Why CelebrateThanksgiving?

 

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In the United States, the Christmas season is ushered in by a day to express gratitude to God. It is a national holiday-—a day of Thanksgiving. It is a great time to pause and reflect on our blessings before a flurry of shopping and Christmas celebrations inundate us. Did you know this holiday would not have happened without the consistent efforts of a heroine?

In today’s world, we often watch movies about superheroes. We follow stories of bold, brave, and intelligent champions. However, there are many kinds of heroes and heroines, and Thanksgiving has a pretty special one. 

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale was born on October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. As a young woman, she became a school teacher. She found that she had a talent for writing, and was the author of a poem about one of her students-–Mary Had a Little Lamb. (Yes. There really was a girl named Mary who brought a lamb to school!) 

Sarah married a young lawyer named David Hale in 1813. They were very happy until David died of pneumonia when Sarah was pregnant with their fifth child. Sarah worked during the day to support her family, but at night while the children slept, she returned to her love of writing. She wrote and published her first novel and this led to a job as editor at a new magazine for women called Boston’s Ladies’ Magazine and later working for Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Sarah was a superhero because she knew the power of the pen. Every magazine issue had an editorial written by Sarah. She supported causes which she felt were important and encouraged her readers to write letters seeking change as well.

In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26 of that year as a National Day of Thanksgiving to recognize the role of providence in the creation of the new United States. Sarah loved Thanksgiving, but it was celebrated mainly in New England where she lived and other northern states. The rest of the country was ignoring this day to give thanks more and more. In her editorials, as well as writing thousands of letters to politicians, she advocated for every state, and the whole country, to celebrate a day of thanks together. One by one, individual states made a Thanksgiving holiday, although not on the same day.

Sarah believed that the nation needed to come together and give thanks on the same holiday, just like a family. So, she used her magazine platform and began petitioning the President of the United States for a national holiday. 

President Zachary Taylor refused. President Millard Fillmore rejected it. Sarah persisted over the years. She petitioned President Franklin Pierce and he would not consider it. She wrote a personal letter to President James Buchanan, asking that the whole country gather together on the fourth Thursday in November. President Buchanan said that he had more important things to deal with it as the country wrestled with the issue of slavery. 

Discouraged as things in the country descended into a civil war, the North against the South, the 74-year-old magazine editor wrote a letter to President Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a national and fixed Union Festival.” She explained that it was necessary to have “national recognition… to become permanently an American custom and institution.” President Lincoln agreed. On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving for the whole country.

Over a period of 36 years, Sarah Hale, a true superhero, used her pen and persevered, helping to bring the holiday we know of as Thanksgiving to her country. Her message to us today would be the same as President Washington and President Lincoln, imploring fellow Americans to find time in their family gatherings to count their blessings, unite as a people, and be thankful for living in the United States of America.

 

Jason Tonioli

 


 

We are so very thankful for all the awesome comments people have been sending us.  We continue to offer praise to our Lord for the impact our little wooden crosses have on the lives of the recipients. Read these amazing comments here!

 

 


 

Even as the busyness of the upcoming holiday season preparations start,  we find ourselves thinking more and more about family  and how valuable they are to us.  And, we have to say that, even though we haven’t met many of our Cross The World family personally, we consider you an important blessing to us.  Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to reach out to over 400,000 people … giving them something tangible to hang on to … wrapping them in God’s goodness … helping them to feel His presence and guidance … letting them enjoy the freedom of His love!  Every one of you is dear to us.

Sadly, when we lose a family member, it causes our hearts to fracture.  This fall, we lost a precious member of our CTW family, our beloved Uncle Don.  He loved to hand out the cross … to anyone and everyone.  It became his mission; he made it his personal ministry. We estimate that this one guy, with the most gentle approach ever, handed out over 5000 crosses and blessed a LOT of lives.  Glory to God!!!  Read his story here and here.

We miss our Uncle Don terribly but know that his Lord and Savior personally greeted him at the Pearly Gates, ecstatic to see His child, telling him what a truly faithful servant he had been.  Don worked his wonders here on earth and is now serving his Savior up in Heaven, his lovely wife, many friends and family by his side.   Thank you, Uncle Don, for letting us be a part of your life and blessing us with your involvement in Cross The World.  We are better servants because of you and this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for you.

 

Are You Ready?

It is hard to imagine our world getting any crazier than it already is, but it seems each day tops the last, and things are happening at such a pace that it’s hard to keep up. With all that’s going on in our personal lives, in our cities, our country and the world, it can be so tempting to let our minds and hearts get both distracted and discouraged. It can be so easy to get negative and feel overwhelmed. It can be so easy to feel squeezed by stress and paralyzed by fear.

