Laptops Required?

There is  a lot of talk around college campuses - from the administration side of things - about the possibility of requiring students to have a laptop or a Netbook.  Some of the arguments being thrown around for such a requirement are:

  • With good wifi on campus, students could do work just about anywhere, not just in dedicated labs.  This could save money on repairing library computers, managing the time spent on them (especially on community college campuses where the # of students attending is sky rocketing), and could open up square footage for classes currently designated for computer labs.
  • If they're required they would then be covered by financial aid.  This then would give lower-income students a more even playing field with their more affluent peers.
  • It encourages "portable academic study" which these skills will obviously be more and more necessary moving forward.
  • All books could be purchased in soft-copy format, ultimately saving money for students - potentially a LOT of money.
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Book Review: Finding Organic Church

I recently read the book, Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola.  The subtitle is: a comprehensive guide to starting and sustaining authentic Christian communities.  I read the book because there's been a fair amount of buzz about it from college-age people nationwide.  I have heard of a sort of "rebellion" happening from people in this stage of life after reading this book.

If you're leading a college ministry, I'd recommend reading it.  My guess is this book will gain much more traction, especially with college-age people.  I'll explain more in a minute.

Things I liked: The book had a lot of really good insights into what biblical community can actually look like.  And, it was practical for leaders seeking to implement community in their church/ministry.  I can say that there were a lot of things I've been doing in my ministry for years and agree with.  I think any leader can gain some insights for their immediate ministry - regardless of context - from reading this book.  I can also say that I think Frank Viola (from what I can tell) loves Jesus, the Church, and is seeking to be faithful. I mean that.

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Truly Connected

I'm sure being "connected" with other believers is a huge thing for you, that is, if you're human (and a Christian).  You want to be relationally connected.  Intimately connected.  Person to person, person to people.  

We're created for relationships.  So, it makes sense.  But, what does it mean to be connected and how do we go about getting connected?  

Over the last 40 or so years we've developed a structure in our churches we like to call "small groups."  It's in these smaller groups of people we get "connected."  Well, that's the plan anyway.  There are certainly times in which this works out.  We "join" one and really resinate with others in the group.  It's more than a study, its where we connect in life with people.  Person to person, intimately.

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College-age Consumerism

There is a lot of conversation from church leaders about the consumerism of people in churches.  A consumer, well, consumes.  He doesn’t give.  He accumulates.  He takes.  He gets what he desires and then leaves.  This frustrates many of us and, I think, it should.  Some questions I’ve been asking lately are:

  1. What am I personally doing to battle this in my life?  The truth is my culture is about consumerism, so this is tough.
  2. Are there ways in which we approach ministry that may actually be enabling a consumer mentality?  At worst, creating it?
  3. Are there battles we’re not facing that we ought to be?  What fears are we giving into by not fighting those?
  4. What does our infrastructure of ministry say about the Christian life, without using words?  In other words, what would an outsider say about the Christian life if they only had our ministry as an example?  Would it be self sacrifice, or feed a consumer mentality?  How about your personal life?  What does that say to outsiders about what it means to be a follower of Christ?
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Post (College) Graduation

There is a movie out that I think hits some of the core issues college grads are faced with today: Searching for work, searching for love, and searching for self. Those are the words the trailer of "Post Grad" uses to describe the journey.  I'd say that's pretty much dead on. And then add to that the feelings of the potential of having to move back in with family.  I plan on watching this movie.  I doubt it's a great movie (at least not my kind of movie), but I do think it hits some of the core issues faced today.  Mainly, crushed dreams.  I recently wrote an article about this called, "Bachelor Degree: Passport to Privilege?"  You can find that here

Here's an E! New Exclusive about it (notice what Alexis Bledel says in her commentary). Below that exclusive is the official trailer. Unfortunately I think "Hollywood" is seeing the pressures of college-age life and addressing it before the Church does. And even though it's in theatrical form, they have made a movie that's going to relate to and address every day life better than the Church does. It bums me out.

