Archive - June, 2009

Claim Your Facebook Fan Page Custom URL Today


The glorious day is upon us, you can now claim vanity URL’s for Facebook Fan Pages.

Earlier this month, Facebook allowed users to grab custom URL’s for their own profile pages. For instance, you can find me on Facebook at


A much needed, and much appreciated, change from the endless string of numbers that used to make up your profile URL:


(If you haven’t yet grabbed your custom URL, head to and get to it!)

Now, if you’re an admin for a Fan Page, you can grab custom URL’s for those too. (The group has to be more than 100 members, though.)

For instance, I’m an admin for the fan pages of my church’s three different campuses: Hope West Des Moines, Hope NorthBranch, and Hope CityBranch. Before, we were  having to use URL shorteners to easily tell people about the page. Forget trying to tell people the actual URL of the page, most pages have something that looks like this:


Now, we have easily identified URL’s on Facebook for two out of our three campuses:

Brand recognition, URL brevity, and the power of Facebook–what could be better? Are you an admin for a page on Facebook? Hurry up on over to the site and grab your organization-specific URL now. (And if you procrastinate and don’t get what you want, don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

Sunday Funday: I Had to Share This…

We’re having a baby in September.

We had our first birthing class tonight.

This was one of the pictures in our book:

She’s clearly not amused.

What is God Teaching You?


Simple. Precise. Clear.

My question for you today is this, “What is God teaching you in your life?

I’ll start the ball rolling… God is teaching me how to expand my imagination.

Now it’s your turn.

Breathable Technology

I hopped into a conversation on FriendFeed started by Tony Steward yesterday and it got me thinking.

Tony asked the question,

What technology and insights are you most excited about in the church world right now?

I had a few things to add, mostly regarding the iPhone. I thought I’d expound a bit on some of them and see what you all think. I realize that most of these are currently completely unfeasible, but a geek can dream, can’t he?

1. Let me embed hyperlinks into my Keynote slides (or PowerPoint, for you Windoze users) that beams the Scripture references I am using to web-enabled cell phones automatically over WiFi. This could, essentially, eliminate the “I forgot my Bible at home” syndrome, and would allow me as the communicator to pick one translation so everyone can be on the same page, literally.

2. Open up a web-based communication channel that would allow me, as communicator, to see real-time feedback from the audience on my iPhone. It would need to be “closed” and identity-based to allow some accountability.

3. “What song did the band play tonight? It was that one song… You know, with the chorus and the guitar? That one.” Ever heard that as a ministry or worship leader? What if you provide a real-time tracking system for your worship songs that allowed iPhone users to be notified of each song played at your service and a link to iTunes to download immediately? If one were so inclined, you could have the entire night’s worship set in your iPhone before you leave the church.

4. Give me an app that generates tag clouds of the preachers and teachers I am listening to. Type in their name (or build voice-recognition into the app so it can automatically identify who it is you are listening to) and the app goes to work, collecting tags about the speaker from Amazon reviews, blogs, Twitter, etc.

This is “Web4” type stuff, requiring data that can “sense and react” to the real-world environment around us. It’s possible, just not right now. Ask Seth Godin–he knows.

So let’s continue to conversation that Tony started, right here. What technology and insights are you most excited about in the church world?

Augmented Reality


How To Lead the Free World Using YouTube


Did you know that President Obama gives weekly national addresses… on YouTube?

Many “in the know” believe that Obama won the presidency, in part, to his savvy use of social media. His campaign motivated the masses to stand up and take part and be known. In turn, President Obama has paved the way for an “open White House” in terms of accessibility and information sharing.

Say what you want about his politics, but in my opinion there has never been a President who has had the same level of accessibility as Obama. Today, at 11:30am CST, President Obama will hold the fourth press conference of his administration, more than any other President at this point in his term. Politics aside, one can see Obama wants the American people to hear something from him, even if some don’t agree with it.

