I was a late adopter to Facebook – I’ll admit it, when I first checked it out I didn’t get it; it seemed way to complicated. Well things have changed, and Facebook has become my online portal/community.

One of the complaints I often hear from people who are new or wary of joining Facebook is, all the poking, pie throwing, charm giving, personality quiz’s, which disney character are you quiz, how well you know that person from 8th grade, and on, and on, and on it goes. There’s good news for you!

The wise folks at Facebook have made it SUPER easy for you to filter that junk out. Here’s one easy way to cut down on all that garbage.

DISCLAIMER: If you like to spend endless hours filling out these tests and throwing virtual water balloons, read no further.

Here’s a typical quiz that shows up on your wall; taking up your precious real estate. Maybe you just can’t wait to find out what Disney Character you are, for me, not so much. There’s a very easy way to make sure this NEVER happens to you again.

All you have to do is roll your mouse pointer over the upper right side of the post. When you do this a magic “Hide” button appears. When you click on the button, two options appear. In the graphic above, I’ve selected to hide the quiz from my wall, forever banishing this application to underworld of the internet. So to be clear, I will NEVER see this quiz again, no matter how many of my friends take it.

Now let’s say you have a friend who takes like 4 quiz’s an hour, loading up your page with their results & inviting you to join in the fun. Well, you really have no choice but to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And with the click of a button, you will never see another quiz, pie, waterballoon, or poke. That’s right you can simply hide their status updates from your wall.

Ahhhh can you feel the peace and quiet?

That’s all for tonight folks – have fun hiding things & people. And if you want to see what quizzes I’m taking, add me as a friend.

Just thought I’d share…

(and these are not in any order, just the top 10)

  1. End of the Innocence (Don Henley version – yes, that’s right, not the )
  2. Jump (Van Halen)
  3. Little Wing (Stevie Ray Vaughn)
  4. Stir it Up (Bob Marley)
  5. Broken Arrow (The Album Leaf)
  6. MLK (U2 – I know a strange one, but gets me every time)
  7. Blessed be Your Name (Matt Redman, although I have a ripped copy of a Steve Fee 7:22 version that I like the best)
  8. Don’t (Elvis, again I have a version done by David Gilmore of Pink Floyd that I prefer)
  9. Danny’s Song (Loggins & Messina – this reminds me of when I was a kid, my parents played this album all the time)
  10. Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel – from the Growing Up Live album)

Honorable mentions:

  • Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd / David Gilmore)
  • Any song from John Mayer’s Continuum
  • (Stone Temple Pilots)
  • Running Down a Dream (Tom Petty)
  • Pretty much anything by Sarah McLachlan (Yes, I know, I lose my man card)
  • Wind of Change (Acoustic Alchemy)
  • Run to You (Bryan Adams)
  • Stranger in Moscow (Michael Jackson)
  • Everybody’s Changing (Keane)
  • Viternoll2 (Kent – love playing this on Guitar Hero!)
  • Viva La Vida (Coldplay)
  • Irish Girl (Adrian Legg)
  • Walking in Memphis (Marc Cohn)
  • When You Say Nothing (Alison Krause)

Of course I’m sure this would be different in about a month, but how about you? Your Top 10?

Our Middle School Department came up with a cool idea for their events – they want the kids to take photos & videos with their cameras & cell phones, then somehow collect all the media centrally & edit it together to make a presentation when the event is over. Personally, I love the idea and want to make it happen today! But I do have some questions for those who have done this before or just know more about this than us. So here’s some random statements and questions:

  • My initial thought was to create a Flickr account & pass out the username/password combo to everyone. Of course we’d monitor it and change the password once we had a good collection. But is that easy enough? Can most phones today connect to Flickr?
  • What about just an email account? I worry that videos might be a problem for that?
  • Is there something out there that works for both photos & videos that is SUPER easy to explain and works with phone & email?

So if you wouldn’t mind sharing your thoughts, ideas, expertice, I would really appreciate it!

Thanks!

So I was casually listening to the Saddleback Worship Conference online today, when I heard some stuff that spoke right to who I am… It was from Dan Cathy, chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based chain, Chick-Fil-A. Here’s my random notes:

“If people don’t leave your church/organization and tell other people about what a GREAT EXPERIENCE they’ve had then you haven’t created RAVING FANS”

“It takes practice to play music” anyone can play notes (He’s a trumpeter for his church)

Almost 1 million fans on Facebook, started & maintained by fans

Over 4k Youtube Chick Filet Videos

People in Chicago started a campaign to bring Chik Filet to their city

2nd Mile Service = 1st Mile – head / 2nd Mile – heart

1st Mile is doing things by the book, the 2nd Mile is doing things from the heart.

