Monday, December 31, 2007

Bargain Books In SoCal

I am so excited! We went to the Christian bookstore here in Colton to pick up some books we can't find in Helena. I was completely jazzed to find a number of books that I've been wanting to read on the Bargain books shelf. A couple of these we had to buy at full price, but for most of them we got 4 or 5 for the price of one. Whoo-hoo!

Carpe Manana: Is Your Church Ready To Seize Tomorrow? by Leonard Sweet. Written to help Christians in this strange new world of postmodern culture. Offers strategies for leaders to put their faces, not their backs, to the future. I already have this book, but it was a steal and would be a great gift to someone.
Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life by Craig Groeschel. Chazown is Hebrew for “vision.” God wants to give His for you, and this book will help reveal it! Living God’s dream will rock your world and align every area of your life, from your relationships to your finances and health. I've read through a third of this and realized I need to wait until I have time to truly examine myself.
Confessions of a Pastor: Adventures in Dropping the Pose and Getting Real with God by Craig Groeschel. Why do we spend so much time trying to please everyone else and make so little effort trying to please God? When Craig Groeschel asked himself that question, he couldn’t come up with a good answer. So one day he decided to drop the act and start getting real. With that one choice, his life began to change in a big way. And yours can too. This is highly recommended by a bunch of pastor friends I know.
Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision by Bill Hybels. Very likely, the firestorm of your frustration reflects your holy discontent, a reality so troubling that you are thrust off the couch and into the game. It's during these defining times when your eyes open to the needs surrounding you and your heart hungers to respond that you hear God say, "I feel the same way about this problem. Now, let's go solve it together!"
Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future by Andy Stanley. Challenges young Christians eager to learn, grow, and lead in ministry or in the marketplace. Andy Stanley addresses essential leadership qualities such as character, clarity, courage, and competency. Andy Stanley rocks!
Sheet Music: Uncovering The Secrets Of Sexual Intimacy In Marriage by Kevin Leman. With his characteristic warmth and humor, Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical guide to sex according to God's plan. This frank and practical book is a perfect resource for married and engaged couples. This one comes highly recommended from Simply Strategic Guy, Tony Morgan.
Static: Tune Out the "Christian Noise" and Experience the Real Message of Jesus by Ron Martoia. Christians often use words to communicate to others; however, these words arent understood by many of those outside the church. We can be so absorbed in our "christianese" that we dont realize others dont understand the jargon and cannot figure out what it is we mean by what we are saying. Static readers will become aware of what we are saying so we can re-focus our thinking to communicate clearly to those outside the church. I've finished this one already. A good examination of Jewish context and word origins.
Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris. Stop Dating the Church reminds us that faith was never meant to be a solo pursuit. The church is the place God grows us, encourages us, and uses us best. Loving Jesus Christ involves a passionate commitment to His church — around the world and down the street. We can't be apathetic. It's time to fall in love with the family of God. On some reading lists of Montana pastors.
Whatever Happened to Worship?: A Call to True Worship by A. W. Tozer. Tozer pleads for an insistence on making worship genuine and forsaking the compulsion to substitute work for worship. I had to pay full price, but this one is a classic.
Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow. It's Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Watching the tube? One place you won't find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. With eye-opening research and a persuasive grasp on the facts, Murrow explains the problem and offers hope and encouragement to women, pastors, and men.

I realize that it's sad that I'm excited about a bunch of books. I guess I'm a book geek :-)

A Little Bird...

A little bird told me that the worship was awesome today at Hannaford - great job Youth Worship Team! Looking forward to hearing more when we get back.

As for the Powell's, we worshiped this evening at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. Greg Laurie spoke and we got to see Leeland. You can check out the webcast here. Leeland was amazing - still love their song "Carried To The Table"! Also, their namesake, Leeland Mooring, is way young - who'd have thought?

We met our good friend Jennifer at Harvest and then had a late dinner together at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Thanks, Jennifer!

Friday, December 28, 2007

On Vacation In SoCal 2007

Well, we arrived safely in SoCal Wednesday. While we've been here, we've been taking it easy. Even though I've developed a sinus cold, we've been shopping and visiting some of the fine eating establishments such as Vince's Spaghetti, In-N-Out Burger, Jack-In-The-Box, Round Table Pizza and El Torrito. Mmmmm! Here are a few photos I took with the phone:

Here's Andrik at the LEGO Store.

Andrik's new hair style.

What a cool dude!

The kids at the Upland Round Table in 2004.

The kids at Round Table today in 2007.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Worship 2008

We finished up two Christmas Eve services this evening. It was beautiful – a reflective, candlelight atmosphere singing Christmas carols accompanied by violin, cello, and piano.

As we usually do, we ended the evening singing Silent Night in the dark as we slowly lit candle after candle to slowly fill the room - representing the light Jesus brings to our lives. Both the 4:30pm and 5:30pm services were packed.

I also wanted to share a little from our morning services last Sunday. We aimed to refresh the way we look at Christmas and the carols we sing. A fun part of the service was when we had a congregation led sing-a-long of The 12 Days of Christmas.

Many people don't know that there is much Christian symbolism hidden in the song. It is a good deal more than just a repetitive melody with a list of strange gifts. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England to help young Catholic Christians learn the tenets of their faith when it was illegal to be found with any literature of their faith.

The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, but to God Himself. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The rest of the gifts are outlined at the end of this post.

This last Sunday, we divided up the people in twelve groups - then each group was responsible for singing the part of the song that mentioned their group number. Second service was out-of-control! It was crazy and very fun. The group really took their sections to heart with dancing, bird motions, and an impromptu solo! See the photos...

