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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great quote










“If you think that the gathering of biblical facts and standing up with a Bible in your hand will automatically equip you to communicate well, you are deeply mistaken. You must work at being interesting. Boredom is a gross violation. Being dull is a grave offense. Irrelevance is a disgrace to the Gospel. Too often these three crimes go unpunished and we preachers are the criminals.”


- Chuck Swindoll

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Apple's Success












In Fortune's article on, "America's Most Admired Companies" (3/19/07), where Apple placed number seven on the list, Jerry Useem wrote that while Saks delivers $362/sq. ft. per year and Best Buy delivers $930/sq. ft. per year and Tiffany delivers $2,666/sq. ft. per year, Apple delivers a whopping $4,032/sq. ft. per year (or over 10 times Saks, over four times Best Buy and over 1. 5 times Tiffany's sq. ft. numbers). That's outstanding! In fact, it's remarkable. So what's behind those numbers?
  1. They own the value of design. You can't look at an Apple Store and think it's like any other store. You can't help but be drawn in by the sheer beauty of an Apple store.
  2. They own the value of testing. Before they ever built a store, they built a prototype in a warehouse. Why? So they could experience what the experience would be for a customer. One of the things they observed is that they had created a store that fit their product lines, but didn't reflect how their customers used their computers (i.e as a digital hub). So they completely reworked their layout to fit with how their customers actually used their products (what a novel idea). In other words, they learned to sell, not the machine, but what their customers could do with the machine. And though this redesign cost them six to nine months before market, they clearly believe it was worth the wait.
  3. They own the value of simplicity. Rather than overwhelm customers with shelves stocked with lots of "product", they only stock a small number of items and they only put a few "samples" of each item out at a time. This leaves their stores looking clean and easily accessible.
  4. They own the value of service. Stories about Apple's Genius bars are legion, but what drove Apple to create them was their desire to offer "concierge level service" in a retail establishment - where their "geniuses" weren't trying to sell something, rather they were just trying to dispense advice (i.e. service).
  5. They own the value of excellence. As one of the suppliers for Apple Stores said, "Were used to working on projects with high standards. But with Apple Stores, everything is a few notches above."
  6. They own the value of customer accessibility. In order to get people to switch from a PC to a Mac, they knew that people wouldn't travel out of their way to venture into an Apple Store. Therefore Apple has worked to strategically place their stores in locations where their potential switchers might be located.
  7. They own the value of customer experience. You can't visit an Apple store without realizing that the customer comes first at Apple.
Read the entire article from Bruce D. Johnson HERE.

HT: BruceDJohnson.net


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Friday, September 28, 2007

Prayer for the Day












A Franciscan benediction:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

HT: LifeChurch.tv via Perry Noble dot com


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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Video of the Day

I saw these guys in Nashville a few years back in what may have been their first public performance as Mute Math.

This video is unbelievable. I wonder what it was like to have been at the taping. And how do you learn to move your mouth so that it looks like you're saying something when it's played backwards.

Amazing!



HT: The Learning Curve via Ethos


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What the...?

I just logged off my blog. Now I am trying to log on and I am getting this error:




















LAME!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm Simpsonized



























Pretty close...

HT: Big T-Licious Speaks

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why the Hiatus? (Part 1)

















Up until late last week, my blogging was pretty spotty for a couple of months. Part of that was some great vacations that I was able to take with the whole family and some great friends (1, 2) and with the two blonde boys. Did I mention that it poured rain, there was some wrestling, and the youngest blonde boy caught his first fish?

Part of it was just plain W-O-R-K. I think I worked just about every day from the end of July until to 16th of September (except for Labor Day).

So what was I working on? Here is some of it...


MEN'S BROCHURE

OK... before you think I'm just whining about doing my job, the "Why the Hiatus" stuff is all over-and-above my regular 50+ hour-a-week job. So I'm not whining.... OK... maybe just a a little bit.

