Will They Kill The Heretics Again?

Seeing the play last Saturday about JOAN OF ARC reminded me of Seth Godin's statement in his TRIBES book "They used to burn heretics at the stake." Godin's supposition is that today we need to listen to the heretics in order to change the status quo.

Joan was considered a heretic because 1) she claimed to hear from God 2) she took initiative to rescue France from England 3) she was a woman, 4) she challenged the status quo.

Godin supports that thought that in these changing times we don't need to look at "the way things we've always done them" but listen to the heretics who see ways around the status quo. I'm not one to say that our current government actions constitute "challenging the status quo", but maybe just maybe some one will see a way out of this maze that is truly "paradigm changing" and help us break through.

Do you know people you would consider "heretics"? Is that even a good name to call them?

How Socially Connected Are You?

I saved this picture some time ago and couldn't tell you the link where I found it (although Boing-Boing sounds familiary to me).

Take a good look at this chart. Go ahead and click on it and see all of the social media that is available today. I think I'm connected to 7 or 8 of them--but that makes me such a novice at this exploding communications paradigm.

Just seeing it all visually here is overwhelming, but it also reinforces the idea that creativity and ingenuity are the keys to the new economy.

Go ahead and comment back to me how socially connected you are--give me your numbers.

Feeding Local Theater

We attended our High School's One Act Play on Saturday. They produced "Pygmalion" and placed as alternates in the competition (although I thought they should have advanced--the last play was suspect!)

I was involved in One Act in high school and I attribute much of my interest in Visual Arts to this endeavor. Read this post about my influence from my drama teacher in High school
Here's what the UIL (University Interscholastic League) says about One Act Play.
The League’s One-Act Play Contest, founded in 1927, is the largest high school play production contest or play festival in the world. More than 14,000 Texas high school students in more than 1,000 plays participate in 300 plus contests, which take place from the beginning of March through the three-day, 40-production State Meet One-Act Play Contest. The One-Act Play Contest is supported by more than 200 college and university faculty members serving as critic judges. The League’s theatre program is considered by historians to be the foundation of educational and community theatre in Texas. It continues to be a major factor motivating increasing numbers of schools to offer theatre arts as an academic subject.

I was sitting there Saturday looking at these marvelous productions that these kids have been working on for months. More than just the production itself, these kidshave learned valuable life lessons about public speaking, teamwork and understanding art. I saw Jocks and Nerds all intermingled and enjoying the beauty of art expressed through drama.
I'm so glad that my children have come to love the stage (2 of them attended all 6 plays with me) and they understand the nuances of the stage and art

See how theater rallied around a local teen involved in a wreck here

Taking It To The Streets- Spring Break In Snyder

Mission Snyder from Jim Drake on Vimeo.

Over Spring Break, our church did mission work within the city at the Cedar Row Apartments. These apartments have been in a part of town that has been known for shady activity before and they carry with them a stigma. They are under new management and The Hilliams (owners/managers) are trying to make a difference in the area with positive changes.

We joined with them that week to redo the front facia of two of the buildings, paint inside the hallways, clean up the carports and trim trees. All the while the neighborhood kids were involved with a Backyard Bible Club.

Due to my surgery I was unable to attend but one evening--but kuddos go out to the church members who sacrificed for the ministry in this area. We had a glowing testimony from the Hilliams in church yesterday. I'll try to post that later this week.

Any church can do this---you just have to have the eyes to see.

Post Op Update

So, what does it mean when I Google "appendectomy, cartoon" and my blog is the number one reference? I guess I've talked about my appendectomy and the Twitter cartoon too much.

Just so some of you know--I'm mending slowly from my appendectomy. Dr. today was still a little concerned with my progress ( and my weight drop) but he thinks I'll be fine.

Just not hungry for a Steak yet-- but I will be someday!

Parent Taxi

I'm probably not the one who should be writing this post--my wife should, but I thought I'd tell you about the stage of life we're in right now and see if you can empathize, sympathize and any other "ize" you can think of.

With three kids at some point every parent becomes PARENT TAXI. Today, son had Baseball @ 5:15 (which he waited until 5:14 to get ready), #2 daughter had play practice @ 5:30 and refused to walk 1 block to the school because "it's windy daddy" all the while #1 is making a mad dash home from golf and begging to go to Wally World for something. I made two passes at the house to pick up kids and drop them off and I kindly reminded #2 that we bought this house close to the schools so they can walk (they don't).

Can I get an Amen here--seems like we are constantly in the car picking this one up from something and dropping this one at something else. Somewhere around 9:00 the taxi is up (and exhausted) for the night.

What have been you TAXI experiences?

Worship Confessional, March 29, 2009

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on Fred Mc Kinnon's site.
Set List
Prepare Our Hearts (David Moffitt)--last week for this one. We've been singing it as a call to worship for the month of March. I think they know it by now. I ended with an opening prayer that I got from the Asbury Reader (Prayer for the Day)

You, You Are God (Gateway) A favorite of the congregation, we have sung this since last fall. People knew it and were singing!


