Monday, March 31, 2014

my day off

I decided to write at the beginning of my day off instead of part way or all the way through it for a change.  As I write I see my yard outlined in snow with grass peeking through in the center of the yard.

I feel like that today.  When I woke up Crossroads was heavy on my heart.  I feel like we're peeking out of the greatest change our church has yet known, the loss of Pastor Tim and his family.

Sensing my struggle Vern emerged from the bedroom and crawled up beside me - some things never change!

I'm planning on spending some uninterrupted time today praying for our next pastor.  We need him.  We will be planning an all night prayer/scripture reading vigil at Crossroads soon, I may just camp out there for several days - this will be a really blessed time of prayer and our congregation coming together.

I'm praying that even now our next pastor senses an unrest in his spirit that prepares his heart to move from where he is, but that the transition is as healthy a transition as Pastor Tim's.  I pray we won't take a pastor who's church will fall apart with him gone.  That's actually a sign of a bad leader.

On the other hand, the fact that the day to day work and even tons of new events and opportunities are going to happen this summer with Pastor Tim gone is a testimony to good leadership!  Our congregation has carefully chosen an amazingly strong Elder board and we have a strong staff!  In addition to that our congregation is the most willing to serve and care for our ministry that I have ever seen!

Now all we have to do is go to the Lord with our request for the man He wants Crossroads to have.  (after all, He already has that man chosen!)  I can't think of a better way to spend 'my day off' than this. PLEASE set some dedicated time away from everything today and PRAY!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

weekend report

Eric was the worship leader this weekend!
Where do I begin…

Crossroads started the practice of using our youth band every time there is a 5th weekend.  It's become something our congregation really looks forward to, and this weekend was no exception!

Our adult worship guys, work with one of our student ministry pastors and our youth worship team to help them prepare for 5th weekend on the main stage.  But, it's truly lead by them - not our main guys.  This serves SO many purposes - it communicates to our youth that we value them as a current part of the ministry.  It teaches them commitment as we hold multiple rehearsals, and it allows our congregation to be lead and hear from different leaders.  It demonstrates a vibrance, an alive-ness in our ministry in addition to our excellent adults praise teams.

The other thing we do is allow the teens to serve in all of our tech areas!   It was excellent!

Our CG operator , Lizzie for the weekend!

Video directing behind the scenes with Blueberry
Running sound is serious business - Tim and Alex!

Wesley running lighting and our fog machine!
(not pictured here were our youth camera operators too - sadly I'm not sure I have pictures!)

You can watch our services tomorrow at !

Our Service:

We began with one of our youth recorded doing our announcements!  She was great too!

Our Chairman of the Elder Board, Mike Sloan, then gave an update on our pastor search.

The band began playing under Mike's prayer and another student came to the stage reciting 'spoken word' pieces he had written!  It was great!

Spoken Word
Whom Shall I Fear
Spoken Word within Stronger
You Won't Relent
Message:  The Gospel of John Pt. 11 - Senior Pastor Tim Armstrong
Exit Song:  Stronger (shortened)

Powerful spoken word by Bailey!
You won't relent - amazing lead by Emily!
Hannah and Hendrick covered keyboards!
A fantastic praise team!

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

Thanks to all the parents that faithfully bring your students to Crossroads, we NEED them so much!

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

songs without words

Recently my hubby and I climbed in the car to go who-knows-where, and classical music began to play  from the radio.    It was a particularly ugly piece and my hubby said, "what is that?"

I laughed and began to explain that when I'm overwhelmed I like songs without words.

To fill my jeep with classical music allows me to imagine all sorts of carefree things attached to no stress or 'to do's'.

Words in songs 'tell' you what to think - direct you to where the writer wants to take you - and seldom allows freedom in the translation.  No words = freedom to just dream and not think to just be.

No words are a suggestion from God who knew we'd need to be still sometimes.

Psalms 4:4
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

what I learned today

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. EPHESIANS 3 : 20– 21

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. ROMANS 8 : 6

He is able to do IMMEASURABLY more, even than we IMAGINE!

I love that He added this, we talk about prayer requests and pray without ceasing - but beyond ANYTHING we ask or even IMAGINE to ask of Him, He is able to do!  SO COMFORTING!

And then I went on to read - The mind CONTROLLED by the Spirit….oh how I long to be SO controlled by Him that nothing rattles me or concerns me.

