Friday, February 29, 2008


How masculine or feminine are you?
created with
You scored as 50/50

Both your feminine side and masculine side are "working" well together. You are both stylish and extrovert but somtimes find a split personality



100% Male


75% Male


100% Female


75% Female


Which Scottish Theologian are you?
created with
You scored as James Denney

You are James Denney. You value apologetics, and your theology is centred in the cross.

James Denney


Thomas Boston


James Orr


John Knox


Thomas Chalmers


I am sorry,

I find these quiz things amusing. Find out for yourself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Innovate Like Edison

Just read the Book "Innovate Like Edison". You can check it out here.

The book is part biography of Edison and his prolific inventions, interesting life and successes and failures.

The book talked about Edison's Five Competencies of Innovation. As it says on the Author's site:
Edison’s Five Competencies of Innovation™ propelled him to a record 1,093 U.S. patents as well as 1,293 international patents. Edison’s approach to innovation not only encompassed the development and launch of extraordinary products and services, it encompassed deep mental preparations as well.

So it got me thinking about how innovative Churches can, should, need to be to do Church stuff and reach people.

Here are a couple of what I think are innovative Church ideas:

With the mad rush of Churches working towards becoming multi-site, Dave Ferguson is talking about being POLY-SITE. In other words, instead of duplicating the same service, approach and audience at various locations, having different styles of services, approaches, etc. at different sites.

While this idea is not new, it has generally been the purview of overseas mission. Some Churches are doing health clinics and health and wellness ministries. ECHO is a ministry that helps your Church go for having a clinic in your community.

While Churches have long sent missionaries to other countries, why not invite "missionaries" from other countries to come and do their thing in our communities. We have long been involved in exporting our brand of Christianity. Maybe it would be healthy to bring our culture and communities an overseas brand of Christianity.

And yes, I have read Steve Hockensmith's: The Black Dove: A Holmes on the Range Mystery
I will review it soon. Go buy it.


We had to miss Church on Saturday for a Bar Mitzvah Celebration that we had been planning on going to for some time.

It was fun and we have known the family for about, hmmmm, maybe 15 years now. So there, we have known the Mitzvahee since he was born. It was cool to hear some of the things he said and his parents said about him publicly.

It was also kind of nice, in the culture-less lifestyle we have found ourselves in, to take in some other cultural stuff. When we lived elsewhere, we were much more in touch with other cultural groups and here it seems like a white haven.

Even our Church in Sacramento was more homogeneous. A good 30 to 40 percent of the Church was other ethnic backgrounds. Primarily Asian and Hispanic. But, it seemed to mirror the area and made Church more fun. Ok, our Church was only, on average, attended by 150 to 200 people, but that means 50 to 80 were non-whitish on any given Sunday. Not that I really judge, notice, treat, talk differently, or whatever people based on their ethnic background or whatever. I just get a little scared when everyone is white.

Our Pastor talked about wanting to become more multicultural at our Church. I am looking forward to that.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sin City

I just read an article about America's most sinful cities. No, Las Vegas, sin city itself, did not make the list.

The article included the categories: Most Lustful,Most Jealous,Most Obese, Most Murderous, Most Slothful,Most Vain, Most Avaricious.

Here is one category I didn't like. Under
Most Avaricious, the definition being full of greed, the category was decided by which city has the highest concentration of wealth. I don't like the idea that having wealth is synonymous with being greedy.

I have seen plenty of poor people who are guilty of avariciousness and plenty of wealthy people who are generous and humble.

Oh, I forgot to mention Most Gluttonous. I guess they called it most obese. But, gluttony is an allowable sin in Churchy sort of circles, n'est pas?

Here is a link, if you want to know who made the list.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eclipse Viewing Party

Here is our Lunar Eclipse Viewing Party with the neighbor and a picture through the night vision. Abby is holding the night vision in the first picture.

The Unit

We are in the news again. This time in the Green Valley Paper.

Check it out here.


Diane and the kids made some Runza's for dinner. They are a kind of bread roll with meat and stuff inside, supposedly a traditional German delight. Since my mom's side of the family is of German descent (I think), they all ate this stuff. I used to have them when I was a kid.

Here is a recipe very similar if not identical to the one my mother made.

Anyways, it was a treat, because I am the one who usually makes them and it takes a good three or four hours, so I don't get to them very often. Tonight, they were waiting for me when I got home. She claims she improved on the recipe. They were great, but I am not sure they were better than mine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Disappointments, Pizza and Passion

Playing for Pizza

I don't take in too many novels throughout the year, but I picked this up for Diane and it was short and fun, so I read it too.

