Monday, March 31, 2008

Wanna Watch The Gospel Of John?

Many of you know the Gospel of John is my fave book in the Bible. One reason I like it is because the Jesus in it is constantly doing stuff not recorded elsewhere. Like rebuking his own mother [2:4], arguing with Nicodemus in the middle of the night [3:10], and sounding more than a little sarcastic with the Pharisees [10:31-32]. In short, Jesus sounds like someone I can relate to because I too [gasp!!!] can be combative, argumentative, and sarcastic at times [shocker I know!!!].

But aside from the unique stories and manly nature of the book, the other reason I like the Gospel of John is because it reminds religious people like me that the real purpose of the law is to encourage us to cling to the only one who ever kept it [7:19] and that is Christ [Romans 5:19]. Therefore, our job is not to perfectly obey, but to sincerely serve and follow Jesus just like Mary, Nicodemus, and the disciples did. And THAT we can do!!!

So do yourself a favor. And read or watch the Gospel of John!!! Click the pic for the cheapest DVD price — >$6. My kids and I watch a little every weekend. Stopping every few minutes to answer all the questions they ask. You just might be eternally grateful you did!!!

Turbulent Times?

To help families in our community who are attempting to cope with the current economic situation, we have arranged for a local investment professional to present an educational workshop for the community and our church. Shanyn Stewart, Partner and Senior Wealth Advisor at Leach, Stewart, and Associates [click the pic for more info] will share how getting out of debt, budgeting, and pursuing sound investment strategies are sure to benefit everyone whatever your age during Turbulent Times, Financial Strategies For Success on April 9 and 12 from 7 to 8:30pm at Toledo First. There is no fee for the presentation, but a suggested donation of $20 covers the cost of materials. Free childcare is available. Please pick up your invitation cards at the church office to share with friends and family. Pre-register by calling 419.882.6200.

In addition to her financial acumen, Shanyn is a wonderful Christian with loads of experience in pastoral ministry. She is a proud parent of a 2nd grader in the same class as Joshua at Toledo Junior Academy.

If cost of materials prohibits you or someone you know from attending, there are a limited number of scholarships available. Contact Pastor Mike [ or 419.386.8918] for details.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wanna See Joshua's Easter Drawing?

Check out this picture Joshua drew for me out of the blue last week. I asked him why the sun was there and he said it’s because he heard me say that Jesus is the light of the world. I asked him what the fish was all about. And he said he didn’t know why, but that the fish is a symbol of Jesus. Which it is. He took it from there pointing out the obvious. That J is for Jesus. That He died on the cross. But rose from the dead. Making Him the Rock of Ages. And that His Word is a "light unto our paths." All of which reminded me that the story of Easter is simple enough for a child to understand. But amazing enough for an adult to marvel. What does your picture of Jesus look like? Did you know God loves you like crazy? That He would rather die than spend eternity without you? In fact, He already did!!! Which, if you ask Him according to John 1:12, makes YOU one of HIS peeps!!! And I'm not talking about the yellow marshmallowy kind!!! [Though I really love them too!!! Click the pics for more Peeps!!!]

Phi Obama Slamma?

Did you see Obama renounce his pastor's thoughts on why America deserved 9/11? Speaking on matters of race and specifically his pastor's divisive remarks, Obama gave his "More Perfect Union" speech on MAR 18 in Philadelphia. Among his comments, he said he can no more disown his pastor than he could disown his white grandmother. Who had also made racist comments that made him cringe. While I agree with Obama that "Words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialog, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit" [click here for the rest of the pre-speech fireworks], I do admire his pastor for saying what he really thinks [even though I don't agree with how or what he said]. And I admire the pastor's congregation even more for allowing him to do so. Isn't there something significant to "Iron sharpening iron" as Proverbs 27:17 says? Click the pic for a link to read the entire transcript, the triangular play button below to watch it on YouTube, or comment below [no blogger registration required]. What good things have you heard your pastor/rabbi/priest/imam shout out loud?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is Fake News Funny?

Funny and often truer than false!!! You have GOT to hear what fake news anchors Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart said during the 58th Emmy Awards AUG 27, 2006. Here's a sample: "Good evening Sodomites!!!" "We're in the belly of the beast!!!" "Kneel before your god Babylon!!!" Or just click the triangular play button below for some more fake truth in love...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Searching For The God Of Grace?

