Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Modern Day Lydia?

A birthday safari in Africa changed Kim's life forever. She saw hundreds of little girls in old and tattered clothes. So, when she returned to her suburban Detroit home, even though she couldn't sew, she decided to sew 1,000 dresses for them!!! Her idea spread and just three years later a hundred thousand dresses poured in. Now like a modern day Lydia (Acts 16), preparing the finest purple clothes for royalty (and dresses of all other colors), she sends clothes all over the world for children of the King of Kings!!! Amen?!!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In The Key Of Genius?

Derek Paravicini, now in his late twenties, was born premature at 25 weeks and as a result of the oxygen therapy required to save his life, lost his sight. His development was affected too. It later became apparent that he had severe learning difficulties. However, he soon acquired a fascination for music and sound, and, by the age of four, had taught himself to play a large number of melodic and complex pieces on the piano. With no visual models to guide him, his technique was chaotic, and even his elbows would frequently be pressed into service, as he strove to reach intervals beyond the span of his tiny hands until serendipitously he received some training from a gifted piano teacher.

Derek's talent, love of music, and - above all - the ability to communicate through sound means he will continue to thrill audiences for years to come in the UK and abroad. Click the pics to read more about him on his website and in his new book In The Key Of Genius. When I watched the 2 minute clip below, it reminded me of the Beautiful Things lyrics from Gungor. Enjoy both short vids below!!!

Could all that is lost ever be found? / Could a garden come up from this ground? / All around hope is springing up / Out of chaos life is being found / You make beautiful things out of the dust / You make beautiful things out of us

Are Tatoos Taboo?

There's only one verse in the Bible that talks about tatoos (Leviticus 19:28). And most Christians think it does so negatively. But why don't the same folks say the same things about prohibiting hair cuts or facial hair? (which are the prohibitions of the verse right before). Take a look at this interesting 10 minute take on tatoos by Aussie believer Mark Brown. And click his tatoo pic for more. What if some tatoos are not taboo?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crazier Next Year?

For the last few years, the Toledo First Church has hosted an annual car show. Regardless of weather, this ordinary outreach with really cool cars (click here to see some), fresh squeezed lemonade, and live 50's and 60's tunes has consistently delivered smiles galore and resulted in priceless friendships being developed in our community. Money from its proceeds were raised to comfort kids with cancer and even more was added to a fund to build a gymnasium for Toledo Junior Academy (a K-8 Christian elementary school) and James Meade Learning Center (an infant to preschool Christian daycare).

Though we will not be hosting a 2011 Car Show due to scheduling difficulties, plan for a 2012 return that's even bigger and better than ever. Stay tuned to for more info.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Porcelain Unicorn?

Philips and the renowned director/producer, Ridley Scott, recently launched a global filmmaker competition dubbed the: “Tell It Your Way” Film Making Contest. The entrants were given total freedom of expression but could only use six lines of dialogue and no more than three minutes of film. The grand prize winner was entitled The Porcelain Unicorn. Click the triangular play button below to see why it won!!!

Doesn't God Love Hetero and Homosexuals Like Crazy?

Tim Keller, author of The Prodigal God, thinks so. If you have 15 minutes to listen to his thought provoking interview from Columbia University, please do. His conclusions remind me of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel's who said Sodom's sins had more to do with not loving like crazy than sexual promiscuity. Ezekiel 16:49, "Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen." Doesn't God love hetero and homosexuals like crazy?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Born Supremacy?

In the first century AD, Christians suffered insults and persecution but stood side by side with those imprisoned for their faith (Hebrews 10:32,34). But as time went by, they grew weary and drifted away (Hebrews 2:1) and began to neglect their faith (Hebrews 2:2). Sin's deceitfulness began to harden their hearts (Hebrews 3:13-16) and they failed to grow spiritually (Hebrews 5:11-14). They gradually quit gathering for church (Hebrews 10:25) and some may have even publicly renounced Jesus (cf. Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:15-17). Does anyone else recognize the similarities between those Christians back then and those today? No wonder the author of the book of Hebrews called the sermon he wrote a "work of exhortation" (Hebrews 13:22)!!!

Toledo First Church voted on what book of the Bible they wanted me to sermonize from next so our back-to-school sermon series, based on the New Testament book of Hebrews, is called The Born Supremacy. To many Christians, this book remains a mystery because its language of priests and sacrifices confuses them. But if we begin at the beginning and let the Word speak to us in its terms not ours, we can grasp its meaning. If the tired Christians in the first century who caught a glimpse of the supremacy of Jesus were renewed, revived, and invigorated after reading this letter about who Jesus is, what He accomplished on the cross, and what He is doing as our heavenly high priest, you can be too!!! Plan to bring a friend and join us Saturdays starting September 3 @ 11am!!! Click here for map and directions. You do NOT have to be a member of Toledo First Church to participate.

Monday, August 08, 2011

All Is Grace?

How do I know God loves us like crazy? Brennan told me. I'm SO glad I got to hear him live in Cleveland a few years ago. He had a serious fall recently,and is still alive but not able to speak much anymore. If you haven't read The Ragamuffin Gospel yet, you and your kids and your grandkids and pretty much everyone you care about should. I'm going to get his memoir All Is Grace (click below to read more about it). Acts 20:32 (NLT) says, "And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Ten Years Later?

On September 11, 2001, New Yorkers witnessed their fellow Americans' inspirational potential for generosity and sacrifice as aid from across the nation flowed into the city. The documentary New York Says Thank You follows the participants of this landmark public service initiative as they commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 each year by rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, and churches destroyed by disaster. In the process they share stories of survival and hope, and bring a patriotic message of gratitude and solidarity to survivors of tragedy nationwide. Remember!!!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Got A Big But?

The Veracity Project equips the Christian church to contend for the faith with high impact media. This is one of my faves. Enjoy!!!

Buy your own copy here:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Shall We Shape Culture?

I am SO looking forward to hearing Gabe Lyons at the 7th Annual Conference on Innovation taking place in Columbus, Ohio OCT 2-4, 2011 (click above for more info). This 36 year old author of the 2007 book I previously reviewed and recommended on Fortune Cookies called unChristian has written another called The Next Christians (click vid below for a preview).

In it, Lyons stresses the activation of a network of "restorers who will work with anyone to see goodness go forward in the world and evil pressed back." These "next Christians," as Lyons calls them in the title of his 2010 book, "are socially conscious, grounded in their gospel commitment, and optimistic that when their faith is practiced according to the ways of Jesus, it is complementary to cultural reforms that value all human beings, all human flourishing, and all spiritual traditions." Read the entire recent USA Today article here. And don't forget, early bird $99 registration for the Conference on Innovation ends AUG 11, 2011 so if you want to go OCT 2-4 as part of my group, consider this your personal invitation and let me know before then!!! (You'll need to get there or carpool with me from Toledo and share/pay half the hotel room with someone else from our group but your registration fee will be covered. Shall we shape culture together? I hope so!!!

Summer Jobs?

Joshua (turning 12 in a few days) and Lydia (9 years old) have been working hard this summer. I'm SO proud of them!!! WTG!!!