What's Next?

For the past few weeks I've been thinking about blogging. I used to have a blog but it was little more than a journal of what was going on in my life and what I was thinking about. So when I needed to move the domain I scuttled the blog and moved everything to livejournal. After all, what I was doing was more like journaling than what I would consider blogging.

Recently though, I've turned my thoughts back to, well, sharing my thoughts. As I look at what is going on in my life I realized that I'm in a rather unique situation.

  • I'm approaching or past 10,000 hours in ministry. While that in no way makes me an expert nor does I ever think I will be, 10 years is a lot longer than many people last.
  • In addition to the above point, I have more time as a pastoral staff person than the rest of the staff I work with, combined. Again, I'm no expert but it does give me a different vantage point from which to see our local church.
  • I'm fairly new to our church. Two years ago I was called away from a church in which I served for seven years. It was a joyful and a painful time. Through the challenges of the past God has given me some great insight and helped me grow as a person and as a leader.
  • I'm the first Children's Pastor that's been called to the church in which I serve. That gives me some freedoms and some challenges.
  • I head a day camp that is beginning it's 25th year. It's well established but that also means it has some old couches.
  • I'm in my senior year of Seminary at Bethel. I've met some great leaders and some people that have the potential to be great shapers of the future of Children's ministry.
  • I'm an echoer. Don't Google that, it's something I've made up. I listen and read with the intent of condensing. I don't some up with a ton of my own stuff but I love passing on tid-bits from others (with credit, of course).
  • Our children and youth ministry is in the midst of building milestones to ensure that we are working together and preparing our children for the adult ministries of the church. This is a great vantage point from which to share, I can tell people what works and what tanks.
  • While we develop milestones, we're also moving toward becoming more orange.
  • I parent two boys - what a wonderful journey!

As I look at this list, I realize that there is a lot that is going to change in the next few years. I have no idea what those things will be, but I believe that God has a great plan unfolding for our area. In the future I may look back and wonder how I got where I am - a blog would help me connect those dots.

So that's why I think I should start a blog. Seems like I'll have content, even if I have no audience I have reason, and to an extent, it's something I enjoy. So what's holding me back?

Truthfully, some of the same things that are prompting me. Seminary, work, and parenting make fore a pretty full plate. Sometimes I just don't want to sit at the computer to write.
The second reason is that I tend to over do things. I feel like I need pictures and links every time I post. I feel like each post needs to be fully refined, almost publishing quality.
And, to a certain extent, I wonder if I will actually follow through with it.
Lastly, there's plenty of other children's ministry blogs.

Other than the last reason, I guess those are pretty lame reasons not to do something.
I suppose, what I lack most, is a name for the new blog.
Or I could just go play Catan.

Google Apps for Home Schoolers

Perhaps you've not heard of google apps, but I can't imagne that's the case. Essentially take g-mail, docs, calendar and their other tools bundle them together and you have google docs a great tool for businesses, schools and the like. Google, of course, recognizes that it's good to have all your stuff in one convenient place (and like that it's their place) so they're happy to have your business.

Google apps for your business is gonna cost you, though not as much as an IT department or the lost time you'll have if your IT department is your cousin Fred.

And, Google isn't exactly driven by Motivation 2.0 standards (see Drive) so non-profits, depending on their size get in for free.

Google also recognizes the importance of education so they built an education edition that has some nifty features like allowing children under 13 (with parental consent) and the ability to block mail and to allow children access to the apps (including mail) sans ads.

Here's where this post takes a turn. I was pretty excited about the prospect of using google apps for schooling until I hit this: "Student/alumni/parent groups, religious organizations, home schools or government bodies that are not registered as 501(c)(3) do not qualify for the Education Edition."
Sigh...I would think that an organization that recognizes unique ways to work (such as 20% time) would recognize the value of non-standardized education. Why lock out home schools?

Sad, Google, just sad.


From time to time I come back here and say..."Hey, I haven't blogged in a while...." only to blog a bit then disappear for a long time.

While I'm sure that there are a few people that are interested in what I say here, the truth is, the sporadic posting is the best way to kill an audience. I'm sure I have fewer readers than I used to. The question is, am I going to change?

On that I would have to say no. I think that livejournal lends itself to a certain type of audience, friends or fanatics. I don't really want to write anything that draws fanatics, nor will I ever be someone that is followed by fanatics (or at least I hope). As for freinds, well, you'll put up with sporatic postings...or you won't. Either way I'm sure you'll still be freinds.