I developed this brochure for our Men's Retreat (Summit) we are having this fall. Our Adult Ministries Pastor give me a rough shell, but I was feeling pretty uninspired until - BAM - I got the idea for this tri-fold brochure that we sent out to have professionally printed.

And let me take a minute to give a plug for the place that has been doing out stuff, 48HourPrint.com. They do great work, and the turn-around time is fantastic. Check them out.

















(Click to enlarge)



















(Click to enlarge)


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Volume: Part Deux


















Here are some great insights from Perry Noble about the worship volume wars:
I have made it a point on this blog to say that I have given up visiting the sites of certain “watchdog” Christian organizations…now it seems I am going to have to give up something else…Christian talk radio! (With the exception of Tony Beam and Dave Ramsey!)

I was driving home the other day and was listening to an interview with a pretty popular fellow in Christian circles–he was being asked about worship and he said, “I am not trying to be a cantankerous old man, and I have thought about it…and I just don’t see how someone can truly worship God with a booming sound system.”

I nearly ran off the road! I could not believe my ears…and he went on to say, “We have forgotten how to worship God with hymns–we need to bring them back–that is true worship…not some of these modern praise choruses that simply repeat themselves.”

It has taken me several days to calm down about this dudes comments…and I have several thoughts concerning his opinion…

#1 - Is there one particular worship style that can be dictated to everyone?

When he made his comment about the worship and sound system I said out loud, “Who in the heck are you to mandate how I worship?” I have literally been moved to tears in our worship services before and have experienced the presence of God in ways that I can’t even describe–and yes, the sound system was BOOMING!

Different worship styles work for different people–and all of them are necessary! And just because something doesn’t particularly fit with my methodology doesn’t mean that it is wrong!

#2 - What did the early church do before hymns?

Seriously, if hymns are the only true way to worship–then how in the world did people worship for the first 1500 years of Christianity? I mean, heck, they didn’t have a book where they could sing hundreds of songs–1st, 2nd and last verse only!

#3 - Is it wrong for a song to repeat itself?

As I read the book of Revelation the angels seem to be pretty obsessed with singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Do they have it wrong? In Psalm 136 the writer seems to be overly obsessed with, “His love endures forever!” I guess this guy from the radio show can inform the Holy Spirit inspired author when he gets to heaven that something like this is just a little too emotional!

#4 - Is it wrong for music to be loud?

In reading Scripture I see many occasions in the OT where the Bible says that the sounds of the celebrations were heard far away! I also see David (a man after God’s own heart) saying in the psalms to worship the Lord with drums and cymbals (both of which are loud!) In Revelation 7:9-10 we are told that the singing in heaven is going to be loud! I think its time the church STOPPED looking like a funeral parlor and started acting like the tomb is EMPTY!

#5 - Is innovation right for one generation only?

As I listened to this guy I could not help but think about recent church history. In the 1970’s and early 80’s one of the most innovative things a growing church could do was to have an orchestra. AND for some churches–THIS WAS A BATTLE! Seriously–churches split over this very issue–some people were so offended that ANY instrument other than a piano or organ (neither of which are in Scripture for the true literalist out there) would be on stage.

These guys fought that fight–they stood for “innovation,” yet they are the ones who seem to be most resistant to it today! (This really challenges me to embrace the next generation!)

Go back a little further in church history–when churches first began introducing piano’s in the worship services it was considered “worldly” and “sinful,” today it is common. Once again people fought that fight–at one time it was new and innovative.

Heck, many of the hymns were actually bar tunes rewritten with Christ centered lyrics to minister to those far away from God. The “Christians” of the day were most likely turned off by the way people tried to reach out “to those pagans.” NOW it is common!

It seems to me that those who fought the fight in their lifetime would actually embrace those who are thinking of fresh ways to carry Christ to the world–not resist them.

Just my two cents…
Thanks, Perry!

