Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Crossroads!

Crossroads Church is officially one year old. It is so hard to believe that we officially launched last April 1. God has done so much in the past year and we eagerly anticipate His great work for many years to come as we move forward in faithful obedience.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a great day celebrating our birthday. It was a wonderful time to reflect on all that God has done since the core group of 20 started meeting in a picnic shelter. It was also a great time to look forward to what God is calling us to in the future. The future is bright as we keep moving in faith (trusting God with the impossible). Kingdom impact is what we are striving for in the future!

The growth that we have had over the past year has been really encouraging. Last April we launched with around 45 and settled into a regular attendance of 35-40. This past Sunday we had 67 and that is what we have been averaging for this year as well. That is pretty good growth for one year and we just look forward to more of the same in 2008.

We also had a great party yesterday. It was fun to see so many (60 out of the 67) stick around after the worship gathering and fellowship together as we grilled out and had Crossroads birthday cake. It was good to see people visiting and getting to know each other better. I believe our connections are growing stronger and that is another good thing for the future of our church.

Thank you God for the people who make up Crossroads Church! What an awesome blessing they are to me! Thank you God for all that You have done since we began meeting and all that you are going to continue doing in and through us!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Slow & Easy Five

I didn't feel very fast today. It was a beautiful 43 degrees and I was anticipating a great run. I started out slow and stayed slow. I didn't even speed up for the final mile. I just basked in the sunshine and let God speak to me as I listened to an Andy Stanley sermon on the darkness of the heart. It was really good and convicting. My run today was 43:57. That is 4 minutes and 1 second slower than Thursday's five mile run. I just didn't feel fast today. I felt blessed just to be out there running. My back is hurting a little and I am very tired this evening. Maybe I shouldn't run so slow next time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Running and Painting

Today was a good day, but I am tired. I had a great run today. I forgot my Zune so I didn't get to listen to any new sermons and that was a bummer but it really allowed me to get into the best running rhythm that I have been in in a long time. My breathing was good and I was able to go a little bit faster today. I ran 5 miles in 39:56 with a first mile in 7:35 and a last mile in 7:33. I guess that means the middle 3 miles were somewhere around 8:15 or something like that.

As soon as I got home, I put on my painting clothes and painted Becky's bathroom. She has been after me to do it for over two years so I figured it was about time. so, I painted from 3PM till 10 PM with a 30 minute break for dinner. The bathroom looks great now and Becky is very happy. Going to hit the sack. I am tired and I have a lot to do tomorrow in order to get ready for Sunday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Refreashing Run

Today's run was so great for three reasons. 1)I ran a final mile in 7:13 and never even really felt it. 2)5 miles in 40:45 - not super fast, but it felt good. I had really good rhythm today. 3)Incredible testimony/sermon by Pete Desoto on the Zune. Pete is a missionary to El Salvador and got shot in the neck in January 2007. He told the story of his past year and it was amazing. He talked about the challenges of truly trusting God in crazy hard times. He closed by asking if his hearers truly trusted God with everything in their lives. He said, "Do you trust God with your finances, your family, yes even your whole life. Can you completely trust Him with everything thus completely surrendering all to Him."

It was such a great time with God on the trail today. It blows me away how far I am from what I want to be for my Jesus and His great glory! Keep drawing me closer to you Lord and use my life for Your Kingdom purposes!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Love of a Father

Because of some strange circumstances, I needed to have Brannon with me at work on Friday. It was interesting to say the least. I had work to do at my office at the church building so I told her to play in the preschool room and only bother me if she really needed me.

She is a good kid and she played by herself for quite awhile, but she inevitably wanted to come see me so she came into my office because she just wanted to tell me what she was doing. She came into my office again a little bit later because she wanted some water and said she could not reach the sink. She came in again a little bit later when she wanted to show me the picture that she had colored.

I had quite a bit to get done but I realized that every time she walked around the corner and through my door into my office, that I was always filled with joy to see her. She never bothered me. She was never an interruption. She was just my little girl who wanted to see me or who needed me for something and what in the world is wrong with that?

This morning in my conversation with God, I felt like I was bothering Him when I was crying out about how much I need Him. I was in the middle of telling Him how badly I need Him in the midst of my crazy circumstances and I felt like that is all I must ever tell Him. I began to wonder if I ever get on God's nerves by telling Him how much I need Him. Then God lovingly reminded me of my day with Brannon last Friday. He told me that He loves me way more than I love my daughter. He said He loves it when I come to His office just to talk to Him or to show Him a picture that I colored. He said he loves it when I need help getting water from the sink. In short, He said He loves me so much more than I could ever imagine and He is overjoyed when I approach Him. He told me He died just so I could approach Him. He actually wants me to come to Him with EVERYTHING. I am not a bother or a interruption to the God of the whole universe. That is amazing!