Video--Wrap up from our Spring Break Mission Snyder project

Mission Snyder from Jim Drake on Vimeo.

Interview with Owners of Cedar Row Apt's -where we did our Mission Snyder Project

At The Cross (G3Worship) Familiar medley of At The Cross, Down At The Cross,The Old Rugged Cross. Easy and accessible--they sang on this one too. Sometimes you've got to dial it back a bit to engage them

Message: Roots: A Million Dollar Theology

Surrender/ I Surrender All (Mark James/HymnCharts arr). Two great arrangements that went along with the sermon on giving up pride and rights. It's favorite too and the hymn arrangement is a nice break from a traditional I SURRENDER ALL--tempo is a little faster-but good.

Twitter Connects People

Over on Twitterfriends today I was able to create this diagram of all of my Twitter connections. It's a really interesting site where you can click on any one of the names and see the connections between people (who tweets with whom and how they are connected through other strong relationships).

I thought this diagram was interesting because it shows the tight community that it created through Twitter. There's no denying that the conversations and connections through Twitter are creating a stir in the sociological realm.

I love connecting people (it's one of my strengths) and maybe that's the reason I love Twitter.

Angel In My Pocket (Part 6)

Continuing in the series ANGEL IN MY POCKET, Andy goes after the organ at the Burlesque show

Issues It Raises

Be Careful Where You Go and What You Do-Someone Is Always Watching
Griffith has heard that there is an organ available at the old burlesque house in another town 20 miles away ( seems harmless and no one would know him there) but little does he know that the two church matrons see his car there and assume the worst--even peeking in on him while he's trying it out and a "performer" is on stage.

In ministry you have to be careful where you go, what you do, what you say and much more. I can't tell you the times that my wife and I just thought we were away from the scene of ministry and could, for a moment, be normal people, when out of the blue someone we know or someone that knows someone we know pops up and we are reminded that we're never really "off the clock".

It's a shame thought that what Griffith will experience here in a bit is all too common. The old addage of "the benefit of the doubt" has given way to "guilty until proven innocent" by the associations people make in what they see first and understand later. He'll soon come to realize that appearances are judged first--not intentions. And that indeed is sad.

What say you about these things?

Seth Godin Is Kicking My Tail!

I'm about 3/4 of the way through Seth Godin's book Tribes and man it is kicking my tail. The book reads like Seth's blog with it's short and succinct sayings and thoughts.

I've likened it to a strong bag of tea that you have to let steep in the pot or cup to let it flow through. There are so many dog eared pages that I have in this book it will take me weeks to pour back through them. Believe me, they have brought to mind several blog posts that you will hear about.

In the meantime, see this video about Tribes in God's own words.

Essentials For Twitter

I'm often asked (believe me--I'm often asked) "What is Twitter? Why do you Twitter?" I've pointed to several spots on the web that intro you to Twitter, but this site I found yesterday seemed to be the most comprehensive guide to Twitter that I've found.

Be prepared- it's a long post but one worth the read.

What other resources about Twitter could you share with me as I Twitterize my community?

Free Mind- Dump It All Out (Repost)

It's time for Creative fuZion over on Dorothy's site.

I thought I would repost my entry on FREE MIND as it's a free valuable tool that I use for mind mapping and brain dumping when brainstorming series and issues around the church. I've found that I can't live without it.

Sometime in the fall of 2005 after I had jumped into the world of Mac I came across a free program called FREE MIND I didn't know what I was going to do with this program--but I came to learn that it would be useful for many applications.

I've used it for worship planning (for series and such--tucking away creative ideas that come to me in those short creative bursts). We've used it for planning a camp, for teaching ideas and I've even used it for sermon preparation (even taking my MAC...'gasp' on stage to use as my notes).

My fellow staff members tease me in using this so much--but it's quicker than writing notes down and I can rearrange the notes into like clusters or thoughts after the meeting. I've used it in conferences to take notes and for follow up.

If you are looking for an easy program to use (it's compatible with PC and MAC--in fact I have it on both) this is the program. Use it to dump out all of your ideas.

Angel In My Pocket (Part 5)

Channels-Code Word: Committees
In this scene Rev. Whitehead tries to get things moving on the boiler and the old organ. Mayor Sinclair tells hims to submit it in writing and through the proper channels. Anyone around church life knows--that means committees.

It seems that in the past churches were committee laden with everything from the flower committee to the linen committee. In some cases these areas became Kingdoms where the rule and reign was passed on generationally.

I'm thankful today that churches have found that using areas of interest and giftedness to get the work of the church done without always having to rely on the structure of committees. It has made decision making easier and quicker. Besides, who wants to serve on the Laundry committee anyway?

Your thoughts?

District Begins--Good Luck Taylor

Taylor and her golf buddies begin their quest for a District Championship today.

