November already? How can that be? It was another busy and fun weekend at The Crossroads.
Saturday night The Crossroads sponsored a trunk or treat at one of the local banks. Shawn was the Incredible Hulk, and I was Wonder Woman. Pictures are all over his facebook page if you want to see what we looked like. I think his favorite part of the event was my costume. My favorite part of the event was watching community happen. Our people were visiting with people from the community, and neighbors were meeting each other and making new friends. I love that The Crossroads shares Jesus, but that we also seek to connect neighbors to one another. We want to build relationships, even if those people never come to The Crossroads.
We had tons of new faces join us today for worship. As I stood on stage, waiting for the opening video to finish, I looked at the people in the room. I am privileged to know people's stories. It's one of my greatest blessings of being in the ministry. I looked around and saw a woman battling a substance addiction, but then I looked again and saw a woman who has been sober for over 10 years love on her. It can't be an accident that God brought them together. I saw couples struggling for their marriage, and I looked around the room and saw couples that God has redeemed their marriages and thought that it can't be an accident God connected those families. I saw many terrible and ugly issues in people's lives, but I also saw others in the room who have fought the exact same battle, and walked away whole. As I looked at the crowd, I was awed that God had orchestrated events so precisely at that very moment so that people were connecting with exactly the right people at exactly the right time.
Shawn baptized a young boy today who recently became a believer in Jesus Christ. When Shawn asked him if he had made Jesus the leader of his life and the forgiver of his sins, the little boy said, "I swear." Then he refused to let Shawn dunk him, and instead dunked himself face first in the little bitty portable baptistery (think medium sized wading pool). It was awesome! I love kids!
Loved worship today. We did a new Crowder song, "How he loves." It is one of many new songs on the Crowder album "Church Music" that I really like. I've enjoyed running to the Crowder album this week. I am so excited as I watch where God is taking us as a band. Some cool stuff on the way.
Shawn preached another amazing sermon in the series "Chase the Lion." He talked about taking risks in order to follow Christ. That is not the same as taking risks for the sake of being risky. But following Christ often involves a great deal of travel into the unknown, and that can be terrifying for those who need to know all the details up front. One of Shawn's all time best lines that I use all the time comes from this sermon. He was talking about Peter walking on the water. Yes he sank for a few minutes, but he was the only disciple that day who walked back to the boat on the water alongside Christ. Shawn says, "I'd rather have wet underwear from walking with Christ than splinters in my butt from sitting in the boat." LOVE that line!
I am excited about where God is going with The Crossroads as he brings in new people, and calls and gifts existing members for more extensive ministry commitments. There's lots and lots of amazingly awesome stuff bubbling just under the surface. I can't wait to see where God is going with it all.
On a personal note - for those of you who are keeping up with my quest to create a healthy body that is ready in an instant to go when God says go - Tonight I ran 3 miles!!!!!! The whole 3 miles. No stops, no rest, no pauses, just running and running and running. My time was slow. My speed was a creepingly slow shuffling run. But it was a run. I was so proud of myself. When I started running in June, I struggled to complete a 60 second running interval. Tonight I ran for 42 minutes without stopping. Yes, I stood under the street light for a few minutes and cried. They were tears of joy, accomplishment, and even pain. When I stopped, my legs have never been so weak and shaky. It was all I could do not to collapse in the street.
When I started my run, my intention was to go a mile. Than I wanted to see if maybe I could go just another half mile. Then 2 miles. Then I realized I might be able to run the whole thing. The last mile was sheer grit and determination as I placed one foot in front of the other. My form was sloppy, my gait wobbly, my breathing ragged, but I finished. It makes me think that sometimes following Christ is like that. There are days in my Christian walk that I do more and go places that I never thought I could, and sometimes the only way to get there is with absolutely sheer determination that no matter what, I will follow. I will not stop seeking God. I will pursue my God. I will not be deterred.
In this quest for physical fitness, pray that I will not be confused about my goal. While weight loss is exciting and buying small clothes is cool, it is not my purpose. My purpose is to create a body that is fit enough to be able to say yes to anything God needs me to do. The longer I work out, and the more results I see, the harder it is for me to maintain a wise and healthy perspective on my body. It is incredibly challenging to see beauty instead of my physical flaws. I am thankful for a specific girlfriend who is quietly counting my calories during the week - to make sure I'm eating. And who is lovingly confronting me when I lose my perspective, become consumed with my flaws, fall off into stupidity and don't eat. I have learned that an eating disorder can be managed, but it rarely disappears. It is a monster that lives in a closet in my head. Most of the time the closet is chained, locked, and guarded and the monster is silenced. But on occasion it breaks free and has to be subdued all over again. I am lately reminded of how great my God is that He can bring healing and freedom to the darkest of our darknesses.
Wow, I really wandered off onto a tangent there. And it's all online. That's some pretty heavy stuff right there. I am not hitting delete simply because I feel strongly impressed to share my struggles tonight.