Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bible Software...

I use my Logos Bible Software about every week. It is a great help because I have a ton of resources in it but also because I can take all those resources with me on my laptop. It is a pain to take a study Bible to a coffee shop much less 5000+ books. Anyway, if you are thinking about Bible software Logos just released version 4. It looks like a good upgrade but I wish they would work all the bugs out of the Mac version that just came out.

Check out all the book at http://www.logos.com/upgrade

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Special FX....

I have been playing with Adobe After Effects for a few months now. It is extremely challenging to create an effect that interesting, cool or even usable. Check out the short clip from the upcoming movie 2012...many scenes are 100% digitally created and look 100% real...WOW!

Monday, October 05, 2009


I like iTunes…all the music I buy I get digitally. I would go there every Tuesday and see what the latest releases were and maybe even make a purchase. Then I found that I could get the same music at Amazon.com for less money. I like spending less money. For instant I wanted the new Hawk Nelson release and it was $10 on iTunes but Amazon was running a sale on release day for $4. Same with the latest U2 release “No Line On The Horizon” Amazon had it for around $3, iTunes was around $10 and I saw it at Starbucks for around $15.

As much as I like iTunes and Amazon they are not the best at letting me know when music I like is coming out. Sure they have sections with what is coming out but nothing great. For this, I left iTunes and have been using a site called NEW RELEASE TUESDAY. They are pretty current and are full of information. Their niche is Christian music and they do a good job of keeping everything up-to-date.

Some features I really like at the FREE downloads and the full album previews. I was listening to the David Crowder Band’s new release Church Music a week before it was released. They add a few radio bumpers in the stream but it was not a big deal. I do find the site a bit busy, kind of cluttered and it is clear they are selling adds to keep the site up but I guess that is business. There are links to purchase music from each artist and the prices are reasonable but I buy all my music digitally, but if you want a hard copy make sure you price shop this site against Amazon and Wal-Mart.

The site has some other cool features beyond what I listed, like a new release list and coming soon list that reaches several months out. A huge list of Christian artists with a link to a good bio, twitter page (if they have one), headlines, upcoming events, music videos, and artist links for each artist. A lot of work is put in to this site.

Check it out and register by clicking the link below…if I get enough refer-a-friend points I might get a fancy t-shirt. http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/nrteam_register_invite.php?uname=uthguy9

The cool things:
Free Music
Album Previews
Artist Info
Release Dates

The not cool things:
Feels busy (too much going on)
Do not have digital downloads, Buy MP3’s from Amazon
I have never seen “Live Support” online (could just be me)

Saturday, October 03, 2009


If you are looking for a good book to not read check this out...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

In Process...

I am in the process of writing a "New Believers Guide." We saw over 170 decissions for Christ last school year. Last week was the start our our new school/ministry year and I had the privileged of praying with one of our students who wanted to give her life to Christ. We always give out a great Bible but we need to do so much more.

There are several students coming that gave their lives to Christ but not nearly 170. This makes me a little sad and yet it drives me to work hard to find a better way to follow up and connect those students to Christ and the Church.

So I would love your prayers as we develop a new believers class and as I work on a booklet/guide that will help these new family members grow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ready to Launch...

This is the first summer in my 10 years at First Free that we took a summer break from our midweek program. As we evaluated the purpose of doing ministry we saw that it's purpose (evangelism) was hitting the mark all year long but falling short (way short) in the summers. We could have changed purposes but we are already heavy on discipleship and fellowship. We could have focused on worship and ministry but that is present in our Sundays, events, bi-weekly ministry opportunities (SummerWood), mission trips (and training). We were either redoing/replicating ministry or we were running a student ministries "child care" program and that did not seem like it was honoring God. September 2nd is coing soon...that is our first ministry night back from our summer break. I feel like this break was very valuable. Other than all that was mentioned for pausing ministry here is what else we are hoping is value added:
  • Leadership is fresh and focused
  • Each series from now to next summer is planned
  • Small groups are ready and we are using the new LIVE Curriculum
  • Taking a break gave us a unique opportunity to get with our adult volunteer staff
  • We did not lose connection with students; there was still Sunday School, twice the events, 10 service opportunities, 2 Mission Trips, and we focused on individual contact instead of large group ministry.
All this said we are hoping for some big payoffs:
  • Entering ministry with freshness (mental and physical: we were getting tired. While other ministries were launching in the Spring, Student Ministries "continued" it 50 week schedule...we did not meet the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and 4th of July when it fell on a Wednesday)
  • Entering ministry with freshness part 2 (fresh ideas, ready to start instead of finding the energy to keep going creatively)
  • Prepared and excited leaders
  • And anticipation. We hope that our students are crazy excited to begin again. This could be a great momentum builder.
There is more I could say but these are the main points. Do you take a break in ministry? What do you see as benefits? Has this hurt your ministries?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Book

