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Postcard ideas for Choose Well

Front Page Leadership

I’m working on some postcard ideas for my October series… Your comments are welcome!

CHOOSE WELL – Series Concept

  • Title: Choose Well
  • Subtitle: { four questions to guarantee good choices }
  • Felt need: Whether it’s during the time of an election or not, people feel a sense of anxiety when it comes to making decisions. The larger the decisions, the more anxiety is felt. Everyone needs a framework for decision-making that gives confidence in the eventual choice that’s made.
  • Topic Structure:
    • What is God’s Will (and how can I know it)? — The Most Important Question of All
    • What do wise people say (and who should I ask)? — Who can I trust for advice?
    • What does my heart say (and can I trust it)? — When can I do what I want?
    • Am I choosing on my own (and is that okay)? — When should I go out on a limb?
  • Postcard:

Give me some feedback!

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Tiny Audio Player


My tiny little wavplayer just plays an audio file and then quits. That’s it.

Since my voicemail gets emailed to me automatically, I wanted a quick way to just listen to it and have it be done without needing to open some bloated media player for one tiny WAV file.

If you want to use it, here it is…

tiny little wav audio player

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Barack Obama and John McCain Get Real

Front Page Leadership Stuff I Find

Rick Warren hosted a “civil forum” where he took roughly 50 minutes with each candidate asking questions from all over the political map. Two very insightful questions were:

  1. What is your greatest moral failure, and what is the greatest moral failure of the USA?
  2. What current Supreme Court justice(s) would you not have appointed?

Watch it for yourself and then watch the commentary afterwards by the CNN reporters and see a new kind of political debate take shape prompted by the creativity and courage of Rick Warren and Saddleback Church.

PS. If the video below doesn’t work, try visiting the link below it.

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What I believe about Jesus

Front Page My Beliefs


His Nature

I believe in the preexistence of God the Son, coeternal with, coequal with, and of the same nature as the Father so that he is fully God (Jn 1:1, 8:58, 10:30; Co 2:9).

I believe that the Son in willful, humble obedience to the Father’s will for redemption took upon himself a fully human nature in addition to his own divine nature so that he is fully human as well (Jn 1:14; Php 2:5-11).

I believe that now even as the Trinity is one nature with three persons, God the Son continues to exist as one person with two natures. Neither the humanity nor the divinity overshadows the other such that Jesus is fully God and fully human (Heb 4:15-5:10).

Continue reading

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Michael Phelps Eats 12,000 Calories a Day!

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Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase “Breakfast of Champions” by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.

He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.

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Professional Sunday Morning Video Presentations

Church Planting Front Page Geekery Lafayette Lafayette Community Church Leadership

In our new church effort in Lafayette, I set as a goal from very early on that we would attempt to do everything we could with excellence, and though we have had some hiccups with our children’s programming and with our music, we have been consistently high quality with our printed materials and with our video presentations thanks to some really great software.

On the printed front, we have been using Apple’s Pages for basic word processing and simple page design and Serif PagePlus 11 which is exponentially greater than anything else in its price range ($50 for features that easily surpass Microsoft Publisher and even rival PageMaker or Quark). However, that’s for another blog entry. On to what we do for video now and what our next steps are.

Video Presentation Hardware

  • 15″ MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / 1GB RAM
  • Draper Traveller portable projection screen with High Contrast Gray screen material.
  • DLP Projector (I don’t remember the specs right now).



ProPresenter is the best program we have found to display lyrics on the screen. It’s very easy to learn with only a few quirks that take getting used to. Together with the Mac, it is unbeatable in terms of visual quality of the text even with full motion high resolution video images in the background. On top of that, the programmers are very responsive to requests for improvements, and the software was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of touring worship bands like Chris Tomlin and David Crowder.

Keynote is the hands down winner in presentation software that understands the line between attention-getting and cheesy. Transitions, fades, and slide builds are unmatched in PowerPoint because Keynote does what it does with subtlety. It’s also much easier to work with once you learn a couple of its quirks.

Our current setup has us running ProPresenter and Keynote simultaneously on the MacBook Pro. ProPresenter takes over the projector screen and turns it black while waiting for us to begin. Navigation is done on the laptop screen, but lyrics and backgrounds are sent to the secondary display.

Just before my message, we hit F1 in ProPresenter to black out the projection screen, switch to Keynote without closing ProPresenter (the projection screen stays black during and after the switch), and hit “Play” on my sermon Keynote file. Keynote takes over the projection screen with my slides and also displays a “Presenter View” on the laptop screen. We turn the laptop to face me, so I can see my current slide and my next slide without ever needing to look over my shoulder.

Next Steps

Now that we are meeting in the Long Center (a larger venue), we want to make some changes to our setup so we stay on the excellent side of things.

