Monthly Archives: April 2010

Rethinking Beauty–Part 1

Rethinking Beauty…

Who is beautiful to you and why?

Is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder?

Beauty is one of those tough topics for women. It is tough because so many of us have been avoiding REALLY talking about it in honest ways for most of our lives.

I think we avoid it–because it makes MOST of us feel INSECURE.

If we don’t deem ourselves beautiful, beauty is certainly not going to be one of our favorite subjects.

If we don’t believe we fit the narrow stereotype current society says is beautiful; talking about what beauty entails–tends to make us feel inferior, inadequate and just plain not good enough.  It’s a painful topic.

But those who think they just might be pretty, have it equally as bad or worse.

Those who think they might possibly be beautiful, also don’t want to bring up the topic–they know that beauty is fleeting and that they can age, change, or fall out of style and be un-beautiful again in a flash.

If the truth be known, even the most physically beautiful women wonder how long they can hold on to their beauty.  And ladies, that–makes them even more insecure and miserable than the “average” girls.

So you see, beauty as a subject, whether you figure you have it or you don’t, is not a popular topic for deliberation among females.

But the question is, are we really viewing beauty accurately?–or are we viewing the entire subject through a faulty lens?

Whether society will ever recognize it or not–true and lasting beauty is on the inside of a woman!

The Bible exhorts women not to be absorbed with outer beauty but to build up the hidden person of the heart.  According to the Scriptures we are to adorn ourselves with incorruptible beauty–a gentle and quiet spirit–that is precious in the sight of God.

I Peter 3:3-4 tells us, Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

So, where does that leave us, to be brutally honest, when I first came upon this verse years ago I hated it with a passion.

I felt it was unfair that God should show a discretionary bias towards a gentle and quiet woman.  Was He prejudiced against women of strength who possessed a voice?

This was my opinion, because in my mind, He had created me the polar opposite of the “gentle and quiet” stereotype that I believed He deemed beautiful.  I viewed myself as “strong and extroverted,” and deep down I resented God for crowning the lucky “gentle and quiet” ones as the queens of the ball. How fair is that?

It brought up some of the same emotions I had experienced growing up as a brunette and realizing that “blonds had more fun.”  In those days it felt like the media had made a pejorative judgment against all women with dark hair judging our lives dull and boring.

But in the case of the “gentle and quiet” girls, now it was GOD telling me that they were better. I wanted to run out and get a personality transplant!  It was irritating, because once again, even in the “spiritual” beauty department, beauty seemed outside my grasp.

INSECURITY raised it’s ugly head.  Would I ever be able to attain “incorruptible beauty” in the sight of God, as a strong female leader, who liked to talk?  It was from this starting point of utter frustration that my own personal investigation into “what is true inner beauty?” was born.

In Part 2 of “Rethinking Beauty” I will seek to unravel the mystery of what having a “gentle and quiet spirit” really entails.

MEANWHILE, I know many of you agree that–it is tough being a woman in a world so preoccupied with outer beauty. What are your main insecurities when it comes to the subject of beauty? (Be honest)! I would love to read your thoughts and experiences…so…please feel free to join this thread.


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It’s Tough Being A Woman

On May 8th, at 11:30 A.M, The Women at Crossroads will be hosting our annual spring luncheon and program.

This year’s theme will be “It’s Tough Being a Woman” and the program will spotlight the many challenges involved in being a woman in our current society.

Through music, drama, and speaking attendees will be uplifted by a lighthearted and inspirational program designed for all ages.

Our agenda for the day will be to underline the important truth that: although it’s tough being a woman, in Christ we can live exceptional lives!

We are enabled to be beautiful, balanced and brave while just being who He made us to be!

The program will feature, Angela White as our special guest musician and she will be joined on stage by the Crossroads Band.

The seating is reserved seating only and the tickets are on sale online at the main Crossroads website and at the Women’s Ministry Counter located in the lobby of the Crossroads Main Building.  The tickets are $17.5o each and the price includes a catered lunch.

The event will begin at 11:30 A.M with luncheon being served and the program following.  The event will conclude by approximately 2:00 P.M.  Get your tickets now.


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As Good As It Gets–A Message To Baby Boom Christians By Tom Stipe

“We have lived life for better or for worse and are pausing to grade our progress like approaching the end of a semester“… with these words Tom Stipe (you know the guy I’m married to…) gives expression to the current mental plight of many Baby Boom Christians.

