Testing out Mars Edit

January 31st, 2008

I’ve been using Ecto for all my blogging for quite some time, but Mars Edit just came out with an upgraded version. So, I’m giving it a test run.

The interface is a lot cleaner, and although I haven’t set it up, you can design your own preview template to match your blog in order to properly preview posts. If I can get that to function properly, I’ll probably make the switch.

Update: Got the preview element working appropriately, and it’s pretty cool. Haven’t figured out how to preview with blockquotes and image settings, but so far, I think I like it.

My first experience with pastoral care

January 30th, 2008

I just finished this brief article for our Stephen’s MInistry newsletter and I thought I would share it here. It’s a reflection on my first experience of Pastoral care.

I had received many calls from individuals in the church who needed to talk to my Dad; so many that I could often tell when the call would require my Dad to leave to see someone who had suffered an accident or was experiencing a medical emergency. I sensed the fear in George’s voice that day when he called. Jackie had been rushed to the hospital. She was in critical condition. George was scared, and I was as well.

Dad wasn’t home, and Mom was out of town. He didn’t have a cell phone number to call, and I wasn’t sure when he was going to be home. About the only thing I knew at that moment was that George was scared. His wife was very ill, possibly near death, and nobody was there to help me help George. So I did the only thing my 17 year old mind could think of to do. I left my Dad a note, and I got in my car and drove to the hospital in town that was only a few miles from my house. I had no idea what to expect. I was scared. I didn’t know what to say or do. I knew where I could find George but once I found him, I didn’t know what would come next.

When I arrived at the hospital, George was sitting in the emergency room hallway all alone. He had brought his bible with him and he was reading through the Psalms. When I sat down, he started to share with me the passage from Psalms that he and Jackie had read together that morning. I remember him saying to me again and again, “She’s got to be OK. She’s got to be OK. She’s got to be OK.”

But Jackie wasn’t OK.

Jackie never made it out of ICU. She had suffered a massive stroke, and it was quickly apparent to the doctors that they would not be able to save her. I was sitting there with George when the doctor brought him the news that his wife had passed away. I held him as tight as I could and I cried with him. I cried because I didn’t know what else to do, and even though I knew I couldn’t really understand the depth of the emotion that George was experiencing, my heart hurt because I knew George was hurting too.

It wasn’t too much longer before my Dad showed up to the hospital. I remember feeling a great sense of relief because I knew that Dad would know what to say and what to do. At the same time, I remember thinking that I had in some ways failed because I had said very little at all. I had gone to the hospital to help. As I left the emergency room that night, I couldn’t help but wonder if my presence had made any difference at all.

But it was in this very raw experience of unqualified care that I learned the incredible power of being present in the midst of another’s pain. When we had the chance to talk that evening, my Dad helped me see the gift that I had shared that night. When George called me the next day to thank me for sitting with him and asked me to participate in Jackie’s funeral, I felt a sense of affirmation that maybe my presence had made a difference.

It certainly wasn’t my words. It wasn’t because of any training or skill. I hadn’t been to seminary yet and the call that God had placed my life was still undefined for me at that time. It was simply being present in the midst of another’s pain.

Experiences like that night with George remind me that words are overrated, that in many cases, the greatest gift we offer to one another is the gift of our attention, our empathy, our presence, our time, and even our tears.

Jesus said it this way. “Where two are more gathered, I am there.”

Maybe that’s what makes the gift of our presence so remarkable.

Twitter

January 28th, 2008

I’m not sure I understand exactly the function of Twitter, but I’ve set up an account and I’m currently trying it out. If you would like to “follow me” [weird stalker language] you can find me here or just follow along with the updates on the right sidebar of my blog.

A great night

January 26th, 2008

I wish my emotions weren’t so tied to how Saturday night worship went each week. Some nights when I come home after a night where I felt like the message was a bit off or the attendance was down, I feel way too low. But on nights like tonight, I wonder if I’m going to be able to go to bed because it went so well.

Our music tonight was fantastic, I felt good about the message, and we had a great crowd. We broke 200 for the first time on a regular Saturday night. We’ve had more for “special” events, but with nothing unique on the calendar, this was a first. Our energy was great, and we continue to see a ton of visitors. I’m not sure I’m ever going to get over the ups and downs of each week. I guess I should just be grateful for nights like tonight.

I must admit though…

I’m really starting to think we’ve put something special together.

