Sermon Notes

“A good sermon should be like a woman’s skirt: short enough to arouse interest but long enough to cover the essentials.” ~ Ronald Knox

The first step in sermon prep, after choosing a subject, is to create it in your mind and heart, and then splurge out the outline. I use a white board for that. Here’s an example. Next, prepare the PowerPoint, go over it a few times, refine PowerPoint, then create secondary materials.

Lego family

“People should learn how to play Lego with their minds. Concepts are building bricks” ~ Vitorino Ramos

Some friends of ours like to really go for it on Halloween – here they are in their home made Lego outfits at our local Halloween fair. Of course, the teenager looks angry ;).

Sermon prep whiteboard

“The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not, ‘What a lovely sermon!’ but ‘I will do something.’” ~ Billy Graham

I preach once a month at my evangelical church. First major step, after choosing a subject, is to white board out my message. Here’s a part of the board from a recent sermon.

Negative sky

A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do. ~ Chuck Norris

I typically don’t like putting these reverse images up, but the sky color on this one intrigued me.

Expensive macaroni art

The artist uses the talent he has, wishing he had more talent.  The talent uses the artist it has, wishing it had more artist.  ~ Robert Brault

So, this ‘art’ was up along a hallway in the Burlington VT International Airport (BTV). This piece, about a foot on each side, was going for $150. Can you imagine how hard this thing would be to dust?

Bird mural

This mural appears in the nursery of the Hunger Mountain Christian Church in Stowe, Vermont. What I like about it is, though obviously done by amateur artists, they strove for realism, using indigenous bird species.

Inspired art

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~ Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert)

My 6 year-old daughter’s depiction of father and mother.

Art in everyday life


“What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” ~ Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

After weeks of rain here in northern California, the sun peeked out yesterday and presented some lovely shadows, including this one from the bike rack outside of my building.  Inverting the colors highlighted the shadow nicely, and also made the door stand out in an intriguing, inviting way.

I chose the quote above because it speaks of doors opening.  I am working towards a third career, that of being a pastor and writer.  The doors seem to open up slowly, but it is what I love to do.  I am growing weary of IT, having worked in this industry for 15 years.

Going through new doors can be frightening, challenging, and require sacrifice.  But I still want to go there, enough to keep trying, more seriously every year.  One day soon, I will find myself where I’ve wanted to be.

Ceiling fan pushing air


“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who
is born of the Spirit.” ~ Jesus, John 3:8

So, I was lazing in bed last night, realizing that I had not taken my daily pic.  Well, there’s always the ceiling fan.  But the low light made the picture pretty worthless.  PicSay Pro to the rescue! 

After applying about 5 different filters to the picture, including brightness and contrast adjustments, here’s what you’ve got.  What do you think it looks like, if not a ceiling fan?

Note: the line along the bottom is the where the ceiling meets the wall.

Arts and crafts – why?


“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  ~ Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote

My wife and oldest daughter (6) went to a craft show today, and came back with this artful rendition of a small bird.  My mother would rightly categorize this thing as ‘something else to collect dust.’

I mean, they are too ‘precious’ to play with and break, so you just have to look at them collect dust.  Now, a few nice pieces of art or sculpture are really nice to have, but a house full of baubles would feel cluttered, dusty, and make me crazy!

I’d rather have my kids involved in real nature – real bird watching, real bird feeders.  Hmmm.  I think we need a bird feeder at home.  My cats sure would like one ;)

Why blogging takes so much time – templates


“Form follows function – that has been misunderstood.  Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

This picture is of Larry’s 365 site.  It looks better than mine – you know why?  It’s not just because he’s intelligent and good looking, it’s because he’s using WordPress, and I’m on Typepad.  Unless I go get some custom template (and there aren’t half as many for TP), I”m stuck with TP’s templates.

What can we learn from this picture?

  1. Half the time spent on blogging, for a lot of us, is spent tweaking the look and feel.  Yes, we know that content is the most important, but who wants a blog that looks so pre 2000?
  2. I have a nice 21 inch second monitor at home, set up in portrait mode, for browsing.  It is SOOO excellent, everyone should do it.  Now, to get a third monitor so I can have two of the portrait ones and one landscape. 
  3. Larry may be a better photographer than me – but hey, he does that as a pro, I’m just a guy with a cell phone. 
  4. WordPress may be better than Typepad.  But I have all my blogs at TP, so I ain’t moving soon.