Wednesday, December 31, 2008

13 Years!


Yesterday, Becky and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary! It is hard to believe that she has put up with me that long! I know lots of spouses think that theirs is the best, but mine truly is. Becky Suiter is the most amazing woman in the world! She is the best mom and wife that I could have ever asked for. Years ago, my mom said that she could not have hand-picked a better woman for me. I couldn't agree more. I am, in part, the man I am today because of Becky's love for me and partnership with me.


I love you Rebecca Anne! Thanks for the best 13 years! I am still so very thankful for you and still looking forward to all the years that we have left to be together.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recent Snowman


I just thought I'd share this great picture with you. Me and Brannon and Anna played in our most recent snow and we built a quick snowman. It was a great time and Brannon really enjoyed the snowball fight.

5 and 4

I ran 5 miles in 70 degree weather this past Saturday and ran 4 miles tonight. The 5 was without Ian and was very difficult (even in the awesome weather). Obviously running 5 miles once a week is just not cutting it. I have to do more to stay in good shape. The weather and the holiday schedule has thrown my running schedule for a loop, but hopefully we are back on track now. Ian was with me tonight and we ran a quick 4 miles. It felt a lot better than Saturday (Saturday, I about died on the last 2 miles) and was great to see Ian after his short vacation to Arkansas.

We are eagerly awaiting the birth of our new little one. It could be anytime from now to the next three weeks so we'll see. My plan is to keep my normal running schedule up even after the baby gets here and maybe even adding a day. But I know a third kid is going to push the whole Suiter family quite a bit so we'll see. I just know that I do everything better when I am running so I am going to try to be real intentional about ministry, family and running especially after Mary is born.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Modern Day Forth Telling

"But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die!" Jeremiah 26:8

Words cannot begin to describe the joy that I have from being a pastor. It is truly amazing to be called of God to do what I do. I feel the joy of God all over me when I am delivering God's Word to God's people. I truly cannot imagine doing anything else! The blessing is multiplied by being the pastor of Crossroads Church in Morgantown, WV. I am surrounded by individuals who love God and want to hear His truth no matter how much it hurts. I am surrounded by individuals who support me and are even excited about being radically obedient to God no matter what (this statement is obvious or Crossroads Church would have never started!).

I have preached some hard sermons in the past two-and-a-half years but no one has ever wanted to kill me for it. Initially, I have probably made some people mad and many may have thought me crazy for a time (some of you still do :)), but for the most part, I have been rewarded for teaching strong truth and I am thankful for it. It makes my job fun and an overall joy. I guess this means that the people of Crossroads are heeding Hebrews 13:17 (Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.). That is cool stuff and I hope it always stays that way cause I can't imagine someone wanting to kill me for speaking truth!

I read this passage in Jeremiah this morning and I was very thankful for what God has called me too. I am also very thankful for when and to whom He has called me to preach. If I ever am in a situation like Jeremiah found himself, I hope and pray that I exhibit the courage that he displayed. He was courageous in speaking truth, even if it meant his death. I want to have that kind of love for God and His truth and walk in that kind of faith and obedience to Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord.

In the meantime, I'll just keep "bringin it", and you Crossroaders just keep "lovin it". I love you all! You guys rock and you make my life and ministry among you a great joy!

Intentional Life Focus

The keys to an intimate and mature walk with God center directly around focus. I know that one could write a long book with many chapters about maturity in Christ and I know that it has been done many times. I know that maturity in Christ comes with lots of pursuit of God ans lots of time and covers many, many different areas of life, but without openness and humility, no other aspects of godly maturity can even take place.

So boiling our maturity down to these two things is a great place to check our heart and our intentional life focus. I know most of us say that we love God and pursue Him, but what changes are taking place in our hearts? This change of heart is maturity in process and only takes place with openness and humility.

As I have been praying about this area in my life and in the lives of those that God has called me to minister to, I believe that God has given me a very specific Word of wisdom regarding maturity in this area. Here it is: "Take your focus off of the things of which you think you know and put your focus on the things that you do not know!" Meditate on that for awhile! Profound? I know, and I can't take any credit. It totally came from God.

If we would put this statement into practice in our lives, it would transform our focus, perspective, and direction. It would then cause us to move away from selfish, opinionated thinking and living to God directed and others focused thinking and living. And isn't that what a Christ follower is to be and really wants in the first place? If we really lived our lives in the direction of this God-given statement, then we would embody openness and humility and our life focus would truly be intentionally on God and others!

That would rock! Talk about Kingdom unity and effectiveness - we would certainly have both!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Winter Run In Shorts

Because of being sick and a few other things, it has been 11 days since my last run. I could definitely tell too. Tonight's run was a great temperature for a winter run (52 degrees) but it didn't feel very good and my right knee really hurt the entire last mile. It has been since last March that my knee hurt that bad. It was very discouraging. 11 days off doesn't seem like much but it sure took it's toll on me. I guess I'll have to build up slowly AGAIN.

With all that said, a bad night running is better than a good night in the hospital, right? So yeah, I am thankful that I have the ability to run and I felt really good and refreshed after my 5 miles in 44:14.

The Flesh Is Good For Nothing

" It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing." John 6:63a

If we are not constantly pursuing God and the things of God, we are doomed. If we do not go after God on a daily basis, our flesh will take over and lead our lives into some form of self-centeredness. There is NOTHING good in our flesh! Our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. The only good in us comes from who Jesus is in us.

Don't let up in your pursuit of Christ. It is His Word and His Spirit that give true, abundant, and eternal life. He alone is our solid rock and if we are to walk constantly in Him then we must go after Him with all that is in us. Don't buy the lies of Satan, the world, or even your own flesh. Pursue Jesus Christ and die to your flesh! Then you will know the Spirit and true life!

Which nature are you nurturing?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Church's Condition

What would the condition of the church (your church) be if every Christian (member) were just like you? What if every Christian was as mature in Christ as you are? What if every Christian gave like you gave? What if every Christian loved like you love? What if every Christian was as committed to Jesus as you are?

Based on your answers, would the church of Jesus Christ be better or worse off? Take the assessment seriously and strive to be the example of what a Christian should be instead of looking to others to carry the load of Christ and His Church.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Widow's Mite

In Luke 21, Jesus watches a widow give her offering at the temple and comments on how much she gave even though her offering wasn't worth that much in actual worldly money. He said it was a huge, great gift because she gave ALL she had.

I wonder what she was thinking as she dropped her mite into the "plate"? I wonder how many tears she had cried before she brought herself to actually give it away? I wonder if she was thinking where her next meal would come from? I wonder if she walked away from her offering in fear or in joy?

She gave everything! Most of our offerings pale in comparison. We are more like the Pharisees in the story. We give out of our abundance! What would it look like for us to actually give God EVERYTHING?

Monday, December 8, 2008

5 In The Snow

Tonight's 5 miles were mostly run in at least 1 inch of snow. I was slower than usual and my calves got a good workout, but it was good as always. I am so thankful that I am able to run and that I have Ian to go with me. It has been a good night. 5 miles with Ian in 44:20 and then a hot shower and a Christmas movie with my wife. I am going to bed now. I have a long day tomorrow but it should be good as well.

I'm Back!

Wow, it has been two weeks since I last blogged. I took about 8 days off and when I finally got home, it took all my time and energy to just get adjusted and get ready for Sunday. So I really have not even been around a computer almost at all for two weeks. It was kinda refreshing to be quite honest. While I was gone to TN for Thanksgiving, I actually tried to ignore my phone as much as possible. It was great to get the break. It was the first Sunday in 14 months that I have been away from Crossroads. It missed Crossroads like crazy but it was also good to get a break and hang out with family.

Since I have been out for two weeks, I thought I would post some random thoughts and happenings form that time period. Here goes:

* I love spending Thanksgiving with my extended family. It is always a good time and worth the drive.

* Long drives and sleeping in 5 different places in 7 days is rough on little kids.

* Worshipped at Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It was AWESOME! It was such an encouragement to me as a church planter to see how far this church has come and to see how they do things. There were lots of similarities between Grace Chapel and Crossroads and it was encouraging.

* My birthday (35!!!!) was great! The Crossroads surprise party was actually a surprise. It was only the second time in my life that I have been surprised on my birthday. It was a fun time. Thanks to everyone who was involved and who gave to me. You didn't have to do it but the love is so appreciated and reciprocated!

* It was so rockin awesome to be back at Crossroads yesterday! We had a great day! It was great worship and fellowship and then we had a very useful staff meeting in the afternoon. I am so thankful for those who serve with me to see Crossroads become all that God wants it to be.

