Category Archives: thoughts

Ministry Tip: Always Tell The Story

People want to know why.  They want to know WHY you think you should create a new program.  They want to know WHY you believe it is time to end a ministry that used to be so powerful.  They want to know WHY you are sure it is time to pivot and change course.  People aren’t thinking about the thing you are planning or plotting as much as you are and have been – it is all new to them.  And they want to know why they should care…

When people want to know why, tell a story.  Tell them why by painting a picture of a preferred future. Tell them about someone who could benefit from this new idea.  Tell them a story.  People aren’t moved by data or motivated by “this other church I heard is doing it…”  They are excited by stories.  Tell them some.


Ministry Tip: Stop Being Yourself

I don’t always recommend this – but stop being yourself!  Let me unpack that.  Stop being yourself, when you want to understand someone else.  Most of us grew up hearing the expression, “walk a mile in their shoes.”  In ministry and life, we often need to see something from someone else’s perspective.  That is actually a pretty solid adage.   But it still has one obstacle in understanding someone else – us.  We are still imagining and envisioning the world from their perspective but with our history.   I heard Reggie Joiner say it this way at Orange Conference in 2016,  “Empathy is the ability to press pause on your own thoughts and feelings long enough to understand someone else’s.”  To imagine what they are feeling, we have to be able to stop being ourselves.  To press pause on ourselves and consider the issue as the other person.  Can you stop being yourself long enough to be someone else?  It is important if you want to understand those around you.

Ministry Tip: Don’t Think Alone

I recently bumped into a ministry situation that had me stumped.  I didn’t know what to do.  This is typical for some of us pastors.  But the one thing that I know how to do is phone a friend.  So, I called a pastor friend who has been through a similar situation.  As I reflected on the solution I was reminded a valuable lesson – I should not think alone.  It rarely is the best option.  Get others involved in your processing so you find the best outcome.

My Favorite: Star Wars Films

I don’t confess to be, “that guy,” when it comes to Star Wars.  I don’t know the name of the moons around Hoth or exactly how Stormtroopers died on the Death Star.  But I have grown up watching the movies.  I, like many many people, have been in engrossed in the films with the release of the Prequels and the newer canon in the last two years.  It is just a great world to explore!  The characters are timeless yet approachable.  This past year I ramped up my geek cred by reading a couple of the Star Wars novels (Dark Disciple & Bloodline).  I was reminded how great the storytelling of the first films that caught my attention as a kid some 40 years ago!

So here is my ranking of my Favorite Star Wars Films:

  1. The Empire Strikes Back (V) – This film is just about perfect.  It transforms the story that we thought we knew so well in A New Hope (IV), and puts it on its ear.  It has more action and suspense that we felt when the Death Star blew up for the first or second time!
  2. The Force Awakens (VII) – I know. It was just “A New Hope remake.”  I don’t care, and I don’t totally agree. It was a party on a roller coaster and I loved every moment of it.  Ok…I didn’t love every moment.  I almost cried when I realized that HE was going to die.  But Rey, Finn, and Poe!  It was just fantastic.
  3. A New Hope (IV) – The film that started it all.  I’m not going to try and argue about when Lucas wrote what, but this IS the beginning of the story and it does it marvelously.
  4. Return of the Jedi (VI) – As a kid, this film was the best!  As I have rewatched it I am still moved but some of the campy-er moments rob it of the film it could have been.  It was a fitting ending both when we thought it was THE ending and now that the story has continued.  This might have edged out Rogue One because of the happy ending, I can admit that.
  5. Rogue One – I have wrestled with this film.  I was able to watch it twice in the theaters, so I have been able to see it from both a “wow, first time!” and an “um…do I really like that” perspective.  And I think I do really like it.  So much that it could be #3 on this list.  I wish they had done more to develop some of the characters and gotten rid of that mind reading monster (what was that about!?!).  It was a long movie running at 2 hours and 13 minutes.  But couldn’t they have added 5-10 minutes and let me care more about Jyn and Cassian?  I wish they had.  It was sad watching the ending unfold, but I didn’t feel like it was sad enough if that makes any sense.
  6. Mandatory Space for the gap that is between #5 and #6
  7. Revenge of the Sith (III) – We have gone from greatness to good.  I’m sorry to say that Anakin is unbearable.  I’m not trying to specific blame to the actor or the writers, but someone blew it.  It is just painful to watch…and this is the “good” one of the Prequels.  Of the Prequels this was not a return, but at least facing the right direction of action and adventure that we once believed about the Star Wars universe.   Having rewatched these in the Fall, I was reminded how great Ewan McGregor did as Obi-Wan, he really salvaged the films.
  8. The Phantom Menace (I) – We had hopes, but then Jar-Jar.  It was just Jar-Jar.  It was all of the parts of the Galaxy that we didn’t know that we didn’t care about.  It happened. Forgive and forget.
  9. Attack of the Clones (II) – As I mentioned I watched the films again in the fall in preparation for Rogue One release.  I had to force myself to finish this movie.  It is just so, so, bad.  Anakin is at his worst.  It literally feels like it belongs to a different movie franchise.  It is closer to Fifth Element than it is a Star Wars film…an no. That isn’t a compliment.

Thanks for reading.  Do you agree?  I would love to hear!

