Archive - February, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

I’ve dropped the UNFOLLOW hammer on Twitter a lot recently. Why? I posted a tweet the other day that read:

I have found that “regular” people are a whole lot more fun to follow on Twitter than the “big names.” Am I the only one?

I think I have found my answer, and the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Turns out, I’m not the only one. I’ve un-followed three of the bigger names in the Christian community in the past few weeks because, frankly, they’ve been obnoxious:

Buy my book. Buy my CD. Read my blog. Come to my tour. Watch me do this. Watch me do that. Look at what so-and-so said about me. They are mean. Aren’t I great? Whoops, I mean, “Isn’t God great?”.com

I read their blogs and it’s more of the same. To be fair, I participate in the above at some level (although the only book I’ve written was for a third grade English assignment), but hopefully I am contributing something more to the social media communities Im involved in than just, “LOOK. AT. ME. Please!

So my question is “How much self-exposure/promotion is too much?” I understand that part of the joy of social media is letting people know what’s going on in your life. I also understand that people are excited about what they are doing and what they’re producing. I do, I get that. But does there come a point where it crosses over from being self-disclosure and into self-exposure?

When do we cross the line from transparency over to voyeurism? Most of the un-following I’ve done is because these people have shared too much with me and the venue in which they have shared it is inappropriate. In the words of Michael Scott: TMI, Pam. TMI..

You REALLY Did It Now!

I am in awe of you, loyal readers.

A little less than 24 hours ago, I asked you to help me raise $100 for the Des Moines Power Climb. Eight hours later, I hit my goal! Wow! What an amazing testament to not only you, but the power of social media. For a medium that gets a lot of critique for not being “real” enough, I assure you that every cent you raised for the Power Climb is going to be very real to people suffering from lung diseases in Iowa. Here’s a little timeline as to how it went down….

The first donation:


A quarter way to the goal (note timer counting down until the Power Climb starts):



Getting closer….



We stayed at 75% for awhile….



Then, almost as quickly as it started, we hit our goal! I took a screen shot of my iPhone as I was sitting in church when it happened:


GOOAAAAALLLLL! We did it. We really did it. All it took was a blog, a website, Twitter, and an iPhone to raise $150 in less than 24 hours. That’s right, I said $150! I woke up this morning to this little gem on my dashboard:


Seems like readers love being generous. I like that. Well done, crew. The American Lung Association thanks you and your donations will be used to fight lung diseases throughout the communities of Iowa. I’m about 15 minutes away from heading downtown to meet my wife, where I’ll trudge up 41 flights of stairs.

Pictures to follow. You guys rock. Well done.

PS – If would still like to donate, you can do so here. I’m only $25 away from being the biggest donor on my team!.

I Need to Raise $100 in 24 Hours.


So here’s the thing: I’m a slacker. And I need to raise $100 in donations by this time tomorrow.

My wife works for the American Lung Association where the Power Climb will be happening in downtown Des Moines tomorrow.

I signed up to be on the team, “Dancing With the Stairs” (Get it? Because we’re going to be climbing stairs, we made a funny parody off of the hit show on ABC, “Dancing With the Stars“! Clever, no?).

In order to do the Power Climb, you need to have raised $100 or more. Right now I have $0. I have had close to six months to do this, but I haven’t even started. Such is the ongoing saga of Larry Lag-Behind (my nickname in college).

But all is not lost! Sure, the impetus for this request is sheer neglect on my part, but what if we turned this into a neat, social media experiment? Can social media impact the world in a tangible way in a given amount of time? The donations are going to help fight lung diseases in the communities throughout Iowa, so it’s a noble cause to say the least.

So…Can you help? $1? $5? $20? Or could you take care of the whole darn thing with a $100 donation? Here’s my donation page. You can donate right on the site and watch my pledge meter go up as the dough comes in!

So here we go. As of the end of this post, we have t-minus 22 hours and counting before I try and heave my 6’4″ frame up 43 flights of stairs at the Power Climb! I’ll post pictures regardless to commemorate this epic challenge!

Tell your friends, relatives, countrymen! Let’s do this! This is going to be fun. Giddy up.

(Update: I will give a FREE Deviant T-shirt to the person who takes me over $100!)

Go Here To Help.


Kittens By Kittens!

Video courtesy of my sister. As she said, “if you don’t laugh at this, something’s wrong with you!” Enjoy.


If You Go to Seminary…

If you ever decide to go to seminary, I hope you will consider Bethel Seminary. I have been a part of other learning institutions where professors want everyone to know how many degrees they have. They make sure that you call them “Dr.” in all your correspondence with them. At Bethel Seminary, my professors don’t go by “Dr.” or “Professor” or “Almighty,” but by Kyle, Joel, and Jeanine. (Incidentally, they are some of the most brilliant people I have ever known, yet they don’t demand their students to recognize their academic achievements.) Their power isn’t derived from a title, it’s derived from the authority that wisdom brings..

Reasons Why the iPhone Won’t Change the World.


This past week, I fried the logic board on my MacBook Pro. I was assured by multiple Mac Geniuses that there was nothing I could have done to cause this, but I have my suspicions. (Have you ever heard the expression, “He knows enough about _____ to be dangerous”? I know enough about the inner workings of a Mac to be dangerous. That’s a whole different blog post.)

Being “Mac-less” this week has brought a much-needed breather from the computer world; a breather I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I have. I am working on a computer in our Chapel and, at the end of the day when it’s time to go home, I get to leave my work at work. It’s liberating to be able to truly say, “I’m not going to get to that until tomorrow!” and mean it.

