Friday, May 27, 2005


It just occurred to me that some people reading this may wonder how I got the name Toddatello.

Well... it all began a couple months ago. My singles group from church had its annual retreat. The entertainment portion of the weekend was "A Night at the Oscars". I was asked to emcee the event along with my pseudo wife - Beth Richards.

Beth wanted to take on the identity of Melissa Rivers (complete with staged cell phone calls from her loving mother). Since there is not an obvious male counterpart to Melissa, my friend Catha suggested that I be Toddatello Versace. Beth then added that I was the lost cousin from Louisiana... the one who has no fashion sense.

So that is how the name was born... and since I started this blog soon after that, it was fresh on my mind when I had to come up with a name for my blog. I am sure I will grow to regret this momentary lapse of good sense... but it is fun for the time being.

Let Guatemala be glad... at least in part

One of my favorite books is one entitled Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper. The book is all about the supremacy of Christ in missions. In it, Piper unpacks the reason for missions... which essentially is this: "Missions exists because worship doesn't." That is part of the first sentence the book. Anyway, to further elaborate on that short scentence... the Church is involved in missions because there are still many people groups (nations) that do not yet know Christ as they should. The purpose of missions is two fold: 1. it fosters worship for the almighty God 2. it spreads joy to all peoples by fostering worhip of the almighty God. Piper makes the point that these peoples will not truly be glad (ie. experience true joy) apart from authentic worship of the Triune God - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

So having said that... I will be heading off (along with about 44 other brothers and sisters in the Lord) to Guatemala to share the truth of our great God and His redemptive work that was accomplished by His Son Jesus Christ with the express purpose of seeing and knowing that more Guatemalans will be worshiping Him in spirit and truth.

Many of you reading this are either going on this trip with me (which makes this post somewhat useless to you), and others of you reading this are already aware of this trip because you attend the same church as I do. But for those of you who were not aware or the trip... if the Lord leads you to pray for us, we would greatly appreciate it. Let the Nations be Glad has an entire chapter on how prayer is the fuel for missions... it is the way that God has ordained that His whole Body be involved in the spreading of His truth to the nations. Those of us going will certainly be praying... but we cherish and need the prayers of others to support us during this next week. So as He leades, please intercede for us.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Seminary Education

So I was reading in the book of Acts today, and I came to this verses:

"Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus." - Acts 4:13

Now this follows two important events. First, Peter had just healed a man who was lame from birth. (Acts 3:6) Second, Peter had just finished speaking about how this healing had been done in the name of Jesus Christ... and how His name is the only name under heaven whereby men must be saved. (Acts 4:8-12)

So the point of this post is to pose this question... how much does a seminary education detract from or add to a person's validity as a pastor, missionary, etc.?

Peter and John were known to be uneducated men. And because of there lack of formal education, the words they spoke were viewed as being a result of them "having been with Jesus". So at what point does a seminary graduate move from being a person who walks with Jesus to being a person who has been formally educated? I am not sure.

Quick note for those who may be reading this and do not know me... I am not advocating that seminary is useless. I am simply asking the question of how much does formal education veil the Spirit's work in the lives of His people who serve as pastors, missionaries, etc.?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Japanese Brain Teaser

This is difficult but fun... it took me about 45 minutes to figure it out.

The object is to get the whole group across the river while following the following rules:

1. Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft.
2. Only 2 persons on the raft at a time.
3. The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother's presence.
4. The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father's presence.
5. The thief can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there.

Cut and paste the following link into your browser and click on the blue dot to start.

Star Wars

So for everyone who grew up in the 80's, today should be a pretty monumental day. Today is the day that the missing link to the Star Wars Saga is being released - Episode III: Return of the Sith.

I am excited about this movie release, but will not be viewing the movie at midnight tonight like some of my friends. I see it like this... I like the movie too much to view it when I know I will be too tired to enjoy it. I saw Matrix Reloaded at midnight... and fidgeted the entire time because I was tired and ready to leave.

Furthermore, I have not even seen a trailer for the movie yet... and I don't intend to. I am a little worried that someone will begin spouting off about the movie before I can see it... so I may need to go into hiding between now and Friday night (when I plan to see it).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Private Blogs

Last Friday night, I was enjoying some time with friends and the subject of blogs came up. Much to my detriment, I confessed that this blog was not my first one. I told the group that years ago I started a private blog where I would post and write out some pretty personal private thoughts. One of the girls in the room was quick to point out that such a "blog" was not a blog at all... but rather it is called a "journal". This then sparked much laughter at my expense for the fact that I had used cyber space as a journal... and I have to admit that I was left without excuse. I could not adequately defend myself in the least. So for all of you out there who have "private blogs", don't tell your friends about it.

And for the proverbial record... the laughter that ensued from the "journal" comment was led by me. So no feelings were hurt in the writing of this blog.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fortune Cookies

OK, I have finally had it with fortune cookies. I just had lunch at a Chinese restaurant up the street from my building, and I received the most interesting "fortune" in my fortune cookie. Before I get to that... my real question is this: does anyone still believe in these things? I mean does anyone really read the little strip of paper and think that what it says has any credence whatsoever?

Oh... and the lotto numbers on the back... those are rich. I bet there are plenty of people in America who faithfully play the lotto with those nubmers and every week they are disappointed.

I am curious where the fortune cookie began. I will have to do some google searching and get back on that. But for now... here is the "fortune" that I received today:

"You like participating in competitive sports."

First off... this is not a fortune. It is merely a sentence that may apply to any individual. If it had said, "You will like participating in competitive sports" I may have given it a second thought (except for the fact that I don't believe in such hogwash).

Second off... well, if you know me at all, you know how ridiculous that is.

So I rest my case (a case that should not need to be argued, but I fear that it does need to be argued with far too many people). Fortune cookies are rediculous. Tasty? Yes. Good for making life decisions? Not so much.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Lessons from sunsets and rainbows

Last night, I was driving back from Louisiana... went to see my Mom for Mother's Day. Well, as I was driving back to Houston, there was some pretty bad weather ahead of me. As I got closer to Houston, the worse the weather was. But then, in the distance... I could see the clouds lifting. Now this was all happening around 7:30 PM - which is currently the time the sun sets. So as the clouds were lifting, the sun was setting... and it made for a strange yet beautiful site to drive toward. The sun was reflecting off of the dark clouds with a beautiful orange/yellow color. I was reminded of the verse in Revelation that says that in Heaven we will not need the sun... because God Himself will be the light.

So as if that site was not beautiful enough... I turned to my left and what did I see? Well, I guess if you read the title of this post you guessed a rainbow. Regardless, that is what I saw. So on the one side, I saw the sun setting in a beautiful way, above me were dark clouds, and to my left was a symbol of God's faithfulness.

But here is the part that truly spoke to me... the sites were beautiful, but there was a lesson to be taught in them... a reminder of a truth that I know already. I noticed that as soon as the sun dropped below the horizon, the rainbow disappeared. Now we know that to be true because of physics and such. But moving beyond that... the following thought crossed my mind: "Without the sun (Son), there is no rainbow (Promise). Without Christ, there are no promises of God. Christ is the means by which all of God's promises are fulfilled. Because of His obedience on earth... leading up to and including the cross... we are granted God's promise of life. He is the way, the truth, the life. Without Him... there is nothing. So just as the visual site of a rainbow is dependent on the light shining forth from the sun, the promises of salvation and sanctification are dependent on Christ.

And to top it off, the following song was playing in my car:

"Your grace is sufficient for me... Your strength is made perfect when I am weak... Your grace is sufficient for me..." - Shane and Shane