Thursday, April 29, 2010

so fast

It went so fast.

Our kids both graduate from college tomorrow.

I ironed their gowns tonight and as I pressed out the wrinkles it felt as if only weeks had passed since I pressed their high school robes.

The speed in which time is passing now picks up daily. This life is quick, and all these huge milestones that feel as if they take so much time to accomplish really don't.

I feel the speed of life right now. It makes me value each minute more. I am fairly certain that the very best things in our life on earth last only minutes.

God is eternal - I wonder if minutes are even a measurement in His eyes?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I want to be first

Jesus said "The first shall be last...." It always fascinates me when I read how backward everything seems to be in the Bible. The weak are strong, the first are last, the rich are poor, the greatest are the least and on and on.

How amazing it is that we don't have to 'be' anything, and most of all we don't have to 'be' what the world typically celebrates as great.

Why is it then we spend so much time trying to be first and rich and strong? Our competitive flesh I guess - such a waste of time.

Tonight I am just thankful that He excepts me as I am... and it's really pretty easy after all to be the least. That's all He asks - so cool!

Monday, April 26, 2010

need my kids

I am so excited about Eric coming home and then driving with me to Indiana this week! I finally get to spend time with them.

Things are changing very quickly for our family. You always think you have more time than you do. We have always been totally involved in their lives, their activities and their celebrations - so, no regrets. But, man...did it go fast!

You always assume there will be high school, college, time back at home while they begin their careers. Not so - our kids graduate this week and are GONE in just a couple of months.

Here is the is SO exciting to watch God move them out of our home and into HIS will, that we just cannot be too sad. Lonely maybe, but, not sad!

I praise Him daily for his goodness to our family - we are not perfect - but, He takes us as we are and moves us as we pray - into His will...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

weekend report

Our pastor was on vacation - but Pastor Wendell stepped in and completed the Amazing Jesus series with excellence! We used our new 'large' vocal team to do a little gospel and they were amazing!

As I walked around last night my heart was warmed by worship going on in our elementary classroom and I found Deering, one of the Director's observing the 4th and 5th grade classroom preparing to teach that age group today! So amazing how everyone around here just does whatever needs to be done to further the kingdom - so blessed to be a part of this staff! Definitely NOT just about what happens in the auditorium!

Our setlist:

This was our last weekend using original art as the background for our slides. They will be for sale on Sermonspice soon I hope!

Pre-worship: Who Can Satisfy (we pulled out some oldies! )
Pre-worship: Saved
Video announcements: We will be hosting Kay Warren from Saddleback next weekend - so Pastor Tim shot a video before he left on vacation.
Praise: All Because Of Jesus
Praise: Only A God Like You
Worship: Enough
Worship: This Is Our God/There Is None Like You
Message: final teaching in our Amazing Jesus Series Pt 4: The Tender Healer - Wendell Anderson
Exit Song: This Is Our God

PS - I just heard possibly the loudest thunder that I have ever heard! YIKES!

OK...focus... to watch our services on line go to on Monday.

To see what other ministries used in the worship services to go

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kay Warren is coming!!!

It's almost time for Kay to be with us at Crossroads!

One week from tonight Kay will be doing our weekend teachings at Crossroads. You really MUST be there!! It is a great privilege to host Kay. Please plan to join us for one of the weekend services. Saturday at 7:00 p.m., Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00 a.m.

Crossroads is located at 1188 Park Avenue West in Mansfield, Ohio. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

working ahead

We spent our day working ahead mostly on Mother's day testimonies. It was so good to hear people testify to God's faithfulness in their lives. There is nothing more powerful then someones personal testimony, their story. No one can argue about your story.

It's not a theological discussion, it's not about what church you belong to, it's not opinion, it's fact and it's important.

Today two friends shared their story and it made me very excited about our Mother's Day services coming up - please don't miss it!

