My friend Brad is visiting from Scottsdale, AZ for a couple of days. It's good to catch up and hang out. Brad and his wife, Noelle recently planted a church in Scottsdale, Arizona called The Life at Scottsdale.
(The pic is for all of you Arizonians on my site - especially for you, Noelle.)
P.S. When Brad gets back everyone ask him about the diaper.
Wednesday, March 31
Tuesday, March 30
WORK IN PROGRESS
Good point, from DJ Chuang's blog:
"this theme echoed several times in the past 24 hours - why not reveal what is happening on the inside while it is in process? Instead of holding back an idea or a plan until it is perfected and done for communication/publicity channels, which keeps the masses in the dark, in an organization or corporation or church, and creates stirs of ignorance + cluelessness, or worse, suspicion or discouragement (b/c the masses see "nothing going on").. rather, reveal what is going on while it is in process, and invite others to participate in the conversation, pitch in their ideas, collaborate, and produce something better than what can be done behind closed doors..." Thanks for bringing up a valid point DJ. I suppose that there are exceptions to this idea, but overall I think it is right on. We sometimes treat information as gold and don't want to share it out of fear or concern that people may challange our "plans". The only problem is that our plans need to be challenged from time to time. I also think that allowing "outsiders" to be a part of this process helps people take ownership of the idea/project even more.
Monday, March 29
SPAGHETTI IN MY MOUTH
I had the weirdest dream last night. I was giving a talk in a workshop about church transition and as I was talking, I was breaking pieces of uncooked spaghetti and shoving them into my mouth. The next thing I know I could hardly talk and I was almost choking to death on the spaghetti. I remember looking over at Amanda and she was looking at me like, "What the world is the matter with you??", yet she didn't really do anything to stop me from shoving the sharp pieces of spaghetti into my mouth.
I finally woke up and was drenched in sweat.
I don't really think the dream had a whole lot of significance, but I would be interested in your interpretation. Bring it on!
Sunday, March 28
This has got to be one of the most moving things I've seen in a very long time. It is a website documenting "Elena's" journey via her motorcycle riding through Cherynobyl.
From her site:
"...a story about town where one can ride with no stoplights, no police, no danger of hit some cage or some dog."
(Thanks Joi Ito for the link)
Saturday, March 27
With security concerns on the rise, here's the latest in keeping that cash well hidden...
(Thanks to Gizmodo for the link...)
TOP TEN THINGS THEY NEVER TAUGHT ME IN DESIGN SCHOOL
Michael McDonough, a New York based architect, wrote an excellent article in The Architect's Newspaper last month.
You can read the article here.
(Thanks Jordon Cooper for the link.)
Earlier in the week I went to court with a friend of mine. It was raining cats and dogs outside when I arrived, so I was happy when I pulled my backseat down and saw an umbrella in the trunk. I quickly jumped out of the car, opened up the trunk and got my umbrella out. As I slammed the trunk closed, I noticed a woman a few cars over getting out of her car with a paper bag over her head, so I ran over to her and invited her to walk with me to the entrance of the courthouse.
It was windy. Before we even approached the door, the wind blew my umbrella inside out and it broke. Angry at either the wind or the poor construction of my umbrella (I'm not sure which), I jammed it into the garbage can outside of the courthouse.
As I entered the courthouse, I was amazed and bothered by one thing in particular – the way people were dressed!
Sweat pants, pajama bottoms, “Phat Farm” pants hanging down to their crotch (sir, you know who you are...), ripped jeans with BIG holes in them. In fact, my friend even saw a guy walking down the hall with NO shirt on! What the heck?
Don’t get me wrong, in no way do I suggest that everyone wear a suit and tie to court (although, I was wearing one so that I could represent my friend well - plus, it made me feel sort of like an attorney…), but give me a freakin’ break – this was over the line.
I never thought I would say this and yes, it proves that I’m getting “old” – but here I go anyway: What are people thinking? They might as well walk up to the judge and belch in their face or flick them off (or “flip” if you’re not from Chicago…) and tell them to screw off.
May I suggest something to fellow court-goers?
