Well, my 200 mile Sunday ended up being a 150 mile Sunday. Still, very crazy. I was planning on going to Flamingo Road Sawgrass to check out how their production works in their "theater church." My trip was literally cancelled at the 11th hour... FRC will have to wait for another week... I headed downtown for church.
The more I hang out at Central Baptist/Christ Fellowship Downtown, the more excited I get... and the more I realize we are going to need help getting this done.
Friday, November 2nd CF is doing a Ministry Rally at the Palmetto Bay Campus, and one of the Breakout Sessions is for potential CF Downtown volunteers. CFDT needs some help! Whether you are someone that is excited about making CFDowntown your church home, OR you would like to serve for a couple hours now and then helping clean the place up... CFDowntown needs a lot of attention.
Catch the vision of what God has allowed for us. Help us reach the heart of Miami.
Saturday, November 10th is going to be an awesome day for C28 West Palm. First off, C28 is a major sponsor of WayFest, an all day music festival at the Sound Advice Ampitheater. Before WayFest goes full swing, though, we are hosting an intimate in-store with Seventh Day Slumber and StorySide B. Pretty cool, eh?
StorySide B will be performing an acoustic set in the store as well, so come out to C28 to get a free music performance, get some CDs signed by to really awesome groups, AND THEN be sure to check out all the cool stuff coming out at C28 for the Christmas season.
Oh, and to welcome SSB and SDS into West Palm, C28 is selling their newest release CD for $7.99. Yes, we're sticking it to iTunes. Take that, APPLE! Seriously, come out and support C28 as well as Christian Music in South Florida.
Mac's newest OS, OS 10.5 - codenamed Leopard - released several hours ago. I decided to skip the party atmosphere at Apple, instead opting to wait for my NFR ("not for resale", read: FREE) copy to come in the mail. Thank you very much, Steve!
Speaking of Steve, I love his sound byte on Leopard. "Leopard will be the core of our Operating System over the next ten years." What's great is that if Bill Gates had a sound byte on a Windows Operating System, it would have been "We won't have an upgrade to our operating system in ten years... But we will have service pack upgrades!"
Alright, enough bashing.
I'd love some feedback. Who's using Leopard? Are the apps working? How are non-Intel laptops handling it? Lemme know!
Been a busy couple weeks. I've had some people ask why I'm not blogging much lately. Honestly, I'm so busy "living" my life that I really don't have time to write about it. I actually had some "Me time" today to think, process, and overall defunk what's been going on lately.
Let me catch you up:
1) CF Downtown is going great. The Worship Center conversion will be a monumentous (is that a word?) task. Good news is we're developing a multi-phase plan, and what felt like an insurmountable task is slowly starting to come together.
2) C28's is a Key Sponsor for Wayfest happening Saturday, November 10th at the Sound Advice Ampitheater in West Palm Beach. Also as part of Wayfest, C28 West Palm is hosting an intimate artist signing with Seventh Day Slumber and Storyside B... SSB will also be performing an acoustic set in the store. How cool is that!
3) Pray for C28 in general. Most of the stores reside in Southern California, which is currently being ravaged by fire. I was calling one of my reps earlier this week, who told me "Uh, I gotta go. My backyard's on fire and we gotta get out of the house." Crazy. Absolutely crazy.
4) There are some new CF Bloggers, and I can personally recommend both of these guys. Carlos Lollett is the worship leader for CF West Kendall, and Berchman Paul is the worship leader for CF Homestead. Thanks to E for the reminder.
5) Wanna make God laugh, make plans! The old adage has really rung true in my life over the past month. It seems as if God is content keeping me running. So we'll keep running. God, I trust that you know what You are doing in my life. Keep opening doors and I'll keep running through them.
6) Anyone see Joel Osteen bench 300lbs on TV recently? I've had multiple people tell me they saw him do it. I can't find the video on YouTube, and I'm going to pull a doubting Thomas until I see him do it. The man is a beanpole (albeit an extremely rich beanpole) and I do not see how he could throw that weight up. 300lbs on his chest would break him like a twig.
