Organize Series 2.1.5 has galloped in…

I just finished getting the next version of my super duper series plugin for WordPress launched to the wild.  Organize Series 2.1.5 has got some neat stuff in it:

  • New Feature: A bundled plugin called “Organize Series Publisher”.  You don’t have to activate it if you don’t want but it’s there if you want to try it out!  This new add-on for Organize Series is a take-off of the Issues-Manager plugin created by Jonathan Brinley and was sponsored by Amanda Giles who hired me to port Issues-Manager so it works with Organize Series.  Amanda graciously agreed to have this released to all users of Organize Series!  Basically, this add-on allows you to set a series so any posts assigned to it won’t publish until you explicitly publish the whole series.  Read more about it on the Organize Series Plugin Page
  • New Feature: custom base for series permalinks.  Yeah, now you can change ‘series’ to something like ‘myawesomesequenceofposts’…well, you can..
  • New Feature: Added a new function for you power users who want to be able to fully control the output of series data.  get_series_ordered() has joined the party and you can thank Amanda for it too!  With this function you can get series data from the database and manipulate it however you want when it’s returned.  Do the tango with it if you want! Uh…yeah…
  • MAJOR fixes:  As always, the users of Organize Series have been doing a great job of reporting bugs and stuff that doesn’t work and its kept me hopping spraying the raid code.  I managed to knock off some major roaches in the process and I think some of you will be happy with that (I know I am!).  Wanna know what I fixed?  Head on over to the changelog and you can catch up on it.

There’s some other typos and minor stuff that I managed to polish up for this release as well.  As always, I’ve tested things as much as I can but there may have been some nasties that slipped through.  If you spot any, head on over to the support forums and let me know.

Plugin support provided by WordPress HelpCenter.Oh, and one more thing.  I’ve partnered with a company called wphelpcenter.com which is billed as “Your On-Call WordPress experts”.  It’s a great newish service that has a team of cool folks who can help you with all your WordPress needs.  If you have something that you need done with Organize Series “right away!” you can contact wphelpcenter.com (email: help@wphelpcenter.com or phone: 512-788-9236).  If you give them my affiliate code: 14322, I’ll get commission on the help you buy for Organize Series.  It’s a great way to help support the development of Organize Series and get help when I’m not available.   However, I’ll still entertain any custom work you may have, just get in touch with me.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Go try out the new version of Organize Series already!

How I Keep Track of Printed Articles [EverNote Usage]

For nearly 10 years now I’ve been gone through many different systems of organizing and keeping track of the printed material I read (that is magazine articles, photocopies, pamphlets etc.).  I used to just keep the magazines I read in boxes, but then my stash got too big and it would take me forever to find something I remembered reading.  However, this is the system I used for nearly 5 years.

Next, I started keeping only articles I thought were worth keeping and keeping a database/spreadsheet of the articles on my old Palm IIIe.  It was a system that worked quite good for about two years.  I would file the articles in a binder alphabetically and by number (using stick on tabs) and then in the database I’d include keywords and short blurbs from the articles with the article information.  To find articles around a subject I just had to do a search and then I could locate the article in my “article binder”.

Then disaster struck when my Palm PDA died and the backups I had made were all corrupt.  So… I lost my index and the value of my article file plunged.  By then I had discovered WordPress and thought I’d try to keep a private repository of articles online.  Here’s where things got really ridiculous time-wise because I decided that I’d type in (yes, manually type) the articles that I thought were worth keeping.  Needless to say, the backlog of articles I had to enter piled up fairly quickly.  This was mitigated a little bit when I discovered that in many cases I could find the articles online and just copy and paste but there were still a lot of steps involved.  The advantage of this route, of course, is that finding information greatly improved.  This disadvantage was the incredible time investment involved in keeping up with my reading.

Let me just take an aside for a moment.  Why was/am I doing all this?  The main reason is I wanted a way to find and access things I’m reading when I remember them and also be able to properly attribute what I remember.  There have been many times over the years I’ve been in ministry where I’ve been doing some leadership teaching, or preparing a message, or writing an article and I remember something I read in a magazine that would apply and I’ve been able to locate that and use it.  Sure, as the years went by, the internet became a VERY valuable resource for illustrations, quotes, and ideas but to this day, nothing beats  a cultivated, filtered stash of personally reviewed material.

About a year ago I discovered Evernote and all I can say is it is a gift from heaven.  Evernote, has made keeping track of the articles I read (especially print articles) SOOO easy and way less time consuming than any of the other systems I’ve used in the past.  Here’s the new steps for filing articles:

  1. Mark articles/quotes I want to keep in things I read using post-it tabs
  2. Scan and email articles to my custom Evernote email address (I get my Admin Assistant to do that now but even when I did it, it didn’t take long).  I’m fortunate that I can email right from the photocopier at work.  If I didn’t have that ability I would just scan into a folder that you can setup Evernote to automatically read from whenever something is saved to it.
  3. That’s It!

Evernote Logo

Here’s why it works so well.  Evernote is a note capturing utility that you can use to keep track of material from all kinds of resources.  You can manually type notes in, drop files into it, add pictures, drop in screenshots, clip whole websites etc.  One of the cool ways of getting stuff into Evernote is via a custom email address linked to your Evernote account.  Anything you send to that email address gets added to a note.  Now, you can title and tag each note but it’s not even necessary because here’s where the power of Evernote kicks in – text recognition in images.  Yes, that’s right!  When you add pictures/images to your Evernote database all the text is recognized and indexed.  When you do a search for a term or phrase, all the images/text matching the search criteria will be returned!  My only criticism?  I WISH Evernote was around years ago!  Oh, and one more thing – everything you add to your Evernote account can be accessed either on your local machine or via the internet because all your notes are synced to the “cloud”.  So now, even if I don’t have my own computer I can look up the articles I’ve saved AND I can also rest easy knowing there is a built-in backup of all my notes.

{disclaimer: I was NOT paid anything to write about Evernote.  Yes, they are that good.}

Where’s the line on living together?

LineDrawing

Some time ago I wrote a post highlighting an article I had read titled, “Five Non-Religious Arguments for Marriage over Living Together“.  I found it an interesting article because it so often the whole argument for not living together tends to be focused more on a religious or moral basis and the author posted some more practical reasons as well.

This week I received an email from an individual who contacted me after reading this article with a question of their own and I asked and obtained her permission to post her question here.  I’ll post my response later this week but thought I’d check out how some of my readers might respond.  So where would you draw the line?  What’s your response?

I am not asking you to approve of my situation but I wanted to ask you a question as a religious leader out of curiosity. I was wondering if the biblical stance on living together is primarily based on the fear of a sexual relationship out of wedlock or if living with someone and not having sex was also violating religious text?

My fiance and I have been a couple for 9 years and we are waiting to have sex until marriage. We were not planning to live together before marriage but I was abroad for a year as part of my job and had to return suddenly when the friend I was with fell seriously ill in a different country…. she almost died. When she was well enough to travel we returned home. Physically she made a complete recovery but we were both emotionally drained. I had to leave my job abroad and had no income, my fiance and I knew we were going to get married within the year, we had a date set. It didn’t make a lot of sense economically for me to have my own place and living with my parents again wasn’t an option.

Since living together we have maintained our promise to wait for sex. I am not saying our lifestyle is right. It wouldn’t work for everyone but I felt it was the best option for us. We were not putting off marrage, our long relationship is due to the fact that we got together when we were only 16 and wanted to finish school, travel some and develop the maturity to enter into marriage fully aware of the commitment we were making. As I said I am not defending my lifestyle, just trying to explain where I am coming from. So again is there any biblical passage that goes against living together before marriage without sex being the concern?

[Photo from 10ch]

What I tweeted the past week.

