Four Corners Church :: Sunday, September 23rd

Series Message: "Calling" in the Jackpot Series
God has a calling for all of us...we're talk frankly about discovering your purpose.

Music Set:
How Great Thou Art - Carl G. Boberg and R.J. Hughes
How Great is our God - Chris Tomlin
Wonderful Maker - Matt Redman
Jesus, Be the Center - Michael Frye
Enough - Chris Tomlin
All to You - Lincoln Brewster

Special Elements:
"Teamwork" (video)
"Undeniable Calling" (video)
"Porn Sunday Promo :: Man on the Street" (video)


Steve Jobs is not like you and me

Those of you who have read this blog at all know I'm an Apple loyalist in many ways, but at the same time I won't turn a blind eye to the fact Steve Jobs is not like you and me.

"Steve has a love-hate relationship with, well, everyone. Customers buy Apple products and they appreciate Steve’s design and market sense, but they also have opinions and NEEDS — two characteristics Jobs (and for that matter almost any CEO) would like to do without."

- Robert X. Cringely, from "I, Cringely"

We want an instant fix that ain't comin'

"However you parse Owen Wilson’s desperate act, it is clear that in an instant-fix, cure-all culture — one in which we habitually reduce fraught real-life dramas into smart-alecky quips on late-night talk shows — we want instant-fix, cure-all answers."

- Daphne Merkin, in an editorial from the NY Times on Owen Wilson and reports of his depression

Review :: 3:10 to Yuma

RATING :: a spicy chimichanga with a severely salted Margarita

I love westerns...the scope, the characters, the clear quest for justice, and the gun fights. "3:10 to Yuma", James Mangold's late
st film, was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Christian Bale stars as Dan Evans an injured Civil War veteran who has moved his family to the wide open West to start again. He struggles not only against the elements but also with his family...struggling to find respect with his boys as he's about to get kicked off his land as the railroad plows through. Russell Crowe stars as Ben Wade a notoriously vicious outlaw who robs any railroad payroll that comes through with he and his gang slaughtering everyone on board the coach. The two of these characters collide with such impact all other characters simply fall into the afterglow.

There were certain places in the film where I found myself lost in Bale's brilliant character as I pondered on my own fathering and the difficulty that faces many of us face as dads...how can we command respect with our boys? And it is this very issue which drives Evans to join a posse taking Wade to prison. His hope, to regain his land and his stature as a figure worthy of respect.

This film is gritty and dark, certainly not a typical Hollywood film in many ways but well-worth a watch. In the era of remakes that simply retread where the previous movie went, Mangold pays homage to the original through rebirthing the story on his own terms.


Comfort the disturbed, Disturb the comfortable

Life Church's blog, Swerve, has a huge variety of content and contributors. A prayer was posted and it rattled me (with a bit of trepidation) in a good way. I work and crave comfort although the majority of growth in my life has happened when I have stepped out into the unknown were certainty and comfort are not options. I have seen the complacency comfort can bring me...a lethargy in my faith, vibrancy, creativity, parenting and relationships.

Four Corners is about to have "Invite a Friend" Sunday and for some reason I'm uncomfortable inviting my neighbors. But I have the feeling, regardless of the outcome, the discomforting step will be good for all. I will step past the "ease" of what Robert Frost once described as "...good fences make good neighbors..." philosophy of most surburbia and disturb the norm a bit.

So regardless of where we are on our journey...think about taking some deliberate time to make yourself a bit uncomfortable. And take some time with me and say this prayer:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. (A Franciscan Benediction)

(Thanks Kem Meyer for the heads up)

MinistryCOM Conference

MinistryCOM is a relatively new conference designed specifically for churches to grow more in communication, marketing and design. Four Corners was to present about design and collaboration at the conference but some obstacles arose and we could not attend. Oh well...there's always next year.

Kem Meyer, the Communications Director of Granger Church, had a session entitled "Everybody Doesn’t Hate You...it just feels like it". Dave Crow attended the conference and has posted his notes. Some great nuggets to learn from...


"It's not that people are going to the culture to learn a different angle about God or faith. In truth, the values and faith of most of the people around us are actually being shaped by culture."