This is my confession, again…..I don't know if I truly can turn something completely over to Him.  That is a sad confession - it speaks of how limited my trust and belief in Him deep down inside is -sadly.   But, I LONG for this kind of complete trust - I move toward it asking Him to possess my mind completely.  I purpose to give all control and worry to Him - it's nothing for Him to take on the burdens that paralyze me.  In fact as a child of God He already carries it, I just think it's mine to bare, or am tricked by satan to think that so I'm not effective for the kingdom…silly….

Today I learned AGAIN, that my burdens are NOT my own - that He controls every thing and has for generations, and that I just need to lay it out to Him.

AGain and again - my study takes me to these type of passages, so I admit it - I'm a control freak and it's time to really really release and abide in Him and live the life and peace He offers me.

Am I the only one that struggles in this area of releasing?

Monday, March 24, 2014

My day off

As Vern and I sit down this morning for devotions,  I look around me and give thanks for the sunshine first of all but also for another calm morning.  The sunshine, however, reveals things I didn't know was there unfortunately!

Trying to look out and enjoy the sun requires looking through the winter scarred glass revealing work that needs to be done.  Windows need to be cleaned, woodwork needs to be dusted and the list goes on and on.

With Pastor Tim announcing he's accepted the Chapel position, it's forced me to look closely at myself in much the same way I'm looking at my house.

We have a great working relationship and have settled into a 'this is my responsibility - this is your responsibility' daily work schedule.  With that ending all of us have to 'redefine' our responsibilities to a certain extent and evaluate what we're not doing well.  That's difficult to be honest about and sometimes nearly impossible to even see yourself as you really are, but it's a huge opportunity to grow and change with the Lord's help!  Not comfortable but necessary.  I've asked The Lord to reveal that to me.

My greatest responsibility through this time will be to stay in the Word and to bathe myself and Crossroads in constant prayer.

So just as I see things that need to be done here at home - my ministry work will be under much scrutiny, mostly from myself and I honestly ask for it from The Lord most of all.

Now it's time to start 'doing' something about the mess I see around me - what kind of mess are you attending to today?  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

weekend report

Without exaggerating I can safely say, this weekend was one of the most amazing worship services at Crossroads I've ever attended!  SO STRONG and there was no doubt the Lord was in this place.  Here are a couple of short video shots and pictures to try to give you a taste of what we experienced if you weren't here!  To watch our entire service on Monday go to

Announcements on Video
Opening Instrumental:  Bada Bing
Praise:  The Lord Reigns
Worship:  A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Worship:  In Christ Alone
Praise:  God Be Praised
Message:  How to Know God's Will

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Tonight as my husband and I ate dinner at a local resturant, I looked around and watched the married couples around us.

One couple that looked slightly older than us, hardly looked at one another.  Focusing only on their food and what other people walking by were doing.

Right beside us was a young married couple with a very young daughter.  Although they looked happy, they seemed tired and bored focusing most of their talk toward their daughter.  The wife was a beautiful girl and I wondered what they were like when they first met.  I wondered if they could remember the early days when they could hardly bare to be apart and how exciting their early marriage was?

Looking back at the older couple - it just looked like they totally had come to take one another for granted, as if they assumed the other would always be there.  

Looking at my hubby I sincerely gave thanks to the Lord for him, and watching him wondered if in our 36th year of marriage - did we take one another for granted?  I don't want to, ever!

The pain that I see many couples cause one another is beyond my understanding.  I often see a very deep loneliness even in the middle of marriage.   If your spouse does not get appreciation and kindness from you - they will search for it some where else.

The thing that I hear that bothers me the most when I watch couples, is the tone of voice couples often use with one another.  A voice that sounds aggravated and impatient.  And then when they speak to someone other then their spouse, their voice is full of understanding and calm.  So sad to hear.  I pray the Lord will help me to never sound this way toward Ron although I am sure I have.

Lord, give me fresh eyes to see my marriage as you do.  To cherish it and my husband always.  To protect it by being unselfish and kind and loving.  Use it as a testimony to your sustaining protection always.  Amen.

Can you be quiet

Titus 2

7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

In this time of transition at Crossroads- I believe our greatest challenge will be to have "sound speech". No gossiping, no speculating, no negative comments, can we do that?

How simple - to avoid anyone being able to speak evil against you - be quiet!

Why does it feel so important to voice my opinion?  God doesn't need my help!

Will you join me in being quiet?  Letting no gossip slip from your lips?  Trusting and glorifying Almighty God with our silence as we wait?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

back to work

I'm back at work today and loving it!  
  • Psalm 62:1

    and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
    For you will render to a man
    according to his work.

    Today we worked on details for Easter and discussed summer activities for the congregation - it's going to be a great summer at Crossroads!

