Monday, March 30, 2009

Renewed Running

This evening was the first time in a while that I ran a second time so soon after a previous run. My running has been so sporadic as of late but I think I am back on track now. With the arrival of warmer temperatures and my friend Steven, my training is definitely on the upswing!

Tonight was a good run of 35:51 and Anna came along in the running stroller. I think she enjoyed it but she was quiet the whole way. But she did say when we got home that she had a good time. It is great to be able to exercise and be with my kids!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sick Of Sin

Sin Sucks! All it does is cause stress and destroy relationships. I am so sick of it! I am sick of my own sin and the sin of others! It is ridiculous! We need to get over ourselves, our selfish pursuits, motives, words, and thoughts! Why to we think SO highly of ourselves? Why do we elevate what we think and want over the needs and feelings of others? My big question today is, "Why isn't Jesus enough?" We say He is and then we act like selfish idiots. Its no wonder God's work and church here in America is barely crawling forward. He can't and won't use a diseased people and that is what we are. We have to find a way to get over ourselves and allow Him to be our everything. I am not sure I have all the answers but I do know that God has so much more for us beyond the boundaries of selfishness and I want to find it for me, my family, and for Crossroads! I hope you want it too. What He has for me/us is far better than anything my/your selfish flesh can come up with! Let's let it go and allow Jesus to truly be our everything! Let's get sick of ourselves and our sin and just live the humble life that He has called us to. Then one day, we'll hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Recent Running

My running hasn't been very consistent recently with the mission trip and then getting back from the mission trip and just trying to settle back into life and deal with some stomach issues. With all that said, I have only run twice since March 5th. I ran once in the Dominican Republic. It was an interesting early morning run with John (our team leader) and Bethan K. We ran approximately 4 miles through the Bateys and the sugarcane. We had pigs, goats, and chickens join us from time to time. It was a good time. Then I finally ran again yesterday with Steven A. It was awesome! I can't believe that Steven and Ashley have moved to Morgantown. It is going to be so great having them here as part of the church and it is so great to have my running partner back after over 4 years. Steven and I ran together in Arkansas and trained together and finished a half-marathon together. Now that we are back together, we have two half-marathons that we are already talking about doing together this summer and this fall. Last night was a great run (34:51) with a strong final push (we always really push each other at the end of each run) and I am so stoked too have Steven running with me again. It is going to help so much with my/our training. It should be a great spring and summer in the Suiter running regime!

Friday, March 27, 2009

15 Harrison Ave.

Well, it's official. Crossroads Church is now the proud owner of its first piece of property in its young life. We closed today on our new building located at 15 Harrison Ave in Westover which is right behind the new Rite Aid Pharmacy. This building is going to help us to continue to do what God has called us to do. The building will aid us in reaching Morgantown and the Dominican Republic for Jesus Christ. It will allow us to grow in order to accomplish the vision that God has put before us. Our new seating capacity will be around 150 or 160 so I envision growing to about 400 attendees before we have to move again. I wonder how long it will take before God does that!

I can't believe it! We just held our official launch on April 1st of 2007 so it is just under 2 years from launch date to first building purchase. That is so crazy cool. God is so amazing! He has done such great things in and through Crossroads these past two years and I want to make sure that He gets all the glory. I thank God and praise Him for what He has done - for all the people that He has brought to our church and for all the hearts and lives that He has turned toward Himself during that time. It has been an awesome, exciting, and scary journey and it has also been fun. Through it all, God has been SO faithful!

Today just marks the next step in our church's journey. It is a big step but it is also only just the beginning. God has much ahead of us. We are still only beginning. There are many individuals in Morgantown and in the Dominican Republic and in other places all over the world that He wants to use us in reaching for Him. The future only holds more awesome, exciting, and scary fun as we continually march into the future with faithful obedience. It is gonna rock! And it is all for the glory of our great Saviour and King - Jesus!