9 Ladies Dancing

2 Turtle Doves

5 Golden Rings

Other symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas:
  • 2 Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments (Heb. 8:6-13)
  • 3 French Hens - Faith, Hope and Love (1 Cor. 13:13; 1 Thess. 5:8)
  • 4 Calling Birds - The Four Gospels
  • 5 Golden Rings - The Torah (first five books of the Old Testament)
  • 6 Geese A-laying - The six days of creation (Gen. 1)
  • 7 Swans A-swimming - The seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10)
  • 8 Maids A-milking - The eight beatitudes (Matt. 5:3:-11)
  • 9 Ladies Dancing - The nine fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23)
  • 10 Lords A-leaping - The ten commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5:6-21)
  • 11 Pipers Piping - The eleven faithful apostles
  • 12 Drummers Drumming - The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
Well, that's it for this late Christmas Eve. On another note, we leave early tomorrow morning for California. That's right - vacation. That means no blogging for a couple weeks. Our wish to you? Have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Beyond Just Doing Church...

How cool would it be that so many people WANT to go to your church that you need to have tickets for your Christmas services because space is limited? These guys must be doing something right.

Sometimes I think we need to move beyond just doing church, beyond church politics, beyond trying to please people before God, beyond our routine. God desires His Church to be much more fruitful than it is.

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 17, 2007

12 Days of Christmas Video

As I've been preparing Christmas carols for our worship services at Hannaford this December, I've focused in on the 12 Days of Christmas. While I'll share some more info on the origins of the songs in a later post, I do want to share with you a well-done and humorous version from YouTube:

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Golden Compass: The Rest Of The Story - pt. 3

This is part 3 of 3 in a series about the new movie "The Golden Compass" and the book series by Philip Pullman entitled "His Dark Materials." View part 1 or part 2.

With the background I've built up in the previous posts, it's time I get to the heart of the matter. It seems that The Golden Compass movie is not so bad on the surface, but with the controversy brewing I wanted to find out more. In all truth, I was awakened from a deep sleep at 4:00am in the morning and ended up researching it in the silence of a Saturday morning.

I was slightly confused at the story and wanted to tie up the loose ends and so I scoured the web for a non-biased summary of the books. I can tell you that there is a lot out there about how dangerous this series is, especially for kids. This movie and the books have really ticked a lot of Christians off. From my research, I found that the book is also known as Northern Lights in the UK and it is the first in a trilogy called His Dark Materials by author Philip Pullman. Pulman is a self-professed athiest (more accurately agnostic) who was inspired to write the series after reading C.S. Lewis' Narnia books. Pullman was especially annoyed by the Christian imagery in Lewis' books and set out to create an equally creative story of his own from an athiest's perspective. One can easily make the comparison in the beginning of The Golden Compass when main character Lyra begins her adventures by hiding in a wardrobe (as did the characters from Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe).

I will not go into the depth of the His Dark Materials story here, but encourage you to review it for yourself. I found a great summary and analysis here at Barnes & Nobles' I suggest you examine the full summary of all the books. It is an in-depth summary and analysis of each book - quite a bit of reading, but worth it if you have kids, grandchildren, or friends with kids. You need to know more about this, because this story is NOT a children's story. It is an adult proposition about the non-existence of God. It contains many subtle and many not-so-subtle attacks to the basics of the Christian faith. The books following The Golden Compass increasingly speak to the topics of original sin, Christ's Church, the existence of God, adolescent sexuality, heaven and hell, homosexuality, freewill and more. In all these areas and more, Pullman specifically seeks to attack the Christian faith.

As I suspected, the first film/book simply sets up the basis for Pullman's theses. The story itself does not seem that bad. At the same time, New Line Cinema has removed many references to God and the church as well as the entire end of the first book from movie. I believe they've done so as an attempt to lessen the controversy - but I wonder what they will be able to do in following sequels if they're made. In my opinion, The Golden Compass is a stepping stone or an entry way into Pullman's larger purpose - to speak out against a religion that he hates.

From Alber Mohler's briefing on the movie, he reveals some of Pullman's true motives:

"[Pullman] told Hanna Rosin of the Atlantic Monthly,'Why the Christian Church has spent 2,000 years condemning this glorious moment [Adam and Eve's fall from grace], well, that's a mystery. I want to confront that, I suppose, by telling a story that the so-called original sin is anything but. It's the thing that makes us fully human.'"


"Pullman hates C. S. Lewis's work The Chronicles of Narnia. He told Hannah Rosin that Lewis's famous work is 'morally loathsome' and 'one of the most ugly and poisonous things I ever read.' Narnia, he said, 'is the Christian one . . . . And mine is the non-Christian.'"

I would recommend Albert Mohler's briefing on the movie and series. While it comes from a Christian point-of-view, it is not heavy handed and does not focus on nit-picky complaints. What Mohler does accomplish is to warn of the real dangers of the movie and suggest an appropriate response.

I agree with Mohler on how Christians should respond to the film and series. Take a deep breath. Inform yourself about the entire story and Pullman's agenda. Make sure you are clear on what you believe regarding the points of contention. Check it against the Word of God.

In most cases, I believe Christian boycotts are stupid. When we remove ourselves from the marketplace of ideas, we doing Christ a disservice. It would be better to be informed of the film and series, listen to people's impressions, and be ready to engage others in conversations (not arguments) on the basic truths of our faith.

While I believe it could be advantageous to see the film, I do advise caution. If you know me at all, you know that in most cases I don't see harm in most movies as long as we are strong in our faith, but again - I advise caution with this one. I really do not believe the stories from His Dark Materials are appropriate for kids. If you take yours (especially to the upcoming sequels), you better be ready for a long and in-depth debriefing. Whether you should see the film really depends on a number of factors. How strong is your faith? Do you really believe what you believe? How grounded are you in the Word of God? Will it help you engage others for Christ? Only you can answer those questions.

Full Summary & Analysis:
Fair Christian Perspective:

The Golden Compass: The Movie Review - pt. 2

This is part 2 of 3 in a series about the new movie "The Golden Compass" and the book series by Philip Pullman entitled "His Dark Materials." View part 1 or part 3.

Yes, that's right. The family and I went to see the movie. (Go ahead and gasp!) By that time, I had heard about the controversy and was pretty sure that most of what was objectionable would be in the following movies, the sequels. And besides, the Christian community has over-reacted before - it was probably the case again.

