Caption Please!

I Refuse to Believe

I refuse to believe in a God that would cause the Japan earthquake. Or the Haitian earthquake. Or the Indian Ocean tsunami. God weeps with Japan, Haiti and Southeastern Asia.

I refuse to believe in a God that enjoys sending people to a place of torment and punishment. God is the restorer, the renewer, of all things. To be uninvolved in that renewal is the choice to not be.

I refuse to believe that we, as humanity, have any ability whatsoever to discern someone’s eternal future. We do not know what transpires behind the veil between this world and the next.

I refuse to believe that any amount of self-initiated “purity” is enough to cleanse me from sin. It’s not. And never will be. No matter what they tell you (it’s what nearly drove Martin Luther insane).

I refuse to believe, after having a son, that God is ever mad at us (as New Covenant believers). Disappointed? Sure. Mad? Never. I repeat: Never.

I refuse to believe that the Bible is always prescriptive. The Bible chronicles the story of God interacting with his people. Sometimes those people do and say dumb things that need to be avoided, not followed.

I refuse to believe that God does not intend for women to be preachers and teachers. I have met too many gifted, Spirit-filled women who possess the unmistakable preaching/teaching gift to believe that it was not placed there by God himself.

I refuse to believe that God doesn’t want us to think.

What do you refuse to believe?

Caption Please!

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the second to last TOMM on ever! Next week, I’ll be transitioning this blog project elsewhere. Stay tuned.
  • I had the chance to visit with the Twin Cities’ Social Media Shepherds last Friday. What a great group of servants who want to serve God through building his kingdom online! Go get ’em, shepherds!
  • Speaking of fun groups, I beamed into Charles Lee’s social media marketing class at Biola last week. Those students are light years ahead of most people in the game. And they have a great coach at the helm. How much fun is that universities are beginning to have enough foresight to build social media know-how into their curriculum?
  • While I was up north, I stopped into IKEA. It’s easy—really easy—to blow a lot of dough in that joint. On a related note, our home office is shaping up nicely.
  • Have you seen the latest wipit video? There’s a Spanish version as well. Fun!
  • One of my favorite professors at Bethel Seminary is transitioning out of his role as a full-time prof. Seems like transition is the name of the game these days. Where are you moving to?
  • Finnegan’s latest trick is spitting. He spits everywhere–the trash can, the sink, the floor, you name it. It would be gross if he actually was expelling saliva from his mouth, but he just makes the “ptooey!” noise. Awesome.
  • Charles Lee does a nice job of breaking down the 2011 social media marketing report.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Web and Social Media Strategy for Your Church or Ministry

I’ll level with you: I’m doing something new.

I left my job in parish ministry last week and began to work full-time in the field of social media and ministry. While continuing my role at the Center for Church Communication, I’ve really started to dig in to what it takes to be effective with social media as a church and/or ministry.

That work is taking place with the good folks at Monk Development. Up to this point, those of us in the faith social media world have gotten good statistics on why we should be using social media in our faith organizations, but we’ve never really seen what is effective.

That’s about to change.

At Monk, we’re on the cusp of some breakthrough concepts and insights that we can’t wait to share with your and your team. We’re already starting to partner with churches and denominations around the country to bring them more of the what of social media instead of just the why.

The why has been covered. We’re interested in bringing value to you and actually showing you and your organization how to go about putting together a strong social media presence.

If you’re at a point where  your church or ministry is ready to pull the trigger on a website redesign, web or social media strategy or starting an online community for your congregation, please get a hold of me. I believe the information and practical strategy that Monk can bring to you will bring your church/ministry communication and organizational clarity.

Like I said, hit me up if this is of interest to you. Otherwise, check out what we can bring to your table. You keep focusing on building the relationships. Let us focus on the technology. Sounds like a good deal, yeah?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Today is the first day in seven years that I haven’t gone into an office. That is both exhilirating and terrifying all at the same time.
  • I didn’t calculate how draining leaving a job would be. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. It was a peaceful leave, but still. I think I fell asleep at 8 pm all last week!
  • That said, I could not be more excited for the work I’m going to be doing in the next few weeks and months ahead. There are a few things still under wraps, but as soon as I get the okay you’ll be the first to know about them. If you want to see an updated list of where I’ll be in the coming months, go here to my speaking page.
  • My wife is a rock. So glad I married that chick. We sat in a sports bar Saturday night and talked over margaritas. It reminded me of why we’re together—she’s fun!
  • One of the projects I’ve been working on just released their first video on YouTube. Would you consider doing me a favor? Check out the video and maybe forward it on to a few friends. It would help me out and get more people in the know about wipit!
  • I’m actually writing this post from the exact same place the picture above was taken.
  • I watched Wrestlemania last night. So sue me.
  • Have any of you ever used I’m investigating the site for myself, but want some on-the-ground opinions from people who have used it already.
  • I’ve joined the ranks of MacBook Air users. So far, so good. Blazingly fast, long battery life, super light, minimal. My one complaint? No backlit keyboard. That seems like a mistake to me.
  • Have you guys checked out the Creative Missions Tour yet? Cleve Persinger is a solid human being with a desire to do good. This project looks like a lot of fun.
  • I’m determined to read The Thank You Economy and Enchantment this week. Have you read either? What did you think?
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Moving the Cloud-Based Computer With Ease

Part of the drag of transitioning out of a job that I’ve been at for the past seven years is the dreadful process of moving files. I’ve amassed quite the collection of digital goods over the years, and they’ve usually resided on one of the many work computers I’ve had. Documents, media, notes, pictures, random files—you name it, it’s on my work computer hard drive somewhere.