Dominican Reflections

It is hard to believe that our Crossroads mission team has been home from the Dominican Republic for over a week! I had planned to blog about our trip much sooner but it seemed that life took off at a blistering speed as soon as we stepped foot back in America. I am sure that those who went on the trip would probably acknowledge this same feeling. One minute we are in the midst of crazy poverty in the middle of the Dominican Republic sugar cane fields doing ministry and the next minute, we are home inundated by our "to do" lists. It all seems so surreal. It seems surreal that we were even there and now it seems surreal to be back home.

With all that said, I am thankful to have gone and experienced what we experienced and to have met the people that we met. My life and our church will never be the same. I am so excited to see what God is gong to do in Batey Chucillo (spelling?) and in the church there and in Pastor Francisco. I am excited that we are partnering with him and his church to accomplish great things in Batey Chucillo. I am excited that we are building a feeding center there so little kids can eat and be introduced to Jesus. It is a great partnership that spans many miles and two different cultures but God is doing it and He is going to get great glory from it. It is going to be exciting to see Crossroads Church grow here in Morgantown and how that growth will impact lives for Jesus all the way in the Bateys of Dominican Republic. Our (Crossroads Church) goals are big and there is much work to be done. We will do great things for God as we continue to walk in faithful obedience! It is going to be great! I am stoked about the future and about how God is really using us to be His hands and feet in Morgantown and in the Dominican Republic.

Thank you God for Crossroads Church and for what You are doing in us and through us. Keep Your mighty hand upon us and use us for Your great purposes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DR Mission Trip

It is so surreal that I am leaving to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic tomorrow morning at 6 AM. Crossroads Church is sending 22 of us on our first mission trip and we are going to work in the bateys (settlements of sugarcane workers). I can't believe that one-fifth of our 3 year-old church is about to embark on a mission trip of this magnitude. I am so amped! This is such a big deal and Satan has been coming against us so much recently. I believe that Crossroads Church is literally standing at a crossroads and God is about to do something so huge with us. With this mission trip and the up-coming purchase of our first building, we are accomplishing great things for God and His Kingdom. So the attacks from our enemy have been hostile and fierce. I should expect it by now. Whenever we win great victories, the devil is just around the corner. I believe that this DR mission trip has HUGE implications for the future of Crossroads for many years to come and that is why I think Satan is so opposed to this trip. Pray for us as we go. Pray that God will use us but also change us to make us more effective in His Kingdom work right here in Morgantown.

It is going to be a great week and I am excited to see all that God is going to do in and through us. Obviously I won't be blogging for a little over a week. The area where we are staying is very rural and there will be no Internet and I have been told that even the electricity will be spotty at best. If i do get to an area with electricity and an Internet connection, I'll blog so keep checking and see. I know I'll have a lot to blog about when I get back home so watch for those post mission trip posts. I have no idea what to expect but I am anticipating that God is going to rock my world.

Peace and love to all and keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Brannon Elisabeth Suiter

Today is Brannon's 5th birthday! I really can't believe it! Has it really already been 5 years since my first born child came into our family? I am so thankful to God for the gift of Brannon. She is such a great kid and I am so proud of her. It is hard to believe that God has allowed me the privilege of being her daddy. The past five years have been such a joyful experience. It has been great seeing life through the eyes of innocence again as an adult.

Becky is just now tucking her in bed after her requested dinner of enchilada casserole and special healthy ice cream birthday cake (for all those of you out there who think you have to sacrifice taste to eat healthy, you need to try Brannon's birthday cake - Becky truly is an amazing researcher and cook!). After supper and before bedtime, she built some things with her new birthday Lego's. She got the regular Lego's this year. Is she really old enough for "big kid" Lego's? Yep, my little girl is getting so big and it is hard to believe!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Running Lull

