Its easy to be a dreamer, everyone is a dreamer, but being a doer is a lot harder.

For a long time I described myself as a Connector.Blogger.Dreamer

Me

But after some thought and some conversation, I realized that I was doing a lot more dreaming then doing.

I do not want to be described as someone who dreamed up a lot of ideas, but as someone who did a lot ideas.

Be a doer not a dreamer.

*kyle

Rachel Held Evans was the kind if kid that most would want to beat up.

Not what you expect to read first line in on a review of a book, but it was that character trait that made this book most relatable to me, as I was also very much so, “that kid.” I was a know it all Christian that was more concerned about making sure that my favorite baseball player was a Christian and that I could fill up my memory verse sheet at church with stars,then to actually understand what it means to love your neighbors and to pray for those that persecute you.

Evolving in Monkey Town, Held Evans takes you on a personal adventure in her evolving process-from being a know it all Christian who had everything figured out, to one that had more questions then answers. I love the way she describes it:

I went from the security of crawling around on all fours in the muck and mire of my inherited beliefs to the vulnerability of standing, my head and heart exposed, in the truth of my own spiritual experience.

Evolving in Monkey Town is more about asking questions and being okay with not always having the answer.
Continue Reading…

We live in a society of instant feedback.

High speed internet, instant messenger, instant dinner, instant satisfaction, you get the point. Feedback is something that everyone is looking for. Businesses go to great lengths to hear what the customers are thinking, individuals go to great lengths to appear the way they want to look. The main reason for the need of instant feedback is because we cannot get inside of the brains of individuals and hear what they are thinking (well Mel Gibson can). Because of these limitations businesses have turned to different methods to hear about customers “experiences” with their products, service, or merchandise. For the most part I think they have done a pretty good job of listening to what the customer thinks and then what they want. Individuals look at mirrors and ask their friends if they have anything in their teeth to make sure they will not get any negative feedback.
One place that I think might be missing out on the opportunity to hear feedback is churches.

There are a couple obvious things that I do want to point out with my assumption. First, the church is not in the feedback business (or any business for that matter). I know that contradicts what I just said, but churches do not cater to the audience, they serve as a place of worship to a loving God. Stick with me and I will explain why I mean something different when I say churches are missing out on their chance to hear feedback. Second, I do think churches are constantly reforming and examining ways they can share the Gospel message, in no way was the above bolded statement meant to say that churches are not seeking to share the message of the gospel. Third, I do not think the consumer dictates the pace or direction of the church.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way

Churches need to listen to feedback to better connect with the congregation. Feedback is not telling the church how to do things better (even though a lot of people use feedback that way) it is about a conversation. People are providing a glimpse into their thoughts, emotions, and ideas. Being able to hear this type of free feedback can provide the church an opportunity to engage with the congregation and in conversation about what they are doing and how they are telling the story of the gospel.

This was something that I tweeted yesterday morning at Harvester Christian Church. Using foursquare and my iPhone I wanted to make sure that the band knew that things sounded awesome, and not only that I was letting others in the area around me know that the band was killing it with the music. Sure there are only a couple of people that check in on foursquare at church but what a great way to see who is there and hear what they are saying. Not only has foursquare provided a quick and easy way for churches to hear what others are saying, but tools such as facebook, twitter, and blogs are some ways churches have looked to connect.

Unfortunately, I think churches are missing out on key opportunities to connect with the community (not just the church community). Four years ago, if you were a band, you couldn’t just have a myspace page with your picture on there. You needed music, tour dates, and even fans to prove that you were a band. Today, you cannot have a twitter account and just advertise service times and events and call it a social media presence. We have seen that with Generation Y, social media is not a trend and in fact is a very viable way of communicating and connecting. More and more people are going online to connect and move those online connections into offline friendships.

The church might need to start listening to the feedback before they start to give feedback.

Do you have any examples of churches using technology to connect with the congregation?

*kyle

Want some gift ideas for your mom on her birthday or mother's day? Check out this post of 25 gift ideas for your mom.