At least pretend to care. It (may) help you.
Ok, enough said.
p.s. I don't have anything against "Phat Farm" clothing. Seriously. I browsed their website and they have some cool jeans & t-shirts. Just please wear a belt.
Friday, March 26
BLOOD ORANGE SORBET
I'm enjoying a late night snack of Ciao Bella Blood Orange sorbet. Found it @ Whole Foods a few months ago and have become a fan. They have some great flavors: Coconut, Ginger, Lemon Curd, Strawberry, Caramel, Lychee, Triple Espresso, Zabaione (whatever that is...) and a bunch more.
This is probably one of the best sorbets I've tasted. After browsing around on their website, I found out that they have an actual store in Chicago (1133 W. Fulton Street, 312-455-0032). I'm so there...
P.S. I found out what Zabaione is: zabaione, zabaglione [dzabajone, dzabaone] (n) (m) zabaglione dessert made of egg yolks, sugar and marsala.
Wednesday, March 24
Jake Dobkin has some killer photos of Times Square.
Since we're showing off pics from Times Square, here's one I took a few months ago while visiting NYC...
Man, do I miss that city...!
WISDOM FROM GHANDI?
Interesting quote from Ghandi:
“I do not believe in telling people of one's faith, especially with a view to conversion. Faith must be lived, and when it is, it becomes self-propagating.”
Mohandas K. GandhiThink about that for a minute...
(Thanks Jeremy Olson)
Tuesday, March 23
VELVET LOUNGE CHICAGO
I want to check this place out real bad. Sunday nights are supposed to be some of the best live jazz around.
HOW DO YOU TEACH INSTINCT?
My earlier post today regarding Verizon Wireless, prompted a question by Matt that I think deserves a 1/2 way thought out answer. His question was this:
- "How can you effectively train someone to know when to bend the rules established by the system?
Maybe better asked, how do you teach instinct?"
This is a good question. I honestly think it has to do with a couple of things - starting with the overall "culture" of the company. And I'm not sure you can just "teach" culture. It is more than that. It has to do with the lived out philosophy and values of the company itself (leaders, managers, etc...).
For example, a question that deserves to be asked is, "Does the company truly value customer satisfaction?" Their "mission" statement or "values" may state that they do, but are they truly creating an environment where they are constantly making sure that their customers are satisfied? (...and please understand that I'm not talking about the type of customers who think they "deserve" special treatments or think that they are the "you-know-what.")
If the company truly values quality customer service, then I think that a few things will happen. For one, the company will empower their employees to make decisions based on what is best for both the company and the customer. The employee will then feel more "freedom" to make independent decisions based on their own, personal judgements. This is in contrast to the "stick by the books (rules) no matter what" mindset.
But, in order to have this type of environment and people who don't take advantage of this "freedom", you have to have the right people (as Jim Collins so eloquently puts it) "on the bus". IF the right people are on the bus (and I repeat IF), then they can be trusted, believed in and the last thing that will be a concern is that the employee, manager or whoever will take advantage of the company.
It can't be easy to transform the culture of a large organization like Verizon, but Lou Gerstner sure did a great job at IBM and showed the world that it CAN be done.
What do you think?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE
For the 4th time, my antenna broke off of my Motorola V60 phone. Without an antenna, it doesn't work AT ALL so I made a trip to Verizon Wireless this afternoon, walked in and was greeted by Rico, one of Verizon's "Customer Service" representatives. With a smile on my face, I told Rico that my antenna had broke off AGAIN for the 4th time and that I realized that it was not Verizon's fault, but would like to have it fixed.
After looking over the phone, Rico asked, "Do you put it in your pocket?" I said, "No".
He said, "Well, if you put them in your pocket the antenna will break off."
I replied, "Well then it's a good thing I don't put it in my pocket."
Rico sighed and said, "Yeah, I guess so."
He explained to me that it would cost $12 to fix it.
I kindly asked him if it would be possible to "give me a break" since I've been in several other times to get the same thing fixed and he quickly told me that there was "no way" he could do that.
