What I tweeted the past week.

  • RT @JayneWarrilow: The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time – Abraham Lincoln //thank goodness for that! #
  • RePost: What I tweeted the past week. http://bit.ly/5KlNvY #
  • The lion has roared—  so who isn't frightened?The Sovereign Lord has spoken—  so who can refuse to proclaim his … http://read.ly/Amos3.8.NLT #
  • Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. http://read.ly/1Tim6.6.NLT #
  • But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plu… http://read.ly/1Tim6.9.NLT #
  • RePost: Church and “Socialnomics” – some questions http://bit.ly/5PjiPc #
  • @human3rror churchmesh.com churchmuse.com churchswrl.com churcheikon.com churchflow.com #mediablogideas in reply to human3rror #
  • Just got rid of the washer and dryer that's been sitting in my garage for a year. #finallygettingthingsdone #
  • My church is doing an awesome thing for university/college students this Christmas ~~> http://impactwaterloo.org #
  • With four kids its amazing how many times you ask, "who tooted?" #
  • This is a trustworthy saying:If we die with him,  we will also live with him. http://read.ly/2Tim2.11.NLT #
  • If we are unfaithful,  he remains faithful,  for he cannot deny who he is. http://read.ly/2Tim2.13.NLT #
  • Again I say, don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. http://read.ly/2Tim2.23.NLT #
  • was falling asleep in my office… a change of scenery helps (I moved downstairs to the church foyer). much gratitude for wifi! #
  • RT @GeoffMHeeg: Do we care more about our comfort than we do about our character? // good question #
  • I just generated my #TweetCloud out of a year of my tweets. Top three words: church, blog, time – http://w33.us/1zjv #

Church and “Socialnomics” – some questions

Apparently this video that I’m about to show you has been around for a bit – but in case you haven’t seen it I’m posting it here.  Basically this video does a good job of presenting the case that new social media online wave is more than a fad.  It’s interesting to see how important social media is becoming to businesses and organizations and yet I wonder if it’s something churches are getting yet?  Here’s some other questions I have:

  • How much of this social media wave applies to the Canadian context?
  • Let’s get more specific, how much of this applies to the Canadian church context?  My preliminary observation is that for the most part Canadian churches aren’t getting on board the social media bandwagon as quick as their American counterparts.  Is this a valid observation?
  • Does it matter?  I think, yes.  Why?  The social cloud presents a new “mission field” for us to enter into.  This really raises the question of how much the church “gets” this mission field or just sees it as another “threat” to the status quo.  To me, it’s a mission field.
  • How prepared is the church (or any organization for that matter) to engage with this new medium of communication?  With that comes the question of how much investment (primarily of time)  is required to be prepared?  Are we making that investment?

Lot’s of questions, and still working through some possible answers. Still, I’m convinced that the church (and specifically the Canadian church) needs to be considering what their presence in the social media is going to be.  We’re working through exploring that at WPA (my church) right now.  Do you have some answers to these questions?  What are your thoughts?

Here’s the vid:

Oh, and thanks to Kem Meyer for inspiring this post.

What I tweeted the past week.

  • For the nxt 2 days I'm at a leadership coaching retreat. Looking forwrd to the intense learning experience to wrap up the crse I've bn tking #
  • Just got my topify invite. Looking forward to trying it out. #
  • RePost: What I tweeted the past week. http://bit.ly/3JqLws #
  • hey I'm part of the beta group who get to try out the new rewteet feature @ twitter.com! Interesting… #
  • currently working on a plan for if I'm taken out of action at my church. Hope it never gets used! Does your organization do this? #
  • One thing I don't like about Twitter's new retweet feature: you can't add anything before tweeting it. #
  • #ccbchurch has got some really neat stuff coming in the next release! It feels like things are starting to catch up to the web3.0 world. #
  • @CCBChurch would really like to see an .ical feed for "My Calendar" in the app. It is THE most requested feature from our users. #
  • Google adds automatic captioning to YouTube videos. As a hearing-impaired person – YAY! -> http://bit.ly/2pLuDQ #
  • Great bunch of social media vids collected by John Saddington ~~> http://bit.ly/8LHWFi – I wanna keep these in mind… #
  • I'm not very convinced that the new Google Chrome OS is going to be gamechanging. Novel, yes. Apple-esque revolution? No. #

What I tweeted the past week.

