Wednesday, November 30, 2011

what I learned today

I haven't written for a's funny how I get busy and stop writing, even though that's when I need to write the most.  I've talked before about how much getting details 'out' helps.  So I am trying to get up just a little early to write more purposefully.  (I'm a big-time night owl, so we will see...)

I slept little last night.  Even though our son's wedding reception is out of my head it's still way too full of details concerning Christmas and other things I dream of I gave up and got up, even though my day will be a long one.

Now snuggled on my couch beside my Christmas tree with Kenny G quietly playing Christmas tunes in the background - I started the day by reading 3 John.  Beth Moore asks, "if one sentence were written about your life, what would it be?"  Not what I had hoped to be confronted with first thing this morning.

In 3 John he writes about a guy named Diotrephes, and about the fact that 'he liked to be first and excludes others'.  Can you imagine if your name was written in a letter as Dotrephes was, and this letter ended up being read by millions and millions of people?  I find that terrifying!  Looking back on my last few weeks, I have been very edgy and found myself in a somewhat ugly place.  I don't usually need encouragement, but I realized yesterday I've been searching for some.  It really looked ugly when a friend was talking about some accomplishment they had done and I blurted out some ridiculous sounding accomplishment of my own.  OH MY WORD!!  Talk about pathetic! I should have been celebrating with them, but instead looked for appreciation for something I had a part in.   I confessed this arrogance to the Lord and asked Him to remove that attitude immediately. In that moment my life sentence would have read, "she was very busy working and drew her satisfaction in recognition that she received from others."  UGLY!

Beth Moore goes on to say in this study that she is so thankful that as long as we 'are kicking' we have the privilege of changing our testimony.  So as I pray my way into another God given day, my prayer will be that my testimony glorifies the King of Kings and that I won't exclude others.

Here is a challenge for all of us this week - let's all very purposefully write our testimony sentence each day this week.  We can join together to live each day as if we actually believe in His promises, instead of worrying about everything and rushing around with insignificant details.  We will live as if today was the only day we have to 'write our life sentence'.  Can you imagine how life changing that could be?

I want my life sentence to say, "She lived and loved as if she believed with all of her heart that she was the daughter of the almighty King, not in her own power or in her own interest, but in His."

Abide in Him and re-write the sentence of your life.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

we gave thanks

Seems like the minute the 'amen' is out of our mouths giving thanks on Thanksgiving, Christmas takes over.  Heaven forbid we remain in thankfulness too long!  After-all we are Americans - we basically have what we have because we work so hard and we deserve it!

That's how I act sometimes.

I tried to remember as I celebrated that God is the only reason I have anything...even life itself, therefore remaining in my thanksgiving just a little longer.

Even though for the first time ever we didn't have our kids with us - we invited others to join us for Thanksgiving and focused on catching up, telling stories and laughing a whole lot (my favorite thing in the world).  Thanksgiving night ended watching a movie in Ashland at my parents home, with a make-shift 'sheet screen' and huge sound system broadcasting Cars II.  Laughter again and then goodnight.

....ok, so not goodnight, as Michelle and I stood in line at Target at 11:30 p.m. and finally home at 8:00 a.m. - but we were still thankful that we found all of the Christmas 'must haves' on our list, and so Christmas began.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

can end result be honored

Yesterday as I grew more and more agitated with my schedule and the lack of hours remaining in what already felt like the longest day of my life a thought occurred to me.  Can God be honored in the end result of my work if the process is not God honoring?

When I end up successfully pulling off creative support for a service, or take a meal to a sick friend or master a new program I've been struggling with but the process to get there is UGLY - does it count so to speak...or does God see it as filthy rags?

I had a brain drop last evening and purchased not a small - but Venti sized Starbucks as I rushed from store to store couponing and picking up a couple of things for the ministry.  I paid for it later, and later and later 2:00 a.m. I remembered why I was having so much trouble sleeping - caffeine!