The book is about an NFL quaterback that completely botches a game. He botches it so bad that the fans try to assault him, he is fired and his agent can not find him another team to play for........except for the Parma Panthers.

The Parma Panther's are a part of the Italian Football League, where most of the players are only paid in the pizza dinner they get after the game. Each team is allowed as many as three Americans and the Panther's are thrilled to get a quaterback.

His contract is for $20,000 a year, plus an apartment and a car. A substantial cut in pay.

The story deals with his disappointment in his career and, of course, a re-discovery of the love of the game. In addition to it being a fun read, I enjoyed the look at these themes of career disappointment and finding a passion and love for the game and for his team. It somewhat paralleled some of my career struggles.

The next novel I plan take in is Steve Hockensmith's: The Black Dove: A Holmes on the Range Mystery
I love this guy's stuff and I will do a review of it after I get it. But, it is released today. Go buy it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Social Media Marketing Hits and Misses

Just read a study by the One Up Web Marketing people by the name Social Media Marketing Hits and Misses, How 2007 Hot Holiday Brands and Products Performed Online.

Basically, it was a look at 12 "Hot" holiday products and websites and how they performed online in their social media marketing efforts. The companies and products looked at were:
Nintendo Wii
Taryn Rose
Casio Exilim
Ipod Touch
A Thousand Suns

Some of the sites that got bad marks and encountered sales losses included Target for hiring "rounders". Rounders are individuals who were hired to comment positively on Target. The downside came when it was discovered that rounders were encouraged to keep it a secret that they were rounders.

Taryn Rose was criticized for having a "Flog". A fake blog that was never updated and not dated. A Thousand Suns author began with a strong blog, but the posts tapered to a stop and it was no longer used. Another company had technical difficulties that shut down it's efforts for a time and killed it's social media marketing momentum.

Some of the winners included Webkinz, that had an interactive site for kids and Apple that continued to be consisent, flexible and innovative, especially with the Ipod.

Stabucks had some great response on it's website for various approaches, but sales continue to remain flat or decline in spite of this.

The takeaway is that some social media stuff can be very helpful in connecting with people. But, it must be interesting, useful and consistent. Also, it is no substitute for other solid practices. Once again, I am reminded of the meatball sundae from Seth Godin. For the more practically minded: If you are going to engage in this type of connection....blogging, etc., make sure you keep it updated.

To check out this article, see One Up Web's White Pages.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our House

Here is our cute little house in West Sacramento.

This was a great neighborhood and we knew everyone on both sides of the street. The tree in front is an Autumn Glory Maple, which we planted. Sal, who lived three houses down, was ecstatic when we cut down the Mulberry tree that was where this one is. His advice: we plant a Christmas Tree, which did not drop leaves everywhere in the fall.

Bill, who lived across the street, had two giant Sycamore trees that were about 80 to 90 feet tall (Zacheus' delight). They dropped leaves and seed things all over the whole street and Sal didn't really like that.

You can barely see it, but we had a huge Oak Tree in the back. After the one at Disneyland almost killed me, I wondered how long it would take for ours to come tumbling down.

We had the outside painted (hope you like the color) and inside we painted, stripped the carpet and redid the wood floors, remodeled the back bathroom to include adding a large claw foot tub, added French doors and a deck on back, put in the new windows and Diane made a nice Arbor for the garden in the back yard.

The next door neighbor sent us this picture last year, so the porch has different stuff on it than what we had.

It's a Small World

Disclaimer: This is not about the ride at Disneyland. I am not a fan of the ride at Disneyland. In fact, I am a great opponent of the ride at Disneyland. I really enjoy Disneyland, even though I was almost Killed by a tree at Disneyland. I will tell you about that another time. But, I can not stand the ride.

Last night, I went to a presentation with Diane, the kids, The cousin Tanner and Emily's friend Sarah hosted by the Arizona Origins Science Association. This particular presentation was a lecture by Ian Juby. Ian Juby has a terrible website, but some interesting info.

The lecture was about the evidences for a Global Flood. In his words, overwhelming evidences for a global flood. He also shared a model for how the continents could have logically been formed by a global flood. When I was at School in Texas, Diane and I developed an interest in the whole Creation/Intelligent Design topic and we have been checking it out since then.

The first place we went to was Dr. Carl Baugh's Creation Evidences Museum. Dr. Baugh was doing some wacky things, like building a hyperbaric chamber and wearing rose colored glasses. He explained that his research suggested that the earth's atmosphere was denser prior to a worldwide flood and the chamber was to simulate the density. He was going to use it to grow plants and the like for research. The glasses, well, that is another topic.