  • RT @tonymorganlive ovr 2m businesses & 20m users in ovr 100 countries have adopted Google Apps 4 their workplace: http://bit.ly/4vkqpf #
  • @mayertanuan yup I asked for invite when GoogleWave was first announced waaay back in June. I'm special. in reply to mayertanuan #
  • Off to lunch at the Mandarin. Being treated b/c fo pastor's appreciation month. Nice 🙂 #
  • Yeah that's what I thought when I heard…huh? #
  • Playing outside with my sons – beautiful evening out! #
  • At #wodconf today. Hoping for a great day! #
  • RT @tonymorganlive: Gen Y spends more time on social networks than other online activities like checking email: http://bit.ly/1XSKbJ #
  • RT @FlowerDust: If you don't feel like you're in over your head, you might just be a potato. // wouldn't that be tomato? #
  • Just finished submitting some finished code I wrote for a client. Hope it works well for them! #
  • The wrk I did is some cstm code for #organizeseries – AND the client ok'd it for passing it on to all users – I'll be pushing it out ths wk! #
  • But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded." http://read.ly/2Chr15.7.NLT #
  • But the marshes and swamps will not be purified; they will still b salty. http://read.ly/Ezek47.11.NLT //huh? why wll thy nt be? needs stdy #
  • Remain in me, and I will remain in you. … http://read.ly/John15.4.NLT #
  • When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. http://read.ly/John15.8.NLT #
  • The world's sin is that it refuses to believe in me. http://read.ly/John16.9.NLT #
  • @ScottMagdalein you chose blogger. ugh. Still I like your new site! It's in my reader. #
  • @CircleReader Thanks for the notes on wetlands/marshes/swamps – very useful! in reply to CircleReader #
  • RT @tonymorganlive: How do you raise the value of volunteering? http://bit.ly/PtNh5 // some great stuff! #
  • my wife just informed me we're having chili for supper tonight. I LOVE chili (especially hers). Gonna be a bomblastic night with my fam. #
  • @Jeff_Durante I use Google Talk in reply to Jeff_Durante #
  • @Jeff_Durante We use it in our office for communicating with staff. And yes I like it. Jst a smple IM app that integrates nicely wth Gmail in reply to Jeff_Durante #
  • @Jeff_Durante Another useful thing is you can archive chats in your gmail account (search is the bonus) in reply to Jeff_Durante #
  • Preparing for Sunday's PM message. More is less if God doesn't bless! #
  • @Jeff_Durante and useful in reply to Jeff_Durante #
  • when you refuse to listen to God – nothing on heaven or earth can help you. #
  • There are some people who think they can listen to God AND listen to everything else. It won't work. #fail #
  • When you truly are listening you are PAYING ATTENTION and SHOWING AFFECTION #
  • God will never FORCE you to listen to Him. The choice is yours. #
  • God really WANTS you to listen to Him because He LOVES YOU and wants what's BEST for you. Kind of sounds like me with my kids! #
  • The difference between hearing and listening is measured by what you RETAIN and what you DO #
  • Reflex responses based on past success are nothing compared against the fresh guidance sought from the Spirit of God! #
  • RT @hntchen: RIM lkng 4 wtrloo/lndn area smrtphne users who trck mltiple scial feeds; call 1-800-826-4943 x226, project 9779 if interested #
  • Just finished writing a post on being too sensitive. Includes some questions that will reveal if that's you! Will be out tomorrow. #
  • Gonna do a passover my #organizeseries series of posts and update them to match the current plugin version. #wordpressplugin #
  • hmmm…. wondering if my church #waterlooassembly should have a twitter account. What do you think? #
  • RT @tonymorganlive: "Stdies hve shwn tht the wndrng mind is more likely 2 hve a 'Eureka!' mmnt of clrity & creativity." http://bit.ly/2MW1nx #
  • RT @GeoffMHeeg: No time for complaining, lots of time for causes, turn your complaints into causes! #
  • RT @stephenbaugh: Google Chrome released for Mac http://bit.ly/2727E2 #
  • Looks like I'm joining the ranks of the sick 🙁 Nasty headache and cold. Unfortunately, I can't avail myself of my bed today. #

Sensitivity masking the real problem

In “Reflections of the Psalms” (chapter 2), C.S. Lewis writes:

Did we pretend to be ‘hurt’ in our sensitive and tender feelings (fine natures like ours are so vulnerable) when envy, ungratified vanity, or thwarted self-will was our real problem? Such tactics often succeed. The other parties give in. They give in not because they don’t know what is really wrong with us, but because they have long known it only too well, and that sleeping dog can be roused, that skeleton brought out of its cupboard, only at the cost of imperilling their whole relationship with us. It needs surgery which they know we will never face. And so we win; by cheating. But the unfairness is very deeply felt. Indeed what is commonly called ‘sensitiveness’ is the most powerful engine of domestic tyranny, sometimes a lifelong tyranny. How we should deal with it in others I am not sure, but we should be merciless to its first appearances in ourselves.

As a leader one of the biggest hurdles I experience is dealing with “sensitive” people.  The kind of people that if you say something that needs to be said in the wrong way, or neglect to say or do something that they feel should be done or said they pull out their “wounded” card and go all “woe is me” on you.  Having these kind of people on your team kills productivity and forward momentum.  But that’s not the topic of this post.  No, what about you?  As a leader, are you this person? How do you know?

  • Are you constantly worried about what people will think about you?
  • Do you get jealous when others you know get the raise or recognition you want?
  • Do you secretly gloat when a well-known leader in that big organization down the road fails in some way?
  • Do you mope and pout a lot when you don’t get your way?
  • Do you find it hard to take criticism?  Do you always have an excuse when someone points out an area you need to improve in?
  • Do you think the world is out to get you?
  • Are you peeved when someone doesn’t give you the recognition you feel you deserve?
  • Do you always have an idea for how a leader in authority over you could do things better (and can’t believe no one else agrees!)?
  • Is there a list of wrongs done to you stored away somewhere in your memory that you pull up when someone does something you don’t like?
  • Do you keep a scorecard on how you compare to others on your team or in your organization?
  • Do you keep a tally of the accolades you receive from others not as a source of encouragement but as a cache of ammo to use against others who would dare to challenge your viewpoint, the way you do something, or the choices you make?
  • Are you rarely wrong?
  • When someone you know walks by you without greeting you or looking at you do you immediately assume they have some problem with you?
  • Do you always have to have the last word?

