Sunday, October 29, 2017

weekend report

Well, not sure where to begin!  It was a weekend full of blessings, so I guess I'll write about our service first and then show you the rest of our blessings in another post.

Twice each year when there is a 5th weekend we do a Student Takeover where the students run most of the areas of the church, but this one was especially special.  This was the first time Students lead worship alone without any of our worship leaders helping them on stage.  And they were amazing!

They parked cars, welcomed everyone, worked in the Coffee House, ran cameras, video directed, ran lights helped with audio, sang and played in the band, there were students that cooked breakfast for the teams and then did all the clean up.  We even opened with our children's choir and had a child dedication lead by our Family Ministry Director, Jeanette Chase while Mike Mahek our generations pastor continued teaching in our HOME series - thematically everything supported one another beautifully.

The congregation talked about how much hope it gave them to see students loving Jesus and they talked about the encouragement it brought them, so good!  Take a look!

These were our front door greeters in their HELLO T-shirts - so good!

The first thing that greeted you was our student parking team!

Dan, Milo and Joci loved working with the kids and when I looked at
them it seriously looked like proud parents looking at their kids!
Tremendous leaders!

Our children's choir opened the service with a beautiful worship song.

Today was a special Child Dedication for us as our daughter dedicated her daughter Trinity - it was a huge blessing to see
these parents make a commitment to lead their children toward the Lord!

The adults worked to get the pastor's mic working correctly,
but - funny we were the only ones struggling with equipment!
Jocelyn lead the pre-service meeting, and let me tell you, it takes a huge amount of focus to review
each element in the services including transitions and covering all their work in prayer.
Student enjoying running one of the cameras.

Running audio is not an easy job!

Camera student #2 on Camera 1

Running the video switcher is big work!

Running the CG (character generator) requires great focus!

MacKenzie read from God's Word as part of the worship team -
and we got to celebrate her birthday with her! Not sure how
many teens would tie up a birthday to serve the Lord!

The most precious moment of the weekend for me
personally, was witnessing my daughter dedicating her
precious daughter to the Lord!

Child Dedication was the perfect fit on a weekend we were studying the family!

Our students pictured here and below have become very dependable leaders!

Students lead us well!

Pastor's son Jacob was one of our excellent drummers!

Our setlist:

One Thing Remains - Children's Choir
Child Dedication (9:00 a.m. only) - Jeanette Chase, Family Ministry Director
Announcements - Jesse Rider - High School Student Ministry independent
Glorious Day
Scripture reading - MacKenzie
When the Fight Calls
Message:  HOME series - Mike Mahek
Exit Song - Alive

To watch our ministry on-line go to

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Christmas prayers

I'd like to ask for Christmas Prayers for myself and our teams as we prepare for Christmas at Crossroads.  We are adding a 5th service this year and I'd love to fill every single service with your help!

Each year my job is to create a concept for Christmas and then invite one person at a time into the process.  This requires that my vision remains strong for the concept and ability to rally the troupes around it, after thinking about it for months.

As each person gets invited into the original process I always begin to doubt myself, so I know this is normal - but it takes God's strength to fully develop a program that delivers the message of Jesus in a creative way while remaining strong in content.

I also know that usually all I have to do after praying like crazy, is to listen again to the music we've chosen and to re-read the beautiful original words that our writer (Jocelyn) has written and I'm again lost in the wonder of what I get to be a part of.

Christmas at Crossroads is a huge opportunity to invite friends that are willing to come to holiday services that maybe are difficult to get to attend normally.  These need to be services that are full of people each of us have invited because we care about a lost community around us.

Please pray for our teams and pray asking the Lord for names of friends and co-workers that you know don't know the Lord - you'll be surprised how many say yes when they are asked by someone they know and do life with.  You have a month and a half to decide who you'll bring with you.  You may be the only person in their life that has the answer to what they've been searching for.

Christmas prayers are needed immediately please!

