Crossroads: The Presence of the Holy Spirit

Several years ago on a weekend retreat, I gathered with a group of teenagers in a dimly lit room to share an Agape Love Feast. Earlier, we had set up the room with candles, a plate of bread, and a large cup of grape juice. Before we entered the room, all of us took off our shoes and made a commitment to be silent as we entered.

Crossroads: I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I didn’t always feel pretty as a teenager. I went through the usual gawky teen phase, with braces and acne and glasses. There were times when I wished that I looked like someone else.

A Bowed Head

“Give us, this day, our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). It is a prayer answered when we sit at a table for a meal—unless we are on a diet and have given up carbohydrates.

Crossroads: The Presence of the Holy Spirit

Several years ago on a weekend retreat, I gathered with a group of teenagers in a dimly lit room to share an Agape Love Feast. Earlier, we had set up the room with candles, a plate of bread, and a large cup of grape juice.

Crossroads: He Is Risen!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Easter is such a wonderful time. The dark, somber mourning of Good Friday has passed and in its place is new life, lots of color, and thankful spirits.

Crossroads: Good Friday

Have you ever had a week start off well, but by the end of it all hope seems lost? Terrible things happen all at once, and you just aren’t sure how you’re going to make it another hour, let alone another day.

Crossroads: Palm Sunday

I love celebrations. In particular, I love birthdays. I love finding the perfect present and celebrating who that person is. I love my birthday as well, but it’s always a little odd to me.

Crossroads: Pride

As Americans, we focus a lot on accomplishments. We give trophies to kids who win at sports. We sometimes ask “what did you accomplish today?” We focus on the accomplishments of others and reward them for it.

Crossroads: Our Wisdom vs. God’s Wisdom

There are many instances in my childhood where logic got me into trouble. It usually began with me saying “I told you so” and you can guess that it didn’t end well.

Crossroads: Rules vs. Grace

I love lists. I make to-do lists, grocery lists, lists of things to clean, etc. Whatever it is, if I can make it into a list, I probably have.

Crossroads: I Doubt It

When I was a child, we always played a game called “I doubt it” when we went on vacation. It was a card game and the point was to be the person who got rid of all of their cards first.

Crossroads: Train Up a Child

I loved going to church as a child. I loved Sunday school, VBS, choir, worship, and everything else I went to. I wanted to be there every time the doors were open.

Crossroads: Never Again

How many times have we said “never again?” I’ll never eat there again. I won’t eat THAT again. I’ll never lie again. I’ll never go there again. I’ll never stay there again. We tend to say “never again” a lot.

Crossroads: Ash Wednesday

I always feel the weight of the ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. It wasn’t until I went to a Catholic school in middle school that I began participating in Ash Wednesday services.

Crossroads: Praise the Lord!

As I write this, my family is getting ready to remember several losses in our family. On January 25th, we lost my great-grandmother (my mom’s grandmother) and my aunt (my dad’s sister), two years apart.

Crossroads: Majesty

When’s the last time you stopped and looked at the wonders of creation? Things like waterfalls, caves, canyons, mountains, and more. One of my favorite parts of creation is the waterfall.

Crossroads: Being Creative

As a child, I loved making up songs. I’d make up the tune as well as the words and sing these songs to myself as I played. Occasionally I even wrote the words down.

Crossroads: Our Holy God – Isaiah

One of my favorite TV shows is “The Andy Griffith Show.” In one episode of the show, Opie Taylor, son of Andy Taylor who is the sheriff of Mayberry, gets his report card in school.

Crossroads: Hope – Ezekiel

Sometimes our world seems hopeless. Whenever I see the news about a natural disaster, a terrible crash, or a horrific tragedy, the world seems hopeless in those moments. But then something happens.

Crossroads: Clay in the Potter’s Hands – Jeremiah

Have you ever tried to make something out of clay? I remember when I was in elementary school, we were given an art assignment to make a piece of pottery out of a lump of clay.

Crossroads: The Candle of Peace/Love – Angels

During the fourth week of Advent, you will light three purple candles and the pink candle. The first two purple candles are the candle of prophecy/hope and the candle of Bethlehem.

Crossroads: The Candle of Joy – Shepherds

During the third week of Advent, we light the Shepherds candle, the candle of Joy. You will also be lighting the first two purple candles (the candle of prophecy and the Bethlehem candle).

Crossroads: The Candle of Preparation – Mary and Joseph

This week we light the second candle on the Advent wreath. This candle is often referred to as the Candle of Preparation, or the Bethlehem Candle. As we light the second candle, our focus centers on Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus, the Christ child.

Crossroads: The Candle of Prophecy – Elizabeth and Zechariah

Welcome to the first week of Advent, a time of waiting and preparation as we prepare for the birth of Christ. This week you will light the first purple candle, the candle of prophecy and hope.

Crossroads: Deborah – Human Strength vs. God’s Strength

I’ve never been the strongest person in the room. There are many things that I simply cannot pick up. So as frustrating as it may be, I’ve learned not to rely on my own physical strength. But relying on God for other types of strength isn’t as easy.

Crossroads: Elisha – But That’s Ridiculous!