Good luck girls---no bogey land!

Angel In My Pocket (Part 4)

*Side note here--They sang "Lead Kindly Light" at my Dad's funeral. The music minister and congregation were as awkward on that day as Andy and the congregation here on this clip. It's just a funky song!

Issues it raises
Talking money is always an awkward situation

My dad was in full time ministry from 1937 until his retirement in 1982. I wasn't around much for the discussions about money-but I know from some of the documents that I found in his library that money was always an issue with the churches he served.

In 1967 he made less than 7,000 with a family of 7 (not unlike Andy Griffith here) and it was the source of great conflict among some of the members that they were paying that much for a minister. Mom and Dad always knew ways to cut corners and I'm convinced that our love of Salmon Patties came from the need to stretch the dollar and make a meal out of something cheaper.

The Greshams and the Sinclairs really had no idea of the need of Griffith's family--they were only looking at the business side of things. That has to be done, but it also has to be considered that being a minister costs the same as being a librarian, or a Doctor. People don't bring you bread and eggs anymore.

The final scene is funny to me. It didn't happen to me, but my sisters recount the tales of starting new schools and not knowing anyone. After 50 years 3 of my siblings live in the last area where Dad was a full-time. I guess they made some good friends.

** I know there are some of you reading these posts. You've told me. Quit lurking around and jump in on the discussion. Your insight into these clips is needed.

Three Reasons A Pastor Should Twitter

This article popped up on my radar today and it's a good read to understand how Twitter can be used in a ministry situation. Here's the three points from the post.
  1. Your sermons can become more relevant. Every pastor thinks they know their congregation well, but Twitter/Facebook will help to know them better. Once you know the day-to-day activities of the people in your pews, you can hone sermons to your audience more effectively. For instance, if you see similar themes arising in Twitter throughout the week – loss of jobs, concern about the health of someone, frustration about a current event – you can speak specifically to the needs of the flock.
  2. You can remove the “barrier” between pulpit and pew. Often, people in a congregation believe that a pastor isn’t like them and can’t relate. I hear this frustration from both sides of the pulpit. If you use Twitter regularly, the veil will be torn from top to bottom. Christ pointed out many times that he was like us, except without sin. His crucifixion removed the wall between God and man. We can approach him with our every need, knowing that he’s walked in our shoes. Your congregation needs to know your humanity, too. The first time you share that you’re shoveling the driveway after the snowplow went by, it’ll start revealing how real you are. Or what about the revelation, “I’m struggling with my sermon on overcoming sin’s pull”?
  3. You can intensify your prayer life. I think the best thing for me about Twitter or Facebook is the realization of what others are dealing with. God commands us to bear one another’s burdens, but often in the fast-pace nature of this world, we don’t even know what’s going on in the lives around us. So when I’m glancing over the Twitter or Facebook feed, and I see sadness, frustration and exasperation, I take a few moments to pray for my brother or sister who needs God’s help. I’m not a prayer warrior like some, but God has used these sites to direct me to the needs of others. By Mark MacDonald
So, What do you think? Why is it important for ministry staff to Twitter? Help me out here!

Angel In My Pocket (Part 3)

It's been a while since I visited the ANGEL IN MY POCKET series-but here is the third installment.

In this clip we see the Reverend and his family getting ready for Sunday morning and the scene in the church where Andy gives his sermon.

Issues It Raises
Sunday morning for a Minister's family is terrible!
The worst instrument in the town is sometimes in the church

Sunday Morning Is The Worst For Minister's Family

Andy and his wife frantically try to get their family together and looking nice for the first service at the church. It's not as bad these days where the minister's family is inspected for their clothes and demeanor on Sunday morning. But there are other current issues this touches on.

My Observations
Sunday morning is the loneliest time of the week for the spouse of the minister. I know from personal experience that my wife for the last 15 years has been the one to get the kids ready and to church while I go ahead to get things ready at church. It's as if at times she's been a single Mom with three kids.

I saw a fellow ministers wife confess last week that she parked in the Single Mom's parking slot at church; not on accident but because she felt like and had done so for some time.

It shouldnt' be that way- but it is.

The Worst Instrument In Town Is Sometimes In The Church

Andy laments the sound of the old organ ( and this would later be one of his issues) and wonders why a church of such reputation would not have replaced the organ. He later finds one at the local Burlesque show (but we'll save that for future posts)

My Observations
I've been around ministry long enough to see all kinds of things donated to the church. Old Pianos, organs, cars, trucks, you name it have been given to the church for the sake of the church getting some more use out of it. Sunday school rooms have been littered with old couches and throw away furniture that no one would have in their home--but they'd give it to the church.

I can't imagine how you begin to square that in your mind. And I'll just let my comments end there on that note.

Your thoughts?

Twouble With Twitter

This video has been making it's way around the web and I received it again today in an email. I finally got a chance to sit down and watch it all the way through. You've got to admit that it's funny. But it also raises some points.

