Here is what’s going on at Crossfit Huntsville. 

I’m just glad I worked hard enough to make the video. 


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The Boss

These are the notes I will be using for the Sunday School Lesson tomorrow.  I am doing a four part series on When Work and Family Collide.  I am feeling pretty convicted on this subject right now since I am traveling a lot and missing some of the things going on at home.


Andy Stanley, Northpoint Podcast “Taking Care of Business, Part 1: Meet the Boss”

Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat – Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?. Multnomah Books.  2003.



·         Describe your first job.

·         Describe the worst job you ever had – what made it “that bad”?

·         Describe the best job you ever had – what made it “that good”?

Warm up:

·         How do we view work?  What are the important elements of your “job”?


·         How does God view work?  (Genesis 2:8,15)

o   Work for man was not a product of The Fall.  It existed prior to The Fall.

o   When God had everything perfect, 1st thing he did for man was put him to work.

o   When earth was perfect, mankind (the image of God) was working – as a gardener.

o   God loves it when we work!


We tend to place more emphasis on the “where” and “how much” aspects, while God just wants to see us work – where we are, whatever you do.


Heavy Lifting:


Paul addresses work in his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 3:22-4:1).


·         Who does God address first?  —–Slaves

o   Colossians 3:22 – “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

o   Basically tells the slaves to be the best slave you can possibly be and work as if they are working for the Lord.

·         Who does God address last?  —–Masters

o   Colossians 4:1 – “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven”

o   Basically tells the Masters to be fair and good to their slaves because they too have a Master over them.

·         In between these two, he addresses us.  In reality, aren’t we all somewhere between Masters and Slaves in our jobs?

o   Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart”

§  “Whatever” is significant.  It means what you are doing right now – not your dream job, not when you get to start your own business, not after that promotion you think you deserve, not once I get to leave my job and work in the home raising my kids.

§  We want to raise our hands and ask for a pass – Look at what I do, God?  “All my heart”?  Come on, All I do is ______.  The people above me don’t put their heart into it, why should I? 

o   Colossians 3:23 continued – “As working for the Lord, not for man”

§  What does “working for [the] man” look like?

·         Do as little as you can to get by, unless someone is watching.

·         Appear to be very busy, even if you aren’t.

·         Appear to be indispensible to the company, even if you are not.

·         Take credit for as many ideas as you can.

·         Jockey for position.

·         Look at employer as source of income and source of security.

§  This verse gives us a new standard – Do it as if you were working for God.  You are working for a big Boss in heaven, not for [the] man.

o   Colossians 3:24 – “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward”

§  Paul pulls us into a broader context.  As Christians, you will give an account for every single part of your life to the Lord.  We are rewarded for all parts.  We want to say, “I will put my whole heart into my family, worship, friendships, … but work?  All I do is ______.”

§  God does not compartmentalize!

§  In heaven (when God makes all things perfect again – like it was in Eden) we will have jobs.  We will work.

§  God is interested in our work.  He wants to know who the faithful workers are that can be trusted with greater accountability later on.


·         We focus on what and where

·         God focuses on how and your diligence.

o   Colossians 3:24 continued – “It is the Lord Christ you are serving”

§  Pretty blunt for those that haven’t understood the message yet.

§  We serve Christ in the job market, career, homemaking, WHATEVER.


Cool down:  4 Statements –


1.      Your work has eternal implications even if it appears it doesn’t have any eternal significant.

·         Everything has eternal significant – even though your “product” does determine eternity.

·         If I were a doctor, pastor, missionary, … 

·         God loves to see you work.


2.      How you perform at work is as important as where you work.

·         This should be a very liberating statement.  Is it?

·         We are all focused on the “where” – we all have friends with better jobs, higher paying jobs, … the grass is always greener.

·         God doesn’t mind you asking for a better job, but what about NOW.


3.      How you perform at work is as important as how you behave.

·         Have you ever run into the person at work that prides themselves on the Christianity they display, but at the same time feel like it’s ok to be a slacker.

·         Poor workmanship is never balanced out by good character.

·         “God doesn’t care about the secular world or the market place” – Yes, He does!

4.      Putting your heart into your work allows God to bless your work.

·         God does not bless disobedience.

