Thursday, January 31, 2008

Active Adventist #6?

Daniel, our 14 year old artist here at Toledo First, drew and posted this picture on his blog last week after participating in our Webkinz ordinary outreach. Following below are some excerpts from his post. Click the pic to see some of the other things he draws so well!!! WTG Daniel!!! We're so proud of you!!!

"When I made this blog, I promised my self that I would only post drawings. This one is an exception. One of the first patients we saw was a tiny, little baby. I do not remember the baby's name though. This baby had a whole in her throat that helped her breath. She had tubes going throughout her body. I heard the nurse say that she hasn't seen any adults visit...That means no one has been there to hold her or anything. It was very sad.

There was another patient, a little girl. She has been praying to God to take her surgery away that she has already had. She just wanted God to make her "normal." WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT!?!

There was one last patient that we saw, a little boy. He was only about 9 months old with his worried mother next to him. When we delivered the "Webkin" to her, she just broke down in tears. She was so happy that someone took time out of there day to come and tell her that God loves her like crazy.

Going to see these kids really showed me how thankful I should be and how lucky I really am. I'm really glad that my church did this. I am going to feel so stupid when I start complaining of a headache."

Active Adventist #5?

Four years ago, our very own Julie Jessop went to work her 6:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift as a trauma nurse in the neuro-intensive care unit at Toledo Hospital. After working Saturday night, she slept in late on Sunday and woke up with a severe headache that would not go away. After walking upstairs to her bedroom to take Tylenol, she suddenly heard a fluttering in her ears and sat down immediately. After realizing she was unable to stand up, she called for her family and they called the EMS to transport her back through the doors of Toledo Hospital, but this time she was a patient. Within a few minutes of her arrival, she found that she had a ruptured brain aneurysm. That same evening she had a consultation with a neurosurgeon and by early Monday morning, an aneurysm clipping.

After being admitted to the acute care hospital for four weeks at Toledo Hospital, Jessop was transported to the inpatient rehabilitation hospital for six weeks at Flower Hospital because most of the left side of her body was numb. After spending her time in physical and occupational therapy, Jessop realized she could not return to nursing at the emergency center.

So she chose to go back to school and is studying to get a master of science degree in nursing education so she can return to nursing as an instructor. WTG Julie!!! We’re so proud of you!!! Click the pic to read the rest of article from the UT News newspaper.

Is The Super Bowl Evangelistic?

I believe it is. It could be one thing on TV that people would actually come to church to watch. Especially on our 25' screen/wall in the fellowship room. This year's game features the undefeated New England Patriots versus the New York Giants. In addition to lots of free pizza and snacks and soda, this year's Super Bowl party will feature testimonies at halftime from running back Shaun Alexander and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck of the Seattle Seahawks. No wardrobe malfunctions here!!!

So if you or a friend or a family member haven't already made plans, consider this your invitation to join us @ 6pm on Sunday. Don't forget to introduce yourself to our guests. Smile, meet, and greet. Please sit with/near guests. Not in Christian cliques. And if you can stay to help us tear down that would be great!!!

Here's a few curious tidbits: There are 58 thirty second commercials during the Super Bowl each costing advertisers $2.7M!!!
The Super Bowl XLII [42 for the Roman numeral impaired] logo features the shape of the state of Arizona in red. The turquoise Roman Numerals represent the Native American culture of Arizona. The red star represents the AFC and the blue star represents the NFC.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What About The Webkinz?

Some of you may remember from Cars 4 Kidz last Labor Day that we raised money to purchase plush toys for kids with cancer at St.V's. Well, last week we delivered the first 36 of 250 Webkinz to many grateful patients and family members. A nurse met us and took us to each room telling us a little bit about each one. We told them we're sorry they're sick. But that God loves them like crazy. And that we'll be praying they get better soon. The response to this ordinary outreach was spectacular!!! The kids were speechless. The parents emotional. The nursing staff shocked.