The 2nd Mile is about going above and beyond – serving others from the heart.

It’s a lot easier to have a 99 cent menu than to change the hearts of 16 year olds (learning to serve, have integrity, character, etc.)

It’s not TGIF, it’s TGIM!

Make it personal. The business is a family. The kids played at the restaurant, with the employees.

It’s not just about eating good food – it’s about having an emotional connection. People cared, family, fellowship.

“These are people who’ve known me for 40 years.”

“Dad made it personal – he knew we could change lives by how we treat people.”

Eat more Chicken & Ispire more People / Burning Brush (books)

*don’t quote me on my quotes…

Those notes are random, I know – sorry I guess they are more for me. But if you notice on that graphic, Chick-fil-A is striving to CREATE RAVING FANS, and by doing so, they’re business is growing and they have what you CANNOT pay for: a GREAT Reputation! They live this out in three ways:

  1. Operational Excellence – they have a great product, and they do it right. Ever been inside a Chick-fil-A? Always clean, slick menu’s & ads, great food, etc. Imagine what is going on behind the scenes – all the operations, management, financing, planning, etc.
  2. 2nd Mile Service – going above and beyond. Serving others from the heart – not just handing them a Chicken Sandwich. Pulling out chairs, opening doors, smiling, saying “It’s my pleasure to serve you!”.
  3. Emotional Connections – It’s about people. We’re often told “it’s not personal…” what a crock. People hurt, people have feelings, people are God’s creation. Looking at people as more than customers – as real people, who have real needs, who may need just a little more than what they are paying for.
    By living those tenants out, Chick-fil-A has become an incredibly successful franchise. And if you notice, they don’t have commercials on the major networks. They have RAVING FANS – who do their marketing for them, because they LOVE the company.

I think the implications for the church, or other organizations are obvious.

I’m seriously trying to figure out how to get in contact with Dan – anyone have any suggestions? (Follow him on twitter here)

Rather than fancy writing, I’m just going to mind dump “what’s up” in my life. Here goes:

  • Well, just like many of you, the blog has taken second fiddle to Twitter/Facebook.
  • I’m not reading blogs & I’m not writing on mine (much).
  • If you want me to read your blog, twitter when you post – I’ll try and catch it.
  • I love my new job.
  • I love my new church.
  • I’m stoked that we are partnering with Impact Church to plant Rancho Community Murrieta (looks like I’m right back into church planting).
  • Miss my buddy Vince – but stoked that he has a new job!
  • I’m currently watching “America’s Got Talent”, and like I said a year ago, it should be called “America’s Got NO Talent”.
  • I’m designing a ton, including a brand new website for Rancho Community – working with @worshiptechie on it; he’s making it work (we’re using Drupal in case anyone is wondering).
  • Working with my buddy Trasier on a project called “TasteofTemecula.net” (I hate capitalized letters in URL’s…)
  • Took the kids to UP – a great movie, probably over their heads (yes, that was a pun).
  • Reading “Life Together” by Bonheoffer – blowing my mind.
  • Finished “What is a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever – a good little read, challenging for church planter yahoos (like me).
  • Got to play drums 3x’s in the past couple months for @rkweblog, @tysonmorlet, and @ericbeeman.
  • Miles is now headed to First Grade – it will be his first time going to school 5 days a week, all day (he turns 7 in September!).
  • I’m so blessed that I get to work at the same school that both my kids go to (yes, I work at the church and the school).
  • I’m seriously struggling with envy every time I look at my phone – I want a Palm Pre.
  • I started the year reading through the Bible chronologically. I failed.
  • I think I’m going to do the Read the Bible in 90 days.
  • Out of nowhere, I’ve been having high blood pressure; usually I’m 110/70 with a heart rate of 50. Two weeks ago I was 160/70/50, this week I’ve been 130/70/50. Went to the doc and she said to stop drinking coffee, exercise more, and watch it for a month. Attempting all three, so we’ll see.
  • Been trying to get inspired by looking at other designers – lots of delicious tagging going on.
  • I met a guy who brews his own beer – after our conversation, I walked away with 2 “how to” books, which are incredible. There may be a “McLean Triple Chocolate Stout” on the horizon.
  • I’m excited to be going to the Antioch School of Ministry starting in the fall – in four years I’ll be able to say I’ve been educated.
  • We moved, again. This time out to the Temecula Wine Country. We’re on 5 acres of wine grapes – everyone is super stoked – fits us like a glove, since both Jen and I pretty much grew up together in Wine Country (Ok, I didn’t really grow up with her, but we’ve been together for over 15 years).
  • We currently have no Cable, no phone, and (gulp), no internet. That’s right. I’ve been tethering my phone when I need to get online. (We do get about 4 TV stations).
  • I’ve gotten back on the Mountain Bike about 3 times in the last couple weeks – feels good. For those that don’t know, I used to be a pretty adamant biker (& surfer).
  • Jen and I are currently reading “Shepherding Your Child’s Heart” by Tripp. We have a huge desire to be great (not good) parents. If you pray for us – pray that we would love & shepherd our children like God does his.
  • I’m getting tired of having only “Christian” friends (no offense to you who are). I need to do some things to get out of the church/christian bubble – Christ’s command was to go out, into the world.
  • Pastor Scott is teaching through Isaiah over the next few weeks – I CAN’T WAIT (and that is not an exaggeration). I think we will get a clearer understanding of God’s plan for Salvation & Redemption.
  • I recently went from following over 600 people on Twitter, to a more manageable 150 or so. Life is quieter.
  • I’m learning patience from my children and my job. I’ve realized that I am impatient and often motivated by the wrong things. I’m hoping to trust God more and relax.
  • I’ve been blessed beyond what I deserve and have every reason to be thankful and joyful – and I intend to live into that more.
    Thanks for reading!

