Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone 4.0: First Thoughts

I was fortunate to get my iPhone 4.0 half a day early thanks to UPS and Apple. I followed the directions from AT&T's email and had no problems activating. It's beautiful, classy and fast compared to my 2 yr old iPhone 3G. I missed the 3GS upgrade in anticipation of this new design.

First Thoughts:
It is PRETTY! It has weight to it, not too much, but it doesn't have the plastic of the previous generation. It looks more like the 1st gen classy. I always thought the 2nd gen design was a little cheap looking. The display clarity is incredible.

It's FAST! Much faster with surfing, booting up, loading and switching from applications. I bought the TomTom navigation app months ago to find it was slow and inaccurate on the 3G. But not any more. GPS pulled up quick and efficient even inside the house.
A few key strokes and all my email was up and running, WiFi passwords restored, and ready to use.

Speakers? I never thing about using the speakers from the phone, and that hasn't changed. It stil sounds like a 1960 transistor radio

Antenna / Signal Strength: This may be a major design flaw. When my hand comes in contact with the antenna band, the signal drops BIG TIME. Bars GO AWAY QUICK? I'm hoping this will be remedied by a case, but direct contact with the antenna is essential for holding the phone without looking and feeling like a dork.

I'm looking forward to the first full day of use. More to come.

Since I switched from 3g, I am digging voice control. Even through bluetooth it's amazing.  Now I know how all those people on the Ford commercials feel. SWEET!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fighting the GPS

Do you ever carry on conversations with your GPS? Mine get rather heated. Just today on the way to Greenville (I WAS very impressed it picked up the road construction and detour information from I-385) we had a minor disagreement that lead to 14 recalculations and me feeling superior to the machine because I got to our destination a whole 2 minutes before she said we would. Take THAT Robyn, or Marilyn or whatever your name is. 
If I knew the way, why did I use the GPS in the first place? I think just for the joy of being right once in my life and being able to rub it into someone's face. Here's how the conversation went.

Garman: in 500 yards turn right
Me: nah I don't think so
Garman: recalculating... in 400 yards make a uturn
Garman: recalculating... in 300 yards turn left and MAKE U UTURN
Garman: recalculating... continue 2 miles and turn right
Me: Yeah, that's what I thought you stupid machine. Booyah!! YOU Finally figured out I'm RIGHT!! I'M ALWAYS RIGHT!!

As you can tell, I don't get to argue very much and when I do, I never win. Thank you Garman Robyn Marilyn for restoring my manhood and yielding to my superior directional skills.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fresh New Things on the Horizon

I am always amazed by God and all He has in store for us. Several things are peaking over the horizon and we are very excited about it. Please be in prayer for us as we seek God's plan and perfect will in EVERY area of our lives. More details later. I PROMISE!!!

OK, now here's the post:

I LOVE Summer, except for the extreme SC heat. I'm kind of a cold weather dude. All this blubber doesn't bode well in 100 degrees 100% humidity, but i do LOVE SUMMER. We get to spend more time with students doing fun and exciting things. Sure, we have "planned" activities and programs, but it's doing life together that makes the biggest difference with me. I learn just as much from the students about culture, struggles, media and trends as they learn about walking with God from us. I started in student ministry in June of 1991 and 19 years later, I am finding out new ways students relate to God and each other. Here's some things I'm LOVING right now.

The resurgence of accountability, transparency, and biblical community.
I've seen a group of college students reach out to graduating seniors with the desire to disciple them in first century church dynamics. They eat meals together, hang out, play ultimate frisbee, feed the homeless, share the gospel conversationally with others, ALL TOGETHER.  With this comes a new desire to understand God through His word and through worship.

Excitement about serving.
We hosted a World Changers project last week at our church. Students during their first week out of school came at 5AM, yes 5AM to help cook, serve and clean up breakfast for 120 student missionaries. Many of them came back everyday at 5PM to help with dinner then joined the missionaries for worship. 

