Sunday, November 23, 2008

Moody Bible Institute (MBI)

I am proud of MBI, I am proud of that college and the degree I received fro them. However I went to the DL Moody mini museum they have at the school the other day and saw this. No matter how awesome you are...this kind of stuff is kind of creepy.
Here is what the sign says...Ewwwwwwwww.

Friday, November 21, 2008

NEW FEBRUARY SERIES

I noticed a couple spelling errors but this is just a prototype for the series bumper, intro, and promo video. Please give me some feedback.


New Series in February from Brandon Early on Vimeo.

NEW TOY and QUOTE OF THE WEEK...

I received an amazing gift this week. Someone sent me an Amazon Kindle! This is one of the cooled and most useful gadgets I have seen in a long time. Chiropractors around the world are hating this because it is causing people put put less books in their backpack saving back stress.
  • I can buy books form amazing (so far I have not seen anything over $9.99 that I would want)
  • I can highlight a section and add a note to that section or any section and then download what I had highlighted and written...this will be great for leadership training, I can send out some great quotes and not forget where they were (because they are saved and downloadable) and I do not have to spend time typing, I just copy and past!
  • I can upload a .txt document and take it on the road with me (maybe illustrations of my sermon notes and practice...I cannot change them but I can add note and highlight areas I need to give attention to) or I can use mobipocket (PC only) that converts a word DOC, PDF, HTML, etc...to a kindle file. I am not sure the difference yet but I will try and see what this software can do. I can also email files to my Kindle with that cost 10 cents...I am not sure why I would do this when I can dump a .txt file on for free...I will probably try it though to see what happens.
  • There are other cool features like basic web...yes, I can brows the web anywhere for FREE, not great graphics but FREE! I can use it as an MP3 player, and there is a feature called NOWNOW...you send in a question and they will research it for you. Don't let one of your students get hold of this or watch out high school term papers.
I am really excited about the future or reading with my Kindle! Thank you who ever sent this to me, it will be used often.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot the quote of the week.

I was telling my wife about the Kindle and explaining what it actually was and she said, "That does not sound like a Brandon gift why would someone think to give you that?" My intern said, "Really? It is technology...it screams Brandon except for the reading part."

Little do they all know, I am very literate. Great gift...THANK YOU...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Need a logo?

This is an interesting idea. Instead of hiring a guy to create a logo you drop a note of what you need and let the graphic artists fight for it. You get great variety and it get's done at your price.
Check out http://logotournament.com

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Leadership 10Q

Here are some interesting questions and answers from some church leaders you may or may not be familiar with. I found some encouraging and interesting. Check them out over at the churchrelevance blog.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Prayer

I just wanted to draw your attention to the new tab at the top of my home page. It is a prayer tab. I have never really pulled together a prayer team to pray for me and my family and my ministry. I know people have been praying for all of these things and more...with that in mind I want to give some detail of how ministry is going. I would love it if you would join the list.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NYMC FACEBOOK...

Internet Speeds...

It is nice to know how fast my internet is running..I don't know why, it just is. Check out this online app that runs a test and give feedback to let you know if you are running slow, fast or average. Totally free too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NEW SITE...

Okay...I know I said I was putting up a new site when I bumped the blog to a new web address back in January. Well, it is here. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions, feel free to leave them here in the comments or you can email me...or call me. All the info is on the new website. check it out. www.brandonearly.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

iTunes Suggestion

Earlier this year I spoke at a winter retreat out west that brought in the band Urban Rescue. The worship was great and their CD is totally worth checking out. I love iTunes...download = free shipping. Listen to full length songs on their MySpace.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

FREE WIFI AT STRBUCKS!!!

Starbucks is finally giving out free WIFI. You need to be a Starbucks card-holders an you will receive the first two hours per day for free. A card-holder means go get a Starbucks gift card and register it HERE and you get all kids of perks...free shots, extras flavors, and free WIFI for 2 hours a day...get 6 cards and that is 12 free hours of WIFI. Since Carabou closed this year this free WIFI hangout will be very valuable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free Resource Until August 31


If you are in youth ministry and are looking for a series Simply Youth Ministry is offering one of their full series for free until the end of the month.

Enjoy...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One Year Ago...and four days

I am leaving for Great America in about an hour...I get ill on roller coaster so this is not my favorite trip. Here is what I wrote about last year about the trip...see you tomorrow.

http://brandonearly.com/blog/2007/07/all-day-adventure.html

Saturday, July 05, 2008

It's been a while

I have been so busy with life and church that blogging has fallen off my plate. I know, the three of us that read this blog probably did not miss anything but I still what to stay connected to the blog. I have been looking for ways to make life simpler and more organized. Here are a few web apps that I have found helpful for organizing life and/or ministry.

