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Oct. 31, whatever it is for you...

Happy Halloween! or Good Reformation Day to you. or just a merry autumn afternoon. Whatever you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate).

Links sure to be irrelevant by the time you read this: clipart, candy for the kiddies, cool pumpkins, more cool pumpkins, ways to eat said pumpkins.

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Do you GTD?

Turns out I may be a geek.

A while back David Alexander mentioned reading a little book about getting things done. It was creatively titled, Getting Things Done ["gtd" if you're in]. My interested was piqued. As I rode along the information super-highway that sits on my desktop, I discovered lots of people A)talking about this book and B)talking about nifty little ways to get big done in small time. Basically, now I write stuff on a stack of index cards ('cause they're cheap and fit in my back pocket), have an inbox on my desk, and make to-do lists.

So, I decided I'd read the book. I expect most of it to come down to this formula: write stuff down, have a way to regularly look at what you wrote down, and do those things. But I dropped $15 on B&N hoping I'll discover a little golden nugget or two.

If you'd like a little what I like to call "productive procrastination", here you go: 43folders, 43f-odeo, pastor hacks, lifedev, lifehack, lifehacker... Not all great. Some seem like absolute techno-philes, some seem helpful, some seem... well, it's "productive procrastination."

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Are you talking to me?

Yeah, Luke, I'm talking to you. I'm calling you out. As a die-hard Cubs fan (and baseball fan, in general), I expect you to weigh in on pressing issues of grave importance like this, and this, and this!

That's not to exclude anyone else with opinions; bring 'em.

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Obligation or Privilege?

So I'm sitting in the sanctuary Sunday as they begin to pass the offering plates. As it's moving down the row just behind me I hear the little boy sitting there drop several coins in with the clanky-clank sounds coins make when dropped into little brass plates. Then he's says urgently, "No! Wait! I think I've got some more."

A few seconds pass.


"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." -2 Corinthians 9:7

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Guess what I found today...

There are a couple of things that always stay on my desk (other than the not-so-neat-but-always-organized stacks). I keep some 'office supplies' type stuff; phone, inbox, stapler, tape dispenser. I've got a nice desk lamp and a framed picture of Shannon and me. There are a couple of fun 'me' things, too; a name plate (courtesy of Dan), my Jesus bobble-head (a gift from my brother), and I keep two pennies on my desk. Something else I keep is a small piece of paper with a couple verses on it.

Today, I was processing all the clutter that had collected in the inbox (and had really started taking over the desk) and I uncovered my little Bible verse paper. Something about seeing myself have to dig this out of the pile made me realize part of the reason I've felt overwhelmed lately:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is thy faithfulness.
'The Lord is all I need,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."
-Lamentations 3:22-26

(and yes, it's from lamentations. gosh.)

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A Loud Silence

It's been quiet on this blog for too long. It's because of all the noise in my life right now. So much going on all at once. It's getting better and I've got a couple things to share this week. More soon. But for now, as Colin is apt to say, "Thanks for making us a part of your day!"

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Whachu tawkin' bout, Willis? (er, Seth)

Seth Godin addressed how people talk to groups in this post. As someone who regularly address large groups of people, it caught my attention. Some thoughts (in a random sort of order):

I don't know that speaking to large groups is "broken". I think the ways in which some people approach speaking to large groups is broken.

I've listened to many speeches (some speakers calls them "sermons").

There is an element of emotion in speaking to groups. Does this mean speaking to groups should always stir up emotions? And I don't just mean weepy, touchy-feely emotions, but also passion for a cause or any other range of emotions. Are there times it's just about passing on information?

Speaking to a group really means speaking to a collective group of individuals. It's vital for any speaker to recognize the audience is coming from as many different places/backgrounds as there are people in the audience. And people bring their baggage into whatever arena they are listening/learning. Speakers must craft messages in ways that people can hear new-to-them information and accomodate that with what they already know. That's how people learn; by figuring out how the new info fits with the info they already have. And that means prior misunderstandings, prior misinformation, and existing gaps in 'basic' information have to be addressed or overcome.

Don't just read. Please, don't just read it. That's one of the reasons I learned to read. If it's to be read, just give it to me and let me read it.

Images aid words. And sometimes should altogether replace words.

Again, about the emotion. It's also essential that the speaker be passionate about whatever it is they're talking about. If it doesn't mean any more to you than that, why the heck should I care? (or waste my time listening to something that apparently isn't all that important)

The "linear and unpacable" comment makes A LOT of sense to me. I think it's some kind of AD...

Maybe that's one reason narrative (story-telling) is such an important means of communicating, especially in our sound-bite culture.

Perhaps exploring alternatives to speeching (thanks dp via dan) is worth considering if it's that important to share the message. And for me, the message IS that important.

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You thought I was what?

So last night I was leading worship for our Sunday night youth program. I was playing the guitar and singing, and the group was on board and things were going well. But it was uncomfortably hot. I don't know if it was just the room (others said they were hot, too) or being up front, or what... we'd a few minute earlier played the whole 'tie-a-balloon-to-your-ankle-and-pop-eveybody-elses-but-don't-let-yours-get-popped' game, so maybe it was some of the running around...

Anyway, as I was leading the music, I felt like I was just melting up there. My forehead was sweating, and a bead of sweat ran down the side of my face. At the time, I was a little self conscious about it, but tried not to let it distract me too much.

Well, after everything was finished last night, I was standing around talking to a few people. I mentioned how hot I was earlier and asked if anybody else was uncomfortable. One of the high schoolers said, "Oh, you were sweating. I thought you were really moved by the song and were crying."

Maybe you'd have to have been there, but it was really funny.

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