Saturday, February 24, 2007

Will You Be Missed?

In his blog, marketing guru Seth Godin asks the question, "Will You Be Missed?" Here's what he writes:

"Tower Records is gone. I used to go there almost every day when I lived in Greenwich Village. I haven't been in more than five years--pretty much since I started buying just about everything at Amazon. Obviously, I won't miss it.

I haven't been inside a bank in nearly as long. Why would I? The ATM is closer, faster and easier.

I haven't read the classified ads in the paper in five years either.

None of these three activities were ever particularly emotionally heartwarming. And now that they're gone, I don't miss them.

So, here's the question: When you're gone, will they miss what you do? It's not too late to change the answer..."

I can't help apply most of what he writes directly to the church.

First, what does the church do right now that is obsolete. As times change, are we still finding ways to connect to people and culture?

Second, if your church was gone tomorrow, would anyone miss it? Who? Your congregation? Your community? Your neighborhood?

If we are called to make an impact on this world by being salt and light, it is a sad thought to think that most people wouldn't even notice if we were gone.

Beatboxing With A Twist

If you have been watching American Idol this season, you no doubt heard contestant Blake Lewis who beatboxes and sings. I've got to say, I was pretty impressed with his contribution to this group performance. It turns out he's a great singer, too!

So I came across this video from YouTube - "Beatboxing flute player Greg Pattillo plays the theme to Inspector Gadget with a twist..." I've never seen anything like it. Amazing!

Gender Differences

Here's some statements about the differences between men and women.
  • A man will pay $20 for a $10 item he wants. A woman will pay $10 for a $20 item that she doesn't want.
  • The average man has four items in his bathroom--a toothbrush, an electric razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Holiday Inn. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 437. The average man is able to identify four of those items!
  • A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
  • A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.
  • If Emma, Suzanne, Debra and Michelle go out for lunch, they will call each other Emma, Suzanne, Debra and Michelle. But if Mike, Phil, Rob, and Jack go out for lunch, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut Head and Useless.
  • Women love cats. Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.
And just to make sure that I offend both genders...
  • Guys, do you know the difference between women and terrorists? Terrorists negotiate.
  • Ladies, do you know the difference between men and government bonds? Bonds mature.
Taken from Mark Batterson's blog here.

I'm Not Surprised

Seth Godin, marketing guru, has a short article on how word-of-mouth spreads. You can find it here...

He writes, "But if you want the word to spread, if you expect me to take action I've never taken before, it seems to me that you need to do something that hasn't been done before. It might not feel safe, but if you do the safe thing, I guarantee you won't surprise anyone. And if you don't surprise anyone, the word isn't going to spread."

Apply this to the church and the unsaved. When they visit your church, do you think they are surprised (in a good way)? For a majority of churches, I bet they are not.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quotable Quips - Full of Grace and Truth

"Grace means I'll love you no matter what. Truth means I'll be honest no matter what. Grace without truth is weak and shallow! Truth without grace is counter-productive. But grace and truth is a Christlike combo that will impact people!"

Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC, and author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. As quoted from his blog (February 20, 2007)

John 1:14 says "Jesus was full of grace and truth." I agree with Mark; it is a dynamic and powerful combo!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

An EPIC Offering

I'm reading through a new book: Leonard Sweet's The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living Life With A Grande Passion. I'm only about halfway through the book, but it is great! Sweet is focuses on living an E.P.I.C. life (Experience, Participation, Imagery, and Connection). I'll give you the whole low-down when I finish.

For now, let's focus on the "I" in E.P.I.C. and check out some new imagery I've loaded into the e|Photos gallery. The first group contains some miscellaneous stuff from throughout the 2006 year. The second group contains photos and videos of Kellin's recent 7th birthday. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Nubby" No More...

Just an update on my doctor appointment...

