What I tweeted the past week.

  • "If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame" (Proverbs 18:13) #
  • @perrynoble I will be there (all the way from Canada) looking forward to it! in reply to perrynoble #
  • Sitting at TO airport waiting to catch my flight to Atlanta. I'm so pumped about going to #cat09! AND #churchcrunch bash!! #
  • I lucked out! No one sitting beside me on the plane! #
  • I am famished gotta get something to eat! #
  • Uhh… This "hi-speed" internet isn't really hi-speed… #
  • @human3rror I'm onmw ok if I'm there earlier? in reply to human3rror #
  • About to crash the #churchcrunch party! #
  • Well I'm at the #churchcrunch party. Let the fun begin! #
  • Mmmm… The food here is great! #churchcrunch #
  • #churchcrunch party was da bomb. Was great to meet folks there! #
  • Looking forward to reading the new book by Donald Miller I got tonight at the #churchcrunch party. Thanks @MichaelHyatt #
  • working through my email so it doesn't pile up and then going to bed – getting excited about hearing @perrynoble tomorrow am! #cat09 #

Catalyst Day One – Francis Chan

It's all about Jesus
If you do a cursory check through the various blog posts on Catalyst you will find very little said about Francis Chan‘s session that wrapped up day one of Catalyst.  I find that odd because I found his session to be one of the most powerful of the day.  Although Francis Chan has become a really well known leader because of his book Crazy Love, he didn’t spend the time this session introducing any new stuff or great leadership nuggets.  Instead he lead the Catalyst group (and with his leading you really felt a part of the group) in a time of communion and centering on Christ.  It was simply powerful.  Here are three things that stood out from this time for me.

Francis just radiated joy…

There was no escaping the incredible joy and happiness evident in his speech and his face.   As he shared you could witness one who’s life has been so saturated in the presence of God that it spills out of him.  His joy is contagious.

“Jesus, it’s all about Jesus.”

Sure, it’s been said, and we already know it but there was a Holy Spirit, joy-filled, alive serious powerful humility behind the way Francis Chan said it.  It was good to be reminded after a day of intense teaching and challenging moments that it IS all about Jesus!  We must never forget that everything we do as leaders, everything we say as Christians, everything we believe in, everything we hope for is all about Jesus.

“The presence of the Almighty God is in this room right now, that is so intense. Just stop and think about it.”

As Francis said these words there was a Holy quiet that descended upon the room.  A quiet brought on by the recognition of the one we serve being there amongst us.  It is so easy in big events like this to talk about God, to talk about ministry, to talk about leadership, to even say that we do what we do because of the Father’s call, the Son saving us, and the Holy Spirit’s enabling power but then forget that He is present with us.  I did stop and think about it.  The awe in that moment was palpable.

Catalyst Day One – Rob Bell

Rob Bell was the first catalyst speaker to begin his session by opening in prayer.  I’m not saying that is necessarily a fault of all the other speakers but it WAS something that stood out for me.  It was an invitation for the Holy Spirit to be at work in and through him as he spoke to us and I do believe God answered his prayer.

Here’s a few things that stood out for me:

I was recently talking to a pastor who said he wanted to quit…. So I asked him to draw a pie chart of what he does every week. He had been a pastor for a year and wanted to quit every day…. So I asked if he practiced Sabbath.

Umm  yeah, there was silence in the auditorium after that statement.  Funny thing is, this isn’t the first time it’s been said or asked.  There’s gounds of speakers and writers that have promoted the teaching of the sabbath and yet when Rob asked that question you could still feel the conviction in the room.  I know I make my best effort to take my day off as my day off but lately I’ve been slipping on that.  When you skip the sabbath, then motivation and energy skips you.  Sabbath is important.

Catalyst Day One – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, talked about the danger of overconfidence at his catalyst session.  I found it hard to hear most of his session but there were a few things that stood out for me:

Incompetence irritates me, but overconfidence scares me. Incompetent people rarely have the opportunities to make mistakes that greatly affect things. But overconfident leaders and experts have the dangerous ability to create disaster.

How much disaster could be averted if leader’s didn’t get so overconfident?  A scriptural parallel to this might be King Saul, or even King David and his decision to conduct a census of the number of men able to fight in Israel (disobeying God in the process).

In times of crisis we don’t need bold and daring decision making from our leaders we need bold humility!

Reggie Joiner joined the stage and had two questions for Malcolm.   In his answers, Malcolm revealed that the primary warning sign of overconfidence is when you stop listening to others (incidentally, this reminded me very much of a chapter I read in Andy Stanley’s book, “Principle of the Path” a really good read).  Malcolm also made the statement that when a leader can no longer do everything all by himself, he has to change.  When a leader’s growth reaches a certain point, he has to change. He presented the idea (probably not a new idea but nevertheless) that leadership has to become more collective.

Catalyst Day One – Getting Things Started and Andy Stanley


Well today was the first day of Catalyst.  Since this is my first year there everything is new to me.  And everything was WOW for me.  They really don’t spare any change in making this an unforgettable event.  At least I know now why the tickets are so much…

Anyway, today was a day full of incredible stuff that challenged, some stuff that was controversial and some holy moments too.  When trying to think, of a way to describe what Catalyst has been for me so far this is what I’ve come up with

What catalyst does is mix your mind and your heart together and adds a good helping of holy getupanddosomething

Yeah, that good.

