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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Walkie Talkie

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Time Saving Tip

Here's a great time saving tip:

I’ll Meet You in Your Office

When you need to do a quick face to face meeting with another staff member, tell them you’ll swing by their office. When you’ve covered everything important, you can politely leave—the meeting is over.

If someone is in your office, the person may not know when the meeting is over. A quick, few-minute meeting can linger and bleed over into longer and less important conversations. When you’re in someone else’s office, you can politely exit much easier than you can ask someone to leave your office.

HT: LifeChurch.tv

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

That Was Slightly Unsettling...

The last few songs that played on iTunes with Shuffle on were as follows:
I am left feeling slightly unsettled. Although when you hear lyrics like...

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore,
Prepared to cross the line.
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn't have a doggone dime.

I said, "Pig Pen, this here's a Rubber Duck

We just ain't-a gonna pay no tole."
So we crashed the gate doin' niney-eight
I says, "Let them truckers roll!

...it fires you up for the day. That is songwriting at its finest!

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Great Creative Solution...

A lot of the design work at NewCov falls to me. But I am always looking for a great off-the-shelf solution. It saves time, which means it saves money.

Enter Pixels Preach.

Their website lays down a lofty goal: Welcome to PixelsPreach.com where you’ll find only the best and coolest presentation templates on the Internet. I have to tell you - at least in the early stages - it looks like they are going to deliver the goods.

Pixes Preach have great backgrounds for PowerPoint or Keynote (or whatever else you may be using). Included in the price are:
  • original Photoshop files
  • a template set up in PowerPoint
  • fonts that match the graphics they’re accompanying (so long, Comic Sans!)
  • JPGs of each screenshot
  • outstanding customer service
They are just getting started, but the content they have so far is outstanding and reasonably priced. So take a look. Spend a little money. Save a lot of time. And look great doing it!

This post is a part of Creative Chaos hosted by Ragamuffin Soul.

HT: Utobia

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Decided...

Thanks for your input on the new banner design. In the end, I opted for a variation on Option #4. It showed a little more of the youngest blonde boy boogie boarding and the picture of the oldest blonde boy catches his "too cool" aesthetic.

I almost went with an option 5 (below), but I just didn't like how the oldest looked sullen next to the youngest (he's actually very funny and smiles a lot... but you know... he's 14).

So thanks again for the input. With the oldest blonde boy in high school, I don't know how many more of these I'm going to be "allowed" to have.

A New Banner!

Two Blonde Boys has a new banner (actually two new ones) and I need your help:

What one do you think I should use? Option #1, 3, 2, or 4?


Option 1:

Option 2:

Option 3:

Option 4:

Vote now!


The original TBB banner (from 2005).

The second TBB banner (from 2006):

What a difference only three years makes!

This post is a part of Watercooler Wednesday hosted by Ethos.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Know When to Fold 'Em?

I stumbled across this great post over on the tompeters! blog.


I had been having a conversation earlier in the day with a pastor about the myth of balance (a post I need to write for another time).

Tom's post is, in my opinion, right on target. The world needs less people who "know when to fold them" and more people who will "boldly go where no man has gone before":

An old friend visited for a couple of days last week. Google him, and you'll be impressed. Or you would be, if I'd tell you who it is.

In the course of a dozen conversations—old guy conversations—we shared stories of joys and sorrows, anger and pain, good fortune and ill winds, pals and foes and traitors and through-it-all supporters.

His Hall-of-Fame career includes bushels of excoriating criticisms along the way. Embarrassing and well-deserved failures. Off years—in fact, off decades.

And musing on it all reminded me of a Very Sensible Saying that I think is pure, unmitigated crap, in fact the World's Worst Advice: "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

As I said ... pure crap.

Forget "fold 'em."
Drop it from your vocabulary.
Excise it.
Bury it.
Stomp on its grave.

If you care, really care, really really care about what you are pursuing, well, then, pursue-the-hell-out-of-it-until-hell-freezes-over-and-then-some- and-then-some-more. And may the naysayers roast in hell or freeze in the Antarctic or bore themselves to death with the sound of their "statistically accurate" advice...

Read the entire article HERE.

HT: tompeters!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

"Healer" Story Update

The other day I posted the sad news about Michael Guglielmucci, former pastor and author of the song Healer. Yesterday, AdelaideNow posted an update to this sad story that sheds more light on what happened.

