Saturday, February 27, 2010

my husband is home

FINALLY the Asia's Hope team returned! I am so thankful - praising the Lord for a life changing trip for this group of Crossroadians'! (That's slang for a team from Crossroads that just returned from Cambodia and Thailand yesterday).

How amazing to travel around the world and show God's love in practical ways as they showered the previously unvisited orphanage with belated Christmas gifts from all the people at Crossroads that sponsor them!

Reports include one little boy that was completely hidden from view by the size of his gifts! They love receiving gifts - but the love they GIVE back far, far outweighs anything we can possibly give.

So exciting to hear the stories of how Crossroads' love is changing these children's lives clear across the world!! Thanks Crossroads sponsors!

And - so glad to have hubby back safe and sound too!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Wednesday is a day I have been looking forward to. I was blown away as I stepped from my door and saw a beautiful new blanket of snow. The difference this time was birds were singing at the top of their lungs (do birds have lungs?) and there was a sense of change in the air - anticipation. Hope for spring - and a promise from God's birds that it is not far away!

The anticipation (or dread) for our staff will end today as well! We are doing a staff 'late' valentine exchange/valentine box competition today at Crossroads. Although the planning team has endured quite a bit of teasing because of how corny this event is, today I watched as all the staff walked around looking at everyone's boxes as they dropped valentines into each box.

So... surrounded by criticism we pushed on...we now have turned the corner and the notes describing what they appreciate about one another will soon be opened during lunch together.

Sometimes it takes a corny, relaxed setting to bring out thankfulness and fun! (the last picture shows the homemade frames leftover from the Children's ministry - that will frame the smiling faces of our amazing staff by each place setting!)

Have you done anything at your place of business that ended up being a powerful or fun event for everyone? I would love new ideas!

Monday, February 22, 2010

my day off

I have thoroughly enjoyed my day off so far. My sabbath! How could you not enjoy a day that begins with your dear mother-in-law and pancakes? I'm just sayin...

Anyway, I followed up pancakes with the gym and then home sweet home!

As I sit on my couch working through my precariously teetering stack of books and papers waiting to be organized - I began preparing for the Artists Small Group tomorrow night. The new "Expressive Drawing Book" was right on top. My hope as I began this book was to come up with some exercises that we could use to have fun at our meeting. What I found was something that struck me as a parallel to some theological struggles I see around me.

"Drawing is often equated with rendering, or conveying accurate information about the visible world. Change came however, with the Modernism art age. This art era argued that art can be about the unseen - drawings could now be about internal realities - dreams, feelings and imagination. ... you as an artist are filtering experiences of your life to create a new reality as you draw."

In the area of creating an artistic drawing this is acceptable, in the area of theological doctrine it is not!. People and churches are creating a new reality and it's all about them. What's convenient, what feels good,what makes everybody happy and what in most cases allows them to live anyway they choose.

I have to assume the author of this art book had no interest in theological debate - but I thought it was a good description of what we have seen all around us recently, even here in little 'ole Mansfield, Ohio.

Be wise, study God's Word and let's join together to walk, speak and serve as Pastor Tim reminded us in Ephesians 4.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Shall we not have some champions, in these times, who will deal sternly with heresies for the love of the truth,—men who will stand like rocks in the center of the sea, so that, when all others shake, they stand invulnerable and invincible? Thou who art tossed about by every wind of doctrine, farewell; I own thee not till God shall give thee grace to stand firm for his truth, and not to be ashamed of him nor of his words in this evil generation. Charles Spurgeon

I want to be a champion. Do you?

weekend report

So - simple is SOOOOO good. It was good to be in the house of the Lord with my brothers and sisters!

Announcements - Bill Hill
I Surrender
What A Friend - Baloche
Be Glorified - acoustic version instrumentally
I will Boast
Silent Responsive Reading
Be Glorified - full band version
I Will Boast
Message: Ephesians Pt. 6
I Will Boast

To see what other ministries used in their setlists this weekend go to theworshipcommunity.