* Always pray for your pastor on Sunday evening and Monday morning. I can't explain it and it is the weirdest thing, but spiritual oppression hits with a vengeance when I get home on Sundays. Take yesterday for example. It was literally an awesome day, but when I got home , I had to fight off thoughts of quitting. Like I said, I can't explain it other than to say, "spiritual warfare!" Pray for your pastor all the time but especially during these two times.

* I love to watch it snow!

* Becky is the most amazing mother and wife in the world. Not bragging or being flowery, just being truthful.

* Crossroads Church rocks!

* God is doing some really cool things in our new building project and in our Dominican Republic Feeding Center Project. It is going to be fun to watch Him bring everything to fruition in His time.

* "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." James 4:4 I am really struggling with what this looks like practically in life. Rich Mullins says it means sell everything and give as much as humanly possible away. He would go on to say that we really don't need all the stuff that we think we need (gourmet coffee, newer cars, bigger houses, clothes that are in style, expensive dinners out, etc.) It is hard to disagree with him when you read the Bible. But others say that God wants us to be blessed and it all boils down to what is in our hearts and that if we are giving lots away, then God will continually "bless" us. These "teachers" point to people like Abraham, David, and Solomon. It is just so hard to know. I mean, I know it boils down to what is in the heart, but even that is a struggle. I don't want anything of this world to pull my heart away from God, but the pulls are always there. I guess it is a good struggle to have as I wrestle with all that God wants from and for my life.

* I have only run three time in the past two weeks. I am going to get back on track (no pun intended) tonight!

* Sorry it is so long, but two weeks off is a long time. I actually have a lot more but will just stop now and go from here next time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coffee

I am a new addict and member of the cool kids coffee club! There really is no such club but if there were, I would be a card carrying member!

I have always hated coffee and have viewed coffee drinkers as a rather bizarre lot. I mean that stuff (coffee) tastes nasty! Last year about this time, I started drinking one cup of coffee in the morning to help my focus during my prayer time (those of you who are ADD like me know what I am talking about. Oh and by the way, it really helped.). In the beginning, I bought coffee flavored with chocolate and then doused it with International Delight chocolate coffee creamer. I was even accused of not really being a part of the cool kids coffee club. I was told that wasn't real coffee; that I was really drinking toffee. Well that may have been true, but things have recently changed as my taste for coffee has developed. I still put major creamer and sweetener in it, but not as much as I used to and my coffee choices have become a lot more widespread. Let's just say that I am now addicted and that I am enjoying every minute of it.

Last year when I told Drake A. about my caffeine and focus experiment, he told me that I would eventually get addicted. He was right. On my recent trip to CO for the missional church-planting conference, I would not even begin to guess how much coffee that I had. It was great. So now I guess if there is someone out there who still doesn't get the whole coffee thing, then they are looking at me the way I used to look at coffee drinkers. And if you are readying this and are one of those coffee "haters", then I just have one thought for you. Come join us on the dark side (pun intended)! You'll eventually be glad that you did. You too can be a part of the cool kids coffee club!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold and Bright

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shinning very bright but the air was still very cold. The temperature for this mornings run was 26 degrees. Ian and I ran today because we had company at my house last night (it was good spending time with Jarod and Miriam). We took off just before 9 AM this morning and it was cold. We were as bundled up as we could be. During the first half mile, I thought I was going to freeze to death but once the blood got to flowing, I warmed up and was fine. We went for 7 miles and I didn't feel very strong and I thought I was slow as well. When I got home and looked at my running log, I realized that I was much faster than I had been on all my previous 7 milers. So maybe the reason the run felt so difficult was because I pushed it so much harder and didn't even know it. So where I was bummed out for thinking I was in worse shape and slowing down changed and I was stoked that I was so much faster. I ran the 7 miles today in 59:43. The previous fastest 7 in recent history was one hour, 4 minutes, and 13 seconds. I was faster today by 4 minutes and 30 seconds and I didn't even mean to! My legs feel wobbly and I want to take a nap. I can't though, I have too much to do right now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cold and Dark

Until tonight, the coldest temperature that I have run in in a long time was around 42 degrees but tonight Ian (we're back!) and I set out for a 5 miler and the temperature was hovering somewhere around 30 degrees.

It was great to get back out on the Mon. county rails to trails and even better to be back with Ian at my side. It has been exactly 2 weeks since we have exercised together. I have missed him and it was good to have the time together even if it was dark and cold.

All the fair weather exercisers were gone. My Suzuki Sidekick was the only car at the trail parking lot. And yes, I do take some sick satisfaction in that fact! With that said, I still know that it was an odd night to be out for a run. It was cold, dark, and wet. Ian and I both looked like we were dressed for an Arctic exploration. I guess Ian and I have a long, cold winter to look forward to exercising in. It should be fun and exhilarating and I am once again truly thankful that Ian is with me and that he has committed to being with me regardless of the weather. Now that is a real friend!

Oh and tonight's 5 miles were slow. I finished with a time of 43:35 with an 8 minute final mile. I"ll just blame the weather!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good Week

Today was a great ending to a great week. It was rough being away from Becky and the girls two straight weekends, but this past week was a good one and today rocked out.

It was great meeting so many other individuals who have committed their lives to church planting. I made some great connections at the Missional Church Planting Conference and learned a lot. The best thing about it was the reaffirmation and conformation that we need to be heavily involved in planting as many churches as we can.

It was also a good time hanging out with my buddy Hogan as well. He is a great guy and is doing a great Kingdom work in Pittsburgh. You can check out what he is doing here. http://www.faithbridgeministries.com There are not to many people that I can spend 4 days with without getting on my nerves but Hogan makes getting along easy. You rock bro!

It seems that things at Crossroads Church are continually getting ramped up. Our Sunday Worship Gatherings are getting better and better. God is up to something BIG! I believe it! We must be obedient to His call and stay the course. It is gonna be awesome. We have such incredible people (we should - I mean, it is God's church :) who are excited about the vision that God has given us and it shows. Our attendance (we had 94 today!) and our giving continue to grow and it is fun and exciting to watch and to be a part of.

It is so satisfying to be a part of God's Kingdom and the work that goes along with it! Thank you God for giving me this amazing privilege and responsibility.

P.S. It is so good to be home. Colorado was nice, but I love West Virginia. And words can't describe how good it is to be back in my house with all my girls!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Mile High Run

Well, it really is harder to breath thin air when exercising. I have now experienced it firsthand. I guess part off me always thought it was a myth or just no big deal, but there is no denying it now that I have experienced it. I ran a little over 4 miles on a treadmill in the exercise room here in my hotel. Everything seemed normal and good until I hit gone about 2.5 miles. My breathing for the last mile and a half was pretty labored and fast. It was an interesting experience, but I will be glad to stage my next run in Morgantown at a somewhat normal elevation.

Thin air, treadmill, and all, it was a good run and it felt really good since I have been sitting around since Thursday morning. Supper and sleep should be good tonight!

More on today's conference later - gotta hit the showers!

Church Planting Conerence

I am in Colorado Springs, CO at Vanguard Church for a Missional Church Planting Conference. It has been a long and great day. I heard two really great speakers that have really encouraged and challenged me in the great work of what we are doing at Crossroads Church as well as what we need to do in the area of planting churches all over northern WV. A guy made the statement today that we need to reach more people for Jesus than will ever fit in our buildings. That is so true. We need to plant tons more churches. We are losing almost 3,000 evangelical churches a year and not replacing them and it is also a proven fact that the best way to reach more people for Jesus is to start new churches.

I have been challenged and refreshed today and am looking forward to tomorrow. I have met many great people from all over the country who are doing the same thing that we are doing in Morgantown and also have met lots of guys who are creating networks in order to plant hundreds of new churches all over our country and also in the entire world.

I am wiped out so I am headed to bed so my body, brain, and spirit will be ready to hear what God wants to say to me tomorrow. I am so thankful that God has called me to this work. It is an honor and privilege to pastor Crossroads Church and to be called to the task of making sure that everyone in northern WV has the chance to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

I think I should be busy for the next hmmmmmmmmmm 40 or 50 years. As long as God lets me live and breath, I want to be committed to the vision of changing Morgantown, all of West Virginia, and the whole world for the sake and glory of Jesus Christ!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Quick Breather

The past four days were a definite whirlwind! I left my house at 9:25 on Thursday morning on my way to our Baptist State Convention in Altoona, PA. I picked up Reece K. and we were off. It was a good day together at the convention, but I didn't get to my hotel in Pittsburgh until midnight. I finally fell asleep around 1 AM and woke up at 5 AM. Then I hurried to the airport and caught a flight to Little Rock. I went down there to lead a marriage retreat for some young couples from Jonesboro, AR. It was a good time but also quick and I found myself on another plane by 6 PM on Saturday. I got home after midnight on Saturday and then got up to preach on Sunday morning. A bunch of us from Crossroads went out to lunch together to visit with Chad and Natashia P. and I got home after 3PM. The days were great, but it has been rather exhausting. In the last 4 days, I have been in Morgantown, WV, Altoona, PA, Pittsburgh, PA Baltimore, MD, Little Rock AR, Batesville, AR, Memphis, TN, and Atlanta, GA. Yeah, I know - it was crazy busy and fast!