One mom, who had been in the hospital sleeping on a couch for 8 days while her son was sick, couldn't believe we'd care enough to give her a Webkinz too!!! She asked us about our church and if "anyone" could come!!! We told her only if you're Democrat. Just joking. We exchanged contact info and promised to return to pray with her when her son returns to the hospital for a follow up procedure.

This ordinary outreach made Sabbath miraculous for her. Her son. And the six of us who went. Want to sign up to go next week?
Check the bulletin board at church. There is no age limit, but children must be accompanied by an adult. And nobody can have any flu like or cold symptoms. Click the pic for more info on Webkinz. Or click here to contact Fred, the owner of Yankee Doodle Flag, Kites, and Fun here in Toledo, about a special price on brand new factory sealed never been opened [all important qualities when delivering to sick kids] bulk purchase of Webkinz. Thanks Fred!!! WTG!!!

Who Stole My Sign?

I don't know. But someone did. I put a Ron Paul sign out in front of my house and it lasted for only 3 days before someone "removed" it. I don't know if it was a Hillary or Huckabee fan. Or a church member [just joking]. They did so at night. But I was surprised by that cowardly act because I wasn't aware people even knew who Ron Paul was!!! Aside from being for peace, for the Constitution and religious liberty, for his wife of 50 years, and delivering over 4000 babies as an MD, he also refuses to participate in the lucrative Congressional pension plan even though he's been in Washington for years.

In short, he is an experienced politician unlike any politician [Republican or Democrat] out there with just enough crazy to be articulate. He deserves to be on the ballot in November. But won't be unless we vote for him now. The Ohio primaries are March 4. The deadline for voter registration is February 3. My name is Mike Fortune and I approve this post. Ha ha ha. Click the graphic above for more info or the triangular play button below to watch a 8 minute video. And thank you for considering Ron Paul for President 2008.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Do You Have A Dream?

I have a dream of a church that decides to grow from the ground up. Reaching out primarily to the growing numbers of people far from God not connected to any faith.

I have a dream that one day our parking lot will be full of their children dragging their parents not to the mall on Saturdays, but to our church. They’ll come for fellowship and music and stories and Bible study shared so humbly and personally and passionately that they will prefer hearing and experiencing that than watching cartoons or sleeping in.

I have a dream of a church that really prays. Not just in church on Sabbath. But scattered throughout the week too. Where nothing is too big to ask or too personal to share.

I have a dream of a church going out of its way, both philosophically and practically, to make the Sabbath a day of miracles for people far from God.

I have a dream of a church that lives a healthy message instead of merely talking about it.

I have a dream of a church that loves the people that merely talk about it.

I have a dream of a church that befriends people instead of defending itself.

I have a dream of a church whose baptistry never reeks of methane due to inactivity.

I have a dream of a church that speaks truth in love. And never gossips.

I have a dream where my children get an Adventist education without ever having to leave home for boarding school.

I have a dream where everybody boasts only about Jesus.

I have a dream where everybody in church knows everybody’s else's name.

I have a dream where everybody in the community knows our name too. And would rise up in protest if we ever decided to stop doing what we’re doing.

Do you have a dream?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What’s Cross Promotional Outreach?

