Saturday, October 31, 2009

Soccer Ball Hero...

What do you get when you build a guitar game that's three stories high and controlled by soccer balls? You get this...

Isn't this a cool concept and a great video?!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cell Phone Symphony...

What do you get when you place 1,000 cell phones on a wall and add 2,000 texts? A symphony... or to be more precise, Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture.

Creating this ad took 53 different ringtone alerts that were precisely timed. But after a lot of practice... it actually worked!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Comfort Zones...

"If we're not careful, eventually our comfort zones become cocoons and then coffins."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Love Jesus Parties...

I love Jesus Parties... because I see Jesus in every person who's there. Our next Jesus Party will be Friday, December 4.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Who are the people you know who are the best "ideators"? Ideators are people who take ideas from... well, an idea... to implementation. Who would you want to learn this skill from?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Walls Are Up...

It was thrilling to see the walls go up over the weekend of the house that SoHills is building in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Pictured below is the sweet family who'll own the home: Monica, Adriahna, Anthony and Shannon. The last picture is looking into Anthony's bedroom... and when Anthony made this very clear to me on Saturday he was just about to pop with excitement.

and Laura Hollifield,
along with Tim and Amanda Pittman, have done an incredible job of coordinating things on SoHills side of the Habitat partnership. They've prayed, planned, communicated, managed work teams and hammered nails. They've even chalk outlined the individual rooms of the house... along with the name of who will occupy which bedroom.

Please make a point to visit the house before it's moved to it's permanent location on November 7. And as you walk through their new home, pray for Shannon, Monica, Anthony and Adriahna.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


This video called "Excuses" powerfully promotes breast cancer awareness... but it's also visually stunning.

Great message... astonishing creativity.

Friday, October 23, 2009

500 Years of Women's Portraits...

Portraits of women... reflecting a time span of about 500 years... in less than 3 minutes.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Lesson...

I loved this recent post by Caryn Carroll, daughter of my ministry partner, Donnie, and his sweet wife, Lisa:

Tuesday. It's raining. I'm leaving Parkland to meet my sister and niece for lunch. I start my car. It hesitates. It jerks. It runs. Whew! I turn onto Inwood Road to join bumper-to-bumper traffic in a highly congested and miserable construction zone. My car jerks. It keeps running. Red light. Green light. Bummer. It dies. Did I mention that its raining? Did I mention that there's tons of traffic? Did I mention I'm in an intersection?

What's a girl to do? Restart it, I suppose. Its dies. So, I restart it a couple of times until I'm as off to the side as one can be on a no-shoulder, high-traffic, under-construction intersection. Then, of course! Call Dad! What's the problem? Out of gas. (I know- that's a dumb problem that shouldn't have ever happened.) He advises me start my car again, coast for as long as possible, start my car again, coast as long as possible, make people angry on the road, and try to crawl to the gas station about .2 miles away. After a few honks, angry expressions, and a very slow crawl, I make it to the entry of the gas station. Problem: it's a pretty steep entry. By now my car is crawling for about 2 seconds with every key twist in the ignition. Hmm... but I try. Nope. Try again... YES????

All of a sudden two men ran towards my car in the steady rain and started pushing against my bumper. We made it about half way up and then the dear car started rolling backwards. Then, two more men ran towards us and got behind the car and pushed. After a couple of attempts we finally made it to the beautiful gas pump!

So, who were these gallant men to rescue this damsel in distress in the tempest? Their faces I knew well. I pass them almost everyday in that same intersection. They are the men who walk along the streets lined with cars asking for food, beverages, and money. They are the men who find shelter from the rain under that overpass.

Many times I have seen them, shared a smile, but hoped that they wouldn't come greet me at my car window. Many times I have driven past, thinking to myself "I'm working hard, really hard, in grad school trying to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. Surely they could improve their living situations with a little bit more effort." These were the faces of men I judged without knowing their life story... without knowing their name. The men who are poor, unclean, hungry, and thirsty, the men who have been rejected by me (and countless others) are the men who were willing to get their clothes wet and willing to help someone in need. How grateful I am to these men who are slower to pass judgment and quicker to lend a hand. And how humbled I am by their grace and generosity.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Best Don't Tell You They're The Best...

When looking for outstanding leaders, those who are truly outstanding (or potentially outstanding) usually don’t tell you they are outstanding. In fact, they often don’t realize they are exceptionally gifted by God to lead.

With rare exceptions, whenever someone initially rattles off a resume of success, I find that most of the time these "outstanding" leaders are either:

A) Very insecure.

B) Overselling themselves.

Those who are truly the best don’t seem to be driven to convince you they are the best. The most gifted do more than they talk.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Insincere Praise & Mean-Spirited Criticism...

One of the highlights of the recent Catalyst Conference for me was listening to Chuck Swindoll's message. Swindoll shared leadership lessons he’d learned over a half century of ministry. One of his points which stuck out to me dealt with how we receive the opinions of others. Swindoll said (and I'm paraphrasing):

"There will be people in your life who basically want to worship you. In their eyes you can do no wrong. They put you up on a pedestal and believe every word, every action, every thought is pure as the fallen snow."

