Saturday, May 31, 2014

saying goodbye

I was at Gary Harris' calling hours today, it was a very artistic, peaceful setting at the front of the Crossroads auditorium.  A beautiful tribute to a deeply loved man.  But as beautiful as everything was, I found myself standing there wondering what kind of beautify Gary was witnessing right now.

We often think of heaven in regard to the 'streets of gold' and joke about 'the least among us' having the largest mansion!  But I wonder instead if the breath-taking beauty of God Himself will so overwhelm the entirety of heaven that it's not objects we see or care about like gold, but instead experience for the first time complete satisfaction and peace as we join in everlasting worship of Him?  Maybe His essence so eliminates everything around Him, that it appears as streets of gold and gems…

As I left the calling hours, I heard Forever Reign on the radio, I love in particular one line from this song, where it says "my heart will sing no other name…Jesus, Jesus…"

This is the song being sung in heaven - Jesus, Jesus...

We will worship again one day with our departed loved ones who knew Jesus as Savior - I only wish we had the ability in our current bodies to understand just a small portion of His Glory and what awaits us.  If we did -  I don't think we could remain as we are...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

deep breath time

Sitting on my deck, my favorite place, just taking a deep breath accomplishes more than 'doing' anything does right now.

One of my friends called me 'Martha' this week.  In case any of you don't know, that's not a compliment!  I LOVE to do.

Sitting here watching God's beautiful birds eat their fill and fly away again, hearing the rustling of the leaves and listening to the crickets begin their evening song- evokes praise for my Father that will never come from accomplishments - even a job well done.  It's just me and Him out here under breathtaking skies that He created just for us.
The bidding me goodbye as it prepares to set

What ever jobs I have yet to do can wait - while my soul drinks deeply from His precious gift of creation.

My God is an awesome God…

What fills your soul?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

a night of friends

I wish I could host people in our home every night!    It brings me great joy!

Tonight it sprinkled at our home several times as we prepared for dinner.   I really wanted to eat outside, but decided to wait until the last minute to make the final decision.

 I asked the Lord to hold the rain and He did!  It was delightful sitting under the beautiful skies with laughter ringing out, torches burning and conversations about things to come and school years ending.

The most simple things are the best.

Sharing basic things like food and friendly competitions of ladder ball are the perfect kick off to a long awaited summer.

Ridiculously huge desserts don't hurt either!

A good friend - Sergio
What are your favorite summer things?

Monday, May 26, 2014

weekend report

We enjoyed a great weekend of worship!

Our weekend services contained communion, beautiful worship music from our very talented team, a much needed teaching and another farewell and all of this lead us beautifully into our PROPEL read-thru-the-Bible event!

As I write this at 2:20 in the morning - various congregational members have been reading for 14 1/4 hours already - with several days yet to go.  We are reading through the Bible and praying as we begin our search for our next Senior Pastor!  It's been a day full of worship in the forms of painting, singing, reading and prayer - I feel extremely blessed to be part of Crossroads!

Our setlist:

Always Remember - Memorial Day video
Great Are You Lord
Finish Your Work
Man of Sorrows
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Announcements and Video Intro from our Interim Pastor - Brian Boone
Message: God's Faithfulness - Wendell Anderson
Communion Prayer and Instruction - Josh Kocher offered prayer for us as he and his wife Hope prepare to leave us for Dallas Seminary
Communion: song - Give Thanks
Dismiss and explanation of PROPEL event - following last service first reading came to the stage

artist at PROPEL
To watch our PROPEL read-thru-the-Bible event live OR to watch our past services go to

