Sunday, April 30, 2006

Happily Ever After

Yesterday I was at the wedding of Nicole Shadd to John Timothy, and a guy who doesn't normally go to church began to tell me how amazed he was at the ceremony. He was touched by the prayer for the couple, their devotion to purity, and our belief that only God could make two become one.

Then last night I received an update from Sonia and Edwin Aviles (above), who I married last June, and now live in Chicago. It is so encouraging to see how God blesses couples that put Him first in their marriage, and who were faithful to obey him before they were together.

We have something like 8 engaged couples in Crossroads right now, and I have alot of anticipation for more strong marriages this coming year.

As for Nicole and John, they will be here one more month before moving to India, where John will be going to seminary!

Friday, April 28, 2006

In a previous post, I mentioned my visits with a guy who is in jail on drug charges. I received a letter from him today, and he asked if there is anyone who would be willing to write him in prison for encouragement and fellowship. This is at his request, so please let me know if you're interested, and I'll fill you in and give you his address.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hey Guys! I just got back from Appleton, where our whole church staff was at our state convention. It was a great time. Because I was up there, I was unable to send out the e-mail yesterday, but there will be a great Crossroads tonight! We'll be talking on how confrontations with God can totally transform our lives. We'll also look at how it's possible to re-create Jesus in our image, according to our desires. Plus another great testimony on the way. I'll see you at 7! P.S. Don't forget to bring a friend!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New Crossroads Biking Group...


No matter what style of bike (well, except pedal), please join myself and others as we take on the rustic routes of South Kettle Moraine and the glacier carved roads of Holy Hill. We'll experience turn after turn of pure exhilaration and veins pumped with adrenaline. Oh yeah, make sure you bring your GEAR!!!

When: Sunday, April 30th, We'll be leaving @ 1pm sharp!!
Where From: OCAG, South Parking Lot
Where To: South Kettle Moraine then up to Holy Hill (S. of Hartford)
POC: MICHAEL HARMAN, 414-761-2688
On Saturday morning Crossroads went rock climbing at Adventure Rock in Pewaukee. The walls proved to be no match for this group.
Battle of the sexes! Heidi and Dan race to the top. Heidi won, but her portion of the wall was significantly easier than Dan's. Really.
Jeff Papendorf on the ropes.
I'm not sure what is happening here, but you got to love them Crossroad T's!
Would you put your life in the hands of Rachel or Amanda?
After Crossroads on Wednesday Crossroads went bowling at Classic lanes. Here are a few pictures that Eric Sandoval took.
Eric insisted that this picture of Adam and Mindy be shared with you all.
Rick Geiss throws the ball down the lane.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I received a strange letter today from an individual living on the east side (important detail). It contained this message above, and went on a tirade of how Christians are the 'vilest, most evil of people'. He stated that our real belief in Christianity is genocide, and our actual commandments are hypocrisy, greed, racism, 'mendacity' and hubris. He also says 'Try to imagine the torment of tens of millions of women who have been abused, raped, tortured and murdered by evil monsters who claimed to be followers of Jesus Christ.'

My response--------------->

Happy Easter to you too! I suspect much of your anger in this letter is still over your canidate and party losing so badly in the 2004 elections. But with the tone you have taken, it's no wonder why your ideas don't inspire anyone. People aren't drawn to anger and despair, but towards hope. You make many accusations against Christians, many making no sense whatsoever. Christians aren't perfect, but the vast majority love God and love people. Look no further than the recent hurricane in the gulf region, and followers of Christ are literally rebuilding that area from the ground. In fact, we just had a building team return from Mississippi on Easter. There has never been a dark hour of the church, because the church belongs to Christ, and God has been at work throughout time all over the world.

Your response?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Just a quick update on how things are going at the Easter musical. I was so excited as I walked to the orchestra pit last night, and passed 4 different individuals from Crossroads, all who have started coming since January. Not only was I blessed to see them, but each one of them brought their families, who don't attend the church. Way to go, guys! The crowd last night was the biggest I've ever seen at any musical we've done, and I know that over 500 salvation packets were requested, which were assembled by Crossroads Wednesday night! If you have not been to the musical yet, be sure to see it either tonight or tomorrow at 7! Or the 3:30 matinee today if you're reading this right now!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Crossroads is filled with people that have an interest in real estate, so I think many will find this article fascinating. Near Naples, Florida there is a new Catholic university and town being built from the ground up. It will be the 1st new Catholic university built in the United States in 40 years, and will be surrounded by a 'traditional values' community. The plans look gorgeous, much like the Orlando suburb of 'Celebration', built by the Disney corporation. To read more about this new city, click here. To watch an interview with the founders of Ave Maria, click here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What wonders in life remind you of the glory of God? For me it's places like the Grand Canyon, and not just because there's hiking and rafting! The scale on which God can be creative simply amazes me. But it's easy to forget the power and majesty of God in our daily routine. Prepare to heat up your relationship with God tonight as we learn about how we were created to dwell in God's glory for eternity. We'll also discuss how the fear of God is part of this glory. See you tonight at 7!

