Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Are You Missing?

On a cold January morning in 2007, at a Washington DC Metro Station, one of the greatest musicians in the world played six Bach pieces on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars for about an hour. One of the pieces he played is one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written (for more on this story, click here to read the Washington Post article).

While he played, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. About 4 minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. At 6 minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At 10 minutes, a 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent without exception forced their children to move on quickly. Bell collected a total of $32 for music he played, but two nights before he played the same set of music to a sold out crowd in Boston each paying about $100/ seat. After 1 hour, he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

His incognito concert in DC was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. This experiment raised several questions one of which must be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Have You Seen Graceroots?

Graceroots Movement is an online community of believers who think that the church is more body than building. Like the apostle Paul in Acts 20:24 (NLT) who said, "My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God", they believe there is no message more important or necessary in today’s world than grace. No “church clothes,” offering collection or evangelistic prophecy series here. Just GRACE. A grace that reminds us that we are free, important to the mission of Jesus Christ and empowered to continue to share the message with others through personal ministry and volunteerism.

This site is a source for personal articles and blog posts written by young adult authors and speakers, recorded sermons and services from young adult churches across America, music samples from quality Christian artists, video illustrations and messages on applicable topics. They also provide news updates on young adult ministries and service opportunities available across the nation. I'm delighted to periodically contribute content to this new venture. If you love Fortune Cookies, you'll love Graceroots!!! Help me spread the word. Check out Graceroots (click pic for more) and subscribe (by clicking here) today!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are Christians Crazy For Filtering the Internet?

Did you know 9 of 10 kids aged 8-16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, often in the process of doing homework? Did you know 70 percent of all 15-17 year-olds who have ever gone online have "accidentally stumbled" across pornography online and that 23 percent stumble upon it "very" or "somewhat" often? Did you know that 1 in 5 children ages 10-17 have received a sexual solicitation over the Internet? Houston, we have a problem!!! (click here for sources)

But thanks to the good folks at Blue Coat, adults have a very simple but incredibly powerful solution called K9 Web Protection (click pics for more info). When you have it turned on, it blocks any computer user from viewing Web sites that contain unwanted content from more than 60 different categories of content, including pornography, hate/racism/violence, gambling and malware/spyware. Blue Coat Systems has been very successful selling a version of this Web Protection software to 81% of the Fortune® Global 500 companies and other large corporations so their employees actually work at work.
But when they became successful, and were looking for ways to give back to the community, they realized the best thing they could do is simply offer a free version of their Web filtering service for home users. So they did. And it is AWESOME!!! 2,788,906 home users use it every day including me.

The reasons they are awesome (aside from being FREE!!!) is that K9 will run on any Windows or Mac computer no matter what Internet Service Provider delivers your Internet connection and also works with whatever Internet browser you choose (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Explorer). It's commercial-grade filtering technology and central database doesn't have to be "trained" to teach it which kinds of Web sites you want to block. It starts working as soon as you sign up, download, and type in the password they email you.They also have free versions of their software available for most mobile devices (search K9 in the app store). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND K9 Web Protection for use on all your computers and mobile devices. Please use it and tell all your family and friends about Blue Coat and K9 Web Protection. It is the least we can do to thank an incredible company and protect our kids and even our own eyes from stuff we cannot "unsee." You'd be crazy not to!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who Will We Thank This Year?

For the past four years, around Thanksgiving, our church has taken time during worship to recognize the dedicated volunteers that work behind the scenes in our church (sometimes for years without being thanked!!!) for Jesus' sake. This year, on November 19, 2011 we will be hosting the 5th Annual Little Minnow Awards and we are again accepting your nominations in the church office. In previous years, categories we've thanked include long-time 50 year members and "pillars" of our church in addition to Sabbath School teachers and Deacons and most recently church treasurers.

Who will we thank God for this year? Plan to be in church November 19 to find out! And feel free to submit your Little Minnow Award nominations between now and November 12 to the church office. Romans 12:8-9 (NLT) says, "If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly."