- Tim Stevens, leadingsmart.com


Four Corners Church :: Sunday, September 16th

Series Message: God is...convicting
When he comes, he'll expose the error of the godless world's view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He'll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin... (John 16: 8-11)

Music Set:
Undignified - David Crowder Band
Salvation is Here - Hillsong United
Dwell - Casey Corum
O Lord my Shepherd be - Billy Somerville
We Shine - Steve Fee
There is no one like you - David Crowder Band

Special Elements:
Baptisms + Communion
"Trading Up" (video)
"Baptism Stories" (video)


Ayn Rand and Capitalism

“I thrived on Rand’s message that only quality work counted, not who you are.”

When I was teaching 8th grade English one of the novels by honor students read was "Anthem" by Ayn Rand. Even in this small compact piece her allegory is transparent as she introduces her philosophy of objectivism best defined by its extolling of individuality, freedom, and reason. Turns out that not only did White Oak Middle School see Ayn Rand as worth reading but many CEO's did too.

The New York Times has an article about how Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was a major influence for people the likes of Alan Greenspan, James M. Kilts (who led turnarounds at Gillette, Nabisco and Kraft), Marc Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks) and John P. Mackey, the chief executive of Whole Foods who found her supporting of “the virtue of selfishness" to be a rationale for success in our capitalistic culture.

And although I do not espouse any of Rand's philosophies (in fact, almost diametrically opposed to them), it is an interesting read and commentary on what influences key business and societal leaders.


Madeleine L'Engle 1918-2007

I found out today a tremendous influence on me passed away last week. Madeleine L'Engle, known predominantly for her writing of fantasy novels such as "Swiftly Tilting Planet" and "A Wrinkle in Time", was a voice of faith and persuasion to many an artist looking for the heart of God in the arts. Her book "Walking on Water" proved to be a major reason why I leaped in the film and creative arts world. She as well as several others (Flannery O'Connor, Anne LaMott, CS Lewis, and Bob Briner to name a few) helped me intellectually pursue what I believe God created me for. She will be dearly missed.

Porn Weekend Promo


Nolan's First Day at Pre-School

Wisdom on Money ('cuz I need it)

I have been learning a ton about money management lately. Up to this point in my life I would give myself a "D" grade for my money handling...so it's time to change. Ironically one of the pastors I listen to on a regular basis, Andy Stanley), has a money series on his podcast (his older messages) called "Take it to the Limit". His insight into God's wisdom about money is tremendous. His church, North Point, is also currently in a series called "How to be Rich". Both are well-worth listening to...

Here's food for thought:
"There are 2 types of people in the world...those who get interest and those who pay interest. You have to decide which one you want to be." (Andy Stanley)

Google Earth has a secret flight simulator

Google is notorious for their "secret" options in programs they don't tell anyone about. Try this:

• Open Google Earth
• Find a location you want to fly through
• Hold down (on a Mac) Apple/option/A
• Enjoy the flight!

Is MTV dying a slow death?

The MTV Video Music awards were a mess...again. Ratings continually decline and the network just isn't what it used to be in a now crowded entertainment market. ABC has a great article about the potential slow death of this once colossal cultural icon.


Four Corners Church :: Sunday, September 9th

Series Message: God is...forgiving
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31,32)

Music Set:

Bless His Name - Tony Sanchez
Not to Us - Chris Tomlin
What I've Done - Linkin Park
Amazing Love (acoustic) - Billy James Foote
Our King - tree 63
Your Grace is Enough - Chris Tomlin

Special Elements:
Taking Forgiveness to the Cross (nailing our resentment + requests interactive)
A Child's perspective - "What is forgiveness?" (video)
How NOT to invite a friend to church (video)

Taking faith out of our prison system

My brother sent me a story from a recent New York Times that talks about the quiet dismantling of all faith materials available to prisoners. The reason..."a 2004 report by the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department. The report recommended steps that prisons should take, in light of the Sept. 11 attacks, to avoid becoming recruiting grounds for militant Islamic and other religious groups."

I read the article in stunned disbelief. The president of Prison Fellowship said it best, "It's swatting a fly with sledgehammer." The fear of religion being used for "radicalization" (what this really means no one knows besides acting violently...so am I radical if I decide to step out from the culture and tithe a portion of my income or read my Bible and actually believe it?) grows when only a meager few do anything destructive with their faith.

Faith has been shown to extend life and a critical element for American youth. If the secular world continues to define mainstream faith by its extreme fringe elements then faith will continue to get pushed out of public life regardless of its "benefits".


An Iced Latte on a budget

Our budget is shot right now so I decided to make an iced latte tonight. It was rich and delicious (and cheap).

