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

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

Thank you!  Blessings!

Bethany – Faith Community Nurse Partnership

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

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

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

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

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

Thank you so much!  What a wonderful outreach project! 

Helen, Danube Zion Methodist Church – Danube, MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

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

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

Thank you and God bless you for your special ministry. 

Connie – MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

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

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 


 

d3b0955d5b24b1262f69b5bf738e8f19

Continue reading

You Are Our Feet

During one of Ernie’s last visits with Harlow, Harlow talked about the crisis for Christians across the world.  He was concerned that Christianity, as we know it, was being shoved aside and crushed, that not enough people would grow to know God and His salvation, that they would not feel His love and presence in their lives, and that they would not share in eternal life.  He said of the 340,000 people being born worldwide each day, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to reach 1% of those people and introduce them to their Savior?’. 

This comment was taken to heart and, with the help of two of his other friends and his wife, Harlow’s vision became our mission.  In June of 2011, Cross The World was launched as a ministry to help others get to know our Father and serve Him through the instrument of the cross.  And, you all became our feet!

Our little crosses were introduced in various ways.  Maybe you greeted at the front door of the local nursing home, handing out crosses to all who entered; or, maybe you stood on a warm beach each day spreading the Gospel to those who strolled the pier.  Maybe you kept a basket filled at the local coffee house or soup kitchen; perhaps you gave them to participants in a local 5K as you prayed for their safety and perseverance.  Or, maybe you taped a cross to your loved one as they entered the surgical suite or watched someone dear to you clutch a cross, praying for them and witnessing their hand slip from yours to God’s. The list of how our crosses found a new home to bless continues to grow: countless Bible studies, hospital/care center/home/hospice visits; Christmas packages with the cross tied to the bow; baptisms; funerals; baskets filled by your front door for visitors or provided by shelters for the homeless; plates filled with cookies and crosses shared with neighbors. And, don’t forget the kids … the kids love these crosses!

Through the years, our little crosses traveled … and, they didn’t just stay stateside.  Maybe it was you who carried them on a mission trip to Cambodia or Laos, Uganda, Central America or Mexico where the children would run ahead of you, drawing the sign of the cross in the sand because they didn’t speak English but wanted you to know, in their own way, they wanted something they knew you were carrying.  Maybe you took the cross with you when you visited the Sudan refugee camps, or the orphanages in the Ukraine, or traveled in a small plane to the northern parts of Canada to the remote Native villages where visitors are scarce, all to spread the word of God’s love.  Or, maybe you slipped them into the ‘we care from home’ packages that were sent to the military stationed overseas, into the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes … all intended to give the end recipient something they could hold that represented God’s promise.

Sometimes, the cross spoke louder than words.  Were you the one who placed the cross by a fellow employee’s coffee cup that day, seeing that their spirit was broken?  Or, were you the one who left a cross on the ground beside the driver’s door of a stranger’s car at the shopping mall, not realizing your actions touched that person at a time when they desperately needed to draw strength from above?  Maybe it was you who gave a cross to a teen, struggling with addiction, and hoping beyond hope it would give them the strength to go on, sadly only to be found in their possessions by their mom after they had chosen to end their life?  Or, maybe you were the distracted driver whose cross you had placed on the dash tipped in time to redirect your attention to the road ahead, giving you the seconds you needed to slam on the brakes to avoid a nasty collision with the construction truck blocking it?

Again, the list continues to grow.  We liken these little pass-it-on wooden crosses to water … they seem to seep into every crack and cranny.  They are warmly reaching people who can’t tell us who or where they got them from.  They are being carried to places no one can explain how they got there.  They are doing massive work for the Lord, saying and spreading words and messages that we would never ever be able to comprehend how to say.  ‘The Lord speaks in mysterious ways’ …  we continue to witness to that.  To read more heartfelt testimonials, click HERE.

This month, Harlow’s vision was accomplished.  His goal of 340,000 crosses has been met.  Unbelievably, one third of a million crosses!  Whew!!  That’s a LOT of crosses out there spreading the word.  And we have you, our Cross The World family, to thank for putting the feet to these crosses.  We could never have dreamt of reaching our goal without you; we are so very thankful for your commitment to our ministry.  We can’t say ‘Thank You’ enough!  You are indeed God’s good and faithful servants!!

