Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hour for hour

I had an obvious but challenging thought this week. As church staff members, every time we spend an hour doing something for our jobs, someone in our congregation had to do an hour of work to pay for it. Every time we spend $15 of church money a real person in our congregation had to labor for an hour or two to pay for it.

I find myself feeling very accountable when I think about an actual person doing actual work so I can spend church time and church money.

The next time I decide how I'll spend my next hour or spend the next $10 or $20 of church budget I want to be thinking about the people who labored to make it possible doing things like this:
- cutting grass for an hour
- selling cars for an hour
- cleaning houses for an hour
- brewing coffee for an hour
- changing diapers in a day care for an hour
- directing traffic in the hot sun for an hour

This may seem really obvious and simplistic. And, I acknowledge that people are tithing joyfully not begrudgingly. No one is sitting around thinking about this hour for hour deal; they are giving to God. BUT... it does help me prioritize my spending of church time and money when I think of the decisions that workers are making all over Little Rock and beyond to labor in their job that next hour and give the money earned to Mosaic Church.

Yesterday, I had to rush order a case of labels needed for child check-in this Sunday. My neglect of that known need caused me to spend more on shipping than I should have. Imagine if I had to go to a member of the congregation at his workplace and ask him to work the next 2 hours to pay for the excessive shipping cost related to my procrastination.

One other related thought... An old friend of mine was a missionary to Romania. In Romania, people don't make much money and giving to the church is low. In order to do the things the church wants to do, people in this one area painstakingly craft and sell shoes to make money for the church. I find that very challenging.

Maybe an axiom is in order! When deciding how to spend church time or church money, ask yourself: "Would someone make shoes for this?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

The power of accountability

My wife and I have tried dieting separately off and on through the years semi-successfully. We've had a breakthrough now though. We've been dieting TOGETHER. We each set a weight goal (really a mini-goal on the way to our true goal weight). We both LOVE desserts, but we agreed that we wouldn't eat ANY sweets until we both met our mini-goals. It's been about 3 weeks with no sweets (and for me about 6 weeks with not a single Coke!) Debbie met her goal two days ago and I met mine today.

We'll celebrate with a reasonable dessert tonight and then we need to set our next weight goals and decide what we are going to keep each other accountable to regarding food and exercise.

This makes me think. We are succeeding in the weight loss department through accountability, but what else should we be using accountability to help us accomplish? Probably lots of things! We should think on that.

What are you and your spouse or friend working on together?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Woohoo for Firefox tab hot keys

I'm excited to have learned the hot keys to navigate between open tabs in firefox.

On the mac...
ctrl+tab - toggles sequentially through open tabs
ctrl+shift+tab - toggle backwards through open tabs
cmd(apple key)+1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or etc - goes straight to tab 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 etc

cmd+t - opens new tab
cmd+w - closes tab

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I was just part of something amazing. A friend named Carlos was in his basement my himself leading worship in front of his mac book pro. 170 friends from around the country/world joined in the worship via his blog and were able to participate through live sharing of the their worship thoughts through chat. So often, worship is a band leading, everyone signing, and a few people shouting out a thought or two. This was everyone shouting out their instantaneous worship, their prayers, their thoughts.

I had my kids sitting with me and they chatted in a couple of praise thoughts of their own.

Carlos' blog is www.ragamuffinsoul.com

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Park and Movie Day

Today, we went to Riverfront Park and to the dollar movies. Here are some pix...

Em by a sculpture...

Mr. Cool...


More Susie...

"I didn't want water, I wanted a diet coke."
P9200071.JPG copy.jpg

Dollar Movies are great!

This family really gets into it's movies... you should have seen them after the movie. Alex was spinning, kicking, karate chopping Em. Pretty funny... like when we saw Ratatouille and Em/Alex were crawling through the movie theater afterwards like rats!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Catching up with old friends

Via Facebook, I caught up this week with two friends I haven't seen in years. One of them I haven't seen in 19 years. It turns out he's a pastor in the delta of eastern Arkansas. What's even wilder is that he has recently picked up my pastor's book, "How to Build a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church". He commented how the delta is a place that really needs that.

Just being at our church in Little Rock, it's easy to miss the multi-ethnic church movement that is beginning to spread.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Need a new blog address

I'd like to get back to blogging, but I need a new blog address.

allentexas.blogspot.com made sense when I was an "Allen" living in Texas. And, I actually lived in the city of Allen, Texas. But now I live in Little Rock, AR.

Once I get some creative juices flowing on that, I'll be back on here more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

AT&T Internet at Starbucks

This is a great day. Found out I can log into the internet at Starbucks using my sbcglobal dsl account.

Thank you Starbucks! However, I HATE the new brown cups.

Bring back the green!!!!!!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

One of those cool moments...

I wrote recently that I went with Deb's class on a field trip. Each time I'm around those kids, I try to look for what their strengths are and how I can affirm them and build them up. This one girl (I'll call her Courtney to protect her identity) is a great writer. She's the one with the biggest face on the first funny foto here.

Whenever I see Courtney, I call her my writer. I ask her what she's been writing about and encourage her to keep writing.

When you encourage kids in this way, you wonder if it sticks at all.

Debbie had the kids make thank you notes for the adults who chaperoned the field trip.

Courtney signed her note to me:
"Your Writer, Courtney"

Watch out writers of the world!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Another good word...

I have no time to write today, so I'll just point to this smart guy again.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good word

Good word for all of us trying to grow organizations.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A few frames

Part of the way I make my living is editing video.

