Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is This Racist?

The New York Post drew accusations of racism for printing this political cartoon that some have said compares President Barack Obama to a mad chimpanzee. The cartoon, which appeared in the Wednesday February 18, 2009 edition of the newspaper, was based on an actual incident involving a chimpanzee that severely mauled a woman and then was shot by police in Connecticut on Monday. What do you think? (courtesy New York Post/AP)
  1. This is racist
  2. This is not racist
  3. This is poor art

Who Can Be Against Us?

Ellen DeGeneres is an eleven-time Emmy Award-winning American stand-up comedienne, television hostess and actress. While I don't think God loves her lifestyle [she is gay] anymore than He loves heterosexuals gossiping about it [cf. Romans 1:29], I have no doubt that He loves her like crazy!!! Especially when she went out of her way to love on Gladys—an 88 year old fan in Austin, TX.

If you have 7 minutes to watch something that will leave you laughing all day, click the triangular play button below. And if you don't, could you, like Ellen, at least try to see that which is lovable in all of us? Because God does. Romans 8:31 asks, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Should Churches Serve Alcohol?

If it's the kind that goes in gastanks, yes!!! Years ago John Rockefeller conspired with Christians to crush the production of Henry Ford's alcohol fueled [!!!] Model T. But according to David Blume in his book Alcohol Can Be A Gas, anyone can purchase the materials needed to make your own, convert your car, and start giving away gas. Wouldn't it be cool if Christians got it right this time?

Blume's book explains how someone could purchase for $1500 the materials needed to make your own still. And how the government allows you to process and hold up to 5k gallons of it. At less than 50 cents/gallon, we wouldn't have to buy down the price of gas, because it would already be down!!! And if church members purchased converter kits for their own cars [my Chrsyler mini-van and Dodge Calibur can be converted for $784 total], we could all purchase gas from our church fueling [LOL?!!] all our other ordinary outreach activities. What do you think about that?!!

Click pic to buy book

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is Godlessness A Virtue?

According to Phil Zuckerman, an associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College, it is. In an essay adapted from his book Society Without God he says many people [such as Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, and William J. Bennet] assume that religion is what keeps people moral, that a society without God would be hell on earth: rampant with immorality, full of evil, and teeming with depravity. But that doesn't seem to be the case for Scandinavians in Denmark and Sweden.

To prove his point, Zuckerman highlights the research of a German think tank Hans-Böckler Stiftung that recently ranked nations in terms of their success at establishing social justice within their societies; Denmark and Sweden, two of the least-religious nations in the world, tied for first.

Zuckerman concludes: "It is a great socioreligious irony — for lack of a better term — that when we consider the fundamental values and moral imperatives contained within the world's great religions, such as caring for the sick, the infirm, the elderly, the poor, the orphaned, the vulnerable; practicing mercy, charity, and goodwill toward one's fellow human beings; and fostering generosity, humility, honesty, and communal concern over individual egotism — those traditionally religious values are most successfully established, institutionalized, and put into practice at the societal level in the most irreligious nations in the world today." Why do YOU think societies not overtly Christian rank so high in issues of social justice while supposedly Christian countries lag so far behind? Click pic to read essay in its entirety.

What's The i5Conference?

David Neff, Editor-in-Chief of Christianity Today, Margaret Feinberg who narrates some of the coolest BlueFishTV vids, and Samir Selmanovic on the latest in FaithHouse, a NYC project combining Jews, Muslims, and Christians living in community are a few of the reasons I can't wait for the 5th Annual National Conference on Innovation in Columbus, Ohio October 4-6, 2009.

I'm telling you now so YOU can make plans to be there!!! Cost and details
coming soon. Click pic for more details, call 740.397.4665 ext.165, or email:

Isn't That My Seat?

Peggy and Hank go to church and [gasp] a guest is sitting in THEIR seat!!! After church they tell the guest not to sit in their pew anymore but she refuses and tells them that the pew belongs to God. Then they threaten to go to a mega church and that's where this clip continues. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's a Time Bank?

A time bank is a community of people who support each other. Are you great at email and willing to help someone who isn't? Can you help someone with yard work? Are you good at editing or party planning? Earn "Time Dollars" by offering your services to Time Bank! Then, when you need a minor home repair, transportation to a doctor's appointment, or pet care [just for example, there's WAY more options], cash in your "Time Dollars" instead of Googling help, paying someone from the Yellow Pages, or going into debt.

But the coolest thing about Time Bank is entire churches can register as "neighborhoods" online making the people inside them available to each other and to the community. Not only would doing so archive and organize the talents and spiritual gifts of the members of a church, it would also give your church access to people in the community God loves like crazy who actually need something from you!!! You won't have to knock on their doors or wonder what their needs are because they'll log in and actually tell you what they need!!!

That's why we at TF will be joining our local Time Bank, offering all the ordinary things we already do like movie nights, singing bands, potluck lunches, storytelling [think VBS or Kids Church] as ways for others in the community to come spend their time dollars. And we'll also be posting the passions and talents of people in our church [with their permission] willing to "tithe their time" allowing others in the community to join our "neighborhood" long before they belong [if ever] to our "church."

