Sunday, November 28, 2010

Announcement of Blog Merge

Dear Communicator Subscribers:

Since you’ve been a subscriber on the Crossroads Communicators blog site, you’ve received weekly articles written by your friends and neighbors sharing insight, humor, and inspiration in the struggles and victories of everyday Christian life.

Starting this Sunday, the Communicator Blog will change names. It will become the WOW blog. The WOW blog has been functioning as a “sister blog” following the Crossroads' Bible reading Schedule, but in 2011, it will follow no schedule other than the leading of the Holy Spirit as Communicator and WOW writers join efforts to share their hearts and their love for Christ in ways that will continue to encourage and inspire you with practical applications of God’s Word.

Please subscribe to the blog at Then you will receive a notice from the WOW blog asking you to confirm your subscription. Please confirm this notice so you will continue to receive devotions from your friends and neighbors. The Communicators blog will no longer be posting articles.

Thank you,

Tami Gilman, Communicators blog maintainer and

Gail Purath, WOW blog maintainer

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lessons from Reality TV by Jenn Fromke

OK, I admit it. I’m a reality TV junkie. Not proud. But since I’m familiar with so many of these shows, I decided to mine the soil and see if I could find a few gems hidden within.

The other day, I tried to wrap my brain around the concept that we are creatures of the King, placed in time temporarily. Yet what we do in time determines where we will spend eternity. So of course, my mind went immediately to the granddaddy of reality shows and one of my favorites: Survivor. The players are placed into a strange environment for a period of time under a specific set of rules. How they choose to behave and interact within the given set of rules determines if they will return to life as usual after the game or else win a prize that may change their life’s direction.

I think it’s very easy to forget that what you and I experience daily is temporary. We were actually created for eternity, and what we choose to acknowledge as truth during our “time in time,” determines where and how we experience eternity.

So how should we act during our “time in time?” I think a fine example can be found on the shows Project Runway and Top Chef. The competitors play for a prize, which will enable them to realize a dream: designing their own clothing line or opening their own restaurant. As they compete, they go all out. Those who don’t care, go home. Those with a passion pour their heart and soul into the work in order to win.

Sometimes competitors receive different materials or different ingredients to work with and it seems unfair. But they still do the best they can with what they’ve been given. I like this advice – you play the hand you’ve been dealt. We can’t live the life of the person who lives down the street. We live the life God gives us, and we “…press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

Moving along through the TV guide, we come upon a newer addition to the reality TV slate. Undercover Boss. I love this show because the premise is that a top executive goes undercover to work side-by-side with employees on the front lines, at the lowest levels. When people don’t know they are talking to the boss, they will act very candidly and speak their minds with little pretense. The scripture that leaps to mind is this: “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Jesus asks us to treat those around us as if they were Him. Time and time again on the show, the workers will show mercy to the boss when he messes up, or make personal sacrifices for the company, and every time, the boss is moved to reward them for excellence. Do we pursue excellence every day as if Christ the King were working beside us?

Finally, we must take a look at Food Network’s Challenge. Every show is a contest between four pastry chefs to make the most spectacular cake. What I love about this show is the creativity mixed with skill required to win. Every chef is given the same theme and they always come up with vastly different cakes, which ultimately reflect who they are.

Jesus gives us a challenge too: to allow Him to make us into His image. But every child of God comes out different. We are all masterpieces in the hands of a skilled craftsman and God is making us into something beautiful, worth more than gold, and longer-lasting than spun sugar. And one more thing: The cakes have to taste good.

So don’t forget, God makes us beautiful on the inside first and that bleeds to the outside when He builds us into a stunning structure, which brings honor to Him, our master pastry chef. Kind of like an Extreme Makeover. But don’t get me started.

Please Note: Next week the Crossroads Communicators blog will be integrated with the Writing on the Word blog. Be sure to subscribe to to continue to receive new entries via email.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cyberspace and Grace by Jan Darnell

Recently in the grocery store I noticed several shoppers on cell phones with children in tow playing hand held video games. Ah, the age of technology! Wireless circuitry and electronic baby-sitters! Selecting a grocery cart, I headed straight for the aisle of pasta and spaghetti sauce. However, employees were stocking shelves on that aisle, merchandising and communicating quietly through headsets. Even though a hindrance to my dinner plans, I became captivated by the implementation of these electronic tools.