I know how much I love Brannon and Anna. To think that God loves me way more than that just blows my mind. When you come face to face with that kind of love, it demands a response.

Kingdom People

I have met more Kingdom people in the past 21 months (time since Crossroads core has been meeting) than I have met in my entire life. I have known lots of church people over the course of my life. But since the inception of Crossroads, I have met so many individuals who really care more about expanding the Kingdom of Jesus than expanding their buildings or parking lots. It has been so refreshing to meet and become friends with people who have their hearts set on the Kingdom of God.

Some of those Kingdom-minded people that I have met have come to me from Hillcrest Baptist Church in Morristown, TN. These guys have really stepped up to the plate. They have been great supporters of Crossroads Church and Shane Suiter. They have been such a blessing to me and to our church since January of 2007.

It is so cool how God brings just the right people into our lives at just the right time. That is exactly what He did with Hillcrest. One of the Hillcrest families that have meant so much to me and to Crossroads actually drove to WV to be with us this Easter. How awesome is that? The Jones family came all the way to Morgantown and they were such a blessing. It was so neat to see them in my home and in our church gathering on Sunday morning. I would have never had these amazing friends if I had not been where God wanted me and had they not been where God wanted them. That is the way the Kingdom of God works though. Walk in obedience with God and His blessings will follow.

Kingdom partners like Hillcrest Baptist Church and the Jones family are just those kind of blessings. I thank God for all the Kingdom people that He has brought into my life (I could write for hours about them all and how important they all have been and still are). I thank God for Hillcrest Baptist Church. I thank God for the friendship, love, prayers, and support of the Jones family. Thanks Doug, Jennifer, Shawn, and Aaron for coming to WV this weekend. It was so cool having you here! Thanks for everything over the past 18 months - you guys rock!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today's Goings On

  • I love hanging out with Anna. She is the cutest thing ever and she is so funny. I spent some one on one time with my two year old today. That hasn't happened much since she was born. I sure enjoyed her today.
  • A very hilly run in my Westover neighborhood today. Great run in 41 degrees. I was out for 35:37.
  • Put Anna down for a nap. She kept asking for more verses of Away In A Manger and for her mama.
  • Worked on my taxes for two hours. It drives me nuts! Pastor's taxes are insane and I don't have a clue what I am doing. It makes me nervous that some IRS agent is going to knock my door down and drag me off to jail because I checked a wrong box somewhere on some crazy form.
  • Had dinner with the Jones family from Morristown, TN. Amazing! I love those guys and they drove all the way to Morgantown for the weekend - how cool is that. I am going to write more about this later.
  • Prayer time with some of our young guys from church. Everybody was in great spirits and seemed to be really excited about what God is going to do at church tomorrow.
  • Magnum P.I. What a great show to watch re-runs of. This has always been one of my favorite TV shows. TV shows on DVD. How cool is that? We are all the way through season 4 and looking forward to season 5.
  • Tomorrow is Resurrection Day (Easter) . Shouldn't the resurrection of Jesus be the biggest deal of our lives every day of our lives. I know Easter is just the day to focus on it and celebrate it and teach it to our children and to others, but really, the resurrection of Jesus brings me life and peace and joy every day. It is the reason I have the forgiveness of sin. The resurrection is the foundation block of everything we are as Christians. It had better be Easter everyday in our practical lives!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good Run - Great Sermon

I ran in the rain this evening so the trail was pretty empty. I guess nobody wants to exercise when it's 49 degrees and raining. It was a good run timed at 33:23 with a final mile of 7:31. I have done what I said I was going to do after all my knee pain. I have backed off on my mileage and just stayed around the 4 mile mark. I'll pick up the mileage as it warms up and I am able to ride my bike more often.

The best part of the run tonight was the sermon I listened to by Francis Chan. Amazing! I thought about re-preaching it here, but I'll save it for an up-coming Sunday. Needless to say, I was moved in my spirit to be a more active part of working in the Kingdom of God. When I finished my run, I felt like shouting, "Use me God to do whatever You want me to do!" Then as I was doing some post-run stretching, I noticed a homeless man by the wharf district bathrooms. He was just standing under the eaves of the small building staying out of the rain and smoking a cigarette. He had a small radio plugged into the city's electrical supply and was just minding his own business. As I stretched, I heard God tell me if I really wanted to get involved in people's lives to go talk to him. I determined that I would at the end of my next stretch, so when that stretch was over, I got up and turned off my music and walked around the building to see what he was doing. He was still just standing there and I kept walking. I thought to myself, I'll wait till he comes around to me and I began a new set of stretches. As I was continuing to stretch, I was thinking of how to approach him and what to say to him. This time I was determined to obey what God had told me to do.