As for the entertainment value of the movie, it was okay. The CGI was evident in every scene making new worlds seem more real. I found a few elements quite intriguing and will discuss them later. Sam Elliot was pretty cool in his character Lee Scoresby and the other actors gave decent performances as well. At the same time, the movie kind of dragged. While there was some action, the plot was slow and slightly confusing at times. I was most annoyed by the ending - or lack thereof. Similar to my reaction to Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest, the movie just left you hanging waiting for a sequel. But in this case, I wasn't quite sure if I was inspired enough to come out see the next movie!

After a little research, I'm pretty sure the movie might have had more entertainment value if they had more closely followed the events in the book. It seems most of the elements are there, but there are a few tweaks. Most notably, New Line Cinema left out the ending of the book, apparently saving it for the beginning of the next movie. There is more to say on this, but I will leave that to my next post.

Finally, I did find a few things to comment on - both good and bad...

In the world of The Golden Compass, every person has an animal companion called a "daemon." Each person's daemon is actually the external expression of their soul. In many case, the form of a person's daemon represents something about their personality (i.e. a lion, a bird, a dog, a cat). In addition, children's daemons are not fixed - they change form depending on their mood. I found this concept quite interesting while I watched peoples' daemons interact at the same time the people interacted. For instance, when people would argue, their daemons would fight. While I was intrigued, I was also annoyed every time the word "daemon" was referenced. It is pronounced "dee-mahn" like the word "demon." And It wasn't until two thirds through the movie that I realized they weren't actually saying "demon." There is a difference between the two words: a daemon is Greek word depicting a half-God or an attendant spirit, but the two words are closely related.

One of my annoyances with the "Harry Potter" series is the use of traditionally "evil" imagery depicted as supposedly "good." Warlocks and witches are a good example. The Golden Compass does the same treatment with a number of images, but the witches are what stood out to me. The witches in The Golden Compass are supposedly "good," but they seem eerily similar to all the "evil" imagery we're used to - except for being ugly. It just made me uncomfortable, especially since there was no concession like in The Wizard Of Oz's the "Good Witch of the North."

In the story, we meet a polar bear known as Iorek Byrnison. (**slight spoiler here**) Taken out of context of the movie, I find his story a compelling tale redemption. Iorek was a great and mighty warrior - an armored bear who was to be king of the armored bears. He was to be king by means of a one-on-one battle with another bear, but before the battle he was poisoned. And he subsequently lost the battle because he was not at his full potential. Because of this, he was exiled from the bears. He was tricked by the townspeople, his armor was taken away, and he pretty much became a slave to the townspeople working only for whiskey. Through a series of events, when Iorek finds his armor, he remembers who he is - a great and mighty warrior and eventually becomes the rightful king of the armored bears. (**end of spoiler**)

We, too, sometimes feel disgrace and shame. Our armor is lost and we live a life less than the potential that God has destined for us. The truth is that we are deceived. We are poisoned into removing the armor that God has given us and end up living a meaningless existence wallowing in our guilt when all we really need to do is to humbly come before our God - and He will return our armor and purpose.

I am sure Golden Compass author Philip Pullman would be pretty upset to hear the spiritual insight that I've gleamed from his story, but more on that in my next post.

The Golden Compass: What's The Big Deal? - pt. 1

This is part 1 of 3 in a series about the new movie "The Golden Compass" and the book series by Philip Pullman entitled "His Dark Materials." View part 2 or part 3

If you are not aware, a new movie called The Golden Compass came out yesterday, December 7. Just that morning, I had first heard of a controversy surrounding the movie. Christians are calling for a ban of The Golden Compass and thoughts of believer's reactions to the "Harry Potter" series and The DaVinci Code came to mind.

To be completely honest, we Christians made a big deal about The DaVinci Code. At Hannaford, we addressed on Sunday morning some of the untruths propagated by the film. But I found DaVinci to be a slow, uninspired film that was just kind of silly. Just because Dan Brown said some things about church history, doesn't make them true. The "Harry Potter" films, too, are fantasy and rather entertaining - but I do understand the concerns. In these cases, I think it is important to keep in mind the nature of our culture. We need to find a way to build a conversation with people about these issues and we may find that these controversies can help people actually come to know Jesus. We need to be known more for what we are for, than for what we are against. If you know me well, I firmly believe that Jesus longs for us to redeem culture by becoming part of the marketplace of ideas rather than withdrawing ourselves.

At the same time, if you know me, you also know I love movies. And more accurately, I love good storytelling - especially with the fantastic ability for movies to speak to our native language - the visual. I also enjoy identifying the story of Christ or elements of our faith in stories, even when the author/director/producer had no intention of revealing these elements. You can see this in my previous posts where I often explore faith at the movies.

With all this said, I had seen the trailers and was intrigued to see The Golden Compass yesterday. More on this in my next post.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Blogging With Worship Foundations

Perhaps you've heard of Worship Foundations International? My good friend Martin Allen is founder and president of WFI.From a practical perspective, WFI does some great work doing the following:
  • encouraging leaders in personal worship (mentoring)
  • equipping teams for corporate worship (training and coaching)
  • teaching churches about worship (teaching)
  • leading nations in new worship (leading)
I encourage you to check out the WFI website here, check out some of their work, to sign up on the (e)mailing list, and to check out some of the blog article we'll be posting. Our first one is already posted - "Worship IS about me." You can start reading it on the home page.

Powell Winter Photos 2007

With the new e|Photo Gallery, it's just about time for some new photos. So here they are! We've got an update of Winter photos from 2007. It includes school photos, Andrik's birthday, Halloween, Andrea's Festival of Trees photos, and a few more. There are at least three ways to view them now:

View the Picasa Slideshow (my recommendation)

Christmas Recap from 2006

As December is upon us, I just want to recap a couple of great Christmas posts from last year. Enjoy!
The Other Christmas Season - A funny video about "Black Friday."
The Anticipation & Hope of Christmas - A look at the season of Advent. We're lighting Advent candles again this year at church – same themes, different dates.

