I dare you….

Men and women watch this.  This is the pastor of Mars Hill Church with a message on Marriage and Men. You may not like his style. You may be confused. Don’t dump out 1/3rd of the way or 3/4ths of the way.  You may think it is extreme.  Maybe it is not balanced with the kind of Gospel message or message of grace you are used to hearing…..but I dare you to watch the whole thing.  It is more than an hour.  Give yourself the time. Then leave me a comment and tell me if you watched it!  Now I am going to watch this message from the prior week for women.


So far….I’m doing allright.

My friend Joyce sent this to me. I don’t know who to credit for creating this.  I have seen this a bunch of times, and it NEVER get’s old.  This one had a cute twist (the chocolate and credit card thing.)  It should say “So far today, I am doing all right.”

Are you wired to the web?

I follow several (actually dozens) blogs on my Gmail Reader (efficient way to scan for good info and learning about ministry, leadership, hispanic branding, photography, scrapbooking, etc…..and rarely take more than a half hour even when I email interesting posts to others….usually pastor)  One of the blogs I read is tonymorganlive.com who is a pastor and chief strategic officer for New Spring Church. He had this post.  I  use 14 of the 25 on his list (I guess I am more wired than I thought!)…..and I am going to check into the other 11 allright….especially mint.com

25 Free Web Apps That Make Life Easier

Here’s the revised list of various free Web applications that I’m using. I tried to rank these in order of perceived value they add to my life.

  1. Gmail – I’ve been using it for years for personal/blog email. Last year I ditched Outlook and am also using it for all work email. Try Gmail Labs for fun beta options.
  2. Google Calendar – We’ve been using it for family calendar for several years. Last year I also shifted my work calendar. Now my wife, my assistant and I are all on the same page.
  3. WordPress – It’s how I share daily insights about ministry, leadership and life from my blog.
  4. Twitter – It’s how I share mini-insights throughout my day.
  5. Google Reader – I made the switch from Bloglines to Google Reader within the last year. I use it to track about 100 blogs each day.
  6. PeopleBrowsr – I loved TweetDeck, but I made the switch recently to PeopleBrowsr (no “e”) because it provides a browser-based option for following friends on Twitter.
  7. YouVersion – I love being able to read, search and study the Bible online. It also adds an entirely new dimension when you can do that in community with others.
  8. Mint.com – I quit Quicken cold turkey in January, and I’ve started using this app for tracking all my personal finances.
  9. Google Documents – Whenever possible, I’m trying to shift all my word processing and spreadsheets to the online option because it makes sharing and collaboration a lot easier. This is especially helpful when working with teammates in other cities.
  10. Lala.com – This music site lets you listen to a stream of a full song before you commit to purchasing it. You can also sync your iTunes library to the site.
  11. Google Analytics – I use it to track stats for my blog.
  12. FeedBurner – This is the service I use to track subscribers to my blog.
  13. ChurchMetrics – This free service offered by LifeChurch.tv is what we use to track stats across all our NewSpring campuses.
  14. Delicious – I use Delicious to track cool churches and tag websites for future blog posts.
  15. ScribbleLive – This website allows me to live blog events. One click allows full integration with my WordPress blog.
  16. Facebook – Okay, I don’t really use it. “Fake Tony” uses it. I’m on it, though, because it’s how the world is connected through social networking.
  17. YouTube – There are other (maybe better) websites for sharing video, but everyone is using YouTube.
  18. Hulu.com – It’s my preferred site for watching television shows online.
  19. Skype – Anything that allows me to make video calls to my sister in Cambodia for free is a pretty cool service.
  20. Mogulus – This is my current favorite app for broadcasting live video from my webcam.
  21. Google Groups – When I need a private method of communicating and sharing information and files with others, I use this site to bring people together.
  22. Pandora – This is a site that you can use to create your own Internet radio station that plays your favorite genre of music.
  23. Woopra – This site is amazing. I use it to periodically monitor live traffic on my blog…though I’ve been afraid to try the instant chat with current visitors on my blog.
  24. YouSendIt – It’s a great tool for sending big files to other people.
  25. Bringo – This site places the telephone call and navigates the phone trees so that you can talk directly to a human.