If you answer yes then as Lewis says, be merciless to it!  Root it out.  Get rid of it.  Stop being so dang sensitive!  Otherwise you will suck the life out of what you lead.

What I tweeted the past week.

  • okay, okay I'll go to bed now – you've made your point eyelids. #
  • Watching the attack play against the barrie colts courtesy of my father-in-law http://myloc.me/10vwH #
  • @loswhit that's the way I'd do it. But I also check people's tweets to see if I'd want to follow them and/or block. And yes I block if nccry in reply to loswhit #
  • Sitting down for an awesome #thanksgiving diiner with my wife's family! #
  • My wife and her dad http://pic.gd/196adb #
  • @ScottMagdalein I remember you talking about this at the churchcrunch party. Looks useful – finding good project management tools is hard. in reply to ScottMagdalein #
  • Just discovered that u can tweet verses from the new #blackberry #youversion app! Fantastic! #
  • RT @Jeff_Durante: New blackberry? http://bit.ly/3u3WGw // hmmm #
  • @mayertanuan me me in reply to mayertanuan #
  • Internet is down at work. It's amazing how dependent we've become on it. Is that a bad thing? #
  • @DannoDavis dude u still have your blackberry 🙂 mywpa is accessible using usind it. in reply to DannoDavis #
  • Sickness has hit my family hard. Two daughters with fevers+headaches, wife with migraine, oldest son with back pain and fever. Please pray. #
  • The priests could not continue their service… //how great is God's presence in your life? http://read.ly/2Chr5.14.NLT #
  • For even his brothers didn't believe in him. http://read.ly/John7.5.NLT // huh? even the bros of Jesus didn't believe? wow. #
  • Seth talks about cable news thinking…Is this a picture of your team? -> http://bit.ly/aAgBd #
  • working on my message for Sunday Night – "What God really wants" – big difference between requirement and desire… #
  • Concern with just giving the bare minimum reveals a heart empty of love. #
  • Heading off to the marriage retreat planning meeting. These guys have an awesome retreat planned for 2010! #
  • Okay I'm officially fired up about the marriage retreat in Feb. It's gonna be AWESOME! #
  • Taking advantage of the beautiful weather to do some fall cleanup. Fresh air is good. #
  • RT @RickWarren Jesus won’t turn water to wine in your life,until you run out of your own. He doesn't do miracles for the self-sufficient. #
  • I'm not a fan of early mornings but I am still looking forward to men's breakfast tomorrow. I probably should get to sleep I guess… #
  • Dear legs, please walk me to my bed now. My eyes won't stop reading and my fingers won't stop typing. Thank you. #
  • Great men's breakfast this morning. Praying the youth have a great wknd retreat! #
  • I must be special. I'm still waiting for my googlewave invite. #
  • Looking forward to preaching tomorrow PM. Can't get the message out my head. 'Course that's the way it should be! #
  • Okay the couch just sucked me in for 2 hours. I couldn't get away. #
  • took the kids to the public library. It's a great place for a family outing and with free wifi and multiple computers everyone is happy 😉 #
  • btw, we do get books there too… #
  • @LindaCalArm we watched te video before going last year. Disney was awesome! in reply to LindaCalArm #
  • @mayertanuan can I ask too? in reply to mayertanuan #
  • @GeoffMHeeg not fair! How did you get your invite before me? in reply to GeoffMHeeg #
  • Really LONG but GREAT day. #

Is Anguish missing in the church?

Here’s a video I had passed along to me recently.  It is David Wilkerson giving a “Call to Anguish”.  Most of me resonates with his words but parts of me don’t.  I really agree with the truth that God works through the broken (the anguished).  But is the church as broken as David makes it out to be?  Yes, oh yes, I agree there is a slide to conformity among many churches and a lot of pansy, “cultural” Christians BUT I also see a rising number of churches and Christians turning to the gospel and starting to live out the call of Christ and His work through them in their city and around the world.  Watch the video, tell me what you think – does the call resonate with you?

Catalyst 2009 – Fun Stuff

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Catalyst 2009

Parachute ManOne of the cool things of my Catalyst Experience was all the “fringe” stuff that went on during the two days of the main event.  Everything from a helicopter dropping parachute men, to a live band at the doors, giveaways, some llamas (did I really see llamas?), a chalk artist outside, break-dancers, kids doing some mj moves, white football mayhem, party poppers, free books, twitter on the bigscreen, lanny donoho on leno experiment, “that’ll leave a mark” video shorts, and of course…

Dr. Splash here

and here

Oh, and how could I forget Dude Perfect.  They are using their platform to do great things! These are a group of college guys who do awesome shots with a basketball – witness below: