Water Cooler Wednesday-SKYP(ING) YOUR MISSIONARIES (Follow Up)

Last week I posted about calling our missionaries in Guatemala during our worship services for 4/27. I've had some questions how we did this--so I'll try to oblige here with what I know in how it was accomplished.

1. We took a signal off of our Pastor's Wireless mic from the base of his wireless (an unbalanced out), ran that through a rather long Quarter cable to a direct box and then to the computer's MICROPHONE input. We're letting the pastor's mic be the PHONE RECEIVER end of our phone call.

2. Audio from the computer was routed to a single channel on the board

3. Output from the headphone jack was also routed to a single channel to let us chose which was the cleaner sound (either from sound card or from the headjack). I believe they thought the headphone jack gave the clearest signal back to the worship center.

4. Laptop was placed on the sound board so the sound operator could place the call and then signal the pastor when the call was connected.

This post is part of Water Cooler Wednesdays over on Randy Elrod's Blog-Ethos

Art: Misunderstood By The Pope (Humorus)

Thanks to Randy Elrod for pointing this video out for all of us artists!

Something Old, Something New

Something Old:
I'm picking two of the production blogs that I regularly read--to get ideas for creative sets, emphasis and as one blogger said "how to do it on a shoestring"

Randy is Creative/Technical Director @ New Covenant Community Church in Fresno.  I've never met Randy (only via Twitter), but he's one I watch for ideas on sets and creativity.  Seems like a wild and crazy kind of guy.  You'll want to check out his new "Leadership Toolbox" bumper videos for this new series.

Drew is Creative Arts Pastor at The Beachside Church in Ormond Beach, Fl.  This blog is one I connected with through Twitter.  His posting here on their "Blessed" set gives you a look at the design up close and personal.

Something New:
This is the blog of Scott Copeland, Associate at Ingleside Baptist in Macon.  Connected to him through "blog world".  His posting here on "BUBBLE BOY" was fantastic--expressed a lot of what I feel sometimes.

"You May Have Changed... But The World Hasn't"

I've just returned from a 72 Hour Spiritual Renewal weekend where I was a spiritual director.  During the weekend we cloister away ( a good monastic practice) from the world and spend time together in prayer, reading scripture etc.   One of the ways that we help the participants "re-enter" the world on Sunday afternoon is to tell them that the world they left is still there.  There are still the problems they faced on Thursday when they came to the retreat, and more than likely they'll confront them again on Monday, if not before.

So, after a glorious weekend on the retreat, I'm headed back home and stop at a small eating establishment to grab a bite (never mind that I probably stored away enough calories this weekend for the entire 2008-09 Fall Season).  

It was only myself and three others in this restaurant.  After ordering my meal I sat down on the far side of the room, but I could hear their conversation going on very loudly.  
  • It seems as if these people were talking about their church. 
  •  They had some guest speaker today, and blah blad blah. 
  •  Then they talked about calling a former minister to inform them that one of the members had died.   They really liked this guy!
  • They begin to measure the minstry of another minister's  work (he's no longer there )and I heard a few less than kind words said about him.  
  • Then one waxed on how long the current minister had been there (7 years is a long time).. but he'll only be here 3 more.   He thought it was time for him to go!
  • This is where it gets good.  They begin to rag on the current guy.  "All he wants to do is make a name for himself. He just wants to build a building... The old building is fine--what do we need a new building for?"
I had to chuckle.  These three customers were local parishoners at the catholic church (they said so themselves).  I laughed and laughed and then thought of the words we just told the pilgrims-"You may have changed--but the world hasn't"  How true, how true!

And I only thought Baptist people talked about their ministers!  Welcome home Jim!

Worship-April 27th

Worship Set
Holy Is the Lord (Tomlin)
Ancient Words (DeShazo)
Skype Phone Call To Guatemala 
Made Me Glad (Morgan)
Take My Life (Underwood)
In The Secret
We All Bow Down (LeBlanc)

Cristo, Cristo

Cristo, Cristo,
Cómo mostrarte mi amor por ti.
Tú me haz dado tanto cariño,
Te amo Señor.