·         God won’t give you success in areas that you are clearly violating His command.

o   Bless my marriage – Are you following the commands for marriage in the Bible?

o   Bless my finances – Are you stewarding your money according to the principles in the Bible?

o   Bless my family – Are you raising your family according to biblical standards?

o   Bless my work – When you do your job with your whole heart, as if unto the Lord, you make yourself blessable.

·         You can’t got to a job where you give half effort, ask God for something better, and expect Him to respond.

·         Invite God into the areas that you want blessed.  Think you will see a difference in the way you operate in those areas if you truly invite God in?




For one day this week, show up to work and work at it will all your heart, as if working for the Lord.      


Think through what this looks like:

·         When would you arrive?

·         How quickly would you respond?

·         How long is lunch?

·         Where would you go?

·         What does break time look like?

·         etc.


Try it and be ready to discuss it next week.

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Trickle Up Innovation

I have read two really interesting articles about the idea of “Trickle Up Innovation”.  The first article is “How Innovations from Developing Nations Trickle-Up to the West” in Fast Company magazine.  The basic premise of Trickle Up Innovation is ideas are developed, tested, and vetted in developing markets.  Ideas that have a big impact in reducing costs or increasing business will get noticed and implemented back West.  For example, it is much easier to launch a cell phone application in Kenya that allows people to list and search market goods with location maps.  You could never launch this in the US – too many people web shop from their desktops – there is no reason to waste your time doing it on your phone.  In Kenya they bypassed the copper-based land-lines, and their primary means of communications is the mobile phone.  If the mobile phone based purchasing application works, it may make its way back to the US.  Other ideas are being tested in banking, finance, farming, communications, computing, etc. 

Two thoughts:

·         It’s a shame to think that the US is too expensive for new ideas.  I guess our wealth is a double edged sword.  It takes a lot of capital and investment to push the boundaries like we are doing, but once a market is set, like the wireless industry – a $100B industry, it becomes too expensive with too many gatekeepers to play and test new ideas. 

·         It seems like a good symbiotic relationship with the developing nations to test new technologies that will benefit them immediately and morph into something that will enable the West as well.

The second article, The Netbook Effect, is concrete example of Trickle Up. The one laptop per child (OLPC) laptop initiative was a gutsy initiative by Mary Lou Jepson.  Her motivation was to create a laptop cheap enough that the developing world could purchase and use to get connected to the rest of the world.  At $100, the price constraints forced her to be incredible innovative in the design.  Drop the spinning hard drive and go with flash to conserve power, use open source Linux instead of expensive Microsoft, develop an innovative LCD display, choose a slower AMD processor that is much more power efficient.  The laptop manufacturer Quanta teamed with them to produce the end product.  A competitor, Asustek, created an ultra-cheap laptop, similar to the OLPC device, that they thought would be purchased by the rising middle class in China and India.  Shockingly, the majority of the lot were purchased by people in Western countries looking for a smaller laptop that fits in a purse or satchel that can be used to peak at Facebook during the day. 

Two Questions:

·         How many applications do you run a day on your laptop?

·         Have you ever used Google Docs, FotoFlexer, or any other web-based applications?

Two Thoughts:

·         If all that you are doing is blogging and checking Facebook on your laptop, there is no need the horsepower pushed by most laptops.  Why pay 3x the cost for a laptop, when a netbook will do everything you need it to do?

·         The developers of the online applications have the benefit of observing the most used parts of the applications you run on your computer and have made focused web apps that do the same.  How many of you have Photoshop?  Do you use all of the functions available, or do you just use it to adjust the contrast, scale and edit photos?  For what I do, Fotoflexer look to be more than adequate.  I will be trying it over the next couple of weeks to test this.

A tool developed for children in developing nations is reshaping the world computer market. I have played with a OLPC laptop at the STAR-TIDES demo (GATR participates in many STAR-TIDES demos).  Pretty amazing little computer.  I think my next home computer is going to be a netbook.  I can’t justify the price and horsepower just to write blogs, edit photos, buy books on Amazon, and update my status on Facebook.  At home all I need is a wireless connection and a web browser.  I bet that’s all you need as well.