You are not going to believe what happened next. As I was slowly getting up to go talk to him, a group of students (I think a group of spring breakers in Morgantown on a mission trip) walked right passed me and right up to him and began talking to him. I was blown away. I could not believe that I had just missed an opportunity to be Jesus to that man. I just missed an opportunity to be obedient to what God was telling me to do! I just preached on obedience two days ago! I just said to God to use me for whatever He wanted! Unbelievable! I had just missed a blessing from God! What was I thinking? What in the world was my problem? What was the hold-up? Unbelievable! You kill me Shane! When are you going to just get out of the way and let God live through you? I can't believe I dropped that ball. I can't believe I let my hesitance to obey God cause me to miss out on a potential blessing and just the great peace and joy that comes from obedience.

Remember, delayed obedience is still disobedience! I learned that poignant lesson all to well tonight. I do not want to miss the next opportunity that comes my way. Forgive me Lord and truly - Use me (give me another chance)!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Good To Be In The House Of The Lord

It was so good at Crossroads this morning! Man, I really needed that. It was a sweet time of worship, challenge, and fellowship. I know that we are to walk intimately with Jesus everyday, but there is just something special about gathering with God's people and worshipping Him together. There is just something about the fellowship that comes between a host of like- minded followers of Jesus.

I can't really put my finger on it, but there was just something extra sweet in the air this morning at Crossroads. Maybe it was just that I had a difficult week and needed a focused group worship time as well as well as a touch from the Lord and and loving hand of fellowship from my Crossroads family. Whatever it was, it was great being in the house of the LORD today.

It is amazing what God is doing at Crossroads. The growth that God is bringing is so exciting. I look forward to all that He has in store for Crossroads Church for years to come. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Bit Faster

Great run - bad night. Just gonna post the logistics and go to bed (I think I am more tired than I even know). Is anybody reading anyway? I went 4 miles tonight in 31:29 with a first mile in 7:39 and a last mile in 7:29.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

66 Degrees

Man, today was nice, but a big change from the 29 degrees from my last run. It actually felt hot and my sweat glads really kicked up after a lot of cold weather running this winter. Also, I ran the first 2 miles straight into a stiff wind and that is always difficult. I never could seem to get my breathing in rhythm. That is two runs in a row. Not sure what is wrong. I went 33:29 with a final mile in 7:41. I am ashamed to claim that last mile. Like I said, I felt slow and sluggish. I need to probably run more and eat less!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Little Girls!

Pride Problem

I was in a weird place this morning. After hearing about and viewing some info about some other church plants and other church planters who have seemingly had an easier time than me and Crossroads, I was just a little bit off. I was questioning God as to why things weren't easier. I was wondering why some church plants start off with multiple staffs and why some who are the same age as Crossroads are already running 200 and why other church plants have so much money and people resources to use. I was just having a personal pity party. I know, I know, I was being stupid and sinful. The sin of pride is so deceitful and comes at us in so many different forms. Anyway, after I finally got into prayer and into the Word this morning, God spoke so clearly to me about how I was feeling. Check this out: "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, and with patience." Ephesians 4:1-2a

That verse jumped off the page at me as God hammered me about my self pity party. He said, "Shane don't worry about other people's callings, just worry about your calling. You need to walk (attitude) in a manner worthy of the calling that I have called you to. Morgantown and Crossroads are what I have called you to. You need to work hard and wait on me. I'll give you exactly what you need and you can trust me with the results."

I got off my knees with a totally different attitude. It's not up to me! That is freedom. God has called me to obedience (there's that word again) and nothing else. I am responsible to responding to His leading in my life and ministry. Along with this comes trust as I believe that He has my best in mind. From there, my day just got better as I focused on all the amazing things that God has done in my life and in Crossroads over the past two years.

Oh God I am just a little man - let my pride fall down and use me!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Timing of Obedience

"When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. "
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

Delayed obedience is still disobedience. God is teaching me that my relationship with Him is all about obedience and that timing is everything. Sometimes I miss out on the workings of God because I hesitate to obey His call in my life. When God speaks and tells me to do something, I am to do it immediately. Also, obedience usually precedes a movement of God. If I were more obedient; more responsive to the voice of God, then I think I would see God work more in my life, my family, my church, and my community.

It is my desire to be an obedient follower of Jesus Christ. I want to see Him work in and through me all over the place in all kinds of ways.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow Blind Run

Yes, I ran today in the blowing snow. For the first 2.5 miles I ran into the wind and the snow was blowing into my face so hard that I could barely see where I was going. It was awesome! The second 2.5 was a little better. I was not quite as snow blind as the first half. The running conditions were great (I am the crazy type that actually likes running in a blizzard), but I never really seem to get into rhythm so it wasn't the easiest 5 miles that I have ever run. I think maybe I had my music up too loud. I don't know, but it sounds like a good excuse. So I went out for a total of 5 miles in 41:17 with a final mile in 7:32. Not too bad.