7) I'm mentally working through a blog redesign for the site. Not like I got time to do the work, but maybe I'll get a day off in December and can have fun with it then.
8) There's a good chance I will be at four different church locations this Sunday. No, not kidding. I'll be sure to blog my day. I think it may be a 200 mile day. WooHoo!
9) Are you celebrating Halloween this year? If the secular world has taken Christ out of Christmas, is it possible that we have commercialized Satan's holiday as well to the point that children getting free candy is no longer glorifying to Satan either? (Don't know the answer, just thinking...)
After the iPhone Surgery Hoax, I am always hesitant to post an unconfirmed story. This one, however, is worth the risk.
HANDLER, ARIZONA - Geoff Evila miraculously recovered from a four month coma after a near fatal car accident that took place in early June this year during a road trip to Las Vegas. Weeks after his amazing recovery Evila learned that the iPhone had been launched to overwhelming success. Before his accident Geoff had planned to camp out in line for his very own iPhone, but without any warning everything suddenly went black. Geoff realized that he had some catching up to do as he began to put the pieces of his life back together.
Geoff's closest friend Steve Denots asked the local Apple Store in Chandler, Arizona to create a huge scene for Geoff Evila when he arrived last week to purchase his iPhone, similar to the high energy scene that took place on June 29 when the iPhone was released. Denots told the Apple Store staff Geoff's harrowing story of recovery and carefully designed the event to be a surprise for Evila...
... Denots told The iPhone Savior that Geoff is enjoying his new phone despite his struggle with small motor movement which represents the final hurdle in Evila's recovery. For Geoff Evila, life has become a whole lot better waking up to the iPhone. You would have to be in a coma to believe otherwise.
Downtown -- things will be great when you're
Downtown -- you'll find a place for sure
Downtown -- everything's waiting for you
. . .
And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you;
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along...
So maybe I'll see you there,
We can forget all our troubles; forget all our cares, and go
. . .
Downtown -- things will be great when you're
Downtown -- don't wait a minute more
Downtown -- everything's waiting for you...
Where would life be without a good Petula Clark "Downtown" reference?
(BTW, this song is now my ringtone.)
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Nothing groundbreaking. Let me give you highlights.
"82% of churches with more than 200 worship attendees have a website." That could be an impressive stat. coming from a guy that started a company that built websites exclusively for churches, this is misleading. I cannot tell you how many pastors I talked to over the years who would say something to the extent of "Why should I pay you to do this when my 10 year old (Please, no more 10 year old jokes relating to my iPhone irrelevance.) can do the same thing with Microsoft Frontpage)." So, while 82% of them have websites, what are they broadcasting on them? How/What are they connecting to the culture/their target audience.
To continue quoting the article:
Semblance of a connection
This reality leaves [Steve Clark, Pastor: Evangelical Free Church of Salt Lake City] with mixed feelings. On one hand, he's glad to be communicating with people far and wide. But he also is concerned about offering a tool that creates the semblance of a spiritual connection but doesn't ultimately satisfy a thirst for God.
"It definitely concerns me if it stops there," Clark says. "That's not actually attending church. You miss the benefits of community, of being with other people who will correct and encourage you."
I totally and completely disagree with this. Are you not surprised?
You don't think community can be created online?
Tell that to the 120 people who are my friends on Facebook.
You don't think the Internet can create a venue where people can communicate, correct, and encourage?
Um, ever been on a blog? Discussion Board? Forum? Ever sent an e-mail? Ever talked via IM? All of these are viable communication forms that enable us to communicate, correct, and encourage.
I have friends across this country that I keep up with on a regular basis. We talk, we share, we pray... rarely is communication verbal. More often than not, its text-based communication via the Internet.
What's frustrating to me is that we are NOT doing things differently than the early church did. The Media Small Group I lead is going through II Corinthians. IIC is basically Paul encouraging and correcting the church in Corinth. (More correcting than encouraging, but both play a part). Did Paul do this face to face? No. He tried to, but unforseen jail time prevented him from making the trip.
So what did Paul do. He wrote a letter. Text communication. Paul didn't abandon the church he started. He didn't say "you need to figure out your problems on your own." He didn't say "Find someone else to solve your problems". He communicated with them the best way he knew how. He wrote a letter.
