Monday, July 30, 2007

Zen Is At It Again!

Leo from Zen Habits has done it again. To help with the launch of LifeRemix (a network of personal enrichment blogs) Leo wrote this post titled "100 Great Tips to Improve Your Life." He compiles some of the best tips from the network of blogs.

As you know, I'm a huge Zen Habits fan, but this compilation is well worth the time. It will take some effort to make it through the list, but I promise you will not be disappointed.

Which one(s) appeal to you?

The Blogging Church Group

For you Facebook users out there, Terry has created a new group to help those of us who blog connect with one another. I have already read some great posts by some interesting folks I had never met before!

Check it out here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hegemonic Teens vs. Subaltern Teens

Tim points us to a VERY interesting article by Danah Boyd titled, "Viewing American Class Divisions Through Facebook and MySpace." You can read the entire article here.

I'll repost part of the article:

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

This is a very interesting article on many fronts. First of all, Danah draws some great conclusions from the data she has collected. Secondly, one could make a gigantic leap and assume that there are more followers of Jesus that utilize Facebook than MySpace. I know in the past few weeks that I have engaged with Facebook, a "mini-revolution" has exploded in the Christian community, especially among pastors, church staff and other bloggers.

I realize that Jesus came to "save" all of us, but don't we read in scripture that Jesus hung out with the "wrong" crowd most of the time? If that's the case, then isn't it safe to assume that Jesus would be hanging out on MySpace and not Facebook? This begs an important question: "Where should we be directing our thoughts and energy?"

See You At the Pool 2007

WOW!! What a great weekend! First, our lead pastor Bryan was back to bring it all weekend - it was good to have him "back in the saddle" again. Then, to top it all off, Meadow Heights had their annual "See You At the Pool" event at our local park.

This yearly event keeps on getting better and better every year! We have some amazing volunteers and leaders who help make this a phenomenal event. From the BBQ to the kids stuff (this year a GINORMOUS water slide!) to the baptisms, SYATP is always a highlight to the year.

All total this weekend we baptized 13 folks, including one lady who decided to follow Jesus this morning and then another young boy who was impacted by his brother's baptism earlier today! INCREDIBLE!! That brought us to a total of around 55 baptisms this year.

While it's not about the numbers, it is a good benchmark to see how God is impacting lives, communities, and of course, our church. We're hoping to blow that mark out of the water next year!!

It was great to hang out with a lot of good friends, eat a lot of good food and see how God is blessing our community. There's so much more in store and I'm pumped to see where we are headed next! Stay tuned!

UPDATE: I'm sure my buddy Jo will have some pics of this event on his blog - check it out!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Drive On In!

Melissa and I traveled with friends to the movies last night. And you're probably asking yourself, "What's so important about that?" I'm glad you asked! We actually went to a drive-in movie theater! I haven't been to a drive-in since I was a teen (or perhaps before then? my memory is fading!) but it was a very cool experience!

We saw "Transformers" and I must say that if you're looking for an action movie, this is probably one of the best this summer. I am anxious to see the new Bourne movie however.

Here's 5 Reasons to visit a drive-in for your next movie:

(1) Sitting outdoors under the sky and the stars while the moon shines just enough to see the twinkle in your spouse's eyes.

(2) Watching families hang together - playing Frisbee, talking with one another, tail-gating...

(3) The nachos!

(4) You can pass gas and nobody will hear or even notice!

(5) Kicking back, relaxing and hangin' in your favorite lawn chair!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sharing the Golden Rule

I'm still not quite finished with the book "Getting Things Done," but I am learning tons of new organizational ideas. Whether I can put them into practice is a whole other ballgame...

We're in a series at Meadow Heights called "Summer of Love." We've spent the last three weeks talking about the meaning of love through God's eyes, etc. I have posted about the blog "Zen Habits" before, but today's post hit home. Leo gives us 18 practical tips on living the "golden rule." Some ideas we've already mentioned, ideas to spur additional actions, but more evident is God's reminder about how important it is to love others.

