Thursday, May 31, 2007

Which One Is And Isn't In The Bible?

One of six quotations in this post is from the Bible and one is not mentioned in any of four other books considered holy by adherents of their religious group. Can you match them up?

If Kumar ever sends me my $25 Best Buy gift card [ I won it as a prize on his blog May 4], I will re-gift it mailing it to the one lucky winner who gets the most right. If there are more than one of you who get all 6 answers correct, I'll have Jackie randomly draw the winner from my Baltimore Orioles cap and post the answers and winner next week. Good luck!

A. The Bible
B. The Bhagavad Gita, [Hindu]
C. The Book of Mormon
D. The Quran
E. The Tipitaka [Buddhist]
F. Not mentioned

1. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted
2. It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should...give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the ophans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer.
3. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
4. Few are those people in the world who, when acquiring lavish wealth, don't become intoxicated and heedless, don't become greedy for sensual pleasures, and don't mistreat other beings.
5. To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
6. God helps those who help themselves.

Graduation And A Proposal?

Sunday May 27, 2007
Great Lakes Adventist Academy ●
Maegan's graduation
Matt, Carla, Colin, Jenna, and Kaitlyn were there. As were mom and dad. And Mark, Paula, Conner, and 10 month old Jessica. Who apparently partied all Saturday night forcing Mark to
skip the graduation and this sibling photo op.

Tuesday May 29, 2007
Toledo First Seventh-day Adventist Church
James Meade Learning Center PreSchool Graduation
Lydia had a cap and gown like "Aunt Meggie." But unlike her aunt, Lydia received a marriage proposal. She told me not to worry though because she turned him down...even after he tried
to seal it with a kiss...THAT'S my girl!!!

Wanna Watch Aljazeera English?

Al Jazeera is one of the most popular networks in the globe, but you can only see it in a few American cities. Now including Toledo.

Toledo's unique because it's one of only two U.S. cities where Al Jazeera English is being broadcast [If you subscribe to Buckeye Cable's digital service].

The other is Burlington, Vermont. The reaction has been mixed. Click the graphic
above for more info. You wanna watch? I would if I could, but it's not on DirecTV...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What's More Expensive Than Gas?

So we're driving off this weekend to Great Lakes Adventist Academy to see my sister Maegan graduate from high school [her boyfriend Aaron is graduating too]. Which is where Jackie and I graduated what seems like fourscore years ago...

Which got me thinking...what's more expensive than gas these daze?

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19————$9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59——————$10.17 per gallon
Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29————$10.32 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15————$33.60 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35———$178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85————$123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39———————$25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99—————————$84.48 per gallon
Evian bottled water 9 oz $1.49—————$21.19 per gallon!

Going Too Fast For A Media Fast?

According to the latest Nielsen Media Research [click the graphic above for details], the number of television channels that the average U.S. home receives has now reached a record high of 104.

82% of U.S homes have more than one television set at home. 23% have satellite. 28% of U.S. TV homes have digital cable. 64% of homes have analog cable (down from 68% in 2000)

In Mark 9:29, Jesus said some things can only happen through prayer and fasting. Maybe the fasting we should be focused on has nothing to do with food...What would a media fast look like to you?

What Was That Sound?

That sound you just heard was the collective sigh of relief emanating from DC after 7'2" center Roy Hibbert decided to stay in school for his senior year at Georgetown University.

Which allows him to get his degree, be the likely #1 pick in next year's NBA draft, and play college basketball for one more year.

With Greg Oden and Kevin Durant gone, who's gonna stop Gtown?!! There's no WAY I could media fast the madness of March 2008!!! [Or maybe some sports is the very thing some of us should fast from...]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Times Of Trouble, Gifts Of Grace?

Some people say we can learn in peace what God seems best able to convey in conflict. But if gold could be refined without fire, someone would have figured out a way to do that by now. It cannot be done with precious metals, and it cannot be done with precious people, either.

So if times of trouble can become gifts of God’s grace, we have to be open to the possibility of encountering either one at any time. But sometimes it takes a time of trouble for us to acknowledge and accept His gift of grace. This is what Jacob learned.

Click the graphic above to read the rest of the article I wrote recently published in the May 10, 2007 edition of my church's magazine called the Adventist Review.

You Like Big Bibles?

For 5 weeks in the summer of 1992, Sir Mix-a-Lot's best known song reached number 1 on the United States' Billboard chart and later won a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. Pastor Dan Smith made a parody of the song a few years ago called "Baby Got Book." Enjoy. And check out Dan’s other stuff at:

How Do We Know What's On God's iPod?