HT: Perry Noble dot com via Rich Kirkpatrick's Weblog


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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sorrry Kid... You're Just Too Damn Loud!

















One of my favorite scenes from "Back to the Future" is right at the beginning of the movie when Marty is auditioning with his band for the school talent show. After playing a rendition of Huey Lewis & the News' "The Power of Love" (or was it "Back in Time"?) the camera pans to the judges' table, then to one of the judges (played by none other than Huey Lewis) looks at Marty and says:

"Sorry, kid... it's just to damn loud."

If you are in music - especially church music - especially church music at a church that is doing "contemporary" music - it is likely you've been told something like that (or maybe exactly that).

This Sunday was a loud one at our church. Too loud, in fact. Some of that was due the nature of the music we were doing (very celebratory/up/contemporary). Some of it was due to the fact that we had a lot of energy on stage because of the personnel who were there. Some of it was due to the nature of the morning: we were celebrating our church's 20th birthday.

But most of it was due to the fact that the sound guys had it turned up a little too hot.

You know what? That's gonna happen. There's going to be loud mornings... and too warm or cold mornings... and bad sermon mornings. We're never going to bat 1000.

The problem I have is when people equate "soft music" with "more spiritual." Or a particular style of music or kind of song with being more spiritual than another kind of music or song.

We are unashamedly a "contemporary church" and we do "contemporary music." That means we play what is contemporary now... not 20 years ago. "Contemporary" will always be a moving target. And it will always frustrate people.

There's no such thing as a happy medium. That's just a concept to make the person who suggests we look for a happy medium feel better. No matter what you do, you will always frustrate someone. Doing it one way means you're not doing it another way. The people who liek the other way will be frustrated that you are not doing it their way. And when you change, it will tick off the first group. And the middle will just bug them both.

If there's one thing I've learned in 20+ years of music ministry, it's that music is a very personal and emotional thing. People hold tightly to that which they love. I do the same thing! One of the challenges I have is to stay contemporary and not fall into the rut of what I like.

I hope that I have the opportunity to live into my 80's and attend a contemporary church so that I can have a meeting with the worship leader and remind him to keep reaching the younger generations with "their" music. We had our day... now it's their turn (I actually had an 80 year old man tell me that once... it was cool). I'll also tell them that if any of the older crowd gives them a hard time to let me know so I can set them straight.

Say it with me, class: "Less Volume is not More Spiritual."


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

The 10 Commandments of Worship












With correct theology as a key theme at this summer’s LifeWay Worship Conference, Denver pastor Jim Shaddix challenged participants with his “top 10 Commandments” for setting a theology of music in worship.

1. Thou shalt worship God, not worship worship.

“We are a people of extremes and we have a hard time maintaining a biblical balance,” Shaddix said. “A long time ago, people were nervous about the charismatic movement, so worship services became like funeral services. Now the pendulum has swung all the way to the other side and we have hand raising and clapping but lyrics without correct theology. In the revival of worship and the reaction of what we’ve seen, our focus is on the style rather than the object of our worship — God.”

2. Thou shalt worship as a lifestyle and not as a music style.

“If there is a disconnect in what happens at the church event and what is happening in people’s daily lives, there is a problem,” Shaddix said. “That needs to be more important than if people are singing on the right key.”

3. Thou shalt make the Divine Seeker comfortable first and foremost.

Shaddix warned about trying to make seekers comfortable first and foremost rather than God, who seeks after non-Christians. Citing 1 Corinthians 14:23-25, Shaddix noted, “If the presence of God is thick in a place and His Word is communicated clearly, seekers will be transformed.”

4. Thou shalt use music as a sacrifice of praise, not as a synonym for worship.

Shaddix challenged today’s definition of worship as music only. Worship should include preaching and not be limited to music alone.