Tim Hawkins--Corporate Takeover of Worship

Tim Hawkins--On Church

Come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Divine Love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructed the hearts of the faithful, Grant, that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Today I begin the Walk To Emmaus #25 in Sweet Water Emmaus community (Spiritual Director). The next 72 hours will be filled with Christian community, talks, discussion and surprises. It is always amazing to see how God orchestrates these weekends and uses each of the servants to encourage the pilgrims.

Until next week--DeColores!

Rebates Drive Me Crazy

We are happy to inform you that your rebate submission for $80 Mail in
Rebate with Purchase of Lexmark All in One Printer/Copier/Scanner
(X2580) AND Any Desktop or Notebook PC at Circuit City has been received and
is currently being processed.
Please allow 8 weeks from the postmark
date of your submission for processing your rebate.    What?
Does this drive anyone else crazy?  You're promised a price on a product, but the hang up is that there is a mail in rebate.  I know the drill.  They are hoping that you're too lazy to jump through all of the hoops to send it in. (Mail in the receipt, cut out the barcode, stand on your head, spin around twice and maybe, just maybe we'll give you the promised money).

My favorite is when you do all of this and they send you a note and say  "We're sorry you're so stupid--you sent us the wrong thing. Try again next time"

I say--we boycott all products with mail in rebates.  We refuse to use or buy them. We insist that they give instant rebates.   Will it happen--probably not.   But just wanted to get that off my chest this morning.   There... I feel better already.

SKYPE--Calling Your Missionaries

I'll be away from the church this weekend on the Walk To Emmaus, but we'll still do a creative element. 

We'll use SKYPE to talk to some of our missionaries in Guatemala.  This isn't the first time that we've used it live in worship.  We talked to our Mission India team in 2007 and got a live update from them while they were over there.  We've also used Skype for a video conferencing call with a consultant.   He used his webcam and we projected it on the screen.  He couldn't see us, but could hear us as we piped the sound from the worship center back to the computer as input.

With the advent of Mogulus, I'm thinking that streaming video from the mission fields has just been made easier.
This post is part of CREATIVE CHAOS over on Ragamuffinsoul.com

Happy Birthday Layne!

Today is Layne's Birthday!

Happy Birthday Layne

Sorry I can't be there for the party and the awesome cake (you'd better save me some!)

Layne is our Youth Pastor at church.  He's an outstanding young man--great humor and great spirit.  We're glad he's leading our girls in the youth department.  Now--year 26, what will it bring?

Ladies--he's available!!!

Water Cooler Wednesday-The Artistic Temperament

It's Water Cooler Wednesday--time for the creatives to gather around the drinking hole over at Randy Elrod's blog and share something interesting.

I had to really think about this post this week, and given the time that I have to write it, it may not be deep enough for the subject, but I'm hoping that others will jump in with their comments and help expand this subject.

In one of my first churches, we were given personality tests (not to see if we had one--but which one we were). I had never done this before. To my shock (really?) my temperament came out MELANCHOLY! (thank goodness I wasn't choleric--or they would have to give me something to calm down my fits). So, I accepted that...Melancholy I was. But somehow it sounded so sad and depressing (duh!) and in a way pitiful.

I haven't thought much about it until recently when I came across some quotes from Spurgeon about ministry and it's highs and lows. He flat out calls it depression in ministry. That was a long time ago for someone to call that out and say what it was. He aptly called the times of great highs and lows in ministry

"Before any great achievement,some measure of depression is very usual....this depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry." Spurgeon The Minister's Fainting Fits

The artistic temperament, as Melancholy has been called, has been exhibited by some biblical examples. Moses, David, Jeremiah (some references to chapter 29, one of the most quoted bibilical scriptures, say that this is MELANCHOLY at its best-depressed but deep) and more.

Artistically Michaelangelo was the epitome' of MELANCHOLY with his vast array of portraits and paintings, but also his stories of fits and tempers while completing these masterpieces. The portrait here is of the prophet Jeremiah that is found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. I got to see this in 2006 and purchased a mural of the ceiling to study the art more closely later. These are amazing!