It’s within our human nature to react to what’s happening around us. It’s normal to have feelings and to respond to those feelings. However, as followers of Christ, Jesus made it clear that we are to live by faith, not by our feelings, as feelings can and will lead us astray. Feelings can fester deeper when we give in to them…when we allow ourselves to take our focus off of our Heavenly Father…leaving our faith behind. We desperately need to resist the urge to give in to our feelings and our fears. When tempted to fear, we should not look around but look up…to Him. We should run to Him. We desperately need to be close to Him, to trust Him, and to put our complete faith in Him, no matter what we see, feel, or experience in this life. Seeking Him alone will calm the fears and bring calm.

As we live out our days, and we see the chaos, the destruction, the darkness, we need to remember how desperately we need Him…how desperately all of humanity needs Him. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Philippians 4:13 reminds us, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

If we abide in Him, if we press into Him, if we hold to His truths and the promises He made, we should not fear. 1 John 4:17-18 states, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

No matter what is going on in this world, no matter what evil ensues, we are told we can have peace and calm in His presence. No matter who sits in government, we can have assurance in knowing God sits on the throne. No matter how dim things seem to be or how dark things get in this world, we can know with certainty in our hearts that the Son still shines. In John 16:33, Jesus states, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Our Father is our shield, our hope, our joy, our Savior! He’s our SAVIOR! He came to save us…to rescue us. He is pure love. He is perfect. He is Omnipotent (all-powerful), Omniscient (all-knowing) and Omnipresent (all-present).

Thankfully, God did not leave us alone in this world to fend for ourselves. He has given the gift of a helper…the Holy Spirit.

He has also blessed us in so many other beautiful ways. He has given us the gift of the Bible, His holy Word. He has given us the ability to pray, which He states is powerful. He has given us His trustworthy promises. He has given us His armor.

Ephesians 6:10-18 states, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

He has given the gift of being joint heirs…sons and daughters of the King of Kings, the maker of heaven and earth. We have an amazing inheritance: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).

And, one day, we will have the gift of a new body and a new home. Each day we have now is a gift from Him, but we have been promised a bright future beyond all of our days in this present life. We have the blessed hope and the assurance in knowing He is returning for His own.

If you are living a life without Him, if He is not your Heavenly Father, if you have not accepted Him into your heart…come to Him today. He died for you. He loves you with a perfect, unconditional love. No matter what sins you’ve committed, He will forgive and wash you clean. He wants to be Lord of your life. Accepting Him into your life will be the greatest decision you will ever make…ever.

Romans 10:9-11 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

As the world rushes into chaos, you, as God’s child, can rush toward your Heavenly Father… pressing in ever closer to your Creator, the One who formed you, loves you and promises to never leave or forsake you. Run to your Father’s arms…it is there you will find rest, comfort, assurance, protection and peace.

Remember, as the world grows darker, the Son still shines. As the world grows more evil, the Son still reigns. As God’s child, you are in the BEST hands possible.

As we see and experience the birth pains and groaning of the earth increasing, we see more clearly that the day is fast approaching when we will soon meet Him in the clouds. One day (maybe very soon), the day will arrive when He will call us home.

Imagine what a glorious day that will be… a day when we stand in the presence of our Creator, our Savior, our King! A day that will be the end of this life and the beginning of a bright, beautiful new life for all eternity.

Are you looking to Him?

Have you accepted the gift of His salvation?

Are You Ready?

 Written and submitted by Holly, CTW family member from TX
Thank you, Holly, for your well written devotion.

2022 Policy Changes

CROSS THE WORLD POLICY CHANGES

EFFECTIVE May 9, 2022

When we founded as a non-profit in 2011, it was our decision to never charge for the crosses we produce and we are proud to say that we still stand by that decision. The testimonials we receive from those who have received our crosses have found special places in our hearts; it has reaffirmed our mission that God’s work through our hands is being done and we cannot thank you enough for your support.

And, even though each year since start has brought business cost increases and other changes, we’ve remained comfortable with the operating decisions we started with.  But, sadly, due to today’s economy and resource shortages (our printer has been caught up in this as well as he is struggling to find paper, of all things, that will work on which to print our hangtags and brochures), we are faced with decisions we now have to address.

So, these are the policy changes we will be putting into place, effective immediately:

  1. MINIMUM DONATION

We are requesting a minimum donation of $20 per 100 crosses.