1. People who don't understand Twitter have yet to even try it. There are things which some people take to and some people don't. So, don't judge a book by it's cover. Twitter isn't for everyone and all of the Twitter and Facebook critics have their chance to say so--but I'm not putting much emphasis on it.

2. The video makes it all look so stupid--and it can be. But the majority of what I see on twitter is conversations and interactions. I get leads on songs, visuals, new articles, and twitpics of unusual things. I find it a valuable resource.

3. The notion that if we can't twitter we are somehow less than whole is silly. That just makes Twitter look indulgent and childish which I think it's not.

4. The insinuation that relationships are fake and artificial is false. All I can tell you is that last Saturday night when I was in need of prayer and I let it out on Twitter--my family was bombarded with prayers and inquiries. People care on Twitter.

So enjoy the film-- I think it's more cartoon than correct commentary on Twitter.

Worship Confessional, March 22, 2009

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on Fred Mc Kinnon's blog

Well, what a difference a week makes. This time last week I was nursing my wounds from emergency appendectomy surgery. Most of you were wondering if I really led that day as my twitters said I did (they were a Tweetlater gone awry) and no, I wasn't that brave.

If it could have happened on a good week, it did since my wife was off from school for Spring Break ( it was sucky for her) and music was light this week since rehearsal was this morning and the focus of the church was on Mission Snyder (working at a local apartment complex and doing some construction and curb appeal things). Never a good time to be sick--but you got to trust the Lord knows what he is doing.

Set List
Prepare Our Hearts (Moffitt/Smith) Continuing call to worship

Majestic (Brewster) an easy favorite--we love this one!


How Deep The Father's Love For Us We kind of laid back on this one and let it happen--the mixed meter thing demands you do that--not so rushed.

Amazed (Anderson) -one of my all time faves

Interview with an Ex-Inmate-Involved in Kairos - Our church is heavily involved with Kairos. We help sponsor the weekends. Today we had an ex-inmate who had gone through the Kairos program and was coming to share with the church how much it had meant to him.

Video-Ephesians 3 (Work of the People)


Enough (Tomlin)- haven't done this one in a long time. It felt really fresh.

How was your Sunday?

Now That's Entertainment

I want to be on this guys flight1

Wrap Up-Emergency Appendectomy

I'm going to be scarce in blogging the next couple of days. I'm recovering from Emergency Appendectomy surgery on Saturday night.

I know that my Twittering was quite amusing to some of you, but you'll never know what it meant for my kids to keep getting message after message on my phone that thousands were praying for me. I was in good hands.

Thanks for following me and listening to my thoughts. I'll be back soon.

Never Give Up

I received this video via email last week. You've just got to watch it. Amazingly crafted, the story grips you as it takes you into the world of this young man. Somedays I whine and complain about my life; I was ashamed after I watched this.

Worship Confessional, March 15, 2009

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on Fred McKinnon's site. Weekly Worship Pastors gather here and share what happened in their services.

Set List
Come Christians Join To Sing (Hymn Charts)--Good upbeat arrangement in G

Not To Us (Tomlin/G3 Arrangement)--We haven't done this one in a long time--felt really fresh today.


Welcome To Worship/Offering

Come Ye Sinners (G3 Arr) Robbie Seay/Public Domain Hymn

I Will Rise (Tomlin)


Ancient Words (DeShazo)

This Is The Gift of God (Cartee)

everything is almost over!

hey its taylor. his oldest daughter. these past couple days have been hectic. we got here last night and they said that his appendix was about to rupture so they had to take him into emergency appendectomy surgery. his is sooooo much better today. thank you for all your prayers. we aren't home yet, but we are waiting for the doctor to come and dismiss us. hopefully we will be about to go home tonight. but thank you again. :)


Angel In My Pocket (Part 2)

I hope you'll take the time to watch the clip above. This is a classic movie and I love it!

In this installment:
  • Don't Get Involved In Town Issues
  • If Everyone Was The Same
  • Be Careful What You Preach
Don't Get Involved In Town Issues
When Andy arrived in town he found the town square awash in fights and brawls and jumps right into the fray. In the midst of the fight he gets hit in the jaw and crawls back to his car.

My obeservations: When the minister comes to town, the congregation rarely wants you to get involved in their town/political disputes. I mean it--they want you to observe but don't have an opinion about it.

I once spoke out on an issue and you would have thought I said something heretical. You are there to be seen (and only heard on Sunday)--you're not really a citizen of this place. Honestly!

If Everyone Was The Same
In the opening scenes the mother-in-law asks Sam "Are you going to stay?". Sam answers back "If everyone was the same, there wouldn't be any work for a minister to do".

My observations: No observations here--just through the line was funny.

Be Careful What You Preach
Griffith agonizes over his first sermon--not wanting to preach those which he's given before. He's inspired to speak about the violence he saw in the town square. You can guess it--it's not going to go well. He gives a barn burning sermon and calls them out in the service.