PS: To you Crossroads moms out there...most kids won't say no to an invitation to attend church with you on Mother's Day! Use it ladies, use it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I have stopped tonight. Stopped working, stopped thinking, stopped completely and I cannot go. It is a sudden feeling of overwelmingness. (I know - it's not a word) I have so many directions to go right now that I cannot figure out where to begin. I have slight feelings of discouragement. I don't know why. So I have just stopped for the night. I have no choice but to try again tomorrow and I will. I will pray and I will rest and I will give God my tomorrow and He will show me where to move...and I will go.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

brainstorming and praying

The Directors spent some focused time brainstorming surrounded by prayer!

I consider it to be a very high privilege to be among the Directors at Crossroads - a great privilege!

With large sticky notes covering the walls we prayed for God's leading as we worked to identify ways to lead our congregation to a deeper spiritual maturity. We care so much about this and we are very excited about the days ahead!

We accomplished important planning - and we grew even closer! ha ha!

Monday, April 19, 2010

do you promise

Do you ever say to people, "I'll pray for you", and then don't?

I do.

My intentions are pure, I value prayer and them, but I usually don't remember who asked me or to pray.

God has been convicting me about this recently. Shameful I know and maybe I'm hoping for some of you to help quiet my conscience, I mean God's voice by assuring me everyone says this. Not good enough.

My word, my promise, my casual sympathetic supportive comment must be true. If I won't do it, if I don't mean it, I should never promise it.

I confessed this to Him this week. I promised Him I would not promise you to pray unless I am truly going to commit to pray. I promise.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

weekend report

The third weekend in Pastor Tim's series in Mark - Amazing Jesus was fantastic. We have used an original artist rendering each weekend - what a blessing to reclaim art for the church you can see their work on the teaching slides we created for the series at

Our setlist:

Pre Worship - Come Thou Fount
Pre Worship - Holy, Holy, Holy - Chapman
Video Welcome - we used a guy from Australia with a cool accent
Worship - The Offering - Boloche
Worship - Give Us Clean Hands
Praise - Your Grace Is Enough - Tomlin
Praise - I Will Boast - Garrett
Message: Amazing Jesus Pt. 3 - The Mercy Giver - Tim Armstrong
Exit Song: Offering

To see what other ministries used in their worship services go to

Saturday, April 17, 2010

paralyzed at times

Do you ever become paralyzed by the fear of moving forward? Do you feel inadequate to do what needs to be done sometimes?

If I don't fight against this constantly, this is where I could spend a great deal of time- doubting myself and paralyzed.

God has given me great opportunities to create and to lead but the enemy loves to mess with me and tries constantly to convince me that 'I can't do it' - don't even try. By giving up we tell the world around us that "our confidence is not in God but in our own ability or I am willing to miss this tremendous learning opportunity because I am scared".

As I was thinking about this I realized that the good thing about not having a lot of earthly things to rely on like tons of education, important position or wealth, is that God can be seen much more clearly through us. We are just plain people, just people walking behind our Savior - following His leading refusing to be paralyzed by our own insecurities and fear.

Crossroads - we have been called to point our community toward God. Big evangelistic services, fancy performances, manipulative passionate invitations will not lead them to God. YOU must! Let your neighbors and co-workers see your journey and tell them when given opportunity what He means to you. Our community is desperate to know there is more than this daily existence that leads no where...desperate. No matter how unworthy, how unprepared or whatever inadequacy you may have - He will use you in ways you never imagined.

To remain paralyzed is a choice - you must MOVE!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Elders laughter

There is perhaps nothing that tells more about the spiritual health of a ministry than its Elder board. This morning I road in with my husband to get an early jump on the day while he attended early morning Elder devotions. I heard laughter all the way to my office.

This is a good sound.

I had to wonder how many ministries ever get to hear laughter coming from an Elder board?