Back in February I received a call from a young guy who had recently started attending our church. He was only 24, but had a long life filled with pain and addiction. He had called me up wanting some counseling, and we set a date. He called me a few days later, needing to cancel because something came up. The next time I heard from him was late last month, this time via a long letter stamped 'Wisconsin Prison System'

He explained that about a week after our cancelled meeting he was arrested for cocaine and violating a restraining order. He is now facing another year behind bars.

I went down to visit this individual last Thursday, and was allowed a telephone visit, with closed circuit television. We had never met before, and he started yelling at me. He thought I was his attorney! I slunched down in the chair so he could see me through the camera, and I asked if we could pray. His reaction really made an impact on me. He starting sobbing and almost fell forward out of his chair. He was starved for someone to invite God's presence into his life, to show that they cared for his soul. Like David's cry in Psalm 142:4, he believed that nobody saw any redemptive value in him. I prayed that he would open his heart to Christ's love, and that he would be able to learn the lessons that God is trying to teach him right now.

As I left the prison, I was struck by how we place ourselves behind bars. When we live life our way, apart from God, when we think we are most free, we are actually the most in bondage. As part of our current series, let's commit ourselves to totally submit to Christ in all that we do. Because there's no good reason for a Christian to ever put themselves in a prison of their own making.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hilary Ledbetter sent me these pictures from 'ladies night' Saturday. They went to a pottery studio, Chili's, and topped the night off with fondue at the Banks'. She thinks the gals had more fun than the guys. Anyone want to dispute that?

Here the ladies work on creating practical pottery. Look out Pottery Barn.

Some of the facial expressions here are classic.

Zeal for fondue has consumed Crossroads this week.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Girl/Guy Night

I just returned from a great night with the OC fellas. The steaks were good at the Texas Roadhouse, and we hit the batting cages afterwards, as well as blowing the wad at the arcade there. We piled our tickets together, totalling amost 1,000, and bought lots of candy. A good night indeed. We're very blessed to have so many great fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Any comments about the night? And what were the ladies up to?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mike and Stef Harman bond last night at the chocolate fountain. Thank you Sandy Gudelsky and Kristin Banks for serving us once again!
Sarah Christiansen appears like she's done this before.
Crossroads in it's natural element: eating and laughing.
Notice the similarities between Mike Ganiere and Josiah Ditzer in the next photo.
Here's a new variation of a pacifier.
Josiah Ditzer's face shows that a trip to the chocolate fountain makes you experience wholeness as a person.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This Morning I was reading from Deuteronomy 28, and I was reminded of the value God places on obedience. Deuteronomy goes through many blessings that God desires to give Israel if they would keep all his commandments. This is the theme that our lesson will cover tonight in Crossroads. True belief in Christ means obedience, and I'm excited for the challenge we'll all receive.

Bonus! There will be a chocolate fountain tonight in Crossroads! This will be the closest thing you'll see to the chocolate river in 'Willy Wonka', and you'll actually get to enjoy it! I'll see you and a friend tonight!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Mike and Kelly Ganiere team up in April to teach from John Fischer's book 'What on Earth are we Doing? This class will take us through an apologetic for thinking for oneself as a Christian and then explores ways of thinking about the culture we live in. It is a call from the edge of a Christian subculture to get back out into the world and effect it for Christ and the gospel, and it provides a careful philosophical basis upon which to do so. There will be lively discussion! Crossroads Sunday School meets at 9:30 a.m. in C-112!

Click here to read Mike's latest blog entry on the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire!

Saturday, April 8th is Girls/Guys night, providing a great time to hang out with your Crossroads friends! The girls will meet at 2 p.m. in the south parking lot at church, where they will go to a pottery studio, catch dinner, and hang out. The guys will meet at 5 p.m. at Mike Ganiere's house, where we'll go out to eat and who know's what. It will be manly. For more information the girls can call Rachel Ziegler at 608-445-6667 and guys can call Jon Brooks at 414-762-2010