great thing. It was a special night that I won't soon forget!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

mothers day is coming

I couldn't be more excited about mothers day this year! Not because I am a mom and will be celebrating, I actually won't be because my kids are away. (My hubby is buying me a present so I am not sad! ha ha It worked!!) I am of course looking forward to celebrating with my mom and his, but I am also very, very excited about our weekend services!

As we sat in our programming meeting today and I listened to Michelle Armstrong passionately talk about her preparation for the teaching, I knew this was going to be something special! When someone teaches from portions of God's Word that has become personal. It teaches you, it changes you. I listened intently as she described the process she has gone through deciding what God wanted her to teach on, much more than coincidence as every piece of the service fell into place.

The other aspect that is amazing is how applicable her teaching is going to be to every single person in the congregation...not just moms. People are going to be very, very touched and moved toward God. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Facebook today

Sounds like Rick is anxious to return to Crossroads!

k Muchow I am very excited to minister at Crossroads!! Mansfield Ohio is well known for your hospitality and friendly alpacas!
2 hours ago · Comment ·
Dan Bailey
Dan Bailey
alpaca? that sounds like the start of a good great sweater!
Jeff Calloway
Jeff Calloway
Rick, When are you going to be up here and which services?
Sue Casey Joyce
Sue Casey Joyce
Rick - and we can't wait to have you lead worship here again! Counting the days! Have a safe trip~!

These are comments from my Facebook! The time is quickly drawing near for Rick's arrival and Crossroads cannot wait!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

what I learned today

"Figuring out God's ways isn't any of my business. Following Him is." This is a quote from Kay Warren.

Just follow Him. I am definitely good at making this much more difficult than it needs to be. Do you ever have to have everything completely figured out before you follow Him?

The most amazing times of my life are easily when I step out totally in faith and follow Him. Not able to rely on myself because I have no idea how to accomplish it on my own. So I follow.

I like to lead, following is difficult for me, especially if I don't think who or what I have to follow deserves to be followed. But, God - there should be no questions when it comes to following him. When Jesus called the fisherman, they left everything and followed, when he told Zacchaeus to get out of the tree, he did, and followed after God from then on, on and on he called and people followed him without question.

I learned today it's not our job to understand Him, just follow! Cool!

Monday, May 4, 2009

just like girlfriends

I just got home from moving the lady that I referred to in my last post. It was quite an experience. Unlike anyone I have ever helped before.

As we arrived it was quickly apparent no work had been done to prepare for us. Maybe 20 or more boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes with years of old bills were strewn everywhere - bills spilling out into the next pile beneath them, receipts, torn out newspaper articles, scribbled illegible writings on scraps of paper, calendars full of writing and more medication bottles both full and empty than I have ever seen in my life. These were the remnants of mental illness...

I was very nervous about helping but knew I had to be there so none of the guys were ever left alone with her. She is known for angry outbursts and being impossible to reason with. I decided to treat her just like I would any other girlfriend, it worked! She accepted my comfort whenever she began to get aggravated, I worked hard to make her feel comfortable.

None of us had any idea the amount of things that could be stuffed into a small apartment. But, several hours later we were loaded and ready to move on to the new apartment. She was very distressed as we tried to get her to leave, I coaxed her to my car and we followed the guys.

Later as the guys unloaded, I talked her into letting me take her to Burger King, her favorite fast food restaurant. And for that brief 14 minute drive it was if we were just like girlfriends. She recalled the 19 years she had been married with amazing detail, talking of vacations, holidays and all her memories. She mentioned how she began to experience struggles following her husbands death.

The conversation then turned toward God. How interesting that those whose minds are clouded by imbalance of some kind, can see God the clearest.

She went on to say that nature speaks of God to her. I told her that I too feel God's presence the most when I am outside! She went on to describe her thoughts on the Lord and she obviously knew Him well. She thoroughly enjoyed the brief drive through the beautiful countryside, something I totally take for granted.

Don't you usually assume only those with 'clear' minds could possibly understand God and His promises...not so! I think there is a special place in the heart of our God for those who society labels disabled either mentally or physically.

It was my pleasure entirely to treat another sister in the Lord, just like a girlfriend.

my day off

Off to a great start with a phone call from Cambodia! How good to hear our kids' voices instead of just reading their words! What gets the day off to a better start than that?

In a short time I will help some friends from Crossroads move a dear, very desperate woman, so I am waiting for that call to come in.

So many people need our care... I found out today, that two acquaintances of ours have just been diagnosed with cancer as well as my favorite waitress/friend struggling with skin cancer... a lot of people to care for. Being available to others is something I am intentionally trying to become good at! I have not been available in the past, too busy with all my stuff. I do not know why care comes so freely from others and so stingy at times from me.

Please join me as I force myself to take a look at my day and see what portion I can give to meet someones needs. What time can you give?

wise leaders

Have you ever been around some one that is just wise? It will never stop surprising me when I just can't figure out the best solution to a problem and it rolls off a wise leaders tongue as if they have been thinking about the problem for hours. Amazing!

Pastor Tim is like this. (He won't like it that I'm writing about him...too bad!)