Jott...Jott converts your voice into emails, text messages, reminders, lists and appointments.
http://jott.com/


GrandCentral...This is amazing, free phone number that rings your cellphone...and way more than I can describe, check out their site.
http://www.grandcentral.com/home


Toodledo...amazing online/mobile todolist...and more.
http://www.toodledo.com


Planning Center Online...service planning. I use this to plan every hour of a weekend retreat, our staff loved it.
http://www.planningcenteronline.com/


If you are into online apps like this you really need to check out Google Docs and Google Reader, just Google them if you want to check them out.

What online apps are you using?

Friday, June 06, 2008

First And Last Letter...

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Summer Purpose Shift

Our Wednesday ministry focus is evangelism, we accomplish other things (worship in the word and song, fellowship with other believers, etc) but we make every effort to teach plain biblical truth in a relevant way making sure Jesus is our focus and clearly and creatively presenting the Gospel each Wednesday.

I struggle with our ministry purpose over the summer because our numbers drop...not because we have less people but that lower number usually equals less visitors (or no visitors). If we are not living out our purpose we need to either work harder and change how we focus on that purpose or we need a total refocus.

With our new freshmen class coming up it might not be the best to reshape the way we do evangelism, things are already so new I do not want to overwhelm and lose them. It has been a challenging year (if you do not know, this year I went from jr high director to taking over all of student ministries). I, our students, and our ministry have all gone through major adjusting...and all have played out for the better. That said repair and unity are still needed and potential core students are still on the fringe.

It seems like a good idea to shift from evangelism to assimilation for the next 2 or 3 months. To grow together as a group has great potential and benefit, surrounding and serving each other and especially this new group of students that will be joining us in a few weeks. We need to create buy-in, generate excitement, and create a Christ centered, loving atmosphere.

I need to think about how this looks. I do not want to move from solid biblical teaching to fun and games. This is not about laser tag and paintball or crowdbreakers and pizza each week, it may involve these things the idea is not to move from depth to the surface, it is about loving our students and seeing them take ownership.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Perfect System...We Are Getting Closer

THEY ARE FINALLY UNITED.....
It launched this week...VMware 2.0 Beta 2. If you own a Mac and have been using VMware Fusion then you might need to get happy about this. Right now it is free, the code is on their site...the only catch is you need to have a copy of windows. I am excited because this finally adds multi-screen viewing to work with stuff like MediaShout!!!!

Now, if it works with Halo I am set for life...If you find Halo for Mac and want to give it to me that would be great too.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Online Bibles (OLBs)

I know there are several OLBs but in case you are not familiar with them I thought I would give you some resources.

From what I hear the biggest goto OLB is Bible Gateway. 9 time out of ten, if I type a scripture
reference in Google Bible Gateway the top hit.

Another favorite in Blue Letter Bible. This OLB is packed with content; study tools, devotionals, commentaries, and more.

A newer OLB to hit the web is called youversion. The cool thing about this OLB is that it is a sort of social networking Bible. You can contribute notes and share comments and a ton of other stuff too. They just released a mobile version this week so if you have a phone that links to the net of you have a pocket devise that has wifi you can have 14 version of the Bible in your pocket.

If you search "online Bibles" you will find several sites so check it out yourself and see which you like best.

Friday, April 11, 2008

TWITTER

I am trying something new, it is pretty easy and so far not too much of a burden. I have a new blog, a mini-blog at twitter...I am not getting rid of my personal blog, but I am going to try and mini-blog more at twitter. Check me out, by getting an account and clicking "follow."

The cool thing is I will be confronted to write more because I have a twitter app on my google.com homepage, and twitter only lets you write a 140 characters. I should hit this a couple times a day...we will see.

Here is the link: http://twitter.com/uthguy9

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Idol

Nice performance...to bad they took out Jesus' name in the opening line.

Friday, March 21, 2008

ACAC Friday Night Retreat Meeting

Thought you might enjoy a video of what kept us
from the hotel conference room on Friday night.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Confession...

This is kind of a big deal, when some of you hear this you will be shocked. But I need to come out and say it...my confession is that I am officially a fruit...there I said it, A FRUIT!!!!!!! Well, not just any fruit, an apple to be exact. I have crossed over. The truth is I am sick of Windows and I needed to cross over. The switch to Apple (or to the Mac...as in MacBook Pro...I have the center one) was easy and hard. Easy because I am sick of Windows crashing or lagging or needing a hard reboot, etc. Hard because the Mac does not have the greatest Bible software and all my presentations/speaking stuff are in MediaShout (MS) and MS has decided to NOT go Mac. I will be getting Final Cut Studio 2 soon to do video editing (I did not pay $1300 for it, I needed to say that so Keri does not freak out when she reads this...actually I would freak out if I paid that). I purchased VMware Fusion...this is amazing, it runs Windows XP (so I can use my Bible software) and it integrates the two OS's well. However, it does not run MediaShout well...I needed to load up Bootcamp to get MS to work. Well I have to go...they are boarding my flight.