  1. Replace our screen with a larger rear projection screen. We’re looking at the Draper Cinefold and Draper Ultimate series of screens for this.
  2. Consider upgrading our projector depending on its performance with the new screen. Most likely, we will just need to buy a new bulb.
  3. Purchase a new Mac to put in the sound booth. It needs to have dual external monitor capability, and the only Macs to have that now are Mac Pro computers or Psystar Open Computer Macintosh clones.
  4. Split the monitor signal from each monitor out to drive four displays (1). The monitor in the sound booth, (2). the projector on stage, (3) One monitor in front row pointing to stage duplicating what’s on the projector screen. (4) One monitor in front row pointing to the stage duplicating what’s on the screen in the sound booth. That way, the stage-facing monitors will show what’s on the screen and also show the “Presenter View” that Keynote can display.
  5. Use VGA cables or a VGA over CAT5e system to get video signal to the stage from the booth.

Final thoughts

If anyone is reading this post thinking that technology will save your bad presentations, think again. Websites like are a great resource to help you rethink the how and the why of your presentations. Technology can make your presentations more effective, but it isn’t guaranteed to do so.

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Miracle Caught on Video

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Frances Finn broke her leg skiing when she was 13 years old. The accident has led to limbs of different lengths.

However, at a Christian Conference in April 2008 an audience of over 100 people witnessed her shorter leg grow.

And they recorded the video on their mobile phones! The story made it to BBC news where they interviewed Frances personally to hear her take. The video is less dramatic than I was expecting, but it is thought provoking nonetheless. We know God has the power to heal, but we don’t have any clue why he picks the times, places, and people so it’s very easy for us to get skeptical over miracle stories. Here’s one, from western culture, among educated people, that claims a woman’s leg grew an inch and a half by a miraculous act of God and caught on video.

What do you think? Is this an elaborate scam? Did God do a miracle? Is it worth even asking the question?

Here’s the link:

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American Idol Does Worship

Front Page Stuff I Find

I saw something last week on American Idol that really freaked me out. They opened the show by having the contestants perform Shout to the Lord by Darlene Zschech!

If you don’t know the song, Shout to the Lord is one of the most popular contemporary worship songs of all time. It’s popularity alone is perhaps the reason American Idol chose to have the top eight contestants perform it, but I was really creeped out by the whole thing. Watch it, and then I’ll tell you why I have a problem with it.

My problem with it…

I have always had a problem with the commercialising of Christianity. I don’t have a problem with the practice of paying teachers for teaching or for paying pastors for pastoring or artists for performing or writers for writing, etc. But I have a problem when someone uses their own Christianity to make money (“Buy from me because I’m a Christian.”) or when a person plays off Christian values to make money (some of the biggest “Christian” bookstores are owned by secular firms because they saw a business opportunity).

What was American Idol doing? Were they affirming their own Christian values? Were they playing off the values of their audience? Were they performing a great piece of music for its own sake?

My guess is that it was option number two. I don’t have anything against that song or the people who love it, but frankly speaking, there are many other songs they could have picked with better lyrics, better instrumentation or better melodies. No, they picked the most popular worship song for one reason… to make Christians think American Idol was a good show to watch. Just look at the comments on YouTube to see what Christians now think of the show.

Such irony for a show called American Idol to play off its Christian audience!

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Easter was a Smashing Success!

Front Page Lafayette Community Church

Our Easter Sunday service was an incredible success! We had the joy of meeting in the Long Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Lafayette, and nearly 100 people gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the anniversary of our church. Media from the morning will be posted soon, but I thought you might appreciate this video clip that I used as my sermon introduction and a video clip that I almost used as my introduction.

The one I used (from the Princess Bride)

The one I almost used (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

Quotes from the morning.

I like a church where I feel comfortable bringing my family no matter what age. I love the music… Keep up the good work. — Tama

The music ROCKED this morning! I liked the message — I love your practical, real world way of relaying the message. And it’s engaging too! — Nichole

…we are truly wanting to get back to church. I feel to be a whole person I must include God. Thank you for allowing me to be whole again. God bless!! — Cathie

I’ve grown more spiritually in the few months here at Southside than at any time in my life! — Len

A Note from Greg

In addition to these quotes, I wanted to post an excerpt from an email that Greg Shackleford sent out yesterday. For those who don’t know, Greg is on the church Advisory Team and has been part of the church since October 2005! Here’s what he had to say.


I just can’t get over what an awesome experience it has been getting ready for the service today. Jeff and I have been working as musicians for two years for this! I never envisioned that we would finally get a band together that would sound that good and I would be playing drums!! It just goes to show that God really does work in mysterious ways.

Jeff and I had only played with Mark and Terry 4 times coming into today’s service so God really was a part of it today. I was nervous and excited and hopeful that we would be able to pull together and perform well and I think we did. Jeff’s sermon was wonderful and all the new faces there this morning was so encouraging! I just know that someone made the decision to turn their life over to the care of Christ today. Praise God! I really enjoy having the opportunity to serve the church and our Lord in this capacity. Thanks for letting me.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we filled the Long center up next Easter!?

It was a great day!

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