Friday, December 19, 2008

Penn Jillette

My favorite magician / illusionists / pain in the butt recalls a recent interaction with someone who was telling him about Jesus. (HT: Bob Hyatt)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Couple of Weeks With Britekite

OK, it's been a couple of weeks playing with Brightkite. I thinks its a pretty cool and app and from what I can tell it seems to have a strong devo group working on it. If social-networking is in it infancy, then location-based social-network is still in the zygotic stage. Loopt seems to have made big inroads with the iPhone crowd, that they are a selling point in the Apple's new commericials shows which basket they are putting their eggs. Back to Brightkite: a cool app and lots of potential. I like the idea of being able to see not only who is near me at any given time, but also what is happening around me, events and other stuff. The challenge that I see with BK, like all such apps, is the user base. The user base with all such apps will always have resistence from "Digital Immigrants" but will grow exponentially with "digital natives". Right now, BK simply doesn't have a great user base here is Los Angeles. Perahps it will grow, and I'll continue to work with it for a while, but right now I'm not getting too much out of it. In fact, the only comments I've gotten so far is from by Facebook community asking "Dude why are you always telling us where you are?!?!?" For the mean time, I'll take updates off from Twitter and FB.
Note to BK develpment team: keep it up and get the G1 port completed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I've been playing with the website for a week or so now. I'll write a full review next week. They've ported it the iPhone with plans to port to Android (G1) soon. It has a lot of potential, but like all social networking sites it all depends on the # of users to be useful.

Brightkite for the iPhone from Brightkite on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Google's New Phone

T-Mobile G1 Android Walkthrough from Gizmodo on Vimeo.I'm thinking about making the switch.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spam, Bac'n, and email Oh My!

We've all started to get it. Now it has a name. Every day I get a facebook or myspace friend request. Linkedin does it too. These are the notification that you get that you want to read, but not any time soon. They are call Bac'n. When they came once in while, it was not problem, just like a piece of real bacon. Once in a while is not bad, but 4-5 slices a day will soon clog your arteries. The same is true for Bac'n on line. Looks like its time to start another email filter. Here's a related story.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Billy Graham at TED

I watched this today. It was Billy Graham speaking at TED in 1998. All I can say is that I love Billy Graham. Now I must say that I am not found, nor have I ever been, of the giant-event-driven concept of evangelism. It's never been my thing, even though my kids participated in the last Billy Graham Crusade at the Rose Bowl a few years ago.

What I loved about this video was the way in which this elder statesman can enter into a realm that he has very little contact with and talk to a potentially hostile crowd just like he was talking with them over tea sitting on his porch in North Carolina. Simply amazing the way he is able to adapt and speak the gospel in so many places.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wedneday afternoon diversion

Here is a fun time-waster!
This one is my favorite. Look at the dot in the center and move your head forward and back.`

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm In Geek Heaven!

My friend Shawna just sent this to me. There is going to be a nationwide one-day re-release of the 1983 classic movie War Games. I can't begin to tell you how excited this makes me. I was in high school when this came, it was the beginning of the personal computer revolution and Apple still had the lead. I must have seen this movie a dozen times when it first came out. I used to have much of the dialog memorized (I've forgotten most of it by now). I love this moved. I knew a lot of guys who where like the two main geeks in the movie and all of my geek friends lusted after and Imsai computer. But I digress. War Games came out during the height of the Cold War and scared the carp out of a lot of us: it might be that our own wost enemy was us (thanks Pogo). But that is not what I loved about the movie. Sure it is a bit cheesey, but the "geek-kid beats the government system by calling the jaded old-guy to action" was a powerful message to my adolescent mind...and still is today. So, if you have a chance go and see this movie (and try not to laugh too hard at me for loving it!).

Let's play Global Thermonuclear War.
Wouldn't you like a nice game of chess?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Church Attacked!

Another church in Sri Lanka has been attacked by a mob led by Buddhist monks. Pray for the safety and strength of the churches in Sri Lanka. This is not the first time. There has been an on going and systematic persecution of church in Sri Lanka for many years. More pictures are available here.
This post is not done to inflame anger against anyone, but rather is a call to prayer and a fuller living of the Gospel where ever we find ourselves.

New Member on the Blogroll

I've added a new member to my Blogroll. His name is Pete Wilson (no not the former Governor of California!).I've been reading his blog on an off for a while. I first came across it because he posts regularly at Ragamuffinsoul for Creative Chaos. Make sure to check out his blog! It's very stimulating, plus Pete is now the unofficial pastor to Poison!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Creative Chaos 15

Here's my entry for this week of Creative Chaos. It is a flyer I put together for our Motown Worship night. We are taking a bunch of old Motown songs, redoing them ever so slightly, and inviting our community in to hear and have a great time.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Time for a Good Laugh

OK, this is worth it for a good laugh.