The apostle Paul told the young pastor Timothy, "We know that the law is good—if one uses it properly" [1 Timothy 1:8]. The problem is, at least in the Adventist church, many of us are not using it properly. Which makes God hard to find. Much less love.

But Stuart Tyner, in one of the best books I've ever read, tackles this and many other topics related to it. Chapter 13 is worth the price of the book alone. It compares the similarities and differences between how we're saved according to the Council of Trent versus the Protestant Reformation. Wow!!! Mind bender!!!

I wish everybody would read this book!!! But especially those of us who grew up Seventh-day Adventist Christians!!! I liked it so much I gave everyone in my church who promised to read it a copy and asked them to prepare to share their feedback with me during a Pastor's Book Club series on Wednesday nights. If you haven't received from me your copy yet, please do so!!! Or click the pic to buy your own!!!

Stuart Tyner is Pastor for Family Ministries at the La Sierra University Church in Riverside, California. He travels extensively to speak about grace as "the one great truth around which all other truths cluster," to seek historical insight on the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, and to discover additional illustrations of grace from the treasures of Western art.

Like Mike?

For the crazy few of you who want to hear even more from me, now you can!!! Even if you don't own an iPod!!!
Go to Download the FREE software. Install and open iTunes. Then with your computer connected to the internet, type "Toledo First" into the iTunes Store search bar in the upper right of your screen. The pic above will "magically" appear. Click subscribe and whenver your computer is connected to the internet with iTunes open it will automatically download the latest greatest [ha!] message I share in church. [For those of you in/near Toledo, this does NOT give you permission to skip church!!! LOL!!!]

For those of you raging against the machine not wanting to mess with iTunes, you could also go to the church website and watch, listen, or download MP3s to listen later. Click the pic above to do so. How much do YOU like Mike?

What's At Stake?

The “Lifehouse Everything Skit” originally performed at Winterfest 2006 [an annual Church of God youth event] has deeply moved the hearts and souls of America [click here to read the CBN article]. More than 6 million people have viewed this 5 minute skit making it the 2nd most viewed video on GodTube. Click the triangular play button or read the summary below. At the beginning of the skit, a young woman experiences the joy and innocence of finding her first love in Jesus. Then sin, coming as a mere “distraction”, overwhelms the young woman in traps of sexual impurity, the party lifestyle, bulimia, cutting, and deception that leads toward suicide.

Christ, with loving power, fights the fallen powers of darkness and rescues the young woman reminding us that Jesus already won the battle for our souls on the cross. And that we have victory over our sins through our faith in Him. 1 John 4:4 says it this way: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Do you know what’s at stake?

Monday, March 03, 2008

What's Kick Butts Day?

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against tobacco use at more than 2,000 events from coast to coast. So get together with your friends, neighbors and classmates, and get ready for Wednesday, April 2, 2008, when YOU get to Stand Out, Speak Up, and Seize Control in the fight against tobacco.

Click the pic for more info. If you download the activity guide and register your group event, they will send you press releases to attract the media and to help you connect with other events in your area!!!

What a great cause for a church youth group to adopt!!!

Who Pimped Our Ride?

Greg LaPoint, owner of LaPoint Discount Auto Parts [click pics for more info], asked one of his guys to work on our Better Bus For Us. This is the "before" photo. Not bad. But because of a bunch of little things like lights and fuses and lettering, we still failed our Ohio DOT Church Bus inspection the first time round. But after it spent a week at Greg's, it passed with flying colors!!!

The blue vinyl stripe was removed. The rust spots around the wheels fixed. The sides painted. Chrome bling added. Not to mention a new dent free [so far] front bumper!!!

He even arranged for his vinyl guys to create a logo with our contact info on the drivers side door and on the sides. The back bumper has glow in the dark white vinyl letters that "pop" when headlights shine on them.

The bus is 9 years old, but looks brand new now!!! Big thanks and WTG to Greg for pimping our ride!!!

If you have a good driving record, are interested in serving once a month as our bus driver picking people up at Aurora House and Victorian Manor Assisted Living Center on Saturday mornings, are insured, and will take Pastor Mike's driver's ed class [no parallel parking required!!!], please see Leonard or Pastor Mike ASAP!!! You are needed!!!