Thursday, May 8, 2014

A to Z Blogging {Almost Caught Up!} Wait

for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:14

I am not a very good wait-er--I don’t like to wait.

I want all of the answers, right now.

I want to know—now!-- the direction in which I’m to go in life.

I want to know how situations are going to resolve themselves and I don’t want to have to wait to find out.

I am so often tempted to jump right in and act—call someone!! Do something!! Send an e-mail!! Speak my mind!!

Sometimes I react quickly—in anger, in retribution, in fear and depression.

But the above verse reminds me—twice in one verse, to “wait for the Lord.”

And it doesn’t tell me just to wait, it gives me something to do while I wait: “be strong and let your heart take courage.”

I can be strong, by reading the Bible and praying to the Lord to guide and lead me. I find strength in knowing that He is with me every single step of the way, no matter what. And He is stronger than anything, any circumstance, that I will encounter during my life.

I can have courage while I wait because I know the Lord knows what is happening. He knows every detail about every aspect of my circumstances, even when I’m blindsided by something. He is right beside me, every second.

He knows the direction in which He wants me to go. He knows all the details. He knows the bigger story.

And truth be told, I know the bigger story too. I know the end of the story. At the end of the story, no matter what happens to me here—I will spend eternity with Him.

Knowing that enables me to “wait…” with courage in my heart.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is . Check it out!)

A to Z Blogging Challenge {Still Catching Up!} Vine


I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Apart from Him, I can do nothing.

With Him, I can do anything.

For fruit to grow, it must be attached to the vine which nourishes it. For me to grow, to do His will, I must be attached to Him, or as this verse says, I must abide in Him.


By reading His word. By going to church and Bible study. Through prayer. By listening for His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12, King James Version) to lead and guide me. By being still, and knowing Him (Psalm 46:10).

Abide in Him, and bear fruit!

How will you abide with the Lord today?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is . Check it out!)

10th Annual Christian Cross Festival June 7th in Norfolk!

By Shelly Burke, Editor

(This article appears in the May issue of the "Nebraska Family Times." If you would like a FREE sample copy of the "Nebraska Family Times," e-mail with your mailing address.)

The Christian Cross Festival, which celebrates its 10th year this year, had humble beginnings. In August of 2001, the (future) founder of the Christian Cross Festival (CCF), Brett Simonsen, arranged for fireworks and Christian music at their church’s block party at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Norfolk. Someone at the event took pictures of the fireworks; when Brett had them developed he was drawn to one in which the fireworks exploding around a cross outside the church looked like Jesus hanging on the cross.  

The inspiration of the picture made Simonsen want to share the event so that others could have a chance to know Christ through Christian music and testimonies from those who had found Christ in their lives. The Outreach team at St. John’s worked to make what became known as the Christian Cross Festival a community event. Today the planning team represents seven denominational as well as non-denominational churches in Norfolk.  The event itself is non-denominational and everyone is invited, whether or not they belong to a church or even know Who God is.

According to Simonsen, over the past 10 years the CCF has grown in size; currently a permanent canopy is being put on the stage at the park. The CCF now also includes a ministry tent at which Christian ministries are highlighted so people can see what they’re all about. Simonsen adds, “Our focus continues true to our belief that we need to reach out to northeast Nebraska and beyond to share God’s message, in a fun and family friendly event where inspiring Christian bands come and share their message through music and testimonies.”

Simonsen says that just thinking of the things that God has done through the CCF humbles him. He has seen many people—addicts, former addicts, dysfunctional families, the homeless, troubled teens (including a 13 year old who had tried many drugs and alcohol)—come to the CCF to “get away”, just meet with friends, or enjoy a nice day at the park, but through the music, speaker, or wandering into the ministry tent, being touched by God and giving their life to Christ.

Simonsen also saw God’s hand a few years ago when a huge storm was bearing down on the festival, making shutting it down early a distinct possibility. He remembers, “We were all nervous watching this huge storm approach on radar, knowing it was way too big to go around us. As we watched on the radar, the storm slowed down and split about 10-15 miles out and put us in a “bubble” that stayed over us as the storm proceeded to pass around us. Lightning was all around and we were ready to call off the festival at any moment. We decided to start the fireworks about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled and the fireworks from the lightning and our fireworks were quite a sight! The “bubble” collapsed and the rain came down, but not until the last car was driving out of the park. The workers were rained on but they didn’t mind—the crowd was spared and everyone was safe!”

The CCF is free of charge; events will run from 1 pm – 11 pm on Saturday, June 7th  at Skyview Lake in Norfolk, NE.  A detailed schedule will appear closer to the time of the CCF; this year Allan Greene (CEO/Founder of Life Light Festival from Sioux Falls, SD) and the Passion Painter from Missouri are scheduled to speak, and bands scheduled to perform include the Peter Furler Band, Big Daddy Weave, Remedy Drive and many more. Other attractions include food, children’s inflatables, face painting, and the Christian ministries tent.

People are invited to come and go as they are able and enjoy the park, the music and the speakers and the day! Bring a lawn chair or blanket if you’d like to relax while you listen to music and spend time with family and friends.

The CCF is committed to never charging an admission fee. If you would like to support the event by being a volunteer, financial sponsor, or donor, contact the CCF (information at the end of this article). 100% of your donation will go directly toward the event.  Freewill offerings are also accepted.

Have you attended the CCF? Do you plan to attend this year? Please help promote the event by telling your friends about it! Invite them to go with you!
The Mission of the CCF: The CCF is an outreach event in an relaxed outdoor setting to promote Christian fellowship and unity in the Body of Christ. Our purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ through Christian music, testimony, and other talents as He provides.
 For more information about the Christian Cross Festival go to The festival is on Facebook; type in “Christian Cross Festival” or go to You can also contact Brett Simonsen, CCF Director, at or (402) 649-2317.