However, I know now, that was no coffee fix - it was time God wanted my attention.  He brought the most random things to my mind - some things that required that I ask His forgiveness, somethings that required praising Him and just prayer for those that filled my mind.

One thing He revealed was my attitude regarding the process of some of my work recently.  My attitude STUNK as I worked on a home project recently.  Ultimately I did complete it and even managed to complete it well - but I wondered, can the end result really be honored or celebrated since the process was ugly?

I understand He uses even the lost to accomplish His will - so I know the answer and yet as it applies to me personally I think I forfeit any right of celebration when I squander the journey.

Today I hope to remain in Him - stay attentive to His leading and watch for opportunities to serve Him and encourage others.  If you are His - no detail in your life is a mistake.  Yes, wrong decisions can cause problems but walk right back into Him and abide in Him.  That's my goal today - to ABIDE in Him!

Monday, November 21, 2011


As I chopped the ingredients needed to make my hubby and I homemade chicken rice soup and a salad, it dawned on me that is what goes into everything I do.  Not celery, carrots and onion, but ingredients.

Right now, I still feel as if I'm missing an ingredient or two required to make the Christmas services at Crossroads what they should be.  Because of that, I searched most of last night for just the right thing. Determined to finish this morning I awoke to find out that our servers were down at church so I couldn't access any of my files.  This was extremely discouraging but no ones fault.  Should be back up this evening.

A couple of creative leaders from across the country shot me a few links to musical groups I do not know - this will help tremendously if not for Christmas, then for additional planning in the future.

Still - ingredients missing.  So I went back to my knees and poured out my concern to the ultimate creative.  As always, a peace filled my mind and soul.  And as I cook I know it will all come together.  We have such amazing volunteers and talented staff, all will be well.

My hunch is the Lord just wants us to marvel at His gift to us, join together in worshipping Him and forget the fancy-smancey stuff I long to find.

Maybe the aaahhh of realizing who God really is, will fill our auditorium, families will join hands and celebrate His birth and we will all praise the Lord for giving us brothers and sisters in Christ to do life with at Crossroads.  Maybe the ingredients are already there...and that's enough...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

weekend report

A stage full of new vocalists...this makes me very happy and very excited!  So thankful that God is moving people into serving here at Crossroads!!

Our setlist:

Opening announcement video/Jesse Rider 'goes' out in support of the iGO series.
Praise:  Rising - Paul Baloche
Praise: All My Fountains - Chris Tomlin
Worship: Hosanna - Hillsong
Worship: God of This City - Chris Tomlin
Message:  iGO Pt. 1
Exit Song:  God of This City - Chris Tomlin

To watch our services go to

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

to create you must begin

We began with a roll of plastic and ended with a set design.

After several hours of measuring and cutting and connecting we completed our set design.  As we began it looked like absolutely nothing more than a piece of plastic that you would use to cover a wood pile or a carpeted floor before painting.  Even after I connected each piece together with zip ties and carried it to the stage it looked pathetic - for a moment I thought it was hopeless.  Then as my hubby began to hang it and the colored lights began to hit the squares, it became a design.  It became the backdrop for the message to go out for the next four weekends!

Sometimes to create all you need to do is begin.

When I create I am in my most vulnerable place. Every time I begin, I risk failure.   But when God takes a simple plan or thought and helps it become a completed project it is more fulfilling than I can possibly describe.

Whatever area you are talented or gifted in, is where you should serve the body of Christ.  That is the very reason why God gifted you, to serve his church and others.  If you aren't using your talents and gifts, you are dead wrong!  And if I can be so brave, if you aren't serving in the church and only attending I think it could actually be a sin.  You are robbing others from being blessed by the area God gifted you in.  It's that simple.  Think for a minute, what in the world are you saving your talents for?  Yourself?  Your work place?  Why??

I encourage you today to step out of your comfort zone - volunteer in an area that you know God gifted you in!  Join me in risking failure - nothing matters in this life except to live for Him!  So what if we goof up sometimes - it's better than keeping all He has given us for ourselves.