  1. DELIVERY TIME

Because of the volume of orders we are receiving, we are increasing the delivery time to 6 weeks.  We don’t plan that it will take that long for you to receive your cross order but we know it can happen, so stretching our delivery schedule out will allow us time to fill everyone’s order in a timely manner.  We ask that you please heed this new delivery time and plan accordingly to insure you have your crosses when you need them.

  1. ORDER SIZE OVER 500 CROSSES

Depending on our work load, individual orders that are placed for over 500 crosses may be broken into 2 or more shipments, made up to a couple weeks apart … again to help us accommodate everyone’s order.

We process orders on a first in-first out basis; please know that we continue to work as best we can to serve you.  This has become a very frustrating situation for us and we THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts, for your patience and understanding.  You will never know how much we appreciate all our dear Cross The World family members!

It’s All About the Family

We’ve received some awe-inspiring feedback from our Cross The World family and we’re proud to share it with everyone!

These little crosses are wonderful. I first received one at a MN Teen Challenge gala years ago. I have been using them every year for Operation Christmas Child (the shoebox ministry). I put a cross in each box, among the other gifts, and I pray for that child to come to faith in Christ.  Thank you Cross The World!  ~ Carrie

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I thank God for your ministry.  ~ Joan from MN

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Thank you for letting me pass it on!  I took your crosses to Guatemala over Thanksgiving to God’s Child Project.  I wish I had pictures of the day we passed out the crosses.  It was so beautiful!  ~ Kathy from DE

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Today, I received a cross to hang in my car from a customer and I had just returned from a book store on my lunch break where I was trying to buy a cross for around my car’s rear mirror from the Christian books section. I was bummed they didn’t have any and got a devotional instead.  When I came back to work was when this stranger handed me two crosses on strings which made me feel how much God was loving me thru them.  That could only have been God!  My cup runneth over.   ~ Tracy

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In November, I ordered crosses to be distributed at two events:

The first event was a chapel presentation for St. John Lutheran School, Fraser, MI by Rev. Robert Rahn, Founder of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Macomb, MI. In the chapel presentation, Rev. Rahn featured the work the LHF is doing in the country of Indonesia and the children of St. John Lutheran School collected funds to help pay for a Bible story book that was designed to be taught in schools.  Copies of the book were published for distribution in the schools of Indonesia as, in that country, religion is permitted to be taught in the schools.  The school children were collecting funds to sponsor copies of the book at $5.00 each. On the date of the presentation, November 10th, Rev. Rahn pointed out there were two birthdays to be celebrated: one was the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther in 1483 and the other was the founding date for the Lutheran Heritage Foundation in 1992.  Rev. Rahn told the children that they were not asked to bring a gift because this was a reverse birthday celebration and he was providing the gift of a cross to each student, to be reminded that it was the message of the cross that was being told in the Bible Story book and hopefully reaching the children of Indonesia.  Each student and teacher was given one of your crosses for the reverse birthday celebration.

The second event took place on December 3 in Yambio, South Sudan, where 20 men graduated from the Concordia Lutheran Institute for the Holy Ministry. The graduation ceremony involved a one mile march through the community by the graduating class, pastors, congregants and visitors. Dr. Robert Rahn and Dr. Bernard Lutz from America were featured speakers for the event. The presentations were translated from English into Arabic and Zande.  Knowing the event was going to be lengthy, I decided to pass out the crosses to the kids in attendance and those standing and watching from the perimeter of the tent that was set up to take care of the overflow crowd.

The crosses are certainly going “cross the world.”  ~ Dr. Robert Rahn, founder of Lutheran Heritage Foundation – Macomb, MI

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Time has come to order your great crosses again!  We at Omaha Baptist Church are going to try packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at a party for the first time, probably in May or June.  I was told that our 402 shoeboxes in 2021 went to Mexico.  Please send one Spanish bag and two English ones.  Then I’ll have one Spanish message and one English message in each box.  Leftover English ones can go in our local welcome bags.  Thank you!  ~ Donna from MO

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And, here’s more of our tremendous family who recently shared the cross:

Gale – MN

Providence Physical Therapy – Surf City, NC

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Donna – MO

Paul – PA

Mary – TX

Holly – TX

David – CA

Journey Christian Church – Tracy, CA

Barbara – Duluth

Carla – MN

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Nelly – AZ

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon – N. Jackson, OH

Harvest Reunion Group – Amarillo, TX

David – CA

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church – Harmony, PA

Joan – MN

Ravah Ministries – Mesa, AZ

Girard First United Methodist Church – Girard, OH

Jill – WI

Pastor Barry – Bakersfield, CA

Kim – CA

St. Vincent de Paul Society – Casa Grande, AZ

 


 

As we enter the Easter season, let’s take some time to consider what Jesus’ death on the cross really means to us.  Thank Him for dying on that cross … for us … so that our sins could be paid in full and that we would be forever forgiven.

