Archive for January, 2008

Genocide Intervention Network: Have a Hand in Stopping Genocide

Take action now and build the anti-genocide movement!

This Weekend Only: Shop at Barnes & Noble, Raise Money for Civilian Protection!

Dear Anti-Genocide Activist,

This weekend, you can earn money for GI-Net, just by shopping at Barnes & Noble!

Make a purchase at ANY Barnes & Noble in the country from February 1-4 and a percentage of all sales will be donated to the Genocide Intervention Network.

Note: You must mention “Bookfair #223842” at the point of purchase for the donation to occur.

This fundraising initiative applies to all in-stores sales, including books, CD/DVDs, and food and beverages purchased at the Cafe. It does not apply to online purchases.

Thank you to the Hollidaysburg National Junior Honor Society, Save Darfur: Central PA and the Barnes & Noble of Altoona, PA for organizing this exciting fundraising opportunity.

— Colin, Jess, Ivan and the GI-Net team

Genocide Intervention Network | |
1333 H Street NW, First Floor, Washington, DC 20005 | (202) 481-8220

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Should the church own a multi-million dollar sports complex? What about large-scale businesses?

An analysis by The New York Times of the online public records of just over 1,300 of these giant churches shows that their business interests are as varied as basketball schools, aviation subsidiaries, investment partnerships and a limousine service.

Are these really effective evangelism tools or just a way for a group to demonstrate their power? These mega-ministries are a mixed bag as demonstrated in the New York Times article: Megachurches Add Local Economy to Their Mission.

The article brings up issues such as tax-exempt status, making it hard for for-profit businesses to compete, is some facet tax-exempt while others aren’t?

This next quote demonstrates part of what I feel whenever I walk into a mega-church:

And when these ventures succeed — when local amenities like shops, sports centers, theaters and clinics are all provided in church-run settings and employ mostly church members — people of other faiths may feel shut out of a significant part of a town’s life, some religion scholars said.

Beyond all the tax issues, what really is the role of the church in a community? Does it really benefit the community by providing similar services as other businesses? What about the poor? Wouldn’t it be better for the church and its members to engage the community at their level? Instead of going to the church’s gym should you be at the local YMCA working out next to your neighbor? I would be reluctant to visit a church’s gym – who wants religion shoved down their throat, or even the thought of that.

If a church’s role is to create disciples and to care for the orphan and widow are these mega churches succeeding?

Please share your thoughts.

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The Dumb Little Man had one of his brilliant moments and created a list of 30 Easy Was to Save Money and he claims we aren’t doing all of them. So I looked through the list and here’s part of what I found:

Things we already do:

  • Cook at home often
  • Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week
  • Make a list before going shopping – you have to actually stick to the list, which we do sometimes!
  • Watch out for expiration dates on perishable goods
  • Consolidate and pay off debt as soon as possible
  • Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees
  • Be aware of your bank balance and avoid over draft fees
  • Avoid ATM fees
  • Avoid credit cards with annual fee
  • Disconnect land line if possible
  • Buy in bulk whenever possible
  • Buy generic products whenever possible
  • If you have to buy books, check if you can buy it used – Amazon!
  • Price check before buying anything expensive
  • Avoid the vending machines
  • Keep your car as long as possible
  • Do regular scheduled maintenance on your vehicles
  • Avoid buying a new car
  • Ride your bike or carpool whenever possible – taking the bus, its free with work!
  • If you like watching movies at the theater, go before 6:00 pm – we do discount theaters
  • Regulate your electric use.

Things we need to work on:

  • Go grocery shopping while you are in a hurry
  • Avoid impulse buying
  • Bottle your own water

Things that won’t happen:

  • Make your own coffee
  • Use grocery store bags to line trash cans
  • Instead of buying books, borrow books from the library
  • If you watch a lot of DVDs, get an online DVD store membership – we don’t watch a lot!
  • Plan vacations ahead of time
  • Finally, keep distance from lavish, high-roller friends – we don’t really have any of these!

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This past weekend was beautiful here in Minneapolis, lots of sun shine and even some decent temperatures. Monday was nice too, I went for a morning run with only 2 thin layers on (instead of the several thick ones I’d been wearing). Throughout the day I heard about an oncoming onslaught of arctic air and snow storms – so I checked it out.

I found this article, which wasn’t exactly welcome news. Here is a short snippet:

Blustery winds associated with the front will send the temperature free falling to a chilly minus 16 degrees by Tuesday night and wind chill values will register minus 30 degrees or colder, the National Weather Service said.

The predicted overall temperature swing of 58 degrees from Monday’s high to Tuesday low is indeed extreme.

According to assistant DNR state climatologist Pete Boulay, the record swing in a 24-hour period is 71 degrees, when the temperature dropped 71 degrees from 78 to 7, at Lamberton on April 3, 1982. The Twin Cities’ 24-hour record swing is 51 degrees, set on Dec. 26, 1903, when the temperature rose from 17 below to 34 above.

The predicted swing for midnight tonight to midnight Tuesday night is 46 degrees, from 34 above to 12 below. The last single-day swing close to that was on April 18, 1985, when the temperature fell 45 degrees.

From ForecastFox

(the image is just the high temperatures!)

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“Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul’s name?” (1Corinthians 1:13) Paul asked the Corinthian church those questions and the Pastor this morning asked us those same ones.

It seems like a simple question with a simple answer, no Christ wasn’t divided up for us all to have our own piece, but His blood was shed so that we all could find eternal life. Rev Dennis Oglesby from Park Ave UMC shared from the wider passage of 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 (He didn’t use The Message but I really like how it reads).

The overarching theme of the message was that we can have diversity through the unity of Christ’s death on the Cross. It was a powerful message looking at the need for reconciliation and restoration within the Christian community. He was very clear in stating the fact that we are diverse and can have our diversity but we need to come to unity under the flag of Jesus – the Cross. We should stand proud under this symbol of suffering and shame, even to the point of “silliness” or “foolishness” (depending on the translation).

Oglesby’s final point came out of verses 17-18 and John 1, that we are all God’s children redeemed through the power of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

John 1:9-13 (The Message):

But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten,
not sex-begotten.

Fittingly enough the service ended by singing They’ll Know We Are Christians (by our love) whose chorus goes:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We really enjoyed this church, its diversity, and passion. They also have a foundation that is doing good works throughout the community. The full message might be podcasted or posted here.

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Welcome to the blog!! Please make this your home on the Internet! If you have Facebook please join our group!

We had a great time last week with [retracted] talking about “Your Kingdom Come.” Mind stretching to see how he and his wife, are living out the Kingdom by creating a Matt. 25 home (see verses 31-46), with Matt 5-7 as their Constitution. They are living out the Gospel among [retracted] Muslims, and seeing God interacting in lives! A challenge, with much food for thought.

This week, we will enjoy the return of Dr. Jim Lo, from Indiana Wesleyan University, to share on “Mandate for the Nations.” Dr. Lo has had personal experience in ministry in Southern Africa and Cambodia, written several books, and has taught wherever he has gone! You will enjoy his energy, humor and practical application of the material into our lives.

Matthew 25:31-46 (from The Message Translation)

When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

“Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

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I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they’re letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.

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