Find a common thread to tie unrelated jobs to your career plans. (via @Lifehacker) This article was the impetus for Monday’s post, Don’t Waste Your Day Job. If you’re working a job that’s not necessarily your dream, you need to read this:

Whether you worked retail, then helped a friend start a corner store, and delivered pizza at night, and now you’re going in for an office job, you can highlight how retail helped you learn to work with difficult people, how building that store from scratch got you familiar with the pace and stress of a fledgling, startup business, and how delivering pizzas at night taught you a thing or two about dedication and off-hours work.

 

How to set up your desk: an introduction. (via @MattPerman) God bless the What’s Best Next guy. Matt makes me feel better about being obsessed over stuff like this. Fellow org nerds, unite.

I don’t want to say here that there is only one right way to set up your desk. There are some pretty tricky situations given the setups that are often thrust upon us, such as odd-shaped cubicles or, if we have an office, uncooperative room layouts. And personal preference also plays a huge role as well.

The problem I found, though, is that these factors lead many to give the advice of “just do what works for you.” Which really gives no guidance at all. The result, I found, was that I had to think about my desk a lot more than I wanted.

 

Guy covers “All By Myself” during an insanely long layover. (via @22words) This will make you rethink your next night alone at the airport.

 

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We’re entering into another week of shopping for a new car for our oldest son, and by “new” I mean “What can we afford if we try to sell his old car that gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago and then combine that sale price with the change in the cup holder of said car plus a booklet of coupons for free Frostys at Wendy’s” and by “we” I mean “my wife finds semi-questionable possibilities on craigslist and Jacob and I roam the countryside looking at said purchases.”

I know. I know. I know the first thing that just came to your mind: “Why would you shop craigslist when there are so many reputable used car dealerships in the Raleigh-Durham metroplex?” I will answer your question with a question: Do you know the difference between an individual seller on craigslist and a used car salesman? One is a scammer and a serial killer who will make your spleen into a hood ornament, and the other is an individual seller on craigslist.

Yes, I recognize the danger of buying anything off of craiglist. I’m pretty sure on Saturday I walked into a Honduran chop shop of ill repute. I looked at a vehicle yesterday which could possibly have been featured on CSI RDU (“Hey, do those blood stains come standard?”). I have thought about the very real possibility that I may not come back from one of these car shopping excursions, in which case we won’t need that extra car, in which case win win.

But y’all, craigslist transactions are so much fun. Here’s how it generally works: my wife finds “one that might actually work” on craigslist. She forwards me said item to my email inbox, which currently consists of about eight real emails and about 4,212 “ones that might actually work.” Some of those listings are from cars that currently reside in Oregon, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that my wife and I are bonding with each other through the beautiful world of online vehicle commerce and l love getting the “ding” that notifies me of another “one that might actually work” from the love of my life.

(At least until last night, when Craig sent her a very terse notice that she had exceeded her allowable forwards and would have to cease and desist. Craig, if you’re reading this, your fifty bucks is on the way. Nudge nudge. Wink wink.)

So anyway, the emails come to me, and Jacob and I begin reading through the cars to weed out the ones that are simply not a good fit for him. Some of them have NEW OXY SNSRs! Some are in VRY GoOD COND! Some need to have a REBILT TRANNIE! Of course, those are the ones I delete immediately, because I have no idea what those things mean. My typical qualifications for a car: Does is have tires? Is there an engine somewhere in the general vicinity? Will the windows roll down when I go through the drive through at Chick-fil-A, or do I need to perform the maneuver where I pull just past the drive through, then crack my door open and bang it against the side of the building while I reach my arm and my money through the very small crack to get my #7 combo with extra pickles?

But then there are those that might actually be a “one that might actually work.” Usually these are all sold by one guy named Vince that DON’T WANT YOU TO WASTE HIS TIME. (i.e., CALL VINCE at (9)one9INE five5FIve [f0ur]t33n62% DON’T WASTE MY TIME KEEP YOUR LO-BALL OFFERS) So I spend roughly 67 minutes deciphering Vinnie’s secret CIA codes and call him, just to find out that he might have sold it B/C ANOTHER GUY IS BRINGING ME THE MONEY TUESDAY BUT I HAVE OTHER OFFERS ON MY LOT COME SEE ME AND CHECK OUT MY INVENTORY.

(Spoiler alert: some people on craigslist are unsavory characters that pretend to be an individual seller, when in reality they have cheated the system and actually run their own unlicensed car dealership in the back yard of a friend of a cousin. “I ALSO DO TAXES HIT ME UP.”)