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Bill Gates from TED

Bill Gate’s TED talk this year illuminates one of the big issues with the education system in this country.  This is the only truly socialistic enterprise in the USA and we do it well for the top 20% of the students – which can compete with the top 20% in any country of the world.  The problem is that we do it very poorly for the bottom half.  According to Mr. Gates it’s the quality of teaching that makes the most difference.  Is it possible to raise the quality of teaching in our schools?  I think it is, but it is going to take a big shift in the way we approach, respect, and incentivize teachers.  For the record, I am a huge proponent of public schooling – all three of my children will attend.  Watch the video.  The swarm of mosquitoes and the beginning is also entertaining.  “There’s no reason why only poor people should get the experience.” 

Well done, Mr. Gates. Well done!


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Flickering Pixels – How Technology Shapes Your Faith by Shane Hipps

flickering-pixles-coverI have been following Shane Hipps for the past year after I heard him speak at Q2008. Flickering Pixels is a thought provoking book that fluidly incorporates some key topics from his previous book The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture along with new material from presentations, podcasts, and short articles. Mr. Hipps has distilled the information from his past publications and presentations into a coherent story that makes the reader question the positive and negative effects of technology and media on our personal, social, and spiritual lives. Mr. Hipps’ unique career path, juxtaposing a previous career as an advertising executive with Porsche and a current career as a Mennonite Pastor, gives depth to the message in the book. Both careers spend a lot of time attempting to deliver messages that stick with us. Whether discussing a particular brand from a company or the gospel from the church, most people assume that as long as the integrity of the message is protected, the method of communicating doesn’t matter. Mr. Hipps builds on the message from Marshall McLuhan (The patron saint of Wired Magazine), “The medium is the message”. A quote from Mr. McLuhan bluntly states, “Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how that are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. For the ‘content’ of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind”. The message and the methods are tightly coupled – you can’t change one without affecting the other.

This is an interesting statement from a person that lived before texting, Facebook, American Idol, and mega-churches, but it’s hard to imagine that we are as manipulated by the TV as by the content. The book supports and explains this position by highlighting historical examples. For example, consider the technology of printed text. Mankind originally lived in tribes where anything that was known, was collectively known by the tribe. Stories and history were told and retold in order to keep them alive. Once written text was invented, a single person could transfix thoughts in time and space and there was no longer a need for the tribe. Writing and reading are linear, logical activities that exercise the muscles in the left-hemisphere of the brain. As these muscles got stronger, Western civilization created new economic models, new government models, and new religious models. When civilization got too left-brain strong, they started deconstructing and reducing everything in the name of “efficiency”. The problem with a lopsided, left-brained approach to Christianity is that we tend to make formulas about how to be Christian – “apologize for your sins” + “Believe in Jesus” = “Go to Heaven”. Christianity became a highly individualized place where emotions, feelings, and experience had no place. The church became a million points of light. Dogma (what we believe) won out over ethics (how we behave).

From the fifteenth century to the early nineteenth century, no new communication technologies were created, so Western culture had 400 years mentally feeding strictly from printed text. If Printing had such a profound influence on Western thought over the past five centuries, how is the image-based internet society shaping us today? Since the invention of the photograph and the television our media has changed from primarily text based too primarily image based. Our strong left-brain muscles are atrophying and our right-brained muscles are getting most of the exercise. In many ways the mental-strength pendulum has swung to extreme right-brained. In this new image based society we vote for political candidates based on intuition and appearance rather than reason and analysis of policy positions. We are hostage to brands. We are stuck to the surface and want to be entertained instead of lead to a deeper understanding. Hipps says, “Internet text presents a nonlinear web of interconnected pages and a vast mosaic of hyperlinks with no fundamental beginning, middle, or end. We are immersed in a boundless, endless data space. These are the conditions specially suited to the right-brained.” As a result, our intellects are spread a mile wide and an inch deep. In the church, it is no surprise that we see a growing biblical illiteracy in the electronic age.

We should strive to have equal left and right brained approach to our Christian faith. For example, the left-brain is fed by the Pauline epistles and the right-brain is fed by the parables and examples of Christ. Your whole brain is necessary for a well-rounded faith. To get there, we need to have an understanding of the technologies and media that have and are currently shaping us.