"On the other hand you will have your critics for whom you can do nothing right. Every word, action, and thought will be criticized with little thought to who you are as a person."

Swindoll stated that the wise leader will not take either one of these groups too seriously. I didn't take his comment to mean we shouldn’t still love them. My take was that Swindoll meant we shouldn’t allow these people to shape or mold us. Their insincere praise or eager critical hearts can damage the work God is doing in us and through us... so guard your mind and your heart.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quit Trying To Be Interesting...

“Quit trying to be interesting. Start trying to be interested.”

This statement changed Jim Collins’ life. It came at the end of a conversation the author was having years ago with his mentor. It was confrontational. It struck a nerve. And it stayed with him.

Which one do you find yourself most focused on these days: trying to be interesting or interested?

One is inwardly focused.

One is outwardly focused.

One won’t change much of anything.

One has the potential to change anything.

One is about me.

One is about others.

There are four simple ways to become more interested:

Be curious. Ask questions. Talk less. Listen more.

The ironic twist of it all is that when we become more interested, we might actually become more interesting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jesus Plane...

This is funny... and sort of scary.

This is painful parody to watch.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Touching Moment...

At the Catalyst Conference which I recently attended, there was a moment so genuinely sweet and touching it couldn't have been planned or scripted. Watch this video (it's 18 minutes, but worth it) and see Jimmy Wambua, a young man from Kenya, meet his Compassion sponsor of 19 years, for the first time. Have Kleenex handy.

Susan and I are sponsoring a Compassion child... if you're not, consider doing so.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Love God Wholeheartedly...

The Ten Commandments end with "You shall not covet." Some people view this as more of a reward than a commandment... if you love God and seek him wholeheartedly you won't want any other life than your own. -- Rob Bell, Catalyst 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making Your Mark...

Below are the notes that I took during Andy Stanley's opening presentation at Catalyst 2009. The theme for this year's Catalyst Conference was "On Your Mark." Building off that theme, Andy's comments focused on "making your mark."

- We need to take the subject of leadership and look at it through the lens of Scripture.

- The reason we are here and love to study and learn about leadership is because we want to make our world better… we want to make our mark.

- We want to make the world better.

- We want to believe when we are gone we will be missed.

- We want people to say: Our world was better because they were here. That’s not an ego, it’s the mark of God on our lives.

- Every leader leaves a mark. The challenge is: what mark are you going to leave?

- If you are discontent with the status quo and want to see change it’s because God has put that desire in you.

- Leaders always leave a mark the question is what kind of mark are you going to leave?

- You won't understand the mark you've left until long after you've left it.

- You won’t recognize your greatest mistake until after you've made it.

- You won't know your defining moment until it’s already happened.

- The challenge and problem for leaders who want to see change is that we don’t know the thing that we will do that will make the greatest difference.

- As you study leadership and leaders, you see they don’t realize the significance of what they've done until long after they've done it.

- “God takes full responsibility for the life wholly committed to Him.” – Charles Stanley

- It’s not about the mark you leave but the mark God makes through you.

- My responsibly is to be obedient to God and to trust him with the consequences

- You need to settle once and for all, who’s mark is this for?
Be consumed with Who you are for. Once you decide that, you can live your life with freedom in knowing that God will take full responsibility for your life and your leadership.

- You have no idea what God wants to accomplish for you.
When God has done His greatest work in the world you won’t know it.

- Living life to make my mark is too small a thing for us to give our whole life to. Live with greater concern about who you are for. If you settle this once and for all, you’ll be perfectly positioned for God to do His most extraordinary thing through you.

- You are going to leave a mark. The real question for you is, “Who’s mark is it gonna be?”

- Let’s not live our lives trying to live our small marks when we've been invited to play a role in God’s story and to make His mark in our world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lessons From 50 Years of Ministry...

One of the significant moments for me during last week's Catalyst Conference was the presentation Chuck Swindoll made to the assembled gathering. Swindoll spoke of lessons learned over his fifty years of ministry. In bullet-point format, here are the lessons Swindoll shared:

- Whatever you do, do more with others and less alone.

- Whenever you do it, emphasize quality not quantity.

- Whenever you go, do it the same as if you were among those who know
you the best.

- Whoever may respond, keep a level head.

- However long you lead, keep on dripping with gratitude and grace.

- Leave room for the "crushing."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

World's Longest Basketball Shot...

I saw these guys at Catalyst Conference. They are really nice guys... and they make some amazing basketball shots. This clip documents the world's longest basketball shot--which was made from the third deck of Texas A&M's football stadium.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Movies Are Made To Be Seen...

One of the presenters at Catalyst used this clip to illustrate the persuasive power of images over words. I thought it was a good illustration of his point, as well as a pretty funny video.

I smile every time I watch this.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making Meetings Work...

The 99 Percent is a new site (inspired by Thomas Edison's famous quote "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration") that pulls together "insightful articles from around the web." I found the following post on meetings to be just that... insightful.