Contemporary Christian Artist Rich Mullins has been called the Melancholy Musical Genius
and as was said of him

Always questioning.
Always learning.
Often philosophizing.
... and usually barefoot.

So, I took another personality test last night just to check and see if I was still...MELANCHOLY. Here are my results.

Personality: Melancholy Sanguine

Melancholy Strength:7 Weakness:11 45%

Yep-still there, with all my strengths and weaknesses. But as I read these, I'm some of them and yet I am none of them. So, general personality tests can't truly describe or determine who you are.

I guess the reason that the Artistic temperament resides in us is so that we can paint the brightest sunsets, describe the largest storm, write about the struggles and sing about the joys. I just have to trust the one who made me (Jer.29:11) that he knew what he was doing when me made me and gave me this artistic heart.

What do you think? Does every artist have to be Melancholy? Are there examples of other personality types that flourish in the artistic community. Let's begin the discussion.

The Red Sea Place

This poem was written by Annie Johsnon Flint, poet and hymn writer (He Giveth More Grace).It blew me away. Who hasn't been at a Red Sea place in their lives.

The Red Sea Place

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where, in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the wind, He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul, "Go on."

And His hand will lead you through - clear through -
Ere the watery walls roll down,
No foe can reach you, no wave can touch,
No mightiest sea can drown;
The tossing billows may rear their crests,
Their foam at your feet may break,
But over their bed you shall walk dry shod
In the path that your Lord will make.

In the morning watch, 'neath the lifted cloud,
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you on from the place of the sea
To a land that you have not known;
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,
You shall be no more afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place,
A place that His hand has made.

Design Plays Role in Papal Visit (Part 2)

Design , specifically stage design, played an important role in the recent papal mass at Yankee stadium.
Stig Edgren, president of SEG Events, is producing the event, as well as the event at St. Joseph’s Seminary, and the event at “Ground Zero.” Edgren is no stranger to papal events. This will be the fourth papal Mass he’s produced. He also produced Pope John Paul II’s Masses at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Coliseum, and New York’s Mass in Central Park. Among the challenges they face at Yankee Stadium is time. Because of the baseball season, they have 48 hours from the start of when they can begin building to when the event begins. The Yankee Stadium stage was designed by Rene Lagler, who has designed the 1984 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies and Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

The design, which some call the Lego Medieval Set design, was an acknowledgement to the traditionalist. The center crest and design was achieved with fabric.

In Honor of The Pennsylvania Primary Today

Something Old, Something New

It's Monday--you know the drill

Something Old:   Synergy4Ministry - this is the blog site of my friend Randall Hall, who is Minister of Worship at Mimosa Lane in Mesquite.  Randall is a long time friend from seminary, but new to the blogosphere.  His site is tied into a project he's working on to unite the worship community.  Be on the lookout for more information about his project.

Something New:  TeaWithMcNair - this is the site for C. Mc Nair Wilson.  He's a creative person who speaks to national corporations and has served with Disney in their Imagineering Dept.
C. McNAIR WILSON is a corporate creativity coach and popular conference speaker with clients from Apple Computer to the Salvation Army. McNair believes that everyone has a creative spirit and he is determined to get everyone on the active list. McNair draws on his work in: theatre, graphic design, illustration, creative writing, and theme park and entertainment design.
His recent article in Willow Creek's WILLOW magazine was a great insight into the process of brainstorming. If you can get ahold of it and read it, do so!  Go here.

The Singing Camera Man

One reason not to sing along with the worship while video taping it.  Enjoy!

Worship Post-fessional April 20, 2008

Worship Set Today
Opener(instrumental)  BEAUTIFUL ONE
Not To Us-Tomlin
He Knows My Name
You Are My King
Jesus Paid It All
Grace Flows Down

Notes from today:

1.  We had to go accoustic today--gymbea and piano (our Ableton Live set up was caput due to a computer upgrade) and so--accoustic was the answer.
2.  My in ear monitors are still not 100%--there is a great variance in what I hear in rehearsal and what I hear in actual performance.  I'm not sure what's the deal..but it's maddening at times.
3. This is our third week with interviews with church members.  I think this has been a real positive as people get to know other people's stories.  I saw many members lingering around our interviewer afterwards sharing their stories too.
4.  Message today was about Joseph and reconcilliation.  We as a church still have some junk to deal with from the past-dealings with former staffs and such.  It's not easy.