It’s ordinary outreach. With more than one "bulls-eye." Galations 6:14 says it this way: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” And part of that world is closer than you think! Every day parents and guardians of the children in our daycare and church school come marching through our doors. And in 2008, we need to get in the habit of anticipating their arrival [anyone care to join me once a week at 7am?!!]. Not only at our daycare and church school, but at our Community Lunches [a.k.a. Friendship Dinners], fellowship meals [a.k.a “potlucks”], and socials [a.k.a Evangelistic Parties]. Why? Because we invited them!!! Some of their children are even participating in the programs! So when they arrive, we need to be prepared to love them! Here’s a list of our winter ordinary outreach activities THEY have been/will be invited to in the next few months.
  • Movie Night January 19 @ 7pm [free]
  • HeartSong Community Lunch [Honoring Firemen/women] February 2 @ 1pm [free]
  • HeartSong Community Sing February 2 @ 2:30pm [free]
  • Super Bowl Party February 3 @ 6pm [free]
  • Valentines For Rwanda February 16 @ 7pm [cost: $10/person. All money raised provides clean drinking water for children in Rwanda. Organized by Women's Ministries and Youth Operate of Toledo First]
  • HeartSong Community Lunch [Honoring Policemen/women] March 1 @ 1pm [free]
  • HeartSong Community Sing March 1 @ 2:30pm [free]
  • International Food Fair March 15 @ 7pm [free]
And here’s what I want YOU to do for them while they’re here:
  • Smile, meet, and greet [introduce yourself!!!]
  • Sit with/near guests. Not in Christian cliques
  • Ask them about their children
  • Thank them for sending their children to James Meade or Toledo Junior Academy
  • Mingle afterward on their way out [the MOST important part!!!]
  • Invite them to our next "thing"

Has Your Perspective Ever Changed?

According to a recent Time magazine article highlighting Kevin O'Keefe's new book The Average American, we are 36 years old, but in reality we are newborn and toddling, aged and wise. We exercise close to the recommended 20 minutes a day, but that's because 17% of us exercise for well over an hour, while the rest of us scarcely stir at all. A vast majority of Americans believe in God, and more than 90% own a Bible, but only half can name a single Gospel, and 10% think Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. [For more info, click the cartoon.]

So if any church does any kind of evangelism or ordinary outreach, those are the kinds of people we're going to find. The question is, when we do, will we like the early church in Acts 15:19 decide to "Not make it difficult" for people turning to God?

For example, will we require guests to suit up? During communion, will we make them feel like "2nd class citizens" in the sanctuary while the righteous march out to participate in foot washing? Will we yell at them if they bring a meat dish to potluck? What do YOU think we should ask of the average American we bring to church? Has your perspective ever changed?

What's The Moral To This Story?

In the spring of 1789, mutinous sailors from the HMS Bounty settled on Pitcairn Island, a tiny dot in the South Pacific. They burned the ship, took Tahitian wives and recruited Tahitian workers. It had all the makings of a tropical paradise. But they turned it into a living hell, a cesspool of adultery, violence and drunkenness. Within a decade the natives attacked the settlers. Only one survived: Alexander Smith. Left on a 2 square mile island, surrounded by natives, he did something remarkable. He began to read a Bible crew members had salvaged from the Bounty. "When I came to the life of Jesus," Smith later explained to his superiors, "my heart began to open like doors swinging apart. Once I was sure that God was a loving and merciful Father to them that repent, it seemed to me I could feel His very presence, Sir, and I grew more and more sure every day of His guiding hand."

The Scripture transformed not just Alexander Smith, but the entire island. When the British Navy discovered Pitcairn Island in 1808, its order and decency astonished them. When John Tay, an early Adventist pioneer, landed there in 1886, he was astonished to find the islanders there had already received Adventist literature sent from America almost a decade before and it wasn’t long before the whole island became Adventist Christians.

Sadly today, most of the 50 people on the island are no longer Christian. On October 24, 2004, the mayor Steve Christian [who claims to be a direct descendant of Bounty mutiny leader Fletcher Christian] was convicted of rape charges and sent to prison. Steve Christian’s son, Randy, was sentenced to six years for four rapes and five indecent assaults. Dennis Christian, 49, the postmaster and another descendant of Fletcher Christian, was convicted of one indecent assault and two sexual assaults he had pleaded guilty to. The defendants were convicted based on testimony from eight women. Dozens of alleged victims refused to testify.

What do you think is the moral to this story?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tradition Or Possibilities?

It began with one man's dream. And now that dream has come true. As bad dreams so often do.
Despair, Inc. is a company that seeks to create dissatisfied customers in the process of exploiting demoralized employees while selling overpriced and ineffective products to remediate the problems caused by the very process itself.

