Archive - April, 2009

Deviant Network:

A while back, I posted about hitting up your site with some classy Deviant Network buttons.

If you want to let others know about your desire to “think differently”, head on over to the “About” page and grab a button for yourself.

While you’re at it, head over to Luke DeMoss’ blog for a great example of the button in action. Thanks Luke! Welcome to the Network!

Luke's Blog

Have a button on your site? Get a hold of me and we’ll feature you on the blog sometime….

The iBible: Fun For Everyone!

This is the video that played before Guy Kawasaki’s presentation at Catalyst West and it is hilarious. For realz.

(HT: Ben Arment & Catalyst West).

Technology You Can’t Live Without

What are some of the websites/tech devices/apps that you can’t live without?

Here’s a few of mine:

  • WordPress: Easily the best blogging/website plaform out there. If you’re self-hosted, head to and start downloading. If you don’t know what that means or just want to start a blog up for yourself, head to and get started in minutes.
  • iPhone: The hype is almost 100% backed-up by this beauty of a device. It’s all that and a bag of chips.
  • Seesmic Desktop: This app takes Twitter to a whole ‘notha level.
  • Things: I’ve raved about this before, but the sync with iCal and my iPhone keeps my day in check. Worth it.
  • A great piece of web-based, Bible-reading goodness from the team at

Those are just a few of mine. What are yours? Dazzle the world with your technological brilliance–how does technology make your life easier?.

If Time is Money, What is Energy?

I tweeted this last week:


It struck a chord in me, and I wasn’t even there to hear it live. (Thanks to all the Twitterers at Catalyst West and their amazing social media coverage of the event! #Catwest let me feel like I was in on the action while being 1800 miles away! Well done–specifically Brett Crimmel and the always reliable Tony Morgan.)

How many of us stagger through our days having no energy? We slog through the day trying to hammer through tasks and jobs that have little to do with what we’re passionate about. So we have no energy and we wonder why we hate our jobs. I believe there are theological reasons abound as to the connection between our jobs and our spiritual lives, suffice to say that most of us live believing that work is “just something you do” instead of something you’ve been “fashioned” and “crafted” to do.

At any rate, Warren is onto something. In those situations where we dislike what we do, it does not matter how well you manage your time, your energy went out the door before you could even hit “task one” on your to-do list.

I’ve been asking myself the question, “Lord what have you created me to do and to be?” In a real, concrete way, what have I been created to create? In my experience, when we’re living in the reality of what we’ve been fashioned to do, energy is never a problem.

Think about it, what takes up more energy?

  • Getting up early to go to a dentist’s appointment to have a root canal?
  • Getting up early to go to a conference that you’ve had on the calendar for six months?
  • Writing the last page of a paper for a class that you absolutely loathe?
  • Writing the last page of a book on a subject that you’ve waited all your life to write about?

You get the drift. And here’s the thing: The answers are out there. People will tell you that they aren’t, that sometimes “you have to do things that you don’t like to do,” but they’re out there. A lot of that criticism comes from people’s pain in never asking the question, “What am I uniquely crafted to do by God?”

You can ask. And you should. The energy of God’s Spirit is waiting to fill you up..

God is Love and He Loves Everyone (Even Atheists & Lesbians)

A helpful reminder for those of us in Iowa (and abroad) today who might want to think otherwise (HT: Erik Carlson):

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one-of-a-kind Son, that whoever believes in him shall not die but have life everlasting!”


DJ Chaung: “3 Practical Ways to do Ministry Online”

I came cross these words from DJ Chaung on the blog. Ministry taking place online isn’t a question of “if?” but “how and when?” In fact, it’s already happening in so many different ways that most of the church is still scratching there heads asking, “What happened to America Online?”

DJ and the team over at is leading charge and pioneering what online ministry looks. There’s wisdom in them thar hills!

3 practical ways that you can use web tools to do ministry online:

  1. Connect with people where they are. When I’m asked whether to use Twitter or Facebook, I say use the one where the people you know are. Some people use Twitter, and that’s a near real-time way to stay in touch with them. More people use Facebook, and that’s a great way to stay in touch with them. There are great online tutorials available for you to learn how to use these tools effectively. Start with those you already know in person. And, as you become more proficient, use these connecting tools to build new relationships with new friends online.
  2. Actively communicate. While Twitter and Facebook are great for connecting, I find making a video on YouTube and/or blogging to be more effective at telling your story: your thoughts, your feelings, and your life. You can only say so much in a Twitter tweet or Facebook status update. Share episodes from your life, especially when God has made a difference, or when God has opened a new door of opportunity, or a prayer request. Share your life with others, and invite others to share theirs with you. I love what Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 , “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well …”
  3. Share your experiences. As you learn what works and doesn’t quite work in your ministry online efforts, share them with the online community here on this blog in the comment section. When you have a burning thought, signal Tony or Brandon to let you write a blog post too. We’re all in this together!

via Leveraging Ministry Online Creates Unlimited Potential for Churches – by DJ Chuang —

What ways is the church doing ministry online well? Not so well? What are you seeing that is working? That is not working?.