But, just so you know … our work is not finished.  It’s estimated that our current daily worldwide birthrate is 385,000 and we hear Harlow asking us to adjust our next goal to that number.  Our answer is a resounding ‘YOU BET’ !  In fact, we are already making strides towards that second goal.  And, of course, we still need your help.  There are still so many people out there who are starving to hear about God’s promise for eternal life, people who desperately need to feel God’s presence and know that He is in their corner.  Sometimes, all they need is a couple of little sticks glued together to open their hearts to feel His love.  Please keep doing what you’ve been doing; you’ve done a great job already! Bless you; we love you all. Onward Christian Soldiers!!

 

 

 

Cross The World Goes to Cambodia

 

This article appeared in the Phnom Penh Post newspaper, April 9, 2021

Royal Train Square is set to return one of Phnom Penh’s most striking historic buildings to its place at the heart of the capital as its “new meeting place”.  Phnom Penh Train Station was built in 1932 under the reign of King Sisowath Monivong in an Art Deco design, and it survives as one of the few remaining examples of the style in the city.

And the history of the project is paramount to Scott Bolls, the managing director of Royal Train Square, who is looking for like-minded pioneer clients to join him on this historic journey.

“History to me is a blueprint; a precedent set that we can build upon. History shapes our today and prepares us for the future as we learn from our past.   As a foreigner, I have so much respect for the history and culture of Cambodia and am keen to protect it.   My first goal when taking over the train station was always to keep the historic building and not replace it with a soulless office block,” he said.

Phnom Penh Train Station is to again become a place for the city’s residents to get together as in times past, when people would meet and congregate around the market stalls, even if they weren’t catching a train.

“Royal Train Square is transforming the station from a former central trading hub to a ‘new capital meeting place’, a sanctuary away from the busy ‘high tech’ development of Phnom Penh.    We wanted to breathe life back into the building and make Royal Train Square the meeting place for Phnom Penh,” Bolls said.

The American said Royal Train Square is the ideal location for discerning tenants seeking a long-term home in the centre of Phnom Penh.   “Where else in the world can companies have the opportunity to have their home in such a historic and iconic building in the capital of a country – and in such a prestigious location in the heart of the city?   We have an annex space a client can have built to their specifications – within the parameters of it respecting the original building, of course. The annex is something we can build for someone with a vision for the future.   There is 800sqm of space available on the second floor – which would be ideal either for restaurants or as offices for a leading bank or insurance company, for example – which has retained the beautiful original tiled floors and other features.   And as well as the historical importance, it again meets the needs of the modern Phnom Penh with ample parking available, which is a premium in such a central location,” Bolls said.

‘Belle of the ball’

Detailing and the use reinforced concrete suggest Phnom Penh Train Station was possibly designed by French architect Louis Victor Chaucon, who co-designed Phsar Thmey, or Central Market, which was completed in 1937.

The station and Central Market made up a trinity of Art Deco buildings in the capital along with the Cathedral of Phnom Penh.  Completed in 1927, the capital’s primary church was the first building to be destroyed by the Khmer Rouge when they took the city in 1975.

Built almost 90 years ago as the Phnom Penh terminus for the Kingdom’s line to Poipet to boost trade with neighboring Thailand, the train station has borne witness to dramatic changes over the decades.   The building now looks over the park situated between the Vattanac Capital and the Canadia Towers, which was originally the “Grand Canal” – one arm of which flowed into the Tonle Sap under the Pont de Verneville, near where the Chroy Changvar bridges stand today. Built in 1894, the canal stretched from the Tonle Sap river to the railway station, with the goods shipped in and then loaded onto trains.

“The train station has witnessed much of Phnom Penh’s modern history over its 90 years. It has always played an integral and important role in Cambodia as it was the centre for shipping as the canal went right to its front door, with goods loaded onto the trains for transportation throughout Southeast Asia,” Bolls explained.  And as railways superseded canals, so the train station again stands ready to embrace a new future.

“Royal Train Square respects and acknowledges the historical royal monarchy that helped build the nation into what it is today, and it is important to me to keep this history at the forefront.  It is a prestigious honour for me to be a catalyst in bringing the site back to life in this way after it had been inactive for so long.  Maurice, a financier and developer from the Netherlands, is also one of the pioneers who deserves mention for this historic development. By so sensitively remodeling this beautiful building in this way, we are dressing up the old lady in her finery and getting her ready to be the belle of the ball once again.  She can now take what she has learned and apply it to the new Cambodian economy. She is now poised, renewed and restored to bring a new face to Phnom Penh for all to enjoy.  But most important, she keeps the historic face that we want to maintain for future generations to see and experience,” Bolls said.

