Saturday, July 30, 2016

do you have too much

In Proverbs 30 we're told that God's ideal for our finances is - enough to meet our daily needs so we don't live in poverty and are tempted to steal.  But not too much or we feel no need to trust in the Lord.

How we manage our finances is important to God - it's a reflection of where our values lie.

I'll never forget one lady I loved dearly that was always so generous and showered everyone with gifts and meals and whatever she could do to show her love by giving.

I was devastated to find out in later years that she was so far in debt she couldn't even pay the interest on her charge cards!  That immediately made me regret the fact that I had ever taken anything from her.  It made me so very sad - and made me feel as if I didn't know the real her at all!

My prayer in regard to financial things is the same prayer I offer the Lord about the rest of my life, may I do nothing that would cause another to stumble.  And, may I understand that finances are a really good indicator of the condition of my heart.

Do I feel I have to impress people, leading to overspending?

Am I stingy and don't meet the needs of those who are in need?

It's interesting how there is barely a middle ground when it comes to financial things - decisions are either made with regard to honoring the Lord by tithing and giving to others FIRST or driven by greediness to keep more for ourselves and to buy whatever our hearts desire.

So back to my original question, do we have too much?  What is too much?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

a vacation day

Yesterday was a vacation day for me.

I got to spend that day with 3 or my favorite people.  3 people who have influenced, helped and served me tirelessly over the years, and 3 people I pray I have been of some blessing to as well.

My mom, my mother-in-law and my sister.

mom and mother-in-law
So what did we do with this vacation day you ask?

In Ohio when you want to get-away, you go to Amish Country!  Ha, ha!

However, vacation and laid-back, relaxing, not a care in the world...these just never seem to describe my vacations.  

Such was the case yesterday.
  • We left a full hour later than planned due to a variety of unplanned stops that had to be made and various other interruptions.
  • When arriving in Berlin we had no idea the whole strip was under construction making it probably the worst Ohio location we could have chosen to go to - from a Senior walking perspective.   Sidewalk removed, only gravel to walk on down one side of the main strip, and ditches that required jumping in order to gain access to the shops - all of these unforeseen details pretty much exhausted the mom's after just visiting a few shops.
  • Visions of wonderful Amish food dancing in my head was quickly replaced by dining in the only accessible resturant in Berlin - the name of the resturant had the word "Pig" in it...
  • 95 degrees in the sun.  When you have one Senior who struggles to walk already - this caused us to pause every few steps for the hot sun which just made us more exhausted.
All that to say - my fantasy of a glorious 'day out' took on an entirely different look then envisioned.

As is the case at least once a week, "I don't know how people face any day without the Lord", we laid our late start and frustrations aside as we saw what the Lord had intended.

We took all back-roads and the back-seat comments made every effort of ours worthwhile as my sister and I heard things like, "I haven't seen a corn crib like that since I was a child..., look at those beautiful hills..., the flowers are just magnificent...I remember when dad would come home from working all day and then we'd all head to the farm to help grandpa farm all evening".

My mom's recent loneliness, from the loss of my dad and her struggles physically,  and my mother-in-law losing her ability to drive make me look at the Senior population in a totally different way.  

I admire other countries far beyond our selfish American practices as I see them love, care and most of all RESPECT their seniors far more than we do.

In cases of medical need and to protect their safety I totally am thankful for care facilities that our amazing country has for our seniors.  But, when they're still functioning and just unable to drive or to be an active part of the community around them - my heart aches for them.  And, I hope I can be of some help in communicating to all the Seniors in my life how much they still have to offer us.

As our day came to a close in Amish country yesterday, the precious comments, the simple pleasure they took away from just 'going somewhere' will be long remembered.  

And maybe next time, I'll remember to ask if the place we are going at least has a sidewalk.

Friday, July 22, 2016

a perfect morning

I'm so thankful for the rain - you can almost hear the ground's response, awwwwww

I didn't have to hurry anywhere today and loved watching the storms roll in.

The line where the storm began was so obvious.  It was beautiful!

I may learn more about the weather - I've always been fascinated by it's power and often how completely at it's mercy we are.  Just another amazing part of God's creation.

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

confessing fear again

I can't deny it, as I flip the channel away from the mess of comments and opinion connected to the ridiculous state of our countries' politics, I feel fear again.

But when I really challenge myself with 'what am I scared of', I have finally realized, it's not anything the future may hold, instead it's the regret of wasted opportunity and self-absorbed decisions I can never get back.  Words I can never change, people I may never get a chance to help again.

I read these sentences today and they really struck deep in my soul,

"I am broken in a way that often breaks the people around me. I am broken in a way that should, logically speaking, separate me from a holy God."

But He died for me.

This prevented my eternal separation.

I want to live totally unafraid of the frenzy of sin around me by keeping my eyes fixed on Him.  To stand pure before Him.

I think we may soon have the greatest opportunity of our lives to show the lost the Savior church!

Am I capable of loving my enemies?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

weekend report

Man, I don't think we could have stuffed anything more in this busy weekend!

From a beautiful time of communion to our amazing Young Adult Pastor continuing our Ecclesiastes series, to old chairs being removed from the auditorium, a wedding shower right after church, to groceries for the most needy in our community!   The Lord was in this place and it was so good!

Well, see for yourself!