To watch the services at Crossroads go to on Monday.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

does creativity = bad theology

I have been disappointed recently by what seems to be a real lack of sound theology especially from leaders connected to creativity.

Why is it so prevalent for believers to not know where they stand theologically, or at least to not take a stand theologically? I think our society has brainwashed us into thinking we have to accept whatever people want to believe. I LOVE creatives, artists, musicians, actors anything creative. But many times in the name of 'art' they seem to be way too tolerant. This is disappointing.

I would actually respect people more that took a hard stand in wrong theology, at least then you would know where they stand and you could even try with the Lord's help to reveal the truth to them. But it's that in-between somewhere state that doesn't deserve following. And it drives me crazy!

I need people that can teach me in the areas in which my responsibilities lie. I feel extremely alone at times as I try to lead, not alone physically (I have amazing friends and staff around me), but there are so few leading the way strongly in the creative areas of ministry! Is there anyone out there who is SURE of where they stand, SURE of what they won't compromise on, and SURE of what we need to do, to know, to produce?

I guess the best we can all do is to make SURE our own theology is so rock solid that none of the in-between junk ever sucks us into the mediocre abyss of anything goes...

Friday, February 19, 2010

our speak

How do you speak? Are you sarcastic, rude, loud, crude?

Some of my friends went out tonight to eat and were discussing Pastor Tim's Ephesians series and specifically his teaching on little white lies (there is no such thing) and sarcasm, how we speak.

We discussed how difficult it is to just talk without entering into talk unacceptable for a Christ follower. Not in horrible foul language or anything that extreme, but just sarcastic teasing or slighting embellishing the truth.

I highly doubt if there is anyone who likes to tease and taunt as much as I do! So to take a step away from this and really examine the way I speak is daunting and quite a challenge. There is nothing I won't attempt for the Lord - so here I go...if my speech can be more pleasing to Him then I will try my very best with His help to change!

Do you have trouble with exaggeration or stretching the truth? Do you think the way your speak is pleasing to the Lord?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

a deep tired

I am deeply tired! I have had a home full of guys the past week and I am SO tired!

We have had a blast running around late at night and laughing together and eating at crazy times of the day and night. But, I am so tired!

Funny how I get tired whenever I am taken out of my regular routine? I used to be able to stay awake forever! Now I am old I guess!

What makes you tired? Work? Kids? Stress? I would love to hear from each of you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

cheap is good

Got a great deal at WalMart!

The website that talked about the Olay sale said there should be $3.00 coupons that we can use on several different Olay facial cleansers or moisturizers. Not only those worked, but also 2 - $1.00 off coupons worked!


I bought 3 Olay Regenerist Facial Cleansers for the sale price of $5.47 each.

I used 2 - $3.00 off coupons and 2 - $1.00 coupons and paid - $8.41 plus tax.

I then copied off this Rebate form and mailed it in to collect $15.00! So I MADE almost $6.00 to buy these 2 products!

And best of all - that is all I bought!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

what I learned today

I have a confession. I am guilty of judging people based on their contributions to the ministry. Both serving as a volunteer in some capacity as well as lack of giving. (I don't see giving records - but based on needs of the church MANY people do not tithe). I am guilty of assuming this means that people either do not have a personal relationship with the Lord, or that they are selfish or spiritually immature. There I said I must ask for forgiveness.

Today I was reading in "Life Together" by Bonhoeffer and became very convicted and looked hard at my own life.

I am a dreamer - I know what I THINK a Christian community should look like. God deals in absolutes - He makes it pretty easy to understand - our junk makes it difficult. This is what I read today...

"Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God's grace speedily shatters such dreams...God is not a God of emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God's sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it.

He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demand that is be realized by God, by others, and by himself."

I stand convicted - letting go of my own agendas - and thanking God for each little thing. I will be satisfied with the "small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience and love that has been given to me - so I constantly look forward eager for the highest good!"

