Monday, February 29, 2016

the ones next door

It's shocking to see how much your prospective changes on what's important when your focus turns to cherishing every moment.

I spent the night at Hospice sleeping in my dad's room.  I rested and listened.

Dad slept well,  I didn't hear the uncomfortable sounds of the hospital - instead I heard the relief that a place more like home brings.

I also heard the ones next door.

They appear to be of a different nationality and religion.  This isn't based on a stereo-typing analysis from me, but things I've actually heard them say and things I've actually seen them do.

There are only 2 families here right now, and we're right beside one another.

Quite the contrast side by side.  Opposites.  I can't image what it must be like serving a non-existent God like this family appears to do at Hospice.

This family is not quiet about their presence.  At one point a small boy threw open dad's door, not what you're going for when you check into Hospice.  Also late in the night, there appeared to be a big disagreement right outside our door - a sharp contrast to what you usually find at here.

As I thought about all the ways we're different then they are, I also remembered the sacrifice of a Savior that was required to make us different then the lost.  Before the Savior, we were exactly like them regardless of our clothes.

It also made me think about the families I live beside at home, I don't know them.

They're just far enough away from our house that we never cross paths, and rarely see one another outside to speak.

I think it's time to be working on some kind of plan to be more intentional about their eternity.

I realize now that an error my church made when I was growing up was to use things to manipulate us or scare us into making decisions.  And one thing I remember them saying was, "some day at the great judgement seat of eternity, the people you didn't witness to will look at you and say, "Why didn't you tell me about Jesus?"....

Regardless of if that's true or not, a Savior came to die to bring salvation and out of both a deep  compassion for their souls and obedience to why we are here on earth, may we be intentional about the ones next door.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

the next place

 We are preparing to move to the next place.

We thought it would be home, but instead the next place will be the Hospice Center.  In some ways this will be a blessing for my mom - allowing her to sleep.

I don't know whether to be glad or sad.  I don't know what I feel right now.

He's not as good today, yesterday joking around with my cousins who stopped in to visit, today moaning due to bowels not functioning.

While I'm writing this he's witnessing to the precious nurse named Faith who told me today in tears, "I just want him to feel better"...  My dad has treated everyone with such care and respect that it's been another example to a daughter about how people should be treated.  As God intended.

We have a transport about to come to take us to Ashland, to the next place.  People are waiting for us there and I'm sure the Lord has a whole new group of people waiting to be encouraged at the next place.

Thanks for praying.

Friday, February 26, 2016

saying goodbye

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

Commentary reads: "my life was planned out by God, and settled, before I began to be."

Before I began to be....

I am in a dark hospital room right now listening to my dad's labored breathing...his occasional moaning when he whispers "I don't feel good". This is hard to hear.

He is a man that worked harder perhaps then anyone else I know, often working 2 jobs followed by helping with grandpas farming. He cared for us.

I remember the times he refused to budge on what he believed was best for me not allowing me to attend an event so that I could work, my response at least once was to hide in the cornfield.
I remember hearing him calling for me to come home, probably scared I'd run away, when I was actually only a few rows deep.
I remember after arguing with my mom one day he told me she cried herself to sleep, that was all he had to say to get deep remorse from me even as a teen.
I remember the time he tried to teach us kids never to play with firecrackers and it blew up in his face.
We never played with firecrackers.
I remember him trying to fix cars himself to save money and at least once it exploded from wires crossed or gas exposed.
I pay a mechanic.
I remember hearing his dumb beagles howling when storms were coming and people borrowing them to hunt raving about the quality of those dogs.
I have Vern.
I remember he and mom deciding to put my sister and I in private Christian education even though they didn't have the money.
Before the application reached the school, someone donated money in our names to pay our tuition - I learned to step out in faith.
I remember being the last family out of the church building every single week after cleaning following services.
Last weekend at Crossroads my hubby and I turned out the lights.
I remember my whole life watching how much he loved my mom.
My hubby and I celebrate 38 years in September.

And today he's saying, "I'm ready to go to heaven"....

It appears that His Lord may be calling to him soon to end his journey based on the condition of his heart following an apparent heart attack yesterday.

I'm not ready to lose my dad even though he's had 87 years here on earth. Losing someone I love always makes me take a hard look at myself - not fun.

Beginning to say goodbye makes me have to wonder, can people look at my life and understand exactly why God needed to create me?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

unknown words

I  had the absolute honor of going with my hubby and taking our possible future granddaughter out to dinner tonight.

As I helped her straighten her room before bedtime, and said prayers with her, I had to wonder what unknown words had been spoken into her young life.  Words we'll never hear or know.  Words we can't explain.