My observations: You must always be true to who you are and what your call is, but when you get the "word" and want to share it with passion, you'd better consider the ramifications of sharing such truth. It will cause some pain.

Congregations rarely ( I do mean rarely) want a minister to really speak the truth. The truth hurts and especially if the minister is new, they just don't want to hear it! Many ministries have been cut short because a minister has spoken truth. Andy begins his ministry on the wrong foot because he spoke truth--and they didn't want it.

Ok--so what are your thoughts?

Angel In My Pocket (Part 1)

In this first installment of the ANGEL IN MY POCKET series, this clip brings up the issues of:

  1. Ministry turnover
  2. Minister's homelife
  3. Coming to a new community--What You See Isn't Always What You Get
Ministry Turnover
In the opening scene, the previous Pastor is fighting with the "founding" families as they bicker over his "water heater" in the parsonage. As they fight, the pastor cringes and crumples into tears we are whisked away to the Bishopry where they state "Another pastor quit--7 pastors in 10 years". Although we laugh, that's not uncommon as minister turnover rates have continued on a path of 18 months and then out. Church life has a problem with sustaining long term relationships between pastors/parishoners.

Reasons for that: Expectations, unresolved congregational issues, inside factions, lack of mission/purpose for church, leadership and pay. Too much to comment on here--just some of my ideas.

Minster's Homelife
We meet Andy Griffith and his family as they are trying to manage life while he's awaiting assignment to a church. He's doing the best he can when the Assistant Bishop stands on the porch and overhears a family squabble. Shock... the minister's family isn't perfect

My observations: Yes, it is true, Minister's families do fight and do disagree and do have discipline problems. We are not perfect, nor do we project that we're perfect. I would think that in the 21st century we would have moved past this issue but alas we haven't. My children as still subject to the phrase "a minister's child should act better than that". Am I right?

Coming To A New Community
Griffith arrives to the town to see a nicely manicured and maintained town and to makes the quick observation of how nice things must be, but it is quickly interrupted by the town brawl on the square between the founding families.

My observations: Most ministers are never informed of the "back story" of a church or it's town. It takes a very inquisitive minister to find out the "real" stories of past hurts, regrets, infractions and relational disasters that have brought the church to it's current state. Would someone please just be honest with the guy when he comes and tell him all of the stories? This would save so much time and pain. Be honest with your junk--he can handle it! He won't run away.

That's all for this installment. What part do you resonate with?

Becoming A Twitter Power User

Ok, so I took some of the examples in this video and found only a few locals who are using Twitter. Come on Snyder--join me in the Twitterverse. It's a whole new world out there and you can connect with them without even leaving Scurry County. Jump in today at Twitter.

Watch how to be a twitter power user! | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Angel In My Pocket (Intro)

One of my all time favorite movies is the 1969 Universal Studios ANGEL IN MY POCKET, starring Andy Griffith and Lee Meriwether. It's the story of a Marine-turned local parish preacher as he takes on a wayward congregation (THE CHURCH OF THE REDEEMED) in Kansas. The back story is that this trouble churched has always been troubled (sound familiar?) by two founding families who have always fought for position in the church.

I love this movie not only because it's a classic, but also because it's too true. The stories are real--they actually happen in church life today.

So, for some 11 posts coming I will give you the clips from the movie (thanks to YOU TUBE) and discuss some of the issues that the movie raises. I'm hoping to start some discussion here on these issues.

DISCLAIMER: This movie is in no way an indication of where I currently serve. All names and situations are not indicative of here. However, in my 21 years of ministry, they certainly are more than represented in the churches I have served.

I look forward to this journey with you

Follow Me On Twitter

Beginning in January of this year I had the following statistics on my Twitter acct: Following- 75 / Followers-69. Small and manageable I could see what most of these people were doing and going through each and every day.

After attending Church Tech Camp in Irving I started following a host of people that I met there and that were following the conference on Twitter. All of a sudden my statistics shot up and have continued to grow each and every day.

Today it stands like this: Following-764/ Followers 521. It's much harder to keep up with everyone, but I still have a column in Tweetdeck that lists everyone and I occasionally catch a glimpse here or there of some of the new ones I'm following.

How many people are you following on Twitter?

You can follow me here

Creative fuZion- Stations/Planning

We're within in the window for EASTER preparation for 2009. I thought I would post here our plans for our prayer stations (for those who are Googling here for Prayer Stations).

During my planning day last month I began to seek the Lord about this year's stations. I was drawn to the STATIONS OF THE CROSS (all 12 of them) and began to study them in depth. I also had my copy of the Book of Common Prayer with me. I sketched out each of the 12 stations with scripture readings and ideas for interactivity. Some of them were harder than others. I knew we probably would not do all 12 stations. (Last year we only had 5).