And, further correspondence and photos from Scott:

I want to thank all of you for your prayers for the International Prayer Room. Today I signed it over to Jesus to bless Him as He reaches out to the international public from the central Phnom Penh Cambodian Train Station. I’ve prayed three years for this to happen and today the churches came in to take stewardship of our donation. I’m so happy that it’s now in good hands and Jesus can take it from here.

 

 


 

And our crosses traveled to these spots as well:

David ~ CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

He Intends Victory ~ Irvine, CA for mission to Uganda

Geralyn ~ PA

First Lutheran Church ~ Fargo, ND

Birch Ridge Resort ~ Cass Lake, MN

Walter ~ MN

Denise ~ PA

St. Joseph of the Lakes Catholic Church ~ Lino Lakes, MN

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

United Methodist Church of Montevideo ~ Montevideo, MN

 


 

 

TRADITIONS

In the late 19th century on May 1st, someone placed a small handmade basket filled with flowers and goodies on the door handle of someone they were smitten with.  If the recipient saw their admirer, chased and caught them, they would reward their affections with a kiss.  Thus starting the tradition of May Day baskets.

Conceived by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and honoring her mom’s passing 3 years prior, Anna wanted to observe one day specifically to celebrate mothers and their personal relationships/sacrifices with their children.  She worked tirelessly with numerous organizations … organizing recognition celebrations throughout local towns, launching massive letter writing campaigns to newspapers urging adoption of this special day, even working with the floral industry to raise awareness of her idea.  And, because of her efforts, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

May’s third Saturday is Armed Forces Day, created in 1949 to honor Americans currently serving in the five US military branches. Under President Trump, that day was reaffirmed as a federal holiday, marking the 70th anniversary since the creation of the Department of Defense.   

Born out of the Civil War and originally called Decoration Day, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic at that time, proclaimed ‘the 30th of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.’  Depending on which state of the Union you lived in, there was much discussion on how and when to observe this holiday.  Finally, after WWI, the holiday was changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.  And, so, the last Monday of May, we observe Memorial Day nationwide … a federal day set aside to honor ALL military personnel who have died performing their sworn duties while serving in the US Armed Forces.

In addition to these highlighted traditions, there are many every day celebrations in May.  First of all, this year Covid … finally getting under control … families and friends coming together again … a big yippee on that!  Old Man Winter has gotten kicked out of his long slumber by Sassy Springtime and woodland & domestic perennials are responding by giving us a bouquet of vibrant colors which will certainly cheer anybody’s day.  Here in Minnesota, we anxiously await the opening of fishing season in a couple of days.  Garden centers and nurseries are bursting at the seams with gorgeous flowers and sturdy bedding plants just waiting their turn to perform for us the rest of the summer.  Some kids are savoring their school year end … because they are graduating and taking the next step in their life journey, or they are anxious to start their summer jobs fulltime, or they just want to see their summer fun begin!

Yes, May is an active month, chock full of traditions and celebrations.  And, through it all, a common thread is woven …  LOVE!  We are smitten with someone and put a basket of flowers on their door; we adore our moms.  We are humbly thankful for the freedoms given us by the actions/sacrifices of our military.  We joy in our time spent time in and with nature, whether we’re fishing or digging in the dirt (either way, it involves worms!); we are jumping out of our skins to see what life holds for us when our school days are over.  Continue reading

Because He Lives

Bill and Gloria Gaither are pioneers in Christian Gospel music.  Together, their musical career has produced lyrics and music scores for over 700 Christian songs … many very familiar to you such as ‘Because He Lives’, ‘A Sinner Saved By Grace’, ‘Something Beautiful’, ‘There’s Something About That Name’, ‘He Touched Me’ … just to name a few.

‘Because He Lives’ is one of my personal favorites.  Written by Gloria in 1971 during some personally challenging times for the Gaithers, this song offers hope to many of us because of its connection between the  Resurrection and taking us to a ‘life worth living’.

 ‘God sent His Son, they called him Jesus,

            He came to love, heal and forgive;

            He lived and died, to buy my pardon,

            An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.’