I was really working myself up over the procedure - I was pretty anxious over it. The low-down: The needle to my lip was the worst part. It was a bit worse than most shots I've had, but still something I could live through :-)

After the Novocaine, I couldn't feel a thing in or on my lip. It was great! It didn't bleed much, the doctor cauterized it, and then I went back to work...all of me except my "nubby" (that's what I've been calling it).

Anyway, three days later and I haven't felt any pain. My lip is almost healed. On a related note, the "nubby" is going to analyzed at the lab for anything unusual. I think it will be fine, but you can pray a quick prayer that it is.

UPDATE: The labs came back. It's just scar tissue, no cancer.

Click on the photos for a larger view...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Surgery Tomorrow?

Okay, I'm not really sure it qualifies for surgery, but tomorrow I have to go into the doctor's to get a "growth" removed. I'm not really happy about it, but it has to be done. I'm getting more and more anxious as my appointment approaches.

I guess it's not a really big deal, but it's not something I'm used to getting done and it's in a really sensitive area - my upper lip (see white dot on lip in photo - click on it for a larger view - and yes, I know it's a hideous photo).

Anyway, the doctor said it will hurt (couldn't he have just lied?), but it will heal quickly. We'll see. Please pray for me, I'm kind of a wuss about these things.

Photos from the New Year

Just a quick note to let you know we have a few new photos available in the ePhotos Gallery. They are just some photos from our trip to California and back in early January as well as one or two others. Also, don't forget to check out our new featured photo (see top right of page) - kinda weird!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Superbowl Double-Standard

In recent years, Superbowl parties at churches have become a big thing. Families can get together, watch the game on a big screen, and have great snacks. Everything you can do at a sports bar, right? Well, not really. How about the kids? Have you dragged the kids down to the bar lately?

Anyway, I've recently heard that NFL lawers are now "warning" churches against these type of parties. It's their "interpretation" of copyright law that forbids gatherings to watch the Superbowl on screens larger that 55 inches. In fact, they have specific rules regarding these viewing parties.
  • No admission fees (even to pay for snacks).
  • Only one television (55 inches or smaller).
  • No use of the words "Super Bowl" in promotional materials.
  • No exhibition of the game in connection with events "that promote a message."
Here's the double-standard. The NFL makes an "exception" for sports bars and businesses that regularly show televised sports. What's with that? Also, what's with the restriction on "promoting a message?" Both Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith are Christians and have publicly shared their testimonies on several occasions.

I don't know, but this whole issue ticks me off! The NFL has really lost my respect.

Grandparents in the Church

As you may know, I am a great fan of postmodern thinker Leonard Sweet. I've read four books of his (Aqua Church, Carpe MaƱana, Jesus Drives Me Crazy, and Out of the Question...Into the Mystery), and each made an immense impact on my life and ministry.

When I re-read his books, I am astounded by the profoundness of some of his statements. He recently shared this quote at a Pastor's Roundtable:

"Ask the grandparents in your church: how many of you would lay down your life for your grandchildren? Every grandparent will raise their hand. Then ask them: how many of you would lay down your musical preferences for your grandchildren?"

To tell you the truth, there may not be much difference between the two questions. Thanks to Mark Batterson for this and a few other "Sweetisms."

Setting Expectations

I came across an interesting post about setting expectations from marketing guru Seth Godin. Reading the story in the article, I know the point (the lesson) applies to churches as well.

I just remember the time my last church did a great Harvest Festival. We invited people who lived in the neighborhood close to the church. It was such a great "alternative" to trick-or-treating that people (from the neighborhood) actually went back to their neighbors and brought them. We heard comments like, "I've lived here for XX years and I've never been invited to your church."

Unfortunately, we didn't follow through. Because we didn't see a considerable increase in worship the next Sunday, the Harvest Festival was deemed a flop. But my thoughts go back to those that were "introduced" to our church. All of a sudden, we were "on their radar."

We did not have the same scale of event the next year. I can only think what our "neighbors" thought after that. We raised their expectations, but then we didn't follow through. They must have thought it was a fluke. It was.

Anyway, you can find the story here.