Saturday, August 25, 2018

children of God

I have the privilege this morning to start my day in the happiest of places for me - my favorite most restful spot...on our deck.

As I started my day with time with the Lord - what I read put into perspective how God sees us as His children in a way I hadn't thought of before.

The writer pointed out that we can picture the difference between a stranger at the door versus our kids.

The stranger would knock and wait for an answer, our kids have complete freedom to enter and exit without our permission.  They enjoy privileges that come with being part of the family and grow under our leadership and teaching.

He doesn't compare us to one another thinking that some of us are better than others, we are His children if we've accepted Jesus.  And just like in any relationship he longs for us to grow more like Him just as any father loves it when his kids want to spend time with him and look up to him for guidance and affirmation.  How it must break our father's heart when we say we're a child of God but live doing whatever we please and look no different than that stranger at the door.

It's a simple concept, but a perspective that encourages me once again to spend time growing in Him with renewed assurance that I am His child.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

many years of ironing

As I was ironing last night I became very nostalgic...

I have always enjoyed ironing clothes and laughed as I stood there imagining how many times I've ironed my hubbies' shirts and slacks over the years...

But what really made me nostalgic was the memory it evoked of my mom.

My dad supported our family as a barber and for a few years also a part time factory job at night.  During that time my mom had a fabric shop in our home but also took in ironing for people so that she could be with us kids.

Ironing was an act of love.

I guess it still is!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

the sin of thought

As I started my day today, nothing has gone as planned.
I prepared to go watch my granddaughter go into Mansfield Christian for her first day of Pre-School just as my kids had as they began kindergarten.
Much to my surprise what greeted me instead was a State Patrol car at the end of my driveway with the patrolman taking pictures of my smashed mailbox, a fallen electrical pole and "watch for deer" least the sign warned her there were deer before she swerved to miss one!
The officer assured me the girl was ok, so that's certainly what was important, but my thoughts were still not happy ones!  My plans were ruined and I wasn't happy!
I turned around and went back up to the house, and sat down to have my daily devotions and this is what was scheduled for August 21st.

Proverbs 15:26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but gracious words are pure in his sight.
God detests wicked thoughts. We can think that God only cares about what we say or what we do. But God even knows what we think. Trust in Christ, then, for forgiveness of sins of thought as well as of deed. And out of the overflow of that graced heart, let gracious words now bring delight to God.
I always forget that the all-knowing God cares deeply about what I think.  But I live as if I believe the above paragraph "it only matters what I do or say"...WRONG!

Can you imagine how pure before the Lord our actions would be if we really believed our thoughts matter?  If we weren't conniving to work things out to our benefit or tying to force the outcome we desired?

I've talked before about worry and what a sin that I believe it is against the Lord.  I woke up last night worrying about a couple of things, nothing earth shattering, and I was awake enough to remind myself - the Lord already knows the outcome!  So I prayed for the items of worry and laid them at His feet - thankful for a Savior who cares about every detail of my life and who weaves even disappointments together for good.

In His power I will try anew today to take my thoughts captive and offer them up to Him asking for forgiveness even for my thoughts.

This could be a very busy day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

influenced by the world

This morning I asked myself this, "am I influenced more by the Word of God or by the worldly influences around me?"

I've been wrestling with this lately, wondering how to be 'set apart' in these ungodly times.  What freedoms do I even have to consider giving up to further God's kingdom and not be a stumbling block to anyone?  How much time to I need to set aside to keep my mind renewed?

After I had a chance to sit for a while this morning
and read in Romans, I was reminded that they lived in what they thought would be the worst time in history.  Now we live in what our generation of believers think will be the most vile of times in history.  How do I not fall under the world's influence?

Time in God's Word DAILY!  A daily reset!

As I go through my day today, as I make each decision about what I say, what I watch, what I read on-line, what I drink and eat, I will ask myself - is this pleasing to the Lord and is this an influence from Him or the world...

Romans 12:2   Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect

I pray you'll have a blessed day - a day where those around you will know there's something different about you that they need too!  A day that you're a Godly Influence!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

weekend report

I loved this weekend so much!  The Reluctant Followers Series ended today - it has been a fabulous series and this weekend's teaching on Prayer was not an exception!  If you missed it I encourage you to watch it - such rich worship and it was so good to gain a greater understanding of what God intended our prayer life to be.

Our choir and praise band lead us straight to the thrown of God in worship!

Our setlist:

Announcements - Vanessa Alcantara

Great Are You Lord
Mighty Cross
Special Music: When We Pray
Bumper video
Message:  Reluctant Followers Pt. 13; That's Why We Pray - Lead Pastor Dave Vance
Exit Instrumental

To watch our services go to

I got to personally talk to 5 people visiting for the first time this weekend - these conversations keep me encouraged and it just drives me more to see what new ideas and creative elements the Lord will point us to that will help us tell redemptions miraculous story!  I also had the privilege of talking to a sister in Christ who just got devastating medical news, I hope I was of some encouragement to her!  What an honor to minister to our congregation!

It's been another weekend of witnessing God's mighty hand at work as He gathers us together to proclaim His message to a hurting world!

Have a blessed week!

Monday, August 6, 2018

weekend report

If I had to describe this weekend the first words that come to mind are - "a weekend crammed with blessings"!

