Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In God We Trust?

Toledo's Fox 36 and CBS 11 just covered our WED night prayer meeting. We sang "How Great Thou Art" and since it was pouring rain, "Showers of Blessing." Got the chance to talk about how Hezekiah's sundial went backwards in 2 Kings 20:1-10 and and how Toledo area gas prices have gone down from $4.11 to $3.78. Closed with a big circle prayer in low lights thanking and praising God for who HE is and what HE is doing!!!

I've been meaning to Google everything happening so we can make a DVD, but haven't had time yet...If any of you would like to help me by sending links or online video footage of reaction to the Prayer At The Pump or all night Prayer Summit, I would really appreciate it!!! I know we were on MSNBC last SAT morning and all over Toledo's Fox 36, ABC 13, NBC 24, and CBS 11 and even some stations in Columbus, Cleveland and Grand Rapids, MI so searching there may help. We were also on American and Business

But one of my fave reactions so far is from my Iranian Muslim friend's blog. He's a student at UT who attended and blogged our Prayer Summit on FRI night. His take is not only very kind, but very insightful. Click the pic to read his review. Indeed, in GOD we trust!!!

Signs Of Relief?

According to newspaper reports, some of the long-term factors that have pushed oil prices to record levels are starting to change!!! The "experts" say it's because demand for fuel in the US is falling for the first time in 17 years. Because China is raising prices for gasoline and diesel – a move that might ultimately lower demand. And because last Sunday, Saudi Arabia's oil minister indicated that the country would increase production through the end of the year. But couldn't it also be because we prayed? 1 John 5:14 says this: "And we can be confident that He will listen to us whenever we ask Him for anything in line with His will."

As we Christians become better stewards of God's great earth, consuming less fuel, maybe the 13% of Ohioans in poverty will also be able to buy bread. Aren't you glad God is good even when we aren't?!! Click the pic to read more. Photo courtesy: Jim Young/Reuters.

Does Dobson Speak Truth In Love?

Kirbyjon Caldwell is a Methodist pastor from Texas and longtime supporter of President Bush. But recently he joined a group of religious leaders, working independently of Obama's campaign, to counter some of James Dobson's recent statements about Barrack Obama.

Caldwell said he has great respect for Dobson's advocacy for families, but said the criticism of Obama was "a bit over the top" and "crossed the line." "There has been a call for a higher level of politics and politicking," Caldwell said. "So to attack at this level is inappropriate and I think unacceptable and we at least want to hold everybody accountable."

What do you think? Did Dobson speak truth? Did he do so in love [cf. Ephesians 4:15]? Click the pic to compare their remarks.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pumped To Pray?

Fox News Detroit met us at the pump yesterday. Had some local friends up there join the prayer circle where we filled the church bus up with Diesel. The Toledo Blade photographer was there and took a great shot that landed on the front page of today's paper!!!

We also prayed at the pump this morning at the Exxon station on the corner of McCord and Hill here in Toledo. Pretty much everybody was there. All the local TV and newspapers. Sang enthusiastic renditions of "Our God Is So Big" and "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands." Just got off the phone with CBS Radio in NYC.

Tonight at the Prayer Summit, there will be presentations at the top of the hour followed by "Toledo Talkback" and prayer at the bottom of the hour all night long. Organic Bliss has graciously donated some munchies and home grown coffee we'll be brewing later. It promises to be an evening Toledo will not soon forget. Click the pic to read the front page coverage from the Toledo Blade.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What's The National Pray Down The High Gas Prices Summit?

According to an article this week in the Columbus Dispatch [click pic for more], the price of natural gas will hit a record high next month. Which will put more pressure on the less fortunate already contending with higher food and gasoline costs. As Christians, we should be paying attention to this. And doing something about it before winter roars. Why? Because whenever Jesus encountered a crisis, He prayed hard. So that’s what we’re going to do at the National Pray Down The High Gas Prices Summit this Friday June 20 from 7pm to 7am. We’ve got different pastors and musical guests from Maryland to Missouri from all kinds of churches each taking 30 minutes to inspire and encourage us to be better servants of God and humble stewards of the earth followed by Q&A and lots and lots of prayer!!! Psalm 121:4 says, “He who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps.” And for one night, neither will we!!! Please join us for all/some of the following:
  1. Prayer At The Pump Detroit: THUR morning church bus leaves Toledo First @ 11am. Volunteers needed to simply walk off the bus while we fill it with gas and hold hands while pastors pray.
  2. Prayer At The Pump Toledo: FRI morning TBA. Volunteers needed to simply walk off the bus while we fill it with gas and hold hands while pastors pray.
  3. Summit Kick Off: Pastor Mike kicks off the Summit with his talk "God Recycles: People, Planet, and Plans" by welcoming the Sabbath and inviting everyone to pray hard during it. Stacy Rankin follows with "God Is Green: A Call To Healthy Stewardship." Rocky Twyman, founder of the Prayer At The Pump Movement, follows with a concert by Darrell Alexander.
  4. Reinforcements Arrive @ Midnight: Wait till you hear the very passionate Brother Paul Aduba pastor of the Anglican Church of the Pentecost [and you thought I was energetic!!!] followed by Pastor Niboro Colomba of Sonrise Community Church talking about Spiritual Warfare, Dr.Chinedu Okoro reminding us that God Can Prepare A Sanctuary Place, with Mrs.Nema Ngur talking about The Kingdom Of This World. And when they're done with us, Yoga Jenn McCullough will calm us down and stretch us out in the pre-dawn early hours concluding with YO Cafe prayer breakfast [Thanks Mindy, Vicky, and Jenn Cozzens!!!] from 7-8am. Sure to be a memorable Toledo First event!!! Don't miss it!!! It's the least we can do!!!

A Deadly Father's Day?

The first Father’s Day celebration sprang up in 1908 in West Virginia. A deadly mine explosion occurred in Monongah, WV claiming 361 lives. Because many of the men who perished were fathers, a fatherhood celebration seemed very appropriate. So Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation in 1966 that set the 3rd Sunday in June as Father’s Day. But just before Father's Day 2008, Tim Russert of Meet the Press, died. While his political insights and penetrating questions will undoubtedly be missed, it could be that his most lasting contribution to us will be his books on fatherhood both of whom have sold like hot cakes last weekend. They are both ranked in the top five sales positions at Barnes and Noble [click pic for more].

I haven’t read them yet, but I plan to because from what I have read, it sounds like Russert had a unique relationship with his father Big Russ and son Luke and a special understanding of the “Builder” generation and their children. Why does it take the death of a famous person to help us remember the significance and wisdom of fathers? What's the one thing you learned from your father that you'll never forget?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finger Lickin' Mock Meat?

Kentucky Fried Chicken [KFC] Canada and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] have cut a deal that will see the Canadian chain improve its chicken slaughter conditions and introduce vegan menu options including a mock meat called “unchicken.” And where is KFC turning for more info on mock meat? That’s right boys and girls—the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Why? Because like Joel Osteen [click here for more on his new diet], Adventists do not eat shellfish or pork and many strive for vegetarianism as part of a healthier lifestyle [though all the salt in mock meat isn’t so healthy either...]. They sell the unchicken [frozen, canned or dried] to anyone, and it's "very, very popular," said Halsey Peat, a church spokesman. Click the pic to read the rest of the article featured in Canada's largest national newspaper. Do you think this is finger lickin’ good?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prayers Going Down?

What would it look like if a bunch of people who believe in the power of prayer gathered together for one night to ask God to increase volunteerism, lower gas prices, and help us all be better stewards of the planet God gave us? There could be one hour segments divided among willing participants each sharing from Scripture their take on helping the helpless, recycling, walkable communities, servanthood, you name it mixed with music, questions and answers, loads of practical tips and advice, and lots and lots of prayer!!! Psalm 24:1 says "The earth is the Lord's and every thing and every one in it." So let's take better care of it. And every one in it. And if we don't know how, let's humbly ask God to help us!!!

Prices Going Up?

If rising gas prices aren't effecting you yet, they will be soon. Which means they already are effecting many many Ohioans that governor Ted Strickland has labeled the "working poor." In a May 29 article from the Columbus Dispatch, he also said 13% of Ohioans are living in poverty conditions unable to afford adequate food, housing, clothes and other necessities [click here to read that article]. As Christians, isn't it our responsibility to help the poor and the orphan upholding the rights of the oppressed and the destitute [Psalm 82:3-4]? Click the pic for more on how rising gas prices are effecting everybody.

Greater Things?

A friend of mine, Eric, invited me a few weeks ago to a breakfast meeting for the National Day of Prayer. Inside the auditorium [@ 7am!!!], hundreds of local business men and women actively serving God in various ways and places gathered. Most of them were unpaid volunteers—not pastors. And one them created this music video of scenes from Toledo. I love and believe the lyrics. Do you? Stay tuned for the Toledo First version coming later this summer!!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Smuts Galore?

Smuts Van Rooyen is the senior pastor of the Vallejo Drive Adventist Church in Glendale, California. Originally from South Africa, Dr. Van Rooyen has had a ministry that is distinguished for its focus on and exaltation of Jesus. His teaching, preaching and pastoral ministry have helped people [like me!!!] know Jesus in a new and wonderful way. And here's the cool part: He will be speaking at Camp Meeting 2008 in Mount Vernon, Ohio Monday - Friday @ 11:00 am and on Saturday @ 4pm June 8 - 14, 2008.

But if you guys miss Smuts, click the pic to download some of his sermons on MP3. His expository messages are among the best I have ever heard. Seriously. Everybody could use some Smuts galore!!! PTL!!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

2nd To None?

Ericka Bilby, 18, is this year's valedictorian of the 24-member senior class at Toledo Technology Academy. Ericka graduates with a 4.15 grade-point average [!!!] and plans to go to the University of Toledo for a year before transferring to another school to study architecture and graphic design. Personally, I’m glad my kids know being smart is fun!!! Because over spring break we watched Ericka’s Tech Fusion 279 team compete in the Great Lakes Regional Robotics Competition at Eastern Michigan University. Your church family at Toledo First is SO proud of you Ericka. WTG!!! Click the pic to read the article in the Toledo Blade.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Osteen Eating Scripturally?

Houston's Lakewood Church, with over 45,000 attendees, is the nation's largest church by far. In this 3 minute clip, Pastor Joel Osteen addresses the issue of eating scripturally (clean vs. unclean creatures). Very interesting!!! Is it time to hold the pepperoni? Or is that sow too sacred? Ha ha ha?