How was your worship today?

When A Community Embraces The Arts

Lubbock Arts Festival - General Info
The 30th Annual Lubbock Arts Festival will be held April 17 - 20, 2008 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, a completely indoor venue.

The Lubbock Arts Festival is a 3 ½ celebration of visual, performing, culinary, and children’s art as experienced through exhibits, demonstrations, performances, and special ticketed events.

The Lubbock Arts Festival is the largest fine art and fine craft show in West Texas, and in 2007, the Lubbock Arts Festival reached record attendance with 20,000 individuals coming to the event including 2,500 2nd grade students from Lubbock Independent School District.

The Lubbock Arts Festival features: Over 100 visual artists from across the nation in booths, Demonstrating Artists, Fine Arts Gallery with $2,000 in awards, Invitational Arts Gallery, Lubbock Art Association Scholarship Gallery, Children’s Make & Take Art Area, Premiere Night, Young Artist & Writer’s Competition, LISD School Day, three performance stages, Ice Sculpting Competition, Golden Fork Culinary Competition, an exhibit by Miniaturists of Lubbock, Spotlight Concert featuring a nationally renowned entertainer from Lubbock, and free art classes for children and adults.

In celebration of our 30th year, all adult festival goers will be admitted for $1.00 and all children age twelve and under, accompanied by an adult, will be admitted for free.
Read more here and here

I grew up near Lubbock, and I can remember the very first Arts festival.  In fact it started very small and simple.  I was wondering the other day if this festival still went on.  

Tonight, I found out that it still does. A three day festival of arts, food, visual arts, performing arts and more is a treasure for those attending.  I only wish I had thought of this sooner--I'd be there tomorrow taking it all in (if not for the $3.50 gas prices).  At $1.00 entrance fee--it's a bargain.

Just over a year ago I attended a conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  In researching the city I found that they have numerous theater groups, museums, dance companies and orchestra.  Truly an artistic community. It got me thinking about artistic churches in artistic communities.  
The artistic church must embrace the art in and around it's community.  Where are the artist in the church going to be most influenced and influencing?  They will find that in the artistic community in which they live. How can an artistic church make an impact in it's community.  

Here are some thought: 1) Be involved.  Add art and value to public displays.  Participate in events around the community.  Be a host to an event.2).Be a leader--get involved and serve on artistic boards and committees.  This may serve as an open avenue to make new friendships and ultimately share faith.3). Be artistic--make sure that the art within the church adds value to the art in the community.

What else would you add?


These are our backdrops for our series WINDS OF CHANGE... you may think it odd that we have windmill and wind turbines in the church--but we sit in the midst of some of largest Wind turbine farms in the US (sorry California!) Our metaphor for this series is the wind (same wind--different uses); how the same God is still doing amazing things and changing lives today like he did in biblical times. These backdrops came from BACKDROPS.US (www.backdrops.us). They are airbrushed on to light weight muslin and have a hemmed pocket at the top for shearing on to a pole (we just clamped them up.   I sent them two High Res pictures from our series graphic and they got them back to me in 9 days from the time I ordered. Amazing. We have people come and stare at them. Had a funeral in there this week--they wanted them left up (that's a change since we've taken everything down before for funerals). We're very pleased with them and will use them as a resource again.

We built two light boxes with backlit paper from HP (re: large scale printer post back in February). We used leftover light fixtures that were taken down from an office (thanks JVO for the suggestion) and basically built a frame and blacked out the sides. These will transform for our summer camp later this year. It's given me an idea to do some taller ones or different shapes and use the backlit material or fixture covers painted to give a neat effect.

This post is part of CREATIVE CHAOS over on Carlos Whittaker's web site RAGAMUFFINSOUL.COM

Scarcity or Abundance

In a conversation today I was reminded of this topic (and talk) given by Tim Sanders (early Creavite pioneer @ Yahoo!). Listen to these two videos and tell me what you think. I think this is a marvelous talk and a topic which is very appropriate for the times we live in. Do we live in scarcity (economy is bad, gas is high, etc) or abundance ( looking at our GDP--this is the most prosperous time in history)

What do you think?