Our praise team lead us in beautiful worship!  I'm so thankful for them.
Several of them served on an additional weekend this week
to help out - summer time is difficult with vacations!

Our Chairman of the Elders lead us in preparing to take communion.

This beautiful couple helped Eric shoot a video before first service!

This little guy played the part of a young 'Keegan' another
one of the guys in our video shoot today!

One of my favorite things about Crossroads is we welcome kids
to serve next to their parents.  Here's Pastor Jesse's little one is
the one using the screwdriver to loosen the Bible holder on the back
of the chair!  So cute!

I was worried it would be an overwhelming job to remove all
the chairs preparing for shampooing - but many hands make
a job simple!

At the same time the chairs came out - the groceries got moved
in preparation for our grocery giveaway next Saturday.

In the back were the supplies waiting for our massive
backpack stuffing event in a couple weeks.  We will stuff 2,300
backpacks with school supplies - for our areas neediest kids.
It's all the serving, and projects behind the scenes that make the ministry real!   We heard a powerful message and then 'did ministry' together...all of us!

Our Setlist:


This I Believe

Chairman of our Elders lead us in scripture reading and the preparation of our hearts to take communion.  The team played a beautiful instrumental Blessed Assurance while we went to the tables.


Message:  Ecclesiastes Pt. 4 The Test of Time - Young Adult Pastor Aaron James Nicolas

Exit Song: Resurrecting

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

coming things

I'm very excited about coming things.

I'm emailing back and forth with Phil Wickham's guys discussing final details of an October concert at Crossroads.

While doing that I'm listening to a Gungor Christmas song that was given to me today - a beautiful piece!  It's such a beautiful song that it makes me want to work on Christmas services right now.  Instead I add that to my Christmas notes for this years' Christmas at Crossroads.

Earlier today I added our Mission partners to the list of comp tickets for the Global Leadership Summit - an incredible leadership event that will take place shortly at Crossroads.  Such an opportunity for area businesses to attend something local that features world class leadership experts!

This came just a couple hours after receiving the test results from my precious mom - her latest tests all came back just fine!

While I'm listening, and thinking and reading about these things - beautiful cardinals are playing in our trees after snacking on the suet we just put out.  It's quite extraordinary....quite extraordinary indeed.

I breathe out a final thank you to God Almighty for these coming things and worship Him in His magnificent creation.

And I pray as His nature closes it's eyes for the night, that all of you will sleep well leaning on those Everlasting Arms....

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Can we live Sold Out

Is it possible to live sold out to the Lord outside of trial and trouble?

Let me confess, I'm not sure I can.

Our family has had quite a year, our country has had quite a year, our world has had quite a year...

As I've looked at the chaos readily viewable at any time of the day, it draws me right back into worry and sometimes fear so once again I lay it at the feet of my Savior and rest in Him.  A vicious cycle of trust, fear, confession and back to resting in Him.

But I see that over and over I pray the most, talk to the Lord the most when I'm in trouble or worried. When I'm in crisis or can't do it on my own...

I caught myself not long ago so completely content in just a peaceful night at home, wondering if the Lord can be glorified when I'm content,  or if it's when I'm dissatisfied and in the middle of trial and turn to Him?

I just thought I'd throw it out to you, is it possible to be Sold Out in the middle of being content? Should we ever be content?

Monday, July 11, 2016

weekend report

It was another amazing weekend studying Ecclesiastes together at Crossroads!  I'm so thankful that God laid this study on Pastor Dave's heart for us!

It was also a special treat to have Miguel, our Cedarville University Worship Intern in charge of worship this weekend.  What a promising future that young man has in ministry!  

Our setlist:

Great Is Thy Faithfulness
It Is Well
Prayer for our Country
Scripture transition
Message:  Ecclesiastes Pt. 3 - Lead Pastor Dave Vance
Exit song: Unstoppable

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

weekend report

Man, where has this week gone??

We're already in week 2 of the Ecclesiastes series, and it is SO good!   I think we may have come close to a record number of people requesting a CD of the message - I'm so thankful for the amazing teacher we have in Pastor Dave.

As I left the auditorium today, I heard music so I went to see were it was coming from.

There I found beautiful worship in the Student Ministry area of the church and was moved to a deep thankfulness for all the faithful people that work to serve our kids and to teach them what worship is!

Student Ministry worship - so good!

After I left the Student Ministry area I still heard loud music that I did not recognize and discovered more precious worship in our Elementary room!  Oh my word - I was so excited to see this!

Amy will be leaving soon to begin her masters degree - thanks
for serving Amy!

The video booth is always a super focused area - bringing us lyrics and
all of Pastor Dave's fill ins and scripture as well as every video you see come from this booth!

 Our setlist:

 Dust In the Wind
Announcements on Video
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
Unbroken Praise
Jesus Paid It All
Ecclesiastes Bumper Video
Light Our City video - Pastor Dave talked to the congregation about serving and giving, and not just sitting on the sidelines.  Telling them that we need everyone to be involved!
Message: Ecclesiastes Pt. 2 - Lead Pastor Dave Vance
Exit Song:  Dust In The Wind

To watch our services go to

To see what other ministries are using in their worship services go to

 Have a great holiday  - I am so thankful for the freedom that allowed me to worship this weekend.