Boldness in the Gospel
Students are sharing conversationally with their friends about God and his perfect plan. They are attempting to put God at the beginning of the discussion instead of the end. Throw out all the canned presentations. This re-awakening of desire in KNOWING God through His word and through worship is playing out in everyday conversations face to face, via text, email, facebook, twitter, you name it.

We are still seeing drama and pettiness in many younger students. Materialism is leading the charge and worldly media has a generation by the throat. Young girls are looking for affection they miss from their fathers and change bff's like underwear. Young guys are trying to carve six packs and build biceps so they can show their lilly white chests every chance they get. Their conversation about girls, parents and freedom are far from Godly. 

The answer,
The older shall lead the younger. Two associational leaders were talking with me the other day about ministry and the downfall of our culture when one of my high school students interrupted us. He asked if I needed help with a middle school movie night. He asked what time I needed him and if he needed to bring anything. It was unsolicited and would have been unsuspected, but so many of our students are moving and impacting the culture towards Godliness. He and 7 others came to the middle school event and played games, fed and watched a movie with younger ones. They were highly esteemed and many seeds were planted.

Eight years ago, we came to our current church with a desire for true biblical community. It's been a long time coming and we are barely scratching the surface, but this young generation is leading the way. I only hope the rest of the folks, younger and OLDER will follow their example.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Organization, Communication, Conflict Resolution

In overlooking the last 19 years of ministry my attention has been drawn to a conversation with a former pastor / mentor. He asked me point blank, "What is your PASSION? What really fires you up, gives you the rush of adrenalin, allowing you to be all God has made you to be?" I didn't even have to think about it. It rolled right through my heart to my brain and through my mouth with no hesitation. Leading worship AND teaching. His challenge for me was exciting and seemingly impossible at the same time. He told me to focus 80% of my ministry time, resources, efforts and attention on those 2 things. The other 20% needed to handle all the "other" stuff that goes along with ministry. You know, organization, planning, putting out fires, trying to keep everyone happy, meeting the expectations of others (not really what he meant but definitely what I took from it). He also encouraged me that I needed to take care of my family, love my wife, and keep the home fires burning. This was 3 years ago. So how am I doing?


I still LOVE leading worship and teaching truth from God's word to students, but I would say the 80/20% rule has completely reversed.

There are several issues I seem to have trouble with over and over again. I'm in the process of learning but I seem to have a long way to go. Organization, Communication, and Conflict. I think these three things can either make or break a minister, namely ME.

Organization - I have the gadgets, the calendars, reminders beeping me for meetings and so on. But what about long term plans, implementing action steps, setting time lines for projects, ahhhhh I'm stressing as I type. I'm NO GOOD at that stuff.

Communication - COME ON PEOPLE!!! READ MY MIND!!! Call me, text me, email me, TALK TO ME!!! oh yeah, about what? I forgot to tell you? oops!! I believe communication falls in the same realm as organization. I stink at it.

Conflict - Why can't we all just get along??!! So what if we're human and our species has been fighting, fussing and killing since the fall of man. We can at least act civilized and biblical in our conversations to each other and take issues to the people we have the issue with instead of passing opinions and frustrations to people who are looking for more to put in their gossip bag. whew!!!
BUT... if I were better at communication and organization, these issues may not even come up. Who am I kidding, I tell students all the time that 90% of drama is of our own making. I'm right there.

So, here's the hump day realization I've come to. I need help, yeah I know I've asked before and ignored it. I'm praying God will help me deal with ME. I want Him to help me surround myself with people who can organize me and help me communicate. I want to talk with good conflict resolvers and get some wisdom and direction on how to handle it, learn from it, and build the kingdom through it. My starting place today is with this blog post. I'm laying a lot out there for interpretation and filtration, but DON'T DO IT!! This is nothing more than the rambling frustrations of a fat bald youth pastor who needed a vent session. Thanks for listening, have a nice day!!