Tomorrow is Sunday and as always, I am looking forward to meeting with my church family. I love Sundays. It is so great to be a part of something as wonderful as Crossroads. It has been awesome to watch all that God has been doing in the church these past 6 weeks. I know God is up to something great here in Morgantown and I am honored and glad that He has asked me/us to be a part of it!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Glorious Day!

What a great day! The only bad part of my day today was that Brannon had to get a shot at her 4 year-old check-up. It is pretty brutal to watch her get a shot. I think I would rather take it myself. Other than that, it was a glorious day!

I had a great morning and lunch with my family. We went to the doctor for Brannon's check-up and it was even good, all except the shot. Then we went to Target and did some window shopping. It's fun to hang out with my family and not spend any money. Then we had lunch at Pizza Hut. I had been craving Pizza Hut for over a week.

After lunch, it was home for Anna's nap, but then Brannon and I took off for Lowes to get a broom to sweep the garage with. I love hanging out with that kid. She is so cool! When we got back home, Brannon stayed outside with me and we washed both cars inside and out and then swept the garage out. You should have seen her helping me sweep the garage. It was awesome! It's nice to have the cars and garage clean after so much salt and grime on them from the winter road crews.

After the clean-up, I went for a run. Oh did I mention that my neck felt much better this morning after two nights on my new pillow (my wife is so smart). So the day started off right. Anyway, it was the first day in a long time that I really felt like running. So I hit the trail this evening in shorts. It was a balmy 49 degrees and it felt great. It was the first run in a long time where nothing hurt. I ran for 38:17 with a final mile in 7:12. I think that is my fastest mile in a long time. It was a great run. No knee or neck pain - sweet!

Then I came home and kissed both my little girls goodnight and had a hot shower and then settled down with a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. What a great day. I am really refreshed and ready for a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Pillow

My neck and upper back have been killing me for the past three weeks. As the time has gone by, the pain has gotten worse. It is crazy, I have never had constant physical pain like this. Once again, I think I am getting old. I mean I know I am still young, but my body just responds different than it did 10 years ago.

Becky said that she thought I should try a new pillow. What! A new pillow - no way, I love my pillow, I have had that thing for over 6 years! After much careful consideration, I think she is right. My old pillow looks and feels like a brick. That can't be good for my neck, but giving up my old pillow was difficult. It was like giving up an old friend. I realized that I was just hanging onto my pillow because I have always loved it so much but when I really felt it, it was a miserable pillow. It certainly was time for a new pillow, but it took pain to make me see it.

Sin in our lives is a lot like that. We love our sin so much and we love to keep it hanging around. It's our special little companion. It usually takes pain in our lives to show us our sin and for us to have some motivation for getting rid of it. I hope my future sin issues are easier to get rid of than my old pillow and I hope they require less pain.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Obedience First

We want God to work in our lives. We want Him to do great miraculous things so that we will know that He is alive and working. Most of the time, we want this without the cost of faith and trust. Yet, I have discovered that God rarely shows up for our benefit or even for His own glory until we first move forward in obedience to His call in our lives. Amazing!

It's crazy that our said passion for God is not in direct proportion with our obedience to God. We say we love God and want to see Him do great things, but then we simply do not respond in obedience to His Word. We will never see God do great things in our lives and churches until we first move in obedience to Him.

Abraham is the best example of this when God told him to sacrifice Issac in Genesis 22. Abraham obeyed God and then trusted Him for the outcome. So often, we want the desired outcome without the difficult obedience. Not gonna happen. Obedience almost always precedes miracle!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Who Do We Love?

Here is a quote from Henry Blackaby that I read this week that just floored me.

"People who struggle to spend time with God don't have a scheduling problem; they have a love problem."

Wow! Do we really love God or are we just saying that we love Him and then never spending any time with Him. I know that would never work on my wife and kids. What makes us think it works on God? If we really love Him, we are going to spend time with Him. It's just that simple!

While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Jeremiah 7:13

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Joy and Pain

I ran 32:05 this evening. Man, I love to run. It is so great. It brings about such a feeling of accomplishment. The joy I get from running is hard to describe, but it always encourages me in more than just physical ways.

Oh the pain of running. I was on pavement and hills today and both my knees hurt. They didn't hurt as bad as my left one has in recent runs but the bad news today was that as I ran up the hills, my right knee hurt too. I am looking forward to warmer weather so I can get on my bike more often (gotta build the legs). I am taking an Advil and going to bed. Hope to run again on Weds.