I explained to him that I pay the monthly "insurance" fee and asked him if that makes a difference. He explained that if I chose to use the "insurance" plan that it would cost me a $35 deductable and they would have to send the phone off. So I told him to forget it and to go ahead and fix it.
About 5 minutes later, a different guy walked out and handed me the phone and said, "Here's your phone. Did they say if there would be a charge?"
I said, "Yes, but I..." and he quickly interrupted me and asked, "Do you have the insurance plan?"
I said, "Yes." and he said, "Well, you deserve a free antenna, especially since you pay that fee every month. Have a nice day."
I pointed to him and said, "YOU DA MAN!"
This is a guy who understands how to satisfy a customer. He took into account that I pay a few dollars per month to be covered by Verizon's insurance and decided to be cool about it and not charge me. On the other hand, "Rico" took no time to ask questions or be helpful. He was more interested in following his "script" than going "above and beyond" the call of duty to make sure that I was satisfied.
What's the difference in the two mindsets? To Rico, this is a job. He probably doesn't like his job much, but has to make a "buck". He needs to remember the ever important word in his title "SERVice" representative - "serve".
To the second guy, this might be a "job", but he must think that it's important, on occassion at least, to understand his customers and if necessary "break the rules" to win them over. And he did.
Thanks Mr. #2 Verizon Rep.
Thank you Rico for nothing.
Saturday, March 20
I feel good. I've spent the last week immersed in research, reading and studying for a message I'm giving tomorrow on the historical life of Jesus. I don't think I've ever researched and studied for a message so intently in my life, but I learned SO MUCH.
Last week we did a video shoot downtown Chicago to go along w/ the message - which turned out REALLY GOOD. I did "man on the street" style interviews asking people, "Who was Jesus?" It was cool. If I can figure out how to upload it to my site, I'll do it. Our team did a great job putting it together.
Now I can go home, relax and sleep for a few hours.
Have a great Sabbath!
Friday, March 19
Took this pic in NYC a few months ago. I have no idea who these people are, but for some reason the shot feels natural and the colors of the subway (kind of greenish/yellow fluorescent lighting) really come through on this one.
In the early 80's the "look" of New York subways were awful. Photographer Bruce Davidson captured some of these images in a series of photographs that were displayed at the Hermes Gallery in NYC for the past couple of months. Here's a sample. When you see these images it's amazing how much cleaner and brighter feeling the subways have become in the city. Good job to Mayor Guiliani who seemed to jump in and clean the city up - and not just the Subways but the crime rate, murder rate, etc...
Wednesday, March 17
"SKIM LATTE & THE NEW NELLY SONG PLEASE!"
Order a latte and browse the latest music titles.
Starbucks continues its effort to remain innovative with their latest idea: partnering w/ HP (Hewlett Packard) and offer music to its customers via their new "Hear Music" coffeehouses. Songs are $.99 cents each and can be purchased at computer "kiosks". Only one of these exists right now, but 2-3 more "Hear Music" Starbucks are planned to open between now and the end of 2004.
Click here for more info.
(Thanks to i am paradox for the link.)
THE WOMEN OF WALMART?
My friend Troy has some interesting thoughts about the latest and greatest idea from Playboy magazine to feature the "Women of Walmart".
NOTE: This is not an endorsement of the magazine - so just keep the comments quiet.
Monday, March 15
Fakeisthenewreal.com has images of the subway systems of the world all presented on the same scale. Madrid & New York City (pictured above) seem to me like the most complicated of them all.
P.S. Also check out Chicago, Mile by Mile. Pretty cool.
WHAT'S YOUR BEEF?
I like beef. Nothing better than a steak from Morton's or Ruth's Chris. My favorite beef cuts: Standing Rib Roast (The Norm Dong Special), Delmonico Steak, Porterhouse and Sirloin.
I never really liked Round Roast and now after observing the diagram below it has been confirmed that I certainly do not care for the Round OR Rump Roast. Nor do I care to participate in the Flank area of the cow. Although Flank is pretty good for fajita's, right?
