Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Christmas time is here

I would appreciate prayers today as I tackle Crossroads' Christmas.

It's such an opportunity for visitors to come and hear the Gospel that I take it very seriously!  We put a whole lot of prayer and planning into this one service - so prayers would be appreciated.

I value all of your friendships so much! Thanks for always being willing to pray!

Fa la la la la!

Image may contain: christmas tree and indoor

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

God the great healer

In ministry it's easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of people going through horrible medical issues at any given time.  With each request my heart aches for them, and for them their sole focus is on pursuing healing.  And it's a journey I count a privilege to walk with them.

I spent time talking to three different families this past weekend going through terrible struggles and I'm just taking time this morning to dedicate specific time to asking the Great physician to guide them through this time - and specifically for healing.

Several of them have surgeries or testing that's very important this week - will you join me in prayer for them?

"Father, you created us all completely designed for the purpose we play in your master plan.  A plan to lead the lost to you.  Father, please guide the hands of the surgeons this week as they operate on my brothers and sisters in you!  And may they spiritually experience a closeness to you they've never felt before, a realization of who you are in a way they've never known.

If it please you Lord, PLEASE heal these dear people that are fighting so hard to be well.  I trust you Lord, and they all know you Lord and rest in your love for them. Amen."

Find someone struggling today, wrap your arms around them - help them to be held in the Saviors arms!

Monday, July 1, 2019

my day off

As I sat outside on this glorious morning having some quiet time with the Almighty, today's study was on waiting.  That sounds familiar - Pastor Dave's been taking us through the book of Habakkuk!

The interesting part she discussed about waiting was what they did while they waited.  She talked about the fact that there's always work that can be done during the waiting.  Sometimes it's simply being quiet before God and doing some soul-searching and making ourselves available.  And other times there's actual physical work that needs to be done just to prepare us for what God's going to reveal at the end of the waiting.  Like Noah did while he waited for rain!

So to those of you in a season of waiting, take great encouragement from the amazing people God used in the Bible that waited, possibly much longer periods of waiting than God may ask us to be in.

I don't feel like I'm waiting right now, but still I'm asking myself as I write this, what is God's plan for this day before me?  How can just a day-off affect eternity for His glory...I guess I'll just remain in Him and wait and see what He has for me as I put one foot in front of the other and enter this day!

Monday, June 10, 2019

a miracle water

I won't use the actual name of the magic 'packet of water' that I just saw advertised on TV.

I feel like this type of advertising gimmick just proves once again how desperate we are to believe in something, someone...

Can you imagine being so desperate for eternal life, for healing, for support that you would place your hope in a package of water?

I can't explain how sad this made me, while at the same time it proved once again God created us to believe in something - to believe in Him.

Shame on me for not taking every opportunity to tell others of this amazing Savior that will fill EVERY desire they've ever had, a Savior that died so we don't have to suffer eternally.

I worship the Creator of the water, the designer of the very molecules that make up what men believe in.

Not a packet of special water.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

spreading seed

I'm in my happy place today, spending time in God's Word on my sunny deck.

Watching birds eat from our feeders, dogs play and just exhaling.  It's a very good place.

The devotional I was reading today reminded me that each of us is gifted exactly as God intended so that we can be used by Him for the purpose of spreading His message.

I Corinthians 3:8-10 says, "He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled[a] master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.

It reminded me that although the Lord is the divine Sower, He places seeds in MY hands!  I don't have to have it all figured out, just be ready to take advantage of opportunities he lays right in front of me every day to sow into someone's life!

I loved this line from the study, " When I'm exhaling and not hyperventilating He uses me to spread seeds."  We are not usable when we're running non-stop and not listening to that quiet voice that allows us to recognize opportunities to spread the seed so the Holy Spirit can do God's work in someone's life.

I had a conversation with someone at Crossroads this weekend who said "as I get older I just look at my life and wonder, what have I done with my life?"  This is the tug at our heart to find our life's work and worth in Jesus alone.  Simply living an 'available' life with a heart surrendered to Him - with time to listen is all He requires.

