Category: editorial


Arrgh. The HoneyMoon’s Over

I’m unhappy with my web host.  I should have known something was wrong with $5/mo. billed in 6 month increments.  I had a problem with my paypal account (and it didn’t transfer money from my checking account until after they sent it to collections).  Now, they want an additional $18.

To add insult to injury, my daughter’s domains are registered through them, so they’re holding theirs hostage, too.

Lesson learned.

Paul

I don’t know how many of you still read this blog. I know it’s not as many as it was. The fact is I haven’t been as faithful to the writing of the blog and definitely not as regular with the podcast. I’m making no excuses. I just want you all to know that I plan on blogging more regularly and podcasting more. I don’t intend on podfading; it just happened. I guess I just need a definite time. I have one in mind. I don’t know if I’ll do it. I just know I owed more to each of you. I get to be in the current of God’s work at my church. I’ve kept it to myself. I hope to share more.

Paul

BTW, if you’re looking for the feeds, they’re in the upper right hand corner. I fixed that.

I wish more presenters knew how to give good presentations. I’ve been to many presentations where the presenters didn’t use their presentation software for the benefit of the audience but for their own. They would put up a bulleted list and just follow each point in turn. I’ve done this myself and I regret it. When I taught classes at each of the first two ChurchMedia.net national conventions, I basically used my presentation as a teleprompter to help me remember what I intended to say. This is fine, but it didn’t really add to what I was trying to do.

A better way to do it is to augment the vocal aspect of the presentation with visuals that aren’t easily described, but not text that can just as easily be said. There are a couple of people that are particularly good at this sort of thing. I don’t care if you prefer Windows or voted for Bush in 2000, Steve Jobs and Al Gore are more effective because they follow this method. For more information on how Jobs presents, read this from BusinessWeek.com. For more about Al Gore’s presentation style read this from Wired.com.

I just wish more pastors and business professionals could do this. They’d be more effective. My last class I taught on podcasting about 18 months ago changed tactics and the response was overwhelming.

Paul

A Most Unusual Day

My schedule is pretty set. From week to week I know pretty much what I’m doing most of the time. What’s odd is that if something messes up a task I have scheduled for a particular time, I don’t get many windows to do it. That’s happened a lot with the podcast. It’s so common that I miss my window now, that I’m going to try and find another so that Tech, No Babel can make a return.

Back on topic, normally I serve at church every weekend. That means my Saturdays and Sundays are mostly taken. As such, the laundry and lawn are often neglected. I’m not complaining. It’s the cost of what I get to do. This weekend I was off. Others were doing what I get to do, so I found myself hitting church last night. This morning I took the time to sleep in and remembered too late that my wife had to get to church during the last service and so I didn’t go today. That’s odd. I did have a window (that I normally don’t have) to mow the lawn so that’s what I did.

Now I’m home with two sick kids doing laundry and thinking, “This may be normal for most people, but for me it’s a most unusual day.”

Paul

This is a fun comic showing what should be the case concerning the public domain. All but one of the characters in the comic were in the public domain and used by Disney to create derivative works. One should now be, but isn’t.

Read it here: Tom the Dancing Bug

Paul

There aren’t a lot of odd things that my church hasn’t tried. Liveblogging is one thing, though.

In prep for when we blog on our site, this is an experiment in live blogging.

11:55–Worship starts. Sharon is welcoming us here.

11:56–The song is “Revolutionary Love.” It really reminds me of how I feel about Quest. “I never wanna leave this place; love, love, love, revolutionary love.” God’s love really is amazing.

11:59–There’s a drama called “A problem of perspective” on now. It’s a comedy about a married couple and a fight they have. They see a therapist and each tells him what happened. The wife is first.

12:02–From her perspective, she’s the perfect wife, almost a Cinderella/Martha Stewart type.

12:o5–She remembers him hating their kid and him being borderline abusive. Now it’s his turn.

12:07–He remembers being the perfect husband and father. In his mind, she’s pushy and demanding. She wants a daily report about how he failed during the day.

12:08–Now a video, “What’s the funniest story of miscommunication you’ve ever had?” The best ones are a wife who went on a date with the man who would later become her husband, but she couldn’t remember his name and a guy who told the story of his parents’ first date where the guy told the woman she smelled like a funeral home; he meant like flowers.