To see what other ministries used in their services go to
The Worship Community

Josh and Hope Kocher @ last House Church gathering before
leaving for Dallas

Saturday, May 24, 2014

emotional week

I've been in a bit of a writing funk this week, dealing with lots of emotions…

Mourning…sitting with Gary and Carol Harris at Hospice…and surprised yesterday by another old Crossroads friend's death….and yet it definately brings perspective
Missing….missing my daughter and son-in-law like crazy all of a sudden
Loss….of Pastor Tim and family
Loving….amazed at how deep my love runs for my family and girlfriends
Praising… praising God for provision in ministry as well as finally enjoying being home a little more
Thankful..that God is in control and I don't have to take on trying to make sense of details
Anticipating…we have college interns arriving next week for the first time at Crossroads
Determined…  I've never felt as driven and responsible as I do now
Excited….when there is an ending there is always a new beginning

I feel surrounded by God's army and I can't imagine moving forward alone!   My heart has been deeply, deeply burdened for those outside the Lord lately.   I can't imagine the helplessness they must feel.   I'm burdened also for people who know the Lord but have chosen to step into sin, knowing their own decisions separate them from Him…how lonely they must be.

So I ask the Lord - how do I help them, how do I even know who they are?

My heart feels close to God this morning - yet feeling very far from where I long to be spiritually.

 I would assume that puts me right where He wants me.

Monday, May 19, 2014

My day off

My hubby and I spent our beautiful day up at Lake Erie trying to find a place for us to go on vacation with our kids.  It's difficult to find a place big enough for all of us, we're waiting to hear back from one cottage owner.

I am LONGING for a true vacation!

We've been blessed to travel overseas for mission work - but we've had nothing connected to rest and relaxation for as long as I can remember!

It made sense on 'my day off' to try to locate the perfect place to take that day off ... and a few more!  Fingers crossed!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

weekend report

Well, in 18 years of ministry I never thought this weekend would have to come.  But the Lord called our pastor away and this weekend was the celebration of all the things God has accomplished at Crossroads in those 18 years.   So sad to say goodbye - so good to remember what God has done - so sad to sing together one last time, watch videos together one last time and sit at the front of the auditorium together one last time…

But the thing that I continue to celebrate in my own soul is how well Pastor Tim and his family are leaving us.   I've never been part of a ministry where a pastor has left well!  It's encouraging, it makes me proud of them and gives me hope for the future!

Our Service and weekend farewell:
Our amazing choir and praise team

staff - elders farewell party

Wendell hosting our staff and elders

saying goodbye to faithful Worship guy Dan & Corrine

saying goodbye - Kristen

Our staff - 

Hit of the party - the Tim Bobble-head

Our Setlist:

Countdown full of photos
Video farewell:  Pastor Dave Pound
Long Train Running- instrumental with photos
Dallas Theological Professor Video:  Professor Hannah
Song: 2014 Songs of the Year Mashup
Song: Help Is On The Way - Michael W. Smith
Worship: A Mighty Fortress is Our God
                 10,000 Reasons
                  Blessed Be The Name
2 Stories from our congregation video:  Crawfis' & Rudricks'
Song: Thank You For Being a Friend with photos
Rick Muchow and Jason Allison video
Video collage:  Mother's Day - Cooking promo - Elvis
Pastor Tim says goodbye
Elders prayer of commission
Song:  He Is Able

To watch this service go to crossroads

To see what other ministries used in their service go to

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

what I learned today

I was reading this morning a chapter from a book I'm studying and this one sentence popped out to me, "one of the main ways God asserts Himself is in the timing of events".   So much unnecessary stress is caused by plunging ahead of Him, even when trying desperately to remain in His will! 

So, I can be pursuing His will and STILL be disobedient by doing things in my own timing.

He offers me rest, and no stress, it's not the circumstances that cause me problems, it's me creating my own agenda from a timing standpoint.

I could instead choose to just sit tight in His will and let Him do the navigating!

I can pictures it - awakening everyday with -- a peaceful soul - content in HIm, anxious in a healthy way to see what He'll reveal to me on this day.  Ready to obey but not at all concerned about the details beyond my daily responsibilities.

I continue to complicate His Calling, His life for me.