His recent article called “As Good As It Gets” describes the things Tom sees affecting Baby Boom Christians in the Church today.  It is very thought provoking and interesting, and in my opinion definitely worth a read!

Click the link at the bottom of this excerpt to read it in it’s entirety or continue to peruse it here.

“We have lived life for better or for worse and are pausing to grade our progress like approaching the end of a semester. It is more than a little threatening. The finish line is in sight and the race has nearly been run.  Now it seems that the only thing left is the inevitable looming question, “How did we do”?

In the 1997 movie, “As Good As It Gets” starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, there is a memorable scene in which Nicholson’s character reinforces the film’s title. Leaving his psychiatrists office, Melvin Udall (Nicholson) passes through a waiting area filled with sullen, self-absorbed patients; then he pauses and asks, “What if this is as good as it gets?” It is a question that he leaves hanging in the air with no obvious answer as he leaves.

What about us? What if this is it? Jesus hasn’t returned yet, although things are looking pretty good for that these days. Life goes on. The future that was ahead of us has arrived. The married life we dreamed of has come and–in some cases–gone…”

Catch this entire “Message To Baby Boom Christians” by Tom Stipe at

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Phil Wickham A Second Generation Jesus Musician Takes Center Stage

It is no secret that my husband Tom Stipe and I are a couple of aging “Jesus People.”  We were born and raised in Southern California and the roots of our Christian experience trace back to a revival time in the early seventies known as the “Jesus Movement.” Those years were exciting times for youthful followers of Christ and they also have proved to be the days when Contemporary Christian Music was born and began taking its first shaky baby steps.  The first “Rock” generation Christian musicians began to take the platforms of American churches during those years (approx. 1969-1976) and it was in many ways ground that was not easily taken.

By God’s blessing Tom (a musician himself) became the staff evangelist at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa  and the preacher at ground breaking regional Christian Music events known as The Saturday Night Concerts.  Weekly thousands of young people would fill a tent pitched as Calvary Chapel’s temporary facility to hear a growing family of Christian musicians and bands evangelize crowds with the music of the Jesus People. It was during these grass roots times of Contemporary Christian Music that Tom and I became acquainted with many young Christian artists and amongst them were a young couple named John and Lisa Wickham.  John and Lisa were among the pioneering contemporary Christian musicians on the then fledgling Maranatha Music label, where Tom served as a staff producer.  John was part of the band known as “The Way” and Lisa a part of the group “Parable”.

Well, fast forward nearly forty years and that’s where you meet up with Phil Wickham.  Phil is the son of John and Lisa Wickham and has taken the Christian music legacy of his two parents on to new heights.  Phil is a ground breaking Christian musician in his own right.  He has had numerous top-ten Contemporary Christian hits and his song “Safe” is currently at number five on the Billboard Charts for Christian Music.

With all this said, Tom and I are excitedly awaiting Phil’s up-coming concert at Crossroads Church of Denver on April 13th, 2010.  While it makes us feel incredibly old it also warms our hearts to welcome the children of our “Jesus People” friends to our platform. Phil is among an elite group of second generation Contemporary Christian Music artists and personnel who are currently gracing the stages of Christian venues and churches throughout America.  Other Christian artists whose parents were a part of the “golden” age of Contemporary Christian Music are:

Chad Butler from Switchfoot whose Dad Chuck Butler was in “Country Faith” and “Parable.”

Alisa Girard Childers from Zoe Girls whose Dad Chuck Girard was in the famed Jesus Movement group “Love Song”.

And Eli Thomson a Maranatha Music artist and producer whose Dad Kevin Thomson was a member of “Sweet Comfort.”

In addition, our two daughters Jennifer Stipe Mouttet, and Allison Stipe Schwab have followed in their Dad’s footsteps working in the Contemporary Christian Music Biz.  They both graduated from Belmont University with degrees in Music Business and have worked for various labels throughout their careers most recently and notably BEC Recordings.  On a side note Allison is also married to a Christian artist, Andrew Schwab of Project 86.

Tickets for the up-coming Phil Wickham concert cost $12 and are available on his website.  Tickets will be available at the door the night of the concert for $17.


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He is Risen! Happy Resurrection Day!

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.

John 20:1-8 (NKJV)

Jesus said… “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

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Christ’s Death the Ultimate Expression of the Love of God

God proved his love on the cross.

When Christ hung, and bled, and died it was God saying to the world—I love you.

Billy Graham

God sat in silence while the sins of the world were placed upon his Son. Was it right?

