Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Much Does Mayo Mean?

On Monday, I joined students from Toledo Junior Academy at Cherry Street Mission in downtown Toledo to serve 200 turkey sandwiches, chips, and drinks to the homeless. About 75 people waited patiently until after "grace." Ladies went first. Followed by the guys. They were all very polite. And grateful. Especially for the mayo and mustard and pickles we brought for their sandwiches.

Apparently, most volunteers mass assemble sandwiches the night before and don't put mayo on them. We made ours that morning. With plenty of condiments on the side. Isn't it amazing how much mayo means? Who knew that a pickle and mustard could most powerfully proclaim the lavish love of God?

After lunch, I met a 19 year old guy who showed me his healing stab wounds. [Suffered elsewhere the previous week, not at Cherry Street Mission]. But he smiled just as wide when explaining that he's almost got his GED. I was about to slap him on the back, but half way there remembered his stab wounds, and settled for a big stretch and a hearty WTG!!! I also met a middle aged woman who stayed long enough to tell me she'd love it if we did a regular chapel service on Saturday nights followed by an untalent show or karaoke. She couldn't stay longer because she had to get in line at 2pm for the women's shelter opening at 4pm. Will our church really leave the building? To be continued...

Could Cars Comfort Kidz In Africa?

This children's Sabbath School class is part of an Adventist congregation outside of Mozambique's capital, Maputo. It didn't need to leave the building...because it never had one!!! Stay tuned in the months ahead for more details about Cars 4 Africa. Coming to Toledo and 3 other cities in Ohio on Labor Day 2008!!!

Do You Have To Camp At Tent City?

You can!!! But you don't have to. Some other churches, business, fraternities, troops and groups will be spending the night in the parking lot of the Civic Center Mall in downtown Toledo November 2-4 sending the message to the entire community including the homeless in it that God loves them like crazy!!! They need volunteers to help serve the evening meal on Saturday November 3 from 4 - 7 pm. I have room for up to 6 other volunteers in my van. So if you're willing to join me in serving the evening meal on Saturday November 3, please let me know. Proverbs 14:31 [NIV] says, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." And don't forget that Jesus WAS a homeless man!!! Matthew 8:20 [NIV] adds, "Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Did You Ever Buy The Bus?

In early August 2007, in response to my invitation to help us extend the impact of our ordinary outreach, some of you sent Toledo First some money to help us purchase a Bus For Us. Because of your generosity, we were able to raise $7k in 24 hours. Unfortunately, when it came time to purchase that bus the following week, it was no longer available. So we started praying for a Better Bus For Us. Which we continue to do.

But since it's been a few months since your contribution and we have not yet been able to purchase the Better Bus For Us as described, I wanted you to know the status of your contribution so we could know how you want us to handle it.

So if you were one of those who contributed, you will be receiving a USPS letter from me soon. When you get it, would you please respond by checking one of the options on the card included in the envelope best indicating to us your desire for your previous contribution and mail it back to us in the self addressed stamped envelope?

If you weren't able to help us earlier but still would like to help us purchase the Better Bus For Us, you could do so by posting a comment with one of the options below then sending your check to payable to Toledo First with "Bus" on the memo line to:
4909 West Sylvania Ave
Toledo OH 43623

Whatever you decide, thank you for your willingness to partner with us showing those in the mission field of Toledo that God loves them like crazy and that knowing Jesus is worth the ride!!!
Way to go!!!
  • Option #1 - Sorry you missed the bus. I'd like my money back.
  • Option #2 - Sorry you missed the bus. Keep my money till God gives you the Better Bus For Us.
  • Option #3 - Sorry you missed the bus. To cheer you up, here's some more money to help you buy the Better Bus For Us.

What Did Lydia Draw?

Lydia saw Joshua's picture of the bunker under the burning bush last week so she drew me a picture to put on the blog too. This one, in case you're wondering, is full of cheerleaders. The kind she's seen surrounding the winning driver on Joshua's "Cruisin' World" video game we let him play on weekends.

As she explained to me, they are cheering for the race car with the awesome engine sticking out the front. [Duh!!! Those are NOT lips DAD!!!]
As a kindergartner, she knows how to spell her name and can recognize and sound out the letters A thru H in the alphabet. Obviously, there are sunshine and thunder clouds in our world and hers. But when they arrive I remind her:

I love you when you're good / I love you when you're bad / I love you when you're happy / I love you when you're sad / There's nothing you can do / To make me love you more / There's nothing you can do / To make me love you less / And God feels the same way / BUT, there's still consequences...

Can A Four Year Old Change The World?

One chilly Thanksgiving, 4 year old Hannah was helping her mother Doris serve dinner to the needy at Toledo's Cherry Street Mission. Suddenly, Doris felt a tug on her sweater. "Mommy, won't his feet be cold?" Hannah nodded toward a man whose shoes had split open to reveal he wore no socks. Hannah's small face reflected concern, and Doris tried to reassure her: "His shoes will keep his toes warm." With all staff focused on the meal, Doris knew they couldn't help him at that moment, and she didn't want Hannah to worry. Hannah, too smart and too big of heart, was unconvinced. "Mommy, he can have my socks," she said.