And, long after we’ve celebrated Easter Sunday, let’s continue to bring the joy of His Resurrection into our daily lives.  It’s as simple as seeing the morning sunrise and reminding ourselves that ‘He is risen … risen, indeed!’ What could possibly be more glorious for us?

 

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A FRESH START

Like a watch, the human spirit can just run down….

God has the power and willingness to breathe a new breath of life into one who has lost.
Charles Allen

 

The past couple of years have been challenging, to say the least.  Our lives have been disrupted; our ‘normal’ has been considerably altered; our personal, mental and emotional beings have been accosted by words, behaviors, and requirements the likes we’ve never seen or even dreamt could exist.  It’s been exhausting.  Many times, I think ‘Will this ever end?  What are we to learn from this chaos?  Has God forgotten His people?’ 

And, so, when I received Dr. David Jeremiah’s devotion this morning, his words struck deep to something that was personal to me and I immediately wanted to share it with you all.  God is watching over us … we need to pray to Him to refresh and restore us.  

I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

 
After the disruptions of the past two years, many people feel stuck in a rut. Habit patterns shifted. Many people began watching church services online while sitting in their recliners at home. Small groups struggled to stay together. We automized our giving. We began working from our kitchen tables. Many parents tended to their children all day, trying to help them with online learning. We wondered if we would ever feel normal again.
 
The people in Joel’s day suffered a pestilence of locust, but God promised to restore them—and to restore the losses they had sustained. Ask Him to do the same for you. The Lord Jesus is a master at restoring and reviving His people. One pastor simply prayed, “Lord, I need a fresh anointing!” 
 
Why not ask God for a fresh start in 2022? Ask Him to restore your soul and to give you a fresh burden for the new year. Ask Him to make up for what’s been lost.
 
He can and will restore joy and productivity to your life!

 

Amen, amen, amen!!!  Please Holy Spirit, come!

 


And, we received these testimonials that were just as inspiring; we thank these kind folks for their generous words.  It keeps us walking the road and fighting the fight.

 

Your crosses are making a wonderful impact for our Evangelism Committee. 

Christine ~ Black Forest Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO

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Please accept my sincere thank you for being so thoughtful in sending me a cross.  Your generosity means more to me than I can express in words.  The beautiful cross will be a treasure to me for a long time.  God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.  God bless you. 

Linda ~ AR

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Thank you so much for your wonderful ministry.  My friend, Mary, introduced me to Cross The World.  We carry a bag with us when we travel.  I put them in my ‘welcome bags’ at church and have passed them out to the congregation and more.  I always show people the tag, how to reach you.  Hope some of them do!  Love in our Dear Savior. 

Barbara ~ OK

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And, another great note from Black Forest Lutheran Church:

This is Pastor John Graham.  I’ve been ordering your crosses for many years now, in Canada and now in the USA.  They are always a big hit with the congregations.  I love it when someone comes and tells me how they gave someone a cross with the message that it is a sign of just how much God loves them.  They are great in training/facilitating people to sharing the Good News of the cross of Christ.

This is my way of saying how much I appreciate what you guys do, providing low-cost crosses to give away to the world.  Here at Black Forest Lutheran Church we are focused more locally and so we call it “Crossing the Neighborhood”.  God bless you and your husband and anyone else who participates.

               Associate Pastor John Graham ~ Black Forest Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO

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We thank the following for putting feet on our crosses recently: 

Hosanna Lutheran Church – St. Charles, IL

Lesly – WV

Lorraine – AZ

Noreen – MN   feet-globe-205x300

Claudia – MN

Geralyn – PA

Mary – MN

David – CA

Patricia – IL

Frank – MI

Greg – CA

Debbie – IL

Geralyn – OH

Winfield House Bible Study – Colorado Springs, CO

Meredith – CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Joy – MN

Pastor Jim – MN

Owendale United Methodist Church – Owendale, MI

 


 

There is probably nothing that hurts the cause of Christ more than one who claims His name but consistently makes decisions that are contrary to the very intent and spirit of His Word.

 

Our daily decision making says far more to the non-Christian world than all of the verbal, personal testimonies we might share.

 

There’s a current saying that I really like.  It goes, ‘Walk your talk.’  It is very simple, but it gets to the point … that our lives, as reflected in our decision making, must be consistent with what we profess to be as Christians.