  • RePost: What I tweeted the past week. http://bit.ly/2hPbaX #
  • The way to overcome a clinging private sin is to voluntarily remove the veil of secrecy surrounding it. // powerful quote! #
  • watching "canada's worst driver 5" // it cracks me up! #
  • gonna be meeting with my men's ministry catalyst team in about 20 minutes! #
  • WPA Men's Ministry Catalyst team meeting went great! Some exciting things in the works! (I'm impatient though). #
  • Preparing message for achievers lunch. I'm going to be speaking on "Leaving a Legacy" #
  • I'm reminded once again why keeping semon prep soaked in prayer is so important! I'd never think up this stuff on my own! #
  • RePost: A Question on Alcohol http://bit.ly/w0UBJ #
  • have you taken a moment today to remember those who have given their lives for your freedom? #
  • going offline to focus on doing some writing for the next couple hours #
  • alright, back online – finished the sermon I'm speaking tomorrow to our achievers (55+) #
  • RePost: I Choose to Honour http://bit.ly/1FtKw7 #
  • RePost: On Failure http://bit.ly/3TSUFU #
  • just finished cleaning out our dishwasher from all the hard water deposits. I hate that job! Hope it works well for my wife now. #
  • Attended a fundraiser for vohzimbabwe.org – was really neat connecting with old friends again. http://myloc.me/1vxSa #

On Failure

Day 222 (Or is this Day 1 now?) - Oops!
One of the things I’ve observed of organizations (including the church) is that growing and accomplishing things involves taking risk.  Taking risks will inevitably at some point result in failure.  You can’t take risks without accepting the reality that some risk-taking results in falling short of expectations, or missing what you are aiming for.

The good news is that failure doesn’t have to mean the end of risk-taking or the end of your organization.  What you do when you fail matters.  Here’s four quick things I’ve noticed successful organizations do when failing.

1. Transparency in Communication

Successful organizations don’t try to hide their failures when they happen. Successful organizations will begin communicating with their participants as soon as the failure happens and keep communicating through the process of finding a solution.  By being as transparent as possible it contributes to maintaining trust and forward momentum.

Failing will inevitably erode some trust in your organization but in the long run, clear communication and transparency about that failure will add trust because your participants/users know you won’t hide things and keep them informed when they go wrong.  People are smart.  They know that failure happens sometimes, they know that mistakes get made and nothing is perfect.  They also eventually find out when you aren’t being honest or forthright about any fails.

2. Take Ownership

Transparency in communication is one thing but it is oh so tempting to minimize how your organization appears when things fail and try to find someone or something else to blame.  Resist the temptation and take ownership for the failures on your risk.  When you take ownership you are communicating, “Hey, we know we messed up here and we’re not going to try to shirk our responsibility, yes we messed up but we’re also going to do everything we can to fix things”.  When the participants/users of your organization hear you say something like this it can lead to confidence instead of uncertainty.

One caveat:  Don’t make promises you can’t keep!  Don’t say that you’ll have this fixed right away if you still haven’t got a handle on how big of a fix you’re dealing with.  Don’t promise that everything will be the same as it was before if you don’t know what changes you’ll have to make to prevent this failure happening again.

3. Learn the lesson.

It goes without saying,  failure can be a good thing if you learn from it!  What questions are your organization asking after you fail?  What things are you putting in place so the same thing doesn’t happen again?  What does the failure reveal about the changes you need to make?

Now that you’ve learned the lesson and are applying what you’ve learned, communicate it to the participants/users of your organization.  Of course you don’t have to give them all the details but focus on the things that will indicate that you have indeed learned from the failure and that the changes you are putting in place are a good thing.

Sometimes the best thing about taking risks is that when you fail you still end up better than you were before you took the risk! (If you’ve learned from the fail)

4. Plan on No-Repeats

If you are learning from the failure then you’re well on your way to making sure it doesn’t repeat again.  Still it is worth the extra effort to make sure you don’t fail in that particular way, or in that specific area gain.  Does this mean that you take no more risks?  No, but it does mean that you won’t do things that will lead to the same fail.  Repeating the same failure results in way more damage than anything the first failure could have brought and shows that you really didn’t learn anything the first time (even if you think you did).

So there you have it.  The right way to deal with failure: Transparency in Communication, Taking Responsibility, Learn the Lesson,  and Plan for No Repeats.  What do you think of these observations?

[Creative Commons License photo credit: ktpupp]

I Choose to Honour

Well today is Remembrance Day.  War is a terrible thing – certainly there’s reason to argue against the taking up of weapons and nations going to battle.  The cumulative damage that war has brought to our world over history is incredible.  War is certainly the greatest testament to the terrible influence sin has had on man.

Yet, there are also times where battles are necessary – to fight against evil that would seek to tear apart justice and plunge the world into chaos.  Remembrance Day is all about remembering not only the calamity of war but honouring those who battled (and are still battling) and putting their own lives on the line to keep evil from winning.  Today, I choose to recognize and honour those who fight for us.  I choose to honour the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in that fight, because they too have paid a price so that we could know freedom.  To the men and women in the good fight – I salute you, and I thank you!

A Question on Alcohol

The Church Of Hank Williams
Recently I received an email from someone in our church wondering whether my church had an official stance on drinking alcohol.  I thought I’d post my reply here – well, it’s not the exact reply but you’ll get the gist.