It was a sound that caused me to stop my work and pray for them and thank God for them and to also say thanks that amidst the difficult decisions and hard work there gets to be laughter.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

the uprising

What if the church really become all that God intended for it to be? What if all of us spent our days aware that every second of every day 1.8 people take their last breath - and after that last earthly breath - some go to spend eternity with the Lord but many go into a God-less eternity of endless separation? If we cared, really cared about the lost around us - wouldn't we share the message they so desperately need - could we treat each encounter as if it was their last chance to hear about Jesus love for them? When was the last time you cried for the lost?

It was no mistake that I won 2 free tickets to the uprising conference, and as my sister and I headed to Lexington Kentucky, God knew I personally needed it. I needed to be reminded what my personal responsibilities are with my one and only life. I must not only remain true to my calling within the ministry, but take it to the streets so to the place I live.

Although the primary purpose of this conference was to inspire pastors and key leaders to rise up and refuse to feed into the 'consumer' mindset of the average Christian Church today, it was personal for me. Funny how you can get so busy working at the church, that you forget to personally 'be the church' to those you come in contact with.

These past two days I was a consumer, I didn't have responsibilities I could just take it in, I could just worship without responsibility, without the need to evaluate and tweak. It has been a very long time since I have done anything like this.

So good to be in the house of the Lord!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

what I learned today

What do you think about this statement..."Nothing that is not radical is Christian"

I was reading today and came across that statement - can't get it out of my mind.

When you take a hard look at the Bible it never tells a story that I can think of where ANYONE lived happily ever after. Not that Christianity offers no happiness and ONLY struggle - it offers a hope, peace and eternal perspective like nothing here can offer. It seems like the people that were used the mightiest were always edgy, not sitting comfortably in pews living within the American Church CONSUMER mindset that I see.

WHEN did we begin to think church was ALL about us?? This is so different then anything I have ever read about in the Bible except when I read descriptions of the Pharisees! I don't want God to think of me in this way.

So American church - sorry...I do believe it is time to live radically! Drop the "it's all about me" mindset and get up and let's get moving. OBEY - serve - give and affect the world around you! Dare to live edgy - move into areas for Jesus that make you nervous, you'll probably find the people that need Him the most! Get out of your 'pew' so to speak, and into the streets - a pilgrimage of sorts and let's effect Mansfield - shake things up!!

Radicals for our Lord - I learned today that the true church may not look so much like the America buildings called church that we see all around us. We are the church and we are NOT contained by walls!

Monday, April 12, 2010

my day off

Woke up.


Took mother-in-law to breakfast.

Worked in flower beds.

Stood very close to two HUGE tom turkeys who walked right between my hubby and I as if they could care less that we were there. (I think they were trying to act tough in front of the female).

Got soil delivered.

Worked in flower beds.

Stood side by side with my hubby working in flower beds as we watched the same two HUGE tom turkeys make their way back across the road as if we weren't even there.

Ate dinner.

Wrote this.

Going to bed. Not a real deep day of reflective self examination or focused time on trying to solve the worlds problems...

yet good.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

part of Easter service

I wanted to put this video up from Easter even though you may have watched in on the church site. This segment is the portion that followed Pastor Tim's teaching on the woman at the well and features the monologue, the painting and song that my daughter Joci sang. Enjoy!

Easter 2010 from Steve Browning on Vimeo.

weekend report

The Amazing Jesus series by Pastor Tim - is truly amazing! We are using original art each weekend for our background slides and the Crossroads' artists are just doing a beautiful job!

We put announcements into the middle of worship to try to incorporate them into the service asking the congregation if they have ever considered serving and giving to also be part of worship. You can see how we did this by watching the services on line tomorrow.