I am really looking forward to reading my new book "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan. Thanks to my friend Sue who went to the "Christian Retail Show" in Denver and picked up a pre-release for me. It is not available to the general public until September first. YAHOO!!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

David Crowder* Band 3...I love these...

Cool FREE font...

Watch the video too...this is a pretty cool was to make a font.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have been in a lot of weddings this summer. I kind of wish I was in this one...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Text Blasts...

I am convinced that there is no “one way” to get info to our youth but there are better ways than others. We call students, mail things to homes, use fliers, we have a youth ministry webpage, a facebook group, and the list goes on and on…

This can get exhausting but I heard that a person needs seven contacts to really remember something. Whether that is true or not it is a good idea to have your info out there in multiple forms so your audience can have access to it at their ease.

All that said we know most people have a cell phone and that cell phone is on them all the time. The text message alert has bee a hugely successful contacting method for our ministry. You can send out group messages with services like the ad based textmarks…a free or pay service (I do not recommend ad based services for youth, you have no control over the ads. I have discontinued my service with them due to the nature of their ads). You could also use a pay only service like SimplyTXT, which is a solid service, and you will never have to worry about content because it is 100% from you. While these services are great and come with different perks you still have to pay and in some cases BIG BUCKS but did you know you could do this for FREE?

Create a card to give to students asking for:
(If they are not 18 years old it might be a good idea to ask for a parent’s signature so you are not responsible for running up a students cell phone bill.)

Once these cards are filled out and back in your hands just add the info to an address/email program like Microsoft Outlook. But instead of entering their cell number in the “mobile phone” entry, enter their number in the email entry as an email address. You can find the proper extension for each major carrier below.

For example if my cell number was 815-555-1234 and my carrier was Verizon I would add an entry for Brandon Early with email 8155551234@vtext.comto my address book. After entering all the cards I would create a distribution list called “TEXTING” (or what ever you want to call it) and add all the subscribers to this list. Now you are set to send out FREE group text messages from your computer. Anything I send to 8155551234@vtext.comwill come to that cell phone as a text message and if they “reply” it comes to my inbox.

Remember that text messages are only 160 characters. Be wise with your words and keep the messages (subject and all) under 160 characters (including spaces). Also, it is a good idea to tell your students how often you plan to send messages. The students with unlimited will not care but those who pay for each message might be more cautious to sign up. I committed to sending one or two a month plus any special events or deadlines.

Have fun, run contests, give away a $20 discount to your winter camp to the first 3 people who respond to your text, pray for students and send them all a messages letting them know, add a comment to this post letting us know how you use group text messages or how you plan on using them.

Here is a list of carrier email address endings, if I am missing one you need just google it.

Alltel (10-digit phone number)@message.alltel.com
AT&T (10-digit phone number)@txt.att.net
Boost Mobile (10-digit phone number)@myboostmobile.com
Nextel (10-digit telephone number)@messaging.nextel.com
Sprint (10-digit phone number)@messaging.sprintpcs.com
T-Mobile (10-digit phone number)@tmomail.net
Verizon (10-digit phone number)@vtext.com
Virgin Mobile USA(10-digit phone number)@vmobl.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Want to go to a ministry conference for free?

I cannot pay your way but maybe you would like to watch or listen to some great online content.

Here are several links to audio and video from
Advance 09 below.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meat Cards...