    Work is something we obviously have to do, even on days when we don't feel like it.  But what a privilege to be physically and mentally able to work, strong enough to work, intelligent enough to work - I could go on and on.  I'm praising Him today for my position here at Crossroads, praying for renewed creativity and strength to work beside my brothers and sisters in the Lord to lead through this next period of time here in the ministry.  Whatever my role may be!

    Praying for all of you today - that your work day may be blessed and fulfilling no matter what job God has called you to!

  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    what I learned today

    When I opened a book I've been reading this popped out to me immediately- it's written from the perspective of Jesus talking!

    "Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worrying, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention. Keep your eyes and your mind wide open to all that I am doing in your life. "

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. EPHESIANS 3 : 20– 21

    A little glimpse of glorious sun from Him this morning!
    Keep my eyes open in difficult times to His glorious intervention.  

    It doesn't mean my worries will be answered they way I think they should be, it means my worries will be answered in a way that brings the focus and glory to HIM!  AND will be more than all we ask or IMAGINE!  So powerful!

    I have no idea how people get through their day that don't believe and cling to the promises of the Savior!

    What problems and worries will you turn over to His glorious intervention today?  Please join me in abiding in that place of trust!!

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    my day off

     After a tough weekend, I needed a day away and I got one!

    My buddies piled in a car and away we went to spend a day thrifting in Columbus!

    Thrifting is like going on a treasure hunt - you dig - you seek - you find that special something that someone else decided they didn't need.

    Sometimes we find things that are worth a lot of money and re-sell them.  Sometimes we find just the right color, that piece of clothing we've been looking for forever!

    Sometimes we find very little, but that doesn't effect how much fun we have because it's all just an excuse to be with friends, and I have great friends.  Two of the orneriest ones are who I was with today - Jackie and Cindy. 

    I needed a day away, I needed a bunch of laughs and I guess I kind of needed a couple of the things I purchased...kind of!

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Weekend Report

    Well, this weekend there is much reporting to do!

    Our Senior Pastor, Tim Armstrong, announced his resignation to answer God's call to another ministry.  He's going to a ministry that desperately needs him!  Our staff surrounded them in the auditorium this weekend to try in a physical way to show our support as a staff. 
    My view from behind Tim and Michelle

    I have never been more proud or committed to my brothers and sisters here at Crossroads.  Together we approached the throne of God - placing our trust in Him - calling on Him to fill our pulpit with the man of God that He has already chosen for us.  How exciting!

    Although I have every confidence that the man God brings will be exactly what Crossroads needs right now.  It is on a personal basis that I struggle most.  I love Pastor Tim and his family as if they were my own family - working side-by-side on every service we ever created is just something very difficult to let go of.  My personal prayer now is that God is completely honored in every aspect of our work - while waiting for the man he has chosen for us.  I rest on Him!

    Worship was extremely meaningful this weekend as our congregation lifted worship to our Savior!

    Our Setlist:

    Announcements on video

    Revelation Song
    Our Mighty Fortress is Our God
    Be Lifted Higher
    Message:  John 2 - Worship - Pastor Tim Armstrong
    Closing Worship:  Man of Sorrows
    Special Announcement:  Pastor Tim
    Closing Comments/Prayer:  Mike Sloan

    To watch our services go to

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

    Have a blessed week!

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    preparing for difficult

    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

    Question to myself, do I only believe the Lord is good when things go my way?  When things are not difficult?

    I am trying to give thanks in all things!

    This weekend I have a chance to be the leader that my friends and co-Crossroadians need. 

    My prayer is that the Lord will give me words to say that bring glory to Him!  May I be used to fill the hurting places of our congregation. 

    I'm here now, at Crossroads.  Preparing in the Lord to serve Him strongly - and preparing to be thankful in ALL things.

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    today's new things

    Today held some new things.

    Although severely distracted by the past few days, there was work to be done, meetings to attend, new plans to begin working on and an interview with our first summer intern!

    The day began reviewing comments our congregation had made since Pastor Tim's resignation letter was sent out yesterday.  I have never been more proud of my church!  Despite the huge personal loss they feel,  everyone cares desperately about furthering the kingdom and the opportunity Pastor Tim will have to do just that in Akron,  and so the supportive comments were posted and shared and celebrated!

    I left our meetings encouraged today, plans for the rest of the year and exciting new things.  One new thing is the launch of our summer college intern program.  I met with the first intern from Mt. Vernon Nazarene today.  She is a worship major and will serve on our praise team as well as worship in the Student Ministry department.  How exciting to bring in young college students to Crossroads!

    Building into young Christian adults - providing valuable ministry experience to students as they finish their education and prepare to go out to churches to begin their ministry careers is very exciting to me!

    Please pray with me as we move forward - here we go!

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    a time of change

    Today my pastor announced his departure to our congregation.  Again I cried.

    His departure is sad to me on many levels, and yet I ABSOLUTELY Rejoice with he and his family!

    I am sad personally because I have been a friend of he and his family since we were kids in school.  He is younger than I so I've always felt as if he were my younger brother.

    I remember hanging out with his sister in high school when he was a pesky little kid running around, and hanging upside-down in trees!

    I remember his family throwing Ron and I a wedding shower.

    I remember how proud his parents were of him and how they adored his wife Michelle.  I remember falling in love with his beautiful wife Michelle - she has become an irreplaceable friend for life.

    I remember when he came back to town for his father's funeral - just as he was going into ministry.

    I remember the crazy things we tried for God in the early years of Crossroads.

    I remember how we all laughed about the fun and the failures of some of our ideas.

    I remember how much I learned from him.

    I remember how we celebrated new lives in Christ and first steps of maturity.

    I remember how we cried as we launched amazing new projects and as our congregation rose to the challenge of rescuing our precious Cambodian orphans - far exceeding our imaginations.

    And now I'll always remember this day - when he announced his calling away from us.  He's always been on my prayer list - and there he will remain with additional vigor praying the Lord will accomplish unbelievable things for eternity!  And waiting on the Lord to reveal who my next pastor will be.

    Thank you Pastor Tim and Michelle!

    A Message from my Pastor Tim Armstrong:

    The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
    Proverbs 16:9 ESV

    When Michelle and I launched the church in 1996 our expectations were to remain here in Mansfield for the entirety of our ministry lives.  For the past eighteen years we have served with that assumption.  However, as Proverbs 16:9 states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” So it is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you my time at Crossroads is drawing to an unexpected close.

    After many months of prayer and diligently seeking the Lord’s will, we have become convinced that God is calling us to another ministry.  Let me assure you that our decision does not come from any discontent with the ministry, staff, leadership or you, the congregation of Crossroads.  We love you and the entire church body and consider you our family.  Our decision, albeit very difficult, is purely a response of obedience to follow the Lord’s calling.

    Next month, following our Easter services, I will be candidating for the position of Senior Pastor at The Chapel in Akron, Ohio. We feel amazingly humbled to be asked to lead a church with such a rich history of proclaiming the Gospel to Ohio and the world.

    I firmly believe that as the Lord is calling our family to Akron. He is at the same time preparing Crossroads for this time of transition.  We serve a sovereign and mighty God whose ways are often mysterious to us at the time but when ultimately revealed always prove to be the best for our growth and dependence upon Him.

    Mike Sloan, the Elder Board Chairman, and the Crossroads leadership are already organizing to lead the church through this transition.  They are committed to finding a passionate teacher of God’s Word who will lead the church forward in its unchanging mission.  Mike and I will provide further details at the close of this next weekend’s service on March 15th and 16th.

    I want to close by encouraging you in three ways.  First, let this time of change be the catalyst for deep and dependent prayer.  Pray for all aspects of Crossroads.  Pray for its next Senior Pastor.  Pray that God will use this in unimaginable ways to deepen and strengthen the faith of God’s people.  Second, do not fall to the temptations of fear, doubt and panic.  Those are emotions the enemy will use to splinter the church.  Remember, the Lord said, “I will build my church”  (Matthew 16:18).  Crossroads is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and will continue to be so.  Third, anticipate great things.  This will be an exciting time as you wait on the Lord.  More than any other time, the church will need your support.  Continue to faithfully participate on Sunday, give generously and serve enthusiastically.

    As you might imagine, this is an emotional time for our family, as we know it is for you.  We have been praying for you diligently and covet your prayers for us as well.

    In Him,

    Tim Armstrong
    Senior Pastor, Crossroads Community Church

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    home again

    We are home again.  So once again we are trying to get back into a routine. 

    In some ways I don't want to get back into a routine - I liked our disrupted routine that found us in Cambodia the past 2 weeks.  I liked seeing our daughter and son-in-law and loving on rescued children, and giving them gifts and listening to plans for the future and dreaming dreams that can only be accomplished by God.

    So now back home I want to still have God dreams.