Sunday, March 14
STING...ALL THIS TIME
This is an album that I never get tired of listening to (it's the 2nd time I've blogged about this CD, that should say something...). It's one of my favorites. It's a live CD recorded on 9/11/01 (which gives the album incredible emotional overtones...). It was recorded in a beautiful courtyard in Tuscany, Italy with a private group of about 200 close friends. The DVD is even better than the CD.
Sting is not only a great performer but also a true musical artist. His blend of jazz, gospel and rock is stunning. The song, "Roxanne", has an incredible jazz break in the middle of it - with a beautiful trombone solo (Clark Gayton). "Moon Over Bourbon Street" is done perfectly with a beautiful jazz sound. It kind of makes you feel like you are sitting in a jazz bar in New Orleans - you can almost smell the smoke in the air.
Great CD - order it here. You won't be disapointed.
Saturday, March 13
LAO SZE CHUAN
WiFi'ing from Starbucks while I await our LARGE order to cook from Lao Sze Chuan - perhaps one of the BEST Szechuan restaurants in Chicago. You can check out the menu here. They have a location in Westmont, which is near where we live. They have 4 locations around Chicago including one in Chinatown on Archer Ave.
Tonight, everyone wants "not spicy" except for me. I'm dying to try the Hot Pot, but that's kind of hard to order "to go". Impossible actually...
On another totally non-related note, the Starbucks that I'm in right now is round and I can actually hear a conversation that is taking place on the other side of the circle as though they are sitting directly in front of me. It's crazy man...
Gotta go - my Pork Stomach with Sour Pickle is probably almost finished cooking. (Just kidding...)
THE END OF THE ROAD FOR A MINI-PINCHER
This morning, Amanda and I were travelling on a local tollway on our way to breakfast. As we were coming down the entrance ramp of the highway, we saw a mini-pincher (dog) trotting happily across the busy expressway. And right before our eyes we saw a van go right over it. It was horrible. We screamed, tensed up, yelled and became very sad.
There was nothing anyone could have done. It was busy Saturday morning traffic and the dog had no chance of making it across the busy expressway.
I could understand a cat doing something like this, but a dog?
Friday, March 12
KOREAN? JAPANESE? CHINESE?
Have you ever thought all Asians look the same? I have friends who think that, but I've always been pretty good at recognizing if someone is from China, Korea or Japan. Maybe it's because of the diversity we have here in Chicago that I can differentiate fairly well. Or perhaps it's because my wife is part Chinese (I'm serious...but I'm sure that has NOTHING to do with it.)
Take a quick test and see how you rate. I scored quite a bit above average.
IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF TIME...
I drink one of these this morning during my commute. It was pretty good until I got towards the end and experienced some chunkage at the bottom.
I'm not even going to begin to guess what it might have been...
Thursday, March 11
TRAGEDY IN SPAIN
On 9/11, nations around the world grieved alongside the United States after the terror attacks. They reached out and shared their love and care toward our country - and it was felt.
I hope we all do the same for Spain. This is a sad and devastating day for this nation. Let's not forget the pain, shock, fear and sadness that we felt on 9/11 and let us somehow express to the people of Spain our sorrow and support.
You are in our prayers.
STEVE MARTIN'S SCRIPT NOTES ON "THE PASSION"
The New Yorker's Back Page features a commentary by Steve Martin which includes the "Studio Script Notes on The Passion."
Check it out here.
Wednesday, March 10
PASSIONATE, BUT NOT FOR MEL'S MOVIE
Brian McLaren posts some interesting thoughts here about The Passion of the Christ movie.
I'm not a big tattoo guy (although, they do look kind of cool on some people...), but should I ever want to look like a "big tattoo guy" this is the perfect answer!
In fact, I might get one of these to wear on a Sunday morning sometime just to freak everyone out. (Especially my mother.)
Click the pic to check out the site.
(Thanks to New Yorkish for the link.)
Monday, March 8
Just finished a very refreshing book, Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations, by Dan Kimball. Dan is the lead pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California.
If you are a pastor who is lacking 20 & 30 something's in your church community, this is a must read. It helps shine some light on as to why there is such an age gap in most of the modern church of America and beyond.