My brother (who is 9 years younger than I am), described me to a friend as being nearly 60 years old the other day…. this got my attention big time.  I keep so busy I don't fully grasp how important it is to choose wisely where and how to invest my life.

Those of you who read my blog hear me wrestle with this same BUSY issue over and over - I'm sorry that I talk about the same things so much.   But, when I began this blog it was to honestly document my life daily without worry about who was reading or even if anyone EVER read it.  So I continue to endlessly pour out my confession to Almighty God - about the longings of my heart and short-fallings of my days, hoping it can help especially younger believers not to make the same mistakes.  Before you know it you too will be 'nearly 60' and beginning to look back instead of forward at your whole life.

This realization of age is not a sad thing at all - but, a wake-up call to how quickly time is passing and I want my time to pass fully within Him - deeply within Him, for without the Lord our lives are completely pointless, COMPLETELY POINTLESS!  Let's live purposefully!

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
MATTHEW 6 : 20 – 21

Monday, May 12, 2014

my day off

We began by cleaning out all that was left over from our garage sale and finished the day by going to Easton.

Quite a contrast!  Garage sale junk - Easton!

Anyway, it's quite clear we have too much stuff!

How I can fill a car twice with stuff to sell, and still there is no see-able difference in my house- it is shameful!

A few people went home with treasures but many other treasures just got donated to get rid of them!

I wonder if it honors God when He sees how many things I have in my home?   Does He care?

I guess if we're not in debt for what we have, and serve the less fortunate and tithe and give as God requires, then maybe it's ok…I'm just not convinced.  I've been feeling for quite some time that we should live a more minimalistic life…  I may look into this more - I'll start by being honest before the Lord.

Who would have thought a simple garage sale could be SO convicting!

…I'm glad it's over!

weekend report

This past weekend marked an almost unbelievable time in the history of Crossroads Community Church

Our beloved founding pastor, and ONLY pastor of Crossroads for the past 18 years - Tim Armstrong,  is stepping down, it was his final sermon this weekend.

So with a mixture of thankfulness for the amazing things God has used this beloved man to accomplish, and sadness over a lost pastor, friend and the unknown that follows, we say thank you for faithfully teaching us!!

Next weekend we'll take a look back at the past 18 years and try really hard to focus on the souls who have been reached for eternity instead of our own personal loss of Pastor Tim and his family…

Our setlist:

Announcements on video:  We launched our 80 hour - read-thru-the-Bible event PROPEL sign-ups to read!

We began worship with an ancient reading that sat the tone for our worship...

God Be Praised
Praise the Father Praise the Son
Here in Your Presence
Message:  Last Words - Pastor Tim Armstrong
Exit Song:

to watch our services on line go to

to see what other ministries used in their services go to

Have a blessed week and pray for our ministry as we search for our next Senior Pastor!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

out with 100 of my girlfriends

One of the things church should be is a place to connect with others, to make friends to do life with, who love the Lord as you do, who struggle with life as you do…
Tonight me and over 100 of my best girlfriends from Crossroads Community Church all went to see "Mom's Night Out" movie!  It was a blast!   

I got the Crossroads girls to do the wave…well, kind of

The movie was hilarious, but also encouraging and honest about motherhood.  It brought to mind those familiar memories of helplessness and frustration with the day to day care of our kids.  I remembered many days when I felt as if I never accomplished anything and what I was doing didn't matter.

It did.

But it was also SO encouraging to all young mom's out there and to see the entire theatre just filled with Crossroads women!  It was a great night of fellowship and WAY too much popcorn!!

We'll be planning more activities soon for all the girls!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

the why came quickly

I was talking to a dear friend recently and he said, "you have lived such a blessed life" and went on to talk about how he's messed up in the past describing what a mess his life has been several times.

I've been told this before, and I praise Jesus everyday for His protection and love and provision, but, it's  not that I haven't experienced loss like everyone else has, it's just the the 'why came quickly' for some reason.

