Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why God?...

I had to opportunity to meet with a friend of mine today at one of my favorite spots in Woodhaven, MI, Starbucks on Allen & West.  It was an awesome time of encouragement and growth with one another, but there was sometime particular that came out of this time together.  What was revealed to me was the importance with trusting God with everything that we have.  

I feel like I have written on this topic before, but I never feel that we an spend enough time focusing on trusting God or having true faith that requires something.  He reminded me today that anyone can believe in God, but faith is something that is not as easily found.  I began to think about having faith and even having faith when it seems that everything else is falling apart.  I am reminded how easy it is to have faith in God and his power when everything is going great and we are at the peak of our existence.  

It reminds me of the story of Job and the fact that his entire story was centered on the fact that everything was taken from him.  The important part of this story is that God did not take everything away from Job, but instead he allowed Satan into the situation to destroy his life, knowing that Job would continue to have faith in God.  This reminds me that Satan never overpowers our God, but that he is on a leash and he can be let off the leash when God wants.  But ultimately, God is the master of all things including Satan.  What we can't do anymore is ask Why God?, instead we must endure realizing that God is in control of all of these situations and faith must be at the center of everything.  Our faith in the living God, must endure even if we do lose everything.  Because what we know is that our life is worthless unless we are seeking the power, hope, love, truth, and justice of our all powerful God.  

This story reminds me of the ultimate power and faithfulness of God and also reminds me to be as faithful as our living God. 

till another day, 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Burning my Plows...

At Twin Oaks, we just finished a series centered on the fact that God is Greater Than... the series being loosely based on the fact that we have to recognize that our God that we serve is much greater than we give him credit.  So much of the time we spend thinking about how we are going to do this or what we are going to do can be washed away if we realize that our God is Greater.  

Out of this message from our senior pastor Randy Wheeler, came a discussion regarding the book "Greater" by Steven Furtick and most specifically the chapter in the book regarding Burning your plows.  The chapter is based on Elisha and how he was called to leave his old profession of leading oxen on plows to doing something greater.  The fact is that Elisha could have stored the plows or given them to someone for safe keeping or kept using them, but what he realized was that if he was truly going to follow the call he was given that was much Greater, then he had to purge his life of everything he used to be.  This meant taking his plows and burning them.  We began to discuss as a staff what this meant to us, what plows in our life was God calling us to burn in order to live a life Greater.  

Thinking about these plows can be a humbling experience because throughout the process you rationalize to yourself that this is not needed or that you can be fine with just storing the plows because who knows you may go back to them at some point and you don't want them to be gone.  But what God continues to say to us is that we have to be willing to sacrifice who we used to be in order to be something greater and if we are called to be again what we once were, the plows that are needed would again be provided.  

Personally I have a lot of plows that need to be burned before I am willing to do the something greater that God is calling me/us to.  I am currently in the process of lighting the matches and burning them myself, but even as I write this I am continuely reminded of the importance of this process.  We all are hoping to do something much greater than we can even imagine, but there has to be an element of sacrifice attached to this.  

If you haven't already pick up the book Greater by Steven Furtick and if you are looking for a church home in the Detroit area, join us at Twin Oaks CC in Woodhaven, MI.  What are the plows that God is telling you to burn?  How long are you willing to wait before becoming something GREATer. 

till another day, 


The Multiply Movement...

I normally don't do this, but there is just something about this book that I had to write about it before I finished reading it.  This book has merely hit me exactly where I need to be hit at the exact right time in my life and I could not be happier about it.  I am sure many of you have heard of Francis Chan and David Platt, but many of you have probably not heard of the Multiply Movement.

This is a movement that began with the release of the book Multiply by Chan & Beuving w/ a forward from Platt.  This is a book that is dedicated to leading people through the disciple making process.  This process being the single most important thing that us as Christians have been called to do.  It is established very clearly in Matthew 28 & Acts 1, that our job as disciples of Jesus Christ is to further his gospel through the making of disciples.  But the interesting thing is that the disciple making process tends to get overlooked.  Instead we focus on the conversion process and after the individual has accepted Christ we move on.  This is not what God has called us to, but instead he understands that it is indeed a process to make a disciple.  Thus Chan, Platt, & Beuving have set out to explain this process and make it applicable to the everyday Christian.  Because this is a job for EVERY christian, it is important to put it into terms that EVERY christian can understand.

