Refine Us

Relationships are difficult. They are full of give and take, compromise, love, grace, truth, mistakes, apologies.. the list goes on and on and on. You open yourself up to other people giving them permission to love you and to hurt you. They are scary and exciting and frustrating and refreshing. It’s not for the faint of heart. They’re absolutely worth the all the trouble we go to to have them. They make our lives…beyond ordinary.

All relationships are sacred, but perhaps the one type of relationship that seems be under attack the most, the hardest to maintain, the one that throws us for the biggest loops, causes the most heartache and joy…is marriage.

Marriage is a battle field,(do we have any Pat Benatar fans?)  and every marriage is different. Each person brings something totally different to the table. So…how do we do marriage well? How do we make marriage something worth fighting for? How do we prepare for marriage well? How do we recover from a marriage that left us brokenhearted? How do we seek to see and love the people with whom we are in relationships….like Jesus does? Where do we even start?

Those are tough questions, but essential to having relationships that make us better, that bring us closer to Jesus….that are beyond ordinary.

Next weekend, January 23-24, Justin and Trisha Davis, authors of the book Beyond Ordinary will be here for the Refine Us-Marriage Conference. They’ll share their story of joy and heartbreak and their journey back to each other. They’ll give us tools that will help us make our relationships extraordinary!

If you’re happily married, If your marriage is struggling, if you’ve been married for 38 years or 6 months, never been married, or you’ve been married and hope to be again, we encourage you to come. It’s for everyone. We were not created to do life alone.

Relationships matter, they are worth the work and worth fighting for! If you only do ONE thing this coming week, register for this conference. You will not regret it.  Click here to register.

See you this weekend!

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator

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Thank You

I just want to take a minute to thank you all for the amazing Missions Weekend we had last weekend, it was a huge success and we could not have done it without you!

Thank you for being brave! We have heard so many great stories of people getting connected, saying yes, and stepping out to do the next thing Jesus is calling them to do. It’s so encouraging to hear about the new ways people are GO-ing in to their communities to love people well!

Thank you, Crossroads, for your hospitality. We have heard so many great things from our ministry partners about how welcoming and warm our community is here.  Here is a snip-it of what’s being said:

I was so overwhelmed by the kindness, love and compassion that I experienced…. Words could never express the hope ignited in me that God’s people are interested in serving and being an answer to prayer!!” 

“The prayers, love, and support of churches like Crossroads are what enables our resident’s transformation into self-sufficient, abuse-free, God-centered women. Thanks for being with us, in this, and making a difference! ” 

Thank you for making our visitors feel welcome, for investing in their missions, and for allowing them a place to share with your their passion for God’s people.

Thank you for your help. Missions Weekend is something we plan all year for, and pulling it off is no small task. We couldn’t do with without the help of our amazing volunteers. You show up and do whatever needs to be done. I love working with you! Thank you for all you’ve done to make this weekend a success! We love and appreciate our volunteers so much!

I’m feeling especially grateful to be a part of this movement of Jesus-like people doing Jesus like stuff.

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

Being Brave and Saying Yes

There are a lot of words that you could use to describe me, and I’m sure if you asked my family and friends they’d give you a laundry list of descriptors, among them surely would include things like “sassy” and “funny.” I doubt, though, that “brave” would make the top 10.  I don’t think I’m what you would think of as “traditionally brave.”

I think the bravest thing I’ve ever done is say “yes” to Jesus.  Saying yes to a life that might look different that anything I would have expected. Saying yes to the messy of the world. Saying yes to deeply rooted relationships. Saying yes to be part of something so much bigger than me. It has changed in me in ways I’m still discovering.

Everyone’s brave is different, but no less important. Some yeses have led people across the world to serve people who speak a completely different language. Others, have made space in their home and heart through adoption. Still others reach out in their community, building deep relationships with the people down the block.

I’ve realized that bravery is: being open and willing to let your life be changed through God.  Saying yes to what’s God’s asking. Saying yes to love people when it’s hard, when it’s messy and when it’s inconvenient.

This weekend at Crossroads Woodbury and Cottage Grove we have over 30 Non-profits and organization who will be in the auditorium willing to help you say your next yes. Come and meet the people and places that are making positive differences in lives both locally and across the world. Come and ask questions, get inspired and be brave enough to say “YES” to something.  Don’t forget to grab a Missions Catalog as well, for even more opportunities to serve.

