The Good and The Bad

February 8, 2007 — Leave a comment

Now that I’m back home in the mountains, I wanted to share the good and the bad of New Orleans.

I’ll go backwards, First the bad:

  • No sweet tea! Come on, isn’t this the south? I went through sweet tea withdrawal while I was there.
  • The shady areas of the French Quarter: after walking around I realized that it was a very strange place. Definitely not a place to hang and chill. I know that there is a huge need for ministry to this area, but you can sense the sin and evilness of the area.
  • The airport – It’s New Orleans so I expected good food even at the airport. Unfortuantely the airport was pretty old and run down.
  • Internet at the hotel – I stayed at the Riverside Hilton. The hotel was nice, but the internet was terrible. You had to pay by the hour and the connection continually dropped.

Now the Good:

  • beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde – the french version of Krispy Kreme doughnuts covered in powedered sugar. Extremely good
  • The IMAX movie – Hurricane on the Bayou. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It was great to see on a 50 foot scene the aftermath of the storm. Amazing footage and an amazing story
  • Spending two days in New Orleans with my wife in a great romantic city without the kids. We had a blast. I can’t believe we have been married for almost 12 years. She is the greatest. I honestly can say that I’m more in love with her now than I have ever been.
  • New Orleans is back in business. I went to a conference with almost 4000 engineers and the convention center area handled it with no problem.
  • Nola – Emeril’s contemporary restuarant – Wow, this was great. I think this was seriously the best meal I’ve ever had. Great food, cool atmosphere, good service, and the bill was … well it was kinda expensive.
  • The SolidWorks convention. I learned a lot of new cool tricks and tips on the software. I enjoyed listening to Steve Wozniak, Leonard Nimoy, and Col. Lewis Setliff III who was in charge of the rebuilding effort for the Army Corp of Engineers. He shared the amazing scope of the damage and what had been done to repair the levees and canals.
  • The Moobella Ice Cream. Have you ever seen a vending machine that makes up to 12 flavors of real ice cream at your command. I’m talking the real stuff, when you want it, and good. I would compare it to Ben & Jerry’s. It’s that good and it was designed in Solidworks. It was the hit of the conference.

We had a great trip, but I’m glad to be home. It was a good place to visit, but I love the mountains … and sweet tea!

In The Big Easy

February 6, 2007 — 1 Comment

I’ve been quiet lately because I haven’t had much internet time the last few days. I staying busy checking out the city during the Solidworks Conference. I listened to Steve Wozniak this morning during the keynote speech and I have sat through a whole bunch of break-out sessions on design. Jennifer flew in last night and we are headed over to Emeril’s Nola restaurant tonight. I’ve got a lot to blog about when I get the chance.

Rock and Rolling

February 3, 2007 — Leave a comment

I have been busy this week getting the details together for the Decemberadio concert. We are trying to pack what would normally take several months of planning into just a couple of weeks. Here is a flyer for the concert. To all the youth, download it and print it out and give to your friends. We will have posters and flyers at church for you to spread around.

They will also playing and speaking at our church during the morning service on the 18th. I have been thinking it would be great to share about reaching out to the culture we live in. Maybe even an interview type setting, where the guys can all share about the opportunities that God is opening up. Since they have the Grammy awards the week before and they are trying to record some new tracks, we really appreciate them coming to our church. We have had several guest musicians over the past few months that were great, but were really geared toward the 40+ crowd. I believe that churches have to constantly reach out to teens and twenty somethings and make reaching their generation a priority. It’s great to be part of a church that is not afraid of doing something that makes a lot of the older people nervous. Especially in our region, having an old-school rock group lead worship is pushing the envelope, in a good way.

The Big Easy

February 3, 2007 — Leave a comment

I’m flying out tomorrow for New Orleans for SolidWorks World. I’ll be there through Wednesday night. It should be an interesting trip. Jennifer has decided to fly down on Monday night (she couldn’t stand to be that far away from the kids for any longer). We’ve already made reservations at one of Emeril’s restaurants. I look forward to having the time at night to spend on an extended date. I dread all the seminars, because I know it will get a little boring by the end of the day, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

SolidWorks is an incredible software design package that lets engineers and designers model and analyze. It’s powerful, and the learning curve isn’t too bad, but it still takes a long time to become really good at all the lesser used commands. I will be responsible for coming back and sharing what I have learned with all our other designers. I will try to blog about some of the technology that I come across at the conference. Already, I received an email yesterday that I had won a 3d motion controller from 3dconnexion. Hopefully I can come across some more cool giveaways. You gotta love freebies.