 

Bill Gaither

Christmas is for Love

Christmas my child, is love in action...When you love someone, you give to them, as God gives to us. The greatest gift He ever gave was the Person of ...

 

Christmas is for love.  It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly covered packages.  But, mostly, Christmas is for love.

I had not believed this until a small elf-like pupil with wide-eyed innocence and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.  Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter, middle-aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son.  She never failed to remind Mark that if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif.  Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger so I learned later) to help me straighten up the room.  We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day.  When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother.  Though he was quite young when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman who always spent time with him.

As Christmas drew near, however, Mark failed to stay after school each day.  I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked him why he no longer stayed after to help me.  I told him how I had missed him, and his large brown eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”  I explained how he had been my best helper.  “I was making you a surprise”, he whispered confidentially.  “It’s for Christmas.”  With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. 

Finally came the last school day before Christmas.  Mark crept slowly into the room later that afternoon, with his hands concealing something behind his back.  “I have your present”, he said timidly when I looked up.  “I hope you like it.”  He held out his hands and, there, lying in his small palms, was a tiny wooden box.

“It’s beautiful, Mark.  Is there something in it?”  I asked, opening the top to look inside.  “Oh, you can’t see what’s in it,” he replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it, or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time … warm on cold nights and safe when you’re all alone.” 

I gazed into the empty box.  “What is it, Mark” I asked gently “that will make me feel so good?”  “It’s love”, he whispered softly.  “And, mother always said it’s best when you give it away.”  He turned and quietly left the room.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and wondrous gifts.  But mostly, Christmas is for love.

 


 

And, the sharing of love is evident through the hands of these Cross The World Family members:

We are busy beavers here in Texas filling Operation Christmas Child boxes to be sent to children in other countries. The beautiful crosses that we received from your ministry will bless the hearts of many kids for years to come. Thanks for helping to share the good news around the world. Blessings.
Shearon ~ TX 

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Just to let you know that 100’s of your crosses that I just received today are being sent out again this year to children in many countries through the Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox program. I’ll be visiting two churches next week to place them in their boxes. I am so thankful that your beautiful crosses will be reaching countries far and wide, far from MN, and that God’s message of salvation that’s included in each shoebox, along with what the cross represents is being spread throughout many lands.  Thank you for being a part of blessing many with the beautiful workmanship of these beautiful crosses.
Claudia ~ MN

 

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A week ago I returned from a trip to Yambio, South Sudan, the location of our sponsored Concordia Lutheran Institute for the Holy Ministry. During our time there we ordained 17 men for the ministry in the Ev. Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan. During the six hour service various gifts were given to the graduates, but we did not want the children to miss out, so we arranged to have 250 of your crosses handed out to the Sunday school children and to the children who gathered around the church with inquisitive looks on their faces. Unfortunately no pictures were taken as all cameras were focused on the ordination activities. The church was not large enough to contain those attending and a large tent was put up next to the church. The fatted calf was prepared in the form of a skinny cow that was fed to the attendees along with rice, of course, and other fruits and vegetables. After the service you could see children having crosses wrapped around their wrists. Thank you CROSS THE WORLD.
Dr. Robert Rahn ~ Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Macomb, MI

 

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We always pack a cross in every shoe box we pack for Operation Christmas Child. Then, send them around the world!!!!!  We sent over 300 in 2020; there will be another 300+ this year!
Frank ~ MI

 

And, the other day, we received a box from Frank.  First, the note he enclosed, explaining the contents:

As part of our Kingsmen’s Ministry at House of Prayer Pentecostal Church of God, we have been studying some of the books by Mark Batterson.  I was recently challenged.  In his book Chase The Lion, Mark asks the question ‘What’s your 500 pound lion?’  I keep hearing about the 22 veterans on average every day that are taking their own lives.  This has grabbed my heart.  I know there may be nothing I can do about this alone, BUT, with prayer, God’s help AND YOURS, I can do something about this 500 pound lion.  It starts with making people aware, THUS – The Hat.  Please share them.  When people ask “What’s the 22 mean?”, you can have a conversation to explain it.  AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, you ask them to join you in prayer for these souls when they have lost hope and are thinking of ending it all.  Praying for them to find their hope in Jesus.

Frank produced these caps and authored the accompanying note which is neatly tucked inside each cap.  In our conversation about them, he specifically noted that these caps are for everyone … to encourage conversation and prayers for our veterans.  What a Christ inspired endeavor!  We thank him for this ministry and his loving passion for our Lord.  If you would like more information about Frank’s mission and the caps, please inquire through the comment box on the bottom of this page.

