Twisters in VA

I've been receiving calls from family and lots of friends who have been tracking the news on the tornadoes that struck our area on Monday evening. Thanks to each of you for the care and concern. Over 200 people were injured and thousands felt the impact of the twisters. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

Please keep praying for the countless numbers of people who have lost so much during this time.

(photo, AP)

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I think about this all the time. What kind of legacy will I leave? Am I the only one?

(graphic, asbojesus)

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God's Megaphone

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."--CS Lewis

What an incredible quote. How is God speaking to you lately?

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Mobile YouVersion

Bobby Gruenewald and the LifeChurch team announced today that the Mobile YouVersion Bible is now accessible!

Now, you can now access the Bible via your mobile phone at! If you have a web enabled mobile phone, you will be able to read and search The Bible in 14+ translations and much more. Incredible.

Some of the key features include:
  • Quick Search including Book, Verse, Keywords/Text.
  • 14+ translations currently including: ASV, AMP, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, TNIV, MSG, WEB, LBLA (Spanish), NBLH (Spanish), RVA (Spanish).
  • Daily Reading (One Year Bible).
  • user contributions attributed to scripture verses including text, links and YouTube mobile video.

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  • Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • Its the Manic Monday Minute - bursting with flava.
  • Whew... has it been manic!
  • Yesterday we had great Sunday services.
  • We had a great Sunday with lots of new faces to our church family! If you're reading this somehow, W E L C O M E.
  • Really needed a cupa joe this morning. I felt like a train-wreck.
  • HA! When I typed the word "train" I heard one outside!
  • I hate when I wake up and feel hungover (when I don't even drink).
  • Can anyone relate?
  • Looking forward to my personal, 24-hour retreat this weekend.
  • I need to getaway and focus.
  • Played some BBall again yesterday afternoon - yes, again. I trampled my opponents 20-8 and am still undefeated!
  • In other news, I came in 50th (yes, 50th!) in the Bigger Loser than Marko contest. I officially stink.
  • Please, no need to encourage me. There were only 53 (men) in the contest with me. Folks, that is pretty sad. Believe me, I own it.
  • Marko posted a pretty hilarious vid to announce the winners.
  • Spent some time playing pool with a local pastor today. It was good therapy for both of us.
  • I just had five people in two minutes follow me on Twitter. Cah-razy.
  • Attended the CORE on Saturday. Good stuff.
  • Still working on my WordPress transition. Hopefully my new look will be ready for you to see next week!
  • It rained again today. I'm not kidding. This time, with tornadoes in the area.
  • Welcome to my newest tweet followers.
  • I'm totally addicted to that new Leona Lewis song, "Bleeding Love."
  • New, huge library just opened down from my house. I may check it out.
  • I haven't been into a library in ages.
  • I just started a Pop Goes the Church discussion group. Should be fun!
  • I'm loving this blog.
  • Ok, dinner and rest calls.

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  • Vapor

    Off-the-Chain Resources

    I enjoy creating a nice, custom graphic. Sometimes I'm nearly crippled by the time, money, or skill limitations to make the investment. In this post, I'd like to share with you some premade graphics that you can use in your organization or ministry that are off-the-chain!

    Here are 15 of the best sites offering free church graphics and resources. I have also included 6 sites that cost money but are worth considering for premade resources.

    Free Church Graphics and Resources


      Offers free church graphics including logos, photos, vector art, projector slides, bulletins, sermon graphics, projector slides, templates, and more. The site also includes a social network for Christian artists.

    • Open

      Offers free sermon series resources that include message outlines, sermon graphics, videos, and more creative materials created by (Edmond, OK).

    • Muddy River Media

      Offers free illustrative videos, motion backgrounds, countdown timers, stock photographs, illustrations, small group resources, and more.

    • NewSpring Ministries

      Offers free sermon series resources (e.g., sermon graphics, audio, message outline, & service outline) as well as administrative forms and manuals created by NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC).

    • Northside Christian Church Creative Resources

      Offers free logos, posters, and other artwork designed by Northside Christian Church (New Albany, IN).

    • Nside Admin

      Offers free administrative documents from North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA) on church government, human resources, accounting, facilities, IT, and Web.

    • Seacoast All Access

      Offers free sermon series resources that include sermon graphics, motion graphics, audio, video, message notes, and small group questions created by Seacoast Church (Mt. Pleasant, SC).

    • Vine Resources

      Offers free sermon series graphics, postcards, countdown videos, and message bumpers created by the college ministry of Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY).

    Free General Graphics and Resources

    • Adobe Exchange

      Offers free downloads to use with Adobe software including brushes, styles, gradients, custom shapes, and patterns for Photoshop.