12: 10–Danielle and Chris are talking about their relationship as brother and sister. Chris used to be a “street pharmacist”. They fought about that in front of their grandparents. He saw her and her husband and “Jesus freaks X1000”. Then, she quit judging him and started loving him. That’s when something changed. They gave him a cd that changed his life. Christmas Eve 2006 he came to church and gave his life to Christ. He couldn’t believe that a guy like him could be forgiven. Now, they don’t just love each other (as family), but like each other as friends.

12:19–Now we’re doing the song, “Say What You Need to Say”. Midway through there are video stories of people saying hard things like “I forgive you” or “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” or “I love you & I really should say that more.” The most poignant is a friend who thanked her husband for taking care of her as she’s recovered from a stroke and cancer this year.

12:25–Now for the message.

12:26–“Welcome to our second week of Static: Crossed Signals. This is a week about families and miscommunication.”

!2:27–“We live in a culture where communication can be difficult. Think about texting. There’s LOL–laugh out loud, BRB–be right back, TTFN–ta ta for now, L8R–later, and the newest one HRR–Helen Really Rocks!” our transformation pastor’s name is Helen.

12:29–“What relationship do you have that really matters to you that’s marked by static? Most of us would say it’s in our families. Last week on the web, all but one person said it was.”

12:30–“Can I actually become a more effective communicator when relating to my family and those that are closest to me? Why is it so challenging with those closest to us?”

12:32–“That great philosopher and theologian Richard Pryor said, ‘Family is a mixed bag. You’re glad you have one, but it’s sort of like getting a life sentence for a crime you didn’t commit.”

12:34–“Family is our starting point. We’re affected by our genetics, but our family is really the greenhouse where we grow. Why is family so challenging if it’s so foundational?”

12:36–“Why do we think that the territory of familiarity is a license to not be our best? The things that irritate us most about others are the things that irritate us about ourselves. Family sure can push our buttons.” She’s telling a story about the punctuality that marked her family growing up. When she got married, she expected her husband to be the same way. She’d call her husband at the end of the day. He’d say, “I’m leaving right now” which means I’m wrapping up, finding my keys and I’ll be home in 45-60 minutes.

12:40–She’s using the metaphor of communication being like an old-fashioned switchboard in college. If the operator isn’t careful someone can get a message they were never meant to receive. “In our homes we often receive messages we weren’t meant to receive. For example, ‘you’re so emotional’ is heard as you better isolate. ‘I’ll show you what tough is; I’ll give you something to cry about’ is heard as you better self-protect. ‘You’re the problem’ is heard as I’m worthless. ‘You got a “b”‘ is heard as your value comes from performance. ‘Your father isn’t hung over; he has the flu’ is heard as you better be secret and wear a mask.”

12:45–“God can uncross those wires. Disconnect from the emotion of the moment and suspend judgement. Remember that Jesus said we’re not supposed to judge. Judgement cuts off communication and stifles intimacy. Judgement is all about self. Where sin and self are, static isn’t far behind.”

12:48–“Chris had his breakthough when Danielle suspended judgement and poured on love and compassion. That created a space for change. See Ephesians 4:2, 23-24, 29-32.”

12:50–“Change frequencies and forgive. 1) You have to acknowledge that you’ve been hurt, even seriously hurt. 2) Surrender your right to get even. Getting even won’t make you alright. It’s not how we’re wired for revenge to work. 3) Begin to see the one who hurt you in a new light. You’ve only seen the other person as the one who wronged you. They are a person. Something happened that helped this happen. Abusive people are often the result of abuse themselves. 4) Begin to see yourself differently–free, not under the curse of that injustice, the hook gone. That can be a reality.”

12:58–“Plug into the source. Jesus wants to heal you. He came to set the captive free. Don’t try to do this without him. If you think having your spouse treat you fairly or your mother love you unconditionally will complete you, you’re wrong. Only Jesus will treat you fairly (or better than that) and love you unconditionally. People will always let you down. See Eph 3:20 and Eph 1:19-20”

1:02–“God longs to connect with you and love you.” She’s praying to close the service.

Annoucements are next and I’m going to help with a live feed from our construction site. Go to QuestCommunity.com each week for the service live. This is just a taste (an imperfect one at best).

Paul

From The Art of Manliness, The Virtuous Life: Chastity I’m distantly related to Ben Franklin, so quoting him is a good thing in my book (love that nepotism), but what really rocks about this is a secular view of sex as “sacred” and hooking up as treating women without respect. I couldn’t agree more.

For more info, you can do a great study for free over at ProvenMen.org.

Paul

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called Biblical Miracles. At the time, I only knew of what the leaders at my church had committed to give. Now, I know much more.