16oz Chocolate Milk
10oz Cold Coffee
Shaved Dark Chocolate
Ice Cream (optional)
Whipped Cream

Mix the milk, coffee and ice cream in blender until smooth. Add whip cream and shaved chocolate. Serves 2.
(thanks Dove for the idea)

Apple's stroke of $2 billion dollar genius

"Apple truly doesn't have any competition!"

Steve Jobs introduced the new iPod lineup on Wednesday but that wasn't the big news. People's jaws dropped when Jobs announced a sudden drop of $200 on the iPhone only 10 weeks after the phone had debuted. To put it in perspective monetarily, Apple intends to try to sell over 10 million phones by the end of next year. So if they dropped the price $200 they are basically forfeiting a potential $1.84 billion.

Foolish, you say? Dropping the price because the phone is not selling, you say? To the contrary. Orange Hues has an insightful blog about the reasoning of Apple's choice. And we wonder why Apple with a small fraction of the actual PC market can continue to make such huge tidal waves...

Should Starbucks be killed and resurrected?

A leaked memo by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in February talked about the commodization of their brand and Schultz admits that "Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee."

The following idea is out of the box...I mean way out. BUT could this be the right direction for a company as large and exposed as Starbucks? Could this be the solution for more than just them? (thanks Brand Autopsy for the heads up)

"Kill the brand while it's still at its peak, and replace it with another one. Right now. Today, the Starbucks brand is extracting the absolute most it can from its brand equity. It is at the top of the hill. It has nowhere to go but down. The company should pull back and create another, new brand "from the makers of Starbucks" which redefines the coffee category and gets back to the essence of what Starbucks used to be all about. They would benefit from a glorious mountainous buzz effect. Everybody would flock to the new brand - a Starbucks for the new millennium."


What makes you pursue faith?

That's the question our life group chatted about last night. We have been meeting as a group for just over 3 months and slowly have been investing in each other. I'm amazed at the chemistry that has been generated even though we knew each other vaguely before getting together.

The reasons we pursue faith vary greatly but at the core lies a few similarities that may be universal...a desire to have a legacy of meaningful impact and influence AND a sense of wrong and right in this chaotic world. It lead to some great conversations and, I believe, in the end a sense that our life group was a safe place to simply say, "I don't always know why I pursue faith...".

Jill and I have found the "model" we use for Life Groups to be very effective...intentionally casual yet it always leads us to meaningful conversations about life and God. And beyond it all we find these people as dear friends. A slow run up to the deeper things...building relational trust over time. Too many times people rush into the "God-stuff" without spending time earning the right to be heard...we forget these are people and not simply ticks on a salvation score card.

Life Groups have given Jill and I true enjoyment of church...a place of friends and community where the deep conversations happen but also life simply gets lived together. Up to this point in our lives that was what was missing in our church experience.

One hairy dude

There was a guy in my high school named Kenny that may have been the hairest guy I have ever personally known...we always asked him to "take off his sweater" during the summer. But this guy takes the cake as he listens to Phil Collins.


Larry becomes Lana

The Wachowski Brothers are known for making the sci-fi epic trilogy "The Matrix". Well they are no longer 'brothers' but now brother and sister. That's right Larry has completed a sex transformation and is now known as Lana. It's a twisted and dark tale. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction...


Hollywood needs Jesus too...

Owen Wilson is known by most as the easy-going, smart-mouthed comic actor headlining movies such as "Wedding Crashers", "Royal Tennebaums" and "Behind Enemy Lines". But if you have been watching the news lately you may have heard he also attempted suicide. And he's not alone when it comes to celebrities and self-inflicted death...Kurt Cobain, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Michael Hutchence.

It would do us all well in this celebrity worshiping culture we find ourselves in that they are human just like us. Money and fame do not bring us any closer to purpose, meaning and hope. I forget too quickly that Jesus came for the common man and the famous man. We all need him whether your name is on a lit marquee or simply bellowed out by your kids in a small house in the 'burbs.

Four Corners Church :: Sunday, September 2nd

Series Message: God is...speaking
God is always speaking but often our ears aren't in tune...distracted by all the noise around us.

Music Set:

Broadcast - Steve Fee
Holy is the Lord - Chris Tomlin
No one like you - David Crowder Band
Word of God Speak - MercyMe
Salvation is Here - Hillsong United

Special Elements:
NOOMA "Noise"

And they just keep growing...

My boys are growing up so fast and it's amazing to watch their personalities continually emerge. They laugh often and their curiosity is insatiable.