I love Crossroads and all who attend. May our community truly reflect our thankfulness to God for all things and become a genuine Christian - non-judgmental community that attracts the lost to Jesus!

Monday, February 15, 2010

tradegy in Thailand

PLEASE pray today for the orphans of Asia's Hope - who just lost their "House Father" in a Moto accident in Thailand. This accident happened yesterday or today, not sure... His wife and child were also seriously injured and his older child sadly witnessed the whole tragedy from a second Moto.

Our Crossroads Go Mission team will be entering Thailand late this week and need our prayers to meet the needs of this orphanage!

I cannot imagine the grief of the children who have now lost a second pair of parents in their young lives.

God is sovereign, he knew our team would be there next week, just pray with me please that God will use them in a mighty, mighty way! And pray that Asia's Hope has another couple ready to step in!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

weekend report

It was a night of changes on Saturday and amazing results on Sunday thanks to flexible - talented volunteers and staff working side by side!

We cut a song, completely reversed the order of worship, and presented nearly perfect services on Sunday! The thematic flow was clear and the message was strong, God was so good to us!

Stephanie McAuley was our AMAZING actress and Steve Browning was the voice of God and chisel sound effect from the wings backstage.

God's Chisel from Steve Browning on Vimeo.

This drama was supposed to be performed by two live actors, but, our male actors were not available so we placed the voice backstage. It was magnificent!

The final special was performed by my daughter Jocelyn, who was home from college for the weekend. So fun!

Have Your Way from Steve Browning on Vimeo.

Our setlist:

Instrumental: China Grove
Announcements: Wendell Anderson (stewardship pastor)
Worship: Rescue - Desperation Band
Praise: Trading My Sorrows - Darrell Evans
Praise: Lift the Name - Anderson
Message: Ephesians: Deconstruction/Reconstruction Pt. 5 - Sr. Pastor Tim Armstrong
Drama: God's Chisel - The Skit Guys Actress: Stephanie McAuley (the voice - Steve Browning our amazing Tech Coordinator on staff).
Special Music: Have Your Way - Britt Nicole performed by - Jocelyn Biddle (yes...MY daughter!)

To see what other ministries around the country used in their services go to

To watch our services on Monday go to the Crossroads website.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

crazy day

Our day had quite a variety of activities!

We began our day by watching my nephew Bradly
play basketball in the Upward Basketball league.

When we got home our daughter received valentine flowers from her fiance. So, it leads me to ask you get anything for Valentines Day?

Do you buy something for your valentine?

I need helpful suggestions please!

the green room

One week from today the Green Room is coming to Crossroads!

We will be hearing from some of the top leaders that have served and lead for years in our areas of ministry - cool to think that we will be joining brothers and sisters from across the country LIVE via satellite.

Any of you reading this that are involved in any way with the Creative Arts in your ministry, worship, drama, artists and technical volunteers and leaders, none of you will want to miss this event next Friday at Crossroads. It begins at 10:30 and wraps up at 5:30.

I still have $25.00 tickets available. just call us this week at 419-529-0750 for more information. Or you can order tickets on line at the Green Room. I hope you will join us!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

on their way

Our Go Missions team is off the ground and on their way on the first leg of their journey toward Cambodia. Please pray!!

We bid them farewell at Crossroads this morning with prayers, tears and lots of goodies!

If Crossroads is your home church, then you are being represented clear across the world as our team serves the orphans and widows in Cambodia and Thailand! It's not just the 8 people that have gone - but, in a manner of speaking all of us go with them with our support for the Crossroads orphanage, our gifts for each orphan and our prayers for our team.

Put a reminder note somewhere so you will remember to continuously be in prayer for our Go Missions Team over the next two weeks as they spread God's Word to the uttermost parts of the world!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

cheap is good

I have had very little time to really dig into deals this week, but, one thing I would really encourage you to do is to sign up for Twitter. I know, a lot of people think it's lame, but you can sign up to ONLY use it for coupons sites!

