Monday, December 24, 2007

practicing love in the bitter cold

Yesterday, the whole family (me, my wife Janice, and sons Richard and Philip) spent the evening as volunteers at His Glory Belvidere Outreach Mission, helping with their annual Joy of Christ toy giveaway.

There were hundreds of people who waited in a long line to get Christmas gifts for their children. There were dozens of volunteers there also. Everyone braved temperatures in the teens and brisk winds to be there.

I know that I got my expensive double-insulated winter coat, gloves and hat. But I saw many people standing in line wearing fall jackets with no hat or gloves. Some of the volunteers were handing out blankets for people to use while the waited in line. Others were handing out coats, gloves, and hats for people to keep. Among the volunteers were some ambulance workers from OSF Saint Francis hospital in Rockford.

This was the first year that I participated in the event, and the scale was larger than I had imagined. Police closed off an entire block of Belvidere's State Street, the major road through downtown Belvidere. There were several police cars and ambulances there. Outdoor volunteers included those handing out blankets, coats, hats and gloves; others handing out cookies and hot chocolate; singing carols; reenacting the nativity scene (no animals were involved); and helping people carry bags full of gifts back to their cars or homes (I spent most of my time doing this). I never made it inside the mission building, but I know there were many more volunteers working there.

This was a great way to spend Christmas Eve eve.

The local paper, the Rockford Register Star, has a news article and a small photo gallery on the event. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

a new blog, from adam hamilton

Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection has started a blog called Seeing Gray. Hamilton is the author of several books, and Church of the Resurrection hosts the annual Leadership Institute.

The blog's title is related to an upcoming sermon series and a new book due to be released in April 2008. I don't know if Adam is planning to continue the blog beyond the sermon series--but I hope he does. I've attended the past two Leader Institutes, and have always come back inspired and better equipped for ministry. Adam is frequently insightful and does not hesitate to address controversial issues.

I predict that he will be a great asset to the Christian blogosphere.

[Update] I forgot in my original post...thanks to Jeff of E-merging in Indiana for the lead.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

dr. cheese video explains the gospel

With wisdom and good ...cheer, Dr. Cheese and the Spoonsonvill Eggbeaters Cheerleaders teach us about the Good News of Jesus Christ.

How can you miss with catchy lines like these?
God made us so he could love us like our daddy.
His love is worth more than a gold-plated caddy.

how to be a good samaritan

What does it take to become a good Samaritan? Perhaps simply noticing: