We are Blessed, so We Bless Others

This is the Shoup’s Furniture Bank Story.

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We felt a push to purge a little deeper last Thursday when we had the Furniture Bank show up to pick up some furniture we were donating, and we ended up giving enough to fill an entire home for someone.  We donated a full bedroom set, kitchen table and chairs, another kitchenette table and chairs, couch, accent chairs, recliner, living room tables and several other items.  That was pretty awesome to know that our unused furniture was going to help families in need, especially being so closely tied to the Furniture Bank and loving how they serve others and make such an impact.

Our reason for selling our home and downsizing was very much rooted in our faith. We felt called to create more margin to bless others. Coming to the realization that we just filled a home with furniture was a great moment with God reaffirming we were headed in the direction He intended for us.  The mad scramble of moving and the tension of doing it on such hot days last week was quickly washed over when we stopped for a minute and realized what He delivered through us in all of this.

Then to hear Pastor Matt’s fear message and so much about house related decisions this weekend right after that was pretty surreal to say the least.  To top it all off, our kiddos got to hear why we were giving away so much of our stuff and how it would bless others, and they were both so sweet and wanting to see what else we should give away of their stuff to help others. Our daughter said, “We are so blessed.  God has given us so many blessings, and there is no reason to be sad.”

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Stowe Mission – Ending Hunger One Meal at a Time

Hunger has no boundaries and exists everywhere in America. Did you know that 1 in 6 or 1.8 million Ohioans live below the line of poverty?

A third of those living in poverty are children. When children are not getting the right amounts of daily nutrients, they are put at risk for illness and a weakened immune system.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 65 receive fewer nutrients, which prohibits their ability to live a full and active life. People living in hunger have a higher chance of developing diabetes, developing a range of chronic illnesse, and scoring lower on physical and mental health exams.

Because of your faithful generosity, our partner, Stowe Mission of Central Ohio, is able to provide 500 meals a day. Over 122,000 meals are provided from their community soup kitchen and pantry each year.  In addition, Crossroads.TV was able to provide a much-needed new refrigerator for their soup kitchen because of your giving.

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Crossroads.TV & Stowe Mission are committed to feeding the hungry and making a positive impact by meeting the most basic of needs – food.  Because of your kindness, we can continue to reach out, serve, and meet the needs of our community.

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Stowe Mission is just one of our ministry partners that will be a part of IMPACT Week 2016.  Find your IMPACT at www.impactweek.com.

Thank you for helping us fight hunger one meal at a time!

Our Father’s Project- Ministry that provides discipleship and mentoring throughout the city!

“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” – Psalm 8:2 

90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.

“Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” – Matthew 18:2-6 

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”- Proverbs 22:6 

85% of youth in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. 

We all love to hear stories about children who grew up in difficult situations but overcame adversity to achieve something great. Unfortunately, for many youth, their truth is that the life that they grow up in is the only life they know.  When they see drug use, violence, and poverty during the most vulnerable time in their life, they grow up to continue the cycle.

We are called to help raise children in the Word of the Lord. The Bible says that if we do, we can raise them to continue to live Christ-like lives as adults. So what do we do to stop these youth from becoming a statistic?

We stop the cycle.

Our Father’s Project, a relational ministry that provides mentoring and discipleship for youth in urban Columbus,  strives to do just that.

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Each week, the group meets on Fridays nights to “play sports and games together, enjoy a family meal, pray and learn practical lessons from scripture. Many who get involved describe The Project as family.” -ourfathersproject.org

The Project also helps youth in southern Columbus by offering clothes, medical treatments and Christmas gifts. They also offer experiences that a father might provide for his son, like a trip to the State Fair, bowling, or a sporting event.

Some of the youth that grew up with The Project now mentor the next generation. Clearly the program is making an impact!

“You and I have a story to tell. We are changing future generations, one life at a time.”  -ourfathersproject.org

Crossroads.TV has partnered with Our Father’s Project to help meet the needs of these young men. During Impact week, we are providing an opportunity to Crossroaders to see what Our Father’s Project is all about. On Friday, July 22nd, Crossroads will be joining The Project by hanging out with the kids and listening to a sermon with them. Afterwards, we’ll feed them dinner and then play basketball.

