February 2013

We’ve been celebrating Lazy Bum Week around the old blog, where I just put up other people’s content for your enjoyment. But since I normally do this every Thursday, we can officially say I’m no longer lazy, ’cause I’m sticking to the plan. Right? Right. 

Or at least I think so.

The Saddest Map in AmericaFor those of you who have ever fallen in love at the Wal Marts.

Yep, there it is: the result of a scholarly study by Dorothy Gambrell of the “missed connections” section of Craigslist.

Priest Performs Superhero-Themed MassesI think now we know the real reason the Pope is retiring.

He wears a special robe emblazoned with superheroes and he blesses his congregation with holy water from a Super Soaker. With violence all around them, he hopes these unconventional methods will help young people understand and relate to Jesus as a messenger of justice.

What is Love? Originally seen on my friend Michael Kelley’s blog. I dare you to make it through this without crying like a baby. May God help us all to be spouses like this.

It’s Lazy Bum Week around the ol’ blog. I’m laying low and sharing some piled-up content that I’ve been collecting around the web. New stuff comes back next week. Enjoy!

The Top Ten Hacks For Automating Your LifeLove me some Lifehacker.

I Want Wish List: an app to keep track of things you loveI guess you can list this app on the app?

Eerie Portraits of Retired Ventriloquist DummiesSorry you won’t be able to sleep tonight. Or ever.

It’s Lazy Bum Week around the ol’ blog. I’m laying low and sharing some piled-up content that I’ve been collecting around the web. New stuff comes back next week. Enjoy!

Score Sheet to Measure How Terrible You Are On TwitterThis’ll depress you.

The Beards of Ministry: a Field Guide to Pastoral Facial HairOnce again, I’m nowhere to be found on this list.

An Artist’s Progression from 2 Years Old to 25Fascinating. How do you track your own progress?

It’s Lazy Bum Week around the ol’ blog. I’m laying low and sharing some piled-up content that I’ve been collecting around the web. New stuff comes back next week. Enjoy!

Name That Space Rock, A Handy Chart That Explains Meteors and MoreAdmit it. You needed this a couple of weeks ago.

With the recent meteor/meteorite news, illustrator Tim Lillis of Narwhal Creative realized that he was confused about the differences between meteors, meteoroids, comets, and meteorites, so he designed “Name That Space Rock,” a handy chart that explains them all.

3D Doodler: 3D Pen That Lets You Draw Plastic ObjectsRemember kids: only seven more shopping months till my birthday.

3Doodler is a 3D printer pen that makes it possible to “draw” three-dimensional plastic objects. The pen works by heating a thin plastic wire until it is pliable, and then cooling the plastic with a fan after it comes out of the pen tip. The creators of 3Doodler, Peter Dilworth and Max Bogue of WobbleWorks, are raising funds for the project on Kickstarter.

Weatherman Passes Out Live On Air. Seriously, he didn’t sort of expect this?


On Sunday my firstborn will turn 17. Dang. That makes his mama old. Here’s a chunk of a post I wrote four years ago when he hit his teenage years. Hey Jacob…thanks for not making these last four too dramatic.

Happy birthday.

It was thirteen years ago that I held that little chunk of screaming baby in my arms.  Thirteen years ago that I cried because of God’s mercy to us.  Thirteen years ago that I changed my firstborn’s very first diaper and then ducked as he peed all over me.

I find myself revisiting all the things I ever said to parents of the teenagers in my group.  Was I off base?  Did I have a clue what I was talking about?  Was I relying on biblical principles or my own pseudo-knowledge?  Will the things I taught be the things that I turn to now that I’m in those very same trenches?

I find myself looking backwards to the first thirteen years and forwards to the next thirteen. Will he become the man I want him to be?  Will he be a better man than I want him to be? What parts of his character still need to develop?

Read the entire post.

It’s the fourth day of the week, kiddies (or third day if you’re a complete Easter-hating pagan), which means it’s time for T34A, three links that have grabbed my attention and shook it like a can of Redi-Whip. Don’t forget to click on the bold print to see the original source and drive up the other guy’s stats.

What We Church People Can Learn From Cinnamon BreadMy friend Matt Pearson is the master of bringing truth out of the mundane. I’m pretty sure that’s a talent.

What do people who are seeking God get when they come to our churches? What do people who are ‘shopping’ for a church get when the visit our churches? Do they walk in with expectations to be wowed with gracious people who have been overwhelmed by a real and loving God only to leave disappointed and empty? Or do they walk in with huge expectations and leave blown away at how their hopes have been exceeded?

Kentucky Pastor Calls on Tennessee To Return His Venomous SnakesKeep in mind: the pastor is from Kentucky (not my home state). The authorities trying to take the snakes away are from Tennessee (which IS my home state). I’ll thank you to keep your snarky backwoodsy comments to yourself.

Coots said that he could replace the snakes, but the containers holding them were very important. “One means more to me more than a lot of worldly possessions. I’ve had it a long time. The other three, I feel it’s my property,” he explained.

How To Become PopeAdmit it: you’ve always wondered how this works. And now you know.


Saturday morning I was heading through the Starbucks drive through far too early, ordering my requisite Venti Blonde (I don’t care if you order a Tall, Grande, or Venti, you can never, ever order something called a “Blonde” and make it not sound sketchy).

So there I was, waiting on my Large Light Roast (trademark pending), when I glanced over at the tip jar perched on the drive through window sill. Inside the sill till was a single dollar bill, and handwritten on the bill were these words:

“Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? REPENT.”

