Wednesday, April 29, 2020

covid-19

COVID-19
Two lines from a song I heard last week just keep playing in my mind...

Things aren't falling apart...
They're falling into place!


The inconveniences that have occurred in my life due to this pandemic are annoying.  Some friends are positive it's strictly political, others are sure it was caused by another country, and still some think it's just a matter of the US spending money on the wrong things and not being prepared themselves.  The only conclusion I can draw safely I think, is that it is a life-threatening virus combined with other physical weakness/disease.

But it has not touched my extended family, so I've listened to the news but gone about my 'socially distancing way'.

This morning was one of those mornings when as I read updates I was overwhelmed with just a small glimpse of what this is causing regardless of origin.

Requests for prayer talked about a gentlemen with a life threatening illness that was also found to have covid-19 when scheduled for a much needed surgery.  Other family members tested positive too.

And as our Missions' Director described how completely helpless some of the foreign villages are right now that our Crossroads teams have served before  ...  no way to get food - no way to get life saving supplies, I felt deep, deep sympathy and it drove me to prayer.

I see what the Bible teaches about God's people running back to Him when troubling times occur, and that's what's been happening with me.  Every time I get overwhelmed with sorrow and go to prayer instead of worrying or complaining about anything in my life - it's proof again - tough times draw us back to the Savior.

Wouldn't you think, especially those of us who are now considered "mature believers" would just stay there - praying and worshipping and not even notice the trouble around us?  It's embarrassing to see the depths we must fall to remain in fellowship with the Lord.  It's what He designed us for.

Our country is broken - this is when believers need to be the church!  Things aren't falling apart...they'll falling into place!  This is the exact place God's needs for His plans to be complete!

We aren't physically together but have enjoyed uninterrupted teachings and worship for years -
TIME TO USE IT!

Friday, April 17, 2020

I need a hug

Today my sister and I took some groceries to my mom. 

We kept our distance from one another, but I NEED a hug! 

We spent time laughing and cleaning and surveying what she has so we can re-stock her supplies.  We watched our favorite tv show all the while staying 6 ft. apart.  I really wanted to grab my mom and hug her!

I wore my mask, washed my hands multiple times at my mom's house and my sister wiped every surface we touched while we were there with disinfectant.  We will do what our government recommends, but the minute I'm allowed to, I'm going in for a hug!!!

I'm thankful for family, and friends and my church family - but I didn't realize how much I am physically missing everyone until today - hand shakes, hugs, high-fives - ANYTHING...who thought we'd ever not be allowed to touch?

I think it's almost over, and again, I can't imagine how hopeless and lonely it would be without the Hope we find in Jesus.

Hug whoever you're allowed to hug tonight and praise the Lord for that person like never before!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I have to admit...

I have to admit, before this time of isolation, I was a hurrier - for the first time in a very long time He has my full attention!

Considering this time at home I think of some the phrases I've heard and ignored my whole life describing slowing down - resting...

Take time to smell the roses

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans

The best things in life are free

Enjoy the little things because one day you may look back and realize they were the big things


As the sun hit my tulips this morning it caused me to catch my breath at their beauty.  If things were normal I probably would have rushed by.  Instead I took time to consider, why  does the almighty God care about such detail?  It caused me to praise Him and thank Him for his attention to detail in creation - things that all the hard work and hurrying around could never duplicate...

Matthew 6:38 & 39
And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.  Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Today I encourage you to take a hard look around you - maybe go outside while we still have a glimpses of the sun (probably won't last long in Ohio!).  And worship the God that controls every detail of all of creation, including the details of your life!




Monday, April 13, 2020

now what

So...our days are filled with the following right now...  so now what?  All we hear are

warnings about face masks, gloves, staying 6 feet apart...

so far much lower numbers of people with the virus then projected....what should we believe?

separated in our own homes - I even read recently about a husband and wife staying in separate rooms of the house (yes, they get along fine)...

people are scared and now people are getting mad about not being "allowed" to return to work...

a beat up freedom
worry about losing our freedom.. it's a beat up freedom right now

people sure we'll all be forced to have embedded chips put in us (666?)

required vaccines that some are completely against

certain people supposedly taking advantage of a problem to promote their own political agenda

I could go on, and on to describe our current situation, but here is the only question we who call Jesus Lord need to consider. 

Do we really believe He is who He says He is
If so, then we also believe that the Lord needed all of this to happen in order to fulfill His plan.  He allowed it to happen...He is just as much in control now as He was when we were all enjoying the freedom to go wherever we wanted to.  Right?

Although we may all have some difficult situations to face as a result of the massive shut down, if we abide in Him - we need not worry, we should not worry but be continuously looking around asking Him what He needs us to do.

In difficulty the Gospel ALWAYS grows - we may get to see a revival like we've never seen in our lifetime! 

It may be difficult and very hard, and our freedom may not look the same - but, it's going to look exactly like Jesus needs it to look!  So, let's look constantly for any opportunity the Lord gives us to spread the hope that only a life in Him has a possibility of enjoying!  Let's look very different from the hopeless around us. 

Stay strong in Him!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

things to do

Without exaggerating I probably have 20 times this many to go through
Besides the work I've done for my real job, I'm also trying to make this time of slowing down productive at home.

One of my final projects is that of sorting through 61 years of pictures.

As I look at each picture they each are attached to a specific memory and many people and times that I can see now I took for granted.  Sometimes quickly coming and going as if I assumed I'd always have them close.

