granola and a few other thoughts

Since Tonya and I have been trying to "count our points" each day, I've discovered a new attraction to granola. Granola bars, granola cereal, granola in my yogurt. I have consumed more granola in the past month than in the past five years. Yummy!

I've also been working on the drafts of a new direct mail campaign for LifePoint. To keep costs down, we're handling the design in-house and it has been fun to stretch a bit. You can view the first working samples here. These are scaled down to 800px width and compressed for quicker viewing. The originals are much bigger (6x9).

Last Sunday we had our first guest speaker -- Steve Denney. Steve and his wife, Ali, have relocated to San Diego to start a new church downtown. I've grown to enjoy Steve's friendship and we hope to be supportive in whatever way we can.

Our worship band continues to get better with each Sunday. A few weeks ago we fielded a band that included an acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums. Every now and then we'll throw in an organ blend just to mix it up. We've been blessed to have God assemble a talented mix of musicians with servant hearts.

Tonya and the girls only have about 10 days of school left and then they will be out for the summer. Tonya will be teaching third grade in the fall (she's been teaching first grade) and she's excited about the change.

Tip of the day: Nature Valley's "Oats and Honey" granola bars only have four points total.


a few attempts at humor

Since redesigning the newsletter at LifePoint, I've included a side column that features a bit of humor. A few samples should suffice ...

Forgotten Bible Slogans

  • When it comes to building the perfect ship, nothing works better than gopher wood.
  • Prophets may rock but shepherds rule.
  • Why betray a friend with a handshake when you can do it with a kiss?
  • Rebellion isn’t cool.
  • Don’t blame the locusts.
  • Healthy miracles are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
  • In hell, all the coffee is cold.
  • Love your neighbor but choose your neighborhood wisely.
  • Recycle your papyrus.
  • WWJD: What Would Jesus Drive?
If Church Were More Like Starbucks
  • Worship leaders would be called worship baristas and be expected to remember your favorite songs.
  • Communion would taste more like biscotti.
  • With leather seats and catchy music, you might actually be tempted to stick around when it's over.
  • Your favorite song would have ten different words in the title, one of which would be soy.
  • Contribution gift cards.
  • T-Mobile Hot Spots in the sanctuary.
  • Angry neighbors would complain about the “gentrification” of their neighborhood. And then they would come anyway.
  • Church newsletters would carry the disclaimer: Caution Contents Are Very Hot.

Songs You May Never Hear Quoted at LifePoint

  • Shoplifters of the World Unite (The Smiths)
  • Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes (They Might Be Giants)
  • I Love You But You're Boring (The Beautiful South)
  • I Got My Mojo Working And I Thought You'd Like To Know (The Young Fresh Fellows)
  • All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother (Charles Mingus)
  • A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But for Very Good Reasons (Sufjan Stevens)
  • We the Cats Shall Hep Ya (Cab Calloway)
  • Kicker Of Elves (Guided By Voices)
  • Satan Gave Me a Taco (Beck)

news in bits and pieces

I normally get gas at a local independent station that's around the corner from our house. It's close and convenient, and generally cheaper than other places. The owner seems a bit fiesty, in a good way. Not too long ago, he posted this sign: "Fight Back: Drive Less."

Today I needed gas and stopped at a different station. After swiping my debit card and starting to pump, I heard these voices and realized that they were showing CNN on the credit card screen. On the pump. It was one of these "real crime" shows that feature combative attorneys and "forensic experts." Even though gas costs more, it still takes the same amount of time to pump.

As I was pumping my gas and getting my news at the same time, I thought to myself ... "This is absurd." Now, I must confess, I actually like the idea of having something to occupy my five minutes of pumping. Otherwise, I might be tempted to do something exotic like clean my windshields.

But how can you absorb the news in such little bursts of time? The truth is, you can't. You can't make sense of it because it's just mental spackle. It's just there to fill the cracks in your day.

Even though our culture encourages us to be disjointed, we have to be intentional about staying connected in a meaningful way.


new coach

Since the pre-launch days at LifePoint, I have been blessed to have had Bruce White as my planting coach. During those days Bruce was also serving as the director of church planting for the Southwest Region of Stadia: New Church Strategies. Earlier this year, he made the decision to return to the staff of Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton (click here to see his staff picture).

Since then, I have been given a new coach -- Dan Scates. Dan's main job is serving as the multi-site minister for LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado, a church of about 3,000 people. Dan is also coaching other church planters.

Why mention all of this? Because I believe every new church pastor needs a coach.

pizza with the pastor

Starting in June, we'll be hosting a regular "pizza with the pastor" at LifePoint. It will be a time for regulars and newcomers to hear the LifePoint story as well as our vision for the future. And there will be free pizza ... hand-tossed by the pastor.

hand tossed pizza chicago style


rediscovering church

Our new series at LifePoint will focus on rediscovering the church that reflects God's heart. We'll be using the book of Acts as our roadmap.


how NOT to share the message of Jesus

Click here to watch a video on how NOT to share the message of Jesus.

potential direct mail campaign

Below are some rough drafts of a potential direct mail campaign we may run for LifePoint. Comments / suggestions are welcome.


mourning in the internet age

I paste the following article for your consideration. I receive these daily emails that deal with electronic marketing, internet trends and issues, etc. This came today.