No kidding, we can be trying to figure out just the right order of music, struggling with a problem, or a last minute change to something in the program to make it flow, and minutes sometimes seconds later...out it comes, the perfect solution.

There are many things I could write about my 12 years of service with Tim, but, among others the quick leadership decisions he can just instantly make is obviously a gift straight from God to our ministry. And to me myself.

Pastor Tim is the public face of Crossroads, but it is behind the scenes that we get to see even more of his God gifts at work. He has been anointed and gifted to lead and it is fun to watch and a blessing to work with.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

weekend report

Our setlist:

Welcome/announcements - Bill with Darlene Rudrick our Go Missions coordinator discussed caring for orphans and widows through Asia's Hope. Our congregation had the opportunity to adopt orphans today. Very cool!

Opening Special - Spoken For - we ran pictures of the Orphans in Cambodia during the beginning of this special - very moving!

New Praise song - Mighty King of Love
Praise: Your Grace Is Enough
Worship: All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises Baloche
Worship: Here In Your Presence/Wonderful, Beautiful, Glorious

Message: Be Sure! Luke 10:25 - 29

Great weekend!

To see what other ministries did this weekend click here!

To watch our service on Monday click here!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

empty yet full

As my husband and I left the church yesterday, we stopped by a ladies house that had asked for help from the church. He warned me it would not be pretty.

As I entered the house I was struck by a paradox: she had so little but there was so much...

There were piles of bills, papers, receipts, trash, half eaten items, but, really very little of anything substantial such as furniture or large items of any kind.

The place was full yet very empty.

Then as I listened to her and looked at her face I knew she was a very broken person. I imagined her in earlier years, learning, working, dreaming of what was to come. But, somewhere along the way something broke. Chemical imbalance, mental illness, I really don't know her story. I really don't know how she survives.

God is doing a work in me, between the missions opportunities that our ministry gets to begin to participate in, to the community opportunities right around Crossroads, I am becoming burdened for "the least of these". In fact I have to wonder if I am not among the "least of these" in God's eyes as I sit comfortably surrounded by so much, but at times really have so little.

So little in the way of sympathy for others, care about the less fortunate, time given to serve those TRULY in need...God is doing a work in me...I long to be truly full of His grace and love for others, there are people at Crossroads teaching me by their dedicated example of caring that I want to learn husband, our missions team, my children...all our stuff means little if we don't bless others constantly with what we've been given.

There is a movement among churches today to - give it all away, money, food, care, no matter what website I go too there is a buzz about inner city, missions work, food pantries, on and on. I don't want to be caught up in an "American Feel Good Movement". After all, most of what we as Americans do to help others, ultimately is to make ourselves feel good. I don't want to be part of this movement, don't want Crossroads to be part of this movement, but instead dedicated to identified need, a specific opportunity given by Christ and everyday living with an eye for the less fortunate. Our missions team is excellent at identifying specific needs and creating focus for our congregation. A movement within each believer's heart, only then can an affective outward/ministry movement begin.

All of our stuff is on loan from the Lord and He cares deeply about what we do with our abundance. He chooses and calls whom He will to himself, and then I wonder perhaps if He watches closely to see what we do with all we've been given. A sobering thought...I do not want to stand before a disappointed God.

I want to help fix what is broken if He gives me that opportunity. I need however, to have my own house in order, financially and spiritually or the opportunity may come and go...

Friday, May 1, 2009

leading regardless

Occasionally everyone that is in the role of leadership feels like they shouldn't be there...I find myself feeling that way the past couple of weeks. I don't say this to evoke sympathy or any compliments, so please don't think that. I'm confident in my calling still I feel lately that I should be leading more confidently by now...

When I question my ability and strength I look to the Lord and also to other Godly leaders. Today I came across this excerpt from Nancy Beach one of my favorites. Nancy is a teaching pastor, writer and former leader of the Arts Teams at the WillowCreek Church. If even she feels this way it encourages me greatly!

Nancy said in her blog today concerning speaking at a very large conference recently, "I spoke about the issue of women leading in the church. As I walked up on stage to speak to the 3200 attenders, I took a deep breath and simply had to trust that God had given me a message to deliver and my job was simply to deliver it. I knew I could not control the response, nor should my own sense of worth be defined by whether the talk was well received..." Of course her talk was well received because she is amazing! But, even amazing, well known leaders struggle not to base their worth on what they do. Our worth of course is found only in God and our obedience to his calling.

The same day I found this from Nancy, I also found an article from Andy Stanley who had very encouraging words to leaders. Andy said, "as a young leader I was tormented by the assumption that I should know what to do in every given situation...the more responsibility you assume as a leader, the more uncertainty you will have to manage. The cost of success as a leader is greater uncertainty, not less!"

At first glance, these words may not sound very hopeful or encouraging, but knowing how both of these leaders have similar struggles, encourages me. So, I will continue to lead as God allows and try to keep my focus on Him instead of my shortcomings. I pray you are each encouraged as well as you lead wherever God calls you!

blogging from Asia

You can follow my son and daughter's journey through Cambodia and Thailand by going to Jocelyn's blog - CLICK HERE and Eric's blog - CLICK HERE!

Please pray for them to stay safe and well and to experience God big time! Thanks!