Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Good morning everybody! I had to be reminded that today was Monday by my local coffee shop guy. When I left, he told me to, “be good.”
  • After a long time of deliberation and prayer, I’m going to be shutting down Three weeks from Wednesday, I’ll transition this blog into another project I’ve been working on. Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging. It will just look different. A fuller explanation is coming, I just wanted to let you all know ahead of time.
  • Speaking of big announcements, I have another one to make Wednesday of this week. Stay tuned. You’ll hear it here first.
  • This Winter has not been kind to the Wise household. Sniffles, sneezes, coughs, wheezes—we are ready for Spring! Who’s with me?
  • I love what Ben Arment is up to, but this idea really takes the cake. Come to Des Moines, Ben!
  • I’ll be up in the Twin Cities next month for the Social Media Shepherds meeting. If you’re in that neck of the woods, I’d love to connect and the Shepherds would love to have you at the event. Come one, come all!
  • My in-laws were in town this weekend to watch the Finn-man while my wife and I galavanted around town. We had Sunday brunch at a little nook by our place called the Cozy Cafe. It felt like a modern twist on the old, 1950’s-style diners. My son flirted with old ladies and babies, we had great conversation, and I ate a dish called “The Cozy Mess”. Bliss!
  • Speaking of my wife, I can’t tell you how proud I am of her! She finished a 10-week body-shaping class and lost 15 pounds! We celebrated this past weekend by going to weddings and eating one-too-many chocolate chip cookies. Great job, girl!
  • Last but not least, what’s the latests and greatest in your world, deviants?


Let’s Hang in Louisville

In my entire 30 years of existence, I have visited the state of Kentucky exactly once.


And that was to attend the wedding of my cousin. (I can literally hear the jokes formulating in your brain.) This was the same trip that led to the unfortunate #KYwedding hashtag debacle. In my innocence, I wanted to catalog the trip with the state’s initials (KY) and what we’d be doing there (wedding). Some of you were kind enough to point out the obvious problems with this Twitter nomenclature. Moving on…

From what I saw in Kentucky, I liked it. I liked it so much that I’m heading back in the middle of May to speak at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit. I’m teaming up with Drew Goodmanson from Monk Development to give what I believe will be a transformative breakout session. Here’s the scoop:

Low Cost, Big Reach: Harnessing New Media to Grow Ministry Impact (Drew Goodmanson, Monk Development; Justin Wise, Deviant Media Group) Are you capitalizing on the social media revolution? Is your Website designed for high-impact on potential donors and volunteers? Are you maximizing the use of mobile technology to reach out to key publics? Learn how harnessing New Media can take the impact of your ministry to unprecedented levels of impact and influence.

I’d love it if you would consider joining the conference to not only attend the session, but get in tune with God’s heart for adoption. You can find the site here. Also, read up on some of the other breakout sessions that’ll be going at the same time.

The real question is: Have you ever been to Kentucky?

There’s Power in Them Thar Words!

“You’re fired.”

When Donald Trump utters those now infamous words on The Celebrity Apprentice, there’s something more going on than public, celebrity humiliation. A new reality is being created.

With his words, Donald Trump is literally changing reality, right before our eyes. Someone goes from being “employed” to “unemployed” because of two spoken words.This is the basic premise of the Speech-Act Theory: Our words can shape reality.

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Social Media Shepherding for the Church

The Twin Cities are home to The Nook (home of the “Juicy Nookie“!), Bethel Seminary (my alma mater), Kevin Hendricks (editor extraordinaire) and the Social Media Shepherds.

While the Juicy Nookie won’t get you anything but a bad case of heartburn, the Social Media Shepherds meet monthly to offer churches direction on communications and social media, and act as a sounding board among churches. Not a bad endeavor, as most churches need quite a bit of guidance in this area fraught with challenges (hence the “shepherd” metaphor!).

One of the challenges churches are facing in the digital age is how to organize all those people in an online setting. What does it look like to be the Body of Christ both online and off? Described as a “group for those who love Jesus and social media,” the Social Media Shepherds meet monthly to strategize different ways to bridge that gap in the church between offline and online. Not a bad bunch to surround yourself with, if you ask me!

Their meeting this Friday will feature The Table Project, a new social platform for churches and ministries that launched in late February. If you’re in the Twin Cities, head on over to Luther Seminary at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, April 18th. Look for Greg or Amy and tell them Justin at sent you!

Want to know more about the Table Project? Check out this primer video and get excited:

PS – I’ll be making a pit stop at the Shepherds’ April gathering. More details to come, but stay tuned to this site and their Facebook group or Twitter feed for more info!