I have most recently been reading this book with the Student Leadership Team at the Uprising and they would agree that it has challenged them to go much further when it comes to spreading the gospel to their friends.  It doesn't just stop at acceptance, but it is a process.  This has also reminded our team that we are continuing to be made into disciples as we walk through this journey.  It is really exciting to think about, that we are never done growing, changing, and being led into a deeper relationship with Christ.

This book can be picked up at your local bookstore or online bookstore.  The great part about this is that the website has video lessons from each chapter available for FREE.  This takes the reading that much further as you dissect what it means to be a disciple making disciples.  Check out this book now, it WILL change the way you look at being a disciple.

till another day,


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Passion for Coffee...

If you know me at all you know how much I love coffee and specifically unique coffee.  You will see me at the Allen & West Starbucks almost everyday.  My christmas & birthday gifts consisted of over $100 in Starbucks gift cards, 6 lbs of Starbucks Coffee, & 30 Starbucks VIA coffee packets.  I read books about coffee (Pour your Heart into It, Onward, the Starbucks Experience) Guatemalan Burlap coffee bags decorate my office, and my wife believes I am an espresso maker away from owning my own coffee shop.  Let's just say I love coffee and especially the idea of a coffee shop.

It all started when I had my first Caramel Apple Spice Cider from Starbucks in junior high.  At that point I was hooked and had to have that little white & green cup in my hand always.  My love for coffee only grew and I began to search out new places, types, and ways of making coffee only growing more and more fascinated with the process and the culture of coffee.

Although I love the taste and aroma of coffee, it runs so much deeper.  It is the idea of a coffee shop being an influence in the community.  A meeting place that people can come together, discuss the good and bad of life, work together, change the world together.  Coffee shops should be the center of a community not only making it a comfortable place to come, but also a place that is doing something positive in the community, not just taking their money.  Thus, I have continually supported the local coffee shop, but more recently my "third place" has become the Starbucks on Allen & West in Woodhaven, MI.  Not because they make good drinks & they have free Wi-Fi, but that Starbucks is a company that is giving back to the community and the world as a whole.

My dream is to one day open a coffee shop of my own that makes great beverages, has the best baristas, but most of all is a place that anyone can come and share their life with other people.  A place that they can call home and they feel that it is a positive impact on the community.

I have began to increase my growing inventory in coffee materials and they are shown below:

Espresso Stovetop Percolator 

French Press

Burr Grinder

Chemex Coffee Machine
Pour Over Coffee

Toddy Cold Brew System

What I love about each of these system is that they prepare coffee each in a unique way.  It makes the conventional coffee brewing system obsolete.  I know that right now I am a novice "barista", but i hope this is only the beginning of opening a coffee shop someday.

If you haven't already take some time to visit your local coffee shop, try one of their signature drinks, and begin to enjoy all that the coffee world has to offer.  

till another day, 


Monday, January 14, 2013

After You Believe by N.T. Wright - Book Review...

If you haven't already, you need to pick up any book by NT Wright.  He is not only one of the leading scholars on the New Testament, his experiences in life have led him to write some of the most inspirational books I have ever read.  I am a huge fan of his writings specifically, Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, & After You Believe (Justification, Scripture & the Authority of God, Paul, Evil & Justice of God are next on my list).  I just recently finished After you Believe and could not have been more impressed with the level of writing and knowledge that just bleeds from the pages.

This book was dedicated to showing the average christian that is merely not enough to declare you are a christian, but there are action steps that must take place afterward in order for us to truly be set apart from this world.  There are aspects of our past life that must be in stark contrast of our new life, if we are going to call ourselves sons and daughters of Jesus Christ.  It is really a refreshing book that doesn't state that he has it all together or even all of the answers, but merely reminds us of the standard that we are called to live by, most specifically reflecting the love of Jesus Christ in our daily lives.

If you are a reader and are excited about reading books that push your spiritual growth and mental growth then grab this book and anything else Wright has published and get reading.  I am excited for the rest of the books on my list as well as any future writings that he puts out.

till another day,


the Slaves are Freed...

Last night was our first night of the Uprising since our atmosphere redesign thanks to a great friend from Metro South Church, Jon Whaley.  If you do not already know, the Uprising is a movement of students in the Down River area of Detroit that are passionately spreading the gospel to the "10,000" students in our area.  It is an exciting time in our ministry with the new year rolling around and we all feel that the Lord is leading this ministry to do something amazing in 2013.