So, I suppose the uestion you may be asking yourself is "Does this mean Jesse's signing off?"

Actually, no. I'm saying that on livejournal I'm going to continue to be sporatic. On Bookworm, I hope that I won't be, but chances are that I will be until I graduate. And, I'm thinking about starting a ministry blog...though I don't know. There's pleanty of great children's ministry blogs out there and I'm not looking to do anything like fact, if I can't figure out what I'm thinkingabot doing, it'll be nothing. But, I think that I just may have hit on a purple cow. It may not be what anyone is looking for, but it may be different enough that I stop trying to emulate and start to create.

Until then, Peace be with you.

2010 Reading List

More than a few years ago I set a goal of reading at least 10 books each year. I've not had any problems making this goal - in fact, this year I'm already half way to that goal.
I don't plan on expanding that goal nor do I plan stopping once I reach it but I thought I would change things a little this year by formalizing a reading list. Last year I realized, in December, that I hadn't read any fiction and a lack of variety can lead to burn out foe me - so a reading list may help. Here's what I plan to read this year:

Books Related to Ministry or Leadership

Think Orange: Imagine the Impact When Church and Family Collide...
The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
The Power of Team Leadership: Achieving Success Through Shared Responsibility (Barna Reports)
Leadership Essentials for Children's Ministry: Passion, Attitude, Teamwork, Honor

Covering Home: Lessons on the Art of Fathering from the Game of Baseball
Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God

Theology for the Community of God
How to Think Theologically, 2nd Edition
The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible

Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables
The Church of 80% Sincerity

Angel of Wrath: A Novel (The Voice of God series)
Blown Coverage (Riley Covington Thriller Series #2)
Act of Treason

If you want to keep up, I'm keeping the list here and crossing them off as they are accomplished.

Museum Day

Omnimax ProjectorIt was a field trip day for Kevin and Alex today as we headed to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry's free day. I expected it to be a little crowded since it was a free day, but school, cold weather, and the winter blahs must have kept people away, it was pretty vacant. The boys were very excited and enjoyed having our packed lunch inside the museum when we arrived.

We found that they were having a special "Wow Tour" that was free, though limited...and tickets were available. After getting our tickets we caught a couple of exhibits, including the chick hatchery. We then headed to the rotunda to see a chemistry show..."Flash, Bangs, and Fire" or something to that effect. We sat up front and got to see sodium and a few other elements burned, a pickle dipped in lithium electrified...then the big finale. First a balloon filled with hydrogen was set on fire and it quickly exploded - then one filled with hydrogen AND oxygen - the resulting explosion was likely heard through the building and certainly shook our area.

The Wow Tour was awesome. We learned a little bit about the history of the museum and was taken into a few "staff only" areas. We saw some offices, the security area, and the inside of the projection booth for the Omnimax (pictured).

After that we saw the sub, the new YOU exhibit, and the idea factory - where we stayed until they started turning out the lights. A great day was had by all.

Google Wave Invites

Not so long ago I mentioned that I was invited to Googlewave. I've been playing around with it for a while not and have been involved in a couple of fairly productive collaborations as well as seen some rather pe a pointless blips.

And, the longer I've been on, the more people have joined in, and the more people that have joined, the more issues wave seems to have.

All that to say that if you'd like to be invited to a rather buggy beta preview of something that can be completely pointless or fairly useful, leave a comment. I have two invites that I'll give out at random sometime in the coming week. Be aware though that it takes a bit for the invite to be processed by Google.

EDIT: Closed to Comments as of 11/17.


During my adult life, I've never felt my age - always younger. But the past few weeks I've been feeling the affects and it seemed to come to ahead this past Friday.

Friday I went to The Rock Church, a 20 somethings church that meets in one of the elementary schools in downtown St. Paul. Although I enjoy visiting new churches I found myself becoming "one of them." The music, the dress, the message - all of it simply didn't resonate with me. Instead of being happy that others were connecting with God, I just thought about how I didn't fit. Ugh.
Looking back, I hope it was the sleepy/medicated/cold-ridden state that I was in. Although I thought the message was weak, the worship songs were helping people to connect with God - from what I could tell of one visit, I think The Rock is doing good.