Friday, November 18, 2011

in the presence of Almighty God

Today consisted largely of two things.

A great time with the Directors of Crossroads.

And a privileged time ministering to attendees of Crossroads.

Early today the Directors met to do what we always do, evaluate what we've done recently, to look ahead at the dreams and goals that we will be holding before the staff and congregation in weeks to come and finally, to hear updates on each area of the ministry that we oversee.  New things and old things, good things and bad things, problems and solutions, never settling for where we are.

The second half of our day was ministering to 3 families that are suffering great loss this week.

One dear friend lost her father and the second lost a brother.  While we were on our way to deliver food for the first funeral service meal, a 3rd dear Crossroads gentleman passed away, so I dropped my husband off to care for that family and went on myself to deliver food to the first friend.

As I drove away from the home of the man who had passed just minutes before we arrived, I became completely overwhelmed with the realization that literally moments before we pulled in that drive, that dear man walked into the very presence of Almighty God.  I have never felt that way before.  I didn't see anything, didn't hear anything - and yet that realization washed over me in an almost physical way.   I felt a longing to know what he knows and for my faith to be made site as his is.  It was almost a jealousy I felt that George was with the King of Kings and I was still here.

Ministering to those who have experienced loss is one of the most amazing opportunities we get in this life.  My husband is teaching me that with his quiet, servant's heart.  And as I follow him into one family's loss after another, I feel I see the heart of God more and more clearly with each stop we make.

Each stop just minutes, or hours or days away from the throne of God...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

our son got married

Most of you know, our son Eric got married last Saturday.  It was such a sweet wedding.  The service was led by Alyssa's (Eric's wife) pastor brothers who just did an outstanding job making the ceremony very personal and touching. Friends and family came all the way from Ohio to be with us, and the place was just filled with love and support for our kids.  Very, very moving.  We all cried pretty much continuously...

A friend I was talking to tonight said, "Do you know how lucky you are to have both of your kids married to Christ followers?"

I told him, "I praise the Lord constantly for our kids and now for their amazing spouses."

I feel blessed beyond description by my son-in-law and daughter-in-law.  Both are Godly young adults.

We have prayed for Godly spouses since our children were born.  I had nights where I begged God to protect our kids from people that did not know Him.  And He answered our prayers.

Every time you read Bible stories to your kids or explain to them what is right or wrong believe me when I say, the time of teaching passes quickly.  Even the days that feel completely overwhelming will be a vague memory very soon. Instead of your hands resting on their shoulders as you speak firm reprimand into their face, close your eyes and picture yourself having to reach UP in order to rest your arms on his fully formed body in order to dance...

 Fully engage with your kids, teach them, pay attention to them, build them up with encouragement be the influencer in their lives instead of the things of this world.  And cover them with prayer.  It's SO worth while when you see them begin to make good choices, God choices!

Our son got married last Saturday, and we couldn't be happier.  It was impossible to be sad as we watched  them leave, when you know that you have worked to the best of your ability to raise them surrounded by the Lord.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

what I learned today

Social and ethical problems, such as the unequal distribution of wealth and the prosperity of the wicked have been the blight of every age of man....

Today as I studied Proverbs 3 and used my Logos Bible program to read more about the passage, the above quote and the passage in scripture brought me renewed hope.  I try to avoid watching too much news and commentary on how evil our country and leaders are.  I am not naive however.  It should not be surprising at all to us that when men seek wealth and power instead of God their own agendas take over.  Democrat or Republican is not the problem - it's men without God that is the problem.

It sometimes feels like here in America we are about to experience a unique collapse or time of difficulty, but it is not unique at all.  Our eyes have found strength in our wealth and in freedom instead of the God that provides the amazing privileges we have in our country.  This then cannot last.

Proverbs 3:5 & 6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make straight your path.

He never promised all would be well in our view, in our own understanding.  The problems of this world without God repeat themselves over and over - nothing new under the sun...

Trust in the good to have His promises to lean into.