We started out this redesign by working through Mark 5:1 - 13 specifically focusing on the Demons that took control of the man called "Legion".  It was an opportunity for all of us to come together, worship the Lord, and rejoice in the fact that just like Legion we have demons, and just like Legion those demons have been cast out.

God changed many of us last night.  He showed many that we are truly freed from what seemed to bind us, not because of our own doing, but because the demons that so easily destroy our lives tremble at the sound of our Messiah.

Our Messiah has saved us and there is nothing we can do, but rejoice, bow and do everything we can to tell the world just that.  It is an honor to serve in this ministry and I am so excited for the students in the Down River area to be drastically changed by the power of the Messiah.


till another day,


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Childlike Gospel...

I had the honor of speaking at Twin Oaks Christian Church's Main Sunday Morning Service this past sunday.  It was an amazing opportunity and I am excited for what the future has in store.  By clicking the link you will be sent to audio of the message (video coming soon).

First Sermon @ Twin Oaks Christian Church

Thank you for listening.

till another day,


Gifts Galore...

As Christmas time is here, we have been blessed with some great new additions to our home w/ gifts that were on our respective Christmas lists.  I would like to share a couple of these gifts with you all and especially say thank you to those who sacrificed whatever it may be to give them.

The Schroeder's
     Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2013 - Masters Edition
     Starbucks Coffee Tour - 6 lbs of coffee over 3 months
     Chemex Coffee Machine
     3 lbs of Starbucks Coffee
     IU Basketball Game
     PS3 Move Controller
     Starbucks VIA - Cool Lime Refreshers
     Date Money
     Starbucks Gift Card
     Orange Cardigan
     Blue/Orange Plaid Shirt
     Bubble Gum

The Tod's
     NBA 2K13
     Urban Outfitters Gift Card
     Starbucks Gift Card
     The Hungers Games Hardcover Books
     Christmas Classics - DVD
     Christmas w/ the Kranks - DVD
     Polar Express - Bluray
     Coffee Hound Coffee
     Bubble Gum/Starbursts

     Mustache Mug
     Beard Glass Cup
     Marley & Me - DVD
     Starbucks Coffee VIA Christmas Sampler
     Black Boots - Urban Outfitters

We are so blessed to have gotten what we did from our great families and we are so happy to have spent the time that we did with them this holiday season.  Thank you so much for everything you have done for us.

till another day,



2012? We are still here...

It is now January of 2013 and the Mayans were wrong and we are still here.  With that being said, I would like to take a look back at the year that was truly amazing for the Tod Family.  If you received the wonderfully designed Christmas cards from my Wife, Jennifer of Turquoise Feathers Studio, LLC, you know that 2012 was a big year for us.  Just to lay out a couple reasons for why 2012 was such an amazing year for us.

I accepted my first position in ministry as the Community Youth Coordinator at Groesbeck UMC in Cincinnati, OH on Jan. 2nd 2012.

Jennifer & I tied the knot at the Harrison Center for the Arts in Downtown Indianapolis, IN March 10th, 2012.

Jennifer & I moved into our first apartment in March in Downtown Cincinnati, OH.

Jennifer & I graduated from Herron School of Art & Cincinnati Christian University (respectively) on May 12th - May 13th 2012.

I transitioned into the position of Pastor of Student Ministries at Groesbeck UMC in Cincinnati, OH.

We introduced Indie Tod into the world as we adopted our first puppy in August of 2012.

I accepted the position of Student Ministries Pastor at Twin Oaks Christian Church in Woodhaven, MI.

Jennifer & I moved to Southgate, MI in the Down River District of Detroit, MI.

I introduced the rebranding of the Student Ministries at TOCC entitled The Uprising

Jennifer accepted the position of Graphic Designer & Social Media Director at Mousetrap Mobile in Royal Oak, MI.

Jennifer's freelance graphic design business became an official LLC under the name, Turquoise Feathers Studio, LLC in November of 2012.

I preached my first sermon at the main sunday morning service at Twin Oaks CC on Dec. 30th, 2012.

As you can see, this year has been as crazy as they come.  We are looking forward to not moving as well as transitioning into new jobs.  But we are also excited about the new opportunities that will come to us in 2013.  Just a few things we are looking forward to are, Turquoise Feathers becoming a huge company, Missions Trip to Dominican Republic, Moving into our first house.  It should yet again be an exciting year in 2013 and I will keep you updated through this blog.

till another day,