It's no accident where God has placed you, there are seed to be sown that only your can spread!!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Crossroads concerts and special things

One of the things I love about Crossroads is the visionary leadership that allows us to be the premier provider of Christian music, special guests and speakers that bring quality to Mansfield that we wouldn't otherwise get to enjoy close to home.

I was going through pictures and trying to delete emails and old things from my computer when I found the pictures I took of the recent Sidewalk Prophets' concert at Crossroads and thought I'd share them!  These men were very kind and very passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus!

Here are a few of the shots I got of them!
Preparing our stage for the show

Crossroads volunteers helped to sell the merch

Sidewalk Prophets invited us to pray with them before the show!

We're looking forward to hosting Danny Gokey on October 10th, Gokey Tickets Here; and Tim Hawkins November 8th, Hawkins Tickets Here !

I hope you'll join us for both shows and use them as opportunities to invite friends that won't come to a regular church service please!!  Only your support of these concerts and our special things will allow us to continue bringing amazing things to Crossroads!

Friday, April 26, 2019

our Easter celebration

Our worship of the risen Savior began long before the public viewing of our work.

It began with ideas that we weren't sure would even work or how we were going to do them.  It began with prayer over those ideas asking the Lord to make it clear to us what He chose.  It began with casting the vision and convincing others to join the work.  It began with a commitment to whatever it required to be ready in time.  And it began with a hope that God would use it to change lives for all of eternity...and He did!!

We gave out over 50 Believers Packets as Pastor Dave carefully explained what it means to make a decision for Christ - to Empty ourself of all the shame, guilt and past regrets to simply follow Him!

It was obvious in our world that's so FULL of stuff and choices that people still feel so EMPTY.

Isn't it ironic that we have to be willing to give up our junk, to EMPTY ourselves in order to truly feel FULL?  Only the death and resurrection of a Savior fills us.

This is what my Easter season looked like!

I loved this picture, it's perhaps the one that sums up everything!  From children to
adults writing on the empty tomb - writing what they wanted Jesus to empty their lives of!

Behind the scenes at Crossroads with Justin our actor!  He worked hard to memorize
the drama for our video!
My precious son Eric our amazing videographer
working on behind the scenes pieces of the video drama.

Eric video taping Justin in his office.

Willow Creek was so generous to explain to me how
to make the 'oil concoction'.  

This is one of my favorite son and grandson shooting the 'hand shots'
from the video/drama.  Where God washed the dirt of our lives away...

Although holidays are the busiest for us in ministry, we always try to still make
it fun for our family!

We miss our precious ones in North Carolina, but the Lord is already using them
in amazing ways as a family in their community and church!
I LOVED the simplicity of Good Friday.  It was the first Good Friday service I've ever gotten
to create and it was one of my favorite services in 23 years!  I think our lives are starving for
simplicity in Jesus...a focus away from the emptiness of life.

We even had fun at rehearsal!

The boys in the band!!
I loved the simplicity of the set design and I LOVED they way it
connected Good Friday to Easter!!  (HUGE shout out to Eric Longstreth's work)

Our amazingly gifted Senior Pastor Dave Vance - our friend!!

Monica and Ernesto using what God gifted them to do!

Meanwhile leading up to Easter, our fearless Worship Pastor Ernesto,
was also playing the role of Jesus in a musical!  What??

Our lobby at Crossroads

People used the backgrounds exactly as we had prayed they would!
Both as a place to write the things the Lord was emptying them of
as well as a place to take pictures with friends and families.  These simple backgrounds
become part of their families' forever stories.

I stood off in the distance and watched a precious friend battling
cancer write Empty of Cancer on the tomb and wept when she
walked away - lifting her in prayer!!