Super Bowl Nonsense

February 1, 2007 — Leave a comment

Okay, what lame brained marketing genius came up with the cease and desist idea for churches having super bowl parties. Of all the bad publicity the NFL has gotten this year (see Cincinnati’s familiarity with the local police as one example, Michael Vick as another), do they really want to make a statement that churches can’t get together and watch the game, although its alright if in a sport’s bar? I had a bunch of teenagers in my basement watching on a 8 foot screen with a projector when Janet Jackson decided to flash the world. They should be thankful that churches are giving them another chance and giving them free publicity by encouraging people to watch the game. What frustrates me even more is that in this year’s Super Bowl, there are 2 head coaches who are committed Christians. Do companies actually lose sight of their customer base? I hope they change this decision soon. Absolutely Crazy

Baptist Press Article and Sports Illustrated Article

I like Lifeway’s new emphasis on research. Hopefully this will help them to provide resources that really connect with churches that are making a difference. Lifeway’s biggest sellers have always been their dated material, the Sunday School curriculums that so many Baptist churches use. However, with so many churches foregoing Sunday School in favor of small groups, they are struggling to catch up. Here are results on a new study they have just completed.

Thanks to Church Communications Pro, BaptistPress News, and Churchrelevance.com for the info.

LifeWay Research and Dr. Thom Rainer were fortunate enough to be able to study 19 of the 22 churches and discovered four common elements.
  1. Pastors Set the Bar: Interviews indicate the churches have taken on the vision, priorities, and values of the senior pastor. Staff and lay leaders find it easy to follow the pastor. There are high levels of trust in these pastors.
  2. Church Atmosphere: These churches are consistently described as “exciting,” “dynamic,” “energetic,” “upbeat,” “friendly,” “welcoming,” “warm,” and “positive.”
  3. Evangelistic Appeal: Pastors indicate they seek to include the gospel in most, if not all, of their sermons. They stress the importance of preaching the gospel and providing opportunities for lost people to respond. More than two-thirds indicate they offer a public invitation at the end of every service. The others invite inquirers to fill out a decision card.
  4. Intentional Outreach: The pastors are focused on reaching people for Christ. Whether it’s through focusing the content of sermons, planning the worship services, or simply the nature of church programming, it is clear that everything is designed with outreach in mind.

Although similar in the above qualities, these churches did use different methods regarding preaching, styles of worship, evangelism training, and small group strategies.

Why Do Teens Leave?

January 30, 2007 — Leave a comment

I just finished listening to a podcast on Inside Lifeway about The Leaving Generation. Jim Johnston of Lifeway talked about a recent study they did on young adults from ages 18 to 34 and why they are leaving the church. As soon as I finished listening to it, I saw a blog entry on the same topic over at the ChurchRelevance Blog. These are pretty good observations. They spent time on the podcast talking about the importance of countering the secular worldview. I believe that should be on this list as well. When students reach both high school and college they are bombarded with the “so-called” fact that science invalidates faith. If all we have taught and provided at church and youth ministry is an experiential faith, devoid of intellect and devoid of truth, then we are setting them up to be confused. Youth do want to be involved in making a difference, they do want community, they do want relationships, they do want to be in a church that is not just going through the motions, but they need to be challenged and taught truth in such a way that their actions will flow naturally out of their faith.

LifeWay Research conducted a survey among people age 18 to 34 that discovered a major factor causing young adults to leave the church is the church’s inability to minister to them in their transition stage.

Jim Johnston of LifeWay Christian Resources identifies four needs among young adults:

  1. Relationship
    “It just so happens that this generation’s biggest need is relationship. The church ought to be the author and purveyor of the best, deepest, most loving friendships around.”
  2. Biblical Community
    “The lost and the saved in this age group are looking for just what the church can provide in Biblical community. They want absolute truth but they embrace the struggle of finding it themselves. They don’t want it to be spoon-fed to them.”
  3. Social Action
    “Young adults gravitate to churches that are making an impact. This age group is embracing service, social action and missions. They will embrace the church with a cause as well.”
  4. Genuine Church
    “They want to embrace church, but only the genuine, earth-shaking, Christ-powered New Testament church. For some churches, that’s going to mean changing methodology – but not the message of the Bible.

Say What?

January 29, 2007 — Leave a comment

Here’s a headline that will catch your attention:

Naked Greased Student Interrupts Lunch

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