That's right folks, Meat Cards, business cards made from meat. This is the thing that will take my speaking ministry to the next level.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not Much By Youtube Standards...

I know in less than 12 hours some youtube videos get millions of hits. However I am pretty excited that I have a video that is nearing Eighty-Thousand...here is it...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This has to be out on the web somewhere but I cannot seem to find it.

First let me say, did you know that you can buy a pen that you can link to your phone via bluetooth that lights up or vibrates when you get a call. Or a watch that you can connect via bluetooth that vibrates and has caller ID notifying you when your cell phone rings.

There should be software somewhere that would allow you to connect your phone via bluetooth to your laptop that will flash caller ID over your screen. I miss way to many calls sitting at Starbucks or in my basement, at my laptop with my ipod on.

Bottom line is it would be great if my laptop screen would flash and/or display the caller ID...ever hear of anything like this?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Free Kindle Books

I found out from youthministrygeek.com that Amazon has the TNIV availalbe for free right now. I went to look and noticed that the ESV is FREE too. If you have a Kindle make sure you cash in!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

24 and Strengths Finder...

As many of you know I am a fan of "24." Jack Bauer is awesome...it was a cool fight scene two weeks ago ending with a screw driver in the bad guys chest...Jack then pulled it out of the guys chest to start a truck that he needed to steal. You may also know that I am a fan of Strengths Finder test from "Now, Discover Your Strengths" and the cheapest way to take the test is to buy "Strengths Finder 2.0" and right now I am reading "Strengths Based Leadership" (I like the way they present your strengths in four domains of leadership). Anyway, I really appreciated the input one of my seminary professors gave me using the Strengths Finder and Myers-Briggs profiles...I liked it so much that I want to learn how to assess and profile people for their benefit and growth. That said, the way to learn is to practice so I am going to take a shot at assessing what Jack Bauer's Strengths Finder would be. Here goes...

WOO - This stands for "Winning Others Over". I see that Jack loves the challenge of meeting new people. He gets great satisfaction from breaking the tension in the room (maybe tension he created but still...) and making connections with others.

Realtor - It is easy to tell that Jack enjoys getting close to others. He clearly is loyal to his country and finds deep satisfaction in working hard with others to achieve the goal set before him.

Positivity - Jack is contagious. People are always after him on "24" and my friends are always talking about him (I hope J. Crew starts to sell that man bag he carried). He is able to get others fired up about what they are doing or going to do.

Harmony - When I watch "24" I can clearly see that Jack does not like conflict; he is quick to put an end to any dispute...with force if he has to. Jack looks for consensus…even thought he mostly makes decision on his own, he almost always agrees with himself.

Empathy - Jack has good discernment and can sense the feelings of others. Jack almost always knows what others are feeling or are going to be feeling before they themselves know.

Thanks for giving me this shot...I am growing and hope to nail the art of assessing soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Time...

I have been away for a while, lots of weekends away speaking and the past 8 days on a family vacation to Disney. I should be back on the blogger more in the next few weeks but if you want to follow more closely you should check a few places...

Youth Ministry Geek: Great tech in ministry page I contribute to.
Twitter: Get a free account and follow me for daily updates.
Facebook: Let's be friends...updates, pics, conversation, etc.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This is the auto slide show creating software we talked about at NYMC. They just sent me a discount code for all you attendees. Take advantage of this before the end of the month.

Here is a code that will give you $10 off muvee Reveal at www.muvee.com for the entire month of March. "10MH09REVEAL" You will be asked for the code at checkout.


For those of you who came to my tech workshop at the NYMC you know I had a bunch of free stuff and discounts. On of the ministries that cam through big time was Worship House Media. I just wanted to remind you that their discount code is "youthmin" and that is good for 40% off this month (up to a $60 purchase).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am not endorsing or bashing our new President...

I just wanted to say this is the
best Obama poster I have seen

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Weekend at Pahntom Ranch With Calvary Church

I spent the weekend in Wisconsin at Phantom Ranch Bible Camp with the youth ministry from Calvary Church in St. Peters, MO. We had a great time...here are a few pics and videos from the weekend.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Who Needs a Wii...

Best video game ever!http://puzzlefarter.com/