Approximately one out of every 154 phone calls / text messages / emails translates into an actual on-site visit to check out a car. And by “on site” I mean “every Food Lion anywhere in the Triangle.” Apparently the contractual agreement for selling a car on craigslist has a stipulation that you have to meet in a Food Lion parking lot or no deal. So Jacob and I drive to Food Lion to meet up with someone who is equally afraid we’re going to kill them and drive off in their 2003 Toyota Corolla with mp3 player (dont wrk but u cld take it 2 a mechanical shop n they can fix it). And I run through my checklist: tires? Engine in general vicinity? (“Yeah man. It’s here in the trunk.”) Working windows?

And then Jacob and I look at each other, making that slight and subtle eye contact, communicating statements from our soul that only a father and son understand: “We have no idea what we’re doing.” So we thank the seller, tell him or her that we’ll be in touch / keep it in mind / have others that we’re looking at today / thank you for not murdering us and storing us in your basement freezer, and get in the car and squeal out of the Food Lion lot.

So the search continues. Week three of the craigslist car search carries on. And the tension / drama / very real possibility of death by exhaustion mounts. But even in this dark cloud, there is a silver lining: Vinnie said he could get me more money on last year’s tax return.

You know the drill, campers: Thursday is lazy day. I cut and paste, you humor me and pretend I did some work.

 

Easter Was Not Enough… Expectation Shapes Experience 51 Other Sundays(via @thebryanrose, HT @robertvadams) Don’t pull a bait & switch: you dressed up for company last week, do it again this week. And the next…and the next…

This anticipation of guests every Easter causes us to see our systems and facilities with outside eyes, and respond appropriately. Just like we would at home, we straighten up “for company” and plan to make a great impression. Every Easter, we are more diligent because we know that “they” are coming. And one of two messages is communicated by our guest’s experience…

 

They’re Your Words, Choose Them(via @ThisIsSethsBlog) Seth Godin = genius as usual.

There’s no legal requirement that signs have to make you sound like a harsh jerk in order to carry weight or to inform the public.

 

DHL Pulls Trojan Package Prank on Other Shipping Companies(via @PremiumFunny) Well now this is just evil. And hilarious.

Ten Big Reasons Easter Giveaways Are Unwise(via @JaredCWilson) I guess this blows our Keurig giveaway out of the water.

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Every year some churches seek to outdo themselves — and their local competition — by luring unbelievers (and I suppose interested believers) to their Easter service(s) with the promise of big shows and in some cases big giveaways. One guy in Texas made national news for giving away new cars. Another church has dropped prize-filled Easter eggs out of helicopters to gathered crowds below. Local churches with more modest budgets sometimes promise door prizes like iPods or iPads or gift certificates to local restaurants.

 

This NY Restaurant Takes Facebook Stalking to a New Level(via @GrubStreet, HT @jwickersham) What say you? Amazingly personalized service or creepy over the top in-your-faceness?

At 3:30 p.m., in the back office of Eleven Madison Park, maître d’ Justin Roller is Googling the names of every guest who will come in that night. “I’m looking for chef’s whites and wine glasses,”  he says. A shot of a guest wearing whites means a chef is probably coming to dinner. Wine glasses signify a potential sommelier (or at least a wine geek). This is just the beginning. If, for example, Roller discovers it’s a couple’s anniversary, he’ll then try to figure outwhich anniversary. If it’s a birthday, he’ll welcome a guest, as they walk in the door, with a “Happy Birthday.” (Or, if it seems to Roller that a guest prefers to keep a low profile, “I’ll let them introduce themselves to me,” he says.) Even small details are useful: “If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together.”

 

Mousetrap Chain Reaction in Slow Motion(via @GavinFree) My wife would pay good money to have these guys bring those traps to our house.

 

I mentioned yesterday that April 1st (April Fool’s Day, here in these United States) is my favorite day on the Internet. That’s why I’m presenting you with top three pranks I saw out there. No foolin’.

MEGroups(via @MidtownColumbia) My friends down at Midtown Fellowship took a strikingly similar path as our socialMEdia™ Small Groups. No, we didn’t collaborate. We didn’t swap notes. But we should have. Oh, we should have. Their video is epic.

MeGroups from Midtown Fellowship on Vimeo.

 

Canada’s WestJet Airlines Converts to Metric Time(via @PremiumFunny) WestJet is still my favorite-airline-I’ve-never-flown-on, and this is part of the reason why.

 

Tom’s ShuberX(via @TIME) From the people who spread shoes around the world comes a car service that will take you around the corner.

SocialMEdia_logo - X

It’s a sad day for the online community.

Yesterday I announced the launch of the Summit’s brand new initiative called socialMEdia™ Small Groups: the groups that let you grow in grace without getting off the couch; that let you build community without any commitment. It was a genius idea, really: use your already-existing web presence to “do life together” while being very much alone.

The only problem was that we made that announcement on April 1.

April Fool’s Day.

Oh, many of you got it. You told me that you knew something was coming (maybe because I. do. this. every. year.), that you could tell two sentences in that it was a prank, or at least that you clicked the link at the bottom of the post and figured out the big reveal. (I was especially proud of four commenters: Josh, Jon, Chris, and Lori, who got the joke and played along. Well done, y’all. Well done indeed.)