One of the things that always strikes me is the difference a few frames makes. [a frame is one of the 30 pictures per second that we see as moving video]

Edit out a tiny pause in the action; man the difference it makes in the energy.
Lengthen a clip a frame or two and bam!... it hits right on the beat of the music.
No one wants to watch if audio and video are out of sync just a few frames.
Nobody believes the story line if a scene hangs on a few frames too long.
On and on... it's often a matter of a few frames.

I been seeing lately that much of life is a matter of a few frames as well.

In just a tiny moment of frustration, a relationship can go south.
Just a tiny instant of misunderstanding can needlessly get a work team off track.
Just a instantaneous hurtful word spoken to your child can harm her for years.
The decision to go into sin is often an impulsive decision.

A few frames can wreck months of work and years of love.

So what is the remedy?

On the front end...
Stay close to Jesus and think before you act

On the back end...
Grace, grace, and more grace

Friday, April 25, 2008

A day with the rest of our kids

Today, I went on a field trip with Deb's class to a museum. On the bus we played with photo booth. Loads of fun for the kids.

I love getting the chance to speak a specific word of encouragement or inspiration into a few of those kids' lives.

Then after school, I spent a couple of hours with the at-risk 2nd grader I mentor. He is so smart. We played chess and talked. He has so much potential but SO needs self-control to stay out of trouble. I care a lot about this kid. He's accidentally called me "dad" once and I've accidentally called him "son" twice. Please pray he has a breakthrough this coming week.

Thankful for eyesight

This week my wife's mother had eye surgery to repair a retinal detachment. It makes me think of the sight I take for granted.

What would I do if couldn't see...
My Susie's beautiful eyes and adorable expressions
My Alex's bright eyes and hilarious expressions
My Emmy's thoughtful eyes and maturing expressions
My Debbie's tired eyes and her need for change

I guess I'd try to make it like my amazing blind friend Larry, but for now I'm just very thankful to be able to see.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

LifeGroups 2.0

I've been thinking a lot with a group of leader friends about how we can make our LifeGroups at church more purposeful. How can we make them more than little hang out groups where we go through soon-to-be-forgotten, random "small group studies"?

Here's something I've written in processing through this.

I think we let way too many people off the hook from becoming leaders. It’s like “missions”. We talk about it like it’s for the few and then only a few do it. Granted, not everyone is gifted by God for the highest levels of leadership, but who else should be leading in the world than those who have the Play Book and who have the Spirit of God inside them? Unless you are going to be personally purposeless, maritally passive, parentally absent, a frustrated manager of your household, a giver in to peer pressure, a follower of the world, you are going to have to be a leader in some capacity.

What better places but LifeGroups, miniature churches, for the development of people to lead? I'm using "lead" in a broad sense -- everything from leading others to Christ, leading our families, leading churches and movements in the kingdom of God, and most important of all leading our own wills, our own selves toward all that Christ calls us to.

LifeGroups can become a training ground for leadership in life and the main source of leadership for the church.

What do you think?

Friday, April 18, 2008

The cat is away again...

... so what should the mice do?

Debbie is heading to Dallas for another scrapbooking retreat with her Texas friends. I'm so glad she gets to do that. Have a great time, Deb!!!!!!!!

So what should we do here?

1) Clean the kids' rooms. Work on video.

2) Play all day and watch episodes of Lost Season 1. (I'm finally watching that great series via abc.com -- Don't tell me what happens!!!!)

We'll probably do some of both.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Interesting conjugation

I love how my almost 5-year-old daughter tries to conjugate verbs in the past tense. One morning she told me, "Last night I slape backwards in my bed, but my rail kape me from falling off."

Yesterday she said that I droove her somewhere in the car.

For some reason I find all of that really cute.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I've had enough...

Last week I briefly visited Deb's school class and saw once again how the boys in there don't have fathers at home and need mentors. I often feel the need to do something in situations like that, but this time I've had enough! I am doing something. I asked Debbie to find me a boy who needs a mentor and whose mom would allow it. She did and I just got off the phone with the mom setting up my Friday afternoons with her boy.

The number of people with needs is overwhelming... but I can try to help this one.

I just have to honor foster parents

There is a couple I know who fosters children. A couple of months ago they turned over two kids to their new adoptive family. Yesterday, I saw the husband, about 45 years of age, holding a new foster child who is a few weeks old. He was feeding her a bottle. People who do that kind of work and have that kind of heart just blow me away.

Maybe someday we should foster.

Anyone else feel a tug in that direction?

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Meet Susie Simpson

and Susie Winphrey

Lots of laughs...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No No No


Friday, February 08, 2008

My kids get it...

My two older kids were talking in the backseat...

Alex: "What's a PC?"
Em: "An old computer"

Sunday, January 06, 2008

So what did the mice do?

Yesterday the kids and I ended up doing some of Alex's eye exercises, raking the leaves, eating at home, working some on video, working some on church. We took the boring, responsible route. :(

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cat's away... what should the mice do?

Debbie's out of town scrapbooking with her old friends from Dallas.

So what should WE do?

1) Do Alex's eye exercises, work on my upcoming video project, work on church stuff, cook three meals, take down Christmas tree, rake the yard.


2) Eat out three times and play all day.

I guess #1 is more responsible... but #2 sounds like a lot more fun.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Working from home

Today the kids were still home on Christmas break while Deb had to go to teacher training. I was working back in my bedroom on my computer for a really long time this morning while the kids were watching TV, playing, watching a movie. Then I received this email (from the other computer) from my 7-year-old.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Reading with the kids

I like to read to the kids, but often I've not been making time for it. This week, I'm trying to start anew reading with Susie one book a day.

Today was this one...

The next book I need to make time for with the older kids is a condensed, illustrated version of this...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008