I then looked at Pat Callahan's material that he sent me from his prayer stations the last 2 years. It was the STATIONS OF THE CROSS idea and it confirmed to me that's what we should do this year.

We'll take the 3rd floor of our building to convert these rooms into stations on April 5. The whole experience will take place on Maundy Thursday, April 9 from 7:00AM-7:00PM.

This post is part of Creative fuZion over on Dorothy Holland's site.

Tweetups--Meeting Your Twitter World

My first local Tweetup happened last Thursday as I got to meet with this guy at a favorite restaurant close by. You can read his blog here.

I've met up with this guy and this guy and these friends on a national level, but this was the first time that I've found someone locally who is into technology like I am. It was a great lunch--it could have gone on for hours--and we have made a pact to get together again and share what's going on in our ministries.

Tweetups (local meetings of Twitter buddies) are common in bigger cities, but I feel fortunate that I've been able to connect with a like minded brother who knows where I'm coming from. Thanks Kendall!

Have you attended a Tweetup? Where?

Twittering In Church

Another Twitter post...

I read with interest today about Mars Hill Church and how they are using Twitter during their services. You can read that post in the hyperlink below.

It got me to think about the ways that you could use Twitter during service. (My friend John Voelz has already used it and you can read about it here)

Some possibilities:
  • Talking to the tech team (I sometimes send text messages--why not twitter)
  • Talking to the nursery/the parking lot team/security team-etc
  • Using it to give information about time changes/weather updates
  • Conversations during sermons that are streamed
So, what do you think? Is there a place for Twitter during your service?

When People Leave Church Early-For What?

My friend Tyler Braun has an interesting article today as he writes a letter to people who leave the service early. You've got to read it here.

Believe me, I see everyone who slips out early of our service. You may not think that it's noticeable--but it is. It's almost as if the people have no concept of that moment that we've reserved for people to solidify in their mind what they've heard and experienced in worship. It boggles my mind that people do this.

We're always conscious of the time in worship and sometimes I hate it that we have to beat the clock (12:00 noon or else!) and I've had to apologize to the Lord many times because I've cut the service short so that I won't have to endure the complaints afterwards. Isn't it a shame that I would fear that wrath of man more than the wrath of a Holy God whom I'm called to worship and serve with a holy reverance.

So, I'm interested in knowing what you think. Why do people get up and leave church before the end of the service? Read Tyler's blog and see if you agree or disagree. Comment here and comment on his blog. Let the discussion begin!

Twittering Under the Dome

I heard this on the radio this morning..
Twitter is making a noticeable impact at the Texas Capitol this session as lawmakers rapidly join the Web site. More than a dozen members of the House and Senate are posting "tweets" (that is, brief notes about what they're doing that instantly go out to their followers). They're posting from the House and Senate floors, from committee hearings, even from their homes on weekends. They're using their BlackBerries or laptops to tweet about their evening plans, their legislation and how sore they are after a morning workout (ahem, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte). from the Austin American Statesman 3-9-09 and also via KRLD-Lubbock

This follows the round of politicians who Twittered during the State of the Union address last month. Seems that the politicians have seen how social media aided BHO in his bid for presidency. I doubt many of them have seen the benefit of their paying patrons knowing what they are doing and accomplishing for them in the State capitol.
Here's hoping that they realize that this technology can be used to get instant feedback and information from the people who are paying their salaries.

Visual Churches-New Covenant Church

Continuing the series on Visual Church, New Covenant Church in Fresno, California is our focus today. Pat Callahan is the Pastor of Worship and a fellow Recreate attendee.

Pat and his team continue to use visuals to inspire the worship in their church. Their sets and designs help carry out the theme of the series or the special event. These are some of the excellent pictures from some of their services. I'm especially moved by the Stations of the Cross pictures. They are outstanding.

Their series RESCUE last Spring featured pictures of loved ones who are far from Christ and whom members of the church were praying for during the series. Those are the small pictures on the wall with the votive candles close by.

The thing I love about their visuals is that they are simple and made from everyday items (mostly found at Lowe's and Home Depot--roofing metal, wood, and other items are favorites)

Worship Confessional, March 8 2009

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on Fred McKinnon's site.

It was a better day than last Sunday--less people (because of time change) but more engagement. There were times I wanted to change or do something different-but I stuck with the plan. It's funny how time change affects attendance. You'd think the word would be out about time change, but it constantly catches people off guard and they just take the day off. Can't figure that one out.

Set List
Prepare Our Hearts (our continuing call to worship) Great song....

Are You Washed In The Blood--Hymn Charts (Great up tempo version in A--works well as an opener.

Everlasting God (PraiseCharts)--Key of A. I usually do this in Bb but kept it in A this week to go with the previous parts. In the first half it was a little low-but people seemed to be singing it.

Offertory Prayer

Scripture Reading==Reader's Theater style from THE VOICE (Ephesians 2:11-20)

There Is A Fountain --Hymn Charts-- great arr. in Bb. We sang last verse a little slower and this led into the Redman version of Nothing But the Blood.