Jesus died on a cross for us.  He died so we could live.  His resurrection proves that, even though the cross should have been the end of our salvation, it was only the beginning.  After all, Jesus’ last words were “It Is Finished’, not that He was finished.  His work, through us, was just starting.  

In our Cross The World brochure, we ask the question: ‘We all know what the cross is … OR, DO WE?  Do we remember that the cross is an instrument of death that brings life?’  

Charles Stanley has this to say about the cross:

            ‘What does the cross mean to you?  Many people in the world today view it as a symbol of Christianity, but think about what it represented in Christ’s day.  Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship.  The cross was a torturous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.

            Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith.  In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion.  How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified and resurrected?  According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.  Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.

            Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was … an instrument of execution.  Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin.  Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph.’

What a powerful message for this Easter season!  We are reminded that He lives so that we can also, because of God’s gift to us.  Jesus took away our sin and gave salvation in its place, at a tremendous cost to Him.  We have a promise for tomorrow because we know His love and isn’t that a wonderful place to be? 

 

il_1588xn.2659602273_sug3-1

 


 

We’ve received so many awesome testimonials.  They, too, tell the story of God’s love and promise for the future.

‘Thank you so much for this amazing ministry.  I feel so blessed to be part of spreading your crosses.’ 

Geralyn ~ PA

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

‘I was given one of your crosses when my youngest son died 3 years ago.  It had a profound effect on me.  I am sharing the crosses that you send with my church with others.  I pray that they touch others as it did me.’

Mary ~ MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

‘On the day I received your cross and the card, passed on from a severely disabled woman, my heart was filled with joy and I felt more blessed in that moment than I have in this entire year that has passed since Covid became part of our daily routine in life. Her name is Tonya.  And I am going to pass this cross on like the card says to a wonderful dear friend, a missionary friend of my niece who, since Covjd began, has not been allowed to travel back to Los Angeles. Quarantined for the last year. God is with her, and now so will be your cross as a reminder to never lose faith.  Thank you whoever you may be for bringing me out of my darkness and back into His light.’

Donna ~ CA

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

‘I gave a cross to a young butcher at the local supermarket.  He thanked me and said he was ‘searching’.  I shared testimony with him.  He said he was to receive a Bible and I encouraged reading the Gospel of John first.  Experiences like this would never happen without a cross from your ministry.  Thank you for your fine work.  There is obvious love and dignity in the making of the crosses and how they are mailed.’

Joy ~ MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, these powerful words received throughout the last months from Brothers in Christ, David and Greg from CA:

‘Your cross ministry is very appreciated.  God bless you!’

‘Thank you so much for your ministry.  Thank you for your prayers.  We are praying for you.  At the Huntington Beach Pier in Huntington Beach, CA, we are giving away hundreds of crosses and Christian literature.  To God’s glory!!  Blessings.’

‘Thank you so much for your ministry.  You have brought joy to hundreds and hundreds of people here in California.  Blessings.’

‘Greetings and blessings in Jesus’ name.  Praise God for you and this ministry.  Brother Greg and I are so blessed.  Sometimes at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, we hand out 75 crosses in one day.  Praise Almighty God!  Thank you for your ministry.  We pray for you.  Blessings and encouragement.’

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥pocket-sized cross♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 


 

Love was shared through the cross by these folks recently:

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

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Gale ~ MN

United Methodist Church ~ Willmar, MN

David ~ CA

St. John’s Church ~ Wahpeton, ND

Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church ~ Fargo, ND

Pat ~ MN

Victoria ~ CA

Carol ~ AZ

Geralyn ~ PA

Liberty Lutheran Brethren Church ~ Fargo, ND

Lorraine ~ AZ

Trudie ~ OH

Pastor Sandy ~ PA

Presbyterian Homes ~ Minneapolis, MN

Greg ~ CA

New Creation Free Methodist Church ~ New Castle, PA

Russ ~ MN for Homeless and Wounded Warriors MN

Joy ~ MN

Sally ~ CA

Edward ~ TX

Walter~ MN

 


 

‘Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

            Because He lives, all fear is gone;

            Because I know He holds the future,

            And life is worth the living just because He lives.’