Ask anybody in the workplace for a list of the five things they hate most about their job, and meetings will undoubtedly top the list. But what is it about gathering a team of co-workers that sends otherwise well-oiled machines into epic failure mode? I would argue that it’s not the act of the meeting itself that presents a problem, but rather, a lack of two crucial things: a goal, and quality assurance.

We instinctively set goals for nearly every aspect of our lives: get through X amount of emails, finish reading X book by the end of the month, or send X number of party invites out by Friday. Yet, meetings are one of the only tasks not subject to the same treatment. Too often, they become free-for-alls in which any and all topics are open to discussion, limited only by time and stamina.

Meetings, like action Items, should have specific, actionable goals: Rather than “Discuss Project A,” think of more focused goals, such as, “Determine budget and work flow for Project A.”

They should also have a designated leader who makes sure that the gathering achieves its objective. As a purpose-focused facilitator, the “meeting leader” keeps everyone accountable by doing a few things:

1) Stating the meeting’s purpose at its start.

Why are we here, and what are we supposed to accomplish? Laying out the objective and setting the meeting’s tone is one of the leader’s key responsibilities.

2) Taking notes (if required by the group).

Some groups find that each attendee taking notes becomes redundant and subjective. By appointing one impartial note-taker, the team is free to focus on the conversation at hand, and able to later recount their discussions without bias.

3) Keeping the meeting on track.

Meetings are wont to wander into territory unrelated to the initial goal. When this inevitably happens, the meeting leader redirects conversation back to the matter at hand. If an important but off-topic idea pops up, the meeting leader makes a note so that it can be revisited later in a separate meeting if need be.

4) Articulating next steps.
To finish up, the meeting leader does a quick rundown of the meeting’s highlights, ensures that everyone knows their action steps, and takes charge of scheduling the next gathering if need be.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Forgotten God...

I read these words early yesterday morning. Written by Francis Chan... they have both perplexed and challenged me:

"If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God's kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit. The degree to which this has happened (and I would argue that it is a prolific disease in the body of Christ) is directly connected to the dissatisfaction most of us feel with and in the church."

"The church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice."

Am I living in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Monday, October 5, 2009

God, Make Yourself Visible Through Me...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the enormously challenging opportunities that face us in this world. Hunger, disease, repression and apathy present themselves as insurmountable obstacles.

I'm coming to grips with the fact that I can't take on all that's wrong in the world... but I'm equally convinced that there is a very real place and opportunity in this world where our great God can and will make Himself visible through me... if I will just open myself, and my eyes, to that possibility.

This then becomes my prayer this week: "Father, open my heart and my eyes to the person to whom You will make Yourself visible today through me."

I invite you to join me in praying this prayer... in fact, consider praying it this very minute as you read these words.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Anne Frank...

The only known existing film footage of Anne Frank has been uploaded to YouTube by the Anne Frank House. At the 9-second mark in the clip, you can see Anne Frank lean out of a second-story window as she watches a bride and groom exit a neighboring house.

This footage dates back to July 22, 1941... predating Anne’s famous diary. The clip captures a moment in time that depicts life prior to the Frank family going into hiding.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Birds Making Music...

I thought this video was a most creative way to respond to a sight many of us see every day.

Very cool stuff!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why I Go To Conferences...

I'm looking forward to attending the Catalyst Conference next week in Atlanta. Susan is going with me, as well as Matt Boisvert (who attended Catalyst with me last year). I'm a fan of conferences... so is Mark Batterson. Here are some thoughts Mark shared in a recent post that resonated with me.

I like conferences. Here are a few "
reasons why" and a few "how to" thoughts.

#1) I never want to become a
closed system.

Over time, we develop what psychologists call
inattentional blindness. In other words, we stop noticing things in our environment. Going to conferences is one way to overcome this. It gives you fresh eyes. I always come back from conferences seeing what we do at SoHills in different ways. Conferences keep me from becoming a closed system.

#2) Allot 5% of your church budget to
leadership development.

The 5% can certainly include a
resource budget for staff members. And it should include some staff retreats or team building experiences. But I think conferences are a big part of this budget. I'm just a big believer in reconnaissance. I'm always looking for new ideas. And one of the best ways to get new ideas is to go to conferences. Think of it as R & D (research & development).

#3) Conferences are a great way to make
relational connections.

I used to go to conferences for
informational reasons. Now I go for relational reasons. The greatest added value are the relationships you make. Conferences = Kingdom networking.

#4) Conferences get me out of my

I have a little formula:
change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Going to conferences gets me out of my normal routine and helps me think about old problems in new ways.

#5) Conferences force me to
look in the mirror and evaluate myself.

#6) Conferences help me
dream bigger dreams.

One of the reason I love going to conferences is to listen to speakers who
inspire me to dream bigger dreams. I know conferences can be overwhelming. Information overload. And that's why I always try to identify three applications ideas. But if you can process the information and inspiration, conferences have a unique way of fueling dreams!

Take someone with you!

I've had so many
defining moments and defining thoughts at conferences, but they were tough to translate to our team. You need to take your team with you. Nothing like a shared experience!