It's going to a time of some people discovering Jesus for the very first time...the reason we do any of this!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

weekend report and stuff

I decided to include all the pictures that described most of the highlights of my week.

They ranged from musical worship moments, teaching reminders of why the Reformation matters, students dedicated to putting in the rehearsal time required to be an important part of our ministry,  new beginnings downtown - an excitement to see what God has planned, to private family times of celebration and just taking in the 'good times' of family being gathered to love.  I know I am blessed, I don't know why so much - but, I'm beyond thankful for all of these little important things and give all the credit to a God who loves me despite myself!

A time of worship during our Reformation weekend
A visual opportunity of response for our congregation - the doors were covered
by the end of the weekend.  Powerful!

I know I talk about it endlessly, but the students worshipping is a great encouragement to me - I love stopping back and
spending a little time with them too!   This coming weekend at Crossroads will be the first time our students have lead
without any adult leaders on stage!  They work super hard to prepare - I hope you'll be there it's going to be super powerful!

I timed it just right this past week and caught Father and Son
Ritchey installing our beautiful City Center sign for all to see.
A declaration that Crossroads cares about our community and
wants to serve it any way we can!

I can't explain what a perfect description this
visual is of our grand-baby Margot, a princess
dress with a Spiderman Football...all is well!

I don't think I ever see anything less than full-blown joy
when any of our grand-babies are with grandpa!
This was the perfect ending to our week - in Ashland celebrating
my mom's birthday!

Our Setlist:

Announcements - Jesse Rider

A Mighty Fortress
Glorious Day
This I Believe

Bumper Video
Message:  Why the Reformation was Necessary and Still Is - Doctor Dave Vance

Exit Song:  We Believe

To watch our services go to

Another blog you would really enjoy is my daughter Jocelyn's blog - you can read it here: 
  - Do

Monday, October 9, 2017

my day off

Today I will be spending the day taking my mom for follow up doctor appointments.

As any thoughts arise wondering when I'm going to have time to accomplish the things in my own home that I'd love to get done, I remind myself of all the friends that would give anything to spend any kind of time with mom's who are gone.

I've had various girlfriends through the years that lost mom's at pretty early ages.  Mom's that missed their graduations, mom's that were not there when they needed boyfriend advice and mom's that weren't there for their weddings.  I can't imagine...

I've told girls in my lives more than once that I'm not a very good girl-friend because of how close I am with my mom, sister and daughter, they fill my 'girl need'.  But I realize I am in a season where I'm going to look for opportunities to serve more women - to share what I've learned from being close to my family.  To encourage and possibly help them with relationships they find themselves in.

As I get to spend a day serving my mom, I'll remember all the motherless girls I know and thank God for her and honor her anyway I can.  And I'll be even more dedicated to cherishing every minute I get.

Cherish those girls around you today - all the ladies God has placed in your lives whether they're family or not.  May we all be Proverbs 31 ladies and be used to serve others pointing them toward the Lord with our actions and our words!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

weekend report

How can another weekend be over?  Well it was a good one!

We enjoyed a time of worship followed by an amazing message about "The Proverbs Woman" titled: Family Jewels.  Pastor Dave delivered a powerful message about the impact of a Godly woman on her family and friends, the influence she has on her children and what a tremendous gifting of discernment God has given and how important the correct use of all those words are!

Here's a look at the service.

Mystery guest who we usually find sitting in the
highest point of the auditorium directing!
ok already, it's Arnie!
 Our setlist:

Spirit of the Living God
This is Amazing Grace
Do It Again
How Great Is Our God
Bumper video
Message:  Our Home Pt. 4: Family Jewels - Pastor Dave Vance
Exit Song: How Great Is Our God 

To watch our services go to

Have a great week - let's live for Him and further God's kingdom especially us girls - use your words as if He's standing right in front of us!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

so much new

I would assume the hint that any organization is healthy can be evaluated on whether or not new things are happening and new people are joining.

