color by numbers

mindless musings of a semi-creative guy


I’ve been pretty good about staying out of “the race”…but how can anyone vote for her?

Bill-ary Clinton

Look at that smile!


March 31, 2008 Posted by | Randomness | , , , , | Leave a comment

Work, Church, Budget, Volunteers, Money, (No) Sleep, etc.

Life has been crazy lately.  Now, I don’t want to freak out thinking I’m the only one in the world that has been working hard.  There are definitely people out that that work harder than I do/have.  But….I’m tired.  I’ve been tired.  And this journey has just started.  But…I’m excited.  And I continually become more excited about the possibilities and the look I see on people’s faces when “they get it”.

We had another good meeting tonight.  I’m realizing that as a leader, you need to have your crap together.  Not only do you need to explain yourself to people, but you also have to explain yourself regarding questions you haven’t yet asked yourself.  And, you need to be able to say “You know….I haven’t really thought that through” or “You know what, you’re right.  What was I thinking?”, etc.  I’m learning that.  And those types of questions are tiring.  You have to think.  You have to justify spending $80,000 on a remodel to start a new Family Ministry.  You have to justify moving Adult Sunday School into a Small Group setting in order to free up space in your environment and volunteers.  I definitely think we are on the right track with all of this.  But it is tiring.  But as tiring as the guy collecting cans to recycle in order to get enough money to buy a meal for dinner; thus, I’m not really complaining.  Although, I suppose I am or I wouldn’t have posted this….

Now I feel bad….

Things are going well.  I’m as excited as ever about what’s to come.  And I see the mountain of work before me as a huge challenge…but one that I look forward to hiking up.

In college I went on a few Spring Break trips.  Now, these weren’t the Girl’s Gone Wild types of trips.  Instead, it was quite the opposite.  We went backpacking…with 3 other guys.  It was a dude-fest…in a non-homosexual sort of way.  We had a lot of fun but it sure was a challenge.  Now, I hate running…and really don’t even like walking…but hiking, now that is something I can do…for about 4 hours.  The problem was that these trips were 5-6 days in length…in the back-country…away from civilization…no phones…no email…no vehicle…only you, the trail, and your hiking buddies.  No wife to cook you dinner.  It was a blast…and an amazing up-hill climb at the same time.  The mountains just seemed to continue…and it seems we were constantly walking uphill.  It was torture.  It was horrible.  But I would do it again in a heart beat.  At the time, I would trade it for anything…especially a warm beach with the ocean…and beach volleyball…and a pool…and parties.  But now…I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything…

God has  a plan in all of this.  I just pray we are faithful to follow it…and listen to it…and heed it.  You can’t go wrong following God.  So, the uphill climb sure seems like a long way up.  But eventually we will get there…and see the valleys below…and the peaks across…and the view that can only come from climbing up.  What a sweet view it will be…

Just to leave this post on a solid musical note, check out the YouTube video below.  Imogen Heap rocks it solid.  Love it.

March 31, 2008 Posted by | Church, Family Ministry, Music, Personal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

In-laws, in-ears and innerds…

Sara and I went out to Illinois to see her family today.  Was a pretty decent trip overall.  We weren’t able to get out there last weekend for Easter due to having to be at the church all weekend…and week…so we needed to get a trip in out there before Sara is done with Spring Break.  It’s quite a bit of traveling to make the trip in a day…several hours there…and several back.  Not to mention that it was pouring buckets of water the entire way home…and at times it was hailing/sleeting.  Lovely weather this time of year!  The trip seemed forever long on the drive home…even though we watched SNL’s Best of Will Farrell (Vol. 1 and 2) and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on our iPod.  You’d think it would make the trip go by faster.  It didn’t.  If anything it rubbed in the fact that we watched hours of SNL and an hour and half long movie….and STILL weren’t home.  Trips like that always leave my stomach a little loopy.  Just doesn’t quite settle…not to mention that I am nursing a sore throat…hoping it doesn’t turn into it’s evil step-sister a full-blown cold.  Here’s hoping…

As for the in-ear thing, let me explain.  We’ve been thinking a lot about how to get the best sound quality/coverage in our KidStuf space.  It seems as though the monitors may pose a problem.  Personally, I’m all for using in-ears.  I love to use them and prefer to use them.  Problem here is two-fold though….  1.)  Not everyone in our neck of the woods has ever used them…in fact, most haven’t and 2.) They cost money.  A decent bit of money in fact.  Just another 3 or 4 sets can augment our Audio budget a pretty decent little bit.  But, hey!  Live a little right?

March 27, 2008 Posted by | Family Ministry, Personal, Randomness | , , , , | 1 Comment

Massive Overhaul…and lots of $$$

We’re at the near beginning of a summer-long remodel/re-structuring of our children’s/family ministry, of which I am in charge,… Things have been hectic and the saying that “it takes more to kill something than to create it” is SOOO true… As we look to restructure (kill) Adult Sunday School, my main concern is not the money involved in the remodel…nor the volunteer base need to make KidStuf and Upstreet happen; rather, many of my concerns lie in bringing those adult sunday school goers on-board with the idea that discipleship will take place largely withing small groups, rather than a class…within “doing Jesus” rather than “learning Jesus”… if that makes any sense. Truthfully, the remodel, as I envision it, will take close to $70,000…a bit over what I originally hoped…but that $70K will rock your socks off…both as fifth-grade boys and as parents. I look forward to the Fall kick-off…but see the mountain of mounting work before me… T’wil be a long haul…but a haul worth hauling in the long run…thus, a haul worth hauling now…

March 26, 2008 Posted by | Church, Family Ministry, Randomness | , , , , , | Leave a comment

attention vs. focus

An interesting video isn’t it.  After watching it I began to think about the church and us in leadership positions within her.  “It’s easy to miss what you are not looking for.”  All too often I find myself guilty of this.  It’s all too easy to make gross judgments based on what I’ve given my attention to.  It’s all too easy to make encompassing statements that are inaccurate.  After all, those statements pack the most punch.  Many a marriage has died from this.  “You NEVER do….”  “You ALWAYS….”  “You’re the biggest ____ I know!”

We can all benefit from looking at things a bit differently.  Just because someone’s small group is struggling doesn’t mean that they all suck.  I kind of see it like those Magic Eye posters.  You can give the poster all the attention in the world…but unless you focus correctly you will never see the true image.  There is a difference between attention and focus.  What is it that is frustrating for you?  Something that gets your attention, but upsets you when you focus on it…  Perhaps you should look at it from a different angle.  Blur your vision a bit.  Cross your eyes a bit.  Maybe, just maybe, there is a treasure hiding beneath the patterns that we have been focused on.

March 24, 2008 Posted by | Church, Randomness | , , , , | Leave a comment

marketing, advertising and some great CG

I’ve recently been working my way through several books on marketing campaigns and advertising strategies.  I know that some of you cringe at the thought of mixing “the church” with business models.  But let’s be honest here…  Everyday people in our churches are the focus of marketing campaigns…whether its whiter teeth, a new car or a luxurious lifestyle.  By not taking popular culture into consideration when navigating a sermon series or just telling others about Jesus you are, in some ways, doing the opposite of what Jesus did.  He communicated in a way that people understood.  That’s one of the reasons the King James version of the Bible nearly unused any more.  It’s not that the message has changed (although, some scholars would argue that it is one of the poor translations), but rather, the way it communicates with todays culture is largely ineffective.  I do believe that the message of Jesus will forever transcend time and place.  But we have to be proactive and presenting that message in a way that can be understood by people in today’s culture.  And that is the same thing that marketing campaigns and advertising strategies attempt to do also.

So, now on to the good stuff.  I came across this design-driven creative group via AVclub’s blogBuck has produced some amazing stuff for many different customers.  And, after spending close to an hour going through some of their recent work, my brain hurts from creativity overload.  If you’ve got a few minutes and want to indulge your creative side check out their work for Toyota.  If you’ve got another 10 minutes and about 70 MB of downloading time, check out The Making Of for that same project.  Good stuff, great ideas and great use of a mixture of motion graphics, visual effects, live film, and 3D.  If you’ve got an hour on a Saturday evening like I did, check out the rest of their Recent Works on the left-hand side of the page…

March 22, 2008 Posted by | Church, Creativity | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How He Loves Us

…via RagamuffinSoul

I know…it can be pretty lame to post someone else content on your site. But here it is anyways… Tonight we settled in for another round of worship practice. It went well. My feet hurt half as bad as my fingertips do. And they (feet) hurt something fierce. I’m looking forward to third service Sunday. Anyways, on to these clips. Thanks Los for the original post. This song is so powerful…nearly brought me to my knees.

Even more powerful is the backstory…

Oh, how He loves us…

March 21, 2008 Posted by | Church, Music | , , , | Leave a comment

a boy and some new toys…

So, I was asked to play lead guitar for our spur-of-the-moment contemporary Easter service this weekend. I’m better versed with my Taylor Acoustic in my hands…but can’t hardly turn down the opportunity to play with old friends. Oh, my my beautiful wife Sara will be helping with backup vocals. We used to play and sing together all the time, but haven’t really had the time or opportunity to do that lately…so we’re looking forward to it. The only catch was that I sold my Electric guitar a number of years ago when I bought my first acoustic guitar. That posed a bit of an issue as the only other electric guitar around was being used for at least one of the songs. the music store I went with a budget. Here’s what I came home with…

Fender American Standard Stratocaster®
American Strat

Line 6 X3 Live POD

Anyways, I’m stoked. That Line 6 X3 Live rocks! What a powerful piece of equipment. And I’m pretty impressed with the way the Fender handles also. Should be a good time. Will post pictures if time allows…

March 19, 2008 Posted by | Church, Music | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Easter at The Branch

I’m excited about these upcoming Easter services.  Lately we’ve been constantly evaluating what we can do better as leaders…and in what ways can we introduce new ideas and mediums from which to worship to our community of believers…

Easter is always that time of year that people actually get out and go to church.  There is no doubt about it.  This year we’ve also been pushing our members to invite new people.  Just get them here.  The idea behind this is great…they get here and they will like it so much that they will stay.  The problem comes that, in reality, we don’t do a very good job of meeting people where they are and introducing Jesus into their normal, daily lives.  I think in many ways we ask too much of the non-Christian if they were to come to our church for the first time.  Conformity, though we may not admit it, is expected by some of our people…and that is a turn off right away.

But anyways, I hope this Easter Sunday will be different.  I hope we are able to meet those fringe-church-goers where they are…and engage them in some way that will get them thinking about coming back.   Here’s hoping….

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Church | Leave a comment

KidStuf and a creative space usage…

Tonight I had a committee meeting with a core group of parents/volunteers/board members of our church. Upon this 15 person crew I have bestowed the chore of evaluating our current children’s ministry and seeing how we could/will benefit from a revamped small group setting and family ministry service for our parents and children. It’s an exciting time around these parts…but also a time of a lot of work, headaches and ticked off adult Sunday school goers…

The pictures above are some renders of a 3D model I created of our children’s space using 3D Studio Max. Took nearly 150 hours to complete…but the result is by far some of the most creative work our church has produced….ever.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Church | , , , , | Leave a comment