Crossroads is excited to have these organizations with us this weekend. We believe in the work their doing, we love how they are saying yeses in hard places and we are all invited along on their adventures.

I can’t wait to hear about all the ways you’ve said yes to being brave and how it’s changed you and the world for the better.

Excited to blaze these trails with you!

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

Love Your Neighbors

Today is Halloween. Kids everywhere have been counting down the days to cool costumes and free candy since the beginning of October! If you’re looking for a fun and safe place to go with your kiddos this year, the Cottage Grove Campus is hosting Trunk or Treat today from 5-7 in the south parking lot. It’s Disney themed this year and the trunks will be fabulous! It’s also a great way to get out and meet the people of your community that you might not otherwise see!

If you’re sticking around home you have an awesome and fairly easy opportunity to love on your neighborhood kids. A friendly smile and hello at a door can go a long way. You might even have a chance to chat with those people down the street that you’ve been meaning to introduce yourself to. If you find yourself going door to door with your kiddos, chat with the other parents who are in the same boat: waiting and the curb and giving constantly reminders to say thank you! You never know who you’ll meet and where those conversations will take you!

Whatever you’re doing tonight, enjoy your time. Be ever present, count the number of Elsa and Anna’s you see, eat a little bit too much candy, say a lot of hellos, smile a lot. You won’t regret it and your kindness won’t go unnoticed.

Just a reminder, pick up a Missions Go Catalog (at the Adult Ministry desk or at the doors), spend some time looking through it and praying about where you could use your gifts. Come back next week Nov 8-9 to our Missions Weekend and meet the people behind the organizations. Ask questions, make connections and say your next yes!

It’s an exciting time at Crossroads and in missions! Excited to be on this journey with you!

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

Go Do Something…Now

My life is funny. Sometimes “ha -ha” funny, other times it’s tragically funny. Usually something is breaking down, or I’m losing my keys or my check chard. I’m spilling something or running into something. I should do it with jazz hands and win a Tony because dramatic is my tone of choice. By the way, I’m Nicole. I do the web here at Crossroads. It’s nice to meet you. You can add “forgets to introduce herself” to the above list as well.

Basically, I’m kind of a mess, in an endearing kind of way. The kind of way that people smile at you and genuinely hope that you don’t break a bone by walking out the door. I’m that girl. Ever the Underdog. But God bless the people who keep rooting for me.

Don’t worry though, I have lots of reasons to smile, to laugh, and to be thankful. I love my job. I love my city. I love who I surround myself with and what Jesus is doing with all of it.

I’m clumsy but I’m also a planner, which seems like an interesting juxtaposition of qualities, but it is my essence. I like to know what’s coming and how much time and money I’ll need when the future gets here.

So you can imagine how I sometimes forgot to be in the moment. I got so busy scheduling, checking my phone, filling in my planner, I sometimes miss moments. Experiencing them. Letting teach me, or show me, whatever they were supposed to right then and there.

Last night I had the great privilege of being at an Urban Ventures fundraising event. I was sitting in a room full of people who believed in change and the power of Now. I put my cell phone down, my planner away, and I was just present. I let the words, statistics, and stories of the night roll around in my brain, soaking up every second of my time with these incredible people who are literally breaking the cycle of poverty and changing the lives of thousands of people.

It was pretty incredible to be in a room of people who are taking ordinary moments and using them for great things. It was an excellent reminder that I need to “go do something” way more instead of simply making a plan to “go do something” at some point, maybe, down the road, when life is less chaotic.

Does that sound like you? Are you taking advantage of moments you have? This weekend we are launching our Missions Catalog. It is full of places like Urban Ventures who are using the here and now to love like Jesus. Pick one up at the Adult Ministries desk and see all the amazing opportunities you have to “go do something.” To get your hands dirty. To make a difference. To be Jesus-like people doing Jesus-like stuff.

Circle some things in the catalog that interest you, and then come back on Nov 8-9 and meet the faces behind the programs you’ve circled during our annual Mission Weekend. You’ll get to ask questions and meet the people who are part of the organizations listed in the catalog. Make some contacts and get inspirited! Say your first yes in the moment and go do something amazing!

We’ll see you this weekend for the beginning of the second part of our Genesis Series, Turing Point.

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

2 Are Better Than 1

I like to do things that hard way. Well, I don’t really “like” it, but more often than not, that’s the way it goes. It’s frustrating for 100% of the people who love me. To add insult to injury, I also like to figure things out by myself. I have a very 2-year-old “I do it” mentality when it comes to new things, especially things that are challenging or give me anxiety. The reality is, that I’d rather do it myself, so if fail, and trust me, i do, no one else will know but me.