 

L-O-V-E

In 1965, Nat King Cole recorded a great love song that has been rendered timeless in our hearts and minds, especially this time of year with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Maybe you remember it.  It’s called L-O-V-E and here’s how it starts:

L is for the way you look at me

O is for the only one I see

V is very, very extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you adore can be

When I think about these lyrics, I am reminded not necessarily of the deep loving feelings I have for my wonderful husband and my fond affection for those particularly close to me but also of my faith strength and the awesome love God and I share between us.   Unwavering, unconditional, perpetual.  It is a fuzzy all over feeling to know that He is my center; He is my inspiration; He is my potter and I am His clay.  I am in a position in which I pray daily for others to join me.  To feel His love, daily, is like feeling nothing else! To be reminded, daily, that I am His child … again, nothing like it!!   Why wouldn’t I want this for everyone?  Why wouldn’t we want this for everyone?

I wanted to share this excerpt from a book authored by Bishop Michael Curry called Love Is The Way:  Holding On To Hope In Troubling Times 

‘Stop and imagine for a minute.  Think and imagine.  Think and imagine a world where love is the way.

Imagine our homes and families when love is the way.  Imagine our neighborhoods and communities where love is the way.  Imagine governments and nations where love is the way.  Imagine business and commerce when love is the way.  When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive – when love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again.  When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream, and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. 

When love is the way, poverty would become history.  When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.  When love is the way, we will lay our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more.  When love is the way, there’s plenty of room for all of God’s children.  When love is the way, we actually treat each other well, like we are actually family.’

LOVE was made for me and you.

AMEN!! 

 


Here’s some expressions of love from our CTW family!                    th

I am enclosing an offering for your Cross The World ministry given to me by a grateful recipient.  He was a military fellow I met in the lab at our clinic.  He suffers from PTSD, but had a service dog that was a big help to him.  After our conversation and having given him a cross, he unexpectedly gave me two bills to give to your ministry.  I downplayed the money, but he insisted.   Joy ~ MN

Crosses loving passed through these hands to others:

Mary ~ OK

Linda ~ PA                

David ~ CA                                                      

Pastor Jim ~ MN

Frank ~ MI

Pam ~ WA

Our Lady of Lebanon ~ North Jackson, OH

 


‘My heart was warmed at Wal-Mart during lunch.

This gentleman’s items were scanned and he was given the total. He looks apologetically back at me and starts taking handfuls of change out of his pockets. He miscounts and starts to get flustered. Gives me a muttered, “I’m so sorry.” His hands and voice are shaking. This beautiful cashier takes his hands and dumps all the change on the counter and says, “This is not a problem, honey. We will do this together.” He continues to apologize to both of us as we reassure him it’s ok. They get his transaction handled and he shuffles away.

I looked at this wonderful woman and said, “Thank-you for being so patient with him.”

She shakes her head and replies, “You shouldn’t have to thank me, baby. What’s wrong with our world is we’ve forgotten how to love one another.”

I want to be more like her.’

Credit: Spring Herbison Bowlin

 

 

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning that we should LOVE one another.

1 John 3:11

WWGWMTD?

WDGWMTD?

This year, I just want it to stop.  Talk of Covid, protests, looting, brutality.  I don’t know about you but sometimes, I lose my way.  Could this ‘new normal’ be my real life?

Recently, I met an 87 year old man who talked about living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam protests and, yet, seems to be enchanted with life.

He seemed surprised when I said that 2020 must have been especially challenging for him.  ‘No,’ he responded slowly, looking me straight in the eyes.  ‘I learned a long time ago to not see the world through the printed headlines.  I see the world through the people that surround me.  I see the world with the realization that we love big.  Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines … “HUSBAND LOVES WIFE TODAY” … “FAMILY DROPS EVERYTHING TO COME TO GRANDMA’S BEDSIDE”.  He patted my hand.  “OLD MAN MAKES NEW FRIEND.”  And, I smiled.

 


 

I saw you stand bravely through the years

And saw no sign of senseless fears

I saw you stand quietly through the stress

And saw no glimpse of bitterness

I saw you prayerfully in grief

And saw no sign of unbelief

though you spoke well of Jesus Christ

I caught your faith by watching your life.

Anonymous

 
Though difficult to see, God’s goodness is present in our most challenging life experiences.

 


 

We received some heartfelt comments this Christmas season:

These crosses are so special.  Concordia’s ladies’ group has been assembling Blessing Bags for Christmas (containing various items such as hats, gloves, and personal items) to be given to those in need who come to the food ministry. The Food Ministry will be adding your beautiful crosses to each bag.