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“The teens that belong to Our Father’s Project are experiencing spiritually and practically that there is hope for a better life now. They know their future is not determined by their current circumstances, nor is their future bound by generations of fatherlessness, destructive behavior and poverty. They are living and growing in a relationship with our Father God, and they have Christian leaders who are involved in their lives, as an earthly father would be. Our teens are loved.”  - ourfathersproject.org

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” – 3 John 1:4.

With your help, we can stop the cycle. For more information, please visit impactweek.com

-Penny Baldwin, Lithopolis Campus

“For I was Hungry, and you Gave me Food.”

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I needed clothes, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you looked after me. I was in prison, and you came to visit me.” – Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)

If Jesus came to your door, unshowered, His clothing dirty and torn, His eyes sunken in from dehydration, and His face pale from sickness, what would you do? Would you turn Him away? Invite Him in?

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’’ Matthew 25:37-39 (NIV)

If Jesus stopped you on the street and asked you for help, would you feel honored that He chose you, welcome Him with open arms, treat him like family?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)

Jesus tells us that whatever we do for someone in need, we do for Him. When we feed the poor, help the sick and give love to those who need it most, we are feeding, helping and loving Jesus.

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Since 2014, Stowe Mission has provided over 1,000,000 meals from its food pantry. That’s over one million times that Jesus has asked for, and received, compassion and love from people in Central Ohio.

Stowe Mission serves the community every day, and in turn Jesus, by providing a food pantry, soup kitchen, medical, dental and eye services, job placement and tutoring, school supply giveaways and toy drives to the homeless in Central Ohio.

Crossroads.TV has partnered with Stowe to help them fulfill their mission to, “Help the inner-city physically, emotionally and spiritually – All in the name of Jesus.” (stowemission.org)

Every other month, on the second Thursday of the month, and every fifth Friday, members of Crossroads Church join Stowe Mission to provide over 250 meals. And this year, Crossroads.TV is providing an opportunity to serve the homeless during IMPACT Week. On July 19th, 2016, we will be hosting our annual Hot Dog Block Party. On this night, we serve over 700 hot dogs, chips and desserts. We play music and games, provide sidewalk chalk for the kids and much more. We also bring in professional face painters and hair cutters for this event. It attracts over 40 volunteers and hundreds of folks from the south end of Columbus. Will you join us?

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For more information or to sign up for Impact week, please visit our site at Impact WEEK.

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16

-Penny Baldwin, Lithopolis Campus

Larry’s Take on IMPACT Week at The Furniture Bank

Impact Week 2016 will soon be here. There are many opportunities to choose from, and I want to talk to you about my passion for helping others through building and painting furniture.

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The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio is one of the Crossroads.TV partners. The Furniture Bank provides free furniture to individuals or families in need due to severe poverty or other severe life challenges.

Did you know that The Furniture Bank provided services to over 4500 families in Central Ohio last year?  Over 10,000 individuals received 13-15 pieces of furniture that has been painted, built or donated through The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio.  In 2015, 65,000 pieces of furniture were built by volunteers like you and me.

I knew after my first serving experience with The Furniture Bank that I was hooked!  I loved seeing what we accomplished through building and painting beds, coffee tables, kitchen tables and chairs, dressers and end tables. It’s incredible to see the final product is benefiting someone in need.  This serve opportunity has really shown me that we are the hands and feet of Jesus!

Just imagine coming home and having nowhere to sit, no table to eat a meal and no place to sleep. Prayers can be answered for those in need through something as simple as donating one weekend every other month, three hours each time to give a child a bed or to make a mom, dad or other individuals feel at ease knowing that the home is filled with furniture built especially for them. Families have been changed and now have a new outlook on life with less stress of wondering where they will sleep, eat or sit.

Not only are we building and painting to help others in need, but we are bonding with our Crossroads.TV family through wonderful acts of service. We are living life together with a purpose because we are called to love and to serve while we are here for just a short time. We are making a difference in the lives of others, and our lives are being changed in the process.

