Thursday, August 28, 2008

Creating a Church Website Resource List


When summer began, Chase Replogle, a talented senior at CBC, and I began working on Central's new website. A part of the entire process also involved developing an official style manual and maintenance team for general communications at Central Assembly. It was a massive undertaking to be sure. Emerged from the fire of web research, endless meetings, and over 6 working proofs in 3 months, we have finally finished (for now). I'm sure the refinement process will never end as can be expected but the tool we have now surpasses anything we have ever utilized. Take a few minutes to check it out. Thank you to all you helped in the process: Jesus, Carmen, Jill, Chase, David, Kyle, Steph, Cheri, Sharon, Church Marketing Sucks, Jane, Daisy, the Gadds, Ashley, Carter, Dylan, Carrie, Joel C.

Below is a list of web resources we used to create Central's website. Although we are not experts, we were able to accomplish the entire site in house, saved $$$$ on design cost, reduced fixed monthly expenses by half, and are extremely happy with the final representation. The list counts down in order to highlight our most valuable resources least to greatest.

12. Colourlovers - Colourlovers is great to help the process of selecting a color palette.

11. KeepVid - Although we did not use this software on the final site, it helps you to download any video online to a quicktime file straight to your desktop.

10. Blue Host Web Hosting - Easy choice here. Simple, stable, and cheap.

9. iShowYou - Mac software which allows you to record tutorials of your screen activity. We used it to record the video tutorial for online giving.

8. WordPress - WordPress is the platform we decided to use for Pastor Jim Bradford's blog. We tried Google's blogger but the name was already taken and Wordpress's features seemed better for our needs.

7. PayPal - The PayPal business plan met all of our needs for online giving especially since we do not currently need full merchant account services.

6. Constant Contact - When considering our e-newsletter solution, this industry standard was the winner. There are other less expensive options but only by a small margin. The benefits far out weigh the slight extra cost.

5. Podbean - Podbean is a great solution for hosting weekly messages (aka podcasts). They give plenty of storage for our 4 weekly podcasts.

4. CushyCMS - We debated over whether a content management system was the best platform for us. The clear decision came down to realizing that 80% of our new site would be static or rarely need changing. CushyCMS was an easy and free way to incorporate a CMS platform in the areas we needed dynamic text capabilities. Our news page under "I'm a Regular" is one of our CushyCMS pages.

3. Wufoo - WOW!!! Wufoo literally saved us hours of programming. Because of its form generating software at a reasonable price, we are able to easily build and/or modify forms for any site we design fast (e.g. online giving, micro sites, etc.).

2. MediaLab's SITEGRINDER - IRREPLACEABLE!!! What more can I say? Without Sitegrinder, there is no way we could produce a single page on our own. Sitegrinder gives you the ability as a designer to produce HTML/CSS code by labeling the Photoshop layers. The look of the whole site was designed with it.

1. Adobe Photoshop - The main reason why Photoshop is number one is because we needed it to design the website and then grind it out using Sitegrinder.

Add your comments if you know of anything that is better in its field. Also, if you need more information on any of the products listed let me know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What do you want to GROW up to be?


In our current series at Central, we ask the question "What should we look like when we GROW in Christ?" A disciple should reflect the GROW values which we study once every year.

G.R.O.W
G - Generous Hearted
R - Relationally Connected
O - Outwardly Focused
W - Worship Centered

You can check out the message here.

Heb. 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Backpack Truth


This past weekend in El Paso I met a great hip hop artist/apologist named Vocab Malone (real name John-Mark). Who would have ever thought the hip hop and apologetics would be found in one's gift set? Not only is he a legit hip hop artist with my favorite song "Happy Hardcore," he has some good material to help people address some common hurdles in understanding faith in Christ. Check out his blog for some resources and personal helps in apologetics. His blog is Backpack Truth.

Looking forward to heading home tomorrow to Springfield and seeing the family.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DESIRE 08


We had a fantastic night kicking off DESIRE 08. I met several new wonderful bi-lingual friends. I gave a shout out to all the bi-lingual students and there was a thunderous eruption of applause. Although the picture is grainy from my cell phone, my new skater friends are really like having a prep-neck for their speaker!

Friday, August 22, 2008

DESIRE 2008 in El Paso

Long after bedtime, I was sitting in my hotel room putting the finishing touches on my messages for DESIRE 08. I have already invested hours in prayer and preparation. My assignment is to inspire a DESIRE for God in students returning to school beginning Monday here in Texas.

I heard Mark Beeson say once "I live in the tension between God's call and my weakness." It seems no matter how much preparation goes into any talk, they aren't finished until the final prayer of the night. I wish I could finish and go to bed. I can't do it. Maybe if I was smarter, more creative, or more articulate, it would be easier. Maybe not?

I will talk on Fighting the Good Fight (1 Tim), Not looking Back (Phil. 3), and the Substance of Life (John 15).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Starbucks, AT&T, and Talking


Sitting at Starbucks again with my AT&T wireless service, Pike Place coffee, and creating (with God's help) several talks for the next several weeks. In New Community service tonight we are wrapping up our True Religion series on 1 Timothy, also finishing the camp messages for El Paso (so fun!!), and starting the preparation for a CBC class on 1 &2 Thessalonians. Having a serious filing system and electronic storage of my files has never been more helpful.

One thought I came across this week worth sharing is related to troubled marriages. When we encounter traumatic times in our marriages, we shouldn't focus of restoring what was there previously but rather rebuilding completely new and healthy. Great concept - - restore vs. rebuild.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Awww! Andy's Frozen Custard


One of the joys of living in Springfield, MO is Andy's Frozen Custard. The company specializes in frozen custard-based desserts. Andy's is well-known for their pie concretes, where slices of pie are blended into the frozen custard. Chloe and I enjoyed the Key Lime Pie concrete Saturday night. If you could not tell, we are happy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Starbucks and AT&T


Last week I made the switch to DSL internet service from having cable internet. I was kind of skeptical at first but the deal AT&T offered was DSL for $20 cheaper, free internet service in Starbucks, and some airport terminals. Although I dont travel a lot, the Starbucks option was appealing. Today is my first day using the internet at Starbucks and it is great. Because the internet at our Fusion offices moves at the speed of a glacier, it feel blazing fast.

Starbucks and AT&T are my friends today.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sleepless Nights

Some nights I struggle to fall asleep so I thought I'd type out a few thoughts. Does anyone know why the brain does not shut down sometimes? Stress? Too much on the mind? Not enough exercise? Of course, it could be the lack of running which helps me unwind.

Spoke in big church tonight on the topic of priorities. Transformation, love, calling, and joy were our points of thought for tonight. I am consumed with the concept of transformation because it is so often neglected in our spiritual pursuit after God. To become like Christ though, we are going to have to morph.

I am looking forward to a great week and cannot wait to catch some more of Phelps swimming. He is a history maker (literally).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Conference Withdrawls

I am going crazy from not going to a conference this year. It is my own fault because I am saving to go to Israel at the end of the year. I have been reading some great posts on Willow's Summit this year. One quote "If you want your leadership to matter, lead in the things that matter to God."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beautiful Connections


I was looking at one of my Toledo friends, Noel with Remembering the Day Photography, blog and it inspired me to post a picture that reminds me of the beautiful commitment and connection between Daisy and me. Babe, I love, appreciate, and respect you. My God give us His riches ( cause I do not have any) and our desires.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.