Monday, June 28, 2010

PTL Baptism?

Last week in Lake Erie near Port Clinton, I baptized my friend Mike with all his friends in the water with us and more taking pics from the shore as beach goers gawked. I met him years ago in Wooster when I was pastor there and was thrilled that he still wanted me to participate so many years later!

The week before, "Webkinz Tina" was baptized while Pastor Rachel baptized her son Eric [we met both a couple years ago giving away stuffed animals to sick kids in the hospital and they had been coming to church ever since]. But the coolest part of Tina's baptism was Tina's other kids, Crystal and Derrick and Derrick's friend Jamie also decided to be "buried and resurrected with Jesus" through the waters of baptism [cf. Romans 6:3-4]. The seven of us barely fit in the church baptistry tank, but praise the Lord we did!!! Photo courtesies Eric Larson and Jeff Batchelder.

A Welcome Home?

The "Welcome Home" website [click above pic for more vids, pics, and stories] joyfully celebrates the safe return of the courageous members of our armed forces. These kinds of reunions not only make me feel extremely grateful for the freedom we enjoy this Independence Day, it also makes me long for the day Jesus returns when receptions like these will be the norm not the exception to the rule. Take 5 minutes to see what I mean by clicking the triangular play button below. Which reunion scene was your fave? And take a listen to the Independence Day play list in the top right of the page.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

S.o.S Haiti?

"We were uncomfortable for a week - they are uncomfortable every day. Life for us here will quickly return to normal, and our week in Haiti will soon be a distant memory that we will re-live through pictures and videos..."—Caryn Wooster, S.o.S Member

You have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. You have to hear it, feel it and smell it to really understand Haiti. On July 10 in the Toledo First Adventist Church, we will better understand the still desperate need of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

All because representatives from S.o.S.—a Missions Ministry of the New Hope Adventist Church [click triangular play button below for more info] will be with us to share with us what they recently experienced in their most recent return to Haiti. So bring a friend and please bring an offering for Haiti. 100% of monies collected after both presentations will go to S.o.S. and their continuing relief efforts in Haiti. Please watch this video!!! Video courtesy Kumar Dixit.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wanna Help Us Help the Ohio Tornado Victims?

Volunteers of all ages are pitching in to help Ohio's most recent tornado victims. Deadly tornadoes ripped through Northwest Ohio early morning on Sunday, June 6, 2010, killing five people. Hundreds more are still reeling from the effects of the tornadoes, which destroyed houses, cars, and local businesses.

ISOH/IMPACT [International Service of Hope], based out of Perrysburg, OH, responded immediately to our neighbors in Millbury, the hardest hit town. "We are stretched to our limits," ISOH/IMPACT President Linda Greene said. "With our ongoing relief efforts in Haiti, the needs of our neighbors in Ohio, and the major hurricanes that are predicted to hit, we are really praying that people will step up and join our relief efforts. We can't do it without them."

You can help the families in NW Ohio begin to rebuild their lives. This Saturday June 19 at Toledo First Church, we're going to be collecting an offering to give to this 4-star local charity where 97 cents of every dollar goes directly to the people in NW Ohio that need it most. Should you wish to contribute, you can donate online directly to ISOH by clicking the 4-star icon to the left or make your checks payable to: Toledo First Church. Thanks for helping us help the Ohio Tornado Victims today! Click the other two graphics for more info about ISOH.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Father's World?

During the early morning hours of June 6, 2010, the most devastating tornado to hit NW Ohio in years took the life of five people including a 4-year-old boy and his mother, a 21-year-old woman trying to take cover at a police station, a woman in her 50s struck by debris while driving and a father in his 40s who left his family protected in the basement of his home. He left to hook up the generator to the sump pump ensuring the low flood plain wouldn't allow water into the basement and to retrieve one of the family's dogs. Sadly, debris from the tornado killed Ted Kranz instead. He is survived by his loving wife; Cynthia, children; Katie, Courtney, and Michael Kranz.

Ted was a member of St. Jerome Catholic Church. In his spare time Ted enjoyed boating, fishing, golfing and tennis, and he especially enjoyed attending his children's sporting events. But it was his daughter's graduation, Katelyn, which was supposed to take place later that same day, to which he was most looking forward. She was the Valedictorian of her senior class. And was preparing to study Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. Because the tornado caused $100 million in damages and ruined or severely damaged 100 houses, including Katelyn's Lake High School, her graduation took place on June 8 at Owens Community College. She didn't give a speech, but did attend and was overwhelmed with the standing ovation she received with her diploma. Her father's death reminds us that this still is a father's world. And when any of ours SO love the world that they end up dying in it, protecting those they love, people of faith and even no faith applaud. Maranatha!!!

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Courtesy Lisa Flam AOL News and Witzler Shank Funeral Home and AP Photo/J.D. Pooley

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Waters Swarm?

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist who captures images that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea but also bring attention to the pressing issues which endanger our oceans. By sharing amazing, intimate shots of undersea creatures, he shows how powerful images can help make change. No wonder Genesis 1:21 says, "So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves with which the waters swarm." Enjoy!!!