You can also see how we used the sketches by watching at

Our Setlist:

Pre-service worship: Heaven Song - Wickham
Pre-service worship: Offering - Baloche
Praise: All Because of Jesus - Fee
Praise: Awesome is the Lord Most High - Tomlin
Worship: Awesome God
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Shanna and Stephanie
Worship: Awesome God continued
Worship: Your Love is Amazing - Crossroads original by Milo Sgambellone
Worship: God You Reign - Brewster
VIDEO: The Storm - Sermonspice
Message: Amazing Jesus Pt. 2: The Storm Calmer - Pastor Tim Armstrong
Exit Song: God You Reign

To see what other ministries used in their playlist go to

Saturday, April 10, 2010

a taste of slow

I often move at a blinding pace - I like frenzy! The challenge of juggling a lot of activity and detail is exhilarating, but it takes a tole. Fuzzy thinking, lack of creativity and exhaustion.

Today I am moving at a reflective pace - cleaning - laundry - homemade broccoli soup...the open windows welcome the smell of the fire from the woods where my hubby is burning brush - clearing a wedding site.

At this pace I not only notice the smells but experience all the sensations that slowness reveals.

Why is it even with an understanding of Sabbath and the amazing experiences that quiet slowness allows, that I still move so quickly? I would have SO been Martha not Mary!

For today I have tasted the flavor of slowness and it is so good!

Friday, April 9, 2010

protective or exclusive

There is a fine line between being protective within the ministry vs exclusive. A recent visit by a person that didn't quite meet the criteria of one of our groups lead to quite a discussion.

Should they be invited in even though they weren't quite at the same level as the rest of the group, or is it more important to keep the group closed not risking the unity and possibly the quality of discussion and leadership development? Tough call.

If you begin to compromise the 'requirements' needed to belong to a group does the group collapse? Or...does this exposure instead give opportunity for the group to step up - to make their faith real and to become a witness and in this way take steps toward leadership that could never be taught? We shall see.

The group decided unanimously to open their group and their hearts to this newcomer. The right decision I suspect...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kay Warren is coming

Crossroads is about to be blessed by a visit from Kay Warren!

Kay is a very accomplished teacher and author. She wrote and co-wrote, "Dangerous Surrender and Sanctification" among others. She is very involved in the fight against HIV and has brought great attention to this devastating disease and the people affected by it. Kay is the wife of Pastor Rick Warren from the Saddleback Church in California, and we are so fortunate that she is willing to come and spend a weekend with us on May 1 and 2.

I spoke at length today with her assistant, Paulette who I have come to love across the miles! We discussed every detail of her visit and it is going to be amazing for our congregation!

Sometimes it feels like no one else could possibly understand the challenges and loneliness we experience in ministry. Then you come to know others who have experienced the same struggles...they come along beside you and you become so overwhelmed with thankfulness that you are able to continue strongly. You give thanks to the Lord and you look for opportunities to pass the blessing on to others.

The blessing began the day Kay said she would come. And now we prepare to become just a little piece of Kay's life.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

cheap is good

This is a rather unusual coupon! Home improvement stores rarely put out coupons - so take advantage! Click here.

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Here is a nice printable coupon for $10 off $50 at Ace Hardware.I believe Home Depot and Lowe’s will take this as a competitor coupon as well. So, you can start on your spring cleaning, gardening, maintenance, etc… and save a few bucks in the process. Hurry, expires April 12th.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

what I learned today

The enemy hates scripture read live. When a ministry completely immerses itself in the Word and nothing but God's Word..this gets non-believers very bothered.

As most of you know the congregation from Crossroads is reading scripture, the entire Bible straight through. Satan and all of his followers hate this! You can watch the reading here.

We had to take down our live chat because of all the profanity and hassle that one or two people were writing on our live chat page.

I am so sad for those people. They must be so lonely and so desperate to silence the gospel. It will never happen.

People have died for their belief in God for centuries. Believers have been taunted, tortured and terrified by those who stand against the Lord. Despite this we stand strong and sure in our salvation and the enemy will never win against us. Never!

Today I learned just how much it bothers some people to hear God's Word read, they simply cannot tolerate when truth is proclaimed!