March 24 release of “The Power of One”

Pre-ordering through I=tunes gets you the download a few hours early! Yippeeee.


Israel Houghton Releases The Power Of One March 24
Tue, Dec 16, 2008 @ 01:25 PM PST
Multiple GRAMMY, Stellar, Dove Award Winner Returns to Solo Artist Roots; Album Features Special Guest Vocalists tobyMac, Martin Smith, Mary Mary, Chevelle Franklin

 Israel Houghton
 Album Cover ‘The Power Of One’
 Israel Houghton

Multiple GRAMMY, Stellar and Dove Award winner, Soul Train Award winner and double RIAA certified Gold-selling artist Israel Houghton returns to his roots as a solo artist with The Power Of One.  Releasing March 24, 2009 on Integrity Music/Columbia Records, the album features the youthful and musically masterful energy that has made Israel among the most highly influential tastemakers across a variety of musical genres.  The album also features guest vocals from such genre-leading artists as tobyMacMartin Smith ofDelirious?Mary Mary and Chevelle Franklin

As a worship leader, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Israel has written or co-written 11 CCLI Top 500 favorites, creating a canon of songs that have become standards in houses of faith around the globe. The Power of One, Israel’s first studio offering after a string of highly successful New Breed live concert projects, comes with a challenge to people of faith to be as impassioned and Christ-like in their earthly walk as humanly possible.

“If you look at our albums thematically, the early ones were about the church and what God is doing,” recalls Israel.  “On the most recent records, our message has shifted into more social and global concerns, focusing on identity and the purpose of God in everyone’s life. I strongly believe that those of us who consider ourselves worshippers need to have a heart for social justice. ‘Power of One’ is the song we wrote specifically around that thought for this album.”

Interestingly, the anthemic, introspective title track was not originally intended to be recorded by Israel. “Two and a half years ago, I was asked to write a song for a mainstream artist who was looking for something based around a socially conscious idea,” explains Israel.  “At that time I was just beginning to understand the connection between worship and justice, so this song came very quickly to me. I was about to send it to the artist’s manager when my wife Meleasa asked me to play it again. When I did she said, ‘Don’t you dare send that away! The time will soon come for you to sing that song.’ Now is that time.”

From its genre-blending roots reggae and heavy rock to sanctified funk and power pop, The Power of Onefeatures songs of hope, redemption and revelation.  The songs benefited early on from Israel’s writing retreat with longtime collaborator Aaron Lindsey, whose credits include Shirley Caesar, Martha Munizzi, CeCe Winans and many more, and with Tommy Sims, whose writing, recording and performing credits range from Bruce Springstein and Garth Brooks to Bonnie Raitt and Kelly Clarkson.

“This is the first time I’ve entered into a project with no premeditation,” Israel says. “In the past I’d go into a project saying we need this kind of song here and that kind there – worrying if it would sell or if the Church would accept it. This time it was fun to go into creating a record with no rules and just do what was in our hearts…a very cathartic experience.”

Throwing out the rulebook, Israel was free to also invite some of his friends representing very different musical genres to join him on the record.  Noted rapper tobyMac is featured on the rock song “You Found Me, while the powerful gospel ballad “Every Prayer” features Mary Mary.  Well-known reggae vocalist Chevelle Franklin joins Israel on the Bob Marley influenced “Surely Goodness.”  Chevelle also joins Israel and Delirious? frontman Martin Smith on the worshipful British-rocker, “Sing (Redemption’s Song).”

The difference between The Power of One as an Israel solo project verses a New Breed album is subtle.  

“Most New Breed albums are done live,” says Israel.  “This is a studio record so it has a different energy. I get to call on any and everybody for specific sessions. The biggest question is always who’s going to play drums. The first week I used Calvin Rogers [Smokie Norful, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams]. The second week we brought in Dan Needham [Amy Grant, Vanessa Williams, Michael McDonald]. And we used Lamar Carter[Ayiesha Woods, India.Arie, Out of Eden] on ‘Saved by Grace.'”  Another special guest on the album is multi-instrumentalist Akil Thompson (son of drum master Chester Thompson from Weather Report and Genesis) who co-wrote “U R Loved” with Israel.

Writing or co-writing all the songs on the album, Israel creates music that breaks down barriers and defies categorization.  Israel uses his own multi-cultural upbringing as a reference point with a desire to draw people of all races, ages and cultures together through worship. Israel laughingly describes himself as “black kid who grew up in a white family in a Hispanic neighborhood.”

Active as worship leader in his local church, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, Houston, Israel has served as worship leader at Hillsong conferences, Franklin Graham crusades and is a featured CompassionArt songwriter and artist.  Israel also ministers through concerts in the U.S. and around the world, including accompanying Alicia Keys at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards for a performance of George Michael’s “Freedom ’90,” and as a performer at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards, taking part in a segment saluting Gospel music, alongside the likes of Aretha Franklin and BeBe Winans.  Next month (January 22) he launches on a national major market, 37-city tour with Chris Tomlin.  For the latest tour information, go tohttp://www.myspace.com/israelandnewbreedofficial.

In 1995, Israel and Meleasa Houghton founded New Breed Ministries, an organization they continue to run and that is comprised of noted musicians and singers who serve within their respective churches and together serve the Church at large.  Since then, Israel has been featured on FOX, CBS, ABC, BET, TBN and CBN, and has amassed a legion of followers that crosses generational lines with popularity across African American, Latin and Caucasian listener lines. While blasting down barriers, he has been fittingly graced with 2 Gold-selling albums, 6 Dove Awards, 2 Stellar Awards, a Soul Train Award and 2 GRAMMY Awards, one for “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album” for A Deeper Level and one for “Best Traditional Gospel Album” for Alive In South Africa.  He also penned his first book with New Breed, A Deeper Level (Whitaker House), and wrote a chapter in the upcoming The Art of Compassion charity book.

Israel Houghton is signed to Integrity Music, distributed to Christian retail by Provident-Integrity Distribution and to the general market by Columbia Records/Sony-BMG Distribution.  For more information, go towww.newbreedmusic.com.

Any struggle with lots of ideas and not enough action?

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.


Serial innovators Bre Pettis and Kio Stark came together to produce what the call “The Cult of Done Manifesto.” As Bre explains, it was written “in 20 minutes because we only had 20 minutes to get it done.” Talk about making ideas happen…

The manifesto, reprinted below, inspired technical illustrator James Provost to represent the manifesto as a poster (below). No word on how long that took…

We find this inspiring and very inline with Behance’s mission to boost productivity and execution in the creative world. Much respect to BreKio, and James!

St. Patrick’s day….

Vintage Saints: Saint Patrick

“I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Patrick

My family name was originally O’Driscoll until it was changed a few generations ago by relatives hoping to more fully assimilate into American culture after immigrating from Ireland. Though I was raised Irish Catholic, I knew virtually nothing about Saint Patrick other than the green beer, parades, shamrocks, leprechauns, and drunken Red Sox fans that celebrated in his honor every March 17th.

Technically, Saint Patrick is not even a saint, as he was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, Patrick was not even Irish. Rather, he was an Englishman who was a Roman citizen that spoke Latin and a bit of Welsh.

Patrick was born around 390 A.D. When he was roughly 16 years of age he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland on a ship where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next six years alone in the wilderness as a shepherd for his masters’ cattle and sheep.


Patrick was a rebellious non-Christian teenager who had come from a Christian family. His grandfather was a pastor, and his father was a deacon. However, during his extended periods of isolation without any human contact, Patrick began praying and was eventually born again into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Patrick endured the years of isolation in rain and snow by praying up to 100 prayers each day and another 100 each night.

In his early twenties God spoke to Patrick in a dream, telling him to flee from his master for a ship that was waiting for him. Amazingly, Patrick made the 200-mile walk without being caught or harmed to find a ship setting sail for his home, just as God had promised. The sailors were out of food for the journey, and after Patrick prayed a herd of pigs miraculously ran toward the ship, providing a bountiful feast for the long voyage home.

God Speaks to Patrick

Upon returning home, Patrick enrolled in seminary and was eventually commissioned as a pastor. Some years later God spoke to Patrick in a dream, commanding him to return to Ireland to preach the gospel and plant churches for the pagans who lived there.

The Roman Catholic Church had given up on converting such “