In all the years I've been involved in creating things at Crossroads, I think these two guys by far have logged the most hours
helping me!  My amazing, perfect husband Ron and our dear friend Greg Crawfis!!  They roll their eyes but don't complain!  ha ha ha!!  A huge shout out to Dan Zachman for helping construct the tombs!

We decided at the suggestion of a friend to leave the walls from the EMPTY tomb up this weekend for people to see what was written on those walls during the other services of Easter weekend.  
As our new series EMPTY begins it will continue to be relevant as we examine our lives and submit them to the Lord!

To God be the glory - for His sacrifice for us.
And thank you to the leadership at Crossroads which gives us space to create, figure it out and ultimately be a team God uses to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!

Monday, April 8, 2019

preparing for Easter

I was reflecting with my hubby today about the fact that this will be the 21st year I've been involved in helping design Easter for Crossroads. The years pass like the blink of an eye!

Every year I wonder what we can possibly do to provide another experience that will draw people to Christ, bring a new understanding of His sacrifice for us, and we pray and we plan and we hope...

I always go through a difficult nervous time of casting the vision for all the pieces and parts that I've gathered all year long, ideas I think we need to include (vision casting is NOT one of my gifted areas), and when the original idea is all approved I LOVE the part of hands on work.  Kind of the middle part of the process - writing scripts - tweaking ideas we find to make them our own, physically showing the teams pictures of what I want created.

Then I hit another nerve racking part of the process, turning all the things over to the experts on our staff -  like shooting video and being willing to hold loosely to my ideas as other gifted people also touch the project and bring their own view of what should be created.  Everyone involved gets to insert 'better things' then what the original idea included!  And one of the most frustrating parts of waiting always has to do with set design both on stage and in the lobby because I'm so visual I desperately need to 'see' it fast, and that just can't happen.  And if my eyes aren't focused on Him, I worry.

And that's the part of Easter we're in now, waiting for everyone else to complete their parts.  This is the part that all I can contribute for the next few days is prayer over the project, lots of prayer, and just staying out of the way!

Each time we get to take the creation of a special event or service and lead others to join us in order to complete the dream - it's actually a pretty good example of the life Christ creates for us.

He creates us with a specific 'role to play' that no one else can fulfill.  He then surrounds us with all the people and resources we NEED (not want), to fulfill His plan.  It's the letting go of OUR plans, it's the discipline of accepting it won't look exactly as we think it should and finally just sitting back when all you can do is pray part that's the most difficult.

So, as we finish preparing Easter services at Crossroads, will you pray with us? 

The entire process takes place to win others to Him!!  We can create the fanciest, most amazing service of all time and still not accomplish a thing, unless you invite your friends to join you!!   Please grab a handful of the Easter postcards we created and just lay them on a friends desk at work, invite a  relative that you know needs to meet the Savior and together let's be crazy determined to do our part, the part only we can play, to make all the work and planning and praying usable by the God of the universe!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

21 Days

As many of you know, our ministry is partaking in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. 

I love an organized plan of action like this!  Even though I haven't asked anyone to hold me accountable for a daily commitment to prayer and fasting, just knowing so many of my Crossroads Church brothers and sisters are also participating makes me feel responsible to be committed.

I loved this statement in the challenge "Repentance means an internal change of heart that leads to an external change of action" - it explains so well the 'why' of repentance.

As I've spent some time preparing my heart for today, I pray for an internal change that identifies what needs to change in my life!

Will you join me?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

building a legacy

My devotions hit me right where I am today.

I was sitting here trying to think of something spectacular that my grandkids will remember on our Tuesday together...

Then I sat down and was quiet long enough for God to speak - I Samuel 16:7&8 talks about God not using what the world expects Him to use.  Samuel looked at all of Jesse's sons' as a candidate for the future king of Israel.  Some were tall in stature, some had accomplishments that were admirable - but Samuel turned to Jesse and said, "Are these all the sons you have?".  Shocked Jesse told him he had the youngest song tending sheep in the field.  Surely God wouldn't make an animal tender king?