Funerals- A Thing of The Past?

This may seem like a strange post, but it's been on my mind.

We just had our third Memorial service here at the church. This is not so unusual for a church--but unusual in the sense that we've had three without a coffin or casket. They've been memorial services (2 after a private burial prior to the service) and celebration services for the families.

Each of them have been different. One was for a long time member of the church who was military veteran and church servant; one was for an artist and teacher and the last for the mother of a teen here in our community.

It was a challenge-"What do you put up front if there is no casket?" So we came up with the idea of a memory table. We've tried to make each of them as personal as possible; asking the family to bring pictures and items that were close to them. (Candles, hobby items, bibles, scripture notes, etc). The Artist funeral we had people bring the different art that she had created for them and placed them on easels (like an art exhibit)

The reaction has been very positive--so much so that the local floral company thinks we may have started a trend (meaning no body at the service) After one of the services there was a reception held in our Garden area. People lingered much longer after that service than I've ever seen at a graveside.

It seems to focus the service more on the life of the individual and not so much on the sad goodbyes that have characterized funerals of the past.

I think I might like this kind of memorial when I'm gone. What do you think
This post is part of Water Cooler Wednesdays over at Randy Elrod's Blog


Happy Birthday Taylor

My baby girl turns 15 today. Wow! Where did the years go? It just seems like yesterday we were awaiting her arrival on Tax Day (she waited to show up @ 4:32 AM the next). It seems just like yesterday.

Happy Birthday Taylor---Daddy loves you ( and no! you can't have the car keys-yet!)

Design Plays A Role in Papal Visit

This 24 year old student designed the altar for Pope Benedict's Washington DC services later this week. He took inspiration from his own home church's architecture. Very interesting.

Lego Artist (Post #2)

This video is a follow-up to this post I made earlier this year. He appeared on Good Morning America this morning.


Something Old, Something New

It's Monday--time for Something Old, Something New

Something Old: Rich Kirkpatrick's Weblog.
It's not really old, but it's been in my reader for a while. Rich is worship pastor in Southern California. He's a fellow RECREATE attendee. His recent post about his trouble with vocal issues and possible thyroid problems was a very authentic look at his fears during this time period. He's always writing some interesting post about Worship leadership. Check it out.

Something New: Mogulus.com This isn't a blog but a new "webcasting" site. This week I attended a conference in New York (via mogulus) and talked to people in different cities, watched a band rehearsal in California and even watched a commercial being filmed in Atlanta. All the while there was a dialog box to the right which let you interact with the broadcaster. In the era of self broadcasting, Mogulus is making waves. I've seen church services broadcast on this and personal ministries being promoted. Watch this site.

Worship Trench This is a website run by the tech guys at Northwood Church in Keller Texas. Some great tips on technology and stuff.

Jason Powell-Church IT and Other Stuff I found this one this week--just by clicking and following links on other blogs. Jason is part of the Grainger Church in Indiana. He gives some very practical tips of IT in the church and ministry. You'd think a worship minister wouldn't have to know about IT, but more and more of my job involves technology. Learning from people like Jason gives me a step up on my job--it's like on the job training with Jason. We're looking at his backup procedures at GCC for implimentation at our church.

What new sites have you found this week?

Papal Visit This Week


The visit of Pope Benedict this week is cause for much media hype and promotion.  In fact while I write this, my wife and I are watching a special on Fox News about the coming visit this Tuesday (did anyone tell him it's TAX DAY in America?)

These pictures are from my visit to Rome in 2006 with my sister.  We attended a public audience with the Pope in St. Peter's Square. His motorcard came within about 20 feet from us.  I've never published these pictures on the blog but you can read about the trip if you go to the archives and look at the Septeber 2006 entries.

The arrival of the Pope will garner much attention this week.  It will be interesting to see how it all pans out this week.  I saw online today a survey of Catholics show varying degrees of confidence in the sacrements of the church (confession was the lowest).   Keep your ears tuned this week for spiritual opportunities while this event takes place in the US.

