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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Coffee and Christ

About 4 years ago I started reading Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. Then I got busy and forgot about it until I was on my way to the swimming pool with my family and needed something to read. I found my book, page still marked where I left off, so I started reading it again. A great book and a good look at the mind of a CEO starting a company. I found the following passage very interesting.

Think of coffee as a music CD. You can listen to it in a special listening room that you designed especialy for the purpose in the basement of your home, where there are no distractions, where you can put the headphones and really listen for the string section or the oboes or try to hear every little click of every fingernail on Eric Clapton's guitar. Or you could put it in the stereo of a car, roll all the windows down , and scream and shout. The music is the same, the application is different.

As long as we remain respectful of our core product, as long as our customers can come into any Starbucks and buy the greatest coffee in the world, as long as we bring the same pursuit of quality to our new products, then we can feel comfortable offering customers different ways of enjoying our coffee. Options like these help introduce a far wider range of people to Starbucks coffee. And that, after all, is our abiding mission.

Now read it again and substitute Christ for coffee and your church's name for Starbucks.
I think it's a lesson some could stand to learn.

What's a BIG church

I found this article kind of interesting.


We always think of big churches as being Saddleback or Willow Creek maybe the smiling pastor at Lakewood. And if we are really informed about large churches we have to referfence Yonggi Cho as having the largest church, but has anyone even heard of the next 9 on this list of 10 biggest churches in the world?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Anyone approximately my age (31) who went to Sunday School as a small child remembers the excitement and thrill of flannelgraphs. Those cute little pieces of fabric that were so creatively used to illustrate the wisdom of the Bible to us.

If only I were a kid today. The Brick Testament has illustrated the Bible using Legos. Now how cool is that? Be cautious, the Bible is a rather racy book and each illustration is labled with a rating scheme like TV shows. N=nudity, S=sexual content, V=violence, C=cursing.
Seriously - they are, but also seriously - they're Legos, so don't get all offended til you see it.

Thanks Brian for the link.

"Any publicity is good publicity"

Never one to back down from any challenge, I decided to use my creative genius qualities to persue one of the greatest recent challenges I have been given.

Completing my task was partially motivated by the knowledge that I would gain at least some promotion from my friend Scott's website, but I'll take whatever promotion I can get.

At any rate the task was completed and I'm so proud, but not satisfied. I'm thinking a paint stirer and a 2 liter bottle next. I could market it to Sam's and call it the Family Dewsicle. A picture of mom, dad and 2 little kids licking away on the Dewsicle at the same time would be on the box. What do you think?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What's that smell?

I hate parking tickets as much as the next guy, but come on... this just stinks. Pun intended.

Article here reported by the Burlington Hawkeye, a local paper about 25 miles east of us about a man from a town about 25 miles south east of us, who decided to pay his ticket with feces encrusted money.

By-lines for the article could have been
"After frustration with parking authority, man decided not to put his money where his mouth is"
"Man says my ticket is crap... and so is this"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse

Lots of scandal among churches in the last several years. Catholic priests, Christian school teachers and even further back if you count Bakker and Swaggart.

But this??? Wow - Even God has to be saying, "okay listen that's just a little freaky - you're scaring me now."

Read the article

Hypocritical - who us?

Recent polling data from Gallup showed that of 1000 Americans, 42% labeled themselves "born-again" or "evangelical" however another poll of 1000 Americans showed that only 22% hold to core beliefs of their faith. (article link)

The beliefs in question were:
  1. Engage in evangelism
  2. Underwent a born again experience
  3. Believe the bible is the actual word of God

So if I'm to understand this it would be comparable to 420 out of 1000 Americans say they are Ney York Yankee fans, but only 220 out of 1000 Americans say they have ever watched a game, talked about a game with friends, or even really believe that the Yankees are worth watching. If 1 out of every 2 Yankee fans you met were this way, I probably wouldn't want to be associated with the Yankees.

Perhaps this quote sums it all up

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

-- Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 20, 2005

Weekly Poll Results

[tap - tap - tap] "Hello - is this thing on?"

Obviously I'm paying for my almost 2 and a half week hiatus from consistent blogging and my faitful readers have revolted against me and quit voting on my weekly polls, so just for kicks, I'm leaving it up... until I think of a better question.

As of now the results are staggaring.

2 people "Don't really get it. What's the big deal"
1 person "I can't stand all the emotional hype and hankerchief waving"

What's even more depressing is I voted, so only 2 people actually voted.

Worse yet - my wife was one of the other two. Drat! I'm such a looser!

I promise, this week will be filled with lots of great blogging. I've already got 4 great posts lined up. (my lame attempt at regaining the masses - no one is below begging -not even me)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Woo Hoo - and thanks Barb

No sooner had I clicked "Publish Post" and was waiting for my admission of lack of responsibility to post did Barb walk in with my planner in hand and tell me she found it in the multi-purpose room.

THANK YOU BARB - Even though she doesn't read this blog, I'll still thank her.

Glad to know I only temporarly misplaced my planner. Whether or not I've lost my mind... what do you think?

I'll Admit it... I've Lost It

Okay, now that all of you have finished with the "I could have told you that a long time ago", let me continue...

Oh wait - one more... there now we're all done.