On almost every coupon site there is a facebook or twitter sign up. I like the coupon feed on Twitter over Facebook, so my facebook page doesn't get loaded up with things no one wants to read about. Twitter on the other hand isn't for reading really...ya know what I mean.

Anyway - I would suggest you subscribe to sites using Twitter!

The only deal I have had time to take advantage of earlier this week was at Meijer. I had a few Catalinas to cash in...translation - Meijer bucks - so thought I'd grab a few things. Among them I bought a 40 count box of Bagel Bites that were finally on sale and I used a $2.50 off coupon from the "All You" magazine I just purchased. Besides fresh produce, I only purchased sale items that I had additional coupons for.

I saved over $20.00 and got $6.00 worth of catalinas without even trying! If I get to go back out later this week I'll fill you in! Happy savings!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

what I learned today

Reading in Acts today - it was obvious the disciples had some of the same struggles that we do. It is difficult to picture them as truly human at times, but their struggles were so much like mine!

The verses talked about the struggle the disciples had accepting Saul, at least at first. This was a guy who had been very publicly connected to the killing of Christians. And yes, he had a conversion and came to the Lord, but, wouldn't you be nervous and suspicious if you had to be with Paul knowing what kind of life he had very recently been living?

Beth Moore points out in her "John" book, that "John had recently lost his beloved brother James to martyrdom. " Not at the hands of Paul, but, if John's loss was still fresh and people 'like' Paul had taken his brothers life I would imagine he was very cautious to connect with Paul.

Isn't it weird to think about the disciples in this way. Human - suspicious about someone claiming to be different who came out of the worst, most evil background and now proclaimed the name of the Lord! Proclaimed it loudly! The disciples had many of the same weaknesses and sins in their lives as we do.

We need to forgive those who have wronged us or who have lead lifestyles that have hurt others we love. We also need to believe in the powerful redemptive power of Jesus to change lives, really change them!

I learned today that I need to accept people just as they are - even when I worry they may not truly be changed...after all who am I to judge? The Lord knows I don't want to be judged by others...

Monday, February 8, 2010

my day off

This day follows a horrible sleeping night - or I guess I should say sleepless night! Our son's band was here and one of them - I AM NOT EXAGGERATING had the worst cough I have every heard in my life!

This kid is probably 6'4" and 250 pounds and it sounded like he was coughing up a lung all night long! Since he's 24 years old it's not like I could trot upstairs and rub Vicks on his chest or shove a spoonful of medicine down his throat. But HOW I wanted to! ha ha

Anyway all that to say - I got up prepared oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, juice and coffee before they headed to Indiana.

Now my day off begins with a headache, a blanket, my computer, books to read and the couch covered with coupons and grocery lists with lots of inexpensive - nearly free grocery items to add to my stockpile. I love a good bargain!

weekend report

Interesting weekend! Our Saturday night service was canceled - we were under a level 2 storm warning both last night as well as this morning. But, we just had to have church! So we all got together this morning for 2 services and it was great!

Our Setlist:

Beat It - Jackson (we had video of people around our ministry trying to moon walk- just wanted to have some fun. Even some of the older crowd told me they could hardly stay in their seats when the band played it!)
Announcements: Our youth guy Jesse Rider took care of announcements
Praise: My Savior Lives - New Life
Worship: Hungry - shortened
Worship: Lead Me To The Cross - Chris and Conrad
Message: Ephesians Pt. 4 - Senior Pastor Tim Armstrong
Financial Update: Wendel Anderson
Exit Instrumental: Lead Me To The Cross

To see what other ministries did around the country this weekend go to

To watch our services on line go to

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I LOVE bad weather when I'm home! When I have to go out later I won't be so happy I guess, but, when I'm home life is simple.

We didn't get anything with this storm compared to other areas of the country, just enough to keep us off the roads for a while today. But, what the storm did do by limiting our choices for one day is it gave me the gift of simplicity.

I sorted through stuff, washed clothes and made homemade potato soup sprinkled with bacon and cheese.

