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Do the work…

growthRecently, one of the shepherds here locally remarked that the preaching I had been doing over the last couple of years was in his estimation the best i‘ve done over our time working together. It’s my hope that he and all those who hear or follow after my efforts are able to say that every year. Now it may be that I have made some serious leaps recently or I was just not that able to start with… But we need to be a growing people in all aspects of our life.
2 articles I read today reinforced what I have been using to drive my own growth as a christian, father and preacher.

  1. 8 Things Remarkably Effective People Do Every Day by Peter Economy

Make today the day you change course for the better.


Image Manipulation

In my ongoing quest to improve my use of Visual Media this year, I’ve spent some time the last few weeks working with a few of my available software option to blend Stock Photos with my text.

In the past I relied on an older version of Photoshop Express, but alas that will no longer work with the version of Windows on my PC. I toyed some with the trial version of the newest Photoshop and with some of the free online options that abound, but to little long term value. I like photoshop but am unwilling to spring for the membership system they use at present. The online versions just do not let me do anything in a way that makes sense. So I have been using the image editing tools inside of PowerPoint. They are not great, but they do offer one key tool. The eyedropper.

If you don’t know what it is, you really should learn to use it. It allows you to “sample” a color anywhere on your slide and use that color for your texts, graphics, etc. It’s a fast and easy way to smoothly tie together your charts to fit a theme slide.

if you use an older version of PPT, look here:


Averting Death by PowerPoint…

Over the years I have noticed a personal tendency (and with a survey of some of the video casts of sermons online I follow, I’m not alone) to fall towards a really poor presentation habit. I often read important facts and details off my charts. It is with this in mind that I chose to make a focused study for this year that should help me restrain from doing so.

Years ago I stuck up a dialogue with then blogger, now published author Garr Reynolds (the earlier book I mentioned is the byproduct of his old blog posts)


He advocates 3 core ideas:

  • Restraint in preparation
  • Simplicity in design
  • Naturalness in delivery

They are still relevant today, and for me will form the backbone of what I’m trying to accomplish.

Guy Kawasaki promoted the 10/20/30 rule

(Keep in mind his context, Venture Capital, is not our context)

I might bend it to say, 10 slides per 20 minutes, no less than 30 pt font.

“If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.”


That’s enough for today…

Reflections from the trail…

Took the hammock out for its inaugural cold weather outing during the troop’s annual backpacking outing up to Tub Spring at Frozen Head State Park. My planning paid off with a light back and sufficient gear for a warm nest.

We had 5 of the 10 1st and 2nd year scouts with us in our crew, (with 3 adults) normally we follow the South Old Mac trail up, but this year we added the Judge Brach extension. (adding about 1/2 or so) It is rewarding to see the confidence grow on the younger scouts as they learn via adversity just how strong they can be.  it’s about 4miles up and with the 5000 feet in elevation change they can quickly reach the mind over the aches section of back packing.

My son and I headed back down the same day, and my about mile 5 my pack finally settled in. (or I was just numb) I really did not notice it anymore… Spending the extra effort to cut off needless pounds is well worth your time.

One great perk that the hammock affords on the trail, Lunch Time Seating! (and great views)

One humorous tidbit from the end of the day, while exiting the park, we encountered some other visitors stopped at the closed gate. They were on their phones apparently with 911… I feared we too were locked in.. I ventured out to check on the matter, and double check the gate… Hrm no lock… Looking around I could find no reason to see why they could not open the gate… I smiled, slid the gate open told them to have a safe trip home and carried on… I wonder how long they were stopped there…

Hello August!

With ninja levels of sneak-a-tude august will be a whirlwind of activity

  • We are rocking through a solid study of the Pentateuch Wednesday Nights is a series lead by Norm Frese
  • Sunday Mornings are filled with a contextual look of 1st Corinthians (which will be followed by 2nd Corinthians)
  • I am just about to start a package of lessons re-examining the letters to the seven churches mentioned Revelation
  • on August 23rd we’ll have our 2nd annual congregational singing timed to match the start of TTU’s Fall Semester
  • on the heels of that our Meeting with Lynn Wessels is just around the bend in the beginning of Sept.

That alone is a fairly full schedule… but August has others plans…

  • Adult Canoe School
  • HBJ Canoe School
  • A Mud Run
  • A Grand day of Vollyball and BBQ
  • Some “scout-o-rama” thingy
  • and Best of all, Jill’s Birthday! 🙂400966_422504687806939_1381732255_n

eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation

” Avoid being unclear, support being clear”

es·chew  [es-choo]
verb (used with object)
to abstain or keep away from; shun; avoid: to eschew evil.

ob·fus·cate   [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt]
verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
3. to darken.

es·pouse   [ih-spouz, ih-spous]
verb (used with object), -poused, -pous·ing.
1. to make one’s own; adopt or embrace, as a cause.
2. to marry.
3. to give (a woman) in marriage.

e·lu·ci·date  [ih-loo-si-deyt]
verb (used with object)
1. to make lucid or clear; throw light upon; explain: an explanation that elucidated his recent strange behavior.
verb (used without object)
2. to provide clarification; explain.

Communicating effectively is at the very least a challenge when the stakes are high. Even when the subject matter is of fairly low value it can be a confusing mess. The language mixes up the simple to arrive at a stellar mess!

Consider the following…

it’s a hoodie…

A hoodie (also called a hooded sweatshirt or hoody) is a sweatshirt with a hood. They often include a **** sewn onto the lower front, a hood, and (usually) a drawstring to adjust the hood opening, and may have a vertical zipper down the center similar to a windbreaker style jacket. I am sure we could list off the vast number of variants for what most folks consider acceptable as a hoodie. Such a broad term can at times mean we need to clarify which “hoodie” we speak of. Such as the green hoodie with the biohazard symbol on it. Then there is the whole question of whether a hoodie should be considered a jacket.


One word I recently noted in a study text was the honor. For the most part it is used to convey the sense of respect due to a special subject or person. A less common use comes across with the idea to honor ones debts. The sentence in question was similar to this: “God will honor our choices, even our bad ones” Given the sentence there it might be construed that the author was suggesting that God did not care what we did. Clearly this not being the case we chase down the word tree and find its application in the similar vein as one honoring a commitment with a slight twist that God will allow us to honor ours.


Does this mean then we should never break out what I call the 10$ words? I really doubt I could. It is wise though to be aware that we might just create some unintended obfuscation when we seek simple to espouse elucidation..