Monday, April 5, 2010

my day off

Many of the Crossroads congregation have been reading God's Word aloud since 2:00 p.m. on Easter.

It is very moving to sit and listen, to sit and pray or to sit and watch far enough back that you cannot really hear what is being said, but you still care deeply about each word. And the silence of the auditorium swallows your thoughts and needs and allows you to feel the presence of God and wonder how many lives have been changed for eternity in the chair in which you sit.

I fall more and more deeply in love with Him as I remember story after story that I haven't thought about for a long some cases years. As I passed the Easter painting of the Samaritan Woman, I thought about the fact that everyone of these Biblical characters were regular people just like us. People in need of a savior, people who felt like outcasts sure they had sinned way too badly to ever be forgiven, or even accepted by peers and family.

People came and read out of reverence for the Lord even though some of them told me they were terrified to read in front of others. This was not about us, this was time to focus on Him. I love my Lord and I love my community at extended family.

weekend report

We added an extra service for the weekend and we were thrilled to see each service filled nearly to capacity! Very exciting - many new faces!

We had live painters in our entrance area "Town Square" painting the woman at the well (original sketch was also used at the pastor's background slides, as well as a painter on stage painting the face of Jesus, an actor, great teaching and beautiful music!

Please take the time to enjoy the service at (we are also beginning to stream our services live).

It takes a huge group of amazing volunteers to pull a weekend like this off - and I especially wanted to recognize our security team and cafe volunteers! They both bring important aspects to our ministry!

Our setlist:

Instrumental: Carol Ann - Smith
Instrumental during a Sermon Spice video called: Elements of Easter
Worship: At the Cross - Hillsong (shortened)
Worship: Revelation Song - Gateway
Praise: For All You've Done
Message: Amazing Jesus Pt. 1- The Woman at the Well - Pastor Tim Armstrong
Monologue: Actress - Angel Dickerson
Painting Drama: Painter - Shawn Smith Music: Requiem for a Dream
Special Music: Blessed Redeemer - Casting Crowns (Singer: Jocelyn Biddle)
Worship: Lead Me To The Cross - Hillsong
Praise: Jesus Paid It All - Stanfill (shortened)

To watch what other ministries used in their Easter Services go to

Saturday, April 3, 2010

meatballs and taco soup

These were several of the items provided by our very generous Easter food team. I am not sure if anything that anyone else does for the teams is appreciated more than great food on a busy night at Crossroads.

We gathered and began to practice around 2:30 today - we left at 8:30. So food was very needed!

I just wanted to say a special thanks to Lynda and Darlene for doing so much for all of our amazing volunteers and staff tonight!

Fruit, cookies and donuts await us in the shortage of eating again tomorrow. So I will go to sleep for now, knowing it will be morning soon and praying that many who are spiritually hungry will respond to the message and fulfillment that only Christ can offer!

Friday, April 2, 2010

poor preparation

I wonder if God has been impressed with my hard work this week?

I wonder if He would have preferred that I spend more time with Him instead?

I feel I have done a pretty good job this week preparing all the details of the Easter services with the help of an amazingly talented staff!

What I have not done a good job at is preparing my heart.

Meetings, planning, talking, leading, working time for personal preparation. Or at least that is how I acted this week.

So tonight I confess to the Lord - the same Lord that gave His life for me...that at times this week I have acted as if He doesn't exist. As if He is not the most important thing in my life, as if preparing a service that honors Him is more important than my relationship with Him.

I confess.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I hear Easter

I can hear the preparations for our Easter services from my office - how cool is that? Strings practicing, the lift driving into the auditorium to replace bulbs and move lighting and the good ole copy machine chugging away pushing out the programs for the weekend.

I just had to sneak down the hall and capture the beautiful moments - God's people working together! I am really getting excited about the weekend.

en you plan for so long, it's so amazing to see the work all come together!

If God calls people to Himself this weekend and life change happens...oh my goodness - I am so blessed to do this, so blessed!