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Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm Baaaack!!!

I'm finally back in the blogosphere after 2 weeks of silence due to a computer crash. Not having a"regular" computer to use when most of what you do involves a computer makes life REALLY difficult.

Not only do I have a new computer, but I have left the world of Microsoft operating systems and bought a Mac. Part of the move to Mac was I admit, the sexy nature of the Apple line of products. But the biggest factor in my decision was Windows Vista.

Put simply, Vista stinks! And all new PC's are running it (and are often a major PAIN to move backwards to Windows XP).

So I am have become one of those statistics referred to at the October 14th Apple Keynote. I moved to Apple largely because of Vista.

And I ain't ever going back...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oprah and Christianity...

My friend, Troy, wrote post today on his blog about the Oprah-ization of Christians. It is right on the mark, in my opinion. Here's an excerpt:
Don't get me wrong. I like Oprah. I like her show. There are lots of cool and informative, entertaining guests on it. Oprah is not a spiritual authority, however. The Jesus she proclaims alongside all of these other philosophies, is not the Jesus of the Bible. I don't care how many times she hosts Rick Warren or Denzel Washington or how many times she tears up at some kid singing Amazing Grace. She is not the authority Christ followers should be taking their cues from.
Take a minute to read his entire post, HERE.

HT: newworship blog

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Bumper for this Sunday...

This Sunday, we're talking about war. Here's the bumper I made (with the classic Edwin Starr song, War):

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

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quote of the Day...

"Boys, everyone of you is going to have a chance to have an affair…and it’s not because you are good looking but rather because the enemy is crafty and knows he can use a woman to take you down."

Read the entire post HERE.

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Worship Confessional: 10.12.08

The choir was back this Sunday under a new director, Alan Ours. I thought they sounded great on the closer, Tomlin's How Can I Keep from Singing.

Hilary did a great job leading I Stand Amazed and Hosanna has been a great addition to our set list the past 2 weeks. Here I Am to Worship really made the prayer time amazing (thanks, Nat, for that suggestion).

Here is the set (with iTunes links). Sorry, but this week we didn't use Mogulus as our network crashed before the first service (bummer).
We also had baptisms in the service. Here are the testimonies from the baptisms:

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

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Sunday, October 12, 2008


Randy (King of all Lighting) tore it up today at his church! Check out the video of their opener over on his blog.

You Gotta Love Boys...

"Dad! Take a picture!"

You just gotta love boys!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Dark Toy...

For maximum viewing pleasure, click through and watch it in high quality.

HT: Cries of the Heart

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Important Bulletin...

I grew up with two wonderful sets of grandparents. I am extremely fortunate to have known all four of them, plus two great-grandparents. My Nana (mom's mom) is still alive and well and is as wonderful and feisty as ever.

Dad's parents were from Arkansas. They grew up picking cotton. My grandpa used to tell us about his haunted barn back on the homestead and how he found grandma naked in the mud and felt sorry for her and married her. We enjoyed biscuits and gravy and country ham and fried chicken and all sorts of delicious down-home, home-cooked food at their house. Grandpa chewed plug tobacco which he spit out of the window of his truck (which left streaks down the window and door) and he used Eagle's Brand instead of milk in his coffee, which he spooned into his saucer to cool.

Grandma & Grandpa spoke with a wonderful southern drawl which some people tell me I have. When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I would often get asked if I was from the south, to which I replied "southern California."

But I digress.

The reason for this important bulletin is a post I recently read over on Rocks in My Dryer:. Shannon describes herself as a 30-something stay-at-home mom to four kids who loves "semi-colons with a deep, deep passion."

An Open Letter To Yankees Regarding Use of the Word "Y'all" nearly caused me to nearly pee my pants, so I thought I would share it with you today:

Dear Northern People (and yes, we really do call you "Yankees" behind your back, but we mean it in the nicest way possible),

It would appear that many of you are beginning to desire to add the word "y'all" to your vocabulary. I do not blame you. It is an excellent word, rich in culture, and full of practical application. And we Southerners are gracious (MY STARS, we are gracious). We will share this word with you happily, because we feel should not be discriminated against just because you did not have the good sense to be born in God's Country.