Thursday, May 18, 2006
Mourning In The Internet Age
By Max Kalehoff

Relationships--whether physical or in the virtual world--are the fabric of life, and one inevitable fact in life and relationships is death. So it is natural that as the Internet and social media become more ingrained in people's lives and identities, death and mourning will follow accordingly. We're so early in the evolution of the Internet that death is not something we intuitively associate with the Web, nor is it something we completely understand. But one thing is clear: we all will eventually embrace its presence and impact.

For the living, social media can play a massive role in the mourning process that follows death. It can enable more efficient communications with our immediate and extended personal networks. For example, a blog or e-mail group could be set up to communicate key details and updates to family members, friends, colleagues and distant contacts, either at home or across the globe.

The Web also can serve as an important platform for expressing grief and emotion, as well as a tribute to the deceased. In reference to social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, Warren St. John recently wrote in The New York Times that "personal Web pages have suddenly changed from lighthearted daily dairies about bands or last night's parties into online shrines where grief is shared in real time."

Of course, the Internet has been encroaching on death and the mourning process since the advent of the earliest online communities, such as USENET and proprietary discussion boards within Prodigy and AOL. Mourning also is evident on patient and wellness support communities like WebMD We're also seeing mourning occur on more personal interactive platforms, like personal blogs and uploaded home videos on YouTube. In a society that often treats its pets like humans, we also see pet mourning extend online, as with the tribute to Sam, the world's ugliest dog And virtual gathering spots like MySpace are spawning a new breed of directories and obituary sites for the deceased.

I don't mean to sound morbid, but it will be interesting to see how the Internet continues to shape death and mourning as we know it. I'm sure we'll see a lot of privacy issues factor in, as personal identities created online must be dealt with when the people who created them die. This will probably become a standard line item in our wills, and in estate cases. I'm sure search-engine indexing will be called into question. We're in uncharted waters, and this is an inevitable trend we all must think about.

What do you think?

Max Kalehoff is vice president of marketing for Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a global measurement service for consumer-generated media.


what's in a name?

I received an email this morning from an old college friend who had just found our website. In his email, he asked me why we chose the name “LifePoint.” That’s a great question!

Since we’re neither Baptist nor Methodist, using those names were out of the question. One of the drawbacks to being non-denominational is that you lose potentially catchy names like “First Baptist.”

But seriously, we chose LifePoint because we believe there is a point to life. Every life is a gift from God and therefore every life has a purpose. Ultimately, the point of every life is to find its way back to God.

Though we often refer to ourselves as simply “LifePoint,” the other two words in our name are not insignificant. Our full name is LifePoint Christian Community. We are unashamedly Christian, believing that Jesus is still the way, the truth, and the life.

We also like to emphasize the relational side of church. A community is a collection of diverse people who are learning to live alongside each other. That’s what God intended the church to be.

What’s in a name? Quite a bit.


old college reunion of sorts

As some of you know, Tonya and I no longer work in the denomination in which we were raised. Back in 2001 we felt God leading us into a more contemporary, relevant environment and it all ended up with us starting LifePoint.

But we still have many friendships and relationships from the "old" days. A few weeks ago at the Pepperdine Bible lectures we ran into a few former classmates from college. Here's a picture or two ...


hijacked by high schoolers

My favorite open mic is quickly becoming by high school students! The audience is becoming more and more teenage and young teen at that. Unfortunately, I think this may be keeping some of the "older" artists away because it's not a listening audience. In fact, it's a rather rude audience. I'm not getting THAT old ...

the clutter gnome

Every now and then I get to feeling a bit goofy and I'll make up a graphic for one of my messages. The first one below is the "clutter gnome," the little guy who sneeks in your room and messes up your papers. The last one is the background we've been using for this series.


lifepoint podcast

Just a reminder ... we podcast our weekend teaching series and you can find it here. It's also available by doing a search at iTunes.

pepperdine bible lectures

It's a rough life ... first off to Orlando for the National New Church Conference and then to Malibu for a week-long Bible conference at Pepperdine University. For those of you who haven't visited Pepperdine's campus, it's definitely not Kansas State. The campus is built into the Malibu hillside with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean. It's absolutely incredible. My college offered not-so-dramatic views of Dairy Queen.

After a second week of classes and workshops, I'm ready to be a regular joe again.


a great cafe!

It's not very often that I use an exclamation point in my blog heading. Especially since I've been using all lowercase letters and to use proper grammar seems out of place ...

But last night's cafe was worthy of an exclamation point. We featured two local artists -- Dustin Shey and Gregory Page. Both did a fantastic job. Dustin went solo, just him and his acoustic guitar. I first met Dustin back during the pre-launch days of LifePoint. It was good stuff.

Gregory Page is the first artist I've invited to the LifePoint cafe that I hadn't first met in person. He's very well-known in local music circles and I can see why. He brought along an awesome female vocalist and a violin player. He himself started off with the ukelele and then went to the acoustic guitar. It was fantastic ... in spite of our demon-possessed sound system that seems to have a mind of its own.

We'll be hosting another cafe at the end of this month ... stay tuned.