No. Was it fair? No. Was it love?

Yes. In a world of injustice, God once and for all tipped the scales in the favor of hope.

Max L. Lucado

What happened that Friday, Good Friday?

The Apostle’s Creed states it without embellishment: “He was crucified, dead, and buried.” After being tried and sentenced Jesus carried His own cross to Golgotha,

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. John 19:17

Golgotha in Aramaic (The place of the skull) was probably called this because the hill with its stony barren top looked like a skull. The probable site of Golgotha was outside the city wall and not far from Herod’s palace—perhaps a thousand feet north/northeast of it. Roman custom placed crucifixions, and Jewish custom located stonings, outside towns rather than at their center

The sin offering always used to be taken outside the camp or city (cf. Heb. 13:11-13).

For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people withHis own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Several stakes, at most about ten feet high, stood in Golgotha ready to be reused whenever executions occurred. The upright part of the cross (the stipe) was permanently mounted in the crucifixion area. The part that the victim carried was the cross bar, weighing in at 75 to 125 pounds. The cross bar would be balanced on the victim’s shoulders, and their arms would be tied to the crossbar. In this position, if the victim tripped or fell, they could not use their arms to break their fall, and they would likely fall face first into the ground.

The victim was escorted by a Roman guard (probably a centurion and several soldiers), who were responsible for guarding the victim until his death. One of the soldiers would display a sign with the crime written on it. Once the crucifixion area was reached, the victim would be offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh to act as a mild pain killer. The drink was a charitable service performed by an association of women in Jerusalem.  Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. – Mark 15:23

The Crucifixion

The victim would then be nailed to the cross bar. The nails would be driven through the wrists, not through the palms, as these would not support the body weight. The cross bar would be raised and placed on the upright post, where the victim’s heels would be nailed to the post.

Once crucified, a victim would live for a period ranging from a few hours to a few days. How long he lived depended mostly on how severe the scourging was. If no one claimed the body, it would be left on the cross to be eaten by predatory animals. The family could, however, claim the body for burial. In this case, a Roman soldier would pierce the chest with a sword or spear to make sure the victim was dead.

What actually kills the victim of crucifixion?

The initial scourging would weaken the victim, cause massive blood loss, and probably induce shock. By the time the victim had carried the cross bar to the crucifixion area, he would be exhausted. Once up on the cross, the victim would have his body weight suspended by their arms. In this position, it is difficult to completely exhale. The victim could take shallow breaths for a while, but eventually would be forced to push himself up to take a full breath.  At this point three things happen:

The victim’s weight is now fully supported by his feet. The nails through the feet would be likely to hit two major nerves running through the area. The result would be excruciating pain in the legs.

The nails in the wrists would be likely to pierce the main nerve running through the arm. As the victim pushed up to breath, the wrists would rotate against the nail, irritating the nerves and causing intense pain in the arms. Some authorities also believe that the crucifixion position would dislocate the shoulder or elbow. Any movement would aggravate the pain from these injuries.

The wounds on the victim’s back from the scourging would push up against the rough part of the centerpiece. This would tend to re-open the wounds, leading to more pain and blood loss. This combination of pain would quickly force the victim to lower himself back down. Eventually, the victim would no longer be able to raise himself up and would suffocate. The shock from blood loss due to the scourging would hasten this process. In some cases, the victim’s legs were broken to “finish him off.” This would prevent the victim from being able to raise himself up and he would suffocate in a matter of minutes.

Before the scourging and crucifixion, Jesus was beaten by his guards, which would weaken him. In addition, he would have had no sleep that night, and walked back and forth from trial to trial.

His weakness is attested to in the gospel narritives.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Mark 15:21

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Matt 27:32

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26

Typically, a prisoner carried his own cross to the crucifixion site. The fact that Simon was pressed into carrying Jesus’ cross suggests that Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross. It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. – Mark 15:42-44  Since the Jewish Sabbath would begin at Sunset, it was important that the bodies not be left up, as Jewish law required that they be buried by the Sabbath. Note that Pilate is surprised that Jesus is already dead.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. – John 19:31-32

As mentioned earlier, breaking the legs of a crucified person would cause suffocation within minutes, because they would not be able to raise themselves up to breath. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. – John 19:33-34

Again, this was typical crucifixion practice — to stab the victim to make sure he was dead before releasing him to relatives. The “water” that John describes as flowing is probably serous pleural and pericardial fluid fluid that would build up from shock and blood loss. This fluid would tend to accumulate in the chest cavity and lungs.