Let me tell you the story about a widow. Her husband had just died in an accident leaving her enough to bury him and live for a few months. She felt God calling her to give to His work. As other people gave out of their excess, she gave all she had. You might recognize this story as Mark 12:42-44. I grew up knowing this story as “The Widow’s Mite”. I never knew that I’d go to church with her. I never knew that she had four kids. Her name is Sarah.

I could tell you of the guy who gave the gold chain that marked his identity or the woman who gave up not an arm, but a leg–literally. She gave the money to buy a replacement prosthetic leg. That’s when her story took a twist as she met a man who makes them for a living at our church.

So, there are about 900 families at our church. 922 committed to give. For the first offering, we needed $1 million to order the supplies to start building. Up to this point, the largest offering we’d ever received was just over $500,000. We received $1,022,000 in less than 24 hours. Now for the big number. We had a goal of $8,625,000, but found out that the building was actually going to cost $10,625,000 to build. That’s a major blow except that, over three years, we’ve pledged as a church to give just over $12 million. That includes $1500 from the kids, just over $10,000 from the middle schoolers and $15,000 from the high schoolers.

I can’t believe I get to be a part of it. I know how the disciples must have felt as they looked at 12 baskets of leftovers after Jesus fed the 5000. I can’t believe I get to do this!

Anyone care to move to Lexington?

Paul

According to the chicagotribune.com’s article, “Where is your gas money going?”, it’s taxes that take more $$ than the oil companies. This is what I wrote in response:

So much a dollar for crude? What about how many gallons of crude it takes to create a gallon of gas so I can REALLY figure out who’s to blame. It looks to me like the government gets about $ 0.60/gallon and the oil company only gets about $ 0.37. So who is making bank and who isn’t?

At least the oil companies refine and deliver it. What does the government do to get me gasoline? Fund the roads? I’ve noticed how many toll roads are in and around Chicago. Don’t tell me that asphalt costs that much.

I was mad at speculators. Now, I see it’s legislators.

Paul

Biblical Miracles

Have you ever lived in a place where things in the Bible paralleled your life? I joke that I was living in such a place in college where, after a lot of studying, I discovered Act 26:24, “While Paul was making his defense, Festus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are insane. Too much studying has driven you crazy.'” Sure, that’s a funny example, but I’m at a place now that the Bible makes more sense to me now than ever before. It makes sense in an experiential, not just theoretical way.

I never understood Acts where it said that whole families were coming to know Jesus at the same time until I saw it with my own eyes. I never thought I’d be at a church where the Acts 2 passage didn’t seem like hyperbole, but if anything a pared down description of the facts. I never believed that I could see “the Lord add[ing] to [our] number daily those who were being saved. I never thought it was possible that God could make evangelism something that I thought I was capable of doing. Now, that’s all true for me.

Still, I hadn’t seen everything. There were miracles that seemed almost outside the realm of possibility. The feeding of the 5000 was one such miracle. Sure, I believed that God can do anything, but changing the way math works with the raw materials of fish sticks and wonderbread, that’s just outside of what I’d ever seen.

Fast forward to last night. We’re in the middle of a campaign at church–Imagine 2: The Power of Everybody. As part of that spiritual journey, Pete, our pastor, called together the leaders, 100 families, to go first. This makes sense. Leaders lead. Normally it’s done by going first. So Friday night we all filed into a small room to thank God for what He’s done and, in faith, commit to what we’ll give.

Our modest goal for this whole campaign was $8,625,000 over three years. The experts tell us that for a church our size, that’s impossible. We should be trying to raise something more like $5,000,000. It’s not a small difference. When Pete told the consultant that number, the consultant paused and tried to talk him out of it.

Yet here we are one week before all of the rest of the church commits to what they’re going to give. So 5% or so of our church has submitted their number already. I get to be part of one of those families, probably a tad below average in our income, but fairly close. I did the math and realized that it’s just not possible. Bill Gates doesn’t go to our church. Nobody can write a $5,000,000 check to make it possible. Sure we’ve got some that can give more, but most can’t.

With all this in the background, Pete announced the number that our church leaders are going to give. It’s an impossible number. $2,000,000? $4,000,000? No, the leaders of our church (including the staff and you know how little church staff make) are going to give $6,923,000 leaving $1,702,000 for the remaining 95% of the church.

I know these people. The math just doesn’t work. Many of us are twenty-somethings just out of college. Quite a few are unemployed. Some have money, but most don’t. I guess I know a little how the disciples felt after the feeding of the 5000. I’ve just seen the impossible and you can’t unsee what you’ve seen.

Paul