Mom, today is your 50th Birthday and to be honest is another day to celebrate the greatest Mom in the world.
I know a lot of people say they have the greatest mom, but I truly believe that Kyle, Kelsie and Kamrie have been blessed with the worlds greatest mom.

Don’t believe me, well let me give you some reasons why you are so great:

1. Loving
From the first day I can remember you have always said you love me and you are proud of me. No matter what I did, how well I did it, or even if I did anything at all, you were there to tell me that you loved me and that you were proud of me.

2. Caring
You have always been more concerned about us even if it cost you sleep. From late night adventures to early morning lunch packing, you always made sure that we were taken care of even if you had to stay up late at night or get up early. I always knew that no matter what time I came home at night you would wake up to make sure that I was safe and alive.

L-R: Kyle, Kamrie, Kelsie

3. Serving
I remember talking to my friends at school and hearing about their Sundays and what they did at church. It always struck me as weird that they just went to church and then went home. For a long time I thought it was weird that we didn’t just show up and then go home, but instead stayed at church for hours serving. It wasn’t that I was upset, it was that a lot of my friends parents didn’t do that. It wasn’t until I got older did I start to see just how big of servants heart you had. You have taught me what it means to be a servant and to have a servants heart.

4. Teaching
From a young age you taught us about Jesus, you taught us how to speak, and you taught us how to love peanut M&Ms. Never forgetting that you were a Mom, you would come home from long 10 hour days at work to help us with our homework or just plain listen to us complain. But you always were there to teach us how to live, and that was best done by the example you showed us each and every day.

5. Parenting
I have always told you that if I am 30 and not married I am adopting. Why? Because I want to be a Dad. Truthfully I have always wanted to be a Dad (and wanted to find a women to marry so I can be a dad, but I am working on that one first don’t worry). I thin some are afraid of being a parent, not me. I know it is not easy, but your example has shown me what it means to be a parent. You have taught me about patience, about discipline, and about how to unconditionally love. I cannot wait to be a parent and try to be half as good of a parent as you.

6.
Number 6 I am leaving blank. Not because I ran out of things to say about you, but because I am excited for another 50 years to celebrate your life and the many things that you have shown all of us.

If you notice Mom, all of these things that make you great end with “ing.” The reason behind that is because you have always been doing, acting, living a life that does not sit down and expect things to happen but makes them happen. You have been an active participant in my life and our family and for that you are the greatest Mom in the World.

On the day we celebrate your birth, I (we) celebrate our birth to you. Because we could not be blessed with a mother better then you. Oh and I guess Dad is okay too :)

meandmom

Last night Lebron James made one of the biggest decisions in NBA history. He chose the beaches of Miami over the hometown crowd of Cleveland. For most of you, this was an exercise in narcissism, so naturally this decision brings about all kinds of hate and spite towards one player. My initial reaction to the one hour special, the referring to himself as Lebron James or King James, and to the entire two weeks that led up to “the decision” was somewhat interested but ready for the madness to be over and to focus on more important things, like oil on the beaches of Miami.

To think that any athlete is not looking out for number one is crazy. There is a reason why 96% of Americans have regural jobs and only a select few play a professional sport. Some of it has to do with ability, but a lot of it has to do with ego and selfishness. There is a reason why these guys are where they are today, they looked out for number one and got what they wanted. I really have no problem with what Lebron has done up to this point, that was until he started talking about his real fans. At that point me and Lebron need to talk.

The NBA analyst were chomping at the bit to talk with Lebron (but wasn’t it weird how Jim Gray didn’t seem to care at all) after “the decision” and they played into the game by throwing up softball questions to let Lebron stroke his own ego a little bit more. But an expected question that was met with a very curious answer stuck out to me. Lebron was asked about how he expected the fans of Cleveland to react? His response (loosely quoted) “I expect my true fans to continue to like me.” At that moment, when I heard that response
I knew that Lebron was missing the point. Here is why.