Here is a portion of that post (read the entire article HERE):
The father of fallen pastor Michael Guglielmucci, Danny, read this brief statement to a packed congregation to explain his son's actions.

"Today is a very sad day for our family and church family.

For many years our son, Michael has suffered from unexplained illnesses. We have been worried as we have seen him suffer and spend periods of time in hospital.

Two years ago our lives were totally turned around by the sad news of our sons' cancer diagnosis. The love and support shown by our local church and all of our many friends around the world helped us get through a very difficult situation.

During the last two years we have experienced the favor of God, his love and grace, and also the constant pain of the possibility of losing a son.

On Tuesday 12th of August we received a call to come and meet with Mike and Amanda but weren't ready for what we were about to hear. Mike began to share how he has lived a lie for the last 16 years of his life because of addictive behavior he couldn't break free from.

He loved God and would throw himself into prayer, worship, and serving God with full energy and enthusiasm but still couldn't break free.

In September in 2006, Mike had an accident and went to hospital. It was at this time, because of his torment of living a double life, Mike thought he could escape the pain by creating a diversion from his addiction to adult pornography, so he created the cancer scenario.

The pain of this addiction was so deep that he started something he couldn't stop and proceeded on a downward spiral that led to him experiencing pain and suffering that resulted in constant vomiting and many other symptoms of a genuine sufferer....

Michael wrote the song Healer because he wanted God to set him free from his addiction but hid it behind the lie of a fabricated illness.

I don't know who said it or even if I am quoting them correctly, but it is true: Sin will always take you further than you ever wanted to go and cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.

The importance of personal discipline and self-control has become so real to me as I try attempt to model these things for my teenage son. I need to model for him ways that he can protect himself from the temptations of the enemy, especially in the area of lust.

I would encourage you, my friend: Protect yourself. Guard yourself. Take steps so that you will not fall. If you are struggling with addiction of any kind, get help.

And continue to pray for the Healer to work in the life of our brother, Mike Guglielmucci.

Read more background info HERE and HERE.

Worship Confessional: 08.24.08

It was another great Sunday at NewCov. One of the things I have really loved about the last 2 weeks is that I functioned in much more of a support role on stage. This week it was Nicole, Rick, and Jeremy doing the bulk of the worship leading. I just handled the prayer song and sang back-up.

Here is our set from Sunday (with iTunes links)...
We also had a video about the guys that are headed to Haiti to finish up some of the work they began there last year. You can check out the Haiti video on the NewCov Production blog.

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Agree with Los...

God can anoint any song with or without the messenger and I believe the song is annointed.

Apparently, the author of the Integrity music worship song, Healer, may have lied about having cancer - the thing that inspired the writing of the song Healer.

According to AdelaideNow, Mike Guglielmucci, the now former pastor of a church in Adelaide (Australia) confessed his two-year fraudulent cancer battle at a national executive meeting of the ACC on Saturday, and was stripped of his credentials.
Pastor Michael Guglielmucci has been told by church officials to report to police, who will investigate what has happened to money raised during his cancer deception. The Australian Christian Churches told The Advertiser yesterday that it was auditing Mr Guglielmucci's bank accounts, which included money donated from people touched by his hit song Healer.

It also said Mr Guglielmucci's wife and family were unaware of the deception. The Melbourne-based preacher is in Adelaide, but has gone to ground.

His parents, who founded Edge Church International, an Assemblies of God church at Reynella, are assisting him while he seeks professional help.

The ACC has promised that all money raised deceptively will be returned or donated to charity.

The Assemblies of God, Australia's largest Pentecostal movement, adopted its new name of Australian Christian Churches in 2007.

The former pastor with one of Australia's biggest youth churches, Planetshakers, inspired hundreds of thousands of young Christians around the world as he performed with an oxygen tube in his nose.

Healer became an anthem of faith for believers, many of whom are suffering illnesses and were praying for Mr Guglielmucci.

The song, featured on Hillsong's latest album, debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts.

In a YouTube video (it has been removed from YouTube), he tells how the news from the hospital that he had "quite an aggressive form of cancer" inspired his song.