One disappointment with catalyst was the unreliability of the wifi – I was really hoping to blog during the day so I wouldn’t have these late night posting sessions but it looks like I wasn’t alone in this.  Many of the official bloggers of catalyst were unable to get any kind of wifi connection either with both the in house arena wifi and at&t not playing nicely.  Still, blogs are getting written!  If I come across any I’ll post them at the end of each post I make on Catalyst.

Catalyst 2009 – Labs

Take Action!Thanks to a wonderful church family who believe in supporting their pastors in growing as leaders I was able to attend Catalyst 2009 (link takes you to Catalyst Backstage – a great way to follow what’s happening) this year.  I am so grateful – thanks friends!

Today was the day for the “Labs” sessions here at Catalyst.   They are called that because they are more concentrated sessions offered from a wide variety of speakers that you can choose from.   My mind was expanded today and my heart was stretched and I was inspired!  It was amazing.

I took tons of notes but here’s some takeaways that I want to highlight here (by the way, I was really hoping to post during the day but had little success in obtaining wireless access – dang company supplying access to the arena won’t take any of my credit cards {shrug}):

Perry Noble:

Perry was Perry.  I’ve never had a chance to hear him speak in person but let’s just say he has a way of saying things that dive through the veneer of superficiality and into your heart.  Perry spoke on “Four Convictions about Vision” and grabbed it from Acts 26.  Incidentally, I so appreciate Perry because while what everyone else said was good – Perry was the only one who you really got a sense started from the Bible and wrapped his message around it.  A great way to start the day.  Here’s some points:



Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

Ephesians 5:1 (NLT)

Wow, this verse just kind of jumped out today. Why imitate God? Because you are his child. And not just any child – His dear child. A child that is precious to him. Oh, and we’re urged to imitate God in EVERYTHING we do. Why? Because we’re His son or His daughter.

If we keep in mind that the believer is not just named a child a God but is RECEIVED as His DEAR child then it liberates us to be as our FATHER is. We don’t do GOD things because we should – we do GOD things because we want to bring pleasure to our FATHER.

I’ve seen this at work in my own children’s lives. When I treat them as dear to me. When they KNOW they are dear to me – they go out of their way to imitate me, to do what I do. Why? Because they know I love them, they know they’re important to me.

And so, I will imitate my Father.

(image from WaveCult on Flickr)

Unfolding Neurons 4.0

Something Old, Something New

I seem to have a penchant for spending more time on the structure and looks of my blog rather than focusing on writing.  I just never seem to “like” what I put up.  I’m hoping that changes with the latest shell I’m using!

For UnfoldingNeurons.com 4.0 I’m using the excellent theme called, “Arclite” by Digital Nature as the base.  I’ve decided to step away from theme frameworks for a bit.  I’ve spiffied it up a bit with some new plugins, some custom coloring and layout and a brand new logo.

I’ve also come up with a new tagline for my blog, “Darren Ethier and the quest for Clarity”.  Really, clarity is a quest.  I started UnfoldingNeurons.com way back in May of 2006 partly because I wanted to try out this blog thing and mostly because I wanted a place to sort out and “dump” all the stuff I think about – hence the name of the blog.   I haven’t really posted as much as I’d have liked to because somewhere along the way my focus shifted more to developing websites for other great people and organizations and I have done more coding than writing.  Still, the new theme represents what I really want this blog to be about.  Finding clarity in my thinking,  in what I learn, and in what I teach.

What I tweeted the past week.

  • Sorting thru some family photos in the new version of Picasa. It has face recognition – pretty cool! #
  • Reading the book "Leadership Coaching" and prepping for my next coaching training session. #
  • "..Jesus raised his eyes 2 hvn & prayed, "Father, I'm grateful that U have listened 2 me. I know U always do listen…" (Jn 11:41-42; MSG) #
  • Unfoldingneurons.com will be down at 12am tonite. My webhost is moving everything to a new server. I hope everything goes smoothly. #
  • @Jeff_Durante Hi, unfoldingneurons.com is my personal blog. I'm a webdeveloper as a hobby and the Assistant Pastor of http://j.mp/PktNR in reply to Jeff_Durante #
  • @Jeff_Durante Welcome to the K/W area! in reply to Jeff_Durante #
  • My daughters set the table tonite. Awesome job. Even wrapped the utensils in paper towels 🙂 #
  • Really hope I get picked for the GoogleWave beta tomorrow… #
  • @human3rror toshiba in reply to human3rror #
  • gonna push to get the new theme designed for my blog tonite. Doubt I'll finish, but I'll try! #
  • Looks like I didn't get any of the first round Google Wave invites. Did u get one? Please invite me? #

What I tweeted the past week.

  • I'm doing a user study at RIM today shh… #
  • New app coming from RIM that is looking pretty good. No guessing… #
  • http://twitpic.com/iku3p – This is not the app I'm talking about #
  • So I tested a new #blackberry app today at #RIM. NDA keeps me from saying what it is. Let's just say I want it now. #
  • oh. my. goodness. I haven't stopped responding too or composing emails for the last 30-40minutes non-stop (just got a break for this tweet) #
  • re: last tweet: Not complaining, just feeling my fingers cramp up… #
  • At concert of prayer – my favorite time of the week (next to Sunday)! #
  • Working on getting a mobile version of my church website done. #
  • Well the first release of the mobile version of waterlooassembly.org is up. Try it out – use the same address on your mobile. Critique 🙂 #
  • Dear #Rogers cable. Please don't offer email support if you are not going to read the email. Evidence? Your reply. #
  • RT @timastevens: Beeson: "Pastors-If you don't text, tweet or blog…maybe you should quit your job, cause that's the world we live in." #