Thursday, November 18, 2010

Godly Guitars?

Duane Calkins is a shop teacher in the public school system in Roseville, CA. A member of the Carmichael Seventh-day Adventist Church, Duane works in a setting where he cannot talk about spiritual things. Yet through his authentic, caring witness, his students know they are loved [like crazy!!!]. Do yourself a favor and set aside 6 minutes to watch this vid. I think you'll be glad you did. WTG Duane!!!

Crafting Hearts from CSS Ministry Resources on Vimeo.

Drop and Shop?

Our church is a mile away from the mall. We're hoping some parents needing to go shopping without the kiddies will drop them off with us while they shop. Everybody does VBS in the summer. We're gonna do it in the winter [click pic for map and diretions]. One thing for sure: These won't be silent nights!!! I bet your church could pull this ordinary outreach off before Christmas too!!!

Enjoying Fall?

The Federal Pretrial and Probation Officers Association recently honored my friend Lewis Simpson Jr. as their Probation Officer of the Year in Supervision by the Great Lakes Regional District. In addition to doing a great job there, he plays bass in our praise team and together with his wife and daughter has adopted some UT international students as one of our fall ordinary outreaches. WTG!!!

Carla snapped this next pic from some fun we had at Gomez and Morticia's house [Emmett and Eniko] one recent Saturday night. We thoroughly enjoyed the mystery dinner. Even though Frankenstein [Randy] was pretty scary.

This one is taken in Joshua's room with his cousins Conner and Jessica and Maegan's friend Ena. Lydia is holding Joshua's new pet - Peaches the albino corn snake. Which is very docile and tame until Fridays when she snaps the thawed out once frozen mouse Joshua dangles from the top of its cage, constricts around it, and then swallows it whole. It's very national geographic.

Jeff archived this last photo for posterity of Joshua and his 2nd place winning Pinewood Derby car and trophy. No, he didn't get into a fight. The road rash on his face came earlier that evening from taking a face plant on the sidewalk outside the church while goofing around with some friends. He was wearing his other pair of glasses [goggles] at the time because he had broken his "nice" pair of glasses at school earlier. So now both are broken and one of his adult front teeth broke off into tiny pieces. It has since been replaced with a plastic tooth. But who knew he could again be singing, All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth...

Hope you are your families are well and enjoying the season. God is good. All the time!!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Whose Works?

If apart from Christ, we can do nothing [John 15:5] but with Christ we can do all things [Philippians 4:13], whose works are we really talking about when the Bible writers repeatedly refer to them? [cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:6 etc]. Ours? No. Christ's! That's the only way the brightest minds throughout the history of Christianity have made sense of the verses about "our" works in the Bible. It's why Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

"The law of God is still in force (Romans 3:31), and still demands fulfillment. And the only way to fulfill the law is by doing good works. But ultimately there is only one good work; the work of God in Christ Jesus...all our good works are the works of God" [The Cost of Discipleship, p.296]. That's what this video my friend Phill sent me reminded me of recently. Enjoy!!!

Connections Under Construction?

On September 25, the snacks and beverages were laid out for the last time, the praise team played our all-time favorites, and memories and testimonies brought us back through the years. Although it was Connections last service in our building, the message was loud and clear this is not the end of this ministry. Because the church is leaving the buildilng!!!

We still believe God is calling us to a shared ministry in a downtown storefront similar to the one our church first operated in 1899. And we will proceed if God raises up a core team of committed volunteers willing to contribute their time and talents. If you are interested or willing to serve in such an outreach, please contact me @ 419.882.6200 or Ron Szczechowski @ 419.866.8951. Stay tuned to Fortune Cookies for more information. And click the triangular play button below for a little trip down memory lane. Video courtesty Ryan Warner

Ordinary Outreach Galore?

Fall has provided numerous opportunities for us to show people that God loves them like crazy!!! While local musician Johnny Rodriguez was belting out live 50s and 60s tunes at the 4th annual Kidz Crazy Car Show [click car pics to see more],
I met a guy who invited me to do his wedding the following Saturday night. Which I did and now we're doing post-marital counseling. Another lady who recently relocated to Toledo was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly impressed. And I gave a young family of four looking for a church that lives nearby a tour of the daycare and church. They were thrilled to find a church so close to home they really like and have already asked me to do pre-marital classes with them and their wedding too!!!
Partnering with the University of Toledo International Student Office, six of us were introduced to twelve new friends from the University of Toledo as part of the Toledo International Hospitality Program. We carved pumpkins and played games and since then have enjoyed trips with them to church, our homes for a meal, the art museum, and the bell choir concert. Serving lunch at Cherry Street Mission is also a highlight for the students @ Toledo Junior Academy. Thank you for shouting the Gospel with your lives!!! [to read why ordinary outreach has no hooks or strings attached see Matthew 10:42 and Luke 6:35]
Photos courtesy Shawn Flack and Steve Bills