The minute Samuel saw David he knew this was the anointed one that God would make king!

Short, dirty probably even smelly - just like the laundry we do each day...

God teaches us what He needs us to learn in our everyday life - usually NOT in the spectacular!

If we're in God's word, quietly spending time with Him he will use us to reach our full potential.

Our grandson excepted Jesus into his heart a week ago.  It wasn't spectacular kids programming that moved him, it was his parents being available to talk with him when he had questions - not on cell phones, not watching TV or playing on-line games - talking...quiet...available.

When I shared this news with my team a week ago at Crossroads praising Jesus - Pastor Dave said "your legacy"...

The only legacy I have to leave is serving my grandkids and my children, being available to those in ministry I serve with, asking God to help me show them what being set-apart from the world and available means.  Nothing spectacular, just being available, just being who God created me to be.

Monday, February 4, 2019

a second look

When you hear the phrase a second look, many things come to mind.

  • Men taking a second look at a pretty girl
  • When we're searching for a new home we might decide to take a second look at one we may be interested in.
  • When you're confused by what you thought you just saw, so you decide to take a second look just to make sure.

I recently got the dreaded call back from my doctor wanting radiologists from Columbus to take a second look at my yearly mammogram.  I knew that if I saw the office name come up on my phone  on a certain day it would only be because they wanted to see me again. That was a second look I never wanted to happen.  And of course this couldn't happen for two weeks!

The Lord was extremely kind and they had an opening just a couple days after I got 'the call".

Within minutes of arriving and having another mammogram, I was assured all was good, and instantly all my concern turned to thankfulness to the Lord, the great healer.

But, it was interesting as I went through my day how almost a feeling of guilt came over me for celebrating good health.

I've watched several of my closest friends going through countless testing just trying to identify what they're struggling with right now and it made me wonder why God chose me to be well.   I also have other friends who have a long road back to good health after facing a difficult diagnosis.

So the question that would not leave me was - if my diagnosis had been different, would I have still come out of that doctors office praising the Lord?  I didn't know...

I guess if even such a minor scare caused me to reach out to the Lord and ask for His help, I can see how these couple days of concern were used to turn my heart more fully toward Him.  It caused me to take a second look at what should be priorities and even to deal with the shame of worry which stands in direct contrast to a trusting spirit.

I plan to keep taking a second look at my life - asking the Lord to reveal what needs to change, and to be more involved with those who are going through suffering right now.

On this beautiful morning this scripture came to my mind...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. 
Lamentations 3:22 & 23

Monday, January 28, 2019

31 years ago today

Today we celebrate as a family one of our greatest memories - our son's birth.

How can he already be 31?

I remember the night - about a 9 hour labor - doctor leaving because it was "shift change time", and getting called back from the parking lot...hubby in the waiting room telling everyone it was going to be a while and nurse going to retrieve him to return to delivery.

Soon after corralling everyone - Eric made his appearance.  7' 8oz - and our lives changed forever.

All of a sudden life moves from days filled with work and friends and traveling and learning Biblical truths -to responsibility and a reason for all the things you've previously done.

Suddenly we became committed and determined and intentional with our time, treasure and talents in ways we never had before.

And this young man was a gift straight from the Lord!

His adulthood has just been a larger version of his childhood habits and learning both spiritually and in including and caring for those around him.

Eric is one of the most God honoring, dependable, intelligent, artistically gifted - both musically as well as physically and technically gifted men I've ever known, has endless abilities to problem solve, repair things, and never stops dreaming of new things to come and how to make anything better!

His heart for the less fortunate is evident in he and his wives' desire to restore old homes - and to acquire beautiful buildings he can invite friends to live in.

Although reluctant to attend college he went, finished early with a Ministry Degree and is constantly looking for ways to really use that degree to improve the community around him!

He's a dedicated family man, we all spend countless hours together - and having Jocelyn move away recently has made us even more aware of how rare this opportunity is to spend so much time together.