Karen, Concordia Food Ministry ~ Stafford, VA

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Thanks for the thoughts in your well written Christmas newsletter message.  I commend you for your work, having some of your crosses still being seen in South Sudan where several years ago we distributed them to Sunday school students. The church in South Sudan, which we helped form is called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan. It is a growing church with 150 congregations and 140,000 members. They have had a very difficult year with the virus, flooding and the plague of locusts. Our prayers for them and the persecuted church around the world are needed and the message of the cross is the foundation of their hope and ours.  A blessed Christmas.

Rev. Robert Rahn, Lutheran Heritage Foundation ~ Macomb, MI

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Sending God’s Blessings and all my Hugs to All for a Healthy 2021!  I have enjoyed giving out the Crosses, and seeing a sad face become a happy face!

Dar ~ MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

We praise God for you all!  Thank you so much! 

Mary ~ OK

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I am so grateful for your crosses which have given me a ready way to witness and of helping to turn people’s hearts up to the Lord.  Everytime I go to the store, I usually hand out 2-3 and sometimes wish I had more. 

Joy ~ MN

And, this interesting note also from Joy:

In our neighborhood, neighbors bring cookies, etc. to each other.  One neighbor brought a tin to us with a cross on it.  She said, “You gave this to me and I’ve passed it around.  It’s come back to me and I’m giving it back to you.  This is what it says “Pass It On”.  I was bringing a plate of cookies at that time so I taped it on her plate and kept it going.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥                       ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, these folks blessed others with the cross during the month of December:

Carol ~ NV

Hearts of Heaven Ministries ~ Waterloo, NY

Heartwood Senior Living ~ Crosby, MN

Pablo ~ TX

Jeanne ~ MI

Christelle ~ WI

Diane ~ AZ

Tom ~ CA

Omaha Baptist Church ~ Unionville, MO

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Joy ~ MN

Stephen ~ MO

 


 

We are inspired by brave warriors who stand up for justice, such as firefighters who run into buildings when everyone else is running out. Heroes don’t do what they do for recognition, credit or fame. They do it because they can take something wrong in the world and set it right again.

Isn’t it interesting that when we read these stories, we don’t consider ourselves in the same category? Maybe we’re asking some of the right questions, though:

God, how do You want to use me? 
What are my gifts, and who are they for?

Then God presents opportunities for us to take the answers to those questions and put them into action.

Erin Weidemann

 


 

Abba Father:

            As we start this new year, I come to You.  Now more than ever before, I am pleading for Your continued guidance.  I want so desperately for my thoughts, words and actions to be representative of You before they reach others. I want to act as Your servant at every possible opportunity given me so others will see Your love and goodness reflected through me.   But, with all the anger, aggression and confusion surrounding us all right now, I fear I’m falling short. Today, I am on my knees, asking You to please show me, again, how to live genuinely; show me, again, how to love genuinely.  Help me to put prioritizing the building of Your Kingdom above everything else so I can live faithfully and fully in the light of eternity.  I ask this in Jesus name.

Amen

 

Image result for What Would god want me to do

AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE …

Well, the signs of the impending season are upon us.  The TV, radio and newspaper are full of them.  Colorful ads compelling you to look, then buy. Massive gas grills to powerful hand tools.  Sweaters to camping gear. Pet toys to appliances.  Handsome pickups to ice fishing houses.  Toys to trinkets.  Anything you could even imagine you think you might want … it’s there and it’s available NOW.  The perpetual advertising tells you that you don’t just want this, you NEED it.  And, you NEED it in the next couple of days before the supply runs short.

The advertising/marketing industry is a brisk paced, ultra creative think-tank industry.  Research shows that, as an industry, you have 3 seconds or less to capture people’s attention and make them interested enough in the product you’re hyping to want to take the time to learn more.  Typically, the consumer needs to hear, see or read about a product at least 21 times before they will actually acknowledge it or purchase it.   And, there are definite ‘rules of the game’ the advertising agency follows to guide you through.