    • BittBox

      A blog that regularly highlights free Photoshop brushes, Flash components, vector graphics, and more.

    • Brusheezy

      Offers free Photoshop brushes.

    • Flasheezy

      Offers free Flash elements.

    • PS Brushes

      Offers free Photoshop brushes.

    • Smashing Magazine

      A blog that regularly highlights free graphics, fonts, and more.

    • Vecteezy

      Offers free vector graphics.

    Church Resources that Cost Money

    • Creative Pastors

      Sells sermon series resources that include sermon graphics, video, mind maps, outlines, audio, and more created by Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX).

    • North Point Resources

      Sells logos, DVDs, sermon messages, conference messages, and more created by North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA).

    • Outreach

      Sells church graphics that include postcards, banners, bulletins, door hangers, invitations, brochures, logos, signage, and more.

    • The Church Box

      Sells sermon series resources that include sermon graphics, PowerPoint slides, and audio created by Four Corners Community Church (West Chester, OH).


      Sells sermon series resources (e.g., outlines, graphics, videos, audio, & scripts) and administrative resources (e.g., forms, documents, & manuals) created by Granger Community Church (Granger, IN).

    • WorshipHouse Media

      Sells mini-movies, motions, stills, software, and editables for churches.

    (ht to Kent Shaffer)

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    For the Undecided...

    (click on graphic to enlarge)

    What's funny here is that if you are still undecided like me and the other 20-somethings I spoke with this weekend, little things like this could determine this particular election. I don't think we'll ever see another Presidential election quite like this.

    (ht to Bob)

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    Bite Back...

    Today is World Malaria Day. Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in the third world, particularly in parts of africa, where it’s the number one killer of children. The crazy thing about this is that it’s completely preventable. A $10 treated net can protect and eliminate the disease for individuals and families who have them; and simple and affordable treatment is available (if made accessible) to those who do contract the disease. In short: this is a killer we should be able to easily eliminate.

    Some stats:
  • 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide each year.
  • Malaria causes 20 percent of ALL childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 90 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa—nearly 1 million people.
  • Malaria kills 3,000 children each day.

  • Biting back is easy... just $10 will:
  • purchase one insecticide-treated bed net and distribute it to someone who needs it and teach that person how to use it
  • provide education on malaria prevention and control
  • provide treatment of the child’s home with insecticide
  • provide medical treatment if the child becomes infected with malaria

    Click here to visit

    If you'd like to donate a net, click here.

    Learn more about bed nets by clicking here.

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  • Johnny Dease

    My mother called me Wednesday night and broke the news to me that one of my friends, Johnny Dease, was tragically killed this week in a motorcycle accident.

    Johnny and I were best of friends, particularly through our middle school years. He and I spent a lot of time together in school and had a lot of fun.

    It seems like only yesterday we were staying up all night playing video games, board games or watching movies. I'll always remember those times with him.

    I recall the last time I saw him. It had been a few years since we had seen each other, as I was in college, but instantly he was excited to see me and pick up where we left off. It was then that I got to meet his wife and children. He loved them very much.

    Johnny was an incredible friend...a constant friend, loving father and touched the lives of many -including mine.

    After hearing this news it made me stop and really appreciate the friends God has given to me along the way. What a wonderful gift.

    I look forward to the day I get to see you again Johnny.

    To read the obituary,click here.

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    Daily Detox


    "When the worlds of poverty and wealth collide, the resulting powerful fusion can change the world. But that collision rarely happens. I could feel it happening inside of me. One of my punk-rock friends asked me why so many rich people like talking to me, and I said because I'm nice to them. He asked why I was nice to them. I said because I can see myself in them. That gives me a little patience and grace. I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God's image in the other. It's no wonder that the footsteps of Jesus lead from the tax collectors to the lepers. I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end."--Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution

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    Caspian the Cyclops

    Have you seen the advertising for Disney’s new Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian? Movie banners are everywhere, including on the sides of city buses like the one below.

    This pic displays the unfortunate awesome placement of one of the buses reflectors over Prince Caspian’s face. Imagine this evil eye blinking on and off at you as the bus makes a turn. Funny. When you are adapting your artwork it probably pays to look at the mechanical supplied.

    I cannot wait to see this movie. It is in theatres May 16.

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    The Stealer-Sensitive Church

    One weekend in early March, the trailer containing about 75% of Kinetic Church's equipment was stolen; leaving their portable church with virtually nothing.

    Over the past few weeks the church has worked hard to recover from this difficult event. The church has since launched a "church trailer" billboard and web campaign -- with an intentional attempt to make contact with the people who stole their church's stuff but also in a Christ-like effort to forgive.

    This blew me away and I applaud Kinetic Church.