Read the rest of the post HERE.

HT: Rocks in My Dryer

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

New Sunday Bumper...

I just finished the bumper for this Sunday. we are in a series called Tough Stuff. The message for this Sunday is God's Wrath.

Last week the bumper was 15 seconds long, but Randy gave me the idea of making it longer so that our backstage crew could set up for the message during the bumper rather than the announcements.

I found the song God of Wrath by David Crowder and used it as the base. I added some sonic texture with Designer Sound FX from Video Copilot. By the way, if you aren't familiar with Video Copilot, check them out... TONS of free tutorials for Adobe After Effects.

Anyway, I liked the groove of the Crowder song and used some stills along with the Twitch effect (also from Video Copilot). I added some vignetting to the stills and video and also colorized them with a slight blue wash to give an old "film-y" look. Then I finished the sequence with the same video bumper from last week with the updated info.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ministry Truths...

Perry Noble has hit the mark once again...

One of the lessons I’ve learned while being in the ministry for the past 17 years is sometimes what people say isn’t exactly true…things such as…

(WARNING…you will probably only like this post if you are a pastor or a staff member of a church!)

What They Say: “I’m looking for a church that preaches the Word!”

What They Mean: “I’m looking for a church that preaches MY view of the Word. I think the BLANK translation should be used…I think BLANK should be talked about a lot while BLANK should be ignored. And if you ever stop preaching my view of the Word I will leave and tell others that you don’t preach the Word!”

What They Say: “Lot’s of people have been coming to me and saying they don’t like is…”

What They Mean: “I basically only have three friends…and all of them think exactly like me. The other night we were enjoying a time of self righteousness because, after all, we are right about everything…and were also slandering you (in the form of prayer requests) and thought it would be wise to approach you with our pet peeve. We’ve actually talked to no one else about this but said “lots” because we wanted to validate our dysfunction.”

What They Say: “I’m leaving the church.”

What They Mean: “Beg me to stay. If you will just ask me I will share with you several ways you can compromise God’s vision that He’s given you, thus becoming nothing more than a people pleasing pastor who is more interested in popularity than obedience. If you don’t bow to my demands I will remind you that I tithe and that the church needs my money, reducing you to a mere preaching whore…one who is paid for a service for the pleasure of another person.”

What They Say: “I want a church that is more focused on discipleship.”

What They Mean: “I want a church where everyone knows me and how important I am! I don’t want to reach people who are different from me, be it economic class or race or even musical preference. I already know WAY more than I do…but I somehow equate spirituality with knowledge rather than application and I rather enjoy feeling intellectually superior to those who don’t know as much as me.”

What They Say: “Don’t take this personally…but…”

What They Mean: “I am about to lower the BOOM on you…but you can’t get angry because I told you not to take it personally. Even though you have dedicated your life to this and pretty much invest every ounce of energy you have to this cause…and I think about it once or twice a week…you need to receive my attacks, even when they are personal…and you cannot retaliate because, remember, it’s not personal.”

OKAY, that was fun! I typed it all with a smile. Trust me…I’m not mad or frustrated with anyone…I just thought a pastor or two MIGHT get a smile out of this. :-)

What do you think? What would you add?

Check out Perry's blog HERE.

HT: Perry Noble dot com

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Church Encourages Texting During Sermon...

O'FALLON, MO. — The spotlight shone on the Rev. Mike Schreiner on Sunday as he preached about who goes to heaven and how earthly relationships will translate in the hereafter.

Off to Schreiner's right, the steady glow of dozens of cell phones lit up the section where the teens of Morning Star Church sat listening to the sermon, thumbs furiously working little keyboards.

High above the 700-seat sanctuary, Amie Haskins, 27, the director of worship, sat in the church's control booth receiving their text messages on the church's cell phone. She screened out some (most were about whether pets would be in heaven — a point she knew Schreiner would be addressing later in the sermon), and typed others into a computer that was connected to Schreiner's laptop next to him. During Schreiner's 30-minute sermon, Haskins received 35 questions...