Kimball breaks down the emerging generation into 3 groups:
- This is someone who was raised with a basic understanding of God and comes from a Judeo-Christian worldview. This group may have had some "bad" church experiences and have been drawn to a more relevant worship community (including many of the megachurches across America).
- This is an individual who was born and raised "outside of any church influence" and is now heavily influenced by our postmodern culture and values. When they think of church, it usually means either nothing to them or they dislike the overall idea of the church in general. However - this group is very spiritually minded. (This is a GOOD thing! Great opporunity for those churches who desire to intentionally reach unchurched people!)
- This is someone who grew up in a "modern evangelical church" and left dissatisfied with the way most churches function - "with their emphasis on the big weekend worship service being the "church".
Kimball writes, "A rising percentage of younger people are not drawn to the megachurch philosophy or to the church structures and values that they grew up in (even in smaller churches). They desire to experience a different kind of church and different kind of Christianity than they grew up with."
For me personally, this book has confirmed and challenged much of my thinking in regards to our emerging culture and how/what it is going to take to effectively BE the church. It has energized and excited me. And, it's helped me realize that I'm not too crazy afterall. Ok, maybe a little crazy... You get the point.
Order it here.
Sunday, March 7
NOT YOUR FATHER'S POSTMODERNISM
Andew Jones has something to say about our emerging culture - it's good:
- Take everything you have read about the emerging culture being materialist, nihilistic, relativistic, consumeristic, individualistic, and of having no ethical code or moral standard. Now, invert it. Because the opposite is much closer to the truth. You are now looking at a culture with a deeper code of ethics, greater capacity for spirituality, a desire for less rather than more, a holistic view of following Jesus and a stronger relational commitment to community. That is a real challenge for the church and requires a whole new level of faith, godliness, prayerful reliance on God and an honesty that has been previously absent.
Saturday, March 6
Thursday, March 4
TED JESUS CHRIST GOD
I really hope this is a joke...
Wednesday, March 3
Attention CHICAGO PEOPLE! Friday night we are having The Gathering at Orchard Valley Community Church in Aurora. Begins @ 7:15pm.
For info or directions contact: (AT)orchardvalleyonline(DOT)com or call 630/897.8888.
Hope to see you there.
I took a quick "spiritual types" profile online tonight and found out that I am a "sage". It's quick and is helpful to you regardless of where you may be in your spiritual journey. (Although, I'm not sure how accurate it is, but fun anyway...)
So I'm "sage"... This is what I "discovered" about myself:
- You are a Sage, characterized by a thinking or head spirituality. You value responsibility, logic, and order. Maybe that's why you were voted "Most Dependable" by your high school classmates. Structure and organization are important to you. What would the world be like without you? Chaos, that's what! Your favorite words include should, ought, and be prepared. What makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof it's tradition! tradition! tradition!
Because you love words, written or spoken, you enjoy a good lecture, serious discussions, and theological reflection. Prayer for you usually is verbal. You thrive on activity and gatherings of people, such as study groups. Sages on retreat likely would fill every day with planned activities, leaving little time for silence or solitude.
We need Sages for your clear thinking and orderly ways. You pay attention to details that others overlook. Sages make contributions to education, publishing, and theology. You often are the ones who feel a duty to serve, give, care, and share with the rest of us.
On the other hand, sometimes you seem unfeeling, too intellectual, or dry. Can you say "dogmatic"? You may need to experience the freedom of breaking a rule or two every now and then. God's grace covers Sages too, you know!
(Thanks Kevin for the link.)
Monday, March 1
**If you're looking for info on the ugly baby in the PASSION OF THE CHRIST, scroll down to the 2/26 post**
THE POWER OF SUGGESTION VIA A WEBCAM
So I'm sitting at my desk eating a bowl of Cap'n Crunch cereal and chatting via webcam to a friend in Arizona.
AZFRIEND: "Is that corn cereal?"
ME: "Yes. Cap'n Crunch"
AZFRIEND: "Thank God for Cap'n Crunch"
(5 minutes later...)
(30 minutes later...)
ME: "Where did you go?"
AZFRIEND: "To the grocery store."
ME: "Thank God for Cap'n Crunch"