    Click here to visit Kinetic's site.
    Click here to watch the video message to the thief.
    Click here to see the pictures from the billboard campaign.

    (ht to Collide)

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    Daily Detox

    This moved me.

    The message: "Carry on singing..."

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    The Home Planet

    Today, I celebrated Earth Day by enjoying the stunning views of this wonderful world God created during my lunch. I'd encourage you to check out the nice shots from NASA's gallery today in your spare time here.

    NASA has a whole gallery of shots, captured via satellite, from the Great Wall of China to Glaciers in Antarctica. They have also captured some stills with perspective on tragedy, like the smoke plume rising above New York City on September 11, 2001.

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • Its the Manic Monday Minute - straight from the Ark.
  • Just finished a nice prayer meeting with local pastors. I'm amazed at the unity! It is so awesome. Get this... 12 pastors of churches within 5 mile radius of our church meeting for prayer weekly. Is that not the coolest thing!? I hope it swells to more but I pray this happens for each of your communities.
  • I cannot believe its mid April.
  • Switch to WordPress forthcoming. No doubt.
  • It rained again yesterday... and its raining now.
  • Witnessed how freaky our city is at night while hanging out at our church for a little BBQ action. Car chase which culminated in a collision happened right across from our parking lot.
  • Cops told us our neighborhood is gang territory and 7 cars have been stolen within 1-mile radius of our church in the last two weeks.
  • Anyone else ministering in neighborhoods like this? I'd love to chat with you off-blog about your ministry.
  • Played some BBall again yesterday afternoon - yes, again. I trampled my opponents and am still undefeated!
  • Turns out I'm a little more competitive than I thought.
  • Great services yesterday!
  • You must love your church when you get the logo inked on ya.
  • I'm getting double emails now in my inbox.Weird.
  • Shopped for my groceries at Walmart last night. I hate WALMART.
  • Ended up getting a shopping cart with a bad wheel.
  • According to Zak White they are all bad. HA!
  • I only went there because someone had given me a nice gift card.
  • Boyd Bettis called for a protest of my blog today on Twitter after first leaving a comment after this post. How dare he.
  • Welcome to my newest tweet followers.
  • I'm late for an appointment. Shoot.
  • Got an early dinner date.
  • Crawford out!

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  • C'mon People...

    I've gotten a few emails in response to my post on the Day of Silence this Friday. While you were gracious, I think you may have perceived my intent incorrectly.

    (Thankfully no Mr. Annonymous comments thus far...)

    I was only raising awareness about the event and my only rant in the post was about the contract students were being asked to sign - which I felt was a little over the top. With any issue I attempt to find middle ground and respond as Christ would.

    Today I received an email from Jonathan McKee on this very issue who alerted me to his latest post on his blog (albeit different rant). I so appreciated Jonathan's words, research and conversations he had prior to his post. I want to share with you a portion of what he said:
    "It’s probably no secret to some of you that this Friday is the pro-homosexual tolerance Day of Silence. This day brings attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. I’m not going to address the issue of homo-sexuality in this blog. I’ve addressed it before in blogs and articles. In this blog I’m simply addressing our RESPONSE to the world when we don’t like what we see. (and I’m going to highlight an example of how NOT to respond)

    Why do Christians think that picket signs or protesting is the answer?

    Let me ask you one question. Name one person you know that accepted Christ because someone “protested” them into the Kingdom?

    He further made us aware of a way Christians are responding to this event.
    "Well, Christians have created their own day in response to the Day of Silence called The Day of Truth. On Monday, April 28, 2008, some Christians have decided to establish this day to “counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective… The Day of Truth provides an opportunity to publicly exercise our free speech rights.”

    When I saw this I immediately thought of a few conversations I've had with Dan Kimball on the subject. Dan is a Christian speaker and author who believes engaging in homosexual acts is a sin, but shows incredible compassion and love to the homosexual community (He touches on this in our podcast with him, Podcast Episode #12 and in his powerful book, They Like Jesus, But Not the Church). I asked Dan his opinion about this Christian response- The Day of Truth.

    Dan gave me some quick thoughts:

    i think those types of things end up doing more harm than good. i would encourage parents to be talking with their teenagers and youth leaders addressing it wisely in their ministries, but doing a public event at a high school i am not sure is beneficial to the direction of hope.  i would encourage the Christian teenagers to simply be friends with gay students and pro-gay students, and in the context of friendships the message of jesus will come through. I don't know if formalizing a date to do it only reinforces things and we lose our voice." 

    Right on!
    I so agree that whatever the issue we need to be careful of how we handle our responses to issues such as this.

    That reminds me of my post about Christians protesting and petitioning after the Kathy Griffin Hate Speech.