Can The Best Pastors Be Women?

Pastor Rebekah Liu is a seminary student pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies specializing in the Book of Revelation at Andrews University. She was raised in a staunchly communist family and community but was converted at 17, baptized at 18, and at 19 began preaching and doing other pastoral ministry in house churches.

Since becoming Christians, she and her mother and brother have raised up 400 home churches that now has 10k members led by four pastors three of whom are women. She currently pastors the Chinese congregation at Andrews University and will be speaking in Dayton, Ohio on October 22 during Acts 2011 — a convocation of Ohio Adventists celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the book Acts of the Apostles.

I’m looking forward to attending this gathering and I’m hoping with enough notice, some of you will join me and come hear her story with me. She is living proof that women can become the best pastors and prophetic voices in the Adventist Church and our world today just like the prophet Joel predicted (cf. Joel 2:28-29). Go to to register by OCT 14 for the free meal provided or see Pastor Mike for car pooling info.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflecting and Remembering?

The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is designed so that the nation may remember and reflect on the events that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Guided tours of the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial are not offered.
The memorial is meant to be experienced on a more personal level.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Skate or Die?

D.C. skateboarding legend Darren Harper overcame a life full of obstacles. He used skateboarding as a way to refocus his life, which had spiraled into drugs and crime. Click here to read the entire September 4, 2011 WaPo article by Dave Sheinin. Enjoy!!! (Video courtesy B.J. Koubaroulis and Dave Sheinin, Photos courtesy Eli Sinkus)

Think of Your Creator?

Theo Jansen lives in Holland and for over 20 years has been creating beach creatures made from PVC pipes that draw their energy from the wind. Doing so has given him a greater appreciation of our Creator when Jesus created all the real animals (cf. Hebrews 1:2). And it has helped him reflect on what he wants to leave as his legacy. Enjoy!!! Then ask yourself: What makes you think of your Creator? What will you leave behind that will help others think about Jesus?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Blown Away?

Last week five year old Jane braved the winds and the rain falling from Hurricane Irene even in Doylestown, PA to record these adorable and simultaneously informative weather reports. They reminded me that Jesus said storms like these would increase in severity and frequency like a woman in labor (Matthew 24:8). Which for many of us in Irene's path is bad!

But Jesus also said in the same chapter (Matthew 24:14) that after that, the Gospel would go to the whole world and then the end would come. So as my friend Samir says, "If it's not good, it's not the end!" In the meantime, Jesus promises to sustain us throughout the storms of our lives. Hebrews 1:2,4 (NLT) says, "And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. He sustains everything by the mighty power of his command." Why? I think it's because He loves us like crazy, wants us to "take care”, and not be “blown away.” Thanks Jane!!!

Lover or Prostitute?

David Ryser in a brilliant one page article entitled "Lover or Prostitute?" (click pic and scroll to page 4 of PDF to read article in its entirety) recalls a quote from Sam Pascoe that goes something like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became a business.” But isn't the church supposed to be a body (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27)? And if a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute? What's the difference between a lover and a prostitute? They do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay.

What would happen if God stopped paying you? What would happen if He stopped blessing you? What if He never did another thing for you? Would you still love Him like crazy? Why do you serve Him? Are His blessings in your life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that you have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? What's it going to be? Lover or prostitute? Click this vid below to see what the latter looks like in worship.

Epicenter of Creativity?

Hebrews 1:2 (NLT) tells us Jesus was in Genesis. "Through the Son He created the universe." So rightly understood, Jesus has always been the source of creativity. And long ago, His followers embraced creativity. Churches were epicenters of cultural and artistic creativity. Think about all the famous art in the middle centuries. Who commissioned and paid for its creation? The church! Who pioneered new technologies to get God’s word and subsequently all words into print? The Gutenberg Bible! And who made an award winning Doritos commercial for the Super Bowl? A pastor named Erwin McManus and a team of Christians in California (click pic to read all about it). Enjoy!!! And ask yourself, how can churches become epicenters of cultural and artistic creativity once again?