We've missed few important words of our parents, siblings or our own children.  But this little one, we will just be starting from now and praying this new beginning will be easy for her, and that past words will bare no lasting scars.

Isn't it mind boggling to know that God knows every single word ever spoken into her young life? And that He's capable of using every word to help shape and form her as she becomes more familiar with this Savior.

I pray again for a smooth process, one that's perhaps fast and a transition that is best for her.

We've tried not to get hopes up too quickly because we know things change.

So we take refuge in the certainty that for this time, that we get to be the ones speaking words into her life - they are words that we were chosen to speak - by a God who created even the smallest among us.  And by a God who is allowing us to have her for this time.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

preparing for the weekend

The biggest difference I've seen between our culture and the international cultures that I've had the opportunity to visit, is the value that they place on relationships, far more than Americans do.

It's interesting when really thinking about that.

The less people have - the more they value one another and the more they help one another and the more time they have to give to others.

As I worked this morning just making sure I have all the projects for the coming weeks in the proper order on my calendar, I worked with the intention of being very organized so I could focus on everyone around me this weekend.

Preparing for the 988th service since I've been involved at Crossroads, I asked the Lord - what do you want from me?   What do I have to offer and bring to the ministry this weekend?

I realized by being very organized and preparing well - I could give time and attention, perhaps the greatest thing anyone can give.

I'll never grow tired of coming to Crossroads and totally trusting that God is going to do something amazing again, and again, and again, despite us!

I look very forward to talking to as many of you as possible this weekend - and I encourage you, spend a little time preparing even if you're not directly involved in the services and I bet God will meet you there!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Can you worship me

This past weekend still reeling from the news of my dad's diagnosis of Acute Leukemia, I tried very hard to focus on the work I needed to do and to be fully involved with the people that I needed to assist, but, I had every intention of staying in my office as much as possible.

I decided that I was just too tired and distracted to even go up front like I try to do each weekend for worship, so I headed back to the office area.

But, I swear to you God challenged my soul with, " can't worship me?"

It couldn't have been more soul piercing if He had yelled it out loud!

It stopped me dead in my tracks and I had to do a real quick soul exam.   What does my worship depend on?

My circumstances?  How I'm feeling?  I knew where I needed to be...

I walked to the front of that auditorium to worship the King of Kings, and He ministered to me through that sweet time like nothing I've experienced in a very long time.  He is Lord!

He is ALWAYS every minute, in every circumstance not matter what is happening - the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.   And the only reason He created me and then called me to Him, is so that in every circumstance I live to bring Glory to Him with my life.

That's it - I live to bring glory to Him!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

a quiet acceptance

How suddenly life can change.

Our lives have moved from occasionally discussing our inevitable death, to knowing what the cause of dad's will probably be in an instant.

My dad was diagnosed with Leukemia last week, 3 days later, chemo has begun.

As I sat with mom and dad for the second morning at the cancer clinic, I noticed how very quiet it was.  I looked again across the room at all of the patients just quietly lounging in their recliners as the slow drip of life sustaining fluid entered their bodies.

No music, TV only IF you wear headsets in honor of the surrounding patients' quiet reflection.

I wondered what their minds were thinking?  What things are most important to them now?
I look at completely hopeless faces here as well as faces with a quiet smile perhaps resting in their assurance of what comes next in the Lord?  But, oh so quiet...

As it has been with our family always - we are probably the noisiest ones there - choosing the chair furthest in the back of the room so dad can face the outdoors he loves so much instead of worrying about bothering all the people with our conversations..  I quite unexpectedly was moved to tears when I looked outside.

Through the window of the clinic I saw a totally unintentional design left by the snow plow truck. Although unintentional to him, perhaps the Lord had great intention for it.  I believe it was created just for me - no one saw it but me...He loves me it said - and the assurance of Him being fully aware of our circumstances washed over me!  A sustaining assurance.

After marveling at His love for me, I turned back to what lies before us.

Our acceptance of this new development balances somewhere between it still not being a reality to focusing on what needs to be done.

This could be the thing in our lives that the Lord will choose to use to reveal Himself more than He could through any other circumstance.  I hope He will find us worthy.

My prayer is first of all asking the Lord to provide comfort for my dad and then my mom.  But secondly that this can be a glorious time before Him when faith becomes sight in His perfect timing and that we can be used as an illustration of God's strength and the ultimate hope for eternity with Him.

Meanwhile a quiet acceptance will be what we continue to work through asking all of our friends to be patient with us as our focus will surely drift away from things we normally would attend to.

And last of all my precious dad says "well kiss old Rose,  that many people are praying for ME?"