To quote Tom Bandy, EasumBandy & Associates (Church Consulting Company) from the USA Today Article:
"The Web has allowed people to be cowards about profound religion," says Bandy. "It allows us to hide behind our e-mail, jargon names, URLs and stuff like that. But religion is really an act of courage — to submit, to surrender, to be vulnerable to the other, to that which is beyond yourself."
Yes, people will hide behind usernames (what's a jargon name?). But they're probably hiding from judgmental Christians who would criticize them for their mistakes, views, etc. These people are searching, seeking... they oftentimes are being vulnerable. But no, really, thank you for limiting the spiritual depth of thousands of people across America who use the Internet to communicate and invest in people's livevs.
Funny. I never viewed Paul as a coward. I guess he was, though, because what he said he didn't say face to face. Maybe I'm a coward too, for saying what I say via this blog. Maybe being a coward is a great place to be.
I'll wrap this up with a quote from Paul. II Corinthians 1:13-14 "For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ."
I wasn't going to share this story due to it's embarrasing content.
My iPhone broke Saturday afternoon. Yes, the end of the world is upon us.
In my chaos of a life I have to have communication. I need to be available. Email. Txt messaging. IM. Phone. Web. If I'm disconnected, I truly am useless (once again, Amy, I apologize for that fact).
So my cell phone not working on a Saturday when I am light staffed at the bookstore, and we are expecting record attendence at Christ Fellowship Palmetto Bay Saturday night... yeah, that's a recipe for disaster.
12 missed calls. Not an exaggeration.
Evidently, when I would make and receive calls the earpiece speaker would be dead silent. I found out after 5 hours of no phone that my "speakerfone" option still worked, but who wants to have conversations with people in public on speakerfone so everyone can hear?
Sunday AM at CFH I run into Jonathan Concepcion, a new Apple Store: Falls Employee. After my gripe session, he makes an appointment for me to get the phone looked at. 5:30pm Sunday.
5:24pm. I show up at the Apple Store: Falls location. BTW, it's being redesigned, and the current Apple Store: Falls location is a closet maybe 500 square feet. It had 100-150 people packed in it today. No, not kidding.
5:25pm. I stumble to the Genius Bar and wait. I'm #2 on the appointment list. There's maybe 20 people between me and the bar. I have no idea who to talk to. So I wait.
5:35pm. In line ahead of me there is an old man who is having problems with his iPhone. Maybe late 60s. The Apple Tech tries to talk to him in normal (read: non-techie) language, but it's obvious the old man doesn't understand. He turns around and belows this name, and this 10 year old kid comes flying through the store. He somehow manages to squeeze his way up to the bar. The old man points to the kid, and the Tech explains everything to the kid who nods. The kid translates to the grandfather who nods. They then wait at the bar, I guess for paperwork?
5:42pm. My name is called. I plunge in towards the bar, parting the crowd of people like Moses did the Red Sea. I hand my phone to the Apple Tech, and explain to him what is going on. I have to shout over the chaos of 30 people standing around the Genius Bar. "The earpiece doesn't work, but my phone works in speakerfone."
5:43pm. This little 10 year old brat/angel (you choose) that is standing in line next to "Grandpa" says to me, "Oh, your phone still thinks the headphones are plugged in. Just blow in the headphone jack and it'll work again."
5:44pm. So the Apple Tech, who still hasn't said anything to me, literally takes my phone, blows into the headphone jack twice, and hands me my phone saying "wanna give it a try?" Stupid phone worked.
5:45pm. I thank the tech, ask the brat/angel if he makes house calls. Pat Grandpa on the back, and walk out of the Apple Store.
I'm proud of the Homestead Media Crew. I walked into the Worship Center this morning and told my crew that "I'm going to do an excellent job of not doing anything today. This is your show. Do it."
They did it.
Jeff, welcome to irrelevance. It's a great place to be.
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and doing absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, I went to an entirely different church today (Life Pointe in Homestead) and saw someone else preach today. (I'll get there later...)
I love the fact that after six months I've worked myself out of my job.