I talked to my dad who told me he just stuck his cane out of his window and pulled a bird feeder toward him in order to refill it, and was now watching the thankful birds eat! Can't you just see a cane drawing an empty bird feeder into a window? Simplicity - focus on details - enjoyment of little seemingly insignificant life stuff.

A sabbath of sorts. A 8 inch deep, cold, beautifully white simplicity!

Friday, February 5, 2010

snow is here

I have been away from blogging for the past day or so due to my aunt's passing - man, did she love the Lord - so while we are down here shoveling she is dancing in heaven so glad to be home!

And the snow has arrived!

I must confess, I have dedicated much of the past two days to making fun of my friends that were concerned about the storm.

They were right and I was wrong.

Did I just just admit that...

I took a little nap and when I woke up an hour later everything had changed, including my ability to see the road in front of our house! These are shots from my back door of my car that I drove an hour earlier! Yikes!! How is it where you all live?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

preparing for communion

Tonight is communion at Crossroads. Time to prepare. I am referring to preparing myself, not the service.

We should not participate if we do not prepare our hearts for communion. Blameless before the Lord.

I am tempted to take this upon myself like all the other tasks that lay on my desk awaiting completion. Although we are told to practice communion in the scriptures, it is not a 'to do'. It is to be instead an act of worship, remembering the amazing sacrifice of Christ and the forgiveness His sacrifice provides.

I hope you will join us tonight for the communion celebration, please spend time preparing your heart and I pray the whole congregation will say, "it was good to be in the house of the Lord!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

what I learned today

I continued my study of Sabbath Keeping this week. Amazing and thought provoking!

The most incredible description of sabbath in chapter 3 was where the author said, "Sabbath is a deep symbol of Israel's intimate relationship with God. Violating sabbath is like throwing your wedding ring in the face of your spouse." That is a powerful example of the fact the Sabbath is not another task to be checked off our list, but instead it is about our relationship with God. The sabbath day is dedicated time to further develop our relationship with God.

The Sabbath sounds more and more like something I really must begin to practice in a much more dedicated way than I have previously!

Monday, February 1, 2010

my day off

I have normal stuff today - finish spring-ish cleaning kid's bedrooms before they come home this week, laundry and grocery list planning (with coupons)...but I still feel weak from the depth of terror I felt last night.

This probably sounds overly dramatic, but, we got a call from our daughter who was driving home from Michigan to Indiana last night when a tire blew out! GOD was present and kept her car from wrecking, but, she and 2 other girls found themselves in pitch black stranded on I 69. Four hours from here and almost 2 hours from school.

Talk about a sick feeling.

We kept her on speaker phone as she drove 'on the flat' a couple miles down the side of this busy interstate to get off on a ramp to get out of the way. They then called the State Patrol who arrived and helped them put the donut tire on their car.

The ramp they went down led to nowhere so it took some doing to even get back on the interstate. The patrolman had told them they could not drive far on it, so still on the speaker phone we tried to think of a solution for help at 9:30 on a Sunday night.

As they drove 35 mph down 69,only going 4 miles since reentering the interstate, a Michigan State Policeman pulled them over to tell them their donut was flat. He told the girls to get in his car and he'd take them to get a tire. This period of time was perhaps the most scared I have ever been in my life! All the horrible news reports, including a couple stories I had heard about how supposed 'fake road side assistant' people would intercept police calls and attack people came flooding back and sent me into a panic.

The next call we got was an amazing call. The policeman called a friend who owned a car repair place that was closed of course, but, the guy met them there and could only find a tire that was one size too small but GAVE it to them. He would not let them pay! The policeman drove the girls back followed by the store owner who changed the girls tire and went on his way.

As the man drove away the girls saw this sticker on the back of his pick up truck "Jesus Saves"...

I have been praising and thanking the Lord for His obvious intervention and protection, and for a reminder of how LOUDLY our actions can speak, and how AUTHENTIC our testimonies become when we serve those in need!!