Many are gone now,  One I miss so much is my dad, but I'm glad he's  already with our Savior or he'd be ranting like a crazy man about the government and anything else he heard on TV!  He was a blast, although slightly off-base on some of his facts!  Ha Ha!

We just received a copy of the notes Crossroads has received thanking the staff for calling and caring for our congregation in this time of loneliness and uncertainty.

But one sentence stuck out to me the most.  It was from a dear Crossroads' lady that said...

Things are not falling apart, but falling into place!

SO PROFOUND!  It simply summarized everything completely!

Within my list of things to do, I plan most of all to take a look at everything I hear and see with the eyes and ears of someone anticipating and expecting to begin to see what God intends it to accomplish!  Just as Pastor Dave taught in the story of Joseph - what looks like chaos to us is just part of what has to happen to accomplish God's plan!

Exciting!!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

uncertain future

I'm sure this time away from work and school has had a different meaning to everyone, but for me, God's driven home that fact that the future is uncertain.  Certainly not something we should put any trust in!

It's not something I haven't known, but perhaps something I haven't believed?

My job has always required that I'm focused on what's next - future plans for Crossroads.  I rarely even think about what's currently happening at Crossroads except for evaluating events and the current services and attending of course.  Even while I'm home I'm looking ahead at our next trips, and guests and plans...wake up call - spend more time focused on what you know is sure, this day that God has given me.

My desire is to live 'sold-out' to the Lord, and while the things I'm involved in around me aren't wrong, they're what I put first a lot of days.  All you have to do is look at what takes up my time each day and it doesn't take long to realize just how pre-occupied I am with stuff.

Based on what my life sometimes looks like you can tell I assume nothing's going to change, like the future is certain just the way it is.

This disruption has been a wake-up-call for me personally.  I don't know if we'll go through as bad a time as other countries have before the rate of sickness slows down, but I think for another few weeks we need to assume it will and take FULL advantage of focused time with God and family and "stay in".

When have we ever had a bigger opportunity to be home?  To create a new routine with priorities where they should be.  Not giving the Lord a little more time out of our day - as if that's doing Him a favor...but by building our day with time for Him truly being central to all I do.

Pastor Wendell just shared an article with the executive team that contained this quote:

“While the world around us is filled with fear and uncertainty, this is our opportunity to shine like lights in the darkness. We can be a community of people with calm hearts like the sea, a community that has listened to His voice and announces His great power and infinite love to the world.”

Isn't it mind-blowing that God can use us even just by staying calm??  A calm spirit proves to those worried around us that we really believe that God is in control!

May we understand that just as Pastor Dave is teaching this weekend in Joseph's life, He's already got  the future totally laid out, and He knows exactly what needs to happen to get us there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

who is my neighbor

I was reading the teaching about the Good Samaritan this morning.

The conversation began with Jesus being asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" in Luke 10:25-37 Jesus responds, "what does the law say?"  And the man replied, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

Jesus says, "You've answered correctly, do this and you will live".

The man then asks, "But, who is my neighbor?" 

From there Jesus uses the story of the Good Samaritan and at the end asks him who he thinks the good neighbor was...

Who is my neighbor?  This question grabbed my attention possibly because of our current circumstances of "Stay in".

It's very difficult for me to just "abide in Him", I always feel like I should be doing something physical in order to "be a good neighbor, or friend, or wife or mom..."

This is perhaps a time like never before to Trust Him and just to wait for opportunities that He provides to be a good neighbor.  So our assignment for this morning is to Love Him with our entire being and then to be ready to serve Whoever our Neighbor turns out to be when He creates that opportunity...

Who is your neighbor?

Monday, March 16, 2020

Forced to stop

This is a crazy time, a time where our plans are all forced to stop!

It's a time that proves once again that you cannot assume you will have a tomorrow that looks the same as yesterday.

I was out early this morning getting all errands run so I could take advantage of being home, getting some projects done and then relaxing.

I saw fear in people's eyes.



I heard conversations that made me sad...a lady at the front of the line at the grocery store talked about how scared she was.  Her husband was waiting to hear if he'd be let go from his job and she herself had very few hours to count on, she said "I'm scared".

This period of time is going to give us so many opportunities to share the Gospel and explain to people that God is the only unchangeable in all of creation.   But, right now there are also practical ways we can be Jesus to people.   And I suspect that may be even more powerful than just talking right now.  There is SO much talking right now....

Watch for opportunities that wouldn't have existed a couple of weeks ago without the virus.  It's not that hard to understand how the Lord will use this time to lead people to Himself!

Men offer nothing to turn to, nothing to count on that can't change in a moment of time.

God Almighty is the same yesterday, today and forever!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

thankful for my marriage

I sat near an older couple, ok they were probably my age, recently meeting for the first time and discussing their past marriages talking about the fact that it's hard to date in your 60's, I'm pretty sure they met on-line.

It made me VERY thankful for my marriage.

We recently moved and found that it drew us closer together, a common dream and quite the challenge to empty a house after being there 23 years and squeezing into a tiny house!  So fun.

I also appreciate a ministry that offers opportunities to grow closer as a couple.  

Currently Crossroads is offering a Valentines Banquet CLICK HERE for couples and singles both and we're bringing Kirk Cameron live to speak to us about both marriage and parenting.  PLEASE register right away CLICK HERE.

I'm challenging you to take advantage of both of these events, as well as classes and groups being offered right now in our Winter Semester CLICK HERE to see the catalogue, and try to be intentional about being thankful for your marriage!

Go love your spouse well!