Homeward Bound

What a fun weekend, I had a great time with all the ACAC Middle School Students and staff but I am ready to get home and see my wife and the boys. I am sitting in the Pittsburgh airport using their free wifi. This is cool for 2 reasons: first because I have been here for three hours and this helped me pass the time and second I was able to video chat with my family. By the time I get home, the boys will be in bed so it was great seeing them tonight. Here are two pics from the video I was watching.

I love you guys...I will be home soon!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

ACAC Retreat - BLUR

The retreat for ACAC is going great. One of the students came up to me tonight and said, "That was a good preach tonight." I was honored. Tonight I shared the gospel and the group seemed to be listening well. I trust the message was clear and I look forward to hearing from the leaders tomorrow as to how well their small groups went. We are off to the YMCA in about 15 minutes. I will be heading back after the group picture but they will be there until 2am.

By the way, we had our first session at the church because we did not have a room to meet in at the hotel. The first session went great, kids laughed, the word was strong, worship was solid (thanks band for learning the new song), and the games were fun. But it still left me with the question, "Why did we not have a room?" Well, Guy...one of the student ministry pastors said the hotel was booked. When we got there I found out it was booked by the FNW. Here is a pic and I will send a video soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

PittsBLURgh

I am sitting in a great coffee shop getting some good God time and quiet time before I head into a middle school winter retreat (their theme is BLUR..ha ha ha, PittsBLURgh, I am so funny). I love spending time with middle schoolers, but I feel like I am cheating on my group of junior highers because I am not getting to spend as much time with them as I use to. I miss you Rockford!

Anyway, I will post some pictures of the youth ministry here, people I met at the airport, and I need to do a public apology and confession...the confession is kind of a big deal so I want to leave time to write it out correctly. Keep coming back throughout the weekend.

BLOG OUT...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mmmmm...Bacon!!!

I have found a gift from God on the internet. If you love bacon then you need to check out this web page. BACON!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Youth Ministry Resource

Earlier I posted a couple of cool sites that help you with video illustrations.
http://www.sermoncinema.org/
http://wingclips.com/

I was just informed of another...They all look pretty useful
http://www.screenvue.com/

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last Teaching Series

Thought I would share about our most recent series. It was actually one of our strongest and why wouldn't it be...we spent three weeks on dating and sex. Here was our schedule:

Week one: Played the dating game...yeah, just like the game show. This was what we opened the series with (played two games - one girl player one guy player) and then my wife and I took the couples on a triple date. We brought a guy to video everything and then we played the video in week 2.

Week two: Very funny and yet the message spoke to our student's hearts. We spent our time in 2 Tim 2:22...we date for a ton of reasons but we really must pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. Here are two of the videos we played in week two.


Week three: The sex talk. If you are ever looking for a guy to bring into your church, camp, retreat, bring me. But if you are looking for another guy bring in Greg Speck. Greg is a well known speaker and author. He has two great books; Living for Jesus Beyond the Spiritual High and Sex: It's Worth Waiting For. I need to thank Greg for allowing God to use him. this series really impacted our group. Here are some links to his books and a video we played showed. Parents, you may want to consider picking up the sex book and do some follow-up.

Click here for the video. Reshape your web browser to a square size and the video will look better.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Links We Talked About 3 - Messages

Not just messages but messages with media. We were looking for and talking about curriculum that contained videos, powerpoints, pictures, audio, etc...

FREE:
Pastor2Youth...sign up for a free membership and then click the "YM Exchange" in the top right corner. There are several resources in here (backgrounds, powerpoint games, hundreds or group games, and yes...messages. And if you feel you have some things great to share just submit it)

Chemtastic...Lots of good free stuff here...and message powerpoint

Pay for:
Simply Youth Ministry...also check out their freebies link

24/7...put together by a youth group, never saw it but want to check it out.

Gospel Journey...reality tv show evangelism training/evangelistic series from Dare2Share

Dean Hawk...I have never used these but there were a recommendation from within the group. There were described as creative with good powerpoints. Check them out.