Andrik's 26 Seconds of Fame

I mentioned last school year that Andrik worked on a pretty big project for school. He made a report on the First Special Service Force (a.k.a. The Devil's Brigade). The culmination of his project resulted in him being able to "report" on the brigade as a video news reporter. We just got the DVD of him and all his classmate's reports. It is supposedly going to air on Montana PBS sometime. I stripped out Andrik's portion so you could see it. Here it is - his 26 seconds of fame!

Cultivating A Heart Of Thankfulness

From our Thanksgiving Evening Worship Service

Why is it important to cultivate a heart of thankfulness toward God? It's simple really. Psalm 100:4 says, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving..." In other words, gratitude is the gateway to worship. Worship begins by saying two simple words, "Thank You."

Giving thanks is a way for us to declare the glory of God, but it is not always easy. It reminds is that our lives are in someone else's hands - it keeps us in a heart posture of surrender and humility.

Cultivating a heart of thankfulness is really cultivating a heart of worship. It's about looking past the external and recognizing the ways in which God has revealed Himself to you in your life. How has He changed you? How has He given you strength? How has He given you hope? How many times has He forgiven you even though He looks deep into our hearts.

Pride and resentment cannot co-exist with gratitude. A resentful heart cannot say thank you for what it has been given, because it can only look at what it does not have. And therefore, a resentful heart cannot be a place of worship. So in order to be a worshiper of God, I MUST learn to say "thank you" and cultivate a heart that is fully alive with thankfulness. A heart that is focused on worship.

I encourage you to "insert your thanks here." Feel free to share your praises and thanks in the comments.

Consecration Writings Videos

As part of our Worship Dedication Service, we showed three videos. First, we showed our "Let The Walls Fall Down" video again. In the early stages of our Worship Center building expansion, we at Hannaford wrote our prayers, hopes, and scripture on the floors and walls - consecrating the building to God's purpose. We put together a collection of those writings and presented it in two videos; one before the service and one after. Here they are...



Our Dedication Service

It's been a few weeks since we had our dedication service for our newly expanded Worship Center at Hannaford, but I thought I'd share some of our service...

In 2 Chronicles starting in Chapter 5, we are told that King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel had gathered, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.

And after placing the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, the priests withdrew from the Holy Place. Then, all the Levites who were musicians stood to the side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. And they were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets.

The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever."

Songs: I Will Boast & Not To Us
All that we accomplish, all that we build, all that we do is to His glory. The glory is not to us, but boast only in our Lord God.

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple like a cloud. The priests were overwhelmed and could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it.

When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD (taken from 2 Chronicles 7).

Song: Your Glory
Your glory is in this place


Inspired by King Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6.

O LORD, our Father, There is no God like You in heaven or on earth – You who keep your covenant of love with us. You have kept your promise; with your mouth You have promised and with Your hand you have fulfilled it – as it is today.

And how can God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain You. How much less this building we have built! Because You sent Your Son Jesus, You hear from heaven; and when You hear, You forgive.

Now our God, may Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayers offered today. Arise, O LORD God, and come make Your presence known in our lives, and in this place. May we be clothed with salvation, and may we rejoice in your goodness. Let us not only dedicate this building today, but let us dedicate ourselves to Your purpose alone.

We pray this through the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Insights into King Solomon’s dedication of the temple from 2 Chronicles 4-7

1) We learn something about God's timing and faithfulness.
David had it in his heart to build the temple, but God said that he would not do it. But God did promise that David’s son Solomon would build the temple. We, too, wait on the timing of the Lord. It has taken a long time for all the phases of this building project to come to a close. But God is faithful. Likewise, we have written on the walls, the prayers and hopes that the Lord has laid on our hearts. Prayers for this church, our friends, and our families. God WILL be faithful in His time.

2) We learn something about a sacrifice of worship
Solomon and Israel sacrificed so many offerings at the dedication that it could not be counted. We, too, must make a sacrifice of worship. We sacrifice our time, efforts, and money in our worship - because worship is about giving, not receiving. We also sacrifice our personal preferences when we gather with other believers to worship - whether it be the songs we sing, the way we stand or sit, or whether we like the decorations or not. David said, I will not make a sacrifice to the Lord, that costs me nothing.

3) We learn something about God's presence
The priests withdrew from the Holy Place and could not perform their service, because the cloud - the glory of the LORD - the presence of the Lord - filled His temple. We, too, are blessed with the Lord's presence - His glory in this place. But too often we are like little children, fixated and delighted as we envision a place filled with presents (or gifts) from God. Too often, we are more excited about presents FROM God than we are about being in the presence OF God. Let us see this morning, how being in the presence of God - and touching His heart - is better than any gift we can receive from God.

Lord, let Your glory fall, as on that ancient day
Songs of enduring love, and then Your glory came

And as a sign to You, that we would love the same

Our hearts will sing that song, God let Your glory come

Voices in unison, giving You thanks and praise
Joined by the instruments, and then Your glory came

Your presence like a cloud, upon that ancient day

The priests were overwhelmed, because Your glory came

A sacrifice was made, and then Your fire came

They knelt upon the ground, and with one voice they praised

A sacrifice was made, and then Your fire came

They knelt upon the ground, and with one voice they praised

SONG: Lord Let Your Glory Fall
Bless this place and our lives as we live in Your presence. May we bow our hearts and praise You with ONE VOICE.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Story Are You Telling?

Thanks to Seth Godin who points us to this story about Apple. Apparently Apple is firing about 800 of it's employees for stealing - right before Christmas in the middle of it's biggest growth spurt ever.

Apple had given each of it's employees a free iPhone, but some greedy employees turned in a $100 credit offered for early buyers. Apple wasn't very happy about turning over almost $80,000 for employees who already got their phones for free.

Seth's point is this: Apple is sending a message about ethics. And we also communicate a message through every decision we make and action we take.