Incidentally, Ian Juby has been a regular on Dr. Baugh's television show on TBN. Not that I recommend TBN for anyone, but......

We also heard Dennis Peterson lecture at School. I remember that Diane was irritated, because they picked one of the days when he had some cool stuff to share to go on and on with the "time of worship". Nothing like 23 verses of "I'll Fly Away" and 16 rounds of "You Are Exalted" to ruin a good creation science lecture. In any case, we liked Dennis so much and we discovered that he lived not far from us when we lived in Sacramento. So, we had him come speak at our Church and got to share lunch with him at Chipotle.

Here are a couple of other recommends from last night:
Dr. Walt Brown's Book, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood
Ian Juby's upcoming weekly show in Canada (and Online), Genesis Week

Speaking of it being a small world, cousin Tanner's dad is with the Border Patrol in California. The other night, I met a guy that used to work with him when he did temporary duty in Ajo a few years back. He remembered him as someone who came on temporary duty and actually liked to work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lesson's Learned #1

When I was 16 or 17, I was at the park skating with some friends. (As in a board, with wheels. And yes, I had a driver's license and a car. Well, it was my brother's car, but he was gone, so I got to drive it.)

Anyways, some little punk kid of about 11 or 12 was there and he started calling us names and trading insults with the guys I was with. I can't remember exactly what was said, but after a few minutes, the poor little guy sat down and burst into tears.

I went and sat by him and he told me that nobody liked him and everyone was always calling him names. So, I put my arm around him and told him that he was ok.

The lesson I learned was that sometimes people start talking out of emotion, rather than anything else. He was upset about something in his life, so just came up and started taking it out on us.

I have since learned that anger is a secondary emotion. It usually follows after some other disappointment or hurt of some sort.

So, when someone reads you the riot act, maybe it has nothing to do with what they are telling you at all. On the other hand, maybe you just really made them mad.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Achilles was not pleased

Hector, one of the guys in my class, wrecked on Wednesday. Another car t-boned his while he was responding to a separate accident. The Deputy's car hit a rock, flipped over and caught fire, while the Deputy was knocked unconscious.

About 7 or 8 citizens that witnessed the accident turned the car over and pulled Hector to safety.

The news article has a great slide show of the citizens in action. I was kind of moved by it, because most of the people we deal with would be happy to see one of us burn. But, these folks put themselves in a the line of fire, literally, to pull Hector to safety.

You can see the article and the pictures here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song

Since I am learning a little Spanish, Agent Pipes shared this with me:

One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song

A Cathedral of Lies

Just read this book. Since the business I do, (previously full time and now other time) is Church stuff, I see business things through the filter of how does this apply to Church Stuff. Specifically, my current field of study is Church Growth, Missions, and Evangelism.

So, here are the 9 and some thoughts on that:

1. "I just need to know HOW to do this"
The book says the "want to" is much more important than the "how to". Our Church is moving into a stage where we want to become a Church that is continually growing and reaching people. We could have all the latest techniques, outreach tools, ideas, etc., but if we do not desire to move in this direction, it ain't gonna happen. So, the idea is to build the desire before introducing or learning the tools.

2. "It takes money to make money"
An influx of money from outside sources can stifle drive, creativity and buy in from participants. When I first started attending my current Church, someone suggested that the Denomination should send more money our way to help us become the Church we want to be. I thought this was a bad idea because the Denom had already invested quite a bit and the thought seemed to me to be "this is is there Church, if they want it to work, they should send us some money to make it work." Now the Church is figuring out how to make the finances work and it is creating a huge buy in factor with the people involved. In other words, now the idea is, "We (with God's help) are figuring out how to get OUR Church Healthy".

3. "We just need to get our name out there."
Just because someone knows you are there it doesn't mean they want anything to do with you. Also, the way a Church presents itself, whether in advertising, signage, personal invites, or whatever, can turn people away, rather than attract them.

By the way, you should never have a changeable message sign at your Church, in my opinion. It constantly amazes me that their are so many stupid quotes that can make your Church a laughingstock that are no more than 5 or 6 words. Just my opinion.

4. "Experience will benefit me"
Experience often leads us to repeat the same actions. What reached people at one Church in a one town may not work in another Church in another town. If you have experience doing things poorly in the past, it doesn't help you do things better in the future.

