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If you do any graphic design, let me give you a huge tip. Do not use Comic Sans! If you want your publication to look professional, please take time to pick fonts that actually look professional. I prefer clean sleek fonts for most projects. Distressed or grunge fonts are also popular for a more contemporary look. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing fonts.

  • Don’t mix too many fonts! Make sure the fonts you use work together. You can mix size, color, and weight of the font, but try not to have more than 2 or 3 different font syles on a page. Less is more.
  • Readability is key! If people can’t read it, it doesn’t matter how cool the font is.
  • Match the font to the mood you want to convey.  Whimsical fonts work great on a kid’s invitation, but not in most church print pieces.
  • Go beyond built in fonts. Here are two great sites to find free fonts.

Font Squirrel has fonts that you can embed in websites or use for commercial print pieces for free. They seem to have a great selection of fonts to choose from. You can browse my most popular or newly added. They also have font sets to use in website design. is another excellent website with a huge collection of fonts. They have more than 10,000 fonts to choose from. You can search by style or name. It’s always interesting to check out the most popular fonts. If you ever have a need to mimic the font used on a tv show or commercial company, this is a great place to start. I have used this extensively in the past, especially for youth designs and for newspaper ads.

Both sites have instructions on how to add the fonts into your system.

Every believer will go through times of doubt, discouragement, despair, and disbelief at some point in your life. At our youth life group last night, we talked about growing through these times. It may feel like you’re in a spiritual wilderness and it may even seem like God is silent, but be encouraged that God can use these times to purify you and move you on to greater heights in your walk with Christ.

I shared the story of two men who are battling cancer right now. We have a choice in how we respond to suffering and pain. We can allow it to draw us closer to God and rely on Him for our strength, or we can become disillusioned and frustrating, looking for someone or something to blame. Both these men have decided that no matter what happens in their life, that God is still God, and God is still good. Can we say the same thing when we go through wilderness experiences?

Here is Zac’s story. He is on staff at NewSpring and his story should be an inspiration to all of us.

Matt Chandler has also been in my prayers. He is a pastor that is battling cancer right now. I have been amazed at his strength and wisdom as he has struggled with a malignant brain tumor. He is posting weekly video updates on The Village Church blog. Here is a recent video where he shares both good and bad news.

Will you please join me in prayers for both these men.

American Christianity has a perception problem. My eyes were really opened to this when I read the book UnChristian. It tells how the younger generation really views the church. In the eyes of the world, Christians have become known more for what we are against, instead of the Christ we are supposed to follow. I’ll be honest, I was discouraged and frustrated by the recent healthcare vote. I know the current system needs an overhaul. I’ve experienced the frustration of trying to get insurance when you have a pre-existing condition. But this legislation was pushed through against the will of the people without being fully explained and without the input of both parties.  But as a follower of Christ, I am not going to resort to name calling and over-exaggeration to get my point across.

I don’t talk much about politics here on the blog, but I am concerned with the reaction from Christians to our current President and Congress. Proverbs 16:33 tells us that God is still in control. He is still on the throne and ultimately we will all answer to Him. The world is not going to end because of a vote in Congress. What this country needs is not a political revival, but a Spiritual revival. We are not going to see a change in Washington by complaining and telling everyone how upset we are. Instead, let’s change this world by sharing the message of the Gospel of Christ. Christians should definitely be involved in the political process. I’m not saying that we ignore the problems. But when people reject the Gospel, not because of the message of the cross, but because of our anger and activism, we have lost our way. I have shared in church that we are called to do more than vote our values, we are called to live them out.  Criticize by creating and getting involved in the process.

Let me challenge you to be known by your love, by your truthfulness, and by your passion. May we be known for Jesus Christ instead of the things we are against.

Here is a video introduction to the book UnChristian. It’s a research book that shows how Christians are perceived by non-Christians.  “Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like “hypocritical,” “insensitive,” and “judgmental,” young Americans share an impression of Christians that’s nothing short of . . . unChristian.”

Thankful and Blessed

March 19, 2010 — 2 Comments

I never like waking up to a phone call. I always wake up with my heart racing, wondering if something is wrong. This morning I received a call that a fire had started downtown just a few buildings away from our church. All the buildings are connected, so we didn’t know what to expect. By the time I arrived at the church, smoke was rolling out of a building just three doors down from the church and flames were coming through the roof.

It didn’t look good for a while, we loaded up several of the instruments and valuables from the church, expecting the worst, but our local volunteer fire department did an awesome job of keeping the fire contained. I’ve grown up around the fire department with my dad and brother both long time members. We also have several firefighters in our church. It was great to see the teamwork and effort from a group of people who continually put their lives on the line to serve others.

You can see the back entrance of the church in the picture above. Cornerstone is the building on the left. I am thankful and blessed to let you know that the church sustained no damage at all and there were no injuries. Misty, our children’s director at Cornerstone, runs a cosmetic business that was next door to the fire. Her business sustained some smoke damage, but no fire or water damage. Below is a video from channel 10 news that shows the fire from the front of the church. I just keep thinking, it could have been much worse …

Please pray for the families who were living in the burned apartments. Thankfully they are safe, but it looks like they lost everything.

Wrestling With God

March 16, 2010 — 1 Comment

I felt a little like Jacob from the Old Testament (Genesis 32:24-32) this past week. In preparing my message for Sunday, I had to do some wrestling with God. Have you ever argued with God? As a pastor I should know better, but sometimes I don’t like giving up control.