Why 24 didn’t work in the mid-90’s

January 26th, 2008

Saturday Postcard

January 25th, 2008

In a few weeks, we will be sending out a postcard to our community to advertise our Saturday Night worship service. I’ve been working with Josh Brown of Red Cowboy Designs on this project and I thought I’d share his work. If you’re a church worker looking for a great graphic design company, I highly recommend Josh. If you give him a call, let him know we sent you his way.

If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it.

Sn Postcard-1

Sn Postcardback-1

MLK’s Dream: Where are we?

January 21st, 2008

Great news for fans of the Office

January 21st, 2008

No, the writer’s strike isn’t over, but…

Several sources are reporting that Apple & NBC appear to be patchy up their fractured relationship which led to NBC pulling their content from the iTunes store. A few nights ago, my wife and I were catching up on all the season three shows we had purchased through iTunes. The Office is the only show we’ve bought a season pass for in the past so we have the entire season on the computer. All was going well until we wanted to watch an episode of season four. I checked out Amazon Unbox which had the show but their technology doesn’t work on a Mac. We then ended up watching the show online at NBC which was pretty frustrating. Perhaps NBC & Apple are ready to kiss and makeup? Here’s some hope.

The Financial Times recently interviewed Jeff Zucker of NBC Universal, who gave praise to Apple and Steve Jobs.

“We’ve said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple,” he said. “We’re great fans of Steve Jobs.”

Meanwhile, on Apple’s side, Businessweek got Jobs’ take.

“We’ll put it back together on the TV thing. Everybody lost (when Zucker pulled his content off iTunes). But NBC is a great company, and Apple is a great company,” neither of which make a habit of ignoring their customers’ desires, he said. “Fortunately,” he half-joked, “there was a writers’ strike, so it didn’t matter as much as it might have.”

A new way of engaging the world…

January 18th, 2008

This week, I got an iPhone.

I finally made the plunge and all I can say is that as revolutionary as the iPhone appears to be from a technical standpoint, it has exceeded my expectations (which have been built up for year) in my first week of use. Apple also made news this week with the annual Macworld keynote on Tuesday when Steve Jobs released a few new products including the Macbook Air. Quite honestly, I don’t see the need for the product for myself, but I found several of the components interesting including the multi-touch trackpad.

But what was more intriguing to me (as a Mac owner and recent iPhone purchaser, was the Time Capsule feature and the remote optical drive use. Coupled with that you had the upgrades to the Apple TV which included the ability to rent & purchase movies straight from that set top box. These few features which represent a dramatic increase in activity via wi-fi networks is really interesting to me especially when you consider the advancements made in the Leopard operating system that also show remarkable improvements in terms of file sharing and remote entry.

All this leads to an article I was reading today on 43 folders, which is Merlin Mann’s blog, that I thought had some really intriguing predictions on where Apple is going with all this. If Merlin is even close to the destination, Apple really might be set to take over the world. Here’s an excerpt.

Well, in essence, your Mac Pro, your MacBook Air, your iPhone, your iPods nano and shuffle, and your Apple TV would all become agents for using the stuff you’ve stored on .Mac. Heavy (invisible, background) use of rsync-like diffs-syncing (ala Time Capsule?) will ensure that all your devices have the stuff they need, and in the appropriate size and format; e.g., 720p version of Weekend at Bernie’s 2 goes to the ?TV; more modest size goes to the iPhone, etc. The value and attraction to consumers strikes me as obvious; on the same day, your electronic world becomes ubiquitous, backed-up, and very easy to maintain or access from anyplace.

If this is anywhere near do-able, Apple would be taking the concepts behind Spotlight, Time Machine, iTunes, and Smart Folders to their logical conclusion, creating an environment where Apple sits at the center of all your electronic needs, contextually syncing and serving what you need, when you need it, in a totally seamless fashion.

One more thing and then I’ll bring this very geeky post to an end. I was waiting on the iPhone to see if they released a 3g version on Tuesday. They didn’t. A year ago when Apple released the phone they were criticized for not having a 3g version. A year later, still no 3g, which I find surprising in that Apple using isn’t lagging behind. Now you could make the argument that Apple is new in the mobile phone market and that’s the reason for the delay, but again, anyone who has spent some time with an iPhone knows that Apple gave substantial energy to creating a device world beyond the competition… So why no 3g?

My theory is that it isn’t good enough for Jobs, and rather than simply being content with the current generation of technology, Jobs is seeking to jump ahead. Why isn’t it good enough?

Perhaps 3g isn’t fast enough for the eventual goal: A remote to access your entire digital life anywhere… anytime… We’ll just have to wait and see.

Here’s the link to Merlin’s full post.

Test post

January 16th, 2008

This is my first post from my new iPhone!