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.