Now I am trying to catch my breath and take a breather before I head out again. I am working today trying to get caught up on all the logistics at my office and I am taking off all day tomorrow to spend with my family because on Wednesday, I am headed to Colorado Springs, CO for a church planting conference. I am excited about the possibilities for the future of Crossroads planting churches all over WV and assisting in church planting all over the world. I am anticipating that this conference will help me discover what mine and Crossroad's role will be in that Kingdom endeavor. It is an exciting time as I look forward into the future and seek ways to expand God's Kingdom for the church's growth and for the glory of God!

Keep me and my family in your prayers while I am gone. I will try to update my blog about church planting and about what God is teaching me. I'll also try to get a run in in the thin Colorado air while I am there. It should be a good conference and a good week. More info later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's In A Name?

I am still having a hard time with the fact that America just elected a man named Barack Hussain Obama to be it's 44th President. Something truly has changed in America and Obama is right, more is about to change. I am just not so sure that it is the kind of change most Americans really know is coming and really want.

The names of past presidents and presidential contenders just sound a little more familiar and seem to put you at ease as opposed to Barack Hussain Obama. Check 'em out: John, George, Al, Bill, Bob, Ross, Micheal, Walter, Jimmy, Gerald, and Richard. I am not saying that you should judge a person by their name but I do believe it does give some insight into where he (Barack) has come from and where he might be headed. Like I said, I think Barack is right, change is coming. Americans you better be ready for it. You asked for it!

The thing that I am clinging to today is that Jesus is really the only name that truly matters. It is He that holds everything in His hands and one day, it will be at the sound of His Name that "every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is LORD".

So maybe names do matter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Revival without Judgement?

Is it possible for God to send a revival to America without first sending judgement? It is my selfish prayer that it is possible, but I am not sure that it is. Right now, I am praying fervently that God would do a great work in America! I am praying that He would send His Spirit down and revive His church and pour out Himself upon the lost.

Then today, as I am reading through Jeremiah, God showed how He almost always brings judgement before restoration and grace. In Jeremiah 16, God pronounces horrific judgment on Judah's rebellion and sin. It isn't until verse 14 that He begins talking about restoration and this only after judgement for the purposes of His holiness and so that the people may know that He and He alone is GOD.

As I pray for America, I wonder if we have slipped too far into the moral toilet of selfishness and sin to be revived and restored to the God who "put us on the map" without first experiencing judgement. This is a somewhat scary and sobering thought and I am not sure what to do with it in my own mind, but as I chew on it and look to the past revivals that God has brought forth, many, if not most, have come out of judgment (wars, political unrest, famine, plague, etc.) . Then I think maybe I stumbled onto something this morning and wonder what God has in store for a county that prints on its money "In God we trust" and at the same time kills babies and has as its biggest industry the proliferation of sex and nudity through paper, film, and internet?

God help us and allow Your Church to persevere in the midst of whatever you have in our future!! God send revival and great awakening to our nation and keep Your Church strong!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dark 7

With the time change yesterday, this evenings run was a dark one. Ian and I start by the dam in Morgantown so when you go 3.5 miles south into the woods along the river, it gets DARK. There are no lights anywhere and it can get erie at times (I am glad Ian is with me). The last mile that we go is in the Morgantown lights, but during miles 5 and 6, the only light we had was my little head lamp. It was a good run though and it felt good to stretch it out to 7 miles again. I haven't run that far since October 17th. I was a little slow at 1 hour, 5 minutes and 8 seconds but I'm not sweatin it tonight. I mean how many people ran 7 miles in the dark tonight!?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Great and Long Day

Today was a great day at Crossroads Church! It was a long one too. I got to the church building at 10 this morning and left around 5 Pm. It was also wonderful though.

It all started with our regular Sunday Worship Gathering and it just gets better by the week. Ian and the worship team continue to do an amazing job. I appreciate all their planning and practice. It sure shows and pays off. Then I preached one of the most difficult sermons of my life dealing with abortion and the upcoming election. You can check it out at http://www.wvcrossroads.com under resources. In all my 14 years of speaking, today was one of the most emotional and difficult messages that I have ever delivered.

Right after our worship gathering was over we had a meeting for all who were interested in our upcoming Dominican Republic mission trip. I am so stoked at the number of Crossroaders who are at least thinking about going. We had 22 people at the meeting and it was a good time. We had a good meal together and then discussed our trip. A big thanks to Angie K. for all she did for the meeting as well as all she has done to get ready for the mission trip.

After the DR mission trip meeting, I had about a 45 minute break before our bi-monthly staff meeting. I love our staff. They are an awesome group of volunteers who have really stepped up to help run all the ministries of Crossroads Church and I really appreciate all that they do. It was, as always a good and fun meeting. It is so nice working and serving with people who love each other and the Lord.

I finally left the church building around 5 and hung out with all my girls in their room until their bedtime and now I am about to crash in front of the TV with a monster bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios!

God is doing some crazy cool stuff at Crossroads Church and it is a rockin awesome thing to be a part of!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Running Without Ian

I ran alone this afternoon for the first time since September 6. We had a Halloween outreach event at the church last night so Ian and I weren't able to go on our normal weekly Friday evening run. I missed the long run and the time with Ian but the outreach went well and the fellowship was great!

I didn't want to completely miss a run so right after the girls had their lunch and Anna was on her way down for a nap, I took off and ran the Westover (WV) hills. I took my Zune along with me since I didn't have Ian and kicked it old school with some Brian Adams and a little CCR (Creedance Clearwater Revival). It was an absolutely perfect West Virginia day at 67 degrees and the run felt really good even if the hills were a little tough. I am not sure how far I ran but I was out for 36:19.

Also had a great day with my family and am looking forward to preaching God's word tomorrow (it's a crazy cool privilege). Don't forget to set you clocks back tonight so you will make it to church on time in the morning.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sick Kids II

The good news - Anna is feeling much better and Becky and I got good sleep last night.

The bad news - I think I am getting Anna's cold.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sick Kids

In my context of life and normal routine, I would be hard pressed to come up with something worse than having one of my kids sick. It is terrible! When Brannon or Anna is sick, I have to deal with the fact that one of my little girls doesn't feel well and that is bad enough (I always wish it was me instead of them). But in addition to that, I have to also deal with the fallout from the sickness as well. The fallout always involves a major lack of sleep and a big disruption to our families lives and schedule. Other aspects of fallout from a sick child also include a messy house (Becky has to take care of the child and has less time to handle the house issues), piles of undone laundry (I run out of socks and underwear fast) and more money spent on medicine and/or doctors. So you can see how having a sick child is one of the worst things ever! I am sure that many of you have experienced it and would agree with me.

So by now, you have probably guessed that one of my girls is under the weather. You have guessed correctly. Anna has had a bad cold for two days and I have not had much sleep. I think sickness gets way worse at night. All night last night, Anna coughed like a seal. Like I said earlier, it is so bad because I feel so bad for Anna and I also just want to get some sleep. She seemed a little better when I was home earlier at lunch so maybe tonight will be better and the Suiter family can get back into routine real soon.

Well, I have a sermon to get ready for. I sure hope I can stay awake in this comfy office chair!

And I sure hope my little Anna has a good afternoon nap and feels way better when she wakes up. She sure is pitiful when she doesn't feel well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Responsibility In Leadership

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
Luke 12:48b

As a leader (church planter/pastor) in God's church, this is a passage that scares the hebby gebbies out of me. The responsibility that God has placed upon me is no small thing and I do not take it lightly. I want desperately to follow the LORD in all that He wants for me, my family, and for Crossroads Church. He has given me much and I want to be a good steward of all that He has given me and all that He has put in my charge.