I have been leading The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio serve opportunity for two years, and I am so humbled and blessed by each person or family that signs up and serves alongside me.  I am looking forward to IMPACT Week starting on July 17th-24th.

Join with me as we help The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio Turn Empty Houses into Homes!

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Date: July 23, 2016

Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

Sign-up here!

-Larry Beal, Lithopolis Campus

Because of Outreach, I Found my way Back to God

I had felt like something was missing in my life for a while. I love my children and husband, but I knew that I was not completely happy with myself. I realized that there wasn’t anything lacking in them. There was something lacking with me.

In November of 2015, my boys came home from school at the new Gorsuch West school. They both had boxes with them. Inside the boxes were shoes. I was stunned. Why would a church that didn’t know my family or myself go out of their way to give us shoes?

We decided we were going to go to the church and thank them, or maybe we would write a nice letter. That was going to be the end of it, but as we walked into church, I felt such a sense of belonging. If you have never been there, it’s hard for me to describe it to you. I felt such a sense of peace. It felt like I was suddenly a part of something that I didn’t know existed.

We decided to stay and attend service that Sunday. At first, it was really odd for us. We came from a background where the music is subdued and very formal. This “rock concert” atmosphere was unlike anything we had ever experienced. We came back the next week, and then the next, and then it became an every Sunday thing for us. Then we attended All Access.

We found our passion in Outreach, because it was through Outreach that we learned of Crossroads.TV. This summer during Impact Week, I am even leading a few events.

It’s amazing when I look back at how our lives have changed in just six months since we walked in the door at Crossroads. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my family.

Thank you Crossroads.TV for helping us find our way back to God.

Ashlee Homman - Lancaster Campus

God is Moving in Tami’s Heart

God really moved in my heart last year during Crossroads.TV Impact Week. I’ve always had a heart to help others, but I was mostly doing things for my own family and friends. At first, I only signed up for one event, but I loved it so much that I starting going to one event after another.  The Holy Spirit just led me to where I was needed.


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It had been a rough few years caring for and then losing my parents and worrying about a son who let his life get out of control. Outreach took my focus off of me and put it on God’s work and on the needs of others. The feeling of love and fellowship with those you serve with is so rewarding, and it’s the true meaning of being the church.


From helping to clean a homeless shelter and smaller churches to passing out water and so much more, we were making an impact for people who we may never even meet again. The big events, such as the shoe drop, filled my heart so much, as I saw the impact that God’s love had on the children, teachers and staff.


One act of obedience to God’s calling when He says go blesses the community as a whole. The desire to search in Outreach has spread throughput my family. My son, Brian Miler, and his friends love serving regularly at the furniture bank, and my husband loves serving too. Our small group is soon going to take the next step to serve the community as a group.


Thank you to Crossroads.TV Outreach for the opportunities that you provide for us and thank you to God for leading our family to be the hands and feet of Christ through serving.


Tami Carpenter
Lancaster campus

I Know What it is Like to not Believe in Jesus

I know what it’s like to not believe in Jesus.

 

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. While my mom was Christian, she wasn’t active in the church. And my dad…well, my dad grew up with a father who literally threw a pastor out of his house when the pastor wanted to speak to him about Jesus.

 

Although my dad was a kind and loving man who would never hurt anyone, if anyone tried to bring up Jesus around him, they were given an eye roll and a surly comment at most.
Despite my upbringing, I knew about Christianity. When I went to sleepovers at friend’s houses, I’d often dress up on Sunday morning and join my friend at their church.  I would sit in the pews or attend their Sunday school and try to listen. The one thing I always took away from the various experinces with the church was that I didn’t belong.
Stand up. Kneel. Repeat words that I didn’t know. Do the sign of the cross (which I always did backwards.)

 

One time, I joined my friend at Sunday school. Because I was new, the teacher wanted to give me special treatment. She called on me first to answer a question.  I had no idea what the answer was.  She seemed surprised. It was obviously something I should have known.
I didn’t belong.

 

When I was young, I knew enough people who went to church that I also knew that I wanted to be a part of it. So, while I was at home, I would “play church.” I would read a Bible passage, sing from a hymn book I found in my mom’s stuff and cut up pieces of bread and have it with ginger ale for “communion.”  I had no idea what any of it meant, but it’s what I knew about church.