Schreiner answered just three of them, but the church's embrace of texting — this was the third week of its experiment — has already improved the dialogue, according to Schreiner, and energized many of Morning Star's younger members.

"I love it," said 14-year-old Kailey Elfstrum, who had her text all ready to go even before Schreiner's sermon began. "You get to ask the pastor anything you want while he's talking."

Her friend Maddie Howard, also 14, agreed. "You don't want to admit your sins to the rest of the church, but this way you can still ask something important," she said...

For more senior members of the congregation whose thumbs are less dextrous, or perhaps arthritic, Morning Star also allows its members to question the pastor the old-fashioned way — with forms placed in the weekly bulletin they can write on and submit in the collection plate.

But it's not just Morning Star's young members who are pleased with their church's experiment. "I think it's neat," said Bill Sullivan, 60. "I hope they keep it up."

Mike O'Brien, 44, said his 13-year-old daughter and his wife have texted questions to the church's pastors. "It beats walking out of there with a question burning in your head and not having it answered," he said.

Schreiner said that after just three weeks of taking text-message questions, he can feel a difference in his preaching.

"It gives me a little more of a teaching role," he said. "It gets back to Jesus Christ and the Sermon on the Mount where I picture Jesus having a conversation with the people. With texting, it becomes much more of a dialogue."

Read the entire article HERE.

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

HT: STL Today

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Blog of the Week...

Last night I stumbled on a great blog called Alpha Student. Here's what they are all about:

Alpha Student’s aim is to help you get the most out of your time as a student. Whether you need practical tips, money know-how, academic help, friendly support, a plan for your future, or just some fun, you’ll find it here.

We started Alpha Student because we’re students ourselves and wish we’d known a lot of the stuff here when we started out. We want you to learn from our past mistakes and unnecessary worries, and we want to share our current experiences with you too.

Above all, Alpha Student is for you. It’s not just a blog – it’s a community of great students, all of whom want to get as much as they can out of being at college or university.

Alpha Student is the brainchild of Ali Hale (a postgrad, studying an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, London (she has a BA in English from the University of Cambridge)) and Paul David Luke (a mature undergrad (even if that sounds like an oxymoron), studying Law & Politics at London Metropolitan University).

This would have been a great resource when I was in college. So if you're in college - or you know someone who is - give Alpha Student a look see.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Worship Confessional: 10.05.08

Ever have one of those days when you were totally prepared but felt totally unprepared? This was one of those days when I felt absolutely aware of my inadequacy before God.

The worship songs were great - we did two of my favorites: From the Inside Out and Jesus Paid it All. I don't know how the set played in the room. Like I said, I was in a weird place this morning.

We started a new sermon series called "Tough Stuff." For this series, we are using video bumpers. Check this week's out on YouTube HERE (watch it in high quality).

Anyway, here is the set (with iTunes links). You can also view the entire 2nd service on the NewCov Production Mogulus channel...

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

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Movies I'm Looking Forward to...

I was at the movies the other night watching Burn After Reading (which I really didn't get into) and saw a couple of trailers for some upcoming movies. These look great!

The Soloist...

The Secret Life of Bees...

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Easy Printer Sharing - Even Across Platforms...

...and across town!

Free Windows/Mac/Linux peer-to-peer printer-sharing tool PrinterShare cuts out the network fiddling and router tweaking necessary to share a printer from, say, a Mac system at home to your Windows PC at work, although Vista systems require a UAC work-around for full two-way printing.

Begin rant...

Vista killed the PC for me. I am staying with XP until I can afford to switch to Mac. Then there will be no looking back. I am sorry I ever left you, Mr. Jobs. I just never really liked that guy from Pepsi.

End rant...

The PrinterShare system requires signing up each computer on your network and assigning it a name, but once you're set up, sharing and accessing printers is truly simple. Files you send to be printed remotely are encrypted by default, and free accounts print, unfortunately, with a cover sheet that includes an ad.

For those trying to make connections between troublesome systems, PrinterShare might save some frustration. PrinterShare is a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

Read more HERE. Download it HERE.