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Christmas is a time of generosity and sharing.  It can be throwing a few coins into the bell ringer’s bucket; giving our time and work when we would rather be home, warm and comfortable; or it can be sharing our own Christmas.  And that’s the magic of Christmas … when sharing and love abound.

Yes, Christmas is all about love … the incredible love of God for humanity.  It is God’s love that brought the Saviour to earth to save us from our sins and gift us with eternal life.  For hundreds of years, love has whispered, ‘I am coming to be with you and stay with you forever!’

It was love that celebrated that night in the skies over Bethlehem with angels, music and shouts of praise.  Love was the shining star sent to draw people from far away to come and worship a new born babe.  And, love has entered our hearts.  We can feel it drawing us to love and worship God.  We can see it gathering us together to celebrate His coming and we can sense it reaching out this Christmas to share with the needy all around us.

Christmas is a story of love.  Love that has come to us and brightened our lives.  Love is Jesus.  Hallelujah!! 

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,

but to save the world through him.” 

John 3:17

 

 

All of us at Cross The World wish you a joyous and loving Christmas.

We Say Thank You

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For more years than some of us can remember, men and women of the United States Armed Forces have served and sacrificed much for our country. 

In America, we have religious freedom to attend a church of our choosing. We’re permitted to own a Bible … or several.  We may choose to marry…or not.  To vote…or not. We have the right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. All because these freedoms continue to be defended and protected by the members of the military.  Patriotic and proud, these members have willingly laid down their lives to protect and defend, in wartime and peace, the Constitution of the United States of America and its freedoms.

Many of us will never know the brotherhood that is developed by standing side by side in battle, trusting our life to a person beside us. We won’t hear most of the heroic and sacrificial acts of so many who gave their life to save others.  Remember John 15:13?  Jesus said, “The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them”.  It should be very humbling to us to think there are men and women we don’t know, will most probably never meet, that are willing to give their all to protect this nation … for us, strangers.

Today is Veterans Day. And while I personally think veterans should be honored every day for their service and sacrifice for our country, it’s important to have a day like today set aside, just for them. This day puts the spotlight on people who don’t seek it, and gives honor to whom honor is due.

Later this month, most of us will sit with family at the Thanksgiving table.  We’ll laugh and giggle, enjoying each others company.  We’ll take turns saying what we’re thankful for.  We’ll thank God for the goodness and blessings He has bestowed on us.  And, so, while we’re counting our blessings, let’s specifically take the time to be grateful for our veterans and think about their families as some of them won’t be reunited this year for one reason or another.  Maybe this is a repeat from last year or the year before.   Let’s pray for them because without their service and sacrifice, the likelihood of us enjoying the freedom of our Thanksgiving time with family might not be that great.

 

 


 

We have received some very treasured comments from our family this month and, for that, we are extremely grateful.

Mary from Missouri wrote:

‘I was recently the recipient of one of the beautiful crosses made by your organization.  It was a deeply heartfelt gesture from a new friend.  I am placing this order so that I too can share this meaningful symbol of God’s love.’ 

 

Joy’s words from Minnesota:

‘I’m so grateful for your crosses as are many who receive them.  There are professional and private vehicles driving around in Duluth with your cross positioned in them.  Your crosses are needed and appreciated by many.’ 

 

Kathy from Delaware will be traveling for mission work to Guatemala and ordered crosses to take along:

‘Thank you for all the wonderful things you do.  I know the children and the people of Guatemala will enjoy the crosses.’ 

 

Helene sent us this note from Iowa:

‘Bless you for your continued ministry!  God must be smiling.’ 

 

And, from Claudia in Minnesota:

‘Please send me some more crosses. They are so nicely made!  Thank you!’

 

And, we are very grateful to the following for sharing the cross with others this past month:

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Kathy – DE

Catholic Committee on Scouting – Rice Lake, WI

Marianne – FL

Nancy – MO

Joy – MN

Claudia – MN

Dodie – MN

First Lutheran Church – Fargo, ND

Geralyn – PA

 


 

Please join us in this prayer for our military:

Abba Father:

You are not a stranger to war and know the stress our veterans have felt. Please comfort and strengthen them with your Holy Spirit. Meet each of them right where they are today and speak to their souls. You’ve brought them through many trials. Help them see your mighty hand at work in their lives and know how much you love them. Heal their hearts as well as their bodies. Help us to show our sincere thanks to them and help us all never to forget the sacrifices that they’ve made. Help us to love them just as you have loved us.

Amen

To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, all of us at Cross The World say

‘Thank you.  We are so very grateful for your service.  God Bless You All!’