But more than a few of you didn’t get it. I fielded phone calls and text messages and emails and personal conversations in the hallway, expressing concern about this new direction our discipleship strategy was going. That list included everyone from out of town relatives to pastors on our small group teams (those guys were really upset that they were just finding out about it).

And to all of you, I offer this:

Ha.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I know, it’s not nice to laugh. But it was April 1, after all. My friends, that is my favorite day on the internet. And you should not believe anything you read on the interwebs on that day, especially on this blog. (Oh, and while we’re at it, Sonic is not unveiling a Kale Cream Pie milkshake, Cheetos is not launching a perfume line, and Southwest is not offering non-stop flights to Mars.)

So to clear things up:

  • The Summit still believes in face-to-face discipleship.
  • We’re not abandoning our current small group model.
  • And we’d really rather not start a sanctification selfie trend anytime soon.

Did you bite? We’d all like to hear about it in the comments below. And after you comment, please feel free to go ahead and mark your calendars for March 31, 2015.

Thanks for playing.

If you’re so inclined, here’s a list of posts from April Fool’s Days gone by:

You Can Never Know It All(via @TheJimmyCollins) This is a great post on when to gather more information and when to act.

There will never be a situation when we will know everything before we act. We must realize that all decisions are based on partial information. That means there will always be some degree of risk. A decision may be good or bad; an action may work, or it may not.

Considering the Effect That the Internet Has on Memory(HT @LaughingSquid) I was going to make a comment right here, but I can’t remember what it was.

It’s that feeling of short-term overload that’s really letting the internet affect us. When you’re writing a paper, checking Facebook, looking at Twitter, getting an email ding, well that’s your four thing limit. You’re always putting yourself into a place where you’re overloading and swapping stuff in your short term memory…There’s some concern that because of the internet, we are re-wiring our brains to constantly scan for information rather than taking it in, losing our ability for long-term memorization.

Stupid Things People Say to Adopted Kids and Their Parents(via @22Words) I’ll add our own: shortly after Haven came into our home, a well-meaning individual asked, “So are you going to tell her she’s adopted?” (Um…have you seen us? I hope she ain’t so dumb that we have to spell it out.)

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It’s no secret that humor is kind of a big deal to me. My kids learned early on that if they were in trouble but could make me laugh, their punishment would be 17% less severe.

And I love the fact that all of my kids have a very unique slice of their own humor personalities. Jacob is the unsuspecting dry wit. Jase is the 11 year old, still-feeling-out-his-humor-roots-so-lets-just-make-up-weird-stuff guy. Haven is three. Everything she does is either infuriating or hilarious.

And then there’s Austin: the kid who has kept us laughing from day one. Today we flashback to one of my favorite Austin stories.

Austin [running out of his room at bedtime]: My short are making SPARKS!

Merriem: They’re what?

Austin:  SPARKS!  They’re making SPARKS!  When I got in bed and pulled the covers up, there were blue sparks everywhere!

Merriem: That’s just static.  It’s fine.  Go to bed.

Austin: But it’s SPARKS!

Read the rest of the story here. (Trust me. You wanna.)

At Chick-fil-A, HATCH comes first – even before the chicken or the egg(via @robertvadams) My friend Bob Adams gives us a behind the scenes tour of Chick-fil-A’s new innovation center. How are you thinking ahead in the guest service experience?

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If you’re going to innovate in ministry, you will have to find ways to identify the fledgling innovators in your church and then find ways to support some of their seemingly crazy ideas.

Five things we expect (and rarely get) from conference sessions(via @360connext) Good stuff here. If you are a part of organizing, leading, or speaking at conferences, these are great things to keep in mind.

Ensure content isn’t completely redundant. If speakers keep saying “well I guess Joe already covered this,” that’s not the presenter’s fault. Planners and organizers should know who is presenting what and how it can benefit the audience.

Things I’ve said to my children(via @NathanRipperger) Yep. Guilty.

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(click the photo for the entire list)

 

Raleigh Boy Scout battling cancer receives high honor (via @WRAL) If you’re not a part of the Summit, you may not have had the opportunity to get to know the incredible Noah Spivey. Noah’s fierce faith in Jesus has been inspiring all of us from the early days of his cancer fight. Watch the video to see why.

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“I wouldn’t say I’m the best Scout, but I try to be,” Spivey said. “My journey’s been rough. I got a lot of crap on my plate, but that doesn’t stop me. The Lord is greater than all the crap on my plate,” he said.

32 photos that will make you fall in love with Durham (via @movoto) I do love my adopted hometown.

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Netflix introduces new “Browse Endlessly” plan(HT @LaughingSquid) It’s funny ’cause it’s true.