Nothing But The Blood-Redman--such a great song. I realized this morning we've not sung this song in 2 years. I must be better at repeating good songs such as this.

Morning Message--Minister of Reconcilliation (Eph. 2:11-22)

Your Name (Baloche)

How was your Sunday?

Save The Daylight!


Anonymous Notes--The Chicken Terrorists

If you've been around in ministry for any length of time, you've probably been blessed by your fair share of "anonymous" notes passed through the offering plate, written on a prayer request ('what you want me to think you're spiritual because you wrote that on a prayer note--give me a break) or received one in an unmarked postal envelope.

All of them are meant to explode the minute you open them--spraying their venom all over you and ruining your day. I liken it to the terrorists overseas who cloak themselves under some other identity to get close enough to detinate the bomb for maximum impact.

I've long had the policy that I don't read these notes. If they don't have a signature on them, they don't deserve my valuable time and effort to read them. That's it. I read the signature first.

Over the years as technology has changed so have the avenues of delivery for these terroristic threats from small minded zealots. Emails and blog comments have now become fair game.
I don't allow them in my office and neither will I allow them in my email box or my blog! You will be blocked and deleted and forever forgotten by me!

So let me just say it again- "if you don't have the guts to put your name on it--keep it to yourself". I'm not waiting for your dump truck to unload it's garbage on me. Anonymous notes are chicken!

Enough said!

Destination Imagination -Passing The Creativity Along

I like to think that I'm passing along the Creative Life to my kids.

Each of them is expressive in their own way. Taylor likes
to sing, Mattie likes to act and Daniel likes just about
anything.He's been part of the GT (Gifted Talented)
program since he was little and he enjoys the extra work
and challenges that this gives him.

One of the programs he's involved in is Destination
ImagiNation--a world wide challenge of creative kids who are given the task of meeting a challenge only by the shear use of their imagination.
This is what their website says about Destination ImagiNation
Destination ImagiNation allows participants of all ages to access their creativity, learn problem-solving skills, and experience successful teamwork strategies as they develop unique solutions to Challenges.
In Destination ImagiNation, two- to seven-member teams focus on finding solutions to two separate types of Challenges: Team Challenges and Instant Challenges. Then they present their solutions to Appraisers in Tournament-style settings. By working together to develop solutions, participants push the limits of their imaginations to better themselves and best their competition.

They didn't place this year (although a younger group from his school did win the area and advances to State in Houston in 2 weeks). I just love seeing him put his creativity to work. Oh, and by the way--he's the beautiful blonde with the Hanna Montana wig on. He's very secure in who he is!

What do your kids do creatively?

Run Dog, Run!

Bizkit, the Sleepwalking Dog @ Yahoo! Video

Saw this on Fox News and here it is on my blog. My dogs have always done this.. and it's so funny to watch. Enjoy!

Golf-I Don't Play But She Sure Does

My oldest child, Taylor, is the golf player in our family. I've only attempted to play the game 2 times in my life; each time I hit trees and other stationary objects on the course, so I gave up.

Taylor is hitting in the upper 80's and on windy and cold days in the 90's. That's pretty good for a child who only picked up the clubs 2 years ago.

She's been on the varsity this year and I suspect that she'll help the team make a run for the district title here at the end of March. Snyder is known for it's Girls' Golf with several state titles under the belt.

Way to go Taylor--now make us some money like Tiger Woods!

Getting Started With Sketchup

It's exciting to see a company believe in a piece of software and not abandon it so soon after it reaches the masses.

Google's Sketchup is an amazing piece of 3-D software modeling that I've used for stage and set design. I'm seeing it more and more as I interact with these designers across the US.

Today they launched a site called SKETCHUP SAGES, giving you access to some of the best users of SKETCHUP and their trips and tips (thus the nod to the bunny right here.

Check out their site and see how you can begin to use this awesome program.

What 3-D program do you use to model?

Creative fuZion- The Painting Pastor

This is Creative Fuzion Thursday over on Dorothy's blog. Check it out here.

Last Sunday we attempted our first PAINTING during sermon. Russell Johnson, our pastor, illustrated the verse from Ephesians 2: 10 where it says that we are God's masterpiece.

I built these two frames (we were originally going to do two paintings) but we chose to only use the black frame. Ok, we cheated a bit with some preliminary marks where the face would go, but it was very effective and you couldn't tell from the audience.

What creative element did you use last weekend?

Art of Family-- Raising The Next Generation of Artists

It's been a while since I featured any art from my family.

I came home tonight and found this drawing on the counter. It was Daniel's Perspective project from school. They've been teaching them in art to draw from perspective.

He tells me that he's interested in art next year in Junior High (hasn't really shown an interest in Band or choir although he's driving us crazy with his recorder these days). I think the boy may have some drawing talent. What do you think?