I love the fact that they understand the purpose behind what they do.
I love the fact that they are self-reliant.
I love the fact that the service (worship, teachings, and TRANSITIONS) went smoother than I have ever seen at a service in Homestead.
It's not only that they don't need me. They're also doing it better than I would.
BTW, Eric spoke on my favorite person in the Bible... Job. I haven't done an in-depth character study on Job in five years. I think I'm going to revisit that in the coming months. Ironically, last time I studied Job, eBeliever (my first business, graphic and web design) died due to someone elses negligence. Maybe Job wouldn't be a good idea after all... Enter "the Curse of the Job" - duh duh duh duh. "Is God Really Good?" is a question that I've debated with people many times, and Eric did a great job presenting the theological and the practical arguments. Download the Podcast. It's worth a listen.
As I mentioned above, I got to check out Life Pointe, a non-denom theater-based church not far from CF Homestead. (CF West Kendall is coming up, and I'd like to see what theater churches are doing these days.) Travis Johnson (Sr. Pastor) and I have had a borderline stalking relationship. We've talked for months via blogs and e-mail, and never took the time to meet.
Well, I took the first step. Amy and I sat in their pew (er, stadium/theater seating) and enjoyed Travis' message on God's view (and culture's view) of sex. Awesome. We stayed for the message, but I was convicted to go back to CF Homestead so I could be irrelevant over there. So, sorry Trav for not sticking around. We'll have lunch someday.
Be praying for Central Baptist this week as they will be voting this week about merging with Christ Fellowship.
God, guide our steps, our direction. Use us to bring You glory.
Honestly, I'm not that impressed, or amused. I'm not a fan of baptizing established technology to target the pew. Now if we could only figure out a way to create a new idea, instead of converting already established ideas.
Now if someone could come out with an iPhone that allowed us to connect directly to God (and not that fake "Talk To Jesus" we talked about a couple months ago).
Oh, wait, we already have that device. It's wireless, too. We call it prayer.
So, I think I'll hold off on the Cross-shaped MP3 player. For future, please don't try to "baptize" technology. Most technology doesn't do well in water. Unless it could walk on water. Then that would just be weird.
I'm sorry, I saw this coming. Check out the story via CBSNews:
Man Jailed In Pittsburgh After Trying To Pass Off $1 Million Bill At Grocery Store
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 9, 2007
(AP) Change for a million?
That's what a man was seeking Saturday when he handed a $1 million bill to a cashier at a Pittsburgh supermarket. But when the Giant Eagle employee refused and a manager confiscated the bogus bill, the man flew into a rage, police said.
The man slammed an electronic funds-transfer machine into the counter and reached for a scanner gun, police said.
Police arrested the man, who was not carrying identification and has refused to give his name to authorities. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.
Since 1969, the $100 bill is the largest note in circulation.
Police believe the $1 million note seized at the supermarket may have originated at a Dallas-based ministry. Last year, the ministry distributed thousands of religious pamphlets with a picture of President Grover Cleveland on a $1 million bill.
Jeff's Take: We used to sell these at the bookstore. They legitimately looked real. Not real enough to think "hey, I could create a scam using these," but real enough to do a double take.
Okay, only a moron would try to cash out a million dollar bill on one side, and on the other text saying "Jesus loves you." The only moron bigger than that is the employee that would actually cash the fake million dollar bill. The only moron bigger than that guy is the manager of the store that has a million dollars in change in the register to allow the moronic employee to create change for the moronic guy who thinks he can trade in a witnessing tract for a million dollars!
Thankfully, there was only one moron here. And that's the moron that didn't take off running when the gig was up.
Truthfully, I just wanted to see how many times I could say moron in a post. Thanks!
Eric's speaking this weekend on "Is God Really Good?" Powerful question that I often struggle to answer. What I love about the AskGod.cc approach is that it doesn't invalidate the question. It's not stupid to ask that question.
Landon and Hector put together a powerful video as part of the message. Take a look. Share with your friends. Bring them to church this weekend!