On the notes for the new CD from Integrity Music, which features Healer. it says:
One of the CDs highlights is bound to be “Healer,” which features a guest vocalist/appearance from Mike Guglielmucci of Planetshakers, who wrote or co-wrote several of the disc’s new songs. Guglielmucci wrote “Healer” after a terminal cancer diagnosis in 2006. Guglielmucci’s compelling testimony and his performance, aided by oxygen therapy, is one of the most powerful moments captured on the DVD of This is Our God.

Integrity has taken down it's site devoted to Healer (healer.integritymusic.com), so I'm going to assume that the unfortunate news is true.

So what can we learn from this? First, that we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the heart is deceitfully wicked.

Lesson #1
: Don't be surprised when people sin. It's going to happen. And when leaders sins in a very big and very public way, it hurts. that's why your leaders need your prayers and need you to hold them accountable.

Second, I have read a number of comments that say we should not judge Mr. Guglielmucci. They say things like let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Actually, we can and should judge what Mike Guglielmucci. We can look at what he did - what he admitted to doing - and call a spade a spade. It was a wretched and despicable thing to to. He lied and deceived and profited by it. However, we need to be careful to not become judgmental... rather we should pray for Mr. Guglielmucci's restoration and true healing from whatever it was that drove him to do this.

Lesson #2: It's OK to judge someones actions (not motives) and to call sin sin. It is not OK to sit in judgment over someone as if you have no sin in your life. Rather, our goal should always be to restore those who are caught up in sin. We need to always be givers of grace. In Galatians, it says that when we confront someone in sin to do so gently, realizing that you could be where they are, but for the grace of God.

Finally, we need to remember the greatness of God. God uses people to accomplish his purposes. People like you and me and Mike Guglielmucci. People who are marred from sin. People who are still struggling, who haven't got it all figured out, who still sin, who haven't arrived. The difference between you and me and Guglielmucci is that his sin found him out in a very public way.

They just don't know about you and me yet.

So pray for Mike Guglielmucci. And sing his song. Not for the backstory, but for the truth of what it says. God IS a Healer - He is THE Healer. No matter what story Guglielmucci made us, that doesn't change the truth of who God is and how He is using this song.

Read the entire article from AdelaideNow HERE.

HT: AdelaideNow and Ragamuffin Soul

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Worst Drink in America

I know... this has been the question that has been keeping you up at night. What is the worst drink in America?

Baskin-Robbins Large Heath Bar Shake

2,310 calories
108 g fat (64 g saturated)
266 g sugar

Here's the numbers...

73: The number of ingredients that go into this milkshake.
66: The number of teaspoons of sugar this drink contains.
11: The number of Heath Bars you would have to eat to equal the number of calories found in one Baskin Robbins Large Heath Bar Shake.
12: The average number of minutes it takes to consume this drink.
240: The number of minutes you'd need to spend on a treadmill, running at a moderate pace, to burn it off.

Now you know. You're welcome.

HT: Men's Health

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Generation Y

I was sent this article from my pal, Scott (Dreamer, Scholar, Pragmatist). While it is geared at tapping into the potential revenue that Generation Y has, but what can the church learn that will help it tap into the hearts of Gen Y?

They're growing up on the wired alphabet: PC, CD, PDA, DVD and CUL8R. They average $100 a week in disposable income, spending a stunning $150 billion a year. And they influence another $50 billion in family purchases, bumping the total to $200 billion.

Say hello to Generation Y (ages 13-25), also known as Echo Boomers or Millennials. For sheer spending power, this consumer group is unrivaled in American history. If your organization hasn't thought much about how your wares might attract this cohort of big spenders — who are savvy and wary in equal parts — start thinking.

Gen Y is savvy because they were weaned on technology. These days, many youngsters are busy creating their own social circles by blogging about the Jonas Brothers, updating their social network profiles, and uploading videos of their latest dance party on YouTube.

Gen Y is wary because they were raised in the midst of some rather nasty national traumas, including the O.J. and Monica scandals, the 1999 Columbine school shootings, and a presidential election that failed to pick a winner. All before Sept. 11.

Reaching today's teens poses both a great opportunity and challenge to your organization. The organizations that succeed will be able to balance the benefits of attracting the younger market against the difficulties of embracing alternative business principles.