My life has been so crazy recently! Since Mary has been born and with major things mounting at church, it has been very difficult to find the time and to discipline myself to go run. I have only run twice in the past three weeks. I ran last Saturday morning for 34 minutes and 14 seconds in 26 degree weather and I ran today for 33 minutes and 47 seconds in much different temperatures. It was a nice 55 degrees. Both runs were uneventful but I can tell I have gotten a little bit slower with all the time off. Maybe warmer temperatures and Mary sleeping through the night are just around the corner. Both of those things will help. Crossroads Dominican Republic mission trip and the closing on our new building will definitely be some major stress that will be gone and maybe it will be easier to go run. It is the weirdest thing but the times when I need to run the most (most stressful times of life) are the hardest times to actually go run. Go Figure!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jesus Demands All!

"The discomfort of the Christian life rests largely in its all-inclusiveness. If Jesus were but one part of our lives and the remainder of our lives was at our personal disposal, it would all be much less costly for us. But this is not so. Because God became man in Jesus Christ, all life is the sphere of our obedience and in all life we have to seek first the Kingdom of God."

Joost de Blank (1908-1968) Anglican Archbishop of Capetown, South Africa

"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all." Issac Watts (1674-1748)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Holy Spirit and Cell Phones

How different would our lives look if we focused on the Holy Spirit like we focus on our cell phones? Hmmmm, let that sink in a bit. If I paid as much attention to the Holy Spirit as I do to my cell phone, I think I might actually have a lot more God directed attitude and action in my life. Our cell phones ring and we hurry to see who it is (notice, I didn't say we answer it, but we do hurry to see who it is) or we get a text message and everything else in our life stands still till we read it and respond. I catch myself texting while driving, or finding a spot out of the way at a store to send that important message, or neglecting my wife and kid's time to text, or worse allow texting to interrupt my Bible study or reading. And don't even get me started about what happens in our lives if we misplace our cell phones! Horror of horrors! I mean, we may not even need it at the moment we can't find it (it's like a constant friend), but we freak out and drop everything to go look for it.

Now contemplate what our lives would look like if that was our attitude with God, the Holy Spirit. What if we stopped everything in order to get in touch with Him. What if He was our constant companion (He is - we just don't act like it!) and we lived our lives out of the fact that He is always "in our pocket/purse"? Why doesn't the thought of losing Him (theologically we can't, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good mind exercise) bring us to absolute tears and crazy fear (see Psalm 51:11). Why don't we actually talk to Him all the time about everything like He cares because He does (check 1 Thess. 5:17 and 1 Peter 5:7)? Why don't we care more about what God thinks (Holy Spirit) than what other people think (our cell phones)? Why don't we care more about God than we do our cell phones?

Yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking. You are saying that I am crazy and that you love God way more than your cell phone. And I say, "Who are you kidding? Actions speak WAY louder than words!

Let's make the switch. Let's elevate the Holy Spirit which allows us to communicate with the God of the universe above these little devices that allow us to communicate with each other.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Living Like Jesus

I posed the question yesterday in my sermon, "What would it really look like if we obeyed the Bible, if we really took it seriously and lived like Jesus did?" I think most of our lives would look VERY different. I am still struggling and wondering what that looks like for me and my family but I know that I want to live like Jesus did and like He wants me do. I am sick of trying to "serve two masters".

This morning as I was reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan (get it soon and read it!), I was in the chapter where Francis just tells stories of people who have or are presently living radically giving lives in the name and for the glory of Jesus Christ! The accounts are astounding and convicting! What keeps us from doing the same - from living totally sold-out for Jesus? My guess, because I know my own heart, is the pull of pleasure and stuff from this world has too strong of a hold on our lives. Oh to completely let go and live for Jesus!

With all the individuals who have gone before us and who are presently living lives of humility and persecution in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ, I am reminded of Hebrews 11:1-12:3 (check out the whole passage if you are not familiar with it).

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

This is the call to us! Many have gone before us and since we are surrounded by so many faithful believers, let us get rid of all the sin and other stuff that is holding us back and RUN to and for Jesus!