A year ago I blogged what my new biz cards looked like. This was my first "real" blog post. Sure, it was fluff piece (much like this one). I was basically testing the system out, but it was a start. Who knew blogging would become a big part of my life a year later? Exactly 450 posts later, over 90 RSS subscribers, and 100-300 unique visitors a day... I'm loving this!
Thanks to you all for being part of my stress relief for the past year. It's appreciated.
Had the pleasure of taking a "weekend off." Well, I wasn't actively producing any worship services @ CF. Instead I travelled with Sammy, Eric and others to Central Baptist Church. I've blogged on it recently, but Central is prayerfully considering merging with Christ Fellowship.
Sammy led worship for the English service, and Eric spoke at the both the English and the Spanish services. Check Eric's blog for details. I ended up running PowerPoint for the English service, and got to sit in a pew for the Spanish service.
Yes, sat in a pew.
No, don't speak any spanish.
Other than observing that cultural phrases like "What's up, Dog!" don't translate well into spanish... I didn't understand much of the service. What I enjoyed of the service was not the production elements of the service, but watching people that are worshipping. Seeing their expressions, attitudes... the new Jeff: always focusing on the "end" not the "means". Seriously, though, it was nice to sit back and experience worship without having to stress over minutia details.
Pray for both CF and Central, that God would guide our discussions, our motivations, our direction. If the merger is for His purposes then let it happen. If not, then let's have nothing to do with it!
God, there is so much ministry potential Downtown. What we are asking is bigger than us; it's not bigger than You. Allow us the opportunity to impact Miami for Your Kingdom. Here we are, Lord. Send us.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the future.
It's a beautiful sight.
Aside from that, though, it's amazing to me that that many college students have laptops they use in class. Honestly, I graduated from college in 1999. I took my laptop to class maybe a half-dozen times. Mind you my Macintosh Laptop back then weighed 16 lbs (not kidding) but times are changing... always changing.
A question has been batting around my head for a couple years now... how can we incorporate this laptop-driven society into a worship service? All those laptop screens offer another avenue for people to connect... Is it possible to create a worship experience that can reach the televisiophonernetting society, live? Can we create a live, multi-sensory worship experience that is interactive in addition to educational, informational, and spritual? (Note: Don't have an answer. Just talking...)
Tackling finances at The Living Word.
Restructuring budgets at C28.
Setting up operating expenses for CF Homestead.
Coordinating startup budgets for CF West Kendall.
Dreaming about CF Dwntwn.
Microsoft Excel and I have been in a borderline dating relationship this week.
In college my mom used to push me to take business classes.
I hated business classes.
She would tell me to read business/management books.
Business is stupid, right?
I talked to her the other day. She's cleaning out her office (oh, did I forget to mention SHE FINALLY RETIRED) and she's got a bunch of biz books. "Jeff, I know you probably don't want any of these, but do you want my business books?" "Mom, at this point in my life, I'll take everything you got." It's amazing to me how much these principles seem to be integrated into ministry.
It's interesting how meeting, planning, scheduling, verifying, budgeting... ministry at time equals dollars and cents in an Excel document. Yes, this is means, not the end. But the means are necessary to get to the end.
Flowcharts, spreadsheets, outlines. These have a part in ministry.
God, help us strategically plan this through. Guide our decisions. Allow us to stay focused on the end, the reason we do this. Thank you for allowing us to work through the means...
We've produced some phenominal worship services over the last couple months. iPray was a very strong series for the Worship/Media teams. And in the AskGod.cc series, over 20 people accepted Christ in the adult worship services.
Thank you for serving, contributing to the process, so that 20 people could accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Praise God.
Wanted to let you know that we are continuing our Media Small Group. We've had 7-10 people every week, but there's plenty of room for more. Starting this week we will be going through a study of 2 Corinthians: Finding Strength in Weakness. No cost to the Small Group. I found a great Christian Bookstore that is donating the books.
I'd love for you guys to join us. Come join us this Wednesday (10/6) or any Wednesday, 6:45pm. (We can't meet in the studio because of the construction. Please check at the small group table in the breezeway and they'll tell you where we are at.) Media Small Group is open to anyone involved in Media on ANY of our campuses, but we meet at Palmetto Bay. (Oh, spouses can come too!)