This 31st birthday allows us a little time in our lives just to celebrate our son and the amazing, loving, generous man he has become!

Happy Birthday son - it's impossible to express what you mean to us!  We love you to the moon and back!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

alone time

Since it hasn't been as easy to just hop in my Jeep and run around the past couple days, I've been at home more than usual....a lot of alone time and have found I've enjoyed it immensely.  (Well outside the fact that our furnace is only capable of running at about 55 degrees...).

We were so busy over the holidays that it never even entered my mind to make new commitments to the Lord -  New Year's resolutions - so to speak.

That's why I'm thankful we waited to launch our "21 Days of Prayer and Fasting" until February.  You'll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks, we're working to prepare the 'guide booklet'!

I would encourage each of you to prepare now to make time in your day to really commit to being part of this!  Can you imagine the ways God could use Crossroads if we all fully turned our time and focus over to Him??

Shortly after our 21 Days come to an end, we'll also host one of the Community Nights of Prayer on March 12th. All the churches are being asked to consider hosting one of these nights.   This will be a tremendous time of prayer - coming together as the Mansfield community to lift up our leaders, broken community and ministry to the Lord!

Our area of Ohio is now known as one of the worst drug areas in the country - we can't change that alone- but God can when His people come together to make a difference through prayer and showing  the lost the only way to a meaningful life - Jesus Christ!

We know the Savior of the World personally, and it's time to start letting our community know!!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

what Christmas meant

As we get rested up from Christmas, I've had some time to consider what Christmas meant this year...

The emotions ran high!

I went from doubting that it would ever come together - to the excitement or progress, and then felt loneliness under the weight of responsibility  - I went from exhaustion to the exhilaration of accomplishment and then fell into a deep contentment as we were surrounded by family!  I just love the challenge to create and relish the years I've been involved with many other team members working on the details.  The enjoyment of creating doesn't lessen the emotions we experience, but this year when we gave out over 60 new believer packets to people that raised their hands indicating a decision to follow Christ, any worry we had experienced was immediately forgotten and turned to praise!

In the midst of preparing Christmas there were intentional moments of reflection on the true meaning of a Savior born for me...a breath taking realization!

I love the season despite it's hectic requirements - and realize what a privilege it is to try each year to tell the story in a true, compelling way praying it makes the story of Jesus come alive to someone for the first time!

You can watch our service here Christmas at Crossroads

I took many pictures that I'd like to share - they tell the story of the journey called Christmas!

Crossroads Artist Group created light-bulb decorations
for the Crossroads tree at Kingwood

Grandmas helpers with the Crossroads' Christmas

When your talented daughter writes a book...what a blessing to read this Christmas!
Jocelyn Hunsader, author.

This precious little one was part of our Christmas video shoot!

My talented son Eric Biddle shot the Christmas videos

Our precious friend Kristin playing the part of the doctor in our video

It was a cold video shoot day

Such generous Crossroads' attendees braving the cold for our video shoot

Family all together at the carousel! 

Ernesto brought the house down with "Mary Did You Know"!
It was a definite highlight!

Loved working with these hilarious, talented gentlemen!!

A whole row of my Ashland cousins - so thankful for extended family I love!!

Blessed to have the amazing group The Trio playing in our lobby!

Beautiful flowers for the talented granddaughter dancer!

A star is born!

Good friends for Christmas lunch - Dana and Sue!

Cousins so happy to be back together!

Not sure who likes legos more?

Oliver and grandpa carrying Grandma Forbes' new tv down to her!
Family helping to take all the decorations down and clean for the Celebration services!

Loving being together again!

I encourage all of you with grandkids to let them serve with you and see you serve in the church,
if they grow up doing it they take such pride in serving others and spending time at church!!

This about wraps up my blessed Christmas.  I can't thank all of you who made Christmas at Crossroads a possibility, and all of my friends that prayed for me and encouraged me as we planned and executed the services with our amazing teams!!  Happy New Year!