    In the words on Bill Cosby... C'mon people.

    Click here to read Jonathan's full article.

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    Political Fun

    The presidential race is beginning to look a little like this...

    (ht to Marko)

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    Day of Silence

    Yesterday my phone rang and the lady on the other end told me about something she had gotten wind of that is happening in schools across America on next Friday, April 25, 2008. It is a Day of Silence (DOS), part of a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle and tolerance in public schools.

    What I found particularly interesting about what she had to say was that her niece came home from school with a contract and was told to ask her parents to sign the contract allowing her to participate in the full-day of silence at school.

    Insert comic relief here:
    First of all, full-day? Honestly, I don't think I've ever gone a full-day in silence - for anyone.

    After some research here is what I found...
    "The Day of Silence is held by students every year to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) name-calling, bullying and harassment. The senseless tragedy at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, Calif., brings even more meaning to a day that has brought hope to millions of students.

    Hundreds of thousands of students are expected to participate by taking some form of a vow of silence for the entire day or part of it. Their efforts will be supported by hundreds of community-based "Breaking the Silence" events at the end of the day. Together, concerned students will create a powerful call to action in order to prevent future tragedies."
    (from the DOS website)
    Students will be asked to hand out speaking cards during the Day of Silence that read:
    "Silent for Lawrence King: Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment. This year’s DOS is held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15 year-old student who was killed in school because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today."

    While I do agree that homosexual behavior is a sin (in fact, one of many), I think those who commit hate crimes should be punished as violence is not the answer.

    Additionally, I'd like to add that forcing students to sign a contract to observe a full-day of silence is also not the answer and frankly I'm quite disturbed by this. As an alternative I'd encourage a prayer for families of those slain or violated and ask for further conversation to be had on the topic among schools, families and government.

    My agenda for posting this topic is simply to make you, the blog readers, aware of what is taking place in our schools next week. You can respond however you feel led; however, I like to encourage followers of Christ to respond as Christ would.

    After taking a look at the list of schools participating and those not participating, I did see a number of our schools represented in our area that had been removed from the participant list. Are schools in your area on the list? Check the links below.

    For a list of schools participating in the day of silence, click here.

    For a list of schools who have been removed from the participant list click here.

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    Daily Detox

    God wants to come down here. That was the central idea of Rob Bell's message at Willow Creek in November 2002.
    "For many people, entire theological systems are built around us getting out of here. And so many presentations of the gospel are, “Do you wanna know how you can get outta here?” And yet the Scripture is the story not of people going up, the Bible is the story of God coming down. God wants to come down and he wants to take up residence in the midst of his people.

    See, we have whole theological systems built around scaring the hell out of people so they won’t be left behind.

    Maybe you could say it this way (and this is not like either/or): Is the question, “How do I get into heaven” or “How do I get heaven here?” See, you have whole theological systems that are built on, “Some glad morning when this life is o’r, I’ll fly away.” Now what happens - and if that’s your favorite hymn, I’m sorry…kind of - what happens? And obviously we believe that when we die we go into God’s presence in heaven, this is obviously not some sort of denial of heaven, but nevertheless, if your theology is getting out of here, what subtly happens over the years?

    And we need to just be brutally frank about this. What happens over time is this life becomes irrelevant, correct? If our message is “Hey, do you want to join us in getting out of here?” then what happens subtly over time is our message is really about some other places and we really have less & less to say about life now. And we have less & less the kind of eyes to see a whole world right here within this one, right here, right now.

    And so we have to understand that the Bible is the story of a God who wants to come down and wants to inhabit this place, and take up residence in the midst of his people.

    (from Rob Bell's message at Willow Creek)

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    Something a little silly...

    From Jeopardy last night...

    What pastor wrote “The Purpose Driven Life?”

    Female contestant:
    Who is Joel Osteen?

    Now THAT is FUNNY.

    (ht to Josh Griffin)

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    Mr. Annonymous

    Yesterday my phone rang and the guy on the other end was this jokester to the left. That's right... "Mr. Annonymous" (aka Ben Arment).

    Ben called to check and make sure there was no bruising after his attack on me just a few days ago. We chatted about the posts, blogging and Whiteboard among other things. Ben may have bragged on me but he is one standup guy himself. Not only did he esteem me in his recent post but he also gave me a call to further affirm me.

    Ben, I'm honored to know you. Love reading your stuff... and looking forward to your world-class conference, The Whiteboard Sessions.

    To read my Life on Life interview with Arment, click here.
    To register for WiBo, click here.

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    Daily Detox

    "God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house.

    God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives.

    God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.

    God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."

    (ht to Scott Harris)

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