Lutherans Love Kitchens… And Signs

For those of you who don’t know, I’m finishing up my Masters of Divinity at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul. I have to come up for “intensives” every so often and I’ve been up here for the past week studying. I’m staying in a converted dorm on Luther Seminary’s campus, which is a stone’s throw away from Bethel.

All that to say, take a look at what I found in the kitchen last night. Let me say this: Lutherans love kitchens. Lutherans love signs. Lutherans love kitchen signs. Enjoy:


Tony Steward to the Rescue!

You know those things on your to-do list that hang around for weeks (if not months)?

Yeah, I have a little nook (of Hell) that I reserve for those projects in “Things“, my to-do list organizer. It’s called the “Someday” focus area. One of those items is pictured below, entitled “Immersion Webcast Gathering Sketch“:


If you notice, it’s in the focus area called “Someday” because I think, “someday I’ll get to that.”

It’s been in there for four months. “Someday” has turned into “never-day”. Do you have any idea how agonizing it is to have something in your to-do list for four months? Very. I’ll stop at that.

Enter Web 2.0-conqueror, Brandon Donaldson. Brandon rattled off a beauty of a blog post on the very thing I needed, a “how to” on organizing a webcast gathering for online church services. We just started up a webcast at Immersion, the faith community I help lead. I’ve been wanting to mobilize college students, out-of-state viewers, former Immersionites and the like to watch the webcast is a setting that is right for them.

“War and Peace” it ain’t, but Tony lays out a practical method for starting an online church gathering:

Have you every thought about the ways that Church Online could bring community to your life? One exciting and simple way is hosting a Watch Party.  A Watch Party is when you invite some people over to your house, apartment, or flat to watch a church online experience with you.  Here are three simple steps to host your own watch party

Invite a few people over 30 minutes before the experience you will be watching – friends, co-workers, neighbors, or family.

Connect your computer to the TV/projector and to the sound system.  Setup a comfortable viewing area.  It might just be moving your computer to the right location.

Prepare some food and drink – Coffee, snacks, or maybe even have dinner together.

Sound easy?  It is. Then you can be prepared to talk about what you just experienced.  It is a great opportunity to use what God is doing at Church Online to build connections where you live.  Go for it! …and tell us your experience.

Thanks Brandon! My GTD-flow and to-do list appreciate it! Here’s the item, checked off – SUCCESS!



The Future is Not Guaranteed

I recently came across a very long, but very informative, report on “The Networked Congregation” by Andrea Useem.

Useem lays out a comprehensive, in-depth look at what the future of the wired Church-at-large will look like; the challenges and benefits of a Web 2.0 Christian church. If you have the time, I’d encourage you to check out the report in its entirety here.

Useem drops some knowledge on page 32 that I had to share with you. Read at your own risk, extreme excitement may follow:

While the need for face-to-face events is an obvious one, that fact alone does not guarantee that geographically based, brick-and-mortar religious congregations will continue to be the center of religious life. As a point of comparison, a very similar discussion is taking place right now in the newspaper  industry, where declining advertising revenues, circulation numbers, and share prices are threatening the existence even of large and successful newspapers. Journalists and newspaper lovers often say, in a protesting voice, “But there will always be a need for quality reporting.”

That observation is true, yet it alone is not enough to sustain an industry whose underpinnings have been washed away or at least very seriously eroded by online utilities. Quality reporting may endure in some form or another, but that does not guarantee newspapers will.

Similarly, religious people everywhere are drawn toward one another, and that impulse does not seem to have dimmed in any way. Indeed, Campbell estimated the people who belonged to the online communities she studied spent an average of twelve hours a week interacting with those communities, and at times some even drove up to twelve hours to meet with fellow community members in person at different times. But just because there remains a need for religious congregations does not mean the church on the corner will necessarily continue unchanged in the digital age.

How’s that for your Tuesday morning?

There are influential voices out there asking the question, “Does online community really count as true community?” With all due respect, this is the wrong question. The real question should be, “Online community is happening, so what are we going to do with this reality?”.

Deviant Network in Effect!

Like this blog? Now you can display your favorable opinion of on your own site!

Below are some network buttons (125x125px, FYI) that you can grab and display on your own piece of internet real estate. Just make sure you link back to us!

If you put a Deviant button on your site, let me know and we’ll add you to our blogroll. Gotsta share the love….

Hopefully you can find a button that matches the flow of your site. So have at it – let the world know you’re a “deviant” and proud of it!

(Update: If you want to use these buttons on your site, simply right-click [for Windows] or control-click [for Mac] and hit “Save As” and save it to your desktop. Then insert it into your site or blog by navigating to your desktop and selecting the button that you saved. Presto!)


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