Then check out this passage from Jeremiah 15:4 that I read this morning - "I will make them (nation of Judah) an object of horror among all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem." Now I know that all individuals are responsible for their own lives and sin but this verse jumped out at me when I noticed God bringing judgement on an entire people because of the sinful actions of the leader. Wow, that is some serious responsibility and I want to live up to the responsibility that God has given me. I want to be a great leader for His great glory. I want to lead my family and my church with purity and integrity so that God can do great things in and through my leadership.

Pray for me and other church leaders that you know and interact with. It is a great calling and a great responsibility and the Bible says that we (leaders) will be judged by a stricter standard.

Being a leader in God's church is a great privilege and with that privilege comes great responsibility. I want to live and lead in such a way that corresponds with the privilege and responsibility that God has given me in this life. And I want to finish well. I want to live and lead my whole life with purity and integrity so that 1)God is glorified 2)my family is strengthened 3)Crossroads Church grows is maturity and number and 4)the Kingdom of God is touched for all eternity!

Last Night's Run

Ian and I parked in an empty rail-trail parking lot last night as the fair weather exercisers were no where to be found. They must have been at home on their couches or walking at the mall. I knew the time would come where a full parking lot would turn into an empty parking lot but I didn't expect it to come this early. Then again, it was 39 degrees when we arrived at the rail-trail for our Monday evening run. It was cold and the first time this year that I had to run in layers, but it was good and as usual, I am thankful to have Ian along with me. Monday is fast day and I am trying to speed up. Yesterday's run was quick but not quite as fast as last Monday. I ran the 5 miles in 40:09 with a final mile in 7:26.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday - 6 Miles

Ian and I had to deviate from our normal Monday and Friday runs. Becky is hosting a ladies banquet at the church tomorrow night so I have to be at home with the girls. Because of this little scheduling blip, we decided to go tonight to maintain 2 times a week.

I wanted to go farther than 5 since that is what we do on Mondays but didn't feel like I had time to go 7 (had to help Becky set up tables at the church building and still get the girls in bed at a decent time), so we took Decker's Creek Trail tonight and went 6 (49:57). The whole way was paved and my legs are very tired right now. It didn't feel good tonight. I guess sometimes you got it and sometimes you don't. I felt heavy and slow the whole way. It might have something to do with the fact that I wasn't in a good mood all day. Anyway, I'm tired and I'm gonna go crash on the couch with some comfort food (Honey Nut Cheerios). Maybe I'll blog about something of substance tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Off To The Races (a little late)

I ran 5 miles tonight in 39:19. That is 13 seconds faster than last week's 5. I ran the fifth mile in 7:19 and I was really pleased with both times. It seems I am finally getting in race shape now that most of the races are over for the year. I should have gotten Ian to go with me a long time ago and maybe I would have won a trophy or two this past summer. Oh well, there's always next year right?

Sunday Reflections

Wow! Yesterday was an awesome fun day!!! We had a great morning with many visitors and an overall good crowd. We were just a hair shy of my goal to have over 90 three weeks in a row, but with two weeks over 90 and yesterday at 85, I am not going to complain. I know it was a good day with God moving in people's hearts and lives when I preach for 66 minutes and get no complaints, not even from the children's workers! God is doing great things at Crossroads Church. He is constantly challenging us from His word to be more like Christ and to keep moving forward in faith. It is an exhilarating journey!

We had our bi-monthly staff meeting yesterday afternoon and, as usual, it was a good time together. I am so thankful for a group of committed individuals who love God, Crossroads Church, and me so much. Crossroads staff is a great team of individuals who are committed to being used of God to accomplish His purposes in Morgantown and in the world Thanks guys and gals for all you do to honor God and to do the work of ministry at Crossroads!

And last but definitely not least, we had a special service at the new building that we are about to buy. A big thanks to New Beginnings Church for allowing us to infringe on their space for a night. It was a great time together. We had 57 in attendance and I think I speak for everyone when I say, "we are excited." We have big dreams of what God has called us to do and therefore what He is going to do through us but we are presently excited about and enjoying the blessings of right now. Last night was a thrill to see what is very soon in our future and the possibilities that that will bring to us. We also used the night to re-issue the challenge to "Embrace Sacrifice" (our giving campaign title). We still need $20,ooo by the end of January in order for everything to move forward. We, as a church, must do everything we can, which definitely includes personal sacrifice, and then watch and see what God will do. We have already raised $20,000 and took in just over $1,000 last night. God is up to something big in Morgantown and He is going to use Crossroads Church to accomplish His purposes as long as we stay obedient and faithful! The Kingdom future looks good and we are resting in God's hands and trusting Him for the outcome as we continually press forward in faith!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Busy Week

I am sorry that I have not blogged much this week. There have been several things that I wanted to post, but time seemed to get the better of me. It has been a busy week and it feels like I am just picking up steam and am only about half-way down the hill. I do not have a normal weekend again until November 21st. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining, just making excuses for not blogging.

I finally got all our Crossroads Church 501c3 material together. I am waiting on a signature and it will go in the mail next week. I can't tell you how big of a relief that is.

I have also been getting ready for our special service that we are having this Sunday night at our new building. I was there tonight putting some finishing touches on the worship slide show with Reece and it just seemed so surreal. I can't believe we are buying a $200,000 building after only being in existence for 28 months! Thank you God - You rock! It is going to be a great time together on Sunday evening as many Crossroaders get their first peek at our future new home. I can hardly wait!

Before I went by the new building tonight, Ian and I capped of our week with a 7-miler. It was good and pretty uneventful. Ian even mentioned that it felt slow but I checked my running log when I got home and it was actually the fastest 7 we have done together. We were out on the dark, cold (49 degrees) trail for 1 hour and 4 minutes and 13 seconds.

I am up late because it is so hard to go to sleep when I run that hard that late, but I am about to crawl into bed and try to sleep. After this week, I need the rest!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Little Quicker

I ran 5 miles tonight in under 40 minutes! It felt good to pick up the pace and run a little bit faster. I think the 9 miles from Friday really helped me on the speed front. My time was 39:32 with a final mile of 7:27. The positive to getting faster is, well getting faster, and if you are Shane Suiter, which I am, then that is the goal. The negative to pushing harder and faster is that I could hardly talk the whole 5 miles. Therefore the conversation with Ian was not that great, but I am so thankful Ian is so on board with my running and my getting faster and going farther. He really pushers me and wants me to get faster. We have a cool partnership on the trail and in the church!

Friday, October 10, 2008

9 Miles Baby!!!

I'll say it again. I would not be running this far if it wasn't for Ian. I am so glad that he has chosen to run (he rides a bike) with me. It makes the time and miles go so much quicker. Ian told me tonight that he was game to stick with it throughout the winter so my mileage on Mondays and Fridays should continue on.

Tonight we got to the trail a little late (I needed to help Becky with the girls a little bit before I headed out and Ian was caught in pre college football game traffic). Then when we got there, we got a wild hair and decided to go for 9 miles! I can't even remember whose idea it was, but we were both game and decided to go for it. It was a great run and great conversation. When we were a little shy of the 8 mile mark, I looked at Ian and said, "Wow, 9 miles is a long way!" I was beginning to get a little bit tired and had a blister on my left little toe. I feel great now and am about ready to go to bed. It sure feels good to accomplish something like 9 miles. I'm not setting any speed records but I did the 9 miles in 1 hour, 25 minutes and 28 seconds. That's almost long enough to watch a whole movie. Good stuff!!!!

The Most Important Thing

"A thousand distractions would woo us away from thoughts of God, but if we are wise we will sternly put them from us and make room for the King - and take time to entertain Him!

Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent at the holy task of cultivating God.

God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him.

Some things may be neglected with but little loss to the spiritual life, but to neglect communion with God is to hurt ourselves where we cannot afford it.

God WILL (my emphasis) respond to our efforts to know Him. The Bible tells us how; it is altogether a matter of how much determination we bring to the holy task!"
A. W. Tozer

NUFF SAID!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Good Anger

Being mad at bad things is a good thing! I have recently noticed afresh and anew the moral toilet that we live in here in America and the way that most churches respond to our environment and culture. This is a war! And so many churches and pastors are dancing through the daises while our culture is getting flushed. We have gotten this attitude in the church today that we are to be soft and mild and we have become culture pansies instead of Jesus warriors! We need to get mad and hold up a righteous standard.

I am mad at gossip and lies! I am mad at pornography and Victoria's Secret (I wish she would have kept it a secret)! I am mad at music lyrics that belittle and tear down! I am mad at young people who wear cuss-words on T-shirts and the parents who allow it! I am mad at what is considered art today! I am mad materialism! I am mad at condescending people who think they have all the answers! I am mad at sex outside of God's design! I am mad at the American media who push relativism and liberalism down our throats. I am mad at the "Christians" who keep swallowing it and paying for more! I am mad about the way most women dress (or don't dress might be a better term)! I am mad about the way most Christians handle God's money. I am just downright mad and I sure feel good about it!

