I have art for sale. Asking $1.5 million.

Thank you to everyone for the kind words and birthday wishes!  It’s a great day. 

My 7-year-old daughter set her alarm and woke up early so she could fix me breakfast in bed.  I had eggs, toast, bacon, and hot coffee.  She also made me a sculpture commemorating our largest achievement of the year; she learned to ride her bike.  More on that later.

My wife and in-laws treated me with tickets to Spamalot, a cultural juggernaut and right up my alley! 

My new job is going well, and if things go according to plan a new office will be in place at the end of the year.  My very gracious employer has already agreed to leverage our grand opening as a fund-raising event for a local children’s charity.  Details will follow after the holidays.

All that to say, I’m enjoying being spoiled! 

I would like to ask a favor.  Check out WorldOrphans.  Their model is one I dearly love.  They empower a local church to meet the needs of their community and then help them create the means to become self-sustaining.  I’ve seen widows and widowers take on six to ten kids and begin their own families.

I would like to ask your help in a couple of ways.  One, post their link to your profile, Twitter, or blog.  They are working in so many areas of the world, you might create a supportive relationship by introducing them to someone in your network.  Two, consider giving a small gift. 

A friend once asked a very legitimate question, “Why are we “helping” orphans in Africa when we have so many challenges right here at home?”  Personally, I don’t care if it is Africa, Haiti, China, Ukraine, or America… one less orphan is one less orphan.  One child with a bed is one less child on the street.  I don’t care where in the world it happens, it just needs to happen.  If supporting World Orphans isn’t of interest, then maybe one of these others are: 99 Balloons, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter.  Or, if you dare, find one near you and give to them.

Being born was great and all, and I would take the credit but Mom really did all the work; however, it would sure go a long way if I knew being born helped someone I would never meet.

Marlow's First Bike Ride

And regarding the artwork:

It is my daughters sculpture of her riding her bike.  The sculpture materials are drinking straws, wire, rings and duct tape.  It’s currently on sale for $1.5 million.

Thanks again for your kind words and for making it a great day!!

Halloween vs. Fall Festival

Another great observation by a friend of mine today got me to thinking about the church’s reaction to Halloween.  And in my typical fashion, I started looking at the holiday and what the church might consider in its marketing strategy.  Before I go too far into my diatribe, I should preface this with some ground rules:

  1. I’m referring to churches that like to provide a “Fall Festival” or seasonal event as an alternative to the traditional Halloween party or Trick or Treat experience.
  2. I’m also making the assumption that these fall festival events are meant as some type of outreach to the community.
  3. Finally, I’m making the slightly cynical assumption that like our fair town, it seems every church on every corner has their own variation on the same theme.

Speaking as someone who enjoys strategic marketing I wanted to pose some questions and perhaps an idea or two.  In my past experience with Fall Festivals, Judgement Houses, Harvest Festivals, or whatever you want to call them; it seems to me the primary objective was to provide an alternative to Halloween.  Is this perception correct? If so, then it begs the question, are we as Christians providing these fall festivals as an alternative to Halloween for the sake of our own membership?  I submit that most churches promote these events primarily to their own church body.  Yes, it is certainly open to the community at large and church’s are rightfully excited to have visitors attend the event; however, the vast majority of those that attend are already members of that body.  The effect of such an effort then actually works AGAINST what the church would like to achieve.  Rather than it being an effective outreach tool, it becomes another event insulating the congregation even more.  The perception being, the church is less in touch with its community.

If the church really wants to make inroads into the community it would seem necessary to change our perspective.  Rather than have an event at the church, which is one of the last places a non-church going person would think to go on Halloween,  it would seem vital to get into the community somehow.  What if the church encouraged families to stay at home and pass out candy to revelers?  What if little notes were given out with the candy sharing God’s sweet love with a sweet treat?  Take it even further…what if strategic homes were decorated with stories from scripture to teach lessons?  I would be happy to turn my garage into a lion’s den.  I would invite all the kids in to meet Daniel (played by someone who is not so bright).  I’m sure the wild nature park would loan me a couple of lions to pull it off. 

Joking aside, the reason for this logic is simple.  If the same number of church goers stayed at home and passed out candy with a positive message to kids in their neighborhoods, a far greater number of non-church going individuals would be touched. 

My discovery today was this; until we start questioning why we do what we do we’ll continue doing what we’ve been doing without really knowing why we’re doing it.

Selling everything and moving to Dubai!

The Caubble Family

Well, ok… just a little misleading.  No, the Evans family is not moving (sorry to disapoint you).  And no, that picture has nothing to do with the Evans’ either.

I just found out about this family and have been reading their blog.  It’s inspirational and exciting.  Check out their story.  I hope it challenges you as it did me today. 

John, Leslie, Jonathan (13), and Jared (11) Caubble are currently preparing to relocate to the Middle East. Their blog is designed as a communication tool with family and friends. For more ministry updates, please email John at jcaubble@gmail.com.

Kids from Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter

There will be a special event from 11:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, October 16th.  Tickets are $25. 

The theme is a sustainable Tailgate Event and it will be family friendly.  There will be separate areas focusing on games and activities for children and they will have multiple interactive areas for guests to learn about sustainable efforts. Jack Ingram will be performing at the halftime show. 

Check out their website.

Cobblestone Project

Cobblestone Project

A Great Story

 

I had an interesting visit today.  Ever have the experience of hearing of someone’s name in a variety of different circles and then you finally work up the nerve to meet them and it was everything you hoped it would be?  It feels a little like meeting a celebrity.  Which reminds me, I saw George Lopez at a coffee shop this morning during our meeting…  Weird…  Anyway, I met a guy that I admired just from the stories I heard about him.  His ideas are imaginative, relevant, authentic, and making a difference!  I was most impressed with his conviction.  He decides he wants to help orphans, so what does he do?  He starts by adopting a child.  See what I mean?  Simple, shocking, sold out, committed, no turning back kind of commitment.  His local efforts were born from relationships from church and friends.  He takes time to assess and then decides to move.  I was impressed that instead of being content with doing “church”, it was people simply deciding that doing life together had more value.  Sharing stories, getting ideas, and taking action.  We had an hour to visit and it flew by.  I left the meeting having no idea what the next step was.  I’ll just say this.  Take a few minutes to check out, The Cobblestone Project.  Browse through it for a while, and then see if you get a simple, practical and fun idea on how to improve your corner of the world.  Let it challenge you.  By doing so, you’ll add your cobblestone to the path.  And if you stumble on an idea for me… let me know.