He's right! We ARE are always telling a story - whether you want to or not. As a worker, as a parent, as a Christian, or as a leader. What story are YOU telling?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"The Truth" Video

I've had a number of people comment on the the video we played in the service on Sunday, October 21. It is called "The Truth" and was produced by Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. The video can be viewed and purchased at here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Perfect Kid

Newspring Church in Anderson, South Carolina is one of those churches that seems to do just about everything right. They are seeing awesome life change in their community.

They are also one of those churches that are intentional and purposeful about answering the questions that society is asking. They plan out their message series a year in advance and start the creative process at least three months ahead of time. This allows their creative team to create supportive material that gets the message series remembered.

Here's a great example. It the trailer for their upcoming message series on parenting entitled "The Perfect Kid." This trailer cracks me up...

He's Everything!

Greg Atkinson posted this video from his church, Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX. He writes:

"I can’t help but cry every time I watch this video. I watch it again and again. Yes, I love the song (”Everything” by Lifehouse), but to see what Christ did for ME acted out is amazing. Watch it until the very end. It’s worth it… especially if you know the song. WOW - Did I mention I cried? Thank you Jesus for redeeming this life from destruction (Psalm 103)."

I agree.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Too Much On Your Plate?

Continuing the thoughts on information vs. transformation, knowing vs. doing, head vs. heart ... here's a great post from Travis Petty who is guest blogging for Craig Groeshel over at Swerve blog. About the "All You Can Eat Buffet," this is a very important post to digest. Click here for his post.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ring! Ring!

Something kind of weird happened Saturday night. My cell phone rang just before the boys' bedtime and it turned out to be a message with a sound file attached. The caller ID indicated was a local Montana number, but I didn't recognize it. I called it and got a voice mail message from someone I don't know. All I can figure out is that someone sent the file to the wrong number – MINE!

All of this story just leads up to this. The sound file turned out to be a ringtone that I find hilarious! We keep playing it over and over. Click the play button to hear it...

P.S. I think it sounds like Gollum from Lord Of The Rings.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

More Deep Thoughts :-)

I don't know if you've ever heard of Deep Thoughts from Saturday Night Live, but many of those crack me up. In fact, I get a new "Deep Thought" every time I open my browser on my iGoogle page.

The truth is, though, I'm in a contemplative mood tonight, so I wanted to share the impact some reading from around the web is having on me.

Craig apparently talked about "practical atheism" at the Buzz Conference. That is when we believe in God but we do life as if God doesn't exist. What I find scary about it is that I see it in the church (and especially in church leadership) all the time. Here are some of the defining characteristics:

1) We believe our effort is more important than God's power!
2) We believe our private life doesn't effect our public ministry.
3) We believe we must please people more than we must please God.

Mark writes: "One of lessons I've been learning is that nothing is more dangerous than praise from people. You have two options when people praise you: the praise can turn into pride or you can take the praise from people and praise God. And how you handle the praise will make you or break you."

As one who's calling is to lead people in praises of God, it is always a temptation to misuse and mishandle praise. Even further, we are accountable in not letting others misguide their praise away from the true Object of our praise.

I'm not called to be a Christian. I'm called to be Christlike. And those are very different things. And the more Christian and less Christlike we are ... the bigger turnoff it is.

Apple is committed to reaching people and so are churches. The question is, "who's doing a better job?" I have to believe that Apple is - and despite the failure of the contemporary church, God still wins people over.

But Tony Morgan asks the question, "What if Apple (or Starbucks, or Target, etc.) was committed to reaching people for Christ?" How would they do it? And finally, why aren't we?

I would propose that churches are not as successful or as committed as these secular companies because we are much too attached and comfortable with our man-made traditions that we are with the mission and purpose that Christ has set out for us. What do you think?


Are You A Coward?

I was reading a post over on Perry Noble's blog and it really got me thinking. Click here to go read it now. Perry basically wrote about a one-minute conversation he had nearly 8 years ago...

On August 10, 1999 I was having lunch with a mentor at Red Lobster and discussing with him that I really felt God was stirring me to do something; however, I THOUGHT of an option or two and informed my buddy of my incredibly safe plans.

He looked at me as I was eating a cheese biscuit and asked, “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?”

Without hesitation I answered, “I would start a church!”

He replied, “You are a coward if you don’t!”

My thought is this: God has a purpose for your life. And more specifically, He has planted something in your heart, that you can do for Him right now. So the question is, "Why don't you do it?"

Actually, that's what I'm asking myself right now. I know that God desires something specific from me - He's placed big dreams in my heart and I am constantly battling with them ... 1) Because I'm not quite exactly sure what I am supposed to do, and 2) I must be afraid. But the truth is exactly like Perry says, God has planned for me to offer something to Him that cannot fail!

I am still searching for what that "something" is. What I do know is this ... I am tired of church politics. I am tired of "playing" church. I am tired of the status quo. I am tired of doctrine without life and heart. Quite honestly, our time here is much too short to waste any energy on these things.

What does that all mean? I'm not sure. But I do know that I am tired of being a coward.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Defeating Discouragement 2007 Wrap-Up

The 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference wrapped up tonight. Wow! Each year, I am amazed at how God brings together complete strangers (except in Christ) and allows a cohesive theme to be communicated in a unified way.

This year was truly about "Defeating Discouragement." Dennis Lee is a gifted ventriloquist who is quite encouraging with his stories. Crawford Loritts spoke on Philippians 1 about having a Godly perspective and then having Godly pursuit. Matt Heard spoke in his three session from 2 Timothy 2:3-6; Defeating Discouragement ... as a Soldier ... as an Athlete ... and as a Farmer.

The conference ended tonight with Matt Heard's final encouragement to pastors (and others). It was related in a story about a missionary and his wife who had served translating in Africa.

Upon returning home to the U.S. after many years in the mission field they were on the same plane as President Roosevelt. There was a great greeting when the plane landed with people applauding and the band playing to celebrate the return of the President from Africa - but no one was there to greet the returning missionaries. After the President left, all the welcome party and the band left as well - and the missionaries were left alone. Quite discouraged that they had not received any recognition for returning home, God spoke to them a simple realization: "You are are not home, yet."