O Brother, Obama!

Is anyone besides me worried about the outcome of the election? Oh brother--it never ends, does it?

These guys just shoot from the hip and then take the rest of the week to make statements saying "this is what I mean!"

I'm concerned...I'm really concerned.

Hillary Clinton on whether life begins at conception:
"I believe the potential for life begins at conception," Clinton said. "For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. ... I have concluded, after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, ... that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society."

Barack Obama on whether life begins at conception:
"This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? ... What I know, as I've said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates."

I'm Not Bitter!

Bottoms up!  This is one way to forget the pains of campaigning!

This is a funny picture!

Worship Post-fessional April 13th--Winds of Change Week 2

Today was the second part of our series Winds of Change.  We're talking about Biblical characters (Jacob today) who encounter God and their name is changed and their character too. 
We've been trying to include members of the congregation in on the service by interviewing them during the service.  Today was Marge Sealy.  Marge is a wonderful Sr. saint in our church and has endured some hard times ( the loss of two sons to early deaths), but her testimony has been that the Lord has asked her to trust in these times and situations.  It was a sweet end to the service and I think it helps our people to get to know one another.

 The other pictures are the light boxes with our series graphics that we've made for this series.  I'll blog about them later this week along with this series set.

Here's the set list

Yesterday, Today and Forever (Week 2).  We taught the chorus last week, now the full song this week.  We'll let it sit for a couple of weeks and bring it back in May.  It's kind of our theme song for this series.
Forever (Tomlin)  Works well with the first song since it ends in F. 
Scripture Reading--selected passages about God's Unchanging and Forever nature (Psalm 136)
Everlasting God
Surrender (Marc James)  Our people really like this song.
Wonderful Maker (Tomlin)

We joined the ranks of Planning Center Online last week.  I've heard great comments from our team. We're not 100% up on it yet, but I think it will be a great way to communicate with the team.

How was your Sunday?

Art Focus Friday

I hope to bring something of artistic value that I've found on the net during the previous week. Enjoy this video--a beat boxing flute player. Really! You try doing this before you make a comment--ok?

Happy Birthday Big Ben

Evidently I missed this yesterday. Big Ben turned 150 on April 10. Here's a picture of me holding Big Ben up this last summer as we visited London.

Big Ben is not the tower in which it is housed. Big Ben is the clock--but it is always associated with the tower. The tower is part of the Parliament building in London.

It's hard to remember this picture.  We had been up almost 21 hours ( flight delay in NYC--then 8 hours over the pond-arrived in London late the next night.  Wow-hadn't thought of this until this picture)
You can read more of the story here.

Finding Creativity

Today is the day for CREATIVE CHAOS, where people blog about creative ideas and things over on Carlos Whitaker's place. Go here. Carlos has asked us to blog today about places that we find that we are most creative and it has to be outside the office.

In thinking about this, I found that I'm most creative in these spaces

1. The City-- this may sound strange for those of you that live in the city everyday (I don't), but I find when I go to the city I see and experience things that spur my creativity.  Advertisements, displays in stores, radio shows, food and more spur my creativity. I love to sit in open spaces in the city and watch the people go by.  It's one of the most creative things I can do.

2. A Coffee shop-- Carlos finds Starbucks to be his most creative space.  I blogged a couple of weeks ago about La Madeline French Bakery in the Metroplex.  I love this store. The sounds of classical music, the smell of fresh bread and the strong aroma of coffee surround this space.  A roaring fire in the winter is essential.  I could spend hours here dumping out my ideas.

3. Home Supply Centers- I've said this before, I find Lowes (and some find Home Depot) one of the most creative spaces.  Looking at raw materials, pieces, pipes and paint somehow get me going.  I walk through sections and just let my mind go.  Regardless of what it's meant to be, I can imagine it to be something else.

4. Hobby Stores- Stores like Hobby Lobby and Garden Ridge are must stops when I go to the city. Whether I'm looking or not, there is always something that sparks my imagination. Usually the scale of things in here is too small, but I can always re-imagine how I could recreate something on a larger scale. I usually can't give up a sale in these places and I especially love to hit the Clearance tables and see what's 70-90% off.

