Review :: Helvetica

This riveting documentary from Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment (its venture into film making with other interesting films like "This Film is not yet Rated") walks you through the history of the most ubiquitous font in the English speaking world. Helvetica is used everywhere...subways, ads, street signs, cereal boxes and anywhere you can imagine.

One would think type faces would be dull and mundane venture but this proved to be a history lesson in both typography and graphic design. A worthwhile viewing for anyone to understand how something can be so universal for over 50 years. Side note...the soundtrack is provided by one of my favorite bands El Ten Eleven.

...because they don't want it to be true.

"I hate the thought of a God who literally barged into our world and our species, who interfered with our lives and our values and perhaps even our human nature. I hated it because I wanted to be on my own, to be my own boss, my own God. And I'm convinced that many people reject Christianity -- traditional, biblical, orthodox Christianity, with its active, loving, interfering, demanding God -- for that reason. Not because the evidence proves it's untrue, but because they don't want it to be true."

CS Lewis in a fictional conversation with JFK and Aldous Huxley in Peter Kreeft's "Between Heaven and Hell".

Gratitude Note no. 1

This past Sunday Ben challenged us to keep a gratitude list for the next 3 weeks as a way to combat pride in our lives. He talked about how Jesus offered thanks on his last night even though suffering lay ahead and how God offered us kindness first before we made any moves toward Him...something to be greatly thankful for. So I am going to start a gratitude list here on the blog for the next 3 weeks.

I was in Europe for a bit earlier this month and it was the longest I have been away from my family. There was an odd sense of void which overtook me about 5 days in. I sat there wishing I could simply find my wife next to me in bed or my kids laughter filling the hotel hallways. It was a bittersweet reminder of the gratitude that overwhelms my heart from the life they bring me.

My wife makes the team complete...smoothing out my rough edges and I smoothing hers. Making each other laugh, get angry, laugh some more, talk, simply enjoy an evening of wine and Italian food and reading at a coffee house where our silence speaks more of the great comfort we have with each other than the air filled constantly with conversation. Her beauty often makes me wonder how I ever landed such a hottie and how my boys will be much better looking (thank God) than their daddy.

My kids bring life and love to the surface each day. Wrestling, singing make believe songs, cuddling on the couch to watch "Cars" for the 60th time, going through the car wash like it was an amusement park ride, going to the grocery to enjoy a free cookie and roam the aisles, laughing at Nolan's new words (i.e. "Daddy, I am certainly cold...") and at the small observations they make of things I had once forgotten.

Simply put...my family makes life colorful and a place with plenty to be grateful for.

Four Corners Church :: Sunday, January 27th

Been out the habit posting these for a little snapshot into Four Corners' Sunday morning.

Series Message: "Work in Community" in the It Lurks Within Series

Pride is a killer. It kills relationships, marriages, jobs, intimacy and joy. But how do we deal with it? What does Jesus have to say about it? During this new series we talk about practical ways we can deal with and manage our pride.

Music Set:
Forever - Chris Tomlin
All Creatures of our God and King - St. Francis Assisi
Here is our King - David Crowder

Invitation Fountain -
Michael J Pritzl
Jesus Paid it all - John Grape
Bless His Name - Tony Sanchez

Special Elements:

It was an exciting day as we again packed it out with kids out the ying-yang. It is always amazing to see the life and joy (and noise) they bring!


Seth Godin on Church Marketing

Read Scott was able to ask marketing guru Seth Godin some questions about church marketing and here's a snippet for what it's worth.

Read Scott: For church leaders without much of a budget and without formal training in marketing, what strategy could build community online most effectively?

: People will talk about you (online and off) if it benefits them, if it makes them feel good, if they get something psychic out of it. The challenge isn’t to figure out the tactics, it’s to create an experience that’s worthy.

To my knowledge, Godin is not a religious guy. His perspective is one, though not unexpected if you read his books and blog, that should remind us all of the importance of creating the experience for people to both connect with God and each other. It doesn't just happen...it takes discipline, effort and foresight. It challenges me anew to look with fresh eyes at the experience Four Corners has for its people.


Erwin McManus and the American Church

“My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent so they see the church as a place there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them...there is almost no genuine compassion or urgency about serving and reaching people who don’t know Christ."


What concerns you?

Church Relevance has the results of the most recent Barna survey about what is most concerning to Americans right now. It compares the thoughts of the average American in comparison with Evangelical Christians, and the results are worth checking out.


Leaders are not top performers

One of my favorite blogs BRAND AUTOPSY was musing over a classic and profound passage from Tom Peter's "Re:imagine!".

"A symphony conductor is usually a good musician, but seldom a world-class performer. The most effective university deans are often not the best professors. The ability to lead … to Engage Others and to Turn Them On … rarely coincides with being at the tip-top of the … Individual Performance Heap..."

It touches on one of my frustrations but reveals the key to it...I have to stop trying to be the top performer most of the time. I'm doing people a disservice by trying to be the best instead of empowering the best...turning them loose.


Starbucks and Life Groups

While in Europe we saw Starbucks everywhere (except Rome) but swore off all American food over there. Quick sidebar...McDonald's in Europe does not look anything like here. It was a relatively classy place which offered a variety of espressos, coffees and morning pastries.

I have always admired Starbucks for creating and commodifying the coffee culture around the world. But Starbucks is losing its mojo with its stock price dropping 50% since the beginning of the year...it fired their CEO Jim Donald and brought back ex-CEO Howard Schultlz to reinvigorate the brand.

People have been speculating at reasons why Starbucks is losing its death grip on the coffee industry. Increased competition from McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts as they move more upscale. Slowing economy and even Schultz himself saying last February Starbucks had traded expansion for a loss of customer experience.

This past summer Ben handed Life Groups to me and asked me to reinvigorate it. For churches, small groups offers the place that, regardless of how big you are, you remain small. Starbucks grew so fast the intimate experience people had of baristas knowing your name became commodified. And as we continue to grow the challenge will be to offer our people a place to call home, a place of community. So the challenge is out there...as you become bigger, you must become smaller.


Photos from my trip are up

Take a gander at the places I experienced in Switzerland and Italy by clicking HERE.

Getting back in the habit is harder than...

I have thought about blogging at only the most inconvenient times...eating, falling to sleep, showering, in the bathroom, driving. But once I sit at my computer the idea flies away until a time like now when I realize how the habit escapes me.

I think it will take some time before I get back in the true "habit" of blogging but in the meantime...how about a few tidbits to gnaw on?

• Here's a band I have been listening a lot to ::

• I watched Season 1 of HBO's "Deadwood" and have become an avid fan of the new Western movement going on with "3:10 to Yuma", "Assassination of Jesse James" and "Open Range".

• I'm reading "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. It's a remarkable book and his analysis of the social sector (not included in the book) is spot on for churches. Read it HERE on his website.

• I was delayed 9 hours in Amsterdam on the way home from Switzerland and bought Michael Crichton's latest novel "NEXT". Not a bad little page turner that looks at the possible consequences of genetic research.


I'm back...(kind of)

After being delayed for countless hours in Amsterdam, I arrived home late morning on Friday. My boys ran with arms open and greeted me. My wife looked more beautiful than ever...and life as I have known it started again.

The trip was great. We saw so many places and saw so many other cultures at work. I will be posting pictures on Flickr soon and will post the link. Looking forward (and currently enjoying) life back in the good ole US of A.


Off to Europe...

My good friend Paul invited me back in the fall to join him in Europe for 10 days so I will be posting mobile posts from my new Christmas/Birthday gift...an iPhone.