These demotivating posters mocking the ones you've seen like them in offices everywhere are among my favorite. Enjoy!!! And click either one for more on the relentless pursuit of dejection. They're not satisfied until you're not satisfied.

Active Adventist #4?

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy died on August 10, 2007. You don't know her name, but you should. She did the same thing Rosa Parks did. Only a decade earlier.

In 1944 it was the practice and law at the time for the seating available to whites on buses to be enlarged as needed and those provided for blacks to be compressed without regard to the personal comfort of African Americans. Irene refused to move and told a black woman holding a baby in the seat next to her not to move also. Click the pic to read the NY Times article to find out what happened next.

Like most of the hero's of the Civil Rights Movement, Irene Morgan Kirkaldy was a woman of faith, active in her church and believing that it was God's will, based on Bible principles, to stand up for social justice. She was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and in a letter read at her funeral, the president of the Adventist church, Dr. Jan Paulsen, stated, "We as a church are appreciative of her remarkable strength in those defining moments in the history of the United States and the world."

Can We Make Poverty History In America Too?

Yes, we can help make poverty history in the world. And God can use a rock star to help us do it. But what about the hungry in America? That's where Angel Food comes in.

Angel Food Ministries’ mission is to help relieve hunger throughout the United States by serving neighbors one box at a time.
If you don't have space for a food bank in your church, this is a great alternative because once a month you can pick up the food at local sites across America [click here for all the Ohio locations] and distribute it the same day. What a great outreach for your youth group, Sabbath School class, or men's group!!! Click the graphic above for more on Angel Food or the triangular play button below to watch a 2 minute video.
YOU can help make poverty history in America too!!!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Will Only The Rocks [Star] Cry Out?

Leading up to verse 40, Luke 19:28 and following says “Jesus went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples!' But Jesus replied, 'If they keep quiet, the rocks will cry out.'"

Well, I think they already are. Because the recent winners of the Republican and Democratic caucuses in Iowa joined Irish rock star Bono [click the triangular play button above the graphic to see his 2 minute plea] and the One Campaign crying out to make poverty history.

Then click the graphic above to find out how the politicians say they’re going to do it. Are you Christlike enough to follow a rock star's lead?

Does Eric Clapton Belong In Heaven?

He says he doesn't. At least that's what the lyrics to his famous song "Tears In Heaven" say that he penned [click here to watch the video] following the tragic death of his son Conor who fell out the window on the 53rd floor of NYC apartment building in 1991. But after watching an interview on Larry King Live that originally aired OCT 12, 2007, I have a feeling that God may beg to differ with Clapton's conclusion. The interview was fascinating and the entire transcript can be read by clicking his pic above. But the exchange that got me thinking was the one that follows:

KING: In the book you write, "Before my recovery began I had found my God in music and the arts." Where do you find your God now? CLAPTON: I find him at the bottom of my bed, usually. In the morning I get down on my knees and pray and at night...KING: You do? CLAPTON: I do, yes. Yes. Yes. I've done that for a long time now. KING: So you believe someone is listening? And you pray for things? CLAPTON: I pray for knowledge, really, of what I'm supposed to be doing on any given day, and for the ability to stay sober.

KING: Are you angry that He or She let Conor go away? CLAPTON: Of course, yes. Of course. Well, I mean, I don't -- I still don't know what the purpose of that was. But that's not necessarily mine to know. I mean, that's my acceptance of it. KING: Hard, though, isn't it? CLAPTON: Very, very hard.

KING: Some people I know who, when they've lost a child, lose their faith. KING: Did you have faith to lose? CLAPTON: Yes. I had faith, but I didn't lose it. And I still have the same faith.

KING: How does a global rock star meet and fall in love with a girl from Columbus, Ohio? CLAPTON: I don't know. I think this is all a thing about's not that I was praying for love or -- but I mean...I finally made a good choice, thank God.

What do you think? Does Eric Clapton belong in heaven? Do you?