Much to my dismay, we are not designed to do things alone. God designed us to live in community with each other. The very reason God made Eve was so Adam would have a helper. Out of dust and rib the first intentional community was born, and it was good.

When I think about my community, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m especially grateful for the people who have paved the way into adulthood for me. My parents, and mentors, and older, wiser friends, who, when I am feeling very self-sufficient love me enough to keep me honest, offer advice (even if I don’t take it) and love me regardless of the outcome. They’re constant cheer leaders and broken heart menders, and I’m very thankful for that.

We all need that, don’t we?  People who come along side us, who pray for us, and help us when we need it most.  During days when live is ordinary and regular, they’re cheering on our sidelines celebrating every day victories. I’m so grateful that God created us to work together, to share heavy loads and big laughs, and ultimately to be tangible reminders of His love and provision. That is good, isn’t it?

At Crossroads, we feel privileged to pray for your prayer requests. We have prayer teams at each of our campuses that care deeply about you and pray passionately. We believe in the power of prayer and that our God is a God who hears and answers prayers. Week after week the most frequently requested prayers are for health-related issues.

In response to this, we are offering a Health care Directive Seminar on Saturday, October 11, 9:00-11:00 am at the Woodbury Campus. A Health Care Directive, formally known a living will, is a written document allowing you to name who would be in charge of your health care in the event you’re not able to advocate for yourself.  At this seminar, we will help address your fears, beliefs and other important values in regards to your health. If your family should face an unexpected tragedy we want you to be prepared.  Let’s face it making difficult health care decisions during such a time can be overwhelming for your family, and we want to help lighten your load.

Please consider coming to this FREE seminar. FREE childcare is also provided if you register by October 8, click here for details.

Additionally, a quick reminder that we will be having a Honduras mission’s trip meeting this Sunday at our Woodbury campus immediately following the 11:15 service, please come hear how you can be a part of this amazing mission team. No sign ups necessary, just come in to the auditorium and take a seat and see who God might be adding to your community of people.

Please join us for week 4 of our current series The Starting Point: A Journey through Genesis. It’s going to be a great weekend.

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Nicole Case & Lisa Renlund
Web Admin & Missions and Care Coordinator 

Creators

This week, as a staff, we gathered in small groups and studied Genesis. Its super refreshing to be able to create space in your day to talk about what we’ve been studying this week. My group spent a lot of time talking about how God created us to be creators, like Him. I love that God created us to be creative.

We create art, poetry, buildings, businesses, the list goes on and on. We are able to physically create something and make it beautiful. That’s pretty incredible in and of itself.

While we are not all wired to be architects or poets, we are all creators in our own right. We are creating a legacy with how we live our lives. We are creating a name for Jesus. We are showing the wold through our words and actions who Jesus is, and what love looks, sounds and feels like.

This past Monday, we hosted the Strengthening Families Roundtable and it was a huge success!  A special thanks to the organizations and the Crossroads families who were here to answer questions, and provide information. Also, a huge thank you for all who attended, and who are wrestling with the idea of what it looks like to create space in your home and heart for children who need to feel that love and support!

Finally, I just want to let you know that on October 5th after the 11:15 there will be an informational meeting about the Honduras mission trip that is set to go in January. If you’ve been wanting to get away from the Minnesota Winter, which I hear will be a doozey again this year, and have a heart for helping people, this maybe the trip for you!

We are all wired differently, yes, but we all created with the ability to create a world where love wins. A world where we love our neighbors across the world and across the street, where we fight against slavery, violence and poverty. We can create a world where there are no orphans, there is no hunger, and clean water for everyone. That’s the kind of creator I want to be.

Please join us the weekend as we dive deeper into Genesis and learn about how things were supposed to be, and how God has come to our rescue. It’s going to be a great weekend!

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Lisa Adams,
Director of Missions and Care

In the Beginning…

I love Fall. Love is actually an understatement for how I feel about this season.  It’s my favorite.  I love the colors, the leaves, bonfires, football games, school supplies, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes. But my favorite thing about fall is actually that it always reminds me of my roots. Of home. Of my humble, simple beginnings.