Before I proceed, let me say that I’m addressing the women right now because, for the most part, we are the shoppers/buyers for the household … although you men are invited to read on too ):  There is a TV ad that plays quite often right now;  the product advertised is Hanes underwear for men.  The ad shows men, wearing only very colorfully patterned underwear.  It shows them sitting on the couch, smiling … playing pool, smiling … working construction, smiling … all supposedly having not a worry, all supposedly totally carefree. At the end of this 15 second ad, you see at least 21 men parading down the street, enmass, wearing this awesome product, waving their hands in the air and again, smiling.  Wow!  It appears this underwear makes men feel like a million bucks … like they’re on the top of the world!  

Ladies, at the moment of viewing, you might be disgusted by this ad, or you might think it’s humorous, or maybe you don’t have an opinion either way about it.  But I guarantee you, the next time you go to the store to purchase underwear, T-shirts, or socks for the male in your life, at least 85% of you will watch your hand skip over Fruit of the Loom, George, Mainstays or various other offerings and reach for Hanes and then further watch it drop the product in your shopping cart as though it is robotic.  Why? Because, my friend, the seed was planted during that TV ad.  Hanes has made you think if your man wears this colorful underwear, he’ll be just like the men you saw in the ad … attractive, youthful, fun loving, looking good, maybe even having a great bod … men sittin’ on top of the world!   And, you want that for them too.  By purchasing a Hanes product, you will make that all happen.   Aaah … and there’s the magic of marketing!!

As Christians, we are already excellent advertising/marketing executives.  We know we have an awesome product.  Everyone can afford it because it’s free. There is a never ending supply so no worries about shortages ever occurring.  And, there is no expiration date on it so it will last for an eternity.  Our product? GOD’S LOVE!!

We’ve done our research. We know what He’s capable of doing. Some of us have felt the miracles He’s performed for us already.  We’ve felt His love at times when nothing else could console us.   We’ve heard His response to our prayers.  We know what the long-lasting effect of His presence in our lives will be.  We know enough about Him to be proficient in our advertising.  And, the beauty is that, in most cases, all we need to do is mention His name and people already recognize our ‘product’.  

Sadly, this is the season that people should be putting Him foremost in their minds.  It is, after all, the time of year we should be celebrating the birth of His Son, Jesus.  But the advertising glitz and glamour of the merchant offerings clearly overshadow what we know is the perfect gift for everyone.  

We don’t need to see God to know that He exists; our faith gives us that.  We need to live as God’s example and help people grow more spiritually strong.  We need to listen to our heart and do what it tells us so that our marketing strategy will touch someone to move their hand over all the competing reasons to NOT believe in Him, or arguments to NOT want to hear more of His word, or ways to NOT spend time with Him through worship.  Our strategic goal is for them to REACH FOR HIM, to be received in His love!  

Advertising is indeed fast paced; demand products come and go faster than the blink of an eye.  Marketing is forever … just like God’s love for us and our life with Him.  We may never see the results of our marketing but I guarantee you, if we do it right, we will have given someone the greatest gift they could ever receive … eternal life.

 

 


 

We share these words of love from our CTW family: 

Thank you so much for these beautiful crosses.  I just marvel at the different patterns in the wood.  They are exquisite in design and bear such an important message for us all.  Please know how much they mean to those who receive them.     Karen ~ VA

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Such a great thing y’all are doing.  I received mine after my husband’s passing and it was such an added blessing.  Thank you.    Cheryl

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Thank you for giving to us all this unique way of witnessing for Jesus.  Joy ~ MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

and are thankful for these family members for sharing their love of God through the cross with others:

Joyce ~ MN

Open Door Community Church ~ Breezy Point, MN

Marian ~ MN

Amy ~ WI

Cedar Bluff Baptist Church ~ Princeton, KY

Rose ~ NC

Omaha Baptist Church ~ Unionville, MO for Operation Christmas Child

Sue ~ MN

Mary ~ OK

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Marianne ~ FL

Geralyn ~ PA

Joy ~ MN

Concordia Food Ministry ~ Stafford, VA

Trinity United Methodist Church ~ Lomira, WI

Greg ~ CA

 


 
‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son
and they shall call his name Emmanuel.’
Matthew 1:23

 

 

This Christmas, may His hands touch your heart with healing and your life with blessings, as they cradle you in love all the days of the new year.  This Christmas, may we offer Jesus the only gifts that truly matter to Him … our worship, our praise, and our love.  

Wishing all of you a very blessed Christmas season.

Courage

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.

It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.