Thanks Los!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Common Craft on Social Media

Social Media in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo. This new video from Common Craft is a must see. Many of you have been asking about Twitter and other social networking tools. This video is worth watching to get the idea. (HT: BA).

Creative Chaos 14

Here is my entry for this week's Creative Chaos over at
The first Sunday of each June we call Celebration Sunday. It is a time of reflecting back on and celebrating what God has done in the life of our church: physical and relational healing, salvation, marriages, births, and more. It is also the anniversary of our senior pastor and his wife coming to the church, 24 years this year! A collage artist in our congregation, Kari Bower, creates a collage for this event each year. This year I shot a time lapse video of Kari making the collage.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Creative Chaos

It's been a busy month around here, so I haven't had much time to participate in Creative Chaos at Ragamuffinsoul for a while. But, here is the video we showed for Mothers Day. We posted these online so that our dads could have them printed out and framed for the moms.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Internet and the Computers

The other day I was working on my computer and my internet connection went down. Periodically I have to reset my DSL modem. I don't know if my provider has a time restriction or something, but this happens, only this time it took a while to reconnect. What I found was that my computer was pretty useless. Sure, I could still defrag my hard drive or play solitare, but without my connection to the internet there wasn't a lot I could do with my computer. This is due, in part, to the fact that I blog, I Twitter, I'm on Facebook, and more, not to mention email, online videos, etc. etc. etc. Being disconnected from the internet was an unsettling experience.

In John chapter 15 Jesus gives part of this farewell address to his disciples. Jesus is the master story teller. He consistently framed the truths of God in a fashion that his listeners would understand. He consistently contextualized the message of God for his hearers. That is what he did with the parables. That is what he did with his scripture quotations. That is what he did when he spoke personally to various people. When we spoke to the first disciples he told them he would make them fishers of men, but he did not say that to everyone. He did not tell Zacheous the tax collector that he was going to make him a collector of men. Instead, Jesus' message to him was that he needed to stay with Zacheous and eat at his house.

Hence, my thinking about computers, the internet, and John 15. In this chapter Jesus tells his disciples (his closest friends) that if they(the branches) are not connected to him (the vine) they cannot bear fruit(do anything eternal). In our context it would be safe to say that if we(computers) are connected to Jesus(the internet) then we cannot doing anything beyond the walls of the room we are in. Jesus goes on to say that if we abide in him, stay connected, then we he will abide in us. Furthermore if we are connected to him we are connected to each other. I've really come to love Twitter and other social networking sites. Through Twitter, blogging, and more I have made friends, learned, and grown in ways that I never could have if I was not connected to the internet. Being connected to the internet has allowed me to be connected to others and to learn from them, build friendships with them, be challenged and encouraged by them. The same is true as I have been connected to Jesus. In being connected with Jesus I am also connected with others who are connected to him and that has made all the difference in my life.
I don't want to push this metaphor too far or it will break down. My point here is that being a follower a Jesus, a Christian, member of a church, or whatever descriptor you would like to use, opens us up to a reality greater than we could ever imagine. Being connected to Jesus means, well, being connected to Jesus. But it means more than that. It also means being connected to each other.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Peanut Butter Evangelist

My friend Adam Hartel is a missionary in Norway. Apparently he has been spreading (pun intended) the good news of PB&J sandwiches along with the gospel!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Been Living Under a Rock?

Just in case you have been, there is a great little service called It's great if you want to IM or send someone a link that is way too long to type or might get cut up by your email program. Just go to and paste in the long url and you'll get a tiny one back in return. I've even added a converter on my page here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Creative Chaos

My friend (via blogging) Carlos Whittaker runs a weekly post called Creative Chaos. I thought I'd jump in.
"Where do you find your greatest creative outlet takes place?" was the question this week. For me I find that I need to get away from the hustle of LA life every now and then. One of the places where I go to re-create is at a Benedictine Monastery Called St. Andrew's Abby in Valyermo, CA. I find that getting away and spending a couple of days living the monastic life re-orients me and allows creativity to flow more freely. I find that my writing and my thinking are much more fluid and intense when I've been out in the desert with the brothers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lent Check In

I haven't posted for a while on Lent, but that is not because it has been uneventful. I haven't participated in Lent for quite some time, but felt that this year I needed to. Giving up sugar has not been an easy task, but there is more to it. I have a morning routine which includes getting the kids ready for school, making lunches, and making a pot of coffee, usually Peet's Major D. Having sugarless coffee each morning has been a daily reminder to pray and to open myself to God's presence. I've been praying a lot more during Lent and I've had some seriously challenging time spiritually and relationally. It's not surprising. When we enter into what God calls us to, there is often a struggle, think about Abraham. These are the times that require something different from us. Not more determination, but a greater giving of ourselves to God's working in our lives. Following after Jesus is not an easy thing (yes I know all about Matthew 11:30). It's not supposed to be. But in the end there becomes the possibility for transformation, becoming less entangled in sin. That is where my struggles have been. I've become so much more aware of my sin and how far away I am from what God has created me to be. And that is the point of Lent: to allow God to reveal to us the severity of sin so that we can allow him to transform us and deliver us from the death that is sin to the eternal life that is found in embracing the presence of God with us daily.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Husbands: Want more sex? Do more chores!