Without my laptop, I’ve been depending more on my iPhone to accomplish simple tasks when I’m not at the church. Email, websurfing, RSS reading, Twitter, all can be done from the palm of my hand. But while the iPhone is truly an amazing piece of technology, it won’t be replacing desktop/laptop terminals any time soon. At least not mine. Here’s some reasons why:

1. Size: No matter how much the iPhone can do, it’s still too small to become a viable option for computer replacement. From the keyboard to the screen to the web browser, people (read: me) need space to complete everyday tasks.

2. Video: The iPhone still cannot display Flash encoded video outside of YouTube. This, obviously, is not a case of “We Can’t” but more of a “We Won’t”. With more and more websites integrating video into their visual process, the iPhone will need to accommodate video before it can hang with its Big Brother, MacBook Pro.

3. Video Conferencing: My MacBook Pro has a webcam built in. This automatically allows me to transcend physical boundaries in order to connect with people in a real way. The iPhone, unexplainably, does not allow me to do this. Put a webcam on the front of the iPhone and give people a native app that allows them to webcast at a moment’s notice and then, my friends, we’ll talk revolutionary.

Don’t get wrong, I love my iPhone as much as the next person. It truly has changed the way that I approach my work and social life. But my MacBook will always be my MacBook and my iPhone will always be my iPhone, if that makes any sense.

What do you think? (And if you’re wondering, yes, that’s the front page of my iPhone.)


A Vision That Challenges the Group You’re Not In… Yet.

I listened to an Andy Stanley podcast this morning during my workout that really gripped me. I mean, it felt like he reached into my chest, grabbed a hold of my heart, gave it a good jostle, and then set it back in its proper place.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Andy basically said, “How are you, older generation, making sure that you are reaching behind you and giving the younger generation a chance to lead? How are funding a younger generation’s vision? Are you going to fund it, or let it fail?”

Then he dropped another bomb that I pray is seared into my soul for the days ahead: “Once you hit 45, you don’t have any more good ideas. Once you hit 45, it’s your turn to foster and develop and green light the ideas of a younger generation.”

Wow. Coming from a guy who is in his 40’s himself, this was a very powerful teaching moment to listen to.

Everything in me was screaming, “YES!” But how do you live this teaching out when you’re not in the age group he’s addressing? As a matter of fact, you’re the one waiting to “grab the baton,” so to speak. It was like water to my soul to hear him say the things he was addressing. Healing, in a way.

How have you experienced this in your leadership setting? Older leaders, how are you “preparing the way” for a younger generation to not only grab the baton, but run father, faster, and harder than you ever could? Younger leaders, where have you been handed responsibility and authority in a way that has harnessed your gifts and talents?

My prayer is that when the time comes, I’ll be able to “fund” instead of let the ideas of a new generation “fail.” I love how Andy closed the talk, “If you’re in your twenties, soak it up. Really. But be prepared to give someone the same shot that someone gave you!”

Amen, my brother..

Pay Atention to Detail.


I came across this quote this morning via Design Matters on Twitter:

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” Charles Eames.

That is wisdom. Truly.

If you work in a church, let me ask you a few questions:

  • Is there trash/litter/debris scattered throughout your hallways? That’s a design issue and people notice.
  • Do you consistently have misspellings in your bulletin or communication pieces? It’s a design issue and people notice.
  • Do you have a room that is the “catch-all”, overflowing with junk from various ministries that no one knows what to do with? It’s a design issue and people notice.
  • Does your website have old content and/or broken links? That, for sure, is a design issue and many people notice, regardless of what your traffic looks like.

Think these examples of detail sound trivial? Rudy Giuliani didn’t. As a part of a city-wide effort to reform the Big Apple in the 1980’s, Mayor Giuliani ordered that all broken windows be fixed, especially the windows in the darkest, most dangerous, crime-filled parts of the city.

So, amongst other things, the windows were re-paned, graffiti was cleaned up, and New York City started down a path of transformation that is still taking place to this day. Crime and prostitution went down; tourism went up; New York City became a better place.

NYC isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. Why? Because someone paid attention to detail.

So what about you? What “details” do you need to be paying attention to? They matter more than you think.

PS – Did you notice the title of this post? Did you notice the “t” missing in “attention”? If so, consider yourself well on your way to paying “atention” to detail!


The Ethics of

This week has been all about ethics.

I’ve been in classes for the past week and a half at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN (which is why the posts have been few and far between.) Basically my days have consisted of class from 8-4:30, go home (read: dorm) and eat, read, sleep, and do it all over again the next day.

Here’s a land-mine-face-melter-rump-shaker truth of the week: Our problem is not that we’re immoral as fallen human beings, it’s that we’re moral. According to Genesis 3, the problem for the human race is that we are able to tell the difference between good and evil. God designed us to hear only from him, not to try and judge for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. That, my friends, will challenge a lot of people’s theology. (All that and you didn’t even have to pay a dime!)

But enough talk about ethics. Let’s dumb things down a bit and watch a video of a foreign newscaster faint during a broadcast. Nothing says “funny” like momentary unconsciousness!

Bonus Question: What are the ethical issues involved in this video? Extra credit for the right answer!

Read This Before You Head to That Next Prayer Meeting…

From “Reviving Evangelical Ethics” by Wyndy Corbin Reuschling: “It strikes me that much of the prophets’ critiques were directed at the personal pietistic practices of the people of God. There was no shortage of fasting, praying, temple going, and even tithing (Isaiah 58, Micah 6:1-7). It seems, however, that the people of God assumed this was either enough or all that was required of them.” This book is peeling my face off it’s so good. Sheesh. Conviction much?


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