    I've returned home longing for a God restored country - saddened by the fact that we seem to be stepping further and further from God.  I've returned burdened to pray for the US like never before.  It was interesting hearing reports about the US from other countries' perspective.   I've been praying for our leaders, asking God to reveal Himself to them.  I've been praying for revival and that people will realize that we have an amazing country - that's it's worth working hard and valuing the freedom that we have and fighting for it.  But most of all I want to pray because I am burdened for them to know my Savior - not so that I can remain comfortable in my 'plenty' and convenience.

    As we heard reports about Russia and the Ukraine I listened and prayed for both countries as well.  Even though I cared for those people I didn't know, it didn't really become real to me until I was looking at my blog stats...

    People in Ukraine read my blog.

    It stopped me in my tracks.  How in the world would anyone over there read my blog?  I longed to see who it was - to talk with them - to pray with them.  It made that country and their conflict seem so much more real.

    Again as I write, I am humbled by the fact that these words are read.  It makes me even more committed to cover them in prayer so that these can be words from experiences God gives me and allows me to share. 

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Leaving people

    Our final day found us leaving people behind.

    The children of Asia's Hope 
    The amazing country director of Asia's Hope - Savorn, and his wonderful family
    And, Ron and I said goodbye to Aaron and Jocelyn, our daughter and son-in-law.

    Jocelyn kept telling us we couldn't be sad, and by the time we finished talking today about all the things they are excited about finishing up in Cambodia - none of us could be sad!

    We are so thankful that God has chosen to use all of our kids and kid-in-laws in the capacity that He has chosen.

    I have to tell you, there is no satisfaction connected to children that runs deeper than when you see your children doing EXACTLY what God created and equipped them to do!  So thankful!


    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Our last devotions

    Our last devotions

    Cambodia,I John 5:14-15,hope,Matthew 21:21-22

    Hard to believe it's our final devotions with Jocelyn and Aaron... Such conflicting feelings 

    Our teaching today is on the discipline of HOPE.

      We talked about the fact that we left a lot of our burdens and conflict behind and now we face going back home...

    We can choose to hold onto things and remain in hopelessness or cling to hope.

    Psalm 55:22.  The promise of sustaining hope in The Lord!  Our burdens were never mine in the first place.

    It's always an issue of a lack of trust in The Lord or in the body of Christ.

    I John 5:14 & 15.  Confidence in Him .  To pray is to change.

    Matthew 21:21&22

    Nothing could ever be too bad to take to God.   Anxiety is not even mine to bare.

    Jocelyn said , " my greatest opportunity to share Christ here is the hope The Lord offers.  They are a hopeless society who for the most part chooses not to move out of their hopelessness because they know no alternative,"

    This has been a profound experience!  Life changing.  

    Our last full day

    Today is our last full day in Battambang - and everything Ohio State is all the rage!  As I write this I hear Script Ohio playing in the background - hilarious!

    We will be eating with BB7 tonight, so prior to that it's hang out time with the kids of BB3.  

    We've had competitive UNO tournaments and listened to the musicians that are in Jocelyn and Aaron's music composition class.  I found myself in tears listening to one of the original songs dispute the fact that I didn't understand the words.  I found out later he was singing about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again.  Funny how music from the pure hearts of rescued orphans communicates despite language barriers!

    Mostly we just loved the kids- 

    At lunch time the team was generous enough to allow us to celebrate the birthday we missed with Aaron a few weeks ago and Jocelyn's birthday that we'll miss one day after return home - it was fun to give them th gifts we brought as well as the ones their friends sent with us for them, including birthday cards from the youth group girls at Crossroads!

    We'll post pictures from our feast at BB7 at dinner tonight - until then I pray that your Tuesday is amazing and filled with God's love!  

    Monday, March 3, 2014


    Guidance is the disciple we are studying as we begin our last full day in Battambang.

    If the body of Christ submitted to one another praying for the best for one another, we would be able to see how God intended for us to live as one body.   The U.S. struggles with submission to the body of Christ.

    I Corinthinas 12:12-26. We came to Cambodia and our world back home continued just fine without us - every member is equally important.

    Romans 12:3-5...what The Lord has assigned to you...

    "No one can hear the entire will of God in Isolation from one another in the body of Christ". If we sat on one side of a circle and looked at something in the middle our perspective would be completely different than someone on the other side of the circle.  Just because someone else's perspective is different it doesn't make the other person's perspective wrong.  We will never have a total understanding of the central object unless we value the persons' description "perspective" about what they see.

    When the body of Christ sends you, the encouraging support will continue.

    A great devotional explaining our differences and the desperate need to live in submission to one another!