Too many Christians assume that the music they like is the music God likes. By forbidding the music they don't like, they make it harder for those far from God to come a little closer. They put God in a box. Claim to know the rhythms of His heart. And what's on God's iPod [as if He really needs one!!! Take that Steve Jobs!!!]

Ed Christian argues in his book Joyful Noise [now on sale for only $3.97 Click here or the graphic to the left for more info] that music should be judged not by personal tastes, but by its spiritual fruits. God approves of music that leads people closer to Him whether we like it or not.

This is a must read for any parent or pastor [Buy a box and share the love!!!] because there is much misinformation being sincerely shared inside and outside the church. This is the best book I've read sorting through the folklore while simultaneously encouraging church unity and highlighting the Biblical principles involved.

You owe it to yourself and emerging generations to carefully think through the issues music raise because Jesus said in Mark 9:42 [KJV], "42And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."

Ed Christian teaches Bible and English at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and edits the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society. He has written dozens of popular and scholarly articles on biblical literature and has presented seminars in many countries.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

How Many Fortunes Fit On A Slide?

May 5, 2007
Millenium Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Joshua, Lydia, Colin, and Jenna

Not pictured: My newest niece Kaitlyn

Do You Still Do Too?

May 4, 2007
Traverse City, Michigan
Andrea marries my brother-in-law Frank

The light streaming through the cross was beauuutiful. As was the bride. The groom cried. And at this wedding, I didn't have to do a thing!

God was there too.

Just A Gimmick?

May 7, 2007, Toledo, Ohio. A couple days ago, 30 volunteers from Toledo First welcomed 830 youth into Whitmer High School auditorium to watch a group of brick breaking body builders talk about the life changing strength and power of Jesus in their lives.

In response, 190 [23% of the crowd] came forward at the conclusion of the event publicly deciding in front of their peers to follow Jesus. Local Links were there to pray with them and take their contact info. Those names will be returned to participating local churches like ours allowing continued discipleship training and mentoring.

Does that sound like just a gimmick to you?

Photo courtesy of Toledo Blade and Jeremy Wadsworth

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Can Just One Voice Be Heard?

"What if your feet were literally shackled together all day long as you sit on a dirt floor rolling cigarettes? What if you had to dive down to the bottom of the river to untangle your masters’ fishing nets, after your best friend had just drowned the day before doing the same thing? What if your father had a drug addiction so he sold you into slavery to get his next high? What if you crushed boulders into gravel with a heavy hammer all day long until you were breathless, sun burnt and bleeding? This is the case for many men, women, and children around the world today."

These are the challenging words of a teenager named Zach Hunter. He is leading a revolution called Loose Change to Loosen Chains whose primary goal is to find the estimated millions dollars of pocket change hiding inside our couches at home using that money to mobilize his generation to end slavery. Not just sweatshop labor, but actual slavery that is every bit as sick and ugly as it was in our country two hundred years ago.

Can just one voice be heard? His is.

Watch this 3 minute video or for more details copy and paste this url into your browser:

What's A Local Link?

Last week, six friends joined me in a room full of teenagers willing to surrender 2.5 hours of their time on a weekend to become trained as "Local Links."

Local Links are Christians from the crowd who stand up and go forward in one of three waves in response to the speaker's invitations to accept Christ. Once they're at the front, at the right time, they slap their name tag on, greet, pray, congratulate those nearest them making decisions for Jesus. Then they furiously write down on a card all the necessary contact info they can which is used to follow up and invite the teens making decisions to a small group, youth group, church group so they can be linked up with you or another Christian closest.

Please consider being trained as a Local Link!!! Get partnered up with a teen in our neighborhood who sincerely wants to know more about Jesus!!! Click here or the graphic above for more info about the training.

Are We Transforming Toledo?

The message is sacred, the method in which we preach it, is not.

In an age where the suit and the evangelist is no longer reaching the emerging generation, we must find new ways to relate to today’s youth. Using their own elements of sports, music, dance and culture, the four teams of the Impact World Tour share just one thing in common: a passion to reach the lost with the love of Jesus.

Is it working? I'd say so. In 3 nights, through 5 events 650 people came to Christ!!! More than 10% of the audience make a response to the Gospel. And our church is one the groups helping out.

Our church is in fact the location providing the last opportunity for all other Christians in the Toledo area to be trained to become Local Links. Pastor Nathan will be leading this ordinary outreach after church May 5 @ 3 pm. Come support him and help transform Toledo! For a schedule of events, click here or the graphic above.

For more info about Impact World Tour, read the Toledo Blade article "Toledo Area Churches Going To Extremes For Youth"