Bluefish...Loads of 4 week DVD curriculum and video series

Youth Resource
...$20 for all you can download. I was in this a few years ago, they did not put new stuff up enough and it was $10 back then, but i say if you are looking for some help it is probably wirth $20, download everything you can and do not sign up for a second year...maybe every other year or so.

Links We Talked About 3 - Graphics

Here are some no-cost and/or low-cost resources for getting pictures and graphics to use in your ministry. You will need to check on the copyright when you grab pics that are not from stock photo sites and pics that are not royalty free.

These two are my favorite:
http://www.zoo-m.com/flickr-storm/
After searching go through the images, choose advance and see the other options for setting your usage.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/cfcc/
Sign up for a free Flickr account and join this group and you will see all the images. i do not understand why but if you are not logged in and not a member of their group you do not see all their pics.

Here are some others...Please add links that you have discovered.
http://images.google.com/
http://www.stockvault.net/
http://freerangestock.com/index.php

http://www.everystockphoto.com/index.php


I have not checked these sites but they claim to have lists of free stock photos:
http://pstutorialsblog.com/44/free-stock-photos/
http://www.graphicsngraphicdesign.com/freestockphotos-graphicdesigners/

If you are just looking for some solid backgrounds
for your media presentations you can't go wrong HERE. The images are solid and the price is good.
Premier Background Images Vol. 1
Premier Background Images Vol. 2

You can find other media related ministry things here:
http://www.simplyyouthministry.com/resources-media.html

http://brandonearly.com/blog/2008/02/links-we-talked-about-2.html


Here is a bonus link...this seems to be the best font site (mac and pc)
http://www.dafont.com/

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Affinity Group - Tech Nerds

The numbers were a bit low today at our 1:30 meeting. It is hard to compete with the 2 or 3 media/tech workshops that were meeting from 12 to 3 this after noon. To tell you the truth I do not want to compete with them...I want to go to them like many of you. Please check out the sessions that are in room 235 from noon to 3 Sunday. I will be in room 237 at 5pm Sunday for about an hour. Hope to see you there.

If anyone wants to do lunch PLEASE leave a voice mail with your contact number here 815-209-9953.

Look forward to lunch and or our evening session.

Links We Talked About 3 - Youth Web Site

I am no web page/html expert and I am not sure what the perfect site looks like but here are the notes from our discussion on what is needed on a your ministries site.
  • Forms (waives, medical cards, registration, etc)

  • Pics and videos (from retreats, events and just regular meetings)
  • Audio (podcast, sermons, messages) One of many podcast host is Podomatic...it's free. Free audio editor that is solid...Audacity

  • Calendar (Add; teaching series, events, retreats, guest speakers, anything to do with your group) A good start if you have a few bucks ($99) is ParentLink, check out the details.

    ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE IMPORTANT BUT AFTER A MONTH (OR WEEKS OR EVEN DAYS IN MANY CASES) OF LITTLE VALUE OF YOU DO NOT UPDATE REGULARLY.

  • Contact information (email, phone number, address)

  • About us (purpose, mission, vision)
Getting creative (more than you need but fin to have):
  • Create devotions for the kids to download
  • Read your devotions and let them download the audio file as a link or a podcast

  • Video tape your announcements and upload them to youtube and place them on the front page of your site
  • Place games on your site
  • Secret links
  • Parents and volunteer section (maybe this belongs on the first list)

If you do not understand how to build a webpage and/or you do not have the tools or money to do so consider using a myspace or facebook or blogger page as your youth ministries site. Here are some examples…and they are FREE. These are not the standard for youth ministry sites, these are just some links I found to show you what can be done...and the truth is you can do a lot more. You are only limited by your creativity.

Blog:

Myspace: One great comment about myspace was that you can lock this site so only “friends” can see it.Have your youth page and a separate picture page.If your parents are worried about their kids picture being on the web this way only your “friends” can access the pictures.This can also get parents online and connected to your ministry.

Facebook:


HUGE LIST OF FREE SOFTWARE

I really like the idea of "Open Source" software. I have a list here of some things that can be of great use. That said, not all free software is great...just free. Here is a well organized layout of open source downloads. Some of this is better than stuff you pay for but sometimes you get what you pay for...

