Is Any One Looking For You?

The best way to sum up our weekend at the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home is this:

“We went looking for them, and in return, they came looking for us.” Rick Nichoson during devotions after our last day of working at the Children’s Home

The first day, Friday, was full of hard work, laughter (mostly because half of the team arrived in Tennessee around 3 a.m. and were so slap-happy they couldn’t help it), and fellowship; but the second day, Saturday, we all experienced something I’m positive none of us would trade for the world.

After The Crossroads’ team finished working on the last day, we took a tour of the campus which included a walk-through of one of the boys’ cottages. During the walk-through, we were able to talk to the kids and their fill-in house parents, learn about their schedules and rules, and even pass along some good advice to a few of them. Before we went on the tour, Brittany and Corey had gone to War-Mart to buy the kids a new basketball hoop and backboard because the one they had was falling apart. As they began to hang it up, we noticed the kids walking down the road from their cottage, heading towards us. This was the moment Rick was referring to.

We made an effort to spend time with those kids in their home, and whether we realized it or not, it meant a whole lot to them. Enough to the point where they came looking for US and wanted to talk and hang out with US. So, for the next two hours or so, we were able to socialize with all of them. Whether that meant playing basketball, throwing a football, spinning on the carousel, or just a simple conversation, we were able to be a part of their lives. Two hours may not seem like a lot of time, but at least for me, it was the most valuable two hours I’ve ever experienced.

I can’t speak on behalf of everyone else, but I was able to talk to one of the boys one-on-one for a while with my mom, Kristy. He opened up a lot to us and shared some very personal stories, and we were able to share some of ours in return. He shared that he has a child on the way, even though he is only 15, and that his father was never present in his life so he doesn’t know how to be a good one. It was a very intimate bonding moment that touched our hearts immensely.

We ended the workday with a nice conversation wit the groundskeeper, John, who informed us that we were one of the best, most hardworking groups he’d come in contact with. He expressed to us that our team had surpassed his expectations and went above and beyond what he had planned for us to do.

“Mission trips are all about sacrifice.”, said Pastor James, and what better way to sacrifice our time than following the will of God and working for His kingdom.

~ Riley Goodwin



Life Traffic Report – Cut Off


If you’ve ever driven on the highway you’ve probably been cut off by someone who didnt’ see or; or actually didn’t even care if you were there. It’s one of the most frustrating things about driving but it also is one of the most harmful things we can do to other people. In this weeks LIfe Traffic Report I talk about how we can verbally cut people off.

Life Traffic Report – Off The Beaten Path


This last weekend was an amazing time with the group that went down to the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. It was such a blessing to work, eat and play along side of this group. There are times when we all need to get away from the day to day, the highway of life, find a backroad somewhere, and see what we can find. I truly enjoyed my time getting out of the norm and finding that backroad.

In this week’s “Life Traffic Report”, I talk about finding the backroad.

What Does It Take For the Presence of God to Show Up?

On Sunday we continued on in our “Heating Up” Sermon Series asking the question about God’s presence/approval and what it takes. We spent time in 2 Chronicles 5:13 which states: “and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD ), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud.” In this we saw four elements that led to God’s approval.

“It was the duty” – we must realize that worship of God isn’t a ‘when I feel like it’ but rather something we were created to do.”Make themselves heard” – you and are were not only created to worship God we were created to let the world know how great He is

“In Unison” – the power of unity is something we have lost as a people. We will never agree on everything but when we begin to agree together on the important pieces, like the world’s need for Jesus, we can begin to be in unity.

“In praise to the Lord” – it’s great to be in unity but there are times when we aren’t unified under the right covering. When you and I join together in praise to the Lord, not focused on anything else but the praise of the King, then we see the end result….

“Was filled with a cloud” – God’s presence/acceptance came when the people of Israel came together, as one voice, to worship the King. Let us do the same so that we can hear those words we all long to hear God say: “Well done good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23

Pastor James