The following is from an AP story. You can read the whole thing here.

NEW YORK - American men still don't pull their weight when it comes to housework and child care, but collectively they're not the slackers they used to be. The average dad has gradually been getting better about picking himself up off the sofa and pitching in, according to a new report in which a psychologist suggests the payoff for doing more chores could be more sex.

Free Coffee!

This coming Monday, 3/10, get to Peet's Coffee and get a free 1/2 pound. If you're a decaf person, Peet's is now offering decaf Major Dickason, their signature blend.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Doug Pagitt and Preaching

I just commented at my friend Tim's blog on his review of Preaching Reimagined.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ER, Life, and Atonement

I just jumped into a discussion over at Knightopia. It's about a recent episode of ER where one of the patients struggles with the meaning of forgiveness, works, and grace. It looks like it might turn out to be an interesting one. You can see NBC's 2 minute replay here. I hope the full episode will be online sometime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Star Wars Pretender

My friend Anthony is in this video over at You Tube. He's the guy in the Darth Vader suit.

NEw Rob Bell Video

Rob Bell has a new Nooma video (HT:Emergent Village). It's rather well done. I've not seen too many of the Nooma videos, but I sure do like this one. It us currently available on Facebook for the next couple of days.
As a former hospital chaplain, I can say that he has hit this one on the head. I've had these conversations with many families. It is all too easy to get into platitudes, but to enter into the suffering and pain of the world as Jesus did is our calling.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Maybe it's lust, maybe it's more

Maybe I'm just jones'n for a new piece of tech, but the more I read about the iPhone the more I really want one. I've been a Treo guy for years. I love the crude nature of the Palm OS, but the truth is that it's no longer working for me. As with everyone else, the longer I've had a mobile phone the more I seem to need it to do. As my life has become more mobile, I need a phone that can do more. The trouble: the price. I've never spent much for a phone. Even my current Treo 680 only cost me $75 after rebates (still waiting for that rebate card Costco!). Plus, I always been a PC guy. Sure I ruled on the early

Apple II and II+, but that was Jr. High School. (Heck I even played with a LISA for a while.) I've alway been a bit of a Mac hater because I think that Stephen Jobs is a arrogant SOB, but he does have the chops to back up what he says. He has earned my respect over the years, so the idea of buy in the Apple lifestyle doesn't make me cringe like it used to. I have to see. I don't have $400 burning a whole in pocket at the moment, but maybe soon...

Clutter Butt

The short answer: Yes! Organization is a discipline that I am sorely lacking in. I go through times of letting everything find its own place on the desk to the opposite extreme of wanting my desk to be completely cleaned off. Lent is one of those times for me. It is a time of cleaning of things out of my life that are only clutter, that add nothing positive to my life. May this season of Lent be more than a furry of cleaning followed by a time of entropy!

Yosemite Bound!

Well, it happened again. Today is the opening day for making reservations at Yosemite National Park for the summer months. And, as usual I was unable to secure a camping site! AND as usual my wife got right in. I don't know how it works, but she did it! Now, we only have to have 4 more months of hearing the kids daily ask "Are we going to Yosemite this week?" Oh, the joy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Venus and Mars and St. Valentine

Just heard part of an interview of John Gray, author of the famous Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars book. He has a new one out in which he talks about the differences and complementarity nature of the sexes. One of his main points is that oxitosin, the hormone that signals a woman to give birth and starts her contractions, is a stress reducer in regular circumstances. This hormone is also produced in women through romance. It seems that romance and a romantic partner create in a woman the hormone that reduces stress. Similarly, in a man when he does physical activity, including having sex his body produces testosterone which reduces stress in men. So, all you husbands out there, wine and dine your wife tonight and you reduce the stress for both of you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Made To Stick

Just picked my copy. Very stimulating. I will be posting on it soon.
So many books, so little time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lent: Day 6

I spent the afternoon with my oldest son yesterday. My wife and two young children are out of town. So, after church we had the day of the boys. We finished painting his bedroom, UCLA blue and gold, went to the batting cages, and then saw a movie. It was great pouring time into him. Now that he is 10 he is becoming more of young man all the time. I had lots that I wanted to do, but this day was for him. He loved it and so did I. It brought back a lot of good memories of my dad and I hope built some for him.