That’s right. Or at least that’s what’s going on here at the blog. I’m being blown by things going on around me. My mind is being filled by some good studies & conversations. My spirit is being revitalized by spending more time with my family, with God, and with some pretty amazing co-workers. My heart is being softened by hearing some incredible things from God’s word – things that are changing me.

But when it comes to the blog, I really got nothing right now. It’s all just churning inside & maybe it will begin to pour out soon. But I’m ok just soaking in for a while.

As far as just life updates, here goes:

Many of you know that in February I began working at Rancho Community Church & School, as pastor of communication. There’s a lot to do, A LOT. But I’m trying to take it easy, prioritize, set goals, and accomplish as much as possible while maintaining health (what a concept). On the church side I’m working hard on:

  • Web rebuild. From the ground up, we’re redesigning and re-architecturing the entire site. A huge project that should be completed in about 7 weeks.
  • Some re-branding. From the overall church to individual ministries & departments, we’re modernizing and bringing up the quality.
  • Kiosks. We’re implementing a culture shift from printed materials to digital media. So we’re building kiosks which will run computers linked to our website where people can get all the info they want/need instantly.

On the school side of things:

  • I setup my school office just last week. (That’s right I have 2 offices – inconvenient yes, but very necessary). I’m there Mondays & Thursdays – stop in and visit anytime!
  • I’m doing parent meetings – just inviting parents to come meet me (& Jen) and hear what my role is and my heart – and also to hear their ideas & concerns. So far I’ve done one meeting which went amazing. Looking forward to another one next week.
  • Advertising. Mailers, News ads, website, twitter, you know the drill.

And a little mind dump…

  • We moved… Again. This time hopefully we’ll be here for a long time. We moved out to a beautiful 5 acre place in wine country. It was a 2 edged sword: The condo we were in was practically unlivable because of the “environment”, luckily Jen found this place – it’s way more “us”.
  • I’m praying about ONE VOICE (last year’s worship gathering & hopefully this year’s as well).
  • I’ve got whiteboards FULL of ideas & not enough time in a week to even make a dent. And of course they are all the best ideas ever that will forever redefine how church functions, so of course they MUST be completed (read: sarcasm).
  • My son is almost 7! The time is flying by (I know, how cliche).
  • My daughter is continuing her terrible 2’s into the 3’s but she’s freakin’ CUTE!
  • I’m a new Francis Chan convert – can’t get enough of the old podcast.

So, for having nothing, I guess that’s something. But I’m not posting thoughts on leadership or how-to’s for church media. I’m just enjoying life and enjoying some health, coming back it feels like.

So I got to spend 5 hours at Catalyst West Coast at Mariners Church on Friday, thanks to a ticket from by good friend Eric Beeman. I went into work a little early to wrap up some important projects & headed out to the OC. I’ve always heard from anyone who’s gone to Catalyst that it is awesome – I’ve just never been in the position to go. Let’s just say I’m SO STOKED to have gotten to experience just the short time on Friday.

  • I got to rub shoulders with some cool friends: Eric, Jimmy, Bobby, Victor, Carlos, Steve, Troy, Bobbbie Joe, to name a few.
  • I got to jump into a “behind the scenes” tour from one of the guys from Visioneering, who help design/build some of the Mariners amazing campus.
  • Took a TON of photos – I love doing that, then I can refer back to them when we’re visionizing stuff at our church (Thanks to the Mariners tech guy who gave me 4 new AA batteries – how awesome is that?) Saw the Tom’s Shoes, Planning Center, & Renewed Vision booths – all AWESOME companies!
  • Got to hear Francis Chan live for the very first time – he wrecked me. Got to hear Perry Noble live for the first time as well – he inspired me.
  • Got to experience the wonder that is the stage, lights, and sound at Mariners – very impressive. I told Daniel @ranchocommunity’s tech meistro, that the bass made my insides rattle (which I like).
  • Twittered and Twitpic’d like crazy.
  • Got to eat dinner with some great people from Cornerstone (Livermore), who bought Eric & I’s dinner – awesome?!

