Sunday Is Coming

It’s almost Easter, and that means, at Crossroads, things are busy. There are volunteer teams to be assembled, programs to be printed, cookie orders to be made, just to name a few things. All in preparation for the thousands of people we’ll see come through our doors over the Easter weekend.

While there is a buzz of prep going on, this is also a time when we find moments in our day to slow down and fix our eyes on Jesus. We pause to recognize the sacrifice, the grace, and the love that is exemplified in this week long journey to the empty tomb.

In Eagan this weekend, the children’s ministry will be kicking off Holy Week with a Palm Sunday Performance! They’ll be kicking off each service with worship to remind us that Jesus has come! They will also be hosting a Good Friday-Evening of Worship on April 3rd.

In Woodbury, we’ll be hosting a prayer walk on Monday, March 30 at 6:30pm. We’ll be praying throughout the church for the people that will be coming through our doors. Everyone is welcome to join us!

Life is busy, and crazy and complicated. Sometimes we have more questions than answers. Sometimes, God feels far away. Sometimes we get caught up in regular life. I just want to encourage you, where ever you find yourself in this Easter week, that you find some space to fix your eyes on Jesus. If that means inviting someone to a service, pulling out and reading your Bible, praying or reaching out to someone who’s been on your mind. Do it.  Because Sunday is coming, and the tomb is empty, and we all get to celebrate that!

We’ll see you this weekend!

GO_lisa.jpg

Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

Running…

I’ve been restless lately. Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe it’s the return to a regular schedule after Spring Break was over. Maybe it’s budget planning.  Maybe it’s dreaming of future events. And maybe it’s that God is working on something that I just can’t see, and yet I can feel it. It wakes me up in the middle of the night or 4:30am and makes my brain spin.  It sets my introverted self into over drive and if I’m not careful, I will run from this feeling and “numb” myself with Pinterest ideas and Facebook posts.  Avoiding the wrestle and the decision. Maybe you’re familiar with that. Or maybe your tendency is to get frustrated and blow off steam in unhealthy ways. Or maybe you don’t wrestle with any decisions…in which case, I’m going to assume you’re magic or 110.

I personally think that the wrestle and restless is where God is stirring. I think God uses our restless spaces to do some amazing work in us. And through us.

I can’t tell you the number of people who set off on their first mission trip or begin volunteering because their restlessness has compelled them to do something.   People decide to walk across the street and invite someone over to dinner and begin a friendship with a neighbor. People commit to running 26.2 miles to change the lives of children they will never meet. People use their success and business and figure out a way to help women across the globe with their business. They chose to run towards God in the restlessness. They take their longing and their passion and turn it into something more.   God made us for more.

“If you’re wrestling with some sort of decision, reflect for a moment and ask yourself, Am I being brave, or am I being safe? In the end, it depends on whether we think God can be trusted.” 

― Gary Haugen

 If you are restless, wrestling, or scared, I want to encourage you to be brave.  I want you to trust God with every ounce of who you are and with everything you have. I want you to inspire others with your bravery and your faith. I’ll be praying for you. And for me, because I’m not magic or 110.

We’ll see you this weekend!

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of  Missions  

La Mesa

There are a team of people heading to Mexico with Serve His Kids this week. They will be staying at an orphanage, working alongside volunteers and kids, and learning some more about Jesus and why we GO.  One of the more powerful times during this mission trip (and other mission trips) is the time spent around a table.  It’s a powerful time for many reasons.  Sometimes, it’s because the experience of eating with children who don’t live with their parents makes you see your table differently. Sometimes, it’s because you pull up to the table to help a child with school work and you realize the gift of a public education.  And sometimes, it’s because you sit at the table and the simple small act of being together, being in community with others, fills a space in your heart.  The table is where many of us begin to meet Jesus.  Will you join me in praying for this team as they journey across the border and gather at a new table this week?

Also, I’m really excited to be a part of our Women’s Ministry event that is coming up, called The Table!  Now the men had BBQ at their men’s event in January; I heard it involved meat sweats and Jesus. The Table that I’m talking about, is more about women and less about meat sweats. The women who are coming to The Table all come from different places. We’re young, old-ish or somewhere in between. We’re introverts, extroverts, strong, mild, and many other adjectives.  We’re single, married, mamas, aunts, sisters, and best friends. Our stories ebb and flow in different parts. Some of us have walked through and weathered incredible storms, living to tell about struggle and the restoration. Some of us are in the middle of storms, needing  relief, both of the laughing and crying varities. While others of us are in the best seasons of our lives and want to share that joy and come alongside others who need us.