Snapchat – Creating Geofilters

Ok. I just realized that anyone (even YOU!) can create your own Geofilter for Snapchat. Geofilters are those cool logos and images that are available when you go to Turner Field, big concerts, or most cities on Snapchat.  Awesome right?!?  And it is actually pretty easy. I just did two for the community I live in (Wrightsville, Ga) in just a couple of hours.  As someone who is trying to impact and encourage the community – what a fun way to do help give us some identity.


Here is my first one for the city.  I actually had to submit it a twice because Snapchat wanted more information about the significance of this image (our town’s historic Courthouse) as the centerpiece of the geofilter.  But after a couple of minutes tweaking the wording, I got a confirmation email without about 48 hours and it was approved.

If you want some more technical info about how to get start check out –

Ministry Tip: It always matters

That thing that you are thinking about doing/stopping/starting/changing – it matters a great deal to someone.  I know you think it doesn’t, but it does.  If it didn’t matter to someone, they wouldn’t have started doing it in the first place.

Pro Tip: It always matters.  Treat it like it does.

Jimmy Eat World

One of my favorite bands Jimmy Eat World released their ninth studio album this month and to celebrate the occasion I thought I would let you know what my favorite Jimmy Eat World albums are.  I know you have been waiting for this information.

  1. Bleed American (2001) – Just a classic album.  Great songs top to bottom and one of my favorites songs all time, “Sweetness.”  This was my first album from the band so it holds extra special meaning for me as well.  Just listen to this album.
  2. Chase This Light (2007) – It has some of their best stuff. Love this album.  You can’t miss songs, “Let It Happen,” “Chase This Light,” or “Firefight.”  As I have been listening to this songs, tracking down links from Youtube, I am reminded how great this album is!
  3. Clarity (1999) – This was definitely a different time in music in general, but this album still holds up.  If you only listen to a couple of the songs check out the live versions of “For Me This Is Heaven” and “Goodbye Sky Harbor.”  And you can’t skip “Lucky Denver Mint” which has played in my car close to a thousand times.
  4. Futures (2004) – Another good album.  Highlights include “Pain” and “Kill.”
  5. Damage (2013) – This is sort of the second tier of albums for me.  “I will steal you back” is a highlight and while the album isn’t bad, it isn’t amazing.
  6. Invented (2010) – A decent album.  It has some memorable moments, but lacks the overall awesomeness I expect from the band.
  7. Static Prevails (1996) – Another album that shows it’s age, but it solid for what it is. “Anderson Mesa” is one of the few tunes that I return to consistently.
  8. Integrity Blues (2016) – This pains me. But this album is still new, maybe it will grow on me.  Right now “Sure and Certain” is the only go-to song I have found.

There you have it. Thanks for taking a minute to read this today.

I like pens – Platinum Preppy

A few months ago I began listening to Rev. Chad Brooks podcast, Productive Pastor.  He is always going on and on about these pens that he likes to use.  One day, instead of working on what I should have been doing, I googled, “Best Pens.

I found Brad Dowdy’s Pen Addict website.  It is absolutely fantastic.  After trying out a handful of pens, maybe I will talk about those later, I found this – Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen.

Platinum Preppy

It is my fav! I used a Fountain pen in high school, but it was mostly just me fooling around with it trying learn how to sign my name like a doctor.

This pen is an absolute gem!  It is inexpensive (around $3) and feels like I am writing something important even when I am just jotting down my grocery list.  If you spend much of your day writing do yourself a favor and get this pen!  It makes writing more fun.  And isn’t that a good enough of a reason to spend $3?

Lessons Learned From Real Racing 3

The last few months, since I got my Nexus 7 tablet (which I highly recommend), I have been playing a racing game in some of my spare time.  I have always loved racing games, because when I crash I can just restart the race, unlike in real life.  But as I have been playing, I have been reminded of a couple of important lessons in leadership and life.

Where You Approach The Curves – Determines Where You Can Come Out Of The Curves

If you haven’t ever played one of these racing games, then you might not have experienced this. But where on the road you come into the curve determines the possible positions you could end up at the end of the curve. Granted, speed and your how you brake matter, if you aren’t coming to the turn at the right spot on the track, you don’t have a chance of completing the turn successfully. You will lose time and track position.

Where you are as you approach a difficult decision or project within your career WILL determine where you end up at the end of it. Go in on the wrong side, that being making an issue about pride, ego, or revenge, and you will always end up in a bad spot when completing the situation.  Go in with the right angle of attack, and you will be in control of where you end up.  Starting well determines if you can end well.

It Is Easier To Build Speed – Than To Slow Down When You Are Out Of Control

This idea always seem counter intuitive to me.  I want to go into the corners flying!  And I always end up losing track position and speed, because I am in the dirt or the wall. I assume, wrongly, that going as fast as I can will get me to where I want to go fastest.  But when I slow down at the beginning of the curve, I allow myself get in the right position of the track for the turn (see point #1) and can then control my car and end up where I want to for the next straightaway.

I often think just getting the ball rolling is enough to get something happening.  Usually I end up having to stop the ball, and then get it facing the right direction and rolling once again. Building speed and momentum isn’t difficult when you are under control and you know what you are doing. People love to support projects and people who have focus and know where they are going.

Thanks EA and Real Racing 3. Now to convince myself that I don’t need to do anymore “research” until I finish my other projects for the day!  I hope you approach the turns well and slow down before you end up out of the race.