Flickering Pixels explores many other ways that technology and media are shaping our psyche and approach to faith. How do virtual communities affect our ability to relate in real social settings? How does the imbuing of information affect our ability to develop wisdom? How does exposure to the entirety of planetary suffering affect our ability to extend compassion to those close to us? How do the benefits of getting close to those that are far from us, via Facebook and other social network sites, affect the closeness we exhibit to those nearest to us? How have parent-teen relationships changed and what are the implications given that parents are undocumented immigrants and teens are native citizens in the digital world? Mr. Hipps does an excellent job exploring these topics and more in Flickering Pixels.

It seems that mankind has this idea that we create and are the sole influencers on the world. We seldom slow down, take a look back and realize how our own creations are influencing us. Flickering Pixels is not a Luddite’s Handbook bashing technologies, rather it highlights the benefits and discusses the potential harm that can occur if the technology is overextended. I highly recommend reading this book, but if you are not that into books we can message each other about it on my blog or Facebook… lol… :).


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7:15 – The Summary



As many of you know I have been posting a picture every night of whatever I am doing at 7:15PM.  I completely ripped the idea off from a group I heard on NPR one evening in late December (check out the sametime715 link to see how professionals do it).  The reason that the trigger-time was 7:15 is because that is the period after work and before your night schedule sinks in, meaning it’s the best time to get a variety of activities.  If the trigger time was 9:00PM I would have had 31 pictures of me looking at my laptop.  I thought it would be fun to replicate the project for a month for a couple of reasons

·         Learn to use my camera and Photoshop better

·         To actually see what I do every night at 7:15

·         I’m thinking about quitting my job and becoming a full-time artist

Ok, so the last one is a joke (as many of you can tell from the pictures I posted).  I did enjoy the project, but I am glad that it is over.  Here are a random assortment of observations and thoughts spawned from the project.

·         Most of the pictures were taken with my Canon Rebel XSi.  While on travel I used my small Canon Powershot A700.

·         The best way to get to know something is by doing.

·         There is no natural light at 7:15PM in January.  I quickly learned that most of the light in my house is orange.  Orange light mixed with a while colored camera flash ended up with weird lighting.  I learned how to turn the flash off on my camera during pictures (oh, the simple things).

·         I took about 10-20 pictures each night.  About 10% of pictures turned out to be pretty good.  I don’t know if this is average.  Can someone trained in the art answer this?

·         Pictures of inanimate objects are easier to take than pictures of people.

·         I learned a little about Photoshop – how to correct red-eye, how to adjust the white levels, how to make a collage.

·         About half way through the project I wanted to quit.  It started to feel really voyeuristic.  I am someone that loathes reality TV, and here I was producing a picture show about myself.  All that I could think of was “Why would anyone care what my life is like at 7:15?”  Broadcasting my personal life like this was a little awkward.  So, why did you follow this series?

·         I finished because I thought going through the process of deciding what I think is a good picture was worthwhile.

·         My three favorite picture Claire’s God’s eye craft, Dodgeball, and my mouth.  What was your favorite picture?

·         The most awkward photo was the shoes in the stairwell.  A family came entered the stairwell while I was sprawled out on the stairs taking a picture of my shoes.  I exchanged looks with the parents.  Their looks said, “Kids, this is why we should never take the stairwell.” My look said, “Kids, this is why you should never take the stairwell.”

·         At 7:15 I am spending time with my kids, spending time with the Youth at church, spending time with friends, or working.

·         It an interesting way to capture what you were doing for an extended period.  I can tell you about every evening based on the visual cues from the pictures.  The right-brained, holistic method of event capturing was a lot more interesting than a left-brained, linear paragraph about each night at 7:15.

·         It’s hard to take a picture of a bathing cat.

Hopefully I didn’t bore you with my life at 7:15.  I will be getting back to a typical 2-3 posts per week schedule.  I have a few projects at work that I am going to pour myself into over the next month – that involve my camera and Photoshop. 


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7:15 – 1/31/2009


Tonight at 7:15 I was at a wedding reception.  Two good friends from our Sunday School Class exchanged their vows this evening.  This is a photo of Hillary, Melissa, and Jason.  Hillary and Melisa have been trying to get into the 7:15 photo all month.  Amanda and I stayed at the wedding reception for about an hour, then we went and watched two of our Youth perform in a High School production of Urinetown.  I had never seen or heard of this musical.  I have to say, the message was very interesting and actually speaks to the current economic situation.  “Don’t be the bunny!”


This ends the 7:15 series.  Stay tuned for a summary post in the next couple of days…

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