I found everything about this weekend personally gratifying and found myself thanking the Lord constantly for all He accomplished!  I don't think God could have sent a stronger encouragement to us all as we watched so many first-time attendees attend the Crossroads services, as well as witnessed changed lives as our Elders, staff and friends baptized many people taking their Next Steps for Christ!  So, so good!

I'm counting the weekend as beginning on Friday when we got to go see the amazing Nicole bring the 3 intense weeks of Super Hero Training Academy to an end at John's Park.  The kids enjoyed a bouncy house, snow cone truck and lots of games and snacks ON TOP of their reading improving preparing them to be successful in school this year.  Crossroads' City Center is helping kids!

Miss Nicole my super hero!

A precious little-one from the program!
Also, the City Center does not just serve children - each week our Celebrate Recovery program faithfully serves our community as well!  A very balanced use of our new City Center - part of 20/20!

But, even in what is good for us others are suffering - I began my Saturday by paying my respects at a funeral for a deceased father of one of our dedicated Video volunteers and great friend.  This was an important reminder once again, no matter what we have planned our lives are very short...

Next I stopped at Crossroads as they were finishing the 2,000 Backpack packing that our mission's team organized.  We have the chance to serve large amounts of Mansfield's neediest children by packing school supplies and at Christmas time providing gifts to families that community agencies identify!

The brains and muscle behind most of the opportunities Crossroads has locally, nationally and internationally all begin with Darlene.  She is a gift to Crossroads as she continues to create innovating missional opportunities for our congregation!  Everyone has the chance to be involved with missions!

On Friday Darlene gave instructions to everyone
waiting to sort the backpack supplies!

This is my friend Darlene.  So smart and so
dedicated to make missions come alive at Crossroads!

Anxious, willing volunteers giving their time to pack for needy children!

Next I headed downtown to the Brickyard where "Ballet in the Brickyard" was being set up.  I draw great energy from God's great creativity, with how he gifts people differently, even how He removes every excuse for not knowing Him simply through the creativity He displays in nature.  This scripture is what he showed me to support what we discussed.

Romans 1:19 & 20

The NEOS event in the Brickyard has continued to grow each year and I count it a great privilege that our Crossroads Art Group gets invited each year to be the group working 'live'.   Many of Mansfield's  best artists display their work, but we work live and it's such an opportunity to talk to people!

One of our artists, James,  even did a painting that featured dancers from the NEOS company from photography he did previously - that dancer bought it!  It was so much fun to watch her pleasure at seeing this painting!  We also got to talk to many people that were curious about Crossroads - we had Crossroads cards displayed that they took - even some of our Shelby cards!  We should all be very proud of the level of art our artists create, this group helps me do set design, picture ops for our lobby and various other events throughout the year.

This is where we were set up in front of the License Bureau.
Pam Frederici's gorgeous painting!  I appreciate Pam serving
so faithfully every time I need help - she's very talented and a
good friend!

This was Erin Watson's display - I hope Erin will have the chance to
do more with us in the future! She does beautiful calligraphy!

James Fleeson provided great "Mansfield' art!

This is Lucy - own of our students from Crossroads!
Nothing makes us happier than to see all the generations
working together - older to welcome young and mentoring
them - convincing them of what they can become!  And the
generations above them demonstrating by their very lives how God
affects your life and uses your talents! 

This beautiful dance group called NEOS is lead by one of my favorite
local couples!  Bobbie Wesner and his wife.  The ironic thing as I continue to
get to work with them, is my sister and her husband had 1 or both of them
in the youth group they once lead!  

Richland Academy's younger dancers also performed Saturday and were outstanding!
This beautiful ballet ending to Saturday will be one I will remember for a long time!

Sunday morning at Crossroads was SO exciting as we greeted many new visitors again!  I talked to one new couple we attended Saturday night and returned on Sunday they were so taken with the strong message and all they experienced in the Lord!   Oh my encouraging!

Ernesto leading the team!

After our wonderful services, we worked to prepare final details for our outdoor baptism!
Pastor Dave and the Elders of Crossroads!

Jesse's oldest daughter - baptized by daddy!
Doesn't get any better than that.

One of my good friend Judi, who herself has been through a ton recently,
spoke of a friend whose name she wrote under the carpet at our last Crossroads
location - and now years later, had the privilege of baptizing her precious friend!

My contribution - trying to balance the Rice Krispy Treats while dodging
my dog Vern who was trying to get in the Jeep.

It's a beautiful day when you watch your hubby baptize too!

As I said in the beginning, this was a weekend full of blessings, but also the furthering of God's Kingdom for all of eternity!!

Friday, August 3, 2018

todays striving

Without self-control, we become the slaves of all our enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) and become incapacitated, unable to serve God and one another or even our own best interests.  We end up not only serving ourselves, but we become slaves to our appetites.  Keathley

I'm the one that always puts ridiculous goals and strivings on my plate daily, when all the Lord asks for is obedience and walking away from anything that hinders me growing closer to Him

I want my everyday, ordinary life to point people toward Jesus.  Both the things I do as well as the things I choose to avoid in order not to cause the stumbling of others. 

Our lives lived for Him can actually 'make the gospel believable' for the next generation.  That's a weighty responsibility, but a worthy striving.

Will you join me in this being today's striving for Him?  Self-control, a step toward becoming what He needs us to be in order to fulfill our calling?