As a child, I loved to watch a show called Doug. It was an animated show about a boy named Doug who has moved to a new town and started a brand new school. It follows his adventures with his best friends, Skeeter and Patti, and his dog, Porkchop.

Crossroads: Daniel – Angels in Disguise

Sixth grade was a tough year for me. My church was dividing and my mom and stepfather were getting a divorce. And then school became rough.

Crossroads: Amos – Praying for Others

A missionary came to our church when I was a child in the missions program. The missionary told us wonderful stories about his work for God. He told us how he had started a church from a very small group of people.

Crossroads: Love That Endures

We hear stories of senior adults who have been married for 70+ years. For these their love has endured. It seems like in each instance it wasn’t because they always felt like they were in love.

Crossroads: Waiting

When I was a kid, I loved playing baseball. We had several practices each week, but even when the team didn’t have a scheduled practice, I liked to go to the ball field by myself and practice hitting, catching, and running the bases.

Crossroads: The Lord is My Shepherd

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Israel for several weeks. This trip was an incredible spiritual high point in my life filled with many wonderful and memorable experiences.

Crossroads: Dependability

When things get super busy, I tend to feel stressed and overwhelmed. This was especially true in college, when it sometimes seemed as if there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

Crossroads: Guilty

Have you ever done something wrong and felt very guilty afterwards? We all have. It could be something as simple as ignoring a rule, telling a secret you were supposed to keep, or saying something mean about someone else, or something much more serious for which you were unable to undo the damage.

Crossroads: Burying the Hatchet – Philemon

Many years ago when I was in elementary school, my family and I visited the Native American reservation in Cherokee, N.C. I remember many things about that trip, but there was one story I heard on that visit that has always been my strongest memory.

Crossroads: A Great Helper – Phoebe

When I was seven or eight years old, my parents decided to move a piano from one floor of our house to another. It was a good idea. The only problem was that we had to move a piano up eight stairs, and the piano was very, very heavy.

Crossroads: Experiences of Grief – Mary, Martha

One of the saddest experiences in life is when someone or something we love dies. I remember the first time one of my pets died. Blackey was our family cat.

Crossroads: More than ‘I’m Sorry’ – Zacchaeus

When I was growing up, I had two younger brothers. Sometimes my brothers and I would get into arguments with each other and occasionally these arguments would turn into mild scuffles. These scuffles were never very bad, but usually someone ended up getting hurt or crying.

Crossroads: When You Get Excited…And Then You Freeze – Peter

Have you ever gotten really excited about something brand new only to find yourself freezing up and getting scared? Perhaps it was going to a new school, starting a new job, buying a new car, or even the time between getting engaged and getting married.

Crossroads: When You Have to Stand Up For Someone – Esther

Bullying comes in a lot of different forms. When I was in middle school, there was a girl who always teased me. She made fun of me and just would not leave me alone. To make matters worse, we were related.

Crossroads: When You Feel Like You’re Too Young to Do Anything- Josiah

“You’re too young.” “You’ll be able to do this when you’re older.” Sound familiar? Chances are you’ve heard this before, and perhaps have even said this to your children. It seems like most of our lives as children are spent impatiently waiting to grow up.

Crossroads: When It Seems As If There’s No Hope – Hannah

When I was 11, my world came crashing down. My mother and stepfather were divorcing, my church was breaking, and I didn’t have any friends at school. I felt as if things would always be this way—that there was no hope of anything being different.

Crossroads: When You Fight With Your Siblings – Jacob and Esau

My sister was born when I was 7. I’m pretty sure her first phrase was directed at me and was “you’re not my momma.” We have had a love/hate relationship ever since, as most siblings do.

Crossroads: When What God Tells You Seems Crazy – Sarah

I think that God loves the element of surprise. He loves to do unexpected and, at times, seemingly impossible things. And usually when God shares these things with us, the things He wants us to do, they seem crazy.

Crossroads: The Danger of Selfishness

One day in Sunday school, our teacher told us the following story. He said many years ago there was a family that consisted of a father, a mother, and two brothers. One day the parents brought the brothers into the family room, sat them down on the couch, and showed them two gifts on the coffee table.

Crossroads: The Shepherd

“Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s what my mother told me all the time growing up, and I’m sure it’s what you tell your own children. Strangers aren’t safe because you don’t know them.

Crossroads: Recognizing and Remembering

My father lives in the same small town where I grew up as a child. Though I moved away more than 25 years ago, I enjoy going back to this community to visit a few times each year. When we go back for these visits, I often see people around town who our family has known for many years.

Crossroads: Evidence

I love who-done-its. Whether they are books, TV shows, or movies, I love reading or watching them and trying to figure out who did it. These are your CSI type shows, your murder mysteries, etc. While they may not seem like it, these are safe. No matter what, you know that you will find out what happens.

Crossroads: “When You Think You Can’t Do Something” – Moses

In the movie Despicable Me, Gru is an unlikely (and at times unlikeable) hero. He adopts three girls as a way to steal the moon. He doesn’t want to be the hero. He wants to be left alone, to be the villain who does something brilliant.