Thank you my friends.

weekend report

Pastor Dave returned this weekend after visiting 2 of our international mission partners and from a brief bout of flu - to continue our Conspiracy Series.   So good to have him and out mission teams back safely!  It was a great weekend of worship and learning from God's Word!
A team from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University lead out Students in worship back in their area of the ministry.  I love connecting with other Christian schools and ministries to allow our students to have exposure to a possible college they may consider for their education.  Great work Student Ministry staff!

Our setlist:
Feels So Good - this was a fun brass welcome as our congregation arrived on this valentines weekend.
Announcements:  Jesse Rider , our Middle School Pastor reminded us about the Student Ministry trying hard to sell shirts to help students go on our mission trips this summer!  He also told us about Communities@Crossroads and all the amazing classes and groups everyone can choose to be part of!
This Is Amazing Grace
Great Are You Lord
Come Lord Jesus, Even So Come
Unstoppable God
Message:  Conspiracy Pt. 4: Connected in Community; Lead Pastor, Dave Vance
Exit Song: This is Amazing Grace
To watch our services on-line go to
To see what other ministries used in their services go to
Have a blessed week in Christ!

Monday, February 8, 2016

weekend report

Our faithful worship team lead us strongly!

Our lobby - Town Square full of all kinds of things going on!

It was an interesting weekend at Crossroads!

Our poor pastor, returning from Cambodia became very ill and had to miss the weekend, so Wendell stepped in with very little warning to teach us!  Thank you so much Wendell!

It was a weekend with a lot going on - we had some new signage in Town square advertising all the Communities@Crossroads that are launching in March, as well as our Core Values (being taught during our Conspiracy series), our Students selling great shirts to support their mission trips in 2016 and a new sign over Connection Central, the area of Town Square where our pastors are available to pray with our congregation!   The Community@Crossroads groups include Biblical Teaching groups, Connection Groups and Classes.  It was very exciting to see just how many groups exist at Crossroads when we put together the new booklet!

You can click here to read about all of our groups and to register for classes or groups that require registration!

Our Setlist:

Announcements:  Jesse Rider - Middle School Pastor

Opening Video:  
The Lord Reigns
There is Power
Unbroken Praise
Final verse of Cornerstone

Message:  Conspiracy Series Pt. 3; Committed to Glorifying God - Stewardship:  Wendell Anderson

To watch our services on line go to

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

Friday, February 5, 2016

easter pieces

It's always about this time before Easter or Christmas that I feel the most vulnerable, the most unsure.

Many times I've had ideas, themes and possible elements for special services tucked away in folders, or deep in my mind for sometimes several years.  When you've thought about something for a long time, you begin to question and doubt whether it's really the right direction to go.  You wonder if you even still believe in it enough to pitch the idea and rally people around it.

And then as I pray and begin to work, often times I'm amazed to find the idea found long ago - now makes sense or has gained support or understanding.

It's an amazing process that can only be explained by the fact that God uses our planning, our creativity in His timing to present His never changing message.

Does He need us to move His message forward, no.   But, I am eternally thankful that He decided to use us in a small way, a way that lets us put to use whatever talents He's given us to serve Him.

Our team will all begin to gather around this Easter concept next week, please pray that it will be obvious to all of us if this can and should be developed into our Easter at Crossroads.

I cherish your prayers, thank you!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

my day off - loved ones and legos

Last night was one of my favorite nights in a while.

Our home was full of toddlers to 87 year olds and everything in between as we celebrated birthdays.  We missed our beautiful daughter Jocelyn as she lead the Cambodian mission team back home, but somehow managed to get everyone else together!  A true accomplishment!

We celebrated our son, Eric's birthday and our Son-in-Law Aaron's birthday as well as my Brother-in-Law Rob's.

As I walked upstairs and took this picture, it occurred to me that all 3 of these men are pastors.  And as the night went on the 3 of them became engaged in a lively theological discussion that was fascinating, well at least the chunks of it I caught between building lego helicopters and eating!

A living room completely full of loved ones and legos - I love my 87 yr. old dad hanging over the railing!
Pictured here:  Rob and Cristy Barlow: John and Amanda Forbes: Russell and Janice Forbes; Eric and Alyssa Biddle
with Oliver and Margot; Ron Biddle; and Colleen Gatton (I'm behind the camera)

Our son's old legos - now the property of his son Oliver!

Of course...the tutu angel was there!

If the Lord gives you extended time with family - please make very sure you stand pure before Him with your love for one another pouring forth at all times.  This is not to say that there won't be rough times perhaps - but even in those times there are choices to be made...

Will we waste this day sitting in the bitterness of yesterday?  Or will we treat it as if we may never be together again - and step into one another's lives as fully as we are able?  This choice helps us remain in the place called 'no regrets', and keeps us ready for whatever the next day holds.

Love one another...and on frustrating days, consider breaking out the Legos!