 

Harvest

Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves.  Living for others is a rule of nature.  We are all born to help each other.  No matter how difficult it is, life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.   

Pope Francis

 


 

The other day, I was researching some information about harvesting, simply because it’s that time of year where we live, and I started thinking about what we plant is what we harvest.  Planting seeds in the garden or field in the early spring, tending it all summer and harvesting it in the fall was the first and most obvious thought I had. 

But, as I dug a little deeper, I got to thinking a little more philosophically about us as persons and I remembered some clever quotes I’ve heard at least a zillion times; maybe they’re familiar to you too:

You made your bed, now lie in it.

You are what you eat. 

You dug your own grave. 

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. 

People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones. 

You’re preaching to the choir. 

Your actions speak louder than words.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. 

Get a taste of your own medicine.

When you throw dirt, you lose ground.

Make it do or do without. 

There are so many quotes about the harvest of our seeds.  All reflective on us … our behavior, our decisions, our manner of speaking … all our total responsibility really.  And I began to wonder about me.  Have I been kind lately?  Loving?  Compassionate?  Wise?  Patient?  Have I ‘put myself in others shoes’ or ‘caught more flies with honey than vinegar’?  Sometimes, the truthful answers weren’t at all what I wanted to admit. ‘Practice what you preach.’

Words are very much like seeds.  They do more than blow around.  They land in our hearts and not the ground.  So, it would be wise to be careful what we plant and careful what we say … we just might have to eat what we planted one day.  Everything we do, everything we say, every choice we make, sooner or later comes back around.  We are free to choose, but we aren’t free from the consequence of our choices.  ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ 

Doe Zantamata, author of Happiness In Your Life says: ‘Sometimes you only reap a lesson, not a reward.  But you take that with you and keep it for the rest of your life.  Sow the best you can with love, honesty, trust and effort.  It won’t always pan out but when it does, it will make everything, even the struggles, worthwhile.’

And, from Zig Ziglar, renowned author and motivational speaker: ‘Life is an echo.  What you send out, comes back.  What you sow, you reap.  What you give, you get.  What you see in others, exists in you.’  In other words, ‘what goes around, comes around’.

We always harvest what we plant.  Frederick William Robertson, a British clergy from the 1840’s, said it best: ‘You reap what you sow – not something else, but that.  An act of love makes the soul more loving.  A deed of humbleness deepens humbleness.  The thing reaped is the very thing sown, multiplied a hundredfold.  If you have sown a seed of life, you reap life everlasting.’ 

It occurs to me that when we stop chasing the wrong things like money, fame, prideful opportunities, etc. and focus on what really matters … simply put, God’s love and His blessings to us … if we welcome and take hold of the opportunity to let Him shine through us, the right things have a chance to catch up.  And then, and only then, our harvest will be joyous and bountiful!

 


 

Seeds of God’s love were planted this past month by the following:1corinthians3-9wearegodsfellowworkersyouaregodsfieldandbuildingyellow

Lutheran Heritage Foundation – Macomb, MI

Greg – CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Carla – MN

Donna – MO for Operation Christmas Child

Cheryl – NV

Black Forest Lutheran Church – Colorado Springs, CO

Leslie – PA

Christine – MN

Geralyn – PA

Community Lutheran Church – Las Vegas, NV

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church – Renville, MN

 


 

Sharing some of our harvest from last month’s message:

Amen, thanks for the wonderful message. 

Debbie ~ MN

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Thank you. Beautiful message.  I love the Lord and the fact I always have “God Winks”. 

Kathy ~ DE

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Thank you for listening to that “Still small voice!” God is moving mightily- don’t give up!  

Unknown

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The Fruit of the Spirit

In the world of agriculture, God created everything for its own season. Grapefruits, lemons, and oranges hit their peak in the winter. Strawberries, pineapples, and artichokes hit the shelves in the spring. Summer brings us blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes. And we can hardly wait for the apples, grapes, and pumpkins of the fall season. How wonderfully God created an agricultural calendar to give us ongoing nourishment.

There’s one fruit, however, that’s constantly in season—the fruit of the Spirit. These nine qualities (like grapes on one cluster) should be growing and continually bearing in our life. When we are rooted and grounded in Christ, the “sap” of the Holy Spirit takes the nourishment of the Word and transports it from the Vine (who is Jesus) to us, the “branches.”

Ask yourself: Am I more loving now than I was last year? More joyful? Do I have more peace? Am I more patient? Kinder? These qualities don’t suddenly appear. They must be grown. They should be constantly maturing in our lives.