To register, click here 

599210_10151376461227333_898893849_n.jpg 

We’ll see you this weekend!

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of  Missions  

March GOment

For the month of March, Crossroads Woodbury is partnering with the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf (CCEFS).  CCEFS provides help for those in need in the Woodbury community.  All donations during the month of March will be matched through Minnesota Foodshare!  It’s the perfect time to donate!

To make it easy, we are using the Text To Give option for you to make your donations!   You have until the 29th of March to do this! Text the phrase CRGO and the amount you would like to give to 28950Every dollar counts!

We’ll see you this weekend!

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of  Missions  

Vision

Every year 840,000 or more people die of water related illnesses. 840,000. Broken down, that is 2,300 people every day dying of water related illnesses. Every minute a child under the age of 5 dies because they lack clean drinking water. Every MINUTE!

That’s right, the water we use to fill our pools in the summer, leave running while we brush our teeth, and water our plants with, over 750 million people lack access to that same water. These people are suffering and many are dying from completely preventable diseases.

If you could do something to prevent even one more death due to lack of clean drinking water, would you? If there was something practical you could do from your house in Minnesota that would make a profound impact on people’s live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the worlds POOREST nation, would you?

Well the truth is your CAN help. You CAN save lives. You can be a part of making that 840,000 deaths annually, lower and lower until the number is eventually  ZERO.

How can you help? Well, a few years ago Crossroads partnered with World Vision, a faith based organization committed to bring clean water and resources to the countries that need it most, to begin a water project in Swaziland. We raised money to help with the water project as well as had the opportunity to sponsor children from the region.

As of last year, 2014, the water project in Swaziland has been completed! Praise God! Now, Crossroads is going along with World Vision to the Congo to bring water and resources to the poorest country in the world!

Last year, many of you began sponsoring children from the Congo. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to sponsor a child, maybe now’s the time! Learn more about that, here.  Child sponsorship invites a person like you or me to support and help look after the well-being of a child in need from another country — until that child and community become self-sufficient. It’s an incredible opportunity to love people half way around the world.

If sponsorship isn’t for you right now, there are more ways to help. Each year, World Vision does a 1/2 marathon in summer (August) and a Full Marathon (October) to raise money to give people clean drinking water for life. FOR LIFE.  Are you a runner? Why not run with a cause this year. Crossroads is beginning to assemble teams for the Half and Full Marathons THIS MONTH! Team captains, training schedules, encouragement, oh my! Details to come soon!

Not a runner, but know some people crazy enough to run 13 or 26 miles? Why not support them as the they run! Every $50 they raise gives one person clean drinking water for life!

Crossroads just sent a team of people to the Congo on a vision trip to see first had the work that World Vision is doing! They just came back and the stories, pictures and videos are amazing! We are so excited to share these with you in the coming days and weeks.

We have set our sights on God and we know that His vision is to have a world where clean drinking water is accessible to EVERYONE, and that Everyone know HIM deeply! We are so thankful for the vision that World Vision is casting and so excited to be part of the AMAZING things God is doing through them all over the world.

congo.jpg     runners.jpg   congo_team.jpg

We’ll see you this weekend!

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of  Missions  

The Single Life – Guest Post!

Single at 30 is something I never expected to be.  Truly, I fully expected to be married with one, maybe two, kids in tow, a great comfortable job, and to be in escrow. But life is funny with its twists and turns and here I sit.  There are days when I feel like I should just get a cat (or some other pet because I think cats are the worst), learn to knit and accept my spinster life. While other days I feel like I have the capacity to move all the mountains and go where ever God calls because I have nothing tying me down. The single life is hard sometimes, especially when everyone seems to be coupling up and you feel like you’re lacking some relationship magic, but it’s also invigorating and full of beautiful potential.

Singleness is not the plague. It’s not something I want my married friends to see as something to comfort me about. It’s not something give me awkward encouragement about. “You just haven’t met the right guy yet.” or “He doesn’t know what he’s missing.”  The truth is, “single” may be a season, but it may not.  I do know, though, that my worth and identity is not wrapped up in whether or not I have a +1.

I think many of us have an idea in our heads that there is a large chasm between single and married.  Each one is kept to their side, and there is not bridge across, unless you’re engaged. Then you can have single friends and married friends until you say “I do” then you’re quickly swept across to the married side.