That’s smart. President Obama understands that social media is “flattening” the playing field. If you’re not divulging the information that people want to know, someone is. Just ask the “leaders” of Iran. Information is like water, it will take the path of least resistance and take the form of whatever container it fills. That’s why the government of Iran is having fits over a social media site developed by two Californians called “Twitter.” Simply fascinating.

What can we learn from Obama? From Iran?

  • For starters, your organization no longer holds the reigns.
  • You no longer get to control “where the water flows,” but you can influence it. This is what President Obama does so brilliantly: Instead of allowing other people to speak on his behalf, inevitably misquoting him, he simply addresses the situation himself. Brilliant. This way he sets the pace, the “flow,” of information, not someone else. Sure, people will twist his words and take them out of context, but it will be at their own peril.
  • Someone is speaking on your behalf, either for the good or for the bad. Wouldn’t you like to be in on the conversation?

As a public service, here’s President Obama’s latest address from YouTube. You can check out his channel here. Enjoy, be informed, and let the river flow:

Today Show: Marriage is Dead

Is marriage dead? According to this woman, it is:

On this site, we aim to discuss matters of culture, matters of faith, and/or matters of technology. This topic seems to fit two out of the three and, in the words of Jack Nicholson, “That ain’t bad!”

I just delivered a message last Thursday on this specific issue: Marriage. It seems as though the more self-centered our society becomes, the less that marriages tend to succeed. As the “me” quotient goes up, the satisfaction, longevity, and enjoyment of a marriage goes down.

A God-blessed marriage is one that asks “What’s in it for thee,” not “What’s in it for me.” Marriage exists for the sake of the other person, not yourself.

Is it any wonder the woman featured in the video is so anti-marriage? She’s completely missed the point!

Those of you who are married, what’s one of the biggest keys to making your marriage work and work well? Please share, we need to hear from you!

Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Deviant Too?

A while back, we ran a contest to give away a Deviant t-shirt.

Here is the proud winner, Billy Johnson, sportin’ the swag:


You can pick yours up now at Checka-check it out!

Does the Matrix Have You?

The Matrix is my most favorite movie ever. When it came out, I was a freshman in college and it is the only movie I have ever watched multiple times in the theaters (1o to be exact!).

It was technology meets humanity. It has philosophical, action-packed, and cutting edge all at the same time. Simply put, it blew my mind.

Whether or not they knew it at the time, the Wachowski brothers were making a prophetic piece of film that more and more seems to describe the world that you and I live in:

  • People are “plugged” into technology in ways never imagined–sometimes in disturbing ways. Think about it, how often do you have the TV on just so there’s “something on”? I know I’m guilty of this!
  • Technology (i.e. “AI”) becomes smarter and smarter–how long before it becomes self-conscious? In other words, when will your iPhone start asking for a sandwich?
  • Technology is allowing us to work smarter, faster and … longer? In The Matrix, human beings become the energy source for the Machines. It technology is making us work more instead of less, who’s really in charge?

As of late, I’ve really appreciated the gentle urgings of a few in the Christian community to make sure we remember that we are, in fact, “human after all.” We need time to sit and breathe and stare into the sky.

We need time to feel the warmth of a cup of coffee before the first, piping hot sip.

We need to feel the ink from our pen flow onto a page, recording the thoughts that come from the flesh-and-blood supercomputer that sits inside of our head called “the Brain.”

We need to sleep in late, smell the roses, ride rollercoasters, make love and feel our eyes burn when we look at the sun too long.

So while technology is a great, wonderful, and an amazing piece of our lives, it can’t be our lives. Technology will never give us what being human can.

Are Reproducing Muslims the Enemy?

I caught this video on Facebook today:

Then I posted this comment:


Then someone responded to what I wrote:


Aside from being a hokey video (complete with dramatic, movie voice-over guy), I found it to be incredibly offensive. Offensive in the way that I can’t comprehend the type of Gospel the producers of this video had in mind when they created this piece of propaganda. I can’t imagine this being the message of Jesus towards people of the Islamic religion.

I could say more–a lot more–but I want to hear what you think. Thoughts?

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