HT: Printershare via FreewareGenius.com via Lifehacker

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Creativity and Sleep...

“Waste not life,” wrote Benjamin Franklin, patron saint of American entrepreneurs. “In the grave will be sleeping enough.”

Centuries later, the attitude toward sleep in America — and in American business, in particular — has scarcely changed. Bumper stickers offer an updated version of Franklin’s dictum: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

But now, a Harvard sleep researcher finds that if you sleep on new ideas and information, you're 33% more likely to make connections between distantly related points.

Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, once defined creativity as “just connecting things.” Sleep assists the brain in flagging unrelated ideas and memories, forging connections among them that increase the odds that a creative idea or insight will surface.

While traditional stories about sleep and creativity emphasize vivid dreams hastily transcribed upon waking, recent research highlights the importance of letting ideas marinate and percolate.

Some sort of incubation period, in which a person leaves an idea for a while, is crucial to creativity. During the incubation period, sleep may help the brain process a problem.

Another theory is that typical approaches to problem-solving may decay or weaken during sleep, enabling the brain to switch to more innovative alternatives. A classic switching story, recounted in “A Popular History of American Invention” in 1924, involves Elias Howe’s invention of the automated sewing machine: after much frustration with his original model, which used a needle with an eye in the middle, Howe dreamed that he was being attacked by painted warriors brandishing spears with holes in the sharp end. He patented a new design based on the dream spears; by the time the patent expired in 1867, he had earned more than $2 million in royalties.

Spear-wielding savages make for compelling stories, but creative insights directly induced by dreams are rare. In general, people are unaware of sleep’s effects on their performance.

Dr. Ellenbogen’s research at Harvard indicates that if an incubation period includes sleep, people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections among distantly related ideas, and yet, as he puts it, these performance enhancements exist “completely beneath the radar screen.”

In other words, people are more creative after sleep, but they don’t know it.

“It’s more that sleep brings a change of approach,” explains Mark Holmes, an art director at Pixar Animation Studios who worked on the film “Wall-E.” “You can get tunnel vision when you’re hammering away at a problem. You keep going down this same path, again and again, just tweaking, making incremental changes at best. ” He continues: “Sleep erases that. It resets you. You wake up and realize — wait a minute! — there is another way to do this.”

Read the entire New York Times article HERE.

This post was going to be part of Creative Chaos hosted by Ragamuffin Soul (but he's on a tehnology fast).

HT: The New York Times via Lifehacker

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Secret Controls for iTunes 8 Visualizer...

After enabling the visualizer (View -> Show Visualizer or Command-T) in iTunes, you can call up its help screen by pressing the “?” key. On the help screen, you’ll see that you can press M to change modes, P to change palettes, N to toggle nebula mode on and off, and much more.

But you won’t find the following keys listed in help—these keys are left over from the days of yore, when the now-in-iTunes visualizer was an independent iTunes plug-in known as Mangetosphere. These hidden keys offer even more control over the behavior of the visualizer:
  • + and -: Increase or decrease the intensity (brightness) of the particles; multiple presses further increase or decrease the intensity.
  • A and S: Add or Subtract particles to the visualizer. You can make the visualizer as complex (or sparse) as you wish.
  • R: Reset the intensity and particle count to their default values.
  • E: When in nebula mode (press N), this greatly accentuates the nebula clouds, making them very easy to see. (If you’ve used the M key to change modes, you may find that the nebula clouds aren’t visible; it seems they’re only used in certain modes.)
See what the original Magnetosphere plug-in looked like in this mesmerizing clip.

This post was going to be a part of Creative Chaos hosted by Ragamuffin Soul (but he's on a technology fast).

HT: Macworld via Lifehacker

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

YouTube Bumps Up Upload Size...

YouTube is testing a new video upload tool that lets you edit your clip's metadata while the upload happens, and they're bumping the upload size limit from 100MB to 1GB.

Here's the tester link to the new uploader.

And check out these 10 YouTube hacks.

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

HT: CNET News via Lifehacker

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