Scripture Snafus

I recently posted on the power of laughter. This guy shares some funny (although not in the moment!) moments on what we'll call "Scripture Snafus." Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Baby Brynn

Melissa and I just returned from seeing Brandon and Kary Leach's new baby - Brynn Ellen Leach. She was born yesterday at 6:03pm and weighed in at an incredible 8lbs 14oz!! She is a VERY pretty baby, and as you can see has LOTS of hair!! Congrats Brandon and Kary!

What's All the Hype?

If you haven't been using Facebook, why not? Bobby [via the Swerve blog] gives us the lowdown about the "hype" behind this social device.

What Makes A GREAT Logo?

Meadow Heights Church is getting ready for a re-branding including taking a creative look at our current logo. Church Relevance has posted their thoughts on what makes a "great logo." They have also included examples of their Top 20 here.

What factors should we consider when developing a new logo? Who are some innovative designers out there?

Saddle(back) Up!

Saddleback Church has long been an innovator in the church world and Rick Warren is widely viewed as one of the most respected teachers in the business. Saddleback has been using on-campus venues for many years now, but they will soon be launching a very interesting multi-site strategy. It will work in three phases:

(1) Backyard Saddleback - for small groups of 30-60 people.

(2) Saddleback Satellite - a mid-sized gathering of 100-300 people in a neutral location.

(3) Saddleback Campus - a regional campus of 500-1500 people.

You can check out more info at Matt McGill's website. Some very interesting stuff!

Sweet 16

Author, speaker and pastor David Foster posts about 16 things he'd look for if he were planning on attending a church. While I don't necessarily agree with his top 16, some of them should make us question how we approach each weekend gathering. What questions should we be asking? Here's David's top 16:

If I were looking for a church to attend in the morning, here is what I’d look for:

  1. When I enter do I hear laughter?
  2. Are people greeting me as a job or a joy?
  3. Does the place look like they were expecting me?
  4. Are people buzzing as they greet each other?
  5. Is there spirited music playing as people gather?
  6. Does the music move me?
  7. Do the people on stage look real and engaged?
  8. Are the announcements short, strategic, and to the point?
  9. Is there a printed outline with Scripture already printed on it?
  10. Does the pastor smile?
  11. Does the message title promise a relevant topic I am interested in?
  12. Does the pastor speak with humility and authority?
  13. Do I feel the presence of God?
  14. Are people listening and engaged?
  15. Is the service no more than 71 minutes?
  16. Does it pass by fast?

[link via this guy]

Monday, July 23, 2007


I've noticed our Summer of Love Blog has not been receiving much traffic. If you haven't checked it out click here. We simplified the blog in an effort to get more participation. One paragraph with one question. Simple.

Maybe simplicity isn't always the answer. People need a reason to respond to a question. Our first blog, Larger Than Life, was a huge success simply because people were engaged with the subject. They wanted to know more about something that was new to them. Response was dictated by a need for more information.

Interestingly enough, our two latest blogs (Who's Kidding Who? and Summer of Love) have generated very few responses. People have an enormous amount of knowledge in the area of raising kids and of course, with love. It's quite possible that we already feel equipped in these areas and therefore are not as inclined to participate in discussions.

We seemed consumed (and I'm using that term on purpose!) with getting more information but when it's time for us to give back we hesitate. Are we afraid that others will not value what we have to say? The web is full of "lurkers" but not as many that will "engage." We have the potential but not the product. Our desire to get is larger than our desire to give.

What's holding us back? Only us.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Face(book) Time Does Matter!

This Facebook thing is getting interesting. I have to admit, it's a bit addicting. Even though I only have four friends. I must have hit the big time however (I'm going to name drop...prepare yourself) because the Simply Strategic guy himself, Tony Morgan asked me to join his friends list.

Did he possibly hit the wrong button? Or a bad case of the gas cause him to relate that smell to me? Why Tony? Why?

Nevertheless, I am cranking on Facebook. Feel free to contact me if you want to be on the infamous friends list.

Now I need your help. I am in search of the best add-ons for Facebook. What are the top apps that you use? What are the apps to avoid?

Laughter: the Best Medicine?

Anyone that knows me will agree that I'm a practical joker. I especially like those "one-liners" - you know, the kind that make people groan out loud, but really they think it's incredibly funny...they just don't want to show it - it might encourage you.

Our church staff crack each other up on a weekly basis. Actually, it's more like daily. While we work as hard and as serious as anybody else, we also like to let our hair down and party awhile. Laughter can often be the best medicine. Check out this post on laughter and the church.

It reminded me of Disney's film "Monsters, Inc." Whether they knew it or not, the Disney folks are really imitating God. The monsters tried to get energy from scaring people - bottling up their fear. But in the end (spoiler alert!) they found that laughter blew the roof of the energy meter! Laughter made their world go round!

Churches have found themselves in those two camps as well. Camp One - the church that is made up of the "glass half empty" folks. They try to control everything and fear is their greatest weapon. If you're having a good time at church, then there must be sin in your heart (or as the popular song says, "if there's hair on your ears, there's sin in your heart...or something like that).

The other camp? The church that worships God for who He is - a loving and FUN God. God has a sense of humor!! Don't believe me? Observe people. They're hilarious (names withheld to protect the, guilty?)! Why can't we serve and worship God and enjoy it at the same time? I think that's the essence of how God has created us!

Which camp do you find yourself in? How do you worship God? In fear? Or with the sounds of laughter in your heart?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Opening Pandora's Box

I've mentioned several online radio type sites in the past, but there's a new site out called "Pandora Radio" that has a very slick interface and intuitive features. Click here to try it out.

You can set up different "stations" based upon the type of music and/or artist you like to listen to and Pandora will find similar artist that you might like. You can then select whether you like the tune or not and it will adjust your "station" accordingly. A very cool and effective way to listen to music online.

Free registration will allow you to listen as long as you would like . Check it out and let me know your favorite stations.

[site from this guy via this guy]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

MO Youth Honor Choir

I'm hanging out in Jefferson City, MO with my son and four other boys who made the MCDA Honor Choir. We had a great time yesterday, with stops at the outlet mall, our hotel and then all 24 of us from Fredericktown who asked to be seated together at Applebee's! And guess what...they did it!

The guys are in rehearsal all day today, with a performance this evening at 7pm. Then we'll be on the road back home!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Facebook Anyone?

So I've now created a Facebook page. I'm not sure really what to do with it, but here's my profile. If anyone wants to add me as a friend let me know. Where will this crazy technology lead? Who knows...

UPDATE: I now have one friend...and his name is Steve.

Back In the Day...

This should be fun...

Check out these pics and these pics by this guy...

Those were the days!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Wrap Up

  • Speaking at Meadow Heights this weekend was incredible!! I love our team and volunteers - they are top notch!

  • Handing out duct tape to 450 people can be a challenge!

  • The videos for this weekend made a huge difference - thanks to Jeremy, Jeremiah and Elaine for their contribution.

  • Having my wife pull me aside and pray for me before the first gathering on Saturday night left me speechless. I must be the luckiest husband alive!!

  • Seeing Steve Osborne today made my entire weekend - this guy is the real deal and we miss him!

  • We had tons of guests today! Summer tends to bring a lot of guests or just people who are checking things out.

  • I had a great time with some friends on a quick trip to St. Louis this afternoon. We went to check on a friend in the hospital. Along the way we took a detour to deliver clothes, nearly had an accident, made another detour for a different accident, stopped for "extra" gas, saw an incredible hospital garden area, laughed a lot, and had my first meal at "Red Robin!"