As far as I’m aware there is no “official” (i.e. documented) policy or guideline on drinking here at WPA. However, unofficially the general position is that consuming alcoholic beverages (especially among church leadership) is not a good thing. The reasoning behind this is because of so much negative practice and outcomes associated with alcohol and its abuse. A quick search on google will reveal much of these in terms of statistics etc. We recognize that the abuse of alcohol is a tool the enemy uses to destroy lives. Scripture has much to say against the abuse of alcohol and as an example you can see 1 Timothy 3:1:3, 1 Timothy 3:8 which gives the instructions against leaders being given to “drunkenness” or heavy drinkers.

Then there is also the point some will point to regarding the issue of “causing someone to stumble” by their drinking. Paul writes about this in 1 Corinthians 8 when talking about the question whether its okay for Christians to eat food that had been offered to idols. He says in particular in vs 9-13 that although there is a freedom to eat any food that for some with a weak conscience it may cause them to stumble (i.e. either miss the message of the gospel, or turn away from Christ) if they see another follower of Christ eating that food. Paul says specifically, in vs 13, “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall”. I believe this is a principle that is transferable to the subject of drinking alcohol. There is no scripture in the Bible that condemns drinking alcohol (but plenty of scripture against drunkenness or the abuse of alcohol) so really for there to be a doctrinal statement against drinking alcohol is unnecessary. Really, I believe the choice of drinking alcohol is an individual one. HOWEVER, for Christians, the principle of 1 Corinthians 8:13 holds true: “If my drinking alcohol will cause another to sin then I will abstain from it.”

Personally, I have chosen to abstain from alcohol because of a verse that I’ve internalized that’s found in 2 Timothy 2:19-21 (NIV),

19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”s/p>

20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use.21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

Alcohol itself isn’t evil but in our society in particular, alcohol has been instrumental in so much evil that has taken place that to me drinking it could make me a “cheap utensil”. I want to be ready for my Master to use me for every good work so in good conscience I have made the choice to abstain from it.  Would I apply this verse to everyone who chooses to drink alcohol?  Not necessarily, but it is an application I will readily make to myself.

What’s your take?

[Creative Commons License photo credit: Cayusa]

What I tweeted the past week.

  • RePost: What I tweeted the past week. http://bit.ly/3RKXFQ #
  • I'm hacking like a person who chain smokes 50 packs a day… dang cold! #
  • "Whoever asks questions will never get lost." – Senegalese Proverb // yeah, but doesn't who you get your answers from matter? #
  • @CircleReader yeah and not the best of quotes to use in a book on leadership coaching (although I do know whr the author is heading wth it) in reply to CircleReader #
  • 2 oftn, we're sitting around watiing for God 2 do something 4 us, and meanwhile God isn't dng it because His objective is to do it with us. #
  • @CircleReader Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus in reply to CircleReader #
  • @CircleReader almost done it now. It's a really good book. Lot's of transformational stuff in it. in reply to CircleReader #
  • okay, i must be losing it – I've got, "we all live in a yellow submarine" going through my head right now… #
  • RePost: Organize Series 2.1.6 http://bit.ly/1gkwnG #
  • chest is hurting today – thought the bug was out of my system but its baaacckk 🙁 #
  • RePost: Some Google Fu – Getting searches to work for you. http://bit.ly/2lmPhI #
  • Just got my googlewave invite – finally! #
  • How to Be Appealing on Twitter « Bit Rebels http://bit.ly/6ZAkR // Great article with some tips on using twitter. #
  • Just watching some videos of the great work the Bantseev family are doing in Siberia – http://bit.ly/2v3TO0 and http://bit.ly/5f1aG #
  • @ScottMagdalein thanx for the wave invite…I've got something to share with you about that but not for public…can't dm u can u follow me? #
  • RePost: the last word http://bit.ly/hWHUJ #
  • someone please tell me it's NOT snowing outside. I'm seeing white stuff. #
  • @GeoffMHeeg I'm just not ready for the white stuff yet. in reply to GeoffMHeeg #
  • Google Dashboard – neat overview of how much google owns you – http://bit.ly/Eypd #
  • Just had an awesome visit with our missionary friends from zimbabwe – http://vohzimbabwe.com #
  • Today was such a great day! But I'm sooo tired. #

the last word

Zzyzx Road along the I-15 in California

[photo from slworking2]

Do you ever want to get the last word in?  Come on now, be honest!  You’re on your way out the door and you quickly say “good bye” or “see ya later” as you close the door.  Or if you’re on the other side you’ll shout out “yeah, see ya!” as the door closes.