Because we think this is a great idea, we hope you'll consider starting/joining a Time Bank as well. If you contact Time Banks USA, they'll send you a start-up kit. Click the pic for FAQ's about Time Banks. What do you think about Time Banks? Don't you think you and your church could help reweave the community one hour at a time?

Time Banks USA
5500 39th St NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 686-5200

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mike Said What?!!

Many of you know I blog on Thursdays. What some of you don't know is I say a lot more on Saturdays. Recently I addressed tithing our time. Last week I wrote about tithing our talents.

Click the pic for short descriptions of each message and for links to longer manuscripts in their entirety most with outlines, introductory video clips, and accompanying PowerPoint that I’ve shared the last two years.

Cut and paste or forward and print for the glory of God. BIG thanks and WTG to Shawn and Dee for making these available online.

Wanna Learn How to Raise Money?

Haven of Hope Toledo Inc. is the name of the non-profit organization we created last winter. Because we're a start-up organization with no full time paid director, we need all kinds of help raising and sustaining funding. Especially in this economically challenging environment. That's why I've invited the good folks from Benevon to come to Toledo and teach us how they do it!!!

They will be here Thursday March 12 from 9-11am. I've already reserved 12 spots for my friends at Haven of Hope, but I was hoping some of you would attend too! Here's why: "The Benevon Model forced us to pay close attention to relationship building and donor recognition. The results have been outstanding—our donors feel valued and connected to our mission."—Laura Tweed, Director of Development, Immanuel Christian School, Springfield, VA

SO please consider this your personal invitation join us! Come learn how to "missionize" your ordinary events. The class [offered in Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati] is free, but registration through the Benevon website is required. Click pic above then scroll down to desired class location to register. Or please contact 206-709-9400 or for more info. Here are all the dates and times.

3/12/2009 - Toledo, OH

Creating Sustainable Funding in Economically Challenging Times
* March 12, 2009
* 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
* Toledo First Seventh-day Adventist Church
4909 W Sylvania Ave
Toledo, OH 43623
* Cost: No fee to attend

3/11/2009 - Cleveland, OH
Creating Sustainable Funding in Economically Challenging Times
* March 11, 2009
* 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
* American Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter
3747 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
* Cost: No fee to attend

3/11/2009 - Columbus, OH
Creating Sustainable Funding in Economically Challenging Times
* March 11, 2009
* 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
* YWCA of Columbus
65 S Fourth St
Columbus, OH 43215
* Cost: No fee to attend

March 10, 2009 - Cincinnati, OH
Creating Sustainable Funding in Economically Challenging Times
* March 10, 2009
* 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
* Location to be determined
Cincinnati, OH area
* Cost: No fee to attend

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Your Fave Commercial?

Here are three of my fave Super Bowl XLIII commercials. Which is yours? [BTW, a BIG thank you and WTG to the 60+ of you who came out last Sunday night and watched the game on the 25' big screen at church and supported Souper Bowl of Caring 2009. We stocked our church food pantry, raised $175 in additional offerings, and had plenty left over to donate to North Monroe Street Church of God after a fire set by arsonists destroyed their food closet on January 22, 2009. Click link for more info.]

Stop Child Prostitution?

Ward 83 of Kolkata [Calcutta], one of the oldest and most notorious red light districts in India, is where social worker Urmi Basu opened a shelter for the children of prostitutes called New Light. Later she established through her non-profit organization of the same name [click pic for more info] a home for teen girls who would otherwise be forced to follow the grim trades of their mothers. Now Urmi wants to stop teen boys from becoming pimps or drug dealers by building a bakery and vocational training center and we're going to help her help them!!!

save the date!!! And your money!!! Don't buy your sweetheart chocolate or flowers or a $100 candlelight fondue dinner at The Melting Pot. Instead, bring them to Valentines for India @ 6:15pm on February 14, 2009 for an experience at Toledo First that will mess with their heads and their hearts. Tickets cost $10/person and include lovely decor with a delicious full Indian meal, a surprise take home souvenir, and a presentation from Pastor Rachel about her good friend Urmi Basu of New Light. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required at 419.882.6200.

[If you can't attend but want to contribute, please write "Valentines for India" on the memo line of your checks and make them payable to: Toledo First Adventist Church. The address is 4909 W Sylvania Ave, Toledo OH, 43623. Your gifts large or small are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt. Thank you in advance for helping us stop child prostitution!!!]

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What's MailChimp?

MailChimp is an award winning HTML Email Marketing company that some of the world's largest companies use including GM, Firefox, and Intel. But it is also available [at a 15% discount] to smaller non-profit organizations [like churches] to help those leading them send professional emails and communicate important developments in culture and the community. Some day all Toledo First correspondence, invitations, and announcements will be delivered electronically saving us money and trees. MailChimp will help us get there.

BIG thank you and WTG to Julie Cajigas for telling me about MailChimp, designing the new Fortune Cookies format, and syncing it with the 450+ people who currently subscribe. If you currently receive my weekly blog blast, you don't have to do anything to continue doing so—now in beautiful HTML graphics and color.

If you have friends or family that YOU think would appreciate a weekly serving of Fortune Cookies, please explain to them that THEY must sign up voluntarily by clicking the pic above or the fortune cookie button on the top right of the screen. Thank you for helping increase the readership of Fortune Cookies so more and more people will know that God loves them like crazy!!!