The next day, Doris took Hannah to purchase and distribute socks to local shelters. As they've continued collecting and donating socks to grateful shelters around Toledo, their dream of helping even more people has grown into a non-profit focused on helping the less fortunate have warm feet and warm hearts. Can one little girl with a big heart make a world of difference? Hannah already is!!! And we can help her!!!

Click on the graphic for more info OR just plan to bring a few six packs of adult socks to the massive RingFest2007 Bell Choir concert at Toledo First on FRI OCT 26 @ 7:30 pm!!! See you there!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What Happened At Manfest 2007?

Last week in church, Pastor Dan Savino was here from AZ for Manfest 2007 to challenge men to be men. Wild and courageous and trusting in God. His theme text was Psalm 118:8 [NIV] which says, "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man." He likened our relationship with God to riding a motorcycle. Where Jesus actually hands us the keys and lets us drive!!! But where He always rides on the back leaning into the curves and bumps in the road with us. We concluded Manfest with a demonstration of how you could speak words of affirmation and blessing on your child or grandchild. Big thanks and WTG to Jeff for taking awesome pics and Greg for letting us put his Harley on stage!!! What a great visual!!!

Did The Burning Bush Need A Bunker?

Moses didn't, but apparently, the mole did. In 2nd grade Bible, they were studying the story about Moses and the burning bush found in Exodus 3.

Apparently, Joshua felt that story needed to be spiced up a bit. So he included an elevator, tunnel, and bunker underneath the burning bush.

I asked Joshua who the elevator, tunnel, and bunker was for and he said it was for the mole. Not Moses. Which I was happy to hear. Because that story has always seemed a little scary to me. But not to him. Or to Moses. Just the mole.

Did They Show Us The Money?

Earlier I blogged about a proposal called Haven of Hope and how we were finalists for a large grant from a local financial firm to do an Extreme Home Makeover for one graduate of Aurora House the last week of June 2008 during our next Mission Trip to Toledo. The exciting news is we won!!! They chose our charity!!! I've calmed down long enough to praise God!!! And to give a big thanks to Stacy for helping us with this grant!!! WTG's are also in store for Carla and Kendra for coming up with Haven of Hope and by modeling the possibilities of such a venture in 2008 by doing a smaller version in 2007!!!

Since August, a small team of volunteers have been helping them renovate and prepare a home for one graduate of Aurora House. The unveil of her home is SUN NOV 18 from 3pm to 5pm. So make plans now to welcome her home!!! And click here or the graphic above to watch the music video Steve created that sealed the deal for our grant request and for an update on the progress made in the house so far. [After clicking the link, you may need to press the tiny triangular "play" button on the bottom left of the black video screen.]

Thursday, October 04, 2007

You Did What Again?

Some of you know we're still looking for a Better Bus For Us. Well, this one ain't it!!! Monday this week the local Toledo bus service on the way to pick up some kids from school decided to drive underneath our Toledo First car port. The very one that had JUST been repaired a few weeks ago. When someone else decided to ignore the RED GLOW IN THE DARK LETTERS right above the entrance and exit that say LOW CLEARANCE 8' 6"
Aren't you glad when we tell God, "Sorry, God, but I did BLANK again" He responds with "You did what again?" He says that because when we confess our sins, the Bible says He casts them into the depths of the ocean [Micah 7:19] and remembers them no more [Isaiah 43:25]. Even if we do.

So you don't have to feel funny coming to God to ask forgiveness for the same thing again and again. Because He already forgot!!! To Him, it's always Ground Hog Day [for those of you who have no idea what this unique holiday represents, please rent the hilarious 1993 Bill Murray film by the same title]. And try to remember that God forgets!!! There are NO repeat offenders in God's eyes!!!

What Difference Can One Person Make?

What Happened @ Innovation 3?

Attendees from across the United States, Canada and Europe came together in Columbus, Ohio, September 30 to October 2, for the third annual National Conference on Innovation.

Describing the growing role of global South nations (Africa, Latin America, Asia) in Christianity, and their varying approaches to Scripture, Dr. Philip Jenkins described how the distinctive values held by the Adventist Church such as our emphasis on wholistic healing of mind, body, and spirit can have a positive impact in this changing environment. Dr. Jon Paulien established a theological framework tracing the role of the movements of remnant peoples throughout time. Doug Pagitt offered a case study of Solomon’s Porch, an unusual contemporary Christian community of which he is pastor. And Rabbi Marcia Prager traced the history of Jewish Renewal, with sample Renewal teachings on subjects like prayer and the Sabbath. Breakout groups explored how the information presented applied to Adventist life, ministry, congregations and schools.

Vervent, the North American Division Ministries Resource Center, awarded its first Innovative Church of the Year award to Pastor David Jamieson on behalf of the Aldergrove Seventh-day Adventist Church in British Columbia, Canada [click on their link at the top of the "Links" column of my blog]. In other words, we didn't win. But like Martin Scorsese at the Oscars, it was an honor just to be nominated. Specifically for our Mission Trip to Toledo. Next year, Innovation 4 takes place October 5-7 in Columbus, Ohio.