This season Crossroads is going back to our roots, too. We are taking an 11 week look at where we can from, in our new series The Starting Point: A Journey through Genesis. I’m super excited about this series because we get to look back on how it all began. How through God’s powerful words and the dust of the earth, life as we know it was born, and it was good. We will be reminded of God’s perfect plan, how it was supposed to be, how we messed it up, and what he does to redeem it. It’s the most beautiful love story and we are a part of it. I’m excited to see what God with these next 11 weeks, and how we’ll be changed by it.

While we’re on the topic of beginnings, has the idea of adoption or foster care ever crossed your mind? Have you thought it would be a great fit for you (and your family) but weren’t quite sure where to begin? This Monday, September 15 at 6:30pm we’ll be hosting a Strengthening Families Roundtable at the Woodbury Campus. It’s an evening to ask questions about domestic and foreign adoption, foster care and other ways to help families who are in crisis. There will be a Q&A, as well as Crossroads Families who have been through the foster and/or adoption process to talk to! It’s sure to be a great night!

Finally, our mission partner, Urban Ventures is starting something new this season, too! The Urban Ventures Mobile Farmers Market will be at the Cottage Grove Campus this Sunday! What’s a mobile farmers market? It’s a full-service market that sells fresh food in neighborhoods where it’s difficult to find. If you’ve been to Growing Hope Farm, you’ve touched the food available at the Mobile Market!  This Sunday, you won’t have to go to the Farmer’s Market, it will come to you! Be sure to stop by and check out the new ways Urban Ventures is making an impact in the community, and bring some delicious food.

Fall has a lot in store of us this year! Join us this weekend was we look back on the most important beginning, as we wait in anticipation of what’s to come!

See you this weekend!

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Lisa Adams,
Director of Missions and Care

Labor Day

For many of us, this weekend is the last hurrah before schedules tighten up, bedtimes get earlier, and we brace ourselves for the influx of papers and homework! I’ve always loved the back to school buzz and I still get excited to shop for school supplies and pick the first day outfit.  I love the excitement of change and something new getting started, which is why I also love our fall season in the church. People start attending more regularly and we kick off Small Groups, Youth Ministry, Family Faith Nights, and our Missions Catalog and Weekend!

But I would be remiss if I didn’t pause and spend some time in gratitude. Here are the top 3 things that I am thankful for this Labor Day weekend:

  1. I’m thankful that my kids are able to go to school.  Around 125 million children do not get to go to school.  My children are able to not only get a great education, they do so without living in fear of violence.
  2. I’m thankful that we have a home with running water and plumbing783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. We are able to shower, make food, clean dishes and wash clothes all within the comforts of our home and without fear of getting sick.
  3. I’m thankful that this Labor Day, my husband and I are both employed and we really enjoy our jobs.   We get paid, we get benefits, and we get time off.   In the world, 29.8 million people are slaves; men, women and children are forced to work, sell their bodies, fight wars, and be sold as property.   We are free to choose our careers and the path we take to get there.

I don’t want to take these sort of things for granted when so much of the world doesn’t even begin to know what freedom looks like. I would encourage you to take some time to be grateful this weekend with your loved ones.  And if you have some school agers in the house, here’s a great conversation to have with them before Tuesday!

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Lisa Adams,
Director of Missions and Care

Encore

One of the things that I love about working at Crossroads is the way that our staff strengthen and challenge me.  I don’t know if any of you are introverts, but my guess is that some of you might be. And if you are, you know how terrifying and exhausting something like this is:

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Getting up on stage and acting silly is super hard for this introvert!  But getting to laugh until your cheeks hurt is simply one of my favorite things.  We got to take something funny (and challenging for some of us) and turn it into something that reminded each us that we need to shoot for remarkable performances that leave people with wanting an encore.  Our work and what we do needs to be done with excellence and passion.

One of our staff did just that this past weekend.  Pastor Tina led a group of families on a mission trip to Growing Hope Farm in Wisconsin. I usually take this time to tell you about what they did or why we serve there, but this blog post, I want to share something different.   One of the men who work on the farm spent a lot of time with the families over the weekend and asked Tina this question:  “Are you all related?” Pastor Tina laughed and told him that they were not…it was a group of individual families from Crossroads that were serving together!  The group just went to church together.  He was surprised by her response and then said “ You can usually tell when you have groups of people who aren’t related and who are related.The families act like your group. Kind and helping each other.”

And I think that’s exactly what Jesus wants people to see in those of us who love and serve Him.   Not only a performance worthy of an encore, but a performance where we are known by our love.

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

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