The call to us as American believers is to rise up when God gives us opportunity to share His truth with others and PRAY WITHOUT CEASING for ALL of our leaders!

Can you say you pray without ceasing?  If we aren't, then maybe we should remain silent about the troubles of this world AND not claim that we 'trust in the Lord with all of our hearts'.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

weekend report

Our son Eric married Alyssa this weekend which took us away from Crossroads for the weekend.  (You can see Michelle's first amazing picture from the wedding at

When a leader is away, the highest hope is that the ministry is healthy enough not to depend on them in order to carry on.  I have NEVER been more proud of our team's then I was this weekend in my absence!!

We are fully dedicated to developing the next generation for our Lord and for our ministry.  This weekend we had THREE worship teams leading simultaneously!  What a testimony to God's almighty hand on our ministry and the leaders that I am surrounded by!

And the thing I am MOST excited about is that they are teams lead by peers not staff in the various areas of our ministry, a 4th and 5th grade band, the youth band and the main adult worship area - this breathes of spiritual health and blessing from our God!!  15 years in the making!

Please look at these beautiful leaders and be as blessed as I am !!

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

my son gets married

My son gets married this weekend.

He has been out of the house for quite some time now so at least we don't have to get used to a silent house.  It is already silent most of the time.

There are good aspects of silence, it means that there is peace not disagreement, you can learn better in silence, read and listen better in silence and rest of course.  So it's not his marriage that causes silence in our home we choose silence.

What our son's marriage does create is a new era of family.  A beautiful daughter-in-law, Alyssa joins us.

Alyssa is kind, considerate, cares deeply for others, works hard, is very intelligent, loves the Lord and is beautiful in every way!  I can only imagine how gorgeous a bride she will be!  Our son is blessed and so are we!

This marriage will make Eric so happy, so satisfied and so complete that I want it for him almost as much as he does!

Today as I physically begin to prepare for it, I am praising Yahweh for His goodness to our family.  As we make ourselves ready I am worshipping my Savior, my God, for His blessings.  For they come not as a result of anything we have done, but from the richness of His never ending love.  A love that shows us how to live, how to love and leads us toward eternity with hearts overflowing with gratitude to Him.

My son gets married this weekend ....and we are ready to celebrate this magnificent union.

Matthew 19.5
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

what i learned today

If a day passes that I don't learn something - then shame on me!

  1. Today I learned how to cook sliced butternut squash directly on the grill.
  2. I learned (again) the overwhelming burden of creating Christmas at Crossroads needs to be handed to the Lord in prayer instead of trying so hard in my own power!
  3. I learned how much I love organizing events - even small ones like our son's rehearsal dinner.
  4. I learned that even when things look clean from a distance they can be dirty up close.  I got down on the floor to put some things away and noticed the bottom half of my fridge was it's clean!
  5. I learned when a recipe says 'butter should be soft" it definitely does not mean melted!
  6. I learned I love my parents more every day and cherished the moments tonight as my amazing husband and I sat across the table from them and talked and ate together.
My favorite learn today was number 4, because it reminded me of my life.

From a distance it can look so good and clean - but the close up God sees is sadly lacking.  I care about that, and want to clean it up.  The other thing I need to learn and remember is the clean up never ends.  It requires daily focus on the details of my day - awareness of God's will and a willingness to step into that instead of my own agenda is the daily requirement.

What I learned today is learning never stops, or at least shouldn't!

Monday, November 7, 2011

weekend report

Pastor Tim was back in the pulpit completing over a year in I Corinthians!  We celebrated the fact that our congregation has individually adopted 48 Cambodian orphans with Asia's Hope!  Pastor Tim and team just returned from dedicating the 2 new orphanages last week!  So much to praise the Lord for!!

Our team was amazing as usual and we DID worship!!

With the serious, there of course is always a little fun mixed in at Crossroads...Our geico commercials continued with a really bad rap!  A very undignified - yet willing Wendell Anderson became our most recent staff member to take one for the team!  And yes...his flip flops DO light up!