No one can get joy by merely asking for it.

It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.

Henry Drummond

(Thank you to Dr. David Jeremiah for this devotion.)

 


 

The fruit of the spirit was shared through these folks:

Geralyn – PA

Bridget – KY

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Gale – MN

David – CA

Gloria – FL

Sunny Knik Chapel – Wasilla, AK

Holly – TX

Russ – MN

Stephen – MO

Joy – MN

Christine – CO

Pam – WA

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon – N. Jackson, OH

Dana – WV for Operation Christmas Child

Sandi – AZ

 


 

And, sharing these wonderful words from our family members:

Thanks for the great message.  Debbie ~ MN

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Thanks for sharing.  God bless you ALL!  Pat ~ IL

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Always appreciative of your ministry.  It is wonderful to have these crosses to give.  Most recipients are grateful … some, very much.  Joy ~ MN

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Recently, I ordered 400 crosses as handouts during a local festival.  It was amazing how many people enjoyed receiving them.  I would like to order more.  I am in the process of joining Jesus and learning to be a disciple. Giving out these crosses is a great way of opening up communication.   Christine ~ CO

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I want to spread the love of Jesus in a tangible form.  Some of these crosses will go in my OCC boxes; some will go in gift bags for cancer patients and some will go to Bible School, Christmas trees … so many ideas. Can’t wait!   Dana ~ WV

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23
 
 

SOW ONLY THE GOOD SEEDS

 

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year, he won the award for the best grown corn.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.  “Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

So is with our lives.

Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches.

And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

 


 

The good seeds of the Gospel were shared through the cross with these folks:

 Barbara ~ OK

Marianne ~ FL

Sandra ~ MN

Joplin Family Worship Center ~ Joplin, MO

Mary ~ OK

Dodie ~ MN

Sweet Tomorrows ~ Sanford, FL

Community Lutheran Church ~ Bullhead City, AZ

Greg ~ CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Danube Zion Methodist Church ~ Danube, MN

Joy ~ MN

Marjorie ~ MN

Pastor Jim ~ MN

Carla ~ MN

Kimball United Methodist Church ~ Kimball, MN

Pat ~ PA

Pam ~ FL

New Life Assembly of God Church ~ Kenai, AK

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon ~ North Jackson, OH

David ~ CA

Connie ~ MN

Shearon ~ TX for Operation Christmas Child

Trinity Lutheran Church ~ Fergus Falls, MN for the LAMP ministry

Sheri ~ MN

Geralyn ~ PA

Black Forest Lutheran Church ~ Colorado Springs, CO

Presbyterian Senior Care Network ~ Oakmont, PA

First Baptist Church ~ Rochelle, IL

Bridget ~ KY

Pastor Duane Guisinger ~ AK

 


 

And, this is how the seeds of the Gospel enriched others’ lives:

Thank you for listening to God’s prompting to share His love through His crosses. To think that it all started with one still small voice and the first cross. I loved reading all the testimonials of the crosses reaching far into the world to hungry people for Christ. May the Lord bless you as you continue on your journey to follow Jesus.

Carla – MN

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Thank you!  Blessings!

Bethany – Faith Community Nurse Partnership

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I put one of your crosses in the gift bags I give to new people on their first Sunday at our Assembly of God church in Fairview, OK.  They are very popular with our congregation.

‘Crossing the World’ in Fairview!  Thank you! 

Barbara – OK

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Congratulations on your new adventure with Cross the World (Cross The World Goes to Cambodia).   I really enjoyed seeing the pictures. Did you have any idea how many people you have touched since you started?   To think that it only started with one cross two thousand years ago. Much like your cottage industry one cross , then another starting small now has grown to thousands all over the world. It is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for all of us. Thank you for being so obedient. May God continue to bless His people one cross at a time. 

Carla – MN

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Thank you so much!  What a wonderful outreach project! 

Helen, Danube Zion Methodist Church – Danube, MN

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I continue to experience grateful ‘hearts’ as I give a wide variety of people my (your) gift.  At a local flower shop, I made a point to hand out some crosses to employees, never expecting the manager wanted one for her son!  All the uncertainty today seems to have created a hunger/appreciation for the cross. It is made so beautifully and modestly, they can’t help but like it.  Thank you!

 Joy – MN

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Thank you and God bless you for your special ministry. 

Connie – MN

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Praise God for you and your wonderful ministry.  Brother Greg and I are so grateful to God and you, that we have the privilege to pass these out to many people at the Huntington Beach Pier in Huntington Beach, CA.  We pray for you often.  Blessings and encouragement. 

Brother David – CA

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