Continue Reading…

One of my new favorite things to do each and every night is watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. There is something about his humor and his take on polotics that I really enjoy and it is a good way to wind down from the day. But after a week or two of watching I realized that John Stewart is not only funny but has a lot of great points.

The video below is just one of the many examples where Stewart puts together clips and info to make a point. The big debate is over the announcement of NASA taking part in working with the Muslim World. What starts as a pretty obvious and weird idea (NASA not participating in space “stufff”) turns into a theological discourse that makes you think. 3 minutes in it gets very interesting.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Wish You Weren’t Here
www.thedailyshow.com
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This conversation was very interesting to me. Only a couple days removed from the day we celebrate our independence, I found it fascinating that freedom was at the center of controversy. Mainly, freedom of religion. Like I said before, the celebration of freedom was at the center of conversation for many, and churches took that opportunity to celebrate the fact that Christians were allowed to worship freely. I cannot help but watch this clip and see the complete double standards that are set in place.

I want to get your opinion on this video.

What is your reaction to freedom of religion? What about if the religion is not the one you practice?

*kyle

Would love for you to share this with your community by tweeting this out or maybe writing a follow up post to this video. I think this would be a very healthy conversation to have. Please participate in the conversation below in the comment stream and tweet out the link to this post.

Guest post for my little sister Kamrie. Check out her blog and minister here at http://scarletcordm.com. I guess this is her birthday present to me.

Ok Kyle! I would just like to start this guest post with the fact that today is my big brother’s birthday. First off Happy Birthday the big 24, just think one more year and you will be 25 which is half way to 50, which is half way to 100. Crazy.

Side note: I always thought it was really weird to realize your siblings getting older when really you look at them and you still see them as a highschooler.

So little background on me. I am obviously one of Kyle’s younger sisters, my name is Kamrie. I am guest posting on one particular way Kyle has affected my life.

I would like to start off with a “common scenario” of what happened in our family when the kids play a game.

Kyle, being in control because he is the oldest, usually would have three steps to get a game going:

1. Kyle would come into our “play room” where my sister, Kelsie and I were playing Barbie’s
2. He would manipulate Kelsie into playing some sort of sport, athletics’ required game. Once she was in, so was I. (these games would consist of hockey with tennis rackets, basketball football style, and occasionally wrestling on our parents water bed or reinacting WWE matches)
3. Next was teams (Kyle vs. all)

Now here is where the scenario kind of turns, once one match was over and Kyle lost he would beg us to play another. However, Kelsie knew better than to play another game for fear of getting physically hurt from the flying balls.

Kyle trying to plea us into more games would turn to me, a poor little inocensent 6 year old and say… “Come on little baby, You can’t beat me again….”

Of course, I gave in and started another type of competitive physical game. I only lost about 95% of the time to my older stronger brother. Then I would storm up the steps run to my room and cry.

This scenario happened tons of times at our house throughout my childhood.  The reason I bring this up is to display how much my brother always pushes me. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all. Kyle and I are exactly alike. We act the same, listen to the same music, and sometimes say the same things. We have always in a way pushed each other in a good way. What I mean by this is that he unknowingly challenged me to go out of my comfort zones, think differently, and live differently.
Just like when we played games, he would always challenge me to continue in something or work harder until I finally am able to succeed. I may not always beat him but at the same time I know I am being challenged to risk everything instead of just quitting while I am ahead.

Kyle you have always paved the way for Kelsie and I by challenging both of us to live life to the fullest.

No matter what you are doing we will always look to you as someone who would guide us and pave the way for us.

So Kyle on your 24th birthday I would like you to let me challenge you with a couple of things
FIRST— Relieze you are old…just kidding
SECOND—-Strive to love life and know in God’s eyes you are successful
THIRD—- Continue to seek and pursue God even when he seems like he is nowhere to be seen
I love you bro. I am glad I have been able to know you for so long and thank you for helping me to push myself when I don’t always want to. You have ignorantly paved the way for me to love God and follow in your footsteps.