Matt then asked all the pastors and their wives to stand and he walked around the room telling each couple to their face, "You are not home, yet."

As we closed with Paul Baloche's Hosanna, I briefly explained the meaning behind this Hebrew term meaning "Save Us!" Hosanna is a call for help and it is what the people cried and sang as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey in the fashion of a king. The people wanted deliverance from the Roman oppression. Little did they know that he would die a criminal's death upon a cross by the end of the week. Their hope was crushed. They were discouraged. But the message was the same ... "You are not home, yet." God had a larger plan to not so much free us from physical oppression, but from spiritual oppression. So when we are discouraged, we can still cry "Hosanna! Christ Save Us!"

Hannaford Fall Conference 2007
& Worship Center
While I didn't find the opportunity to find someone to take photo this year, I snapped a few with my phone during our last speaker. Click on the photo to the left to go to the gallery. If we run across any others, I'll add them to the gallery.

The new sound and video systems worked pretty much glitch free - that is quite amazing since we really didn't get it up and running until the day before the conference. There are just a few more things to install and others to adjust before all will be considered done on the technical side. The new Worship Center also has several other important things to be finished. We still have not installed the furnace or air conditioning, for example.

We recorded all the sessions held in the main Worship Center. As soon as (and if) we get permission from the speakers, we'll post MP3s on the Hannaford site or make them available for order. I haven't checked yet, but we might have a sample of the worship as well.

I am very tired and sore (especially from my falling incident on the stairs - see EEK!). We've gotten very little sleep in the last four days, and the Powell's have had very little family time in the last three weeks. With all that said, we are all looking forward to a little normalcy right now.

Thank you, God, for a great conference experience this year ... and for everything else going on at Hannaford. I pray we stay focused on You in the expected lull after this great high.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Reflections - I Will Boast In The Lord

As I sit here with my computer on my lap, I am nearly nodding off. Whew! I am tired.

Today, we held our first worship service in the newly expanded Worship Center at Hannaford Street Bible Church. Today was also the first day of our 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference and Matt Heard from Woodmen Valley Chapel was our guest speaker. His message was titled "Defeating Discouragement ... as a Soldier." I feel like today was one of those amazing times when God brought everything together. Matt has been praying for our church since he last spoke here a couple of years ago. And his message reflected a lot of thought - not only about our theme, "Defeating Discouragement," but also in recognition of our first Sunday in the new room.

Matt basically shared how a new building such as ours can be a source of encouragement - but can also become a source of discouragement. As followers of Christ, we need to look at the differences between a resort and a soldiers barracks. Our building is not a resort - something that is to serve a simply a comfort for ourselves. It is a strategic tool in God's plan.

Our worship this Sunday opened of Paul Baloche's "I Will Boast" as a reminder that we do not boast of our own strengths and accomplishments, but in Christ and His power. We also sang Mike Hohnholz's "Your Glory" which has emerged as somewhat of a theme for our expansion - that His "glory will fill this place."

During our building, I have also been communicating the importance of community. Basically, we are more than a building, but a group of people, a family, the Body of Christ called to His mission and purpose. We continued the theme of community as well with a video "It Continues to Grow" and the song "The Lion & The Lamb" expressing the desire that every nation, tribe, and tongue come to know Christ.

I will simply say this. It was an awesome day! The band and singers were energetic. The sound system worked well - including the new subwoofers (although the room is too "live" acoustically - too much reverberation. The vocals seem to get lost in the low-mids - something we'll have to work out.). The lighting was great. The video went on without a hitch (using the new MediaShout software and electronic switching). In addition, we had our largest Sunday attendance around 550 compared to an average of this month of 430. I'm hoping someone got some pictures today so I can post them!

Hannaford Worship Center Update #9

This is my final Worship Center Update post. Let me just tell you that Friday and Saturday were insane.

On Friday, our sub-contractor finally came out for many of the finishing touches on the technical end. He soldered the connections on the floor pockets (48) and also reconnected 4 VGA connectors (no easy task). At the same time, I soldered a number of cables to prepare the audio rack for the hub (it contains the amps, EQs and what not - the "brain" of our sound system). The sound system got up and running, the lights got up and running, and the screen video system got up and running. The subcontractor, Andrea, and I were there until 2:30am Saturday morning.

After getting some sleep, we went down the next morning about 10am to get the stage working for a 2pm rehearsal. As suspected, we still hit several snags and didn't get rehearsing until 3:30pm. I was lacking sleep, highly stressed, and not a nice person on Saturday - I ended up making quite a few apologies.

After rehearsal, I had to wrap up some final audio routing in the sound booth. Then some more video routing to send signals to our foyer and overflow rooms. This included an 8pm run to Wal-Mart and ShopKo for more than $200 of s-video and audio cables.

Later, everything "magically" worked (props to our great God). As I stayed to clean and straighten up to get ready for Sunday Morning, Andrea took the kids home about 10pm to get them to bed. Apparently, the electricity was out in our block at home which also means we have no water pressure. So Andrea had to bring the kids BACK to the church for sponge baths.

While they were "cleaning up" I took a scary, head-first fall down the basement stairs under the stage trying to turn off an electrical breaker at the church (one of the items that did not come in was the relay to turn off the powered speakers on the ceiling). I had just turned on the light in the stair well, turned around to go down the steps and ... missed the first step. I took air! It was one of those moments where time seems to go in slow motion and as I was falling, the only thing I was thinking was, "I'm definitely going to break a bone here." While I am very sore and have several rug burns (from sliding down about 8 stairs), I seem to be okay. Praise God.

There were still several items that didn't come in on time, but nothing we couldn't work around. The sound system worked. The video system worked (in the Worship Center, foyer, and overflow). And the stage system worked. We got home and in bed by 1:30 Sunday Morning. The power and water were back on when we got up at 6am - another praise!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #8

We got approval from the city about 6pm last night to be in the new Worship Center this Sunday and for the conference. So after that, we spend a lot of last night moving things out of the Fellowship Hall into the new expansion. We moved chairs, sound equipment, instruments, music stands, mic stand, drums, etc.