  • I still don't have our pool up and running. It's now officially a race - will the pool be up and running or will the summer end? My wife assures me that the pool WILL be up and running! :)

  • I'll be working on my day off tomorrow so that I can travel to Jeff City on Tuesday and Wednesday to chaperon my son and two other boys. They auditioned and were selected for the MO Youth Honors Choir. I'm proud of you Seth!

  • I saw an iPhone live and in action today. I have been downplaying the phone and telling myself that I wouldn't want one. I want one! Jealousy is clinging to my soul! Good thing we'll be talking about that next weekend!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Show and Tell

It's approaching noon on Saturday and I just finished up the message for this weekend. I normally get pumped up for the weekend, but for some reason I am really stoked about this message. It's foundational to what God has commanded us to do - "to love Him and love others."

St. Francis of Assisi shared some wise words:

"Preach the Gospel...and if necessary, use words."

Would people know you are a follower of Jesus simply by what you do? Notice the word "do." Too many times we fall into the trap of "telling" people what it means to follow Jesus. God says to "go and tell" but not only that, I think he's commanding us to "show and tell!" Brings us all the way back to kindergarten doesn't it!!

It's time to stop, reach out and help! Kindness is love in action!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trekking the Trail

It's been a long night (after a long day). Our four year old has been up every 30-45 minutes violently vomiting!! Melissa finally went to bed at 2am leaving me to trek the throw-up trail. Mac talked last week about how we'll sit with our kids when their sick - not because we want to, but because we love them. How true that is!

Here are some posts that have struck me in my sleep-deprived state:

Slowing Down - This gal writes on the busyness of life - this has to affect every single person I know!

2:00 In the Morning Lessons From God - this guy writes about how we cry and whine sometimes. Maybe I related due to the title?

Slow Food - this wikipedia entry talks about eating slow. I don't like to eat slow. I didn't even know there was a "movement" for this! I eat fast for my own movement! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Whatever It Takes!

It was a busy day again today (surprise anyone?). Jeremy, Jeremiah and I shot a video for this weekend's message - @ 6:30 this morning!! YIKES! You know what I love about those guys? The fact that they will do whatever it takes to make an impact in our community. Even if that means getting up at the crack of dawn to shoot a video!! I love those guys!

Mac said it last week - don't miss this weekend at Meadow Heights Church - it just might be one of the most important messages in this series! I've been praying all week that God will show up and that people will "get it." Not just agree with God's truth but truly be impacted in their hearts and souls by what He has to say. It's that important.

We'll also be launching the "Summer of Love Blog" this weekend. It will be a great way to share your thoughts on this weekend's message and what God is saying to you during this series. I'll post the link as soon as we go live.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's Movie Day!!

It's a Goldsmith Family tradition that we always go and see each Harry Potter movie the day it comes out. Today is that day. I had never even read a single page the first time my kids talked me into going to the show. But as an avid film buff, I enjoyed it tremendously!

This evening we'll embark on another chapter of the Harry Potter viewing saga - sans my oldest, Kayla. Never fear, she caught the 12:01am showing in Orlando, and thus became the first of the Goldsmith's to see this movie.

Butt Paste????

This guy cracks me up. See his latest post on "Butt Paste" - I'm sure you'll crack a smile!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I've Got Big Buzz...

There's still a lot of "buzz" out there about the iPhone. With over one million proud new owners, the iPhone is THE hot ticket today. Mass hysteria? Worth the hype? One thing is for sure - people are talking about it and the BUZZ IS HUGE!!

How does this relate to the church? Check out this post by Perry Noble. Some great insights!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Where's Your Hiding Place?

I rarely have a total "holy hangover," but today I am dog tired!! It's been a long past four days - the visual arts for our new series "Summer of Love" kicked our tails, but it looks great. Thanks again to the team for the incredible transformation.