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Cheat In College (if you have no conscience)

A few weeks ago I came across a website that allows college students to cheat on due dates, but without a “lame excuse.”  The website is  This is a very witty way of using the complexities of technology to cheat.  Very interesting to say the least.  Here’s how it works…

  • The student does not have a paper done by the assigned due date.
  • The student can then go to and download  a corrupted file (Powerpoint, Excel, or Word) – the file doesn’t corrupt anything on your computer, it’s simply not able to be opened by the person receiving the file (which in this case is a professor).
  • The student purchases the file, names it the title appropriate for the project that’s due, and emails the purchased file to the professor
  • It will likely take the professor a day or two to get back to the student describing his/her inability to open the file.
  • It may also take the student a day to get that professors email (which is likely intentional on the students part) – thus giving the student a minimum of 2-3 more days after the original due date to get the actual document completed.
  • The professor just assumes that something happened to that particular file, not assuming anything is fishy with the interaction with the student.
  • Meanwhile, the student is taking the extra time to get the assignment done.
  • Once it’s complete the student emails the actual file to the professor without him/her knowing anything that’s gone on.
  • The student is not likely to be marked down for being late because it was an “unkown error” that occured.
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I'm In His Head!

I'm sitting at Peet's Coffee and Tea as I write.  Every morning I get in my car and say, "Ok Lord, where we going?"  I know it's a coffee shop somewhere, just don't always have it planned out.  Today, it's Peet's at Bridgeport Village.

Regardless of where I go I have to drive down my street.  And every morning (well, at least 4 out of 5 weekdays) I see the same guy walking.  He's an older man, I'd guess 70 or so.  For over 5 months now I've been seeing this guy walking and every time I see him I wave.

For 5 months straight I've driven past this man, waved, and been hung out to dry - every time.  I get nothing.  No response.  A blank stare.  That is, until today.  As I was driving here this morning I saw him and gave my usual wave.  But this time was different, much different.  First off, he responded, which you'd think would be a good thing.  Especially after 5 months of being denied!  But his response was very different than I hoped.  Yeah, well, he flipped me off!

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Self Study: Chris Brown, Repentance or Remorse?

Telling whether someone is truly repentant can have difficulties. Sometime words can be correct, but actions don't follow. Other times it's in the words said that tell whether or not someone is truly other words, there are times in which you don't need to see actions/behaviors, because the words don't even match up to a truly repentant person.

The video below could be a good discussion starter on this topic of understanding repentance - it just came out yesterday. Watch the video with your small group (or by yourself) and ask some of the following questions. 

Prior to watching the video:

  • What is repentance?
  • What are some ways in which we can tell whether or not someone is repentant?
  • Do you know of any passages in Scripture that speak about repentance?
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Dreams Turn To Nightmares

I was working this morning (of course at a coffee shop) and got to talking to a 29 year old guy.  It was a good conversation.  Turns out he's divorced.  I listened to his story for about 20 minutes - probably more.  He talked a lot about his confusion and the difficulty of being in such an unstable time of life.  He, of course, never dreamed of his marriage ending this way.  His dream has now become a nightmare.  To make it even more difficult he has a child he barely sees now.

He talked a lot about his wife's decisions.  I listened for a long time and then asked him one question: "What did you do wrong?"  It's not just him, we're all really good at looking at the wrongs in others and failing to see where we failed.  The question took him back a little, but he did walk through some things he has realized.  Some were very general and ambiguous, but some were very specific.  I think he was really starting to grasp what it was he could've done differently / better.

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Speaking at Hume Lake

Last week I was speaking to a 1,000 high schoolers at Hume Lake.  It was an absolute blast, for sure.  From chapels to judging the bike jump and Gauntlet, to the cups of coffee with youth pastors…it’s all great!  I’m doing fewer camps these days so I can concentrate more on college ministry training, but Hume is one I’ll keep doing - if they keep asking that is.  Hume has a special place in my heart (and my wife’s) for sure!

I also had a chance to speak to the summer staff - what a blessing that was.  Hume hire’s about 350-400 summer staff every year.  This is on top of the 150 full-time staff (kind of a guess, but not far off, if at all, I’m sure).  I was planning on speaking about contentment and being faithful today to what God has called us to.  College-age people are looking forward to discovering what God wants to do with their life, but sometimes it’s at the expense of being faithful today.  Or, better put maybe: because they’re looking for what the rest of their life will look like, they forget about being faithful with what God’s called them to today.

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Every once in a while I have something happen that I think others might be interested in reading about. And, before it makes its way into a book, it usually ends up on a blog like this.