Wow! the new expansion is looking awesome! I'll have to get a photo today - we were there last night until midnight.

There are still quite a few things to get working by Sunday. Please pray for us:
  • Sound system to be connected. A remote relay needs to be installed to turn on amps and speakers from the sound booth. It's something the sub-contractor needs to help with. Everything still needs to be connected in the sound booth.
  • Video system to come together. VGA video cables need to have ends re-attached. New equipment is supposed to arrive today. It all needs to be hooked up in the sound booth.
  • All the floor pockets need to have ends connected. It's also something the sub-contractor needs to help with. After that, we need to hook up all the instruments and mic on the stage.
One praise, the stage lights are now working properly. We had a problem where the lights were pulsating instead of dimming. our sub-contractor ended up switching out the circuit boards, but there was still a problem. It turned out to be a fuse that "almost" burned out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #7

Well, I've tried to spend some time in my office getting some of my "real" work done. It's been pretty fruitful, especially today.
  • I've pretty much finished designing the Fall Conference stuff like pastors' binders, name tags, and workshop signs. I've also made the order of worship and collected the music for the three services. I still need to prepare my music and plan the media in MediaShout (like PowerPoint).
  • We've also accomplished a few major tasks in the Worship Center. We mounted an ran wires for both the house speakers & projectors and the stage lighting is almost working.
  • Andrea's been busy, too, getting people help her make the church nice for the visiting pastors for the conference. She's been painting doors, the main sign up front, and entry way walls. Tonight, they mounted a big cross and some wreaths on the back wall of the stage. It looks nice.
There are still some concerns, though.
  • We had another city inspection today and have not yet gotten an okay for occupancy this Sunday.
  • While both the speakers and projectors are mounted, there are still some wiring issues our sub-contractor has to work out.
  • The lighting dimmers for the stage lights seem to have a circuit board problem and also needs to be fixed by our sub-contractor.
  • All the floor pockets still need to have ends soldered so it can connect to the sound booth.
  • I can't move any equipment we're moving in the Fellowship Hall until I know for sure we can use the Worship Center this Sunday. Once I can move it, there is a lot of setting up and wiring to do in the sound booth. I still have video equipment coming in Friday afternoon that will need to be hooked up, too
With all that is going on, I've been to Home Depot at least once a day for a week. Things are coming along, but it looks like the 12-hour days we've been putting in for the last two weeks are not over. It looks like a long weekend ahead.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #6

Here's an update on our progress for the projects I've worked on this weekend.
  • Soldered and installed wall plates for the subwoofers. On the right side of the stage I had to actually cut a hole through the wall and then place wiring track to cover the wire on the other side of the wall (the hub area).
  • Installed brackets in the hub area to hold all the wires coming from the sound booth, ceiling, and floor pockets. This group of wires coming down from the ceiling is about 2" in diameter and is rather heavy. The brackets re-routed where the wires were coming down and helped dissipate the weight from the conduit sticking out of the wall.
  • Began to terminate (solder connectors) to the remaining wires coming onto the sound booth from the hub. Routed them to the appropriate equipment. This included labeling the wirings, grouping them, and connecting them to equipment like the sound boards, light board, computers, etc.
There are still a number of projects that need to get done this week.
  • Terminate the wires (solder connectors) in the hub. This includes about 48 connectors from the floor pockets.
  • Get someone to re-solder and/or re-connect 5 VGA connectors
  • Mount and adjust the projectors as well as run wire and wire tracks along ceiling from the ceiling plates to the projectors (about 15').
  • Mount and adjust the house speakers as well as run wire and tracks also (about 10'). Still waiting for the clamps to correctly hang the speakers from the trusses.
  • Get someone to program and finish wiring the light dimmers.
  • Install a few more fixtures on the track lighting.
  • Correctly wire all the equipment in the sound booth together (no small task). Still waiting on some of the video equipment to come UPS.
  • Connect all the intersecting cables in the hub together.
Well, that's about it I guess. We have another inspection about mid-day on Wednesday. If all goes well, we will be in the Worship Center by the Hannaford Fall Conference which starts Sunday. (Oh yeah, I have to plan worship for that, too!) After the conference, I'll really feel like I need a vacation!

Sunday Reflections - Pie in the Face!

While Pastor Crosby spoke on prayer this week, I promised last week that God fulfills His promises.

Last week, I encouraged people to pray for everything to work out to allow us to be in the new Hannaford Worship Center this Sunday.

Knowing that we are to pray expecting that God has already fulfilled His promises, I said that I would take a pie to the face if we did NOT make it into the worship center.

Well, we did not make it. I know that God's timing is different than our timing, so He must have had a different timing in mind OR He just wanted to see me with pie on my face!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #5

Even though today is my day off, I was at church again today.
  • I was working on more materials for the upcoming 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference. I created name tags and began on the binders we give out to the attending pastors. Check out the graphic above.
  • Andrea and I created some promo material for a bulletin board. It show photos and bios of our keynote speakers.
  • Andrea did some gardening at the church and finished up painting the little hallway between the foyer and the new worship center.
  • Andrea and I had our weekly "date" lunch at Jade Garden. Mmmmmm!
  • The lighting dimmers got installed today.
  • I went to all five computer stores in town to find two 15-foot VGA cables.
  • I also created a table for people to submit their name in the drawing to put a pie in my face in one of our worship services on Sunday.
  • Finally, the family went to the movies to see Dragon Wars.
Oh yeah, I also took pictures and uploaded them today. Check out the photos here or view the slideshow here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #4

Here's a quick update for Thursday.
  • I spent most of the day planning worship for Sunday: Music, Charts, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Started on some conference material. I designed a Promo Slide, Posters, and Program Cover.
  • I also found a way to install Media Shout on the Worship Center computer.
  • We got some guys together in the evening to mount the speakers on the trusses on the ceiling. After working on it for a couple of hours, we determined we need a different plan. The clamps just aren't going to work.
  • I did solder up the wiring for the speakers, though.
  • We were able to mount the stage lighting, too (there were only 6).
  • Finally, I was able to snap a few photos. I hope to have them loaded here this weekend.
That's it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #3