A World Where Anything is Possible

I posted this on my Tumblr earlier (which you can check out at, but I wanted to bring it over here to remind you:

I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you. —The Matrix

Remind you that you have a purpose. There’s a plan for you. A reminder that you live in a world where your only fetter is your own imagination.

That desire way down, deep inside to be the best at something? That’s good. It’s holy.

I also posted this as a reminder that when you make a commitment to live out that purpose, you’ll encounter struggle, strife and flat-out evil. Nothing makes bullies feel better more quickly than chopping your legs right out from under you. They don’t hate you, they hate what your life means to them: Change.

Do whatever it takes to live out your purpose:

Read Seth Godin.
Enroll in Dream Year.
Go back to school.
Live in a tent.

Just do it. I need you to. I need to be surrounded by people who live intentionally—who don’t succumb to the doubts, fears, indecisions, bullies and cowards of the world. I need people who believe we live in a world where anything—anything—is possible.

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • What a weekend. I know they say the Bubonic plague has been dealt a deathblow by modern medicine, but try telling that to my family. Our house feels like a petri dish. Is there such a thing as “house wash”?
  • Lots and lots of changes coming around the corner. You’ll be the first to know, right here!
  • Speaking of changes, Carlos Whittaker and his family are moving to Nashville. I feel like a cool dude because I had the inside scoop after Carlos visited the DeMo last month. Love you and yours, bro!
  • I love it when people get humbled. Myself included.
  • My friends Dave and Sarah Eickelberg just launched a new blog, It’s a foodie blog and, yes, it is awesome. Congrats guys!
  • I cannot wait to read this and this and this. Bedside reading materials for months, yo!
  • I’ve talked about this before, but you must do yourself (and your sleep schedule) a favor and download Flux. If you’re in front of a computer within an hour of going to bed, it’s most likely affecting your sleep schedule. Flux changes that by altering your screen coloration based on your geolocation. Simply put, it takes away the light waves that make your brain think it’s time to wake up!
  • Lil’ Jon just became my favorite person on Celebrity Apprentice. When commenting on whether four- and five-year-olds know what “be yourself” means, he said “They don’t know who the !@#$% they is!” Classic. I laughed.
  • You must listen to this interview with author Sherry Turkle. It was on Wisconsin NPR a few weeks ago and it’s really eye-opening in terms of our use of technology. Sherry seems level-headed enough to know that no-technology isn’t an option, but she also provides fair critique of our general habits.
  • We’re getting our house mitigated. No, it’s not a law term, it’s to boot out the radon that’s building up in our basement. If you live in the Midwest, check out this post.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Use Twitter Search to See What’s Happening After the Japan Earthquake

Japan was rocked this morning by an 8.5 earthquake early this morning US time. (More specifically, the coast of Japan was rocked by an earthquake, thus triggering a Tsunami warning.) This is the fifth largest earthquake since they started recording them in the early 1900s.

One of the most effective ways to see what’s going on in real-time on the ground in Japan is by using Here’s how:

Go to

We’re going to need to big-gun parameters to narrow our search down to the actual location where people are being affected.

Use the “Places” and “Dates” Parameter to Search for Japan Earthquake

Narrow your search down to Sendai, Japan, the nearest large city to the earthquake’s epicenter. There was 300 dead by the initial rumble and subsequent tsunami waves.

Set the date to March 10, 2011. This will ensure you see all the tweets starting from when the earthquake hit.

View Results of People Affected by Earthquake

You may want to utiilize the “Language” parameter or translate the tweets once the results show.

You can see that people in the area most affected by the earthquake are tweeting pictures about the devastation:

Sending out signals that they are okay:

And even searching for people they care about:

Use Twitter to Pray for People in the Japan Earthquake

Most of the people who read this blog pray in some fashion or another. You can even use Twitter to stay up-to-date on how people are praying for Japan. Simply follow the #prayforJapan hashtag and you’ll see lots of results like this:

Stay up to date. Stay informed. Use Twitter to shrink the world and be aware of how people on the other side of the world are being affected! Also, if you want to donate for the victims of the Japan earthquake, head over to The Move Project and donate, courtesy of Dwolla.

An Update on Some Projects I’ve Been Working On

A few days ago, I sent an invite out on Twitter to play a game of Words with Friends. I had just finished a good game and wanted to branch out a little bit. Call me a nerd, but Scrabble scratches an itch for me.

The invite went out and within 10 minutes, I had 12 new games going. I love me some letter games, but that’s a whole lot of words with a whole lot of friends. Oops. Seems I either needed to be a little more cautious about inviting people to play or just stick to the few friends I already had been playing.

Similarly, when you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug like I have, life can begin to look like an all-call to Words with Friends. Over the course of the past year, I’ve started a lot of projects and want to make sure I’m keeping you up-to-date on most of them. Some of you have expressed interest in them, so I owe you a “progress report” of sorts.