5. Theater-- there is something magical for me about the theater. The lights and scenery always take me away to another place. Whenever I travel somewhere I try to see what is happening theatrically in that place. If I can, I schedule some time in the theater. Great creativity can be found on the stage.

6. Travel
I've been blessed in recent years to experience many different cultures through travel. Each trip has inspired creativty--through colors, food, culture, music and historical places. Traveling opens you up to things that you don't see in your regular sphere. Travel as much as you can--journal on these trips and keep a list of things that spur your creativity.

Where do you find that your most creative?

Where Creativity Begins

64 Box 50th Birthday
The Crayola 64, the iconic box of crayons that millions of kids reach for to color their world, is turning the big 5-0 and to celebrate, the box has been given a makeover with the addition of 8 new Kids' Choice Colors.
How many of us can remember the great feeling of opening that brand new box of crayons and looking for the new colors and our favorite ones (have you ever seen another color named FLESH?)

The 64 Box is turning 50!  It's truly where creativity begins in our childhood.

A Beautiful Mind

Alexandra Kelly has a wonderful post about an artist (who has autism) who can create a panorama view of any city (he's done NYC and Japan) just by flying over it and seeing it in detail.

Go here and read her blog and follow the link to YouTube to watch it.  It's amazing.    See how he creates his work in detail and be amazed at the gift of the mind God has given him.   Truly an uplifting piece.

It brought back such good memories of my time in Rome (see my blog posts from 2006).  Rome is a magical city and I could go back there again and again.

Watercooler Wednesday-Seven Layers of (Ministry) Organization

This is the second post in the series SEVEN LAYERS.  Using the ideas of Christopher Lowell, who uses these principles in Interior Design, we apply them to the areas of Worship Space and Ministry Organization.  (By the way-this isn't my office picture-really!)

It's also Wednesday, time for a Watercooler Break, and a time to listen to what the creatives are saying over at Randy Elrod's blog.

Last weeks' post was about Worship Design.  As was pointed out to me by Danny Poyner, it was really about Worship Space design, although I've tried to think about the layers of  worship when planning.    