Our setlist

Opening Song: Glory To God - Fee
Praise: My Savior Lives - Newlife
Worship: Holy - Matt Redman
Worship: More Than Amazing - Brewster
Praise: Glorified - Newlife
Geico Commercial/Announcements:  Wendell Anderson Director of Spiritual Maturity (ironic) & Jamie Koenig - Middle School guy
Message:  I Corinthians 16 - Tim Armstrong, Senior Pastor
Exit Song:  Gory To God - Fee

To watch our services live on Saturday or Sunday - or to watch our archived services go to

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

everything comes at once

Yesterday after work I ran a couple of errands related to our son's upcoming wedding.

The first couple stops went well, but the third one...not so much.

I had to pick up paper for the wedding programs that will be printed on Monday.  So I attempted to do that without having Eric and Alyssa with me to approve it.

 And everything happened at once...

I have prescription sunglasses so I sometimes don't realize I still have them on when I go into stores.  After walking across the parking lot and into the store, finally finding the correct aisle and the card-stock, I realized I still had them on when I couldn't distinguish what color the paper was.  I was too mad at my oversight to go back out.  So I held the paper 2" from my face with glasses removed and tried to decide what was what.  My husband called to see where I was.  With husband on phone, I finally received assistance from a gigantic clerk-boy,  at the same time my purse randomly decided to fall apart hitting the floor sending the contents flying everywhere.  While I scrambled to grab lipgloss', gum and mints the clerk looked at me as if to beg dismissal and so I waved him away.  Recovering from the spill the phone back to my ear to continue talking to my husband who by now had hung up,  two texts came in one after the other.

One of the texts was from my son approving the kind of paper they wanted for their wedding program the answer coming after taking pictures on my camera and sending them for a decision, sadly I still had one more question "ivory or white".  I prepared that last question and hit send and the text would not go...with broken purse under arm, and glasses in hand I walked back to the front of the store by the windows trying to force the text.  Pacing back and forth looking for a 'zone' that would send it I nearly tripped over a ridiculously placed low display.  Finally 'sent' came up.  Back I went to the paper area of the store.

Next the girl who is doing the printing responded to my previous text which required me to lay everything back down yet again.

Then my son's text came "ivory please" and "thank you so much".  I took some solace in his appreciation.

Choice made I had one more moment of angst as I thought they only had one package of the kind of paper we chose, but back behind the shelf I spied one more.  SERIOUSLY, looking back on the situation I think I ran full blast to the checkout guy - who started pointing to every object on the entire display/cash register counter asking me if I needed any of them.   This was a moment of Christian decision, do I simply respond "no thank you" or rip his little head off...sorry.   I chose to retain my Christian-ese.

All this to say, I'm reconsidering technology and wondering if I should always just leave my phone, iPad and computer in the car while I shop...or eat...or go home...or everything.  It is sometimes just too much when everything comes at once!.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

the project

My daughter is working on a project that she will use as part of her thesis for her masters degree.  A large part of the project will be completed in Cambodia next summer.

The project must be designed to be of benefit to the beautiful people of that county and of course will involve music and recording.

She must however make absolutely sure that it addresses a need that they have, causes improvement for them and is something that they desire.  It won't be about her forcing them to participate in American plans.

Even the end result of things as fleeting as thesis' are known by the Lord.

It's difficult to wait for the end result, all that is in our power is to begin.  And when I think about it, that's all God ever asks of us, just begin - take the next step ...amazing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


As I flipped through the channels quickly tonight I happened to see on the Biggest Loser - a flag with the word immunity on it being raised by the winning team.  It's a familiar word and yet I had never looked up the definition before, so I did.

Immunity Protection or exemption from something, esp. an obligation or penalty:

The definition was powerful!  One of the best descriptions of what Christ did for me that I have every seen.

I have immunity from what I deserve.

No one, or nothing could grant me forever forgiveness except the Lord of Lord's, King of King's and He cared enough about me to grant me immunity at an unbelievable cost to Him. Completely amazing!