At 56 years of age, I'm working hard to get to the place of maturity, that one of my first reactions to trouble is to look at the situation and ask, "I wonder where this will lead me and why God had to allow this to get my attention?"   I said I'm working to get to that point consistently!

As we talked and I listened to him confess his short comings and the times God had to get his attention. I remembered the times of testing and hurt in my own life, and then I remembered the why.

-I had a horrible local church experience growing up - God's hand held me tightly to the local church when I wanted so many times to walk away from the constant drama.
*I've worked in the local church for the past 18 years and volunteered in leadership since I was an adult.  God showed me beautiful support and care from the local church growing up, but also revealed ugly leadership and selfish behavior from leaders which clearly prepared me for future leadership and taught me how important TEAM work is in the local church.  Team leadership instead of personality driven ministry, demonstrates to the congregation and community true ministry - I love to imagine what the disciples conversations were in the evenings around dinner after a full day of ministering to people!

-We lost our first baby, I miscarried on the day we were starting our regular baby check-ups.
*Just a couple weeks after losing our baby, I was able to surround a praise team member going through the same thing.  She was nearly inconsolable - I know that's at least one of the reasons why God took my baby home, to be an example to her.

-I lost my brother at age 40 to a combination of physical problems, some of which he probably could have had more control over if he had been disciplined, so our sorrow was mixed with disappointment in his short physically troubled life and his lack of disciple and the loss of a young brother.
*I saw a rest and health return to my parents that I'm convinced would have deteriorated if my brother's care and worry about him had continued much longer.

-I am about to lose my pastor and 2 of my dearest friends and family
*God needs them in a bigger arena - to bring His love to more people then in Mansfield.  God needs them to move so the man He has already chosen can take their place.  I rest in this and refuse to look at this negatively AT ALL!   (And, I praise Him and thank Him that He only moved them a little over an hour away)

I certainly could go on and on with the negative things that have happened in my life, but I'm telling you, IF you are a child of God - everything works together for a reason, despite the time frame God chooses to reveal the WHY!  

He's just waiting for you to realize this isn't yours to handle and for you to release it to Him.

It's called Trust!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

weekend report

I have never been happier to be part of Crossroads than I am right now!  Our congregation has been amazing in the transition of Pastor Tim taking a different position - they seem to come even more anxious to worship!  It's a blessing!

Pastor Jay Halley blessed us by teaching us this weekend - I was so thankful he was able to come from Sandusky to worship with us and worship we did!

Our setlist:
Announcements:  Deering Dyer - our soon to go to Seminary in Dallas pastor

Great Are You Lord
Lord I Need You
God Is With Us Now
The Whole Earth

Update on Pastoral Search - Mike Sloan, Chairman of Elders

Message:  Pastor Jay Halley

Exit Song:  Great Are You Lord

To watch our services go to

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

what I learned today

Normally every Tuesday I try to intentionally learn something. 

What I learned this week has come a little later, and it wasn't pretty.

In this time of transition at Crossroads it's surprisingly been a revealing time about myself.

I find I'm very defensive toward any new ideas concerning my area of responsibility.   I wondered why I felt so discouraged - brushing it off as just being sad over the loss of one of my favorite families in the entire world, the Armstrongs.  But, I realized that wasn't it at all - in fact that sadness has exposed my real issues.

Although my job involves constant change and being on the lookout for what no longer is affective and to make any changes needed, I was satisfied and enjoying the safety and security of my position and my roll.  The ministry has not changed, it's still securely based on the promises of God's Word and in fact we are seeing new families every weekend - so we are very encouraged and ready for what God will bring.

But, when God removes normal, it all becomes much more real and much more unsettling.  I think He likes us to dwell in that place - because it requires reliance on Him.

I've learned again this week after spending extended time with Him, that I need Him desperately.  And that His normal is all I want for my life...ever!