It was also difficult to come into this weekend mentally prepared after our Worship Concert 2007. Our lead pastor, Bryan, made a great point during our Creative Arts Team meeting last weekend. He noticed that while our team brings it every weekend, during the Music Concert we brought it on steroids. His point was this - why can't we bring it on steroids every weekend? That's a great point.

It's not so much that we have to be bigger and better every week (Or maybe it is? See this post), but God does ask us to bring our best. If we come into the weekend with a mindset of "it's just another weekend," then we probably aren't going to be bringing our best. Jeremiah nailed it on the head when he set up the song "Unashamed Love" this weekend - quiet our minds and find a hiding place. Yesterday is gone, but today is here. Worship Him every day because He is worthy.

To quote a recent theme, what are you going to do with the "here and now?"

You're calling me to lay aside the worries of my day
To quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place
Worthy, Worthy

Friday, July 06, 2007

Buzz Audio

Mark Batterson and the peeps over at National Community Church have released the audio files from "Buzz Conference '07." You can download the files here. Videos will be released in the near future.

I HIGHLY recommend downloading these files - they will rock your world!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer of Love

We're getting ready to launch a new series at Meadow Heights Church this weekend. Don't miss the opening weekend - you'll be amazed at the transformation of our auditorium!! Our visual arts crew have been working overtime getting this one ready.

This series focuses on one thing - LOVE. There are many trite phrases and cliches with the word love, but if we go to THE source on love we find this:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

We think this is so important that God wants us to talk about it for the next eight weeks. But don't think it will be boring - we hope God will radically turn you upside down with a fresh look at this concept. We'll be providing lots of tools for you, great music as always, and some incredibly practical challenges for your daily life. Don't miss it!

Let's start with this: go to this post and think about the article in terms of love, lost people and the church. Then come back, leave a comment and let's start a discussion about how we can change the world!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Animated Creator

We've all taken personality tests at one point or another in our lives. Well, here's another one!! It's very accurate and some new categories not found in normal tests. My results?

Click here to take the test.

Click here to see my full results.
[link via this guy]

The Burnout Bug

I think every leader has been hit by the "burnout bug" at least once - that phase of life when everything is overwhelming, nothing seems to be going as planned, creativity has stalled, and forward progress seems like a trite phrase rather than a philosophy.

It seems no one has wanted to own up to it, let alone talk about it.

There's a new book coming out by Anne Jackson entitled "Mad Church Disease (thanks to Terry for the link)." I love the title - it's creative, descriptive and definitely has the "buzz" factor. But Anne needs our help. If you are a ministry leader, a family member of a ministry leader, or a volunteer, Anne is asking all of us to take this survey. I completed the survey in less than five minutes.

I can't wait to see the results. I know others struggle with this and just maybe this book will help us all engage in a long overdue conversation.

It Is For Freedom He Set Us Free

Happy Fourth of July!! Here are some links to other comments on this holiday:

Have a safe and Happy Fourth!!

The Life of Freedom
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
Galatians 5:1 (Msg)

Monday, July 02, 2007

MH Worship Concert 2007

WOW!! What a phenomenal weekend!

As I mentioned in the last post, we had our annual "Worship Concert" this past weekend, and the team was rockin'! We're all worn out, but God really moved and the place was electric. BIG props out to all the teams that helped pull off this event - music teams, tech team, visual arts team - you guys are top notch!

I mentioned that I would post the top 10 from the weekend, so here ya go!

We currently have 5 weekend experiences - 4 we'll call "contemporary" and then 1 "traditional" (southern gospel, etc.). Both lists are represented above. Our programming team noted that about 70% of the songs made the list for the first time. That's certainly a testament to the quality of music that was written this past year. I also noticed that a majority of the contemporary tunes were slower. It seems that more people are enjoying songs that pull at their hearts; an introspective look rather than a motivational type of song that we may have seen in the past. This also seems consistent with what we are seeing in society in terms of an increased interest in spirituality.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the top 1o selections. Feel free to comment or email me.