I’ve decided that we all need each other. Married, single, somewhere in between, we need each other. We need perspective. We need people to root for us, who see things differently. We need people who have “been there.” We need people who will love our kids in a special kind of way that we don’t. We need the friend who reminds us of our immense worth. Anyone would be lucky to have us, or that our spouse is lucky to be married to us.  The friend that reminds us that life is FUN, and wild and an adventure. We also need people who will jump in the trenches with us. Who will wade waist deep in chaos to remind us what’s worth fighting for. The people who can drop anything to be with us, who bring necessarily supplies when hearts get broken.

We need to laugh, and cry and put broken pieces back together because we were created to live in community. I love my marrieds. I have learned so much from them. We’ve gotten our hands dirty, and we’ve stood in the gap for each other, and in those moments, it didn’t matter what our relationship status was.  What mattered most was that we were there.

Do I want to get married? You bet. I want kids who look like their dad and laugh like me and who will love my community of people like family. I hope one day I’m in escrow for a cute house with a warp around porch with a swing.  That might not happen (especially the porch swing part). What I do know is that God if faithful and will use my life to tell a story about Love and who he is, whether I have a ring on it, or not.

So,spend time with everyone. Invite that college kid over for dinner. Offer to watch the kids for a single mom. Talk about the marriages that your look up to, that have set an example for you and tell those people. Root for marriages, speak truth about relationships because we need each other.

GO_lisa.jpg

Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

Not Just Once a Year

It’s impossible to escape Valentine’s Day. Like it or not, whether you’re married, single or somewhere in between, like Mondays, it comes around eventually for better or worse.

While I don’t necessarily love Valentine’s Day, I do love loving people. I’m the person who sends random cards or buy someone a present because I was thinking of them. I go to plays, and concerts, and events that my people are involved in because I think rooting for each other is about the best thing we can do. I call to check in even when I don’t have much to say. I am grateful for the people who grace the pages of my life story, and I don’t think ” I love yous” should be reserved for ONE day in February when we feel obligated to say it…and also…it’s just COLD in February so I feel like everyone a little bit bitter, and no one wants a cranky, forced “I love you.”

“I love yous” should be given out freely and as often as possible.

One of the most beautiful things in this world is the bond you share with another person. Whether it’s your mom, your spouse, your best friend or your children, it’s special and rare and God put those people in your life to support you, to hold you up, and to see you though this messy life.

I’m acutely aware of how much goodness and love the people in my life radiate. I’m grateful for the love the show me. So I want to take the opportunity to tell them how much I love and appreciate them as often as possible.

I am also so aware that there are so many people in this world who have not known love like I have.  There are 21-36 million people who are caught in a life of slavery and violence. There are 153 million children from babies to teenagers who are orphans. So many people who don’t know that love doesn’t have to painful or earned.

I want to challenge all of us to love the people in our lives well. Call them. Root for them. See them in person. Let them know they matter in the way they will most appreciate it ( Oh hey, 5 Love Languages!.). Say “I love you” as often as possible. let the people who make this world feel like home know they are appreciated.

I also would love to challenge us to find away to love the people outside our immediate circles as well. Pray for them, Volunteer in your community. Pay for someone’s gas or coffee. Do something, even if it’s small because love will change the world.

We have some great ways to love people coming up! Our February GOment in Woodbury is taking gently used clothing and other linens for The Dwelling Place, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.  In April, International Justice Mission is hosting the Global Prayer Gathering in Washington DC. There are a ton of local organizations that need volunteers. Find opportunities in our GO catalog, here.

No act of love is ever a waste of time. God loves us so much he sent Jesus, and Jesus loved the world so much that he now sends us to love everyone. Let’s really be the type of people that love hard and freely, the way Jesus calls us to.

GO_lisa.jpg

Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

The Dwelling Place

As we are now in week 3 of our marriage series, I’m thinking about all of those people whose relationships are difficult, and painful and abusive. Domestic violence is something over 10 million children witness annually. 10 million children who are growing up to learn that abuse is synonymous with love. 10 million children who will grow up stuck in a cycle of abuse, being afraid of love, and/or becoming abusive themselves.

Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury among women. That’s more than car accidents, rape, etc. In fact in the United States a women is beaten or assaulted every 9 seconds.  In the time it takes you to snap a selfie, a woman somewhere has been beaten. And every day in the United States, three or more women are murdered by husbands and boyfriends. In, Minnesota, in 2014 there were 23 documented deaths due to domestic violence.

And that’s just in the United States. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

These statistics are heart breaking, and my intention in sharing them with you is two fold: 1. That we may remain aware that domestic violence takes many forms, and the people affected by it need our help and our prayers.