Here’s what I got cooking:

Speaking Gigs: I’ll be at a few events this year and I couldn’t be more excited to connect with some of you in person. To see a full list of where I’ll be, check out, in Scott McClellan’s words, my International Speaking Tour!!!

BeDeviant Social Media Summit: I’m taking off on Monday to head down to Kansas City. I’m meeting with some fine folks about the possibility of holding a Summit down there. I’ve also just started turning the wheels with Social Media Summit alum, Josh Larson, for a new Summit here in Des Moines.

Digital Ministry Intensive: Scrapped due to low interest. Experiments are helpful, even when they don’t work. The demand isn’t there just yet.

Deviant Apprenticeship: I was most surprised by the response to this. A funny thing happened when I announced this: I got super busy. Just a few weeks after the interest emails started coming in, I became co-director at the Center for Church Communication. Mark my words: This will happen. I want to bring people along with me as I learn about the intersection of social media and ministry. This field is too important to pioneer alone.

A Simple Guide to Blogging: I will have this shipped by Easter. That’s technically still Spring, which is when I wanted to have this thing out the door. Trust me, my loyal deviants, you will be the first to know when this thing drops. As a side note, I cannot wait for you to get your hands on this!

Online Office Hours: Still going strong. We’ve picked up steam and there’s a fun little community that’s been forming every Wednesday from 2-4 pm CST. We talk blogging, social media, pastoring in the digital age–even sweater vests!

My goal is to finish these projects strong, even if it takes a little longer to get them out the door. Know this!

I have to thank this community, first and foremost, for giving me the freedom and encouragement to experiment with this site and what we’re all about at You’re the best!

Kick Ash: A Primer to Ash Wednesday

Today marks the start of Lent, the 40-day liturgical season that culminates on Easter morning. Thousands of faithful worshipers will wander back to work, school and home after the noon hour with ashes smeared on their foreheads. Still others will silently think to themselves when seeing these ash-people, “Is it just me or does she have dirt on her forehead?”

Whether you’re the one with ash on your head or the person who thinks they’re seeing things, today marks a big day for the Church of Jesus Christ: We celebrate his death. More specifically, we celebrate our death with him so that we can more fully celebrate being raised to new life with Christ, much like his resurrection after his death on the Cross.

As a lifelong Lutheran, I’ve celebrated Ash Wednesday for as long as I can remember. I’m familiar with the theology, thought and purpose behind Ash Wednesday. Scripture doesn’t command us to celebrate it, it’s simply one of the oldest traditions in the Christian Church that has literally been celebrated since the beginnings of the faith.

Ash Wednesday Fun Facts

That being said, not every Christian is familiar (or comfortable) with the idea of talking about death and letting someone smear what looks like cookout-remnants on one’s forehead.  So we can all get on the same page about this ancient tradition, here are some Lent “fun facts”:

  • Lent means “spring time” in Latin.
  • Ashes are commonly used in mourning rituals throughout Scripture. They signify mourning for one’s sin and repentance from that sin.
  • In the ancient church, Lent was used as a time of preparation for catechumens, or, those waiting to be baptized. Catechumens (i.e. “candidates” for the faith) studied church history, prayed and fasted and celebrated their faith with baptism on Easter Sunday.
  • Ash Wednesday wasn’t officially Ash Wednesday until the 11th century when Pope Urban II rubber stamped the event and made it official. As we all know, if the Pope ain’t happy, no one’s happy!

How to Celebrate the Day

If you’re in the Des Moines area, I’d encourage you to celebrate Ash Wednesday in one of three ways:

  1. Head to Lutheran Church of Hope’s West Des Moines’ campus at noon or 7pm.
  2. Head to Lutheran Church of Hope’s Ankeny campus at 5 and 7 pm.
  3. Join me and Gateway Church in downtown Des Moines at noon to celebrate Ash Wednesday at the Temple for Performing Arts.

Either way, take a steo pout of your comfort zone or continue in the tradition of your youth. Tradition, when connected to the life-giving power of the Spirit, is a powerful agent for change and a historical tie to our ancient roots.

Did you celebrate Ash Wednesday growing up? If so, what do you remember most from it? If you didn’t celebrate Ash Wednesday, what are your thoughts surrounding the tradition?

Adult Bullies (and How to Defeat Them)

Sarah Palin recently called Kathy Griffin a 50-year-old bully. Seems Griffin has made a career out of harassing Palin and her kids, pushing the family around in the press and mocking their troubles. Griffin has even vowed publicly that it was “Willow’s [Palin’s 16-year-old daughter] year to go down.” Classy.

Building one’s self up.
Tearing another down.

That sounds like the work of a bully to me.

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