THE MASSIVE LIST
and
A LIST FOR MAC ONLY

Links We Talked About 2

FREE JUNK
There are a ton of sites like these that are filled with great videos
www.youtube.com
http://www.godtube.com/
You can download them (that is a different lesson you and I will have to go through) The quality is not awesome but kids watch these sites so much I do not think it really matters...especially when you preface the video with, "I found this on youtube, take a look." For example take 60 seconds to watch this video I found on youtube, I used it during the dating talk and the students went crazy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6ylxWcwkUM

Ways to download youtube videos:
videodl.org
vixy.net

Movie Clip Downloads:
www.wingclips.com
(you can pay a subscription fee for better quality...but why, the clips look good to me when they are projected)
www.sermoncinema.com Like wingclips put I have not used it...may not be free

PAY PER DOWNLOAD SITES - you can watch the videos before you pay for them, some are good...most stink, that said it is still worth the look.
http://www.sermonspice.com/ (not movies, just company made spiritual videos)
http://www.bluefishtv.com/ (not movies, just company made spiritual videos)
http://www.sermonvideos.com/ (I use this, $150 for a year and you get the buffet vs pay per download...if you only want a few videos it is cheaper to get what you need)

VIDEO ILLUSTRATION SITE - No actual video, just ideas...this is $35 a year
http://www.ministryandmedia.com/ - current movies talked about but if you cannot find the clip the info can be hard to use...you would start a talk with, "have you seen (MOVIE) in the theaters yet?" Then use their info. That said they have hundreds of illustrations of videos on DVD.

LOOKING FOR PICTURES FOR YOUR POWERPOINTS?
http://www.zoo-m.com/flickr-storm/ - we should talk about how to use this (FREE).
http://www.simplyyouthministry.com/resources-media-premier-background-images-vol--1.html
http://www.simplyyouthministry.com/resources-media-premier-background-images-vol--2.html

Friday, February 22, 2008

Links We Talked About 1

Sorry Mac users...not much for you here...maybe next post.

We spent a lot of time talking about MediaShout (MS). You can get a great deal on the full version from Simply Youth. The price is normally $430 but you can get it from them for $379 and it includes about $200 worth of additional media...If you are going to get MS you would be crazy to let this pass you buy. You can learn MS buy buying this training DVD or by walking through the FREE tutorial that comes with your product...the free tutorial is pretty good.

This is not the most current list but here is a comparison chart I found that shows several different presentation software packages available. CLICK HERE.

Somethings not listed is Spice Rack. I do not know much about it but you can read their site..this is FREEWARE (and in betta, meaning still a little buggy). I have not used it because I am pretty dedicated to MS. If you use it let me know what you think. Here is/was a free resource for Mac users..iWorship...again, don't know much about it but check it out. Do your homework and get what is best for your needs...you do not want to switch around every month. This will get annoying with free stuff and costly with the pay stuff. Look for the free trials of the pay stuff, try before you buy.

If you absolutely need to go FREE, go with a proven product like Easislide or Open Song that has been around for a while.

Make your own countdown clocks...$35...CLICK HERE

What to read more...here is an interesting blog post about some of he stuff we are talking about.
CLICK HERE.

Round 1

We had some great conversation about technology this morning. I love the ideas that were kicked around, as the group leader I feel like I learned some great stuff from our conversation. I will be posting a few lists with links from our sessions so there is not one super long post. Check back all weekend and bookmark this stuff for later use.

Please add your thoughts and even add links by replying to the different posts. I look forward to our interaction.

National Youth Ministry Conference

Just arrived last night to the National Youth Ministry Conference, had a bit of trouble with the internet so I am a little slow at getting this blog up. I am running a "Tech" affinity group this weekend. This is basically a small group that will focus on media and what others are doing...basically it's a place to help those with questions and a place to steal other people great ideas...I love it. We are staying in a really nice (but small) hotel room and the conference is in the Duke Energy Center. I will be leaving comments here from our group and from the conference. Come back and see how things are going.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Really?

I found this on the web and thought it was pretty funny. Imagine that you are on the phone and you have this conversation with a Walmart employee about a cake and an co-worker.

Walmart Employee: "Hello 'dis Walmarts, how can I help you?"
Customer: " I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week."
Walmart Employee: "What you want on the cake?"
Customer: "Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that "We will miss you".
Walmart Employee: "Dat all? Okay, Bye."


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Who Loves Kittens?

These girls thinks they love them...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Family time

Just spending some time with the family by our fireplace.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Youtube

I know it is illegal to put video with a copyright out on youtube but that does not stop the public from doing it... Since the content is out there I search for it. I love watching funny clips of The Office, or a good parody, maybe a music video I have wanted to see or one I have not seen for years.

Anyway there are tons of uses for youtube but the one Owen, my oldest, and I use together most often is searching for clips of his favorite tv shows. Owen Loves the Backyardigans and while searching we found the show opening, he loves that song, it makes him so happy. After we watched the show opening we started clicking on other Backyardigans clips and we found the opening again...in Spanish. Same song, voices sound close to the original, and the cartoon was similar but Owen had no idea what was going on...



Owen can now count to 5 in Spanish...next thing you know he will be eating at Taco Bell.