Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can We Recapture the Wonder of the Cross?

You could use this vid in church to introduce people to the wonder of the cross [that's what I'm doing!!!]. I love the words to the song, but I really enjoy the subtle story the vid tells as well. Click the triangular play button below to see what I mean. And when you're done, take a listen to my new Easter play list to the right. I'm especially intrigued by the words to the new Pearl Jam song entitled "Just Breathe." What do you think of either vid or song? Do they help you recapture the wonder of the cross?

Off With A Bang?

The first few months of 2010 have started off with a bang. In January, as part of my sabbatical, we spent a week in Israel. Here we're on the Sea of Galilee approaching Tiberias where the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples a third time [see John 21:1-14]. In February, we stocked our food pantry during the Souper Bowl of Caring and raised a few thousand dollars for Murwira Orphanage in Zimbabwe during our Valentines for Africa banquet. We also gave Lydia the choice of having a ginormous 8th birthday party with all her friends from school or a small family only birthday at an indoor water park. Jackie and I were SO pleased that she still wants to spend birthdays with us!!! Also in February, we hosted a Community Ash Wednesday service with three other churches that attracted so many guests we had to put out more chairs in the multi-purpose room and the toboggan run at Pokagon State Park [Indiana] was a 35mph blast! One weekend in March we hosted Alden Thompson who talked about his book Who's Afraid of the OT God? and during another we took the kids to family wedding in Florida [cousins galore!] but managed to sneak in one day @ Disney's Animal Kingdom. My sister Maegan even came with us! Easter falls in the beginning of April this year and ten different congregations in Toledo will be joining ours during a special 2pm Community Good Friday Worship Service sure to prepare our hearts for the scheduled baptisms and miracle of Easter. Also coming in April is the TJA Music Fest in Columbus followed by our Mission Trip to West Virginia!!! Who else loves a little John Denver?!! Take me home / country roads / to the place I belong...BTW, I think there's a few more spots if you want to go on the mission trip to West Virginia APR 25 - MAY 1st [costs $325] and re-build houses. If you want to go, let me know ASAP!!!

Less Than Half At Easter?

While most Americans describe Easter as a religious holiday, less than half of U.S. adults [42%] surveyed link it specifically to the resurrection of Jesus, a Barna Group study shows. At 73 percent, baby boomers (ages 45 to 63) were the most likely to describe Easter as a religious holiday, compared to two-thirds of those ages 26 to 44 and Americans 64 and older. The youngest group of adults (ages 18 to 25) were least likely, at 58 percent, to use that kind of description.

"The Easter holiday in particular still has a distinctly religious connection for people but...the specifics of it are really fading in a lot of people's minds," said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, which is based in Ventura, Calif.

Maybe if we as parents and grandparents spend some time this weekend reading and discussing Luke 24:1-12 this Easter, we can reverse these numbers!!! [click pic of Jackie and me in Israel at Jerusalem's Garden Tomb for more Barna info]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dude Perfect?

Dude Perfect is a group of college guys that follow Jesus. And they also happen to be YouTube sensations because of their crazy basketball shots. And yes, all their shots are real. Their philosophy has always been: Just because it's hard, doesn't mean it's impossible. Does that remind anyone else of Philippians 4:13? "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Click the pic for more info on how Dude Perfect is using their basketball skills to provide clean drinking water for kids or the triangular play button below to see some of their shots!!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Are You Uncommon?

Tony Dungy is. And the retired Super Bowl winning coach and now best-selling author was in Toledo this week talking to high school students [and others in the bleachers like me] about what it means to live a life of significance in a culture that is offering few positive role models. Uncommon is an easy read that reveals lessons on achieving significance that the coach has learned from his remarkable parents, his athletic and coaching career, his mentors, and his journey with God. My fave part of his presentation was the Q&A where he described how he has been mentoring Michael Vick and how he decided long ago to unashamedly live his faith even on the sidelines, and how no amount of money could coax him back into football doing what he used to instead of dong what he's doing now: talking to everyone and anyone about living the uncommon life of faith in an often faithless world.

While Joe Gibbs is still my fave coach of all time, Tony is a close second. I recommend this book as a graduation gift for boys and girls this year!!! Maybe you could write on the inside: "Dear BLANK, be uncommon!!!"

Borrowed Lyrics?

Bible scholars say Philippians 2:6-11, Colossians 1:15-20; and 1 Timothy 3:16 are examples of Scriptures that borrow lyrics from then well known songs [not all sacred] to convey spiritual ideas. The other day I heard a modern example of this. Not from the French-Canadian actor / singer / songwriter Eric Violette [who actually doesn't sing or play in the catchy commercials for Free Credit Reports; those are written and sung by the marketing jingle genius Dave Mulhefeld], but from Christian funny man Tim Hawkins. Enjoy!!!

Just the other day some dude asked me / Where you gonna spend eternity? / F - R - E - E that spells free / Salvation for you and me /Says there in John 3:16 /In your King James or your NIV