 

By high school, I decided that I was an athiest. Nothing about Jesus made sense to me. My experiences had left me confused and skeptical. Things started to shift for me when I was in college. One day at lunch, my brother announced that he was speaking at his chuch, and we were invited to attend. None of us even knew he was a Christian. We found out later that his college roommate had taught him about Jesus.  Through my brother’s roommate, my brother learned to trust Jesus. And through my brother, God helped me to understand Jesus in a way that was relatable and compassionate. Many late nights, long talks and my brother’s sermons helped me become closer and closer to Jesus.

 

Then, my brother’s church combined with another church, and he moved to Arizona.  I didn’t know what to do next. I stopped going to church or thinking about my walk with God.  My relationship with Jesus seemed to be at a standstill.

 

In 2008, we decided to try Crossroads.TV. We were welcomed right away, and we loved the service. What really sealed the deal was when our daughter said, “It was better than going to a hotel!” (And hotels have pools so…)

 

Through attending Crossroads, partipating in Outreach, being a part of a small group and volunteering, we felt like Crossroads truly became our family.  Little by little, we became closer to God. But it wasn’t until this past November that my faith came full circle.
My dad continued to hold fast to his non- beliefs. Any time I tried to pray for him, he would cut me off, so eventually I gave up.  Then suddenly, his convictions became very real to me.
He was sick, and he was only going to get worse.  He held on for several years, while I prayed for him, but still I never spoke to him about Jesus.  Whenever he’d take a turn for the worse, fear would overtake me. What would I do if he died, and I had to live my life feeling like he was separated from God? How could I accept that?


Whenever he got better, I thought it was another chance for me to help him know Jesus, but something something always held me back. I didn’t want the eye roll or the argument.
One day, I got the call. His girlfriend, in tears, told me that he didn’t have much time left. He’d been adamant that we didn’t do anything to prolong his life. I went to his house, called my siblings and waited while my dad struggled to breathe.  I was scared. Once again I prayed, only to myself, and waited through the night.

 

The next morning, as the sun started to pierce through the blinds, something happened.
My dad woke up. We called the doctor, who told us to take him to the hospital just in case it was an infection. Just as my sister showed up, the ambulance pulled away. We met the rest of my siblings at the hospital and waited.


After assessing my dad and running some tests, they determined it wasn’t an infection. They transferred him to the hospice floor so we could say our goodbyes.  He woke up one last time. He made a few jokes and asked us questions about our lives. We held his hand as he drifted back to sleep. Once most everyone left my dad’s hospital room, and only my brother, one of my sisters and I remained, we shared stories about my dad and thanked him for everything he’d done for us.  Then we prayed..out loud and together. We prayed to Jesus that He would come meet my dad in person and that he needed to see Him to believe. We told my dad to relax and that he didn’t have to struggle.  We told him that God was with him.  Over and over, we prayed to Jesus to take him to Heaven.  The next day he died. A sense of peace washed over me. I no longer feared what was waiting for him on the other side. I believe that my dad met Jesus that day, and that he chose to believe.  Everything was different than it would have been.  I thought about how I was with my dad at his house without my siblings, feeling sad and scared about his future.  After I prayed, he woke up. We took him to the hospital, and he died surrounded by his family and his kids praying together for him before he passed. God allowed me, and more importantly him, a different experience. A peaceful death. An eternal life.


I think about the toddlers I teach in CCKids and about how one day one of them might be the one who teaches a non-believer to have faith.  I think about raising my kids as Christians and about how they’re going to experience Jesus in a way that I never did. I think about Outreach at Crossroads.TV and about how the love that Crossroads has for those in our city who need it most, might lead them to Jesus.  Just maybe that one their families will get to know their loved ones have passed from death to eternal life.


I feel privileged. I would never have been able to find Jesus on my own. Through God’s will and the love of others, I found Jesus, and I get to experience eternal life.  Now I pray that God can use me to help others in the same way that He used others to help me, because I think that’s what God’s love is all about.
Penny Baldwin
-Penny Baldwin
-Lithopolis Campus