I was hoping to get up to my office today, but spent most of the day in the Worship Center again.
  • I didn't get any photos yet
  • We got the projection screens mounted
  • I drilled holes in the sound booth shelf for cables
  • I mounted a handle for the removable floor panel in the sound booth
  • I moved some equipment into the sound booth. Hooked up the computer and tried to install our new presentation software - didn't install. I think the DVD is scratched
  • Got the sub-contractor to come by and talk to the electrician about the dimmer panels that control the stage lighting. He installed some ceiling plates for the speakers and projectors. He also dropped off some clamps to mount the lighting cans
  • We also passed the fire sprinkler test today
  • Andrea's also been doing some touch-up and trim painting around the church for the last few days
  • Did I mention that I've lost 8 lbs. in the last two weeks? More activity, less eating.
Tomorrow, I need to plan the worship for Sunday, prepare the media (PowerPoint), and begin on some of the conference materials. I'll probably be working though Friday and Saturday this week (my days off).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #2

I wrote this stuff in an email to our friend Gert, so I thought I'd pass it along...

The basic structure of the sound booth at church has not been coming together as quickly as we need, so yesterday and today I've been out of my element paneling the inside and installing kitchen counter tops as a shelf (with some help). I'm almost done, but I haven't had any chance to even "visit" my office.

I'd love to get some pictures out so I'll try to take some tomorrow.

Also, it turns out that there are still a number of things the city is requiring before we can hold worship services in there, so we will not be meeting in the Hannaford Worship Center expansion again this Sunday. We're hoping we can on the 23rd when the conference starts.

Here's one last thought I know you all will enjoy. I told everyone in our services last Sunday that if we were not in the new Worship Center next Sunday (this Sunday, September 16), I would take a pie to the face - we had just shown a video of it happening to a bunch of our youth. I'll be keeping my word, so it should be an interesting couple of services in the Fellowship Room this weekend!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #1

You might be wondering how Hannaford's Worship Center Expansion is coming. Well, first let me say that we will NOT be having our worship services in the Worship Center this Sunday, September 9 as we had hoped. There were just too many things to come together.

One of the major holdups that I have been dealing with are the technical details. Having to order nearly everything from out-of-state has been problematic to say the least. Another holdup is sub-contractors. The work just isn't getting completed soon enough. We are now shooting to be in there next Sunday, September 26. It would be really great if we could have at least one Sunday before the conference starting on the 23rd.

Here's some updates from my vantage point:
  • This week the carpet went in.
  • The trusses for lighting and speakers were completed and installed.
  • The floor pockets in the stage are nearly all soldered.
  • The soundbooth is coming along. It's done on the outside, but needs some paneling on the inside and the counter went in today.
  • Most of the wires from the ceiling, from under the stage, and from the soundbooth gather in an area behind the stage that we call "the hub." All those wires (nearly 60 connections) still need to be terminated (the ends soldered on).
  • Most of the equipment has been delivered including projectors, speakers, soundboards (see photo), lightboards, and stage lighting.
  • We are still waiting for video switching equipment, stage light dimmers, and various clamps to mount lighting and speakers.
  • We are also waiting for the A/C, furnace, fire sprinklers, track lighting, and various electrical to be finished.
  • Finally, we still have all the city inspections to take place for approval to occupy the building.
For my sanity, it would be great if you could pray for things to come together this week so that I can start to concentrate more on the worship life of our church. When big projects like this come up and take my attention, I always feel that the worship suffers.

A Giant Tree!

As we are working full steam on finishing up the Worship Center Expansion, I am realizing that the 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference is in two weeks.

Last year, a major visual theme of the conference was a door to symbolize "Rediscovering Hope: Encouragement for life & Ministry." We built a mock door on the stage and used doors & doorknobs in our materials. I took notice when I came across this picture from Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. That door is huge! Keep in mind that the guy is probably about 6 foot.

This year our theme is "Defeating Discouragement: Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow." The symbol which has emerged to represent hope and strength is a tree. I was thinking, how cool would it be to be able to build, project, or create a big tree on the stage for the conference.

Does anyone have any good ideas on how to do this? In just two weeks?

I Believe In Vision

You may have heard me say that I believe strongly in having a vision - God's vision. While I may not talk a lot about "vision" at Hannaford, I definitely try to cast vision with every thing I say and do. I came across these great truths about vision from Tony Morgan.
  • Vision is what distinguishes one organization from the next. Both may be great organizations. They just have unique visions.
  • If you grow, eventually, someone will try to shift the vision in a different direction. That's a guarantee.
  • People need to be reminded frequently of what the vision is and where you're going next.
  • Sometimes you have to confront people and their agenda when it's not in line with the vision. Doesn't necessarily mean their agenda is wrong. Just means it's not your vision.
  • Sometimes you have to ask a leader to step down if they can't fully support the vision. Doesn't mean they're not a good leader. Just means they're not your leader.
  • The vision needs to be big enough to capture the hearts of leaders.
  • The vision rarely changes, but the immediate objectives for accomplishing the vision must constantly be defined.
  • Vision unifies.
So here's my point. If vision is so important (and I believe it is), what is our vision at Hananford?

Let me know your answers and responses in the comments.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Good Reading Around The Web

Here are some things I read this week that stretched my brain. Check them out!

Dan Kimball writes about The Fascinating Matisyahu. Haven't heard of him? He is a Hasidic Jew with a reggae rap music career. I have to agree with Kimball who saw him in concert, Matisyahu IS facinating. Read more from Kimball here. Check out Matisyahu's site here.

Mark Batterson writes about the Elder Brother Spirit - do you have it? In other words, "if the younger brother had run into his elder brother first he would have never made it inside the house!" Read Batterson's post here.

Seth Godin writes about The Galapagos Post Office. I think this article is the most interesting of the three. I'm not sure what to make of the story, but I know it has some deeper implications.

Well, that's it for now.