Children without interrupting their games were able to slip by the busy employees; moms pushing carts opted to change direction. I followed suit. Then the oddest thing happened. As if previously rehearsed, the children and their mothers reunited effortlessly and simultaneously in the very next aisle. Technology once again fascinated me. I wasn’t sure how this feat had been accomplished but convinced myself that an electronic gadget had to be responsible.

After the pasta aisle cleared and my shopping was completed, I proceeded to the checkout line. The man in front of me received a call on his cell phone to which he responded by planting his feet firmly where he stood. I was unfortunate enough to be in line behind him.

The attentive clerk signaled for the man to move forward. Then the clerk waited. I waited. People behind me transferred to a different line while I decided to remain and study the situation. “Is this evolution?” I thought. Man evolving to a higher order of intelligence? I recognized indifference but not the intelligence. The age of technology was suddenly losing its’ luster.

“Excuse me sir,” I said. “It’s your turn.” The clerk also motioned again for him to move forward yet he remained entrenched. I became irritated at his captivity because clearly, free thought had been lost…lost in cyberspace!

Then my short study reached a simple conclusion. Our grace space can be altered by the multi-faceted air waves of interpersonal communication. What do I mean by that? Our technological hearts can narrow to the size of wireless phone lines, reducing the greater space necessary to recognize and relate to others respectfully.

I picked out a candy bar from the assortment next to me. Then I selected a bottle of pop to wash down the candy bar. Something good was going to come from this.

Now, I’m not a psychologist, philosophic analyst, or doctor of systematic studies designed to benefit mankind. However, in my meager estimation, now emerging into an opinion, we need to segregate our electronic choices into appropriate fields of usage, exercising restraints that would keep people around us from being ignored. Especially in check-out lines at the grocery store!

Quite honestly, the grace space God meant for us to operate in as relational beings seems to be diminishing across the board in our daily lives. We were created in God’s image to be conduits of His cordial grace. When we lose the capacity to relate to one another gracefully and respectfully, then we no longer reflect our Creator as lights of His glory. Jesus reflected the image of God. Jesus was full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14).

Finished with my snack, I tried a different approach, “Excuse me sir, can I have your phone number?” With that, I had his attention. He looked at me as if to say, “Where did you come from?” Then he stepped back finally so that I could proceed to the cashier. At that very moment, the store lost its’ electricity. The computers and registers went down. “Oh no,” the clerk declared. “It will take 20 minutes for the system to reboot!” I could feel my own grace space narrowing like a hardening of the arteries. I took spaghetti off the dinner menu, returned my groceries to their shelves and gave the clerk adequate cash for the candy and pop.

My grace space had been altered by cyberspace.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In the Hands of a Loving God by Christina Darnell

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Psalm 91:11-12

I shifted my weight on the seat, trying to ease the tension in my back. The trip from Florida back to North Carolina wasn’t long enough to be grueling, but it was close. It had been raining for the past hour, and the water was collecting in mud puddles on the side of the road. I pulled out my notebook, hoping to be productive while my husband, Daniel, drove.

I hadn’t been working for five minutes when I heard Daniel honking the horn yelling, “Dude, I’m right here.” My head jerked to the right where a semi-truck was merging into our lane. I didn’t have time to react before mud flew up from our tires as we swerved to regain control. As soon as the semi finished claiming the lane, it merged back to the right and sped off.

We were both breathing heavily, hearts racing, as he merged the car back onto the interstate. “Thank you, Lord,” he prayed under his breath. I was overcome by emotion. I felt anger toward with the stupid truck driver for being so careless with our lives, and then speeding off. I felt fear when I considered all the what-ifs. It wasn’t long before we drove by areas of the interstate with no median. What if the semi had run us off the road then? I felt insecurity when I realized we may have died if I had been the one driving instead of Daniel. How quickly my fleshly nature reacted in a situation of panic.

Then, like a breath of fresh air, I felt the Holy Spirit speak. Life may present a host of dangers, but in a situation where I was completely out of control; God had been completely in control. God had orchestrated our safety.

I quickly confessed my anger and fear to the Lord, and expressed gratefulness. I’ll remember that life will never give me control, but I am in the hands of a loving God who has complete control.