2. Our GOment in Woodbury this month is The Dwelling Place.   The Dwelling Place is a transitional shelter providing safe housing and structured programming for battered women and their children. Residents may stay 12-18 months to receive healing, and acquire the necessary skills to achieve independent housing, a sustaining income, and violence free lives.

Domestic violence impacts so many and as the Church, we want come alongside organizations that are trying to make a difference.  The mission of The Dwelling Place is to protect families and heal lives affected by domestic abuse by providing safe housing, Christ-centered programs, training in life skills, and community education.

Crossroads will be helping The Dwelling Place by donating gently used clothing, towels, bed linens and winter wear.  Stop by the table at the Adults counter each weekend to drop off your items and donations through the weekend of February 28/March 1.  There will also be resources about domestic violence and ways for you to volunteer if you are interested.

Also a quick update from last week: the Mexico Mission Trip meeting is now on the 21st of February. Details can be found here. 

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of Missions 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Tina Turner was not the first person to ask this question. The answer is simple. Everything. Love has everything to do with “it.”  Love (or finding it) is the reason we do most things. It’s why we get married. It’s why we buy expensive bridesmaids dresses to be in those weddings. It’s why we’d die for a our children. It’s why we answer the phone at 3 am when our people need us. It’s also why we throw surprise parties, send “thinking of you cards,” celebrate the achievements, milestones and people.

Love is why we fly halfway around the world to help people we don’t know, and we hit our knees every day to stand in the gap for those who are hurting, who need answers, who desperately need to find joy and hope.

Love is the big deal, right? We want to love people well, and in the way they most need it. This spring, Crossroads has two missions trips coming up that happen to be in country (or right over over boarder)! If you’ve never been on a trip, or are feeling like now is the time to spread the love….now’s a great time!

In April International Justice Mission hosts the annual Global Prayer Gathering, in Washington DC. You’ll get to see first hand the work the IJM is doing all over the world. You’ll to talk with, worship with and pray for the people who are on the ground in the places that need love the most. It’s an incredible weekend. for details, click here.

In March, there will be another trip to the orphanage in Reynosa, Mexico.  There’s an informational meeting at the Washington County Library in Woodbury on February 14th. For more information, please contact Rick Ross ( rickross400@msn.com; 651-442-8314).

Last weekend, Justin and Trisha Davis kicked off our new series called “More than Words.” The marriage conference was amazing. There was such a buzz of positive energy all weekend. It’s awesome to see couples being passionate about their relationships and wanting to do the hard work to make them beyond ordinary. Thank you to all who volunteered and attended. I can’t wait to see what God does with this series in our relationships!

Excited to see what’s next!

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of Missions 

IJM Field Office Update

Mission trips are funny things sometimes. We are called to love our neighbor across the street and across the ocean. So we go. We get passports and visas and shots. We hop on planes, and take buses for a week or 10 days, to help. To get our hands dirty. To do what Jesus calls us to.  We hold babies, offer clinics, build houses and teach English and in those days we feel closer to God. We watch him preform miracles in front of us. And it’s amazing.

And then, we go home. Changed by the experience, yes, but often we are left to wonder if what we did on our trip…made a difference, a dent, an impact.  Are people’s lives changed for the better? Is there justice for those who need it? Did we do our job? Sometimes we never get to know, but sometimes we do.

This week, I had the opportunity to get a field update from the IJM field office in Kampala, Uganda, and the conversation was filled with so much hope. In the summer for 2013, a group of women, myself included, from Crossroads went to Uganda to help organize court files along side two other churches in an effort to stop land grabbing from happen to widows and orphans. Land grabbing, as you know, is illegal in Uganda, but was virtually impossible to prosecute due to the fact that lawyers could never find the files.

The court house we worked in was one of the worst in Uganda. Cases were often delayed for years, or never tried at all because of lost or missing files.

This week, the IJM field director, Kathryn Wilkes, told us that because of the work that we did alongside other churches, files are now found immediately. Lost or missing files are now never an excuse for cases not to prosecuted! What incredible news!

Along with organized court files, they are offering police training to police officers so they know all the laws in their country, making the justice system even stronger.

The work that IJM does is slow, and hard but they are seeing prayers being answered, justice being served, and amazing work God is doing. We are so thankful for what they do, and their faithfulness to their calling.

I just wanted to let you know that April 16-17 is IJM hosting the Global Prayer Gathering in Washington DC. It’s 2 days of amazing stories of God restoring, rescuing, and rebuilding his kingdom through the work of IJM. It’s an amazing time or worship, prayer, and stories. I’d love to have you join me. For more details, click here.

See you this weekend!

GO_lisa.jpg

Lisa Adams
Director of Missions