John Waller was in town for a Sunday night concert, so we had him lead worship for our Sunday morning service. I knew we would have a lot of guests and that I wouldn’t have a long time to share, so I wanted to do an “uplifting and encouraging” message. One that  challenged everybody, but nothing too controversial. God had other plans. We are in a series titled “Love Is …” and we have been going through a Biblical definition of unconditional love. We have gone through 1 Corinthians 13 and shared about unselfish living and forgiveness, but there was one message that I knew must be part of the series. God wanted me to share it this weekend. It was a message on purity and intimacy.

So with all our guests, I ended up preaching a message from 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 about sexual purity and how that purity will pave the way to intimacy. It was a little uncomfortable at times, but I know I was obedient. Even if no one comes back next week, I’m fine. I went to sleep happy and relieved. Because my preaching is not to please the people who are in attendance, but to share truth from the Bible and please God. We need to be challenged to confess and repent when sin creeps into the church. I hope next time I will just trust God completely and skip the wrestling part. It’s definitely not a fun process.

I’m excited about John Waller joining us this Sunday at Cornerstone Community Church. If you saw the movie Fireproof or listen to SpiritFM, you have heard John Waller’s music. His song, While I’m Waiting is a powerful song about waiting on God’s timing. He will be joining us and leading worship for our 10am service, and then going over to First Baptist to lead them in worship at their 11am service. At 6pm on Sunday night, we are moving our evening service over to the historic Rex Theater in downtown Galax for a special concert with John.

The great thing about this concert is that it was organized by a young man in our church. Isaac Larrowe has organized and promoted the concert and has raised the funds to allow John to come minister to us. Please help us get the word out about the concert. If you haven’t heard the song, check out the video below or check out John’s website.

The Bored Generation

March 11, 2010 — 2 Comments

Lately, I have noticed something that seems to be on the increase.  I am concerned with the boredom of an entire generation.  Check out the facebook and status updates of young adolescents and you’ll be sure to see the infamous statement, “I AM BORED.” I am sure that this isn’t something entirely new, but I do see it as a growing problem. In the midst of incredible advances in technology, entertainment, and communication, teens and children are complaining that they simply have nothing to do. With a 5 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old, it’s a phrase that comes up often at our house. If we hear complaining about boredom at our house, the first step is usually cleaning their room or reading a book. But even with consequences, our children still want us to entertain them and help them find something to do.

I think this problem has huge implications for the church as well. If the younger millennials grow up in a society where they are constantly entertained, it will affect how we reach them. We must start getting to the root of the problem. One area of concern is the pace of our society. Everything is based on instant gratification and no waiting. From fast food to movies on demand to instant messaging, everything has been geared toward providing them what they want when they want it.  I still have hope, but it will require action on our part.

At the risk of sounding old, I actually remember before we had game systems, cell phones, and home computers. As kids, we spent much of our time simply being kids, playing and enjoying our time with friends. As adults, I feel we have a responsibility to help guide and direct the younger generation to learn how to live life to the fullest. I think we can teach and model some important truths.

So What’s the Cure?

  • Let’s teach them to develop a Holy curiosity – When you look at the world with wonder and anticipation, you simply cannot become bored. When you explore and learn, you will grow in maturity and in knowledge.
  • Let’s teach them to be still and know God – If we cannot teach our children to slow down, what will happen as they grow older? Jesus spent regular time in silence and solitude with God the Father, and we need to do the same thing. It brings us into God’s presence, it allows us to avoid stress by bringing our requests before God, and it strengthens us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Let’s teach them to use their imagination and creativity - I’m afraid we are preventing them from finding solutions to their problems. When they are bored, they can become incredibly creative. It’s in those times when they come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Let’s not stifle their creativity. Instead encourage them to discover something to do when they are bored.
  • Let’s teach them to serve others – At the root of boredom is selfishness. Everything is focused on my needs and wants. When we find ways to serve others, it helps refocus our priorities on the two greatest commandments. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving others as ourselves.
  • Let’s teach them the power of reading the Bible and other great books – I am thankful that my children love books. I love seeing them pick up books, but still way too often I hear the phrase “I am bored.”  I want to create in them a love of reading. It’s amazing what they can learn from great stories. And I especially want them to spend time reading their Bible. It is such a great joy to hear them reading Bible stories to each other.

I encourage you to join in the conversation. What else would you add to this list?

Updating the Blog

March 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

It’s been quiet here on the blog for the last few days. During my normal blogging hours I have been working on the site design. I’ve been using the same graphics for a while now and since I can’t leave anything alone for long, I decided to update the theme the blog is based on. I wanted to switch to one that is sleek, clean, and easy to customize. The Standard Theme is a newer WordPress theme that I chose for the updated look. It is a great premium blog theme and I plan on using this as a framework for the blog for the foreseeable future.  I still have some customization to do, but I think this is a great start. Here are some of the features of the new theme.

  • it’s coded to be fast and meet current web standards
  • it’s SEO Friendly (Search Engine Optimization)
  • it has multiple advertising options built in
  • it is easy to customize and style using custom CSS
  • and it has a great community forum where you can find support

So far, I’m impressed. I was able to eliminate several plugins because of built-in functionality, and it just looks sleek and modern. Let me know if you have any problems viewing the site. Especially if you are on older browsers in windows. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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