I know, conferences are hit & miss – but I think it’s all what you make of it. When I go to a conference, I expect to be overloaded with information. I expect to get tired. I expect to be wowed. I expect to see & hear things that blow my mind. Then I go back to reality and try and apply a little bit, remember the places where God really spoke to my heart, and just grow a little bit more. I will say that I will be going to next year’s Catalyst West Coast – I really wanted to catch Andy Stanley, hopefull next year. And lastly, I want to give a shout out to LV Hanson, who tried to get me a sweet deal to go to entire conference, unfortunately I just couldn’t swing it this year. Thanks for trying LV! Were you there?

Planning center Being responsible for the order, timing, and flow of the weekend worship service and trying to inform everyone of what is planned can be a tall order week after week. I can’t even count on two hands the amount of times I’ve attempted creating a planning template for weekend worship services & presenting it. The over-zealous planner vs the fly-by-night worship leaders, teachers, pastors, announcers, and any other additions thrown into the mix.

Then I stumbled upon www.planningcenteronline.com – I can’t even remember how I found it! It must have been divine intervention. This is an online planning center that is totally web 2.0 looking – very easy to navigate through and packed with features designed just for the church. Plan your service from start to finish. Include preservice activities, worship songs, announcements (yuck!), videos, teaching, communion, offering, etc. As you add elements to your services, a running total adds up the time each event takes and keeps an updated total time so you can see how each addition affects the overall time.

This doesn’t just keep the events of a service organized, it is also a volunteer organizer, helping you keep track of your teams, scheduling and automatically emailing them & reminding them of rehearsals and services that they are scheduled for. Better yet – when they confirm their position, they can view the plan online with all the details – the songs, keys, charts, videos, etc. Did I mention that this becomes your worship leaders song database as well? Add songs to the schedule, upload the lead sheets, the mp3’s, make notes on arrangements – as you add songs to your database, planningcenteronline shows you how often you play songs, when the last time you played it, etc.

If all this is not making you drool all over your keyboard, there is also a matrix view that let’s you look at weeks at a time so it becomes super easy to plan songs, videos, promo’s, teams, speakers weeks in advance. You can also look back in time to see what has happened in the past weeks – remember you did that really cool new song? You forgot to do it again! Let’s plan it for this week!

Check it out here – you can sign up for a 30 day FREE trial, after that you can sign up for plans from $10 or so per month.

One of my long time personal favorite people is Louie Giglio. He used to teach at 722, a singles worship service at Northpoint Church in Atlanta. Now he heads up the Passion movement, and sixstep records (Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, David Crowder, Matt Redman). Quite the resume‚ If you’ve never heard of him or any of the above ministries, then you have some catching up to do. Every year for the past few years, Louie and company (the above worship leaders, along with Beth Moore and John Piper) have gathered tens of thousands of college students to Passion – a multiple day teaching and worship event that draws people from all corners of the USA. There they are exposed to deep and challenging theological teaching and top notch worship music, and challenged to ‚“not waste their lives.
Anyway check out what Louie has to say about worship here – some really good stuff.

If you know me, you know I’m a “Raving Fan” of Chick-fil-A. I’ve always been a fan – the food is great, the atmosphere is so positive, and like I’ve told my wife, I’ve never even had a “not great” experience there. When we go there and we’re fumbling around with the kids, their stuff, our stuff, trying to order, find a seat, and all that – it’s nice to have a smiling face and even nicer to have the food brought to the table.

When I first came to Rancho, I had this crazy idea of pulling our entire staff together to encourage them and remind them that we (church/school) are one team, with one vision and mission. I had just heard Dan Cathy speak at the Saddleback Worship Conference, and was blown away with his presentation; and, I remembered that Chick-fil-A had brought lunch to our VBS about a month earlier, so I called them up with two requests:

A. How does one go about getting Dan Cathy to speak at an event?
B. Would they be interested in feeding our staff?

Well, number two was easy for them as they just had to cook up 180 Chick-fil-A Sandwiches. Number one was a little bit harder – Dan Cathy lives in Georgia, so getting him out here was not that easy. However, Andrew (his son), works in Southern California and was available. He came and spoke and really made the day inspirational – talking about “Operational Excellence, 2nd Mile Service, and Emotional Connections”. We were so appreciative of Andrew and our local (Temecula) Chick-fil-A.