What does His crucifixion mean for us.

If we believe in Him and trust in Him then our debt of sin is fully paid and the record of our sin is nailed to the Cross with Christ.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. Col. 2:13-14

If we believe in Him and trust in Him then those of us who were once far away from God can be brought near.  Nothing remains between God and us but an open door.

So brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear because of the blood of Jesus’ death.  We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us.  It leads through the curtain –Christ’s body. Hebrews 10:19-20

Take some time and speak to the LORD about your need for forgiveness and the removal of guilt over sin in your life.  Imagine the cross and take those charges you want destroyed once and for all and visualize them nailed there.  Jesus was crucified, dead and buried to eliminate the sins of the world that keep man separated from God.  Believe in what Jesus did for you, allow Him to take your sin, repent and follow Him as Lord and Savior and you will be reconciled with God.  That is the message of Good Friday.

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Thomas Update–He’s On the Mend and He Got a Helmet!

Alternative Bike Helmets

As many of you know, my son, Thomas was injured in a bicycle vs. SUV accident on March 5th.  At that time he sustained a TBI (a traumatic brain injury) and was kept in the ICU at Denver Health for five days.

By the grace of God, (Thank you Lord!)  Thomas is doing much better today and I believe that is due in large part to the generous out pouring of prayer he received.  Christians from Crossroads Church of Denver and various other churches throughout the world interceded on our son’s behalf and for that we will always be grateful.

Today, however, nearly a month later, many of you (and we are extremely grateful for the concern) have e-mailed, commented and called asking for an update and so I decided to write a detailed post with the specifics and publish it here.

Thomas has a skull fracture in the basal area of his brain that extends upward through his middle ear on the right side.  At the time of the accident he had a brain bleed; (a subdural hematoma) and his brain was bruised, the frontal and temporal lobes of his brain were all affected.  He also had a chip from his mastoid bone which penetrated his middle ear and caused bleeding from his right ear and initially he demonstrated hearing loss.

The good news is we are told by the doctors that his skull fracture will eventually mend and that the bruising on his brain will gradually dissipate. The bad news on the other hand is that all this healing will take months.  Brain injuries heal very slowly!

In the interim he is suffering from what is called post-concussive syndrome and his main symptoms are headaches, occasional dizziness and fatigue. He is also still experiencing hearing loss in his right ear and a laceration over his left eye is healing. He had stitches to close the laceration above his eye and he lost part of his very bushy black eye brow somewhere in the process. We are not sure whether the eye brow will grow back or not but as his mom this concerns me.  I am personally praying that the eye brow will come back because my very handsome son will look a bit unusual with half a bushy eye brow on one side.  We are told however, that if it does not grow back plastic surgery to fix the problem is fairly simple.

The bottom line is, I –We (his father and I)–would love and appreciate it if you would continue to keep Thomas on your prayer lists.

He is attempting to return to school (Metro State University) after spring break and is already back to work at the Van Shoe store at Cherry Creek Mall.  Most of all we would ask you to pray for him for wisdom to know what activities to resume and what to hold off on.  He needs to be careful because if he re-injures his head it could be life threatening.

I have been told that he has purchased a BIKE HELMET (a very good idea considering) and I am hoping to see it ASAP to confirm the report.  When I do I will take a picture of it to pass it on to all of you (so you too will have the evidence)!  The above picture is an example of one of the alternative style bike helmets that I found on line, proving all helmets don’t have to look dorky!

Thomas in general is an extremely healthy individual so experiencing pain and physical problems is totally new to him and could be challenging.  He is also a total optimist so none of this seems to be bothering him at all.  He minimizes his injuries and is chomping at the bit to get back to his life as if nothing ever happened to him.

Thomas spent the first day or so after being discharged from the hospital with his father and I but he is currently recovering at the home he shares with his three male room mates in downtown Denver.  His house is near the Metro campus and satiates the need for city life and urban love that his generation is so obsessed with.

So then, what specifically, do we ask that you pray for:


Healing of his skull fracture.

Healing of the brain bruising

Healing of the middle ear trauma and restoration of any hearing loss

No seizures as his brain heals

No attention or concentration difficulties

Good recall and no memory loss

WISDOM, WISDOM, and more WISDOM to know when and how to resume activities.

Healing of the laceration above his eye and return of the bushy black eye brow (a mom’s request)

Thanks again to so many of you for loving Thomas, we appreciate your concern.

Maryellen Stipe

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