Ok, your turn. Let me see some of the art your children are creating. If we don't encourage the next generation to express their art--we won't have any artists.


It just gets more interesting with my issues with PROJECTOR LAMP CENTER.

I told you last week that I was having a problem with this company getting my money back on an order placed Aug 08 and never shipped.

Today I received an anonymous comment on my blog (from the ATL area) telling me that this company had gone out of business and now was doing business as VergePoint (which I can confirm because that's the return email I received on the aggrevating sales email I got last Thursday from them). And, it turns out that Miss Carly L who wrote me the "sweet" note telling me "sounds like a plan--knock yourself out" is also a Twitterer, but I won't out her here. I think their CEO is a Twitter bug too.

I have both Twitter names--what shall I do, what shall I do.

Just a shame that a business has to steal money from their customers offering products that they know they'll never deliver. Sounds like FRAUD to me!

Three Tensions In The Christian Life (Vintage Church Review-Part 1)

We've started a new book in staff meeting each Tuesday. After Matthew Paul Turner's CHURCHED book, we turned westward toward Seattle's Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church). They are both very different books and looks at the church.

Last weeks chapter on THE CHRISTIAN LIFE brought up this unique issue: WE ALL LOOK AT THE CHURCH FROM A PARTICULAR VIEWPOINT.
  • Prophetic-putting great emphasis on the teaching and preaching of the Word
  • Experiential-putting great emphasis on the mystery and experiential parts of the Christian life
  • Missional-putting emphasis on the action part of the Christian life.
Driscoll's point is that the tension in the Christian life comes when one of these is exalted and emphasized to the exclusion of the others. He says if you emphasize the prophetic--then the church becomes legalistic; if it emphasized the experiential then it tends towards liberalism (which I don't agree); and if you lean toward's missional you end up with post modern socialism.

It's a lot to think about, but I think that he has some points. Church must have a balance of views--it's true. Our tendency is to favor one over the other--whether we realize it or not--and these exclusionary tactics stiffle the church from growing and being the church.

What viewpoint do you resonate with? Does Driscoll have a point?

We May All Be Living In A House This Size

This house is only 9 sq. feet. Given the state of our economy and the housing issues in our nation, these may be the next wave of houses we see.

Could you live in 9 sq. feet?

Rock The Stage With This Guitar!

Want to make an impression while you are on stage? Get a custom guitar shaped like this and you will be guaranteed to be the "man" (or woman--not trying to be sexist here).

Read this article here and find out who makes these artistic guitars.


I started this series last month and I haven't been very good to continue to add to it. These week I'm going to open the IDEA vault and share three sermon series IDEAS that we have yet to execute ( and may never), so I thought I would share them here with you.

1. Running With Scissors--"the things I want to do, I do not do, and the things I do not want to do, I find myself doing" (Romans 7: 14-20). I know there was a movie in 2006 with the same title.. but I took it from the aspect that your mom/teacher always said "Don't run with scissors" and what did we do--we ran with scissors. No specifics yet on stage/elements.

2. Simple-- Hezekiah 18 (Tearing Down The Clutter of Religious Life). I got this idea from Tom Rainier's book about making church life more simple. If you are trying to get across the idea that church life should be less programmatic and more organic--this might be the one.
Simple graphics--thought was to keep it really clean (like the REAL SIMPLE magazine)
Stage Design--streamlined
Creative Elements- focusing on folks who are already transitioning to this way of life and having them give testimony of the benefits
Seminars--How To Declutter Your Family Schedule/Life

3. Taking Out The Trash--getting rid of the garbage in our lives
Stage Design--garbage cans--how bout a dumpster on stage (we've done that!)
Personal inventory--what has to go in our lives in order for God to show out (1 Cor. 2:9-10)

4. Off The Grid--living what we preach. The thought here was a series on living our lives authentically out of sight of the public eye-so that our message matches our walks and talks. It was spurred on by a quote from a public designer who was trying to implement personally what he was espousing publicly---isn't that what we're trying to do?
Stage Design--grids of course!
Personal inventory--how authentically are we living

Ok, what ideas are you holding on to?

Twitter Will Change Your Life

The front page of MSN today said
and then I saw this blog post and thought that it would be even better (I liked the title)

I've already found that many of these 8 are true in my life. Twitter has become part of my schedule every day.

What about you--how has Twitter changed you?

Visual Churches-Holy Week

We are fast approaching the Easter Season. I thought it would be great to feature some of the churches that I know that do Prayer Stations. This is from my friend, Kim Bontrager, who is the Director of Worship at the First Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kansas.

Kim is an amazing leader and creative. She's my hero in organization and leadership of her crew. This prayer station project is the fruit of many hours of labor with her team that helped her put it together.
She has graciously posted all of her resources here for the prayer stations... I mean all of it. That is helpful those trying to do this for the first time or for the 4th (like us). I like how she details it and gives you the supply lists and location instructions.

You can see the slideshow of her stations here.