As I’m moving things over from my MacBook 17″ to my newly purchased MacBook Air 13″, I’m realizing how happy I am with the decision to invest in cloud technology. For instance:

I use MobileMe to transfer all my computer’s settings and apps from the old to the new. I also use it to easily transfer files remotely between all of the Wise family computers (Back to My Mac, yo!) I know people give MobileMe a hard time, but I’ve really enjoyed the service.

I use Google Docs to keep all of my various work-related documents, both personal and collaborative, in one space.

I use Evernote to keep all my ideas in one place. I cannot tell you how freeing it is to open up Evernote for the first time on a new laptop and see all of your files, nice and synced and ready to go!

I used Rdio and Grooveshark to keep my music rolling through the whole process. Grooveshark still has a way to go, but they allow you to upload your own collection to the cloud, which is a huge plus. Rdio lets you stream pretty much any music you can think of on your desktop, through the web or using one of their apps. Very easy.

And finally, I use Dropbox to sync my Home folder with the cloud. With the 50 gb updgrade, I can sync my Mac home folder to the cloud using Dropbox and access it from anywhere. In my opnion, Dropbox is the most important cloud app out of all the ones listed here. You need Dropbox. Trust me.

What used to take a whole day now takes an hour at most (excluding the initial transfer using Migration Assistant). Just download a few apps and your new computer is up and running in no time. All hail the power of the cloud!

What apps am I missing? What do you enjoy the most?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the third to last TOMM on ever! On April 13th, 2011 (777 published posts), I will be pulling the plug on this site. It will remain online as an archive, but I will not be actively posting here. I’m writing up a post at to the reasons behind it. Suffice to say, it’s time. Thanks for the memories!
  • Speaking of transition, I made the announcement last week that I am leaving my current role on staff at my church. Shaking things up!
  • Lil’ Jon continues to be my favorite on The Celebrity Apprentice. I mean, c’mon, the guy’s working for the United Methodist church! Not a bad gig, IMO. WHAT!
  • In related news: Big Wednesday.
  • One of our local sports reporters played horse with Harrison Barnes last year. (HB is from Ames, about 45 minutes north of the DeMo.)
  • Speaking of …. VCU! I felt a little redemption with UNI not being in the tourney this year. If you’ll remember correctly, Kansas got punked by the Panthers last year in a colossal upset. VCU = UNI part two?
  • When I broke the news that I was leaving staff, certainly I was thankful for the texts, tweets, emails and calls. But the thing that struck me the most was my online friends. I heard from quite a few of you whom I know solely or primarily through our online connection. That meant a lot to me. And they say that online relationships don’t count as “real.”
  • Follow your favor. Is there an area in your life that you seem to naturally gravitate towards and excel in? Follow it. Follow that trail for as long as you can. Even if you’re not following it now, there’s still time to make a course correction.
  • I tried Bud Select over the weekend. I know some people are keen on Mich Ultra, but I’m a Bud guy, I guess. Have you tried either of these low-calorie brews? What did you think?
  • Nike Free Runs let you run without socks. I’m training my feet right now. They say it’s the closest you can get to running barefoot. I believe it. My legs, feet, shins, etc. are exhausted!
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Why Are You Leaving?

I believe God loves a graceful exit. As of April 1, 2011, I am leaving the staff of Lutheran Church of Hope.

Nobody likes the long Oscar speech. There will therefore, henceforth, be no matches thrown at any Hope bridges. I am for Hope. Hope is for me. It is, and remains, a place called “Hope,” which is the absolute expectation that good is right around the corner.

What am I up to next? Lots of exciting things. Namely Monk Development, the Center for Church Communication and Ideation. You’ll hear more about these in the days ahead. I promise.

And, as Forrest Gump might close, “that’s all I got to say about that.”

Join Me For a Free Social Media Webinar for Pastors and Ministry Leaders

Hollow out your schedule for Friday afternoon. You just got plans!

I’ll be leading a free webinar in partnership with Monk Development this Friday at 11 am PDT; 1 pm CST. Here’s the description:

Just what is “social media” anyway? Why has it taken the online world by storm? In this webinar you’ll learn why the social web is absolutely crucial to communicating with the next generation. You’ll learn how the up-and-coming generation communicates and why you need to be in those channels, contributing your story to the social media flow. We’ll focus on the “why” and the “how” of social media. If you’re confused by terms like “tweet”, “like” and “blogging”, this webinar is a great place to start in getting a social media education! Join blogger and social strategist Justin Wise to uncover the basic principles of social media and why you need to be integrating it into your ministry work flow.

Hurry up and get yourself registered. Space is limited.

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