Here are a few tips:
  • Use technology. This generation wants rich media, gadget ads, customization, and expressive ad copy. Companies targeting America’s youth need to take a long hard look at their current marketing plan and allocate the necessary time and funds into new mediums. The days of simple keyword searches and text ads on Google are numbered with this group.
  • Build relationships. Like Gen X, Gen Y relies on peer recommendations. In addition to using technology to build relationships, find ways to be present where teenagers want to spend time (malls, skate parks, concerts) and deliver value to them (discounts, free merchandise, movie tickets, jobs, etc.). Establish meaningful relationships with them and they will return the favor.
  • Be giving. Gen Y is far more socially conscious than any generation since World War II. They believe in giving, volunteering, and donating time and resources. In fact, a Cone/Roper survey discovered that 91% of teens value companies and products that support good causes and 89% would be likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause.
  • Be honest. When pitching Gen Y, keep in mind that they've grown up on slick ads and commercial messages. Any whiff of over-promising or false advertising will send them running. To appeal to teenagers is to be genuine and to deliver consistent, excellent service.
  • Understand Y. This generation is well-educated. Their awareness level is very high and they loathe being treated like young whippersnappers that need to be managed or kids that don’t know anything. Don’t assume you know what’s best for them. Ask them for their feedback or assemble a team of teens who can be trend-setters and trend-spotters for your organization.
Gen Y spends $150 billion per year. Furthermore, attracting a teen customer is like triple dipping: First, you get the youngster. Next, you get the parent. Third, you get the loyal customer that a teen grows up to be.

That’s a whole lot of revenue that your organization can’t afford to lose.

Now for the real question: what can we learn from this about Gen Y that we can use in the church? Talk amongst yourselves...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Amazing Video

Look at the size of this dead snake!

Be honest... did you almost wet your pants?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reality Church?

A buddy of mine sent me a link to a classic Dan Kimball article that he posted back in 2005 on his Vintage Faith blog.. I had read it before, but in case you haven't... here it is:

So_happy_5 The First Stage: We begin going to a church, exciting, thrilling, love Jesus, the church is exciting, all things new.

Content_2Second Stage: We begin getting involved, learn behind the scenes things, feel privileged to know the church staff and leaders more personally, we are totally excited.

Mellow_1 Third Stage: We see things you start to question, the thrill of the big church meetings wanes, as it seems more and more predictable, the leaders seem more human now and not as special as first.

Doubt Fourth Stage: We start to get tired of serving in ministry. It seems routine now and we only see it as fueling the big meeting that we don't really like anymore. The leaders we once were in awe of now seem not only normal, but there is a suspicion of self-serving vs. serving the church in their motives. We lose excitement and wonder if church is even something we should be part of. We grow more disillusioned by the day.

Angry_1 Fifth Stage: Total disillusionment, begin feeling bitter towards church leaders, and wonder why people don’t question things more. We sit in the big meeting and feel very alone. We look at the crowds around us and don't feel like we belong anymore. Is church just a produced big meeting? We are tired and it even angers us to see excited new people joining the church as we now know how it really works and how they too will eventually become tired like we are and see church is a program and organized religion.

Smug_1 Sixth Stage: We silently drop out of church. We read the Bible and early church history and see that they didn't have bigger weekly meetings in the early church. We read "house church" literature and begin thinking this is the real New Testament church. We get excited about really doing church the right way and not the big organized way. We find a few other disillusioned Christians and either form or join some sort of small house church gathering. We want it to be simple and not "organized" or programmed or big, but pure like the early church. Everyone all sharing together, true community will happen here, unlike the bigger programmed meetings.

Sad_sad Seventh Stage: Fairly quickly, we realize it isn't too easy leading people. Even in a small house church. People don't show up, or you have people dominating conversations. There is the same bickering, some gossip, people whispering to others that they are not happy with how the meeting went etc. We sometimes try to sing worship songs with ten people and it feels very odd. So you don't try to sing anymore, but do secretly miss the corporate singing that happens in a larger group. Eventually we find the same disappointments in the smaller house church that we did in the bigger programmed church, but at a different level. We get even more disillusioned, as we realize that even the key leaders (including ourselves) and the people of the house church are just as messed up as the big church leaders and people in those churches.

We also feel subtly uncomfortable that the house church feels a bit inward focused. It would be weird to have non-Christians break up the intimate dialog and prayer we have taken such a long time to establish together. But we know something has to be done, as we keep thinking about those who don't know Jesus and that our house church might not be the best place to invite them. Plus dealing with little kids running around every week during your meeting certainly limits your full engagement into the Bible discussion. We get more disheartened as our 4 year old knocks the entire strawberry shortcake dessert onto the kitchen floor as he was trying to get at it early before it is served at the house church.

Dukes_of_hazzard_1 Eighth Stage: We stop going to any church of any kind. We forget it all. Watch a lot of TV. Play video games. We go see the Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Think Ninth Stage: We begin missing other Christians, and regular fellowship. We do some introspection and eventually deal with the disappointments and high expectations that we had. We begin a new level of maturity and thinking about the church and church leaders.

We start thinking about our options. We don't want to go to a preaching-driven church that just has everything revolve around the senior pastor or the preacher, as that subtly creates passive spectators who depend on the preacher to "feed" them weekly - rather than maturing as Christians whom should primarily be "feeding" ourselves (since we aren't infants anymore). We don't want to go to a hyper-Reformed church where we feel guilty all the time and get caught up in the everybody else is worldy and wrong but us mentality. We don't feel good about the seeker-type of churches where everyone is so happy, the music is hyper-cheery and we fill in the blanks in the notes they give out. That excites us for a little while, when we fill in the blanks, because it feels like you are really learning. But after a while we see the stack thickening in our Bibles that we stuff them in and realize that we have never even looked at them since we filled them in. We look at our notes that we filled the blanks in on, and can't remember a single thing from these sermons, even the one from two weeks ago.

Content_3 Tenth Stage: So, we slowly go back to our original church that we at first felt good in because of the overall vision and mission that drew us to it in the first place. We find that the leaders do admit freely to you there are weaknesses and flaws and mess ups and ego issues, but still try their best to blend both the bigger meetings and smaller home meetings for the purpose of the mission. They try to be organized, without being "Organized".

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

There California Goes Again

I love California. I was born here. I have lived all but 12 of my 42+ years in the state. I have traveled all over the country and have seen all but a handful of states and can't imagine anywhere I'd rather live but California. We have the highest and lowest point in the continental US. We have incredible beaches, majestic mountains, incredible national parks... heck, we even have Disneyland!

And it's all within driving distance for me!

That said, there are some things about my state that drive me NUTS.

First, we have crazy gun-control laws/taxes. The same Mossberg pump-action shotgun that I could by at Wal-Mart in Oregon for a little over $100 costs almost 3 times that in California.

Not to mention how much it costs to license a car (or worse, a truck) every year. When I lived in Oregon people were outraged when vehicle licensing costs went up from $25 every two years to $35 every two years. It costs me over $400 to license my truck... every year!

And smogging your car? It's not enough that your vehicle has low emissions (as my 1979 F250 did when I brought it here from Washington state). You also have to have the proper equipment. My truck didn't originally have headers, so I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get it smogged.

And now our kids may be celebrating Harvey Milk Day in school every year on my birthday (see the LA Times article HERE).

In 1977, Harvey Milk "became the first openly gay elected official of any large city in the United States and later made the cover of Time Magazine." Some people might take issue with that fact. However, that is not my issue. My issue with the bill is that "the bill... also says the day shall have special significance in public school and other educational institutions and 'encourages those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.'"

I agree with Sen. Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks) who said that "his vote against the measure had nothing to do with who was involved. 'In school, we ought to concentrate on writing, reading and arithmetic,' he said, adding that the schools don’t need other requirements placed on them by the Legislature."

Let's get schools back to educating our kids on the fundamentals of LEARNING (vs. performing well on tests) and let's stop legislating a bunch of other stuff that doesn't necessarily add that experience (see The Weave's article on Mandatory Stuff).

Having said all that... I still LOVE my state!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Kids Logos

I am often the "go-to" designer for stuff at NewCov. Here is a little something I worked up for our fall launch of our children's ministries...

This post is a part of Watercooler Wednesdays hosted by Ethos.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Worship Confessional: 08.03.08

This was the last message in our series. I was out of town last week, so Sally G. ran the rehearsal for me and did an OUTSTANDING job! I'm thinking this is a great volunteer opportunity every week!

Worship was really great this week and the prayer time 2nd service was off the hook... people just kept coming and coming. It was amazing.

Here is our set list (with iTunes links)
View the service cues HERE.

Friday, August 01, 2008

San Francisco Vacation - Day 4 - Part 2

I gave Chase (the youngest blonde boy) a camera at the deYoung. Here's what caught his eye...