It was enough to make this Baptist boy toss in a fiver and take the dollar out for change.

It’s not because I don’t believe that Jesus is coming back (I do). It’s not because I don’t think people should be ready (I do). It’s not because I don’t think repentance is an important thing (you guessed it…I do).

It’s because I’m not sure how effective we can be with an illegally scrawled note on US legal tender that’s dumped on an unsuspecting barista. Think about it: that drive through barista may or may not already be a believer. Their exposure to the gospel is summed up by an anonymous note on a buck (which is defacing currency, which is illegal, which makes it evandelism). I’ve met lots of believers and lots of how-I-came-to-Jesus stories, and not one has included the phrase “It all started when I was called to repentance beside a picture of George Washington…”

For the record, I feel the same way about most evangelical tracts, any tract with block lettering and the basic message that Jack-o-Lanterns will send you to hell, 94% of church marquees out there, and “Jesus Loves You” graffiti on an overpass.

I don’t think things like that make Christians look effective, I think it makes us look silly. It doesn’t make us look like people who are ready to engage in relationship, but people who’d rather hide behind anonymity. It doesn’t make us look like we care about intelligent discussion, but rather treasure our pithy one liners that can be encapsulated above the Treasury Secretary’s signature.

How much better if we befriend the barista rather than berate with our buck? How much more effective if we build a relationship rather than do an evangelical hit and run? How much more kingdom impact can be had by engaging rather than evading?

Am I wrong? Maybe. Maybe not. Comment below, or scribble your thoughts on green paper and send them to me.

I prefer the ones that come pre-printed with “100.”

Last weekend I blazed through Nelson Searcy’s new book Connect: How to Double Your Number of VolunteersI’m sure I’ll return to this blog in the weeks to come to more fully unpack some of the content, but there’s one tiny little phrase that’s been rolling around in my brain ever since I read it:

[His] attitude did not match the atmosphere.

Pick whatever context you’d like: a surly waiter in an upscale restaurant. An over-eager worship leader during a subdued worship moment. A berating parent when a child needs care and comfort. Whatever you pick, it’s the attitude that doesn’t go with the atmosphere.

We see it on our guest services teams: depressed, frowning, Eeyore-style faces that don’t match the atmosphere that Jesus is alive and we’re grateful guests have come to hear that truth. Follow up processes that – well – never actually follow up, leaving guests to wonder if the church really wants them involved or not.

Team leaders that see their obligation rather than their opportunity.

Team members that serve not because they get to, but because they’re guilted to.

A church where the attitude is not We’re glad you’re here! but You took my seat!

If the attitude you express doesn’t match the atmosphere you’ve created, then pretty soon those attitudes will create a different kind of atmosphere. And I can guarantee it’ll be one you neither intended or wanted.

There’s talent, and then there’s crazy talented. My friend Ashley Unzicker has and is both.

Ashley is one half of the Unzicker duo. Her husband Todd is a fellow pastor at the Summit, our Campus Pastor here at Brier Creek, and apart from one unauthorized Christmas singalong CD, he has no marketable musical talent that I know of.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you the first ever First Impressions music video, written, shot, performed, and edited by Ashley, and featuring our weekend FI team at our Brier Creek campus. It’s pretty much my life’s work set to a beat. I can retire a happy man now.

(If you have older ears like me and can’t make out all these newfangled rap lyrics, I’ve provided them below.)

To see more of Ashley’s work (including her now-infamous Baptist History Rap), check out her YouTube channel.


When you first pull up it’s a lot

It’s a great big place and a lot of spots

But b b b believe it or not

The sermon starts in the parking lot

You shouldn’t have to figure out by yourself

Where to go, so there’s guys out in orange to help

They’ll show you right where to go

So you’re not standing there like, “derrrr I don’t know”

As you’re walking from the lot on your way

You’re like hey yo, what’s up, hello, heyyyyyyyyy

——It’s the place to be

Check the First Time Guests Tent, there you see?

Fill out a card with your name,

Get a gift, get a smile, and a “Glad you came!”

Now – now you walk right through the door

Where you’re noticed, and welcomed, and greeted, some more

You know it’s been a good day

When you’re treated like this without having to pay Hey

The sermon starts right now

Cause you know that everything speaks

From the way we park cars to the way that we greet And

The sermon starts right now

It doesn’t just start when J.D.’s on the spot

Cause the sermon starts in the parking lot

In the parking lot (left)

In the parking lot (right)

So now you’re inside

Next Steps on your left, worships on your right

You go and get a good look

At some cool t-shirts and JD’s new book What?

you get a worship guide

at the door from somebody who seems real nice

Whoa! It’s a big space in there

Don’t matter… we’ll take you right to your chair

Haha the sermon’s started

JDizzle with the gospel case you haven’t heard it

Jesus came and even knew

He’d live a perfect life and give it up for you

And this we don’t deserve

We want to show this, which is why we come to serve

You might be wondering what you can do

Get up, sign up and come serve here too

Since it’s a bright sunny day outside, I figured it made sense to take us back to a rainy-day post. Because I’m all depressing like that.

There are moments when you know that the pain and heartache of parenting is all worth it: watching your child take his first steps.  Helping them learn to ride a bike without training wheels.  Discovering that they’ve put underwear on the dog.  And snapping a picture of them wearing Target sacks over their shoes so you can later post it on your blog.

Read the entire post here.

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