5. "Lowering prices boosts business"
At first I thought this did not apply. However, I later recalled studies which showed that growing Churches and Churches that effectively reach people are high commitment Churches. They have high standards for leadership, membership, discipleship and in the realm of doctrinal issues. Lowering standards (or the price of involvement, if you will) does not equate to growth.

6. "You have to be tightfisted"
Frugality and tightfisted are not the same. Generosity breeds generosity. Generosity draws people in.

This is best thought through for yourself, but how can a Church, or your Church, be generous in reaching people and generous with the people involved.

My previous Church used to be very generous, in comparison to others I have seen, in receiving newcomers. We would hit them with a gift on their first visit, usually some candy and a CD, to let them know that we were glad they attended. They also got a letter from "The Church" and a personal email from me. After their second visit, I sent them a card and after their third, "the Church" sent them a nice hard back book and a letter thanking them for their third visit.

The reasoning for all this was that research showed that when someone visits a Church a third time, they are usually planning on making it their Church home. So, we invested relatively heavily in the people who already showed that they were interested in our Church and wanted to be with us.

We got some great feedback on our up front generosity, and a fairly high rate of visitors becoming regulars.

7. "Customers are hard to figure out"
Why do people attend Church? Is it a mystery? No.
Here are a couple of thoughts on who to focus on.

- You don't want to attract everyone to your Church.
Your Church can not be a church for all people. If you could, there would be no need for any others. This does not mean you can't have a multi-generational Church, or a multi-cultural Church, it just means that not everyone is going to attend your church. Don't waste time and money trying to reach those that are not a good fit for your Church. If you believe you should be reaching lost people, then work on reaching lost people, not the people from the Church around the corner.

- Many Churches are Capacity Churches.
This means they can only accommodate so many people. Whether it is the style of leadership, the sanctuary space, the parking lot or the biases of the members, there are things which limit growth in most smaller churches. Find out what the limiters are and work to eliminate them. You may be unwittingly chasing away the very people you hope to reach.

8. "I don't need any help"
The whole Church thing is about working together. Find others that can help your Church identify it's limiters, see missed opportunities and grow.

9. "I am a victim of circumstance"
Attitude is a huge thing. The right attitude can help you climb a mountain, the wrong one can drag you over a cliff.

Our current Pastor jumped on board at our Church under some circumstances that I would not want to deal with. Nonetheless, rather than saying, "We can't do this or that because of this or that.", he is diving in and helping us to become the Church we were called to be by figuring out how to deal with overcome these circumstances.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Saw it.

Diane and I saw this movie last night. Who has ever heard of it, anyways. It was quirky and a little slow at first, but it picked up and was kind of fun.

Michael Douglas looked certifiably loony. It might be worth watching just to see him do a crazy me....a person with a mental illness.

Here is an "official" synopsis:

Michael Douglas gives a bravura performance in writer-director Mike Cahill's feature-length debut, KING OF CALIFORNIA. Douglas stars as Charlie, a troubled musician who has just been released from a mental hospital. He returns home to live with his 16-year-old daughter, Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood), who is not exactly thrilled to have him back. Miranda has been forced to quit school and get a job in order to support herself and hold on to her beat-up old car and the family house, which is right in the middle of a new development--but she has refused to sell out. Instead, she works extra shifts at McDonald's and has no social life. But her father--still suffering from mental illness--insists that she join him on a wild adventure in search of supposedly long-buried treasure, and soon the two of them are combing through California, facing danger as Charlie leads them on a crazy quest that takes them through major chain stores and restaurants. Wood (THIRTEEN) is excellent as Miranda, walking that fine line between wanting to believe in her father and feeling he should be hospitalized again--but she never stops loving him, even against her better judgment. Bushy-haired and wild-eyed, Douglas shines every second he's onscreen, dreaming the impossible dream. The outstanding soundtrack features songs by John Coltrane, Seals and Crofts, Bud Powell, Fats Waller, Yma Sumac, and Billy Bragg and Wilco.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Oh, the places we will go.

Here is an interesting little read on how some Starbucks are struggling. The story highlights a coffee shop that is staying open while a nearby Starbucks is closing down.

Why do you suppose?
I think it is too many stores opening in too short of a time. This leads the local Starbucks to no longer feel like a neighborhood shop and the local stores all competing with one another. I, for one, frequent 2 of them and sometimes hit 1 of 2 others all fairly close to my house.

The article postulates that the stores have lost some of their early "magic" and now feel like any other sort of chain retail/food place.

Of course, this one used to be my favorite:
True Love Coffeehouse

For the same sort of feel in Tucson...but not quite the same.....try Crave.