In his book THE SEVEN LAYERS OF ORGANIZATION, Lowell basically walks you through some principles to live by to de-clutter your life.  I'm not a good student of this right now--I think it's because I go from project to project, but I can tell you that it will make a difference in your life.  When clutter is around--it somehow chokes out the creativity.
Here are his SEVEN LAYERS OF ORGANIZATION  followed by my application to ministry.  If you have some additional suggestions--comment on this blog.
  • 1. Assess & Schedule--take the big picture look at what you want to achieve in the space. I guess this is probably the best place to start. How many of us have jumped in to a project without setting out where we wanted to end up; only to find ourselves deeply frustrated half-way through the project.  Once you know where you want to go--the schedule it.  I guess that applies to the materials we've stuck in the Garage, hoping that soon we'll have a garage sale--Schedule it.    
  •   Ministry Application:  Take a big picture look at where you are and where you want to go. Yearly goals and objectives keep things on track and help you measure progress. Schedule things (using productivity tools --like PLANNING CENTER ONLINE!) Task Manager on Outlook can be your friend --really!
  • 2.Detach & Purge- One of the most important steps of organization is this step where you take the material, detach yourself from the  object and make a judgement on whether this is something you'll use everyday, weekly, monthly, yearly or NEVER.  Most of the things in our lives these days probably fall into the latter category.  Things that you use frequently should be close at hand; things that are seldom used need to find a handy spot out of mind, but quickly accessed.  Lowell does this by setting a time limit (you have to get it done in a certain amount of time)
  •   Ministry Application:  How many of us are still holding on to old books and files and  things that we thought we'd need to have a copy to bring back that one good idea?  I just    realized the other day I probably have every video I've ever produced or made--                  sometimes for just a one time thing. It's time to turn them loose.  When I do that, I will really maximize my resources because I'll know where the good stuff is and not be so  frustrated when I wade through the clutter to get to it.  Time to throw away those old files. In these days of cheap storage media--why not get an external drive to store artifacts on. Old books you'll never use again make great ALTERED BOOKS (see here)  Do I really need to keep all of those cd's--can't I find a better organization system for these songs (Some of them need to find the garbage!)  
  • 3. Reclaim & Update  One of Lowell's suggestions is to look at ways to repurpose items--maybe a bookshelf before becomes a table or divider next.   He's a big proponent of paint, paint paint and reuse!
  • Ministry Application:  Obviously things are sometimes dated and can only be used for a certain amount of time before they're beyond use.  You'll need to hold on to them for a long time before they come back around (like those Tie-Died Youth Choir t-shirts).  It's ok for us to have resources for today.  But the wiser choice may be to make purchases that have multiple uses. For example, in buying materials and things for backdrops and props--think of multiple uses for these items.  We have sets of things that have been unscrewed, repainted, madeover, cut, sewn and repurposed many times.  Our set from our last series is going to be made over for a Summer Camp this year--multiple purposes for these resources is smart stewardship.  What's hiding in those closets that can find new uses in new ways?  How can you reinvent something for a new use?
  • 4. Sort & Contain  This  one is the action point of Delete and Purge.  Once you have everything sorted into Always Use, Sometimes Use and Seldom Use--you've got to find a way to contain it.
  • Ministry Application:  I'm constantly amazed that just after I have everything sorted and contained, it doesn't take long for the clutter to come back.  I think most of that is from busyness and the need to move on to the next project.  Be sure and schedule some wrap up time after each project to make sure things get back to their places.  We use clear plastic tubs to sort and store things in. It's easy to see the containers; they stack easily; and are handy for one person to carry from place to place.
  • 5. Design & Build  -Now that all of the hard work is done (the de-cluttering) it's time to have fun designing and building the space that you want and need.  I can remember being on the ground floor of a new office space.  I got to imagine it from unfinished to finished project.  (I wish I could find those pictures of it).  I had very little room to work with (refer to my CREATIVE OFFICE SPACE blog) and so I became very familiar with the rooms dimensions and limitations.  I had very little floor space but lots of wall space.  I chose to build up the walls for storage.  
  • Ministry Application:   Know the specifications of your equipment (lights, sound, equipments and props--Everything in it's space-everything has it's place.)  Develop a space for them to reside and to stay out of the way. Unfortunately--this is my project right now.  We don't have a backstage area--so our Choir room has started to collect many of these things.  We're thinking about repurposing some of the storage in there to meet those needs.  Regardless, let your imagination soar and rise as you find ways to 
  • 6. Arrange & Display - Lowell leads you to strategically think about what you put back in the space.  Relationships to items (make them tell stories) are important.
  • Ministry Application:  This one may be a stretch for ministry--but I think I can say that whatever resources (visual, artistic, musically) you use, they must be purposefully utilized.  Just putting items on display in worship, or using music because it's available sometimes doesn't accomplish the purpose originally intended.   Just because you can use something doesn't mean you have to.  There have been many times that I've had dreams for resources and things; when we got down to use them, they just didn't add meaning and purpose to the project. Great ideas--just not the best way to communicate the message.  Do you know what I mean?
  • 7. Cease & Maintain   Simply put--quit keeping clutter!!!
  • Ministry Application:    This is one that I've learned over the years.  When I went to conferences, I kept every piece of music.  I kept every magazine.  I kept everything.  After a while I realized that this was a monster that was going to consume me.  So, now I read and glean, then I toss.  If it's worth keeping, its worth scanning into my computer, or cutting out and put in a file that I regularly purge.  The garbage has become my friend--it's only inches away from my desk and I am religious about throwing away catalogs and flyers and other junk that keeps coming in my inbox.   Maintaining is about be disciplined to keep these layers in mind when being organized for ministry.
There it is.. SEVEN LAYERS of WORSHIP (Space) DESIGN and WORSHIP (Ministry) ORGANIZATION.    It's interesting to take thoughts and principles from other disciplines and apply them to something sometimes related and sometimes not.  It spurs on the creativity (How are these things alike?  How are they different?)