Feeling less than fulfilled and on the recommendation of a friend, a group of us went to Bethlehem Baptist Church on Saturday night. I hear good things about John Piper and I'm sure people are growing in their faith there but it brought back too much baggage for me to connect. The worship leader seemed pretentious, the music was stuff, the announcement pastor rambled and appeared unprepared and I thought Piper's sermon feel rather flat. Ugh.

Today it seems that the third time proved to be the charm. A group of us went to The Sanctuary a multi-cultural church that meets in a school. Again, it was not my preferred style of music - but today rather than feeling bugged by that I found the music refreshing and the energy of the worshipers was awesome. There were tons of children a huge mix of races and, to my surprise, ages. I think it was as close a picture as I will get of worship in heaven. I hope that I will never forget the picture of two elderly white ladies praising God and joining in song and beat as the church rejoiced through (I assume) Gospel. We didn't get to hear the Pastor, rather there was a visiting speaker - and his message was awesome as well. After the past two churches it was a breath of freshness.

When The Future Is Now

Book ImageLast night a group of us went to the mall for dinner. The food court is limited to Chinese, Japanese and a sandwich place so we opted to split between the outside offerings including Chipotle, Potbelly, CPK, and a few more. Not quite hungry yet, a few of us wandered the bookstore.

When we returned the Chipotle group was engaged with a young man that I didn't recognize but assumed was a Bethel student. I eventually went over to PotBelly and grabbed a sandwich and returned to Chipotle. I wound up sitting next to this new person and found that he was someone the other group had met while looking for a table. Mike is/was a philosophy major and an aspiring author focusing on neuroscience. I joined a rather engaging conversation about faith and science.

What made the conversation great was that Mike, who wondered but did not believe in God, and a bunch of Bethel students, who do believe, were able to engage without attempting to 'push' any agenda. Both were curious about what the other believed and how they approached the unknown. Interestingly, Mike made some very compelling arguments for the existence of God; however, he was more interested in trying to find other ways to explain his question marks.

At one point, Mike mentioned that he recently blogged about a book that he read, called The Singularity is Near. Essentially, that book talks presents the notion that as the increase in technology continues to be exponential we'll be faced (as you are with any exponential item) with a drastic increase (as y or 1/x approaches infinity). More plainly, our technological growth is deceptive. We assume that the current rate will continue for future periods but at some point the jumps will be so rapid that "human life will be irreversibly transformed."

On a smaller scale we can see how that is playing out. Think of the cell phone - it wasn't that long ago that all phones were tethered, now you can call from almost anywhere in the world using a phone that is smaller than your palm. Or think of the pervasiveness of Facebook in our culture; it's only a few years old…or iPhone…or….

You can think of your own examples. How big was your first hard drive and how much did it cost? Best Buy now sells Terabyte drives for about $100. Will we see 500TB drives by Christmas 2010…or perhaps Hard drives will be passé.

What will our lives look like in 50 years? 50 years ago, some saw little need for computers. Cell phones hit their tipping point around 10 years ago. Some would argue that intelligent computers (that learn) are closer than we think - some would say they are here. How long before we reverse engineer the brain?

Let's take a look at Science Fiction. Star Trek introduced us to tablet computing, universal translators, transporters, communicators and a few things that are already here or are working on a limited scale. Is advanced nanotechnology, replicators, and other things that far away? (And those things will cause extreme rethinking of society.)

The question that comes to my mind: We clearly see the adaptation (as well as the ridiculousness) of the science fiction of 20+ years, why don't we consider the science fiction today the truth of tomorrow? Will it take a John Henry, iRobot or skynet before we ask the hard questions of "how far should we go"?

Sorry Teri, I don't see flying cars before we hit that "singularity."

Why Blog?

I ask this again and again as I seek a decent reason for my binging and purging.

Today's thought...should I move back to MovableType at Sillypuppies (or another domain name) or stay at LiveJorunal and if I move back to a private domain should I depend on my LJ friends to subscribe to an RSS feed or should I double post?

For the most part, I think I enjoy customizing the look of the blog more than I enjoy sharing my thoughts...and the thoughts I share tend to be more things that I want to remember and seek out later. So, with that in mind, I'm leaning toward moving back to an MT set up.

Last year, I paid for an LJ account and enjoyed being able to customize the look of the blog even though it was pretty frustrating at times. However, it's easier on MT and it's free. And MT seems to have a better search function. And the free LJ account is ugly to me...and I can't change what I've already set up.

So I'm leaning toward moving back to MT and crossposting to my LJ account.