Just as we settle into a new normal - God seems to be moving us in many new directions which equals new opportunities to reach people for the Lord!

I am so thankful to be part of a ministry that constantly changes and where we rarely hear, "But we've always done it this way," most likely because there isn't a this way!  

As we prepare to continue adding new staff and leaders into our ministry - new doors will open.  Each person has a sphere of influence and unique giftedness that can contribute to accomplishing our mission.  Leading People to the Truth that Transforms lives in North Central Ohio and Around the World!

As we move into this exciting new era here at Crossroads, what will your contribution be?

What area of your life do you need to become fully dedicated to the Lord in?  Serving as a volunteer?  Giving? Regular attendance instead of when you feel like it?

As we look around our community, listen to the news or watch tv, it's clear - everyone is searching for purpose in their lives trying everything from working too much doing anything to make money, watching movies and tv shows that are not Christ honoring, being unfaithful in marriage and sadly some claiming to be a believer but really not acting much different than the lost.  All these things leading to emptiness and sometimes to depression or addiction.

We only have the answer to these desperate attempts if we have a relationship with the Lord AND live everyday like we do.  It's heartbreaking to see people who claim the name of Christ - swearing or sharing negative comments on social media, making evil postings that sound no different than the lost.  Leading the unsaved to believe that they're as good as the people claiming to be Christians.  Sad.

Instead let's be set apart from the world as Christ clearly calls us to be - allowing people to see what it means to love the Lord and to know him personally.

Let Crossroads be known as an authentic group of believers that make a difference in our community as we live each day!  Please join us as many new and exciting things will required an even greater commitment from all that worship with us! 

There's 'so much new' - I just cant' wait to see what God has in mind!

Monday, October 2, 2017

a sad morning

I was looking forward to waking up this morning knowing it was a day off, weather sounded like it was going to be glorious and I had minimal responsibilities.  I had my day planned.

However, as I was waking up I received an early text from a close friend asking me if I had seen the news yet.  I had not.

I turned on the news and the sights that greeted me turned my morning into a sad morning, a different morning than I had planned.

As I watched video of the complete panic, the fallen bodies and crying reports from news interviews in Las Vegas, I thought about the morning that was greeting at least 50 families with the news  of unexpected loss.  I prayed for the families that still may not be sure if their loved ones survived or not.  I can't imagine such terror.

We have a Crossroads' team serving in Texas to recover the loss of property and help to re-build the ability of families there to return to regular life following the hurricane and multiple tornadoes.

I also know one man from Crossroads who is serving in Puerto Rico as they attempt to even evaluate the level of loss they've experienced.

Why?  Why does God allow this to happen?

We believe we have a God who already knows these things will happen, a God that could prevent these things from happening, a God that created the very human beings that cause this type of tragedy - our human minds can't understand why.

Lee Strobel says this in regard to why God doesn't just stop evil from happening,
"So, first, it helps me to remember, as I ponder the mystery of pain and evil, that God did not create them. Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good. 

He does this by fulfilling His promise in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  

Notice that the verse doesn’t say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge."

It is the free hand of human beings that make evil things happen.   God allows free choice.   Our hands can create evil or care for the needy - it's our choice how we spend our lives.

Lee goes on to explain in regard to 'natural disasters' that "even nature groans over the disruption of God's perfect design -Romans 8:22 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” 

My limited human mind can not understand the evil that caused Stephen Paddock to decide this shooting was the answer to whatever tortured him.  I'm sad to assume that this shooter will now spend eternity separated from God - another seemingly pointless existence.

But now those of us who know the Lord have another opportunity to encourage the lost toward a secure future with Christ.  Drawing closer to our God and pointing others to security in Him is the only thing that gives purpose to our lives here in an evil world.

Will you let tragedy draw you closer to Him?  Or will you become bitter over the act of a troubled human's actions last night?