5. Thou shalt be theologically equipped.

As a former professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Shaddix shared his conviction that seminaries tend to give the impression that the study of theology is less important for those serving as ministers of music rather than senior pastors. “We’ve compartmentalized theological education and raised worship leaders to believe it isn’t important to know theology. Therefore they aren’t able to filter out songs that don’t accurately represent God.” He encouraged worship leaders to pursue the study of theology in addition to technical skills.

6. Thou shalt reflect a holistic theology in worship content.

“Celebration is not the only kind of worship,” Shaddix said. “The Bible speaks of worship involving all seasons of life. Is there a place in our worship for saying, ‘God, I don’t understand’?”

7. Thou shalt worship in a rhythm of revelation and response.

“There is no worship without revelation,” Shaddix said. “God reveals Himself most clearly through His Word. We can’t separate the music from the preaching event. We have nothing to worship if God doesn’t reveal who He is.”

8. Thou shalt employ lyrics that reflect communal identity.

Shaddix encouraged the use of songs that represent worship on behalf of the entire church body rather than only individuals by incorporating songs that include “we” in the lyrics rather than “me.”

9. Thou shalt use technology with theological and pastoral sensitivity.

Shaddix agreed that the Bible speaks of worship including clashing cymbals and loud music. However, “Hearing others sing encourages worship. If amplification is so much that you can only hear the sound on stage rather than the people singing beside you, that isn’t good.”

10. Thou shalt foster worship that reflects the diversity and unity of heaven.

Shaddix encouraged worship leaders to keep the end in mind. “God is honored in worship when we strive to accomplish ethnic diversity and congregational unity.”

You can read the full article HERE at the Florida Baptist Witness website.

HT: MMI


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Great Tip...










I have been asked more than a few times how to get the movies that you own onto your iPod. I always refer them to a great article that Randy wrote on the subject:

First...
Second...
  • Grab your favorite DVD and pop it into your computer and rip the "VOB's" (turns out the VOB's contain the "good" stuff) with DVD Decrypter. Note: Make sure you check the destination folder and ensure that it is the location you want. Note: There are DVD's that somehow elude Decrypter-however, out of 20 plus DVD's I attempted- only two could not be copied.
Third...
  • Open Videora and select Convert, click One Click Transcode, click Browse and find your destination folder mentioned in the second step, open the Video_TS folder and click the first VTS file and so on... Note: The converted VTS files can quickly be located by opening your program files, finding your Videora folder, and then opening the video folder. Don't be discouraged if a few of the files do not open, usually only VOB's converted to VTS and then Quicktime (or your media player of choice) will open up the important files - the ones that contain the video itself. You may want to delete the others. Double click the movie files and make sure they play correctly (also, note that you will see a file in the Videora video folder immediately upon transcoding - even though it has not been fully copied yet - therefore it will provide an error message that states it is not a movie file--WAIT until it has fully transcoded and then try playing it) and rename them so that you can locate them later for your iTunes file move. I named each file: Title 1, Title 2, etc.
Fourth...
  • Move the files from your Video folder to an iTunes (make yourself a playlist called "My Videos" or similar) playlist and the files should sync to your iPod without a problem.
For important details concerning these steps and programs - or if you have a MAC - read this invaluable article "Getting video onto your iPod," by Clint Ecker.

Note: I tried a Nero demo version as Clint suggested to see if it could crack the two DVD's that would not copy and had no better luck with Nero which would later cost $80.00, than with Videora, which is free (shareware).
HT: Ethos


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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Real Age...

I have been LOUSY at posting lately! Dang! More on why in a later post...

My friend, Indy, sent this fun little test about your "true age." Check it out HERE. Then let me know the results.

My biological age: 41
My "real" age: 34.4 (yes!)

Average life expectancy: 75
My life expectancy: 81.6

How about you?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What's your accent?

Got this little test from Sara's blog.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
Boston
North Central
The Inland North
Philadelphia
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

HT: Tales of a Music Mama via With Reckless Abandon