During Lent we are reminded that our lives are not simply about ourselves. While few of us would state it that crassly, the truth is that many of us live that way. We see our own desires at paramount and those of others, including our families, as being less important. I am often guilty of this. When the bible says that we are trust in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart, the subtext is that when we follow after Jesus our desires begin to change. As we give of ourselves to others our desire for personal satisfaction changes. It is not that we don't desire satisfaction any longer, but rather that how that personal satisfaction is accomplished changes. When we begin to take pleasure in the joy of others we become transformed and become more like God.

Jesus said two things that are often not connected: He said that he only did what he heard God telling him to do and he said that no greater love has a man than he lay down his life for his friends. The connecting point here is that Jesus calls us to live like him: to listen to and obey God AND to give of ourselves to a broken and hurting world that disparately needs the good news of Jesus.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lent: Day 3

The force of habit is a strong thing. This morning my family was going through our normal routine: get up, get the kids up and dressed for school (socks and shoes too?), make sure everyone eats something (but I'm not hungry), get the lunches made (daddy, I don't like that kind of sandwich), get everyone out the door on time for school. Everything is going normally and I make a pot of coffee (Peet's Major D). Sit down at the computer to check some email. Wow this coffee tastes really good! Then it hits me: out of shear habit I put sugar in my coffee. Oops! A short internal wrestling match later I decide to pour out that sweet nectar of the gods and get another cup sans the sugar. Not as sweet, but this is Peet's so it's still pretty tasty.

It is a gift God gives us in traditions like Lent. They help us to get off autopilot and to become more aware of the moment. They call us to wake up. Jesus kept calling followers to leave behind (repent) their normalized lives that made sense for a life that did not, but that was true living. There are many things in our lives that are not bad or evil or anything negative in and of themselves. Rather, they are clutter and distraction. They demand time of us and lull us into a false sense of peace and security. During this season of Lent I believe that Jesus is calling us to go deeper in being aware of each moment we have with Him and that He is truly the same yesterday, today and forever (ht: to my Foursquare peeps!).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lent: Day 1

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and seeking after God in preparation for the great celebration that is Easter. It is a challenging time. Which sets up this post:
Yesterday, not ten minutes after my initial post the following took place:

  • Phone rings: This John from Citibank, I'm calling because your payment is 5 days over due on your new credit card.
  • Me: What!?!? (In my mind - I thought we canceled that one because we got a better deal on the other one!) OK, I'll send the payment in today.
  • To myself: I can't believe it.. @#$#^$$ I am sure I canceled it. OK, where is the info for this card so I can pay it off an cancel it. (Can't find any paper work on it. Oh great!)
  • 30 minutes of me digging through files, looking through piles of paper on my desk until I realize that I applied for this one online and that it is setup for online statements. (More @##$@% to myself because I don't know what the account number is.)
  • 10 minutes later I find the card in my dresser drawer.
  • OK, now I have the account number, what is the password for the website.
  • 5 minutes of futility in trying to guess what the password is until I click on "Forgot Password?"
  • Jump through the security hoops so that I can log in and make a payment.
  • A bit more @#%&^## to myself.
  • Then I remember, Oh yeah this is Lent. A time where I am supposed to put aside my own desires for control and find God in everything I do.
  • Many more minutes of confessing and asking God's help and forgiveness.

How often is it that I try to do something for God or to grow in devotion to the One who loves me in spite of myself and it turns out this way!

If this is the beginning of my Lent experience I'd better strap myself's going to be a bumpy road!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

40 Days of Lent

I've decided to keep Lent this year. I haven't done it for quite some time, so this should be an interesting journey. I first started celebrating Lent when I was in seminary. My Greek professor was an Orthodox Priest and had a great influence on my spirituality.

The fasting portion of Lent is done to remind the follower of Jesus of his sacrifice. The minor inconveniences that that we endure during this season are daily reminders to pray that the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness and that we are to be a part of living it out where ever we are. Traditionally the money that was not used towards the food was to be given to the poor. The fasting of Lent reminds us that our lives are not simply about our own desires, but rather that we are to give of ourselves as Jesus did: denying our own desires that God's desires for the world would be done through us.

I won't be keeping the Orthodox sun up to sun down fasting. Instead I am going to do without sugar. There is nothing spiritual about going without something, as if sugar where somehow spiritually corrupt. My purpose in doing this is that sugar is in so many of the things I eat and by going without I am constantly reminded throughout my day of season of Lent. I'll be blogging daily over the next forty days as Easter approaches. Leave your comments here on your thoughts of Lent.

Today is "Fat Tuesday" so-called because during the traditional celebration of Lent no fat (read butter, Crisco, etc.) was to be used. Fat Tuesday was the day when all of the fat in the house was to be consumed so as not to waste it. So, for me today will be sugar Tuesday. I will not be taking on some form of Mardi Gras like consuming of sugar, but today will be the last day of consuming sugar until Easter. Oh baby, this ain't gonna be easy!