G.K. Chesterton

 

This year, so far, has been a struggle. Confusion, anxiety, fear & anger have become the flavor of the day and, so far, the few short days of this month have not disappointed in keeping our cup full.  In a couple of days, though, it is our prayer that we will all be inspired by an opportunity to think of others.

On November 11th, Veterans Day, we will have a chance to recognize and sincerely thank those soldiers or people with valor who protected, and continue to protect our country, and recognize that they did, and will, continue to unselfishly put down their lives for us without giving it another thought.  This is a golden opportunity for us to recognize our veterans, active and retired.  We’ll have the privilege to revisit a commitment they chose to make for their country and we’ll have the occasion to think about the sacrifices they have made … and what this all means to us. 

This note, written by Chaplain (Captain) Robert Schobert, 8th Fighter Wing Chapel assigned to the Kunsan Air Base in Korea, touched my heart :

‘Veterans Day is coming. I remember marching in the Veterans Day parade in San Angelo, Texas, last year. And I remember my feelings as if that parade was yesterday.

As my formation wound its way along the route, I was amazed to see the size of the crowds. It seemed the entire town came out to honor us and all veterans. I was proud and humbled that so many were so appreciative of the service of so few, me included.

What humbled me most was the sight of older veterans on the sidewalks standing at attention as stiff as boards, sharply saluting the young Airmen riding on a parade float in front of me. These battle-hardened warriors of World War II, Korea and Vietnam honored us as if we had fought and won wars many times tougher than their own. They honored us as if their service and sacrifice pales in comparison to ours.

I can’t imagine the hardships and atrocities these heroes endured in Europe and in the Pacific. One gentleman I spoke with flew 77 combat missions and was wounded numerous times. He bailed out of his aircraft as it plummeted toward the earth and lost many of his friends along the way. Now that’s a hero.

There he was on the sidewalks of downtown San Angelo, saluting technical training students as they passed by on a parade float, Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training only weeks or days before.

My regret? I wanted to run up to them. All of them. I wanted to shake their hands and let them know we also appreciate THEIR service. I wanted to tell them they have earned the right many times over to receive OUR salutes honoring THEM. I wanted to express what a great privilege it is to serve in the tradition of heroes. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was in formation. And I have a feeling that if I had sought to honor them in such a way, they would have been embarrassed by the attention. They would have reminded me of the unwavering commitment and dedication of those marching in the parade on that day. Such is the way with heroes.

It is my prayer that next year at this time, you have returned home from this assignment and your family can march proudly together as one by one, thousands of fellow Americans honor you for what you and your family do to keep America strong and free.

You might not have marched in that parade last year. You might not have been saluted.

You might not have been recognized or thanked for your service at all. But never doubt what you do matters. Never wonder if your commitment is appreciated. Never question if your sacrifices are honored. Never waiver in your dedication to service. You are faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor.

You serve in the tradition of heroes.’

 

 

While Veterans Day specifically belongs to our heroes, their choices and actions are something we should be thankful for each and every day.  It doesn’t matter to the veterans if we wear red or blue; it shouldn’t matter so much to us.   What should matter is that, because of their heroics protecting our flag, our veterans have insured to us that we live in the home of the free and the home of the brave, and that is our privilege.  We are one nation under God.   

There are three colors to the flag of the United States and, in speaking about it, there’s a reason we always say ‘Red, White & Blue’. Red stands for valor and strength. Blue stands for preservance and justice.  White, I think the most significant color, stands for purity, wholeness, safety & faith and is the unifier and connector to the other two colors.  

Because of our veteran’s protecting our flag and what it represents, let me say it again:  We are ONE nation under God.  Please, let’s remember that.

 


 

We are thankful to these folks for sharing the cross during the month of October:

United Methodist Church – Munising, MI

Crooked Creek Church  – Ford City, PA

Compassion Ministries International – Milan, NM

Jerry – KY

Ginne – CA

Tom – CA

Grace United Methodist Church – Fergus Falls, MN

Greg – CA

Gale – MN

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Candi – CA for Operation Christmas Child

Bob – WA

Riverview Church – Pine River, MN for Operation Christmas Child

Hilltop Chapel – Palisade, MN for Operation Christmas Child

 


 

All of us at Cross The World ask you to join us as we take this time to celebrate, honor and thank our America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of their country and their willingness to serve and sacrifice, if need be.  Please remember what our veterans have done for us … it is because of them we remain one nation under God.

Courage is contagious.

When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.

Billy Graham