Or how about that uncomfortable silence when you know a conversation is drawing to a close and both of you can’t quite decide how to end it.  Finally one of you blurts out, “well, I guess I should get going now” and the conversation quickens to a series of monosyllables as you “close off” the conversation- each of you trying to squeeze in that final parting word.

Maybe this urge to have the last word comes from a compulsion to have the last say in the topic.  As if in some way, by speaking last you leave the greatest impression.  Or maybe it is simply a secret claim to superiority – the triumph of getting that final word in demonstrates that whatever has been discussed, argued, communicated or bartered has been mastered by your verbal “cap” at the end.

Watching this take place in blog comments or forums is kind of funny sometimes.  No matter what the topic, if it’s controversial enough, you might just get lucky to witness the battle of the last word between the commenteers* (*yes a new word) – and are probably joining in yourself.

Here’s a thought.  Is the battle really worth it?  Does getting that last good bye, or “see ya later”, or some other semi-thought out last response to the response of a response related to the response to what that other person said or wrote – matter?  Maybe, sometimes.  But then, sometimes we just want to get in the last word because we want to appear more wise, or be right, or just be noticed.

This then is a clue to what may be more important – not that you have the last word but that you have a lasting word.  You won’t be known as much for the last words you leave as you are for the lasting words you make:  critique or encouragement, helpful advice or damaging folly, directing questions or confusing accusations.  So what are you known for?  Having the last word, or leaving a word that lasts?

Some Google Fu – Getting searches to work for you.


[image from macten]

Knowing how to find things is a good skill to have in this information based society.  Knowing how to find things fast is even better.  There is a world of information at our fingertips but knowing how to access it quickly is a valuable skill.  Why?  Because there’s so MUCH information that you can easily waste hours of time looking for something.

Occasionally, not always, but every now and then someone will email me or ask me a question that they’ve been trying to find the answer to and I’ll flip open my laptop, fire off a few keywords to Google and come back with the answer.  Nifty.  But what BLOWS ME AWAY is how often I’ll get, “WOW, that was fast!” Ummm…yeah, how slow were you expecting it to be?  Which makes me wonder, does this person know how fast finding out stuff can be? Or are they still stuck in analog?

So I decided I’d write a quick article with a list of a few tips I’ve picked up a long the way for using our favorite neighborhood information finder to get what you’re looking for without wasting a lot of time.

1. Try the dump first, then refine.

Whenever I’m looking for something I always put as many words to describe it in the search box as possible.  Why?  Because I don’t have time to read through billions of pages!  Always remember that the more keywords you enter in that search box, the fewer results you’ll get – and the more likely the result you are looking for will show up.

Now, sometimes I’ll have too many words in my initial query and I’ll get too few results returned.  That’s okay, then it’s time to start refining by removing the less important words from my initial dump.  Keep doing this until you find what you need.

Nine times out of ten I’ll find what I’m looking for using this simple method.  Far too often, people start with fewer words and then work up to more.  Don’t do it.  Finding results that way will nearly always take longer than doing it the other way around.  Dump, then refine.

2. “Quotes” are your friend.

Whenever you put quotes around a phrase in the search box you are telling Google to only look for results with that exact phrase.  This is an incredible time saver when you are looking for quotes from a particular author or information on a specific item.  Google has gotten smarter at figuring out phrases from word dumps but I find that putting those phrases in quotes nearly always speeds up your finding the results you need in your search session.

3. Get to know the special sauce

One of the ways of refining search is by using various search operators (the “special sauce”).  To be honest I use these rarely because Google’s search engine is so good at finding what I want.  But on the times that I do use the special sauce its just another way narrowing down the results.  Wanna know what the special sauce is?  Check out the Google Cheat Sheet and the “Advanced Operators Reference

4. Dress appropriately when needed

I’m still surprised that some people don’t know the unique things you can do with the Google search bar that, although isn’t readily apparent, is a great way of getting specialized information.  Depending on how you “dress up” your query you can discover everything from the current weather in a city to answering math problems, getting sports scores, doing unit conversion, and all sorts of stuff.  And the best thing?  What you need will be right there with the results list, you won’t have to click through to another site.  For more on how to dress up, see “Explore Google Search

5. Put up a “do not cross” sign.

Oh and this is such an important thing to remember. Set a limit on how many pages of results you’ll check.  As a rule of thumb, for hard to find/rare types of queries I will maybe look through 5 pages of results before refining my query and that’s ONLY if the first page turns up at least one helpful result.  For “should be easy to find” types of queries I will only look on the first page of results – any more pages and my query probably isn’t specific enough.

Why do this?  If you don’t, you’ll always go to the next page believing that there will be a nugget buried there that you’ll miss if you don’t check.  Listen to me.  It’s NEVER there!  Don’t waste time – put up a “do not cross” sign and if you come to it, then it’s time for a new query.

Hopefully these tips help improve the quality of your searches and decrease the time it takes you to find what you are looking for!