I have come to the conclusion that the Church (notice the capital C) and today's pastors had better stop dancing around trying not to offend people. It is past time to step up and radically proclaim God's trutheven when it is hard and harsh. We also need to live out God's ways in order to stand strong amidst all the filth and lies that is swirling around us.

I want so desperately to be a pastor engaged in the fight and for Crossroads Church to be a light on the hill in the darkness of our culture. I am going to strive to let my good anger drive me to a holy lifestyle and a holy stand!

Check out this quote from Martin Luther. He lived in troubled times as well and he was angry about it. "I have no better remedy than anger. If I want to write, pray, and preach well then I must be angry. Then my entire blood supply refreshes me. My mind is made keen and all temptations depart."

I'm with Luther. My life is so my better when I am filled with righteous indignation than when I am just dancing along through the daisies. I am so much more focused on God and His plan when I am focused on the nature and consequences of sin! I am so much a better man when my blood is boiling.

I know this blog entry might offend some people, but oh well, I gotta start somewhere! Actually, I started long ago, I just want to keep it up and maybe one day, my good anger will have temporal and eternal rewards!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday's 5

Ian and I went 5 miles tonight in 42:33 with a final mile in 7:33. Good times!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday's 7

Ian and I did another 7 miles tonight. I think it is going to be the new standing run for Fridays. With only 2 scheduled runs each week, I guess 12 miles a week isn't so bad. Tonight was pretty uneventful, but as always it was great being with Ian. I have so enjoyed his being with me this past month. I ran the 7 miles 16 seconds faster than last Friday. The time was 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 52 seconds. Still not blazing fast but at least it wasn't slower than last week.

Sin and Chocolate Cake

Sin is a lot like chocolate cake. The similarities are staggering. As you dig into a decadent piece of chocolate cake, the immediate gratification is wonderful. The amazing taste rolls over your tongue and sends your brain waves into sheer ecstasy. With each bite, the pleasure mounts UNTIL you've had too much and then it almost seems to rot in your mouth and you push the final few bites away. Then you feel miserable and sick. And now that remorse has kicked in, you go into full regret and begin thinking about how this decision to gorge on chocolate cake will continue to affect you. You think about how the cake will have adverse health affects to your body as it weakens your immune system and packs on the pounds. Right then and there, you vow to never it chocolate cake again; well at least not that much of it!

Hmmmm, that sounds just like when we sin doesn't it? Do you see the similarities? We begin to sin and it tastes really good and brings exactly what we thought it would - gratification. We are feeling good about things until the Holy Spirit brings conviction into our hearts and the sin that we are engaged in begins to make us sick. Then we have to deal with all the adverse affects on our spiritual health that sin brings into our lives. We deal with broken relationships with God and others and other aspects of pain that sin brings into our lives.

Why do we keep returning to sin like a dog returns to his vomit? We know it is bad for us and that it leads to nowhere. We know that it breaks God's heart and leads to broken relationship with Him so why do we allow our selfishness to run rampant all over the Holy Spirit in our lives? It's so crazy!

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25

"continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:12b-13

Monday, September 29, 2008

Economy Headed Down the Toilet

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!"

Pickin Up The Pace

Ian and I did 5 miles tonight but I couldn't talk to him as well as I have on all our previous runs. I decided to try to pick up the pace and go a little bit faster tonight. The result was a 5 mile time that was at least 2 minutes and 19 seconds faster than anything I have run since spring but the other result was not as good Ian and Shane conversation. I had to concentrate more on breathing than talking. Ian is great about it though. He is really wanting me to go faster so he pushes me and enjoys it too. It was a hard run tonight but a good time. I am so glad that Ian has decided to stick with me. Oh, yeah my time tonight was 41:01. Still not blazing fast but like I said it was over two minutes faster than I have been in awhile.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Presence of God at Crossroads

Let's just say that today was completely amazing at Crossroads Church in Morgantown, WV. From the first words of announcements (great job Chris P.) to the closing prayer and everything in between was totally saturated in the presence of God. It was awesome! Worship was so stinkin great and moved me so much that I had real trouble starting my sermon. I just wanted to keep telling God how great He is. It was kickin! Every Sunday at Crossroads Church is a blessing and it blows me away that God has allowed, even called me to lead this church, but today was something special. I have never experienced the presence of God at Crossroads like I did today. That needs to happen every worship gathering! If you missed church at Crossroads today, you truly missed an awesome blessing!

Oh and on a semi-related note - Ian and the worship team absolutely rocked it out today! All of you guys are awesome and a joy to work with. Thanks for your dedication and hard work and thanks for leading the people of Crossroads into the presence of God on a weekly basis.

After this morning, I am hungry for more! I can hardly wait till next Sunday. Oh and for all of you who read my blog and do not live in Morgantown and to do attend a Spirit-filled church, you need to move. God intends you to be a part of a growing, thriving, Spirit-filled, dynamic body of Christ. This is for your sake and for the sake of others that need to be reached by that body!

Sorry, I got to preaching. I am just so pumped about what God is up to in Morgatnown through Crossroads Church! It is the place to be because God is there!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

7 Miles - Weak Legs

Yep, I went 7 miles tonight in 1 hour 5 minutes and 8 seconds. It was not blazing fast but I was thrilled to up my mileage. As pumped as I am about the longer distance, I have a blister on my left little toe and my legs feel like two wet noodles. It's all good though; running seven miles is a good accomplishment especially considering the fact that I have not run like I wanted to this past summer. Another big thanks goes out to Ian. He is continually with me now and I probably would never have gone 7 tonight without him there.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Response to Difficulties

How should we respond when troubles come our way? Should we moan and cry and fuss at God for letting us down? Should we just check out and say since God doesn't care then neither do we?

It is amazing to me how often we (that obviously includes me) think that God exists for our benefit instead of vice versa. When we lose focus of who is big and who is small, our whole perspective on difficulties gets really screwed up.

So what is the answer? What is the proper response when difficulties and negative circumstances come into our lives? The proper response is worship!!!! Man, how do we miss this? When I am worshiping God out of love just for who He is, then my perspective is right where it should be and my circumstances don't seem so black. Worship is the most powerful weapon we have against the devil and all his schemes. Depressed? Worship! Broke? Worship! Worried? Worship! Scared? Worship! Confused? Worship! Whatever the circumstances are, the answer is worship. Take your focus off of you and put it onto God and your heart will be in a better place. Your circumstances may change and they may not but if you worship the one true God with real sincerity, then at least your heart will be right before God and your circumstances will fade into the background of His Greatness and Love!

Don't believe me, go check out Acts 16:16-40 (It's really cool!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Perseverance

"So do not throw away your confidence because it has great reward. For you need endurance in order to do God's will and receive what is promised." Hebrews 10:35-36

Becky wrote this scripture out the other day on a post-it note and hung it on our computer desk so that every time I sit down at the computer, I see it. I asked her why she did it and she just said that it was because she likes it. I think she had ulterior motives. I think she was trying to tell me something. It worked. This passage of scripture is so convicting where I am in my life right now. I will go run 5 miles like it is nothing but then so easily throw years of spiritual confidence away just because things aren't going the way that I want them to or because I can't fully understand God.

I am grateful that Becky hung this scripture passage up in front of my face for whatever reason. I must have read it 20 times in the past 2 days and every time, it is both convicting and encouraging.

I am thankful to God for where He has me right now in my circumstances, my ministry and in my life. I am going to hold on to the confidence that God has been building in me for years and eagerly await the promises to be fulfilled in this life or the next. And I will continue to pray and ask Him for guidance and direction in all the dark and confusing times that are out there in my future all the while holding on tight to the confidence that I have in Jesus Christ. I think that is what He is talking about here in Hebrews. It is called perseverance!

Monday, September 22, 2008

5 More With Ian


5 more miles with Ian tonight in perfect weather. I was two seconds faster than Friday's 5 so tonight was 43:20. With my busy schedule like it is now, Ian and I have set aside every Monday and Friday to go run. I am going to try to work in another day but at least I have two running days a week actually scheduled and I have Ian to hold me to it.

The picture is of me and Ian tonight right before we left my house to go run. Brannon took the picture right before we left her room. You should see some of her other pictures. She is quite the little photographer.

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

I am so thankful for what God is doing at Crossroads church and the growth that He is bringing our way. I am thankful for my stepped up responsibilities and all that God is doing in my ministry. Therefore, I am at a whole new place of ministry in my life. It is both an exciting time and a very nervous time. God is doing great things and I am just trying to keep up!

There is so much going on right now as the church leaves it's infancy and heads into early childhood. It is fun and busy. This is a good thing and is something that I am very proud of, but it also keeps my head spinning most of the time. This week, I have 14 meetings! That is crazy! I really can't believe it myself. Truth be told, this week is not normal and it will not be like this all the time, but I am still a little overwhelmed to say the least. I still have to make time to study for my small group Bible study as well as for Sunday.

I am so stoked that I am this busy. It is a good indication of all that God is doing in and through Crossroads Church. Keep me in your prayers this week and on Friday or Saturday, I'll let you know how everything turned out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another 5 with Ian

This week's weather has been amazing! It has been perfect for running. Now that the weather is perfect and I have Ian to go with me, I hate that I only ran two days this week but things are very busy now that our fall small group Bible studies have started.

Anyway, tonight was a great run and the quickest (43:22) 5 miles I have run in quite a while. I am so thankful that Ian is going with me. It makes it easier initially and all the way through as well. It is good for my running and it is good to have that time with Ian as well.

The Speed of Time

I can't believe how fast time seems to be moving. It seems like every time I turn around I am taking out the trash (which only occurs 1 time a week) or putting gas in my car (which hopefully occurs a little less than 1 time a week). It really seems that Sunday comes around every three or four days. I am sitting here in my office and I just finished writing my sermon for Sunday and I am blown away that tomorrow is Saturday AGAIN. I feel like I just preached last weeks sermon two days ago. Time is just blowing by me. It is moving so fast. I am still very young but can hardly believe that I will be 35 in a few short months. When I look at how big my little girls are getting and the fact that we are about to have a third, it blows me away to think that just a little while ago, I was just a kid myself. Time is a crazy thing and it is going way too fast.

The Bible describes our lives as a vapor or a piece of grass, both of which are here today and gone tomorrow. God admonishes us to make the most of every opportunity and to live in light of eternity by storing up treasure in heaven. Life is hurried along by our busyness and we often forget to live for God because we are to busy just living in the moment.

I want to live for God every minute of the day and so as I have recently been reminded how fast life is going by (is it really September 19, 2008?!!!!), I need to be able to recognize how brief my time on earth is and live every moment for the glory of Jesus Christ. I am not the best at this, especially when my circumstances are not what I want, but I need to be more aware of living for God every moment since life is truly so short!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Forced Week Off

I have not run in the past nine days. it stinks to miss that many days of running but I felt bad all week last week. I still have some head congestion but I headed out anyway tonight. Ian went with me again and it is so great having him along. It helps tremendously. It was his idea to go 5 miles tonight. I probably wouldn't have done that after 9 days off but with Ian with me, it didn't seem like a big deal. It was a great run. As already mentioned, the company was great and the weather was great too. 68 degrees felt wonderful. The 5 miles was accomplished in 44:42. No one is going to mistake me for The Flash but not too bad for a week off. I am so glad I ran tonight. I really needed it.

Gonna eat and go to bed. I have a very full and long day tomorrow. It should be good and I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blahhhhhh

Very rarely does my body let me down, but today it has. My white blood cells must not be fighting hard enough because I feel bad! Anna and Brannon have both run high fevers over the past 4 days and I must be fighting it. It stinks to feel bad. My head is hurting, my throat is hurting, I can't breath, and I have NO energy. It is no fun, but the good news is that my kids are better. I would rather feel bad any day of the week than have a sick kid. It is so pitiful and stressful to have one of my girls sick.

Going home now to pop some Sudafed and Advil. I hope I can get some sleep tonight.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ian and Running

Ian went with me again today as I logged several miles (approx 4.3) in a time of 35:27. It is great having him beside me on the bike. His company is great and I think it is helping me get a little faster. I know it helps me get out there more often and takes my mind off the actual running because we talk the whole way. I don't know how much more he will be able to go with me because he starts a new full-time job on Monday but it sure has been nice having him along these past several runs.

Headed down to the church building for a time of prayer before our service tomorrow. It should be a great time talking with God as a Crossroads community. It always is!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Open My Eyes God

"Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


I wonder today how the pace of our lives has affected our ability to see God all around us. There are so many things in our lives that should lead us to worship, but usually we are in too much of a hurry to notice, or maybe we are just to self-centered to care. I just know that this week has led me so much closer in my devotion to and trust in God (I am learning more about who He is) and I desperately long to see and know Him more as my days turn into years. I don't want to miss Him anytime or anywhere because I am more interested in something else! I want my eyes to be opened to Him in order to experience Him and therefore know Him more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts




* Girls - I have the greatest 3 girls on the planet and we are about to have another one. Yep, another one! I love my girls and I must say that I am rather excited about living with 4 ladies. God has blessed me so much by allowing me to be a husband to the most wonderful woman on the planet and a dad to 2.5 amazing little girls!

* Great Day - I woke up early and kick started the day. It is amazing how much more you get done when you get up early. Met with four of our volunteer Crossroads staff members today. They rock!





* Surrender - Absolute surrender to Jesus Christ is the only place of peace. Holding on to the things we want and think we need only leads to frustration and dissatisfaction with our lives and even with God Himself.





* Matthew 6:33 - Living for the Kingdom Of Jesus Christ is totally where it is at.





* Running - I just got home from a 5 mile run. It was great! Ian went with me again and it was really helpful and nice having him along. I ran the 5 in 43:51 with a final mile in 7:33.





* Ian - It is hard to believe that Ian has been the worship leader at Crossroads Church for over a year. I am so glad he is here and that God sent him to Morgantown. He is a fine young man and a great worship leader and I am very proud of him.





* Baptism - Baptism is so stinkin cool! The symbolism of our old lives being dead and our new life in Christ through His resurrection is awesome! We baptized 4 this past Sunday and it was a great charge. WE should do that more often. Hmmmmmm, yes we should!!!





* 96 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - I must say that I was so stoked this past Sunday when we totally ran out of chairs. It was amazing to see 96 people in attendance at Crossroads Church. It was awesome. We are growing so much. We don't have room for everybody and do not know what to do. Our new building will not be ready until February or March. 96 blew our old high attendance out of the water by 11 and the cool scary thing is/was that we still had 12 or so regulars out. Unbelievable!! Keep going God!! It is a good problem to have and I am so stoked to see what God is going to do at Crossroads this fall.





* Pressure Washers - I think I have a favorite new tool. Pressure washers ROCK! I borrowed the Stagger's pressure washer yesterday and let's just say that my house is now white and not grey and my deck looks like wood and not the creature from the black lagoon. Oh and by the way, my back is red and not white.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Full Day - Quick Run

It was a full day today, but I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute run right before lunch. I love full, active Saturdays, but now I am tired. Going to bed and looking forward to tomorrow. I will be baptizing four individuals in the morning and that is always a joy so I am looking forward to that. Yeah, I love Sundays and always look forward to them. It should be another fun, exciting, challenging day at Crossroads Church!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Earthly Minded or Heavenly Minded?

"If we had actually reached a place of such spiritual commitment that the wonders of heaven were so close that we longed for the illuminating Presence of our Lord, we would not go into such a fearful and frantic performance every time we find something wrong with our physical frame."
A.W. Tozer

Wow! Talk about conviction! I need to reach a place of spiritual commitment that the circumstances of this world (good or bad) do not bother me. I need to be heavenly minded and not earthly minded! As I have been blogging about recently, it is much harder to be heavenly or eternally minded when things aren't going your way. I guess the good news is that when circumstances are bad, I think about God and His ways almost constantly and I talk to Him almost without stopping. I know that God has His purposes for all of our negative circumstances and I know that He is presently shaping me into His image and trying to get me to see more than ever before that it is about His Kingdom and not mine. This situation with my house not selling and therefore us not having anywhere to move to is very frustrating, but I know I need to take my mind off my Kingdom and wait on Him. Then I will be freed up to focus on His Kingdom. Then I will be heavenly or eternally minded. That is what I need.

Jesus said it best (of course): "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sporadic Running

Recently my running and exercising has been so sporadic. This is the best time of the year to exercise and things just seem so busy right now. Last week, I ran one day and I biked one day. So I guess I have finally accepted the fact that I am not going to be in the best shape of my life while my kids and my church are still young. So I think I'll shoot for some fast 5k times when I am 40. In the meantime, I'll try to just stay up with things and keep in some semblance of shape.

Tonight, I ran for 37:23. The weather was perfect and Ian rode beside me on a bike. It was nice to have his company and it made the run go very smoothly. Maybe if Ian keeps going with me, I'll run more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Still Waiting

I cannot even begin to imagine the patience that God required of Abraham as he waited years for his firstborn son of promise or of Joseph as he languished away in an Egyptian prison. It is easy to hold onto God and His truth when everything is going just like you want it to, but it is a whole different story when God is not doing what you want Him to.

Today, I am having a hard time adhering to my own sermon from yesterday as I spoke on living in light of eternity. I am trying not to be a hypocrite as I keep waiting on God to do something or show me which way to go. I definitely need to see things from God's perspective so I am trying to stay grounded in His Word. It is the only thing that alleviates frustration.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Population Growth!!!!

Yes, yes, boys and girls school is back in session. It is that time of year when the West Virginia University students are back. And let me tell ya, they are really back! Man, talk about population growth for one town. Morgantown, WV grew by over 28,000 people in a little less than a week. That is crazy population growth! And it shows on the roads. It just took me 35 minutes to drive 6 miles. Morgantown summer driving is over. I will not be able to go where I want without worrying about traffic until Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, I am actually excited. I am looking forward to all that the students bring to our church. This fall, along with our town's population growth, should be a very exciting time in the life of Crossroads Church. So I'm glad that the students are back and that our population has grown, but now I will just have to be careful about where and when I drive through town. Cool, cool!!

The Waiting Place

I am at a spot in my life and spiritual journey where I believe God is testing my patience. This is so hard for me. I am not good at waiting. It is not that I am not content and happy where I am, it is just that I hate sitting still. I love it when things are moving fast and I am on the go. I do not like sitting still and waiting on anybody including God. But God has me in this place where He is calling me to be still and wait on Him.

Look at His Word to me this morning. "True faith is not the intellectual ability to visualize unseen things to the satisfaction of our imperfect minds; it is rather the moral power to trust Christ! To be unafraid when going on a journey with his father, the child need not imagine the events of the journey, he needs only to know the father! Jesus Christ is our all in all - we need but trust Him and He will take care of the rest." A.W. Tozer

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16

Spending time with my God is the most important thing in my life in order to keep me grounded in His truth. Apart from His truth, my life would spiral out of control! Hearing from the Lord from His Word is what allows me to grow in His truth and to continue to trust and obey.

Waiting is difficult for me and this season of waiting that I am in right now is especially so, but being grounded in God's truth and specific word for me make it easier to trust and to be the man that He wants me to be.

Thanks for Your Word of truth, Lord - I'll keep waiting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exercise - It Does A Body Good

Before yesterday, I had not run since July 24th. I remedied that yesterday. I came back with a bang. Listening to a great Francis Chan sermon, I ran a slow 5 miles in 47:18. My knees hurt a little bit in the last half mile but I was not gonna let that get me down on such a great run. I figured it was just because I had taken so much time off.

Then today I hoped on my bicycle for a quick ride. I only rode for 43:38, but it felt great and when I got home, I told Becky that I hardly felt it (even in these West Virginia hills!).

Two straight days of good exercise have left my legs a little tired, but overall I feel really good and I should sleep well tonight. Exercise (running and biking) is really good for all the areas of my life. It helps reduce my stress and makes me feel better all over. That in turn makes me a better husband, father, and pastor. I just gotta keep it up, gotta be more intentional and consistent. I need to make sure I am the master of my circumstances and not vice versa.

Hmmmm

"To the degree that you are inward focused, that will be the same degree of your misery."
Lisa Chan (Francis' wife)

Hmmmm - great reminder that it is never about me. I need this reminder often.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Bike

Here are some pictures of my bike and of me before I took off on a recent ride.



Back in The Saddle


Well, I literally got back in the saddle today - the bike saddle, that is. It has been 15 days since I last exercised and my body was feeling it. Not good. Ever since I hiked the 32 miles on the AT, I haven't done anything in the world of physical fitness. I don't really have an excuse, I just haven't been intentional about exercise since the backpacking trip. I decided yesterday that I was going to get back after it today and I did. I had a great ride this morning right before lunch. I rode for 54:13 and it was an exhilarating ride. I love my bike. It is an awesome piece of machinery. So now that I got back in the saddle today, maybe I will do better in my exercising this week and even strap my running shoes on. I was just looking at my exercise log and noticed the last day that I ran was on July 24th. That's crazy! I wonder how much endurance and speed I have lost? Oh well, I'll get it back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daily Contentment

This past Sunday, I preached a message entitled, "It's Not About You!" I think the main thrust of the message is pretty obvious. God has chosen to call us His own and to bless us with Himself as well as other "things", but it is to never be about us. We are to live our lives in such a way as to act on the prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done." We are to be more concerned about God's Kingdom than we are about our kingdoms. We are to be more concerned with what God is up to and how we can join Him than we are about all of our little selfish issues.

In my sermon, I shared a story about where Becky and I are right now with our housing situation (3rd kid on the way in a 900 square foot two-bedroom) and about our level of contentment with where we are right now. I said on Sunday that I am completely OK with whatever God wants us to do even if He wants us to stay where we are. The past two days, I have realized that contentment is an on-going process. It is a battle. It is not a place that you go to and are never tempted to leave. In other words, for me to stay in a place of contentment, I must stay steadfastly focused on Jesus Christ. I cannot allow myself to focus on me and my circumstances.

Therefore the key to contentment is DAILY prayer and Bible study! Daily contentment is my desire because IT is truly not about me and I want to live with that ever before me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Greatness and Popularity

"Human society generally has fallen into the error of assuming that greatness and fame are synonymous." A. W. Tozer

Have you ever noticed the proliferation of magazines that are completely devoted to the lives of "famous" people. It is staggering and also quite ridiculous. It seems we have some sick interest in the lives of people that we consider famous or great. The fact that someone is a good actor, physically attractive, or good at a sport somehow has elevated them to the status of greatness in the eyes of many in our western culture. I wonder how many famous people are truly great human beings. I am not asking are they good people or nice people, but asking are they truly great.

I would be willing to bet that the greatest people on this planet are the ones that nobody has ever heard of. Greatness is not defined by popularity or fame, it is defined by character, integrity, and courage.

I fear that this mindset of confusing greatness and popularity has also rooted itself into the minds of many in western Christianity. Many Christians think that because a pastor, speaker, or author is famous that they must be great and what they are saying must be golden. We, in the church, must also be careful to not confuse greatness and popularity. Don't be suckered in by glamour, glitz, and fame. Watch people's lives closely and you will notice the truly great individuals. True greatness will shine through in people's daily choices and routine.

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." John 12:24-25

Friday, August 8, 2008



Which book of the Bible would you most like to study?























Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back-packing Pictures

The pictures are not in a very good order, but I think you still get the point from the trip. The one with me holding up my sock was at the end of the 32 miles when we had just gotten back to the car and had just gotten out of a mountain rainstorm and my socks and shoes were soaked. It felt good to sit down at that point. As I posted earlier, it was a great trip and I look forward to many more now that I am hooked.














My Back-packing Trip

I have been on a blogging hiatus because of my recent back-packing trip. I could write a lot about it, but all I am going to say is that is was so awesome. I loved it. I am hooked. This backpacking thing is right up my alley. I have a new hobby and adventure direction that I believe will be a great outlet for me for many years to come.

The trip I just recently did was in southern Virginia. I went with some great friends from Arkansas and we had a great time. The scenery was beautiful and the exercise was strenuous. We even got rained on twice and that really added to the adventure. Needless to say, it was a great trip and I can't wait to go again. The only downside was that I missed my family so it will be a cool day when I can incorporate backpacking and family (not sure Becky will ever be down with that or not - she is not much of a camper, but one can hope)

I'll post some pictures of the 32 mile trip a little bit later today.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Good Kinda Tired

I am tired and I have had a great day! Started off the day same as everyday - I got the girls up and fixed everybody breakfast. After breakfast, we were out the door. We hurried down to the church building to clean it for tomorrow and then we went to the public library to get some books for Becky and the girls. After that, we took a quick stroll through the Morgantown Farmer's Market and then headed home. The ladies in the family started eating their lunch while I headed out on my bike. I rode approximately 12 miles and was on the bike for 42:59. It was a great ride. I felt better and stronger than I have felt in a long time on my bike. When I got home, I ate some lunch, then went to work. I vacuumed out the van and then washed it. Then I mowed and weed-eated the yard. Then I swept out the garage and packed my backpack for my up-coming trip (more on that later). Then I cleaned my grill and cooked some hamburgers for dinner. I helped give Brannon and Anna a bath and get them ready for bed.

Now I have just had my shower and am about to head out to pick up a few last minute necessities for my backpacking trip and then head to the church building for a time of prayer. I am tired and it feels great! Looking forward to preaching the Word tomorrow. As we journey through the book of Luke, we have finally arrived at that famous Luke 9:23 passage. Should be a good time!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day Off

I love my Thursdays off. It is really good to spend time with my family and get things done that I don't have time to get done otherwise.

Today has been good and has flown by. I got up and fixed Becky and the girls scrambled eggs and toast (as usual). Then I picked up the garage, went to Lowe's, staked my tomato plants up, ran four miles (32:24), had a lovely picnic at Krepps Park with my family, washed and vacuumed out my car (the van is getting it tomorrow), and then went to see The Dark Knight with Becky (thanks Gretchen). The movie was very disturbing to me. That is all I am going to say about that until Sunday morning. Maybe I'll blog about it later.

We got home and fed the girls some cereal and just put them in the bed. I am going to eat some cereal myself (trusty Honey Nut Cherrios) and try to relax with Becky.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kingdom Love

In human love, truth must yield to desire. Human love has little regard for truth. It makes the truth relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and the beloved person. By contrast, in Kingdom love, the love of others is wholly dependant upon the truth in Christ.

by: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Slowing Down

I am actually getting slower! This summer was supposed to be my time to get faster than I had ever been and set my own personal records but that has not been the case. I have struggled all summer to find the time to run and it has been even harder since Becky got pregnant and the things at church have really sped up. I am not complaining. I am thrilled at the prospect of our third child as well as how things are going at Crossroads. I am just disappointed that I am getting fat and slow. I keep telling myself that this is the season of life to just maintain and that when my kids are older that I will be able to run more. I also know that it will always be something, so I just need to keep trying to be more intentional in my exercising. I planned my run tonight when I got out of bed this morning then informed Becky of my plans and that made it a lot easier to hit the trail this evening. I worked late and slipped on my running shoes around 7:30 PM. The weather was glorious after that storm front went through this morning and I enjoyed the run more so than my previous 2 or 3 runs. I thought it was cool when I started out but at the end of 4 miles, I was drenched. It was good. I love that feeling of sweating after a good workout. I did the 4 miles in just over 33 minutes. Not great, but I wasn't sitting on the couch eating potato chips either. Oh and no esophagus issues either. I guess that is something to be thankful for.

The Power of Asking

How many of you have ever been approached by a beggar and felt the power of a request. Or how about trying to enjoy a favorite sandwich in the presence of the family dog. The power of asking is overwhelmingly strong and when we are asked, we usually respond to the favor in the positive. I mean, seriously, how many of you can turn away from those pitiful doggy eyes or from the intrusive request from a smelly stranger. The power of asking is so strong. How many times have you heard people say, "I just have the hardest time saying no." Asking is a strong power!

"In our intimate relationships and associations, the request is by itself usually enough to bring the desired result." - Dallas Willard in Divine Conspiracy

"So if you, twisted as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father, the One in the heavens, give good things to those who ask Him!" - Jesus in Matthew 7:11

So what are you asking God for? What are you begging God for? And if you look at the context of this verse, you will understand that the power of asking goes hand in hand with the power of love because we are not supposed to ask for things that we might have comfort and pleasure. No, no; look at what Jesus says in the very next verse.

"Therefore, whatever you would like others to do to you, do that to them. For this is what the Law and the Prophets require of us." - Jesus again in Matthew 7:12

This is where the power of asking and the power of love meet. We ask the Creator of the universe to work and move in the lives of those around us. We are genuinely concerned about the well-being of others and we ask God to work in and through them.

So I ask again, what are you asking God for? What are you begging God for? Are you asking Him for things that you might spend on your on pleasures and comforts or out of love for others, are you asking Him to move in people for their salvation and discipleship. Are you begging God to save people and restore them to a right relationship with Himself? Are you begging God to heal people's relationships and other hurts in their lives.

Many of us do not really "love our neighbor as ourself". Our askings (prayers) are consumed with our own relationships, stresses, finances, and any other thing that concerns us. May God move in our hearts and change our prayers.

The power of asking is great and God has promised to hear and respond to the prayer lifted in accordance with His will, so when are we going to start asking God to do the things that He already wants to do.

The power of asking is strong and I believe that we will see God show up and show off when we begin praying in accordance with His heart for people!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Difficulty of Relationships

Most difficulties in relationships are the direct result of selfishness. As a pastor, I deal with lots of interpersonal conflict. I see conflict and hurting relationships all the time. Truth be told, it is probably the reason for the majority of the counseling that I do.

Just think, most of our interpersonal problems would be solved if we would just think of others more than we think of ourselves (Philippians 2:3). I know, I know, it is much harder to actually do. But just think, how many of us would not want amazing inter-personal relationships with our spouse, kids, other family members, friends and acquaintances? And that's not to mention the spiritual benefits during this life as well as the eternal benefits if we would just truly deny the crazy selfishness that lurks inside of us. I mean really, how many of us actually like all the problems and stress that our nasty selfishness brings about?

So, yeah the flesh is strong and denying self is incredible difficult, but don't the benefits far outweigh the hard work of self-denial? Seems like a no-brainer to me! Who wants difficult relationships and the stress that they bring? Let us have the same attitude of Jesus Christ and people will love us. Well, some people will and some people will hate us, but that is a topic for a whole other blog!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yesterday

I know that when I blog about yesterday that I am a little behind, but I was so tired last night, I couldn't think straight to write about my day. It was a good kinda tired because yesterday was a great day.

I started off the day with a 6:30 AM meeting with Chris H. He is an early bird so I follow suit on Tuesdays. It is such a great kick to the day. Chris gets me fired up about the future. The structure changes that he is helping me to come up with and implement is going to take Crossroads Church so far as the we grows. It is an exciting thing to think about!

After that I hurried home to be sure my girls were taken care off, then off to the office. Had a great time with the Lord before heading to Washington, PA for a big meeting with our state director of church planting. Things went super with Tim B. and I headed back to Morgantown in high spirits.

Then I met with Ian R. for the rest of the afternoon and we talked about the future of the worship team and what God was up to in Ian's life - also good and exciting stuff. Then Ian and I went to the store with Patsy (male) to get him (Patsy) coffee and other groceries.

Then I booked it home to get a quick run in before a date with my wife been a long time in coming). I was in a hurry and was also hurting (my esophagus has been hurting since the race on Friday night - not cool - makes it hard to eat after running - not sure what is going on, but I have decided to take a break from running for a few weeks and just ride my bike for awhile - see what happens) so I only ran for 30:37.

After my run, Becky and I went out to Olive Garden together thanks to Gretchen E. Thanks Gretchen! It was the first time we had been out alone in I can't remember how long. We had a wonderful time with just the two of us!

After such a great day, I pretty much just fell into the bed last night. After so many less than perfect days over the past 6 weeks, it was nice to fall asleep with a smile on my face.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Scrambling Eggs

I can't begin to tell you how many eggs I have scrambled over the past 3 or 4 weeks. It is the only thing that helps Becky's stomach in the morning (I haven't blogged about it and I think everyone already knows, but Becky is pregnant and just now beginning her second trimester).

Because of her morning sickness, I get up every day and scramble eggs for her and I also get breakfast for the girls. It has been very trying for me because I hate monotony and yesterday the thought of scrambling eggs just didn't sit well. That was yesterday. This morning as I was scrambling the daily eggs, I just thanked God for my wife and our two little girls and the new life that is growing inside Becky. Who am I to grumble and complain about such a small thing as scrambling eggs every day when God has blessed my life beyond measure.

I am so thankful for Becky, Brannon, Anna, and #3. It is a total privilege to scramble eggs for them every morning. It is amazing how warped our thinking can be when we think selfishly and how grateful our thinking can be when our thoughts turn to others or to all that God has done for us and given us.

Looking forward to scrambling more eggs!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The People of Crossroads

I love the people that make up Crossroads Church! It is such a joy and privilege to have such a wonderful church family to experience life with and to be on mission with. Today was a day filled with visiting with various people from Crossroads and each interaction filled me with great joy and pride. I thank God for each one.

Every conversation I had today with a Crossroader was so cool. It is neat how God has brought us all together for such a time as this. For us to totally experience loving community with one another and to be carrying out His plans and purposes together truly rocks.

Crossroads Church is the best church in West Virginia and it is the most amazing blessing to be a part of it, let alone pastor it.

Thank you God for all the people who are Crossroads Church!

Crossroaders (new word) reading this - You Rock!!!