Let me correct you, I haven't lost my mind like many of you think... That question is still out for debate. I have lost my planner. AAArgh. What am I going to do?
I had it Monday, I remember walking out of my office with it and my Bible, placing them on the front row for that night's meetings, but then it's gone. At least I think I remember putting it there. Didn't I put it there? Maybe I am losing my mind.

Anyone else ever lose their planner? What did you do?
Keys are one thing, but my planner is sort of my life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Track Your Spending

Sunday I was with the ushers sifting the offering when I came across a dollar bill with a little red stamp on it. You see all kinds of things written on money when going through the offering, but this one caught my eye for some reason. The stamp read "Track this Bill www.wheresgeorge.com" I had to check it out. Here's what I found.

You go to the web site and enter in the serial number and year of the bill and it will show you where the bill has traveled, provided someone else has entered in information about the same bill. Of course the stamp on this dollar bill pretty much ensured that it was already being tracked.

My bill started in Macedon, NY and then went to Buffalo, NY before ending up in Mt. Pleasant. It even lets you comment, so for example I know that while in Buffalo, the person got it as change for buying nachos as the HSBC arena.

Kind of cool. Kind of lame. But if everyone in the world did it... maybe it's a shadow government conspiracy to obtain our DNA.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Michael Jackson - Blah - Blah - Blah

I haven't watched more than 45 minutes of TV this week because of my busy schedule, so when I finally catch a few minutes of comfort with the remote last night what do I see???
Some stupid talking head rambling on about Michael Jackson being innocent.

Honestly, after OJ did any of us really think he's going to be guilty?
I'd make it my weekly poll subject, but my standards are higher than that.

Instead I'm giving you this great link to a couple of Jackson games and photos. (they aren't that much higher)

A photographic history of Jackson's face

Michael Jackson is coming to town video

Fix Michael's face game

Monday, June 13, 2005

Camp Meeting Plus Name Dropping

Well it's June again, so that means it's time for our church's camp meeting. I've never been a traditional fan of any camp meeting, but I do my part and make it all work. In addition to the usual hustle and bustle of any camp meeting it's our church's 25th year anniversary, so that adds a different element to the whole scheme of things.

I spent almost 35 hours last week shooting and editing 3 videos to air during our services this week recapping the past 25 years of the church and then looking into the next 25 years. Kind of fun, but way too time consuming. I have decided that if Hollywood were to call and offer me a job as a video editory, I'd probably take it... if it paid a ton of money of course.

Then every night, beginning Sunday and finishing Wednesday, not only is there a 2 hour service in the evenings, but also a "special" meal afterwards for the guest speakers and staff. In the past it's been allright. We've had some pseudo-big names. Charles Nieman, Brian Zahnd, Tim Story, or Hilton Sutton for example. These guys are pretty neat to sit around and listen to their stories over dinner, but this year since it's our anniversary we brought back the original pastor Gary Crowl (dean of Rhema) and then the original assistant pastor. Totally understandable for the theme and nostalgia, but big time let down for the conversation. Lots of reminiscing that I am clueless about since I've lived here under 3 years. Oh well, we had a great banana cream pie for dessert. What else can I ask for?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I read an interesting article at Workforce Management by E.L. Kersten, author of The Art of Demotivation and creator of my favorite posters. I particularly liked it because of it's sarcastic tone which it is written.

The outline is this:
To have a workforce completely demotivated, you have to follow these guidelines about your company's core values.
  1. The development of your company’s core values should be outsourced to consultants.
  2. Core values should not be anchored to any transcendent social values.
  3. Core values should be stated as ambiguously as possible.
  4. values should be inconsistent with your strategic market focus.
  5. One or more values should be anchored to objectives over which the employee has little control.
  6. At least one of your core values should be employee-oriented.

I've worked for places like this many years ago. Thank God I'm not there any more.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Open the vent and let some air out

Well it's heating up around here in Pleasantville, IA. We gave in and turned on the air, opened the vents and let some air out. About the same time, I realized I needed to do the same thing in my own personal life... so here goes. Open the Vent and hang on.

Needless to say, my life has been stressed. Not just "oh I have a big project due next week" more like I could care less about the big project and am just thinking I should start a petition for a national bring your gun to work week.

I've been dealing fairly well with the whole situation(s) despite the common no one to talk to problem. (fortuantely it's been about a week since anyone has read my blog, so my ranting will be still fairly anonymous)

Then the straw comes, you know the straw... the one that broke the camel's back. I come home from a much needed stress releasing jog when I'm met by my neighbor who, while I'm still in that quasi-nauxious stage of post-jogging, begins to lecture me on the neighborhood ettiquite of burning your grass clippings. Here in pleasantville they don't care if you burn your trash and the EPA probably doesn't know our town exists so we all burn. Anyway, the normally friendly guy snobs me and gives me the "my house and Tracy's house smelled all day, maybe you should... blah, blah ,blah"

Anyone want to direct me to the nearest way out of Pleasantville or where I can find a gun with the serial number filed off???

Close the vent and resume normal air flow - thank you.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I've noticed a trend lately. I'm not sure of the cause, but I can definately see the effect.
The trend is that no one is posting messages, visiting blogs or even blogging that much anymore.

My stat tracker numbers are down a little over the last few weeks.
Others aren't blogging as often. Instead of 4-5 times a week religiously, it's more like 2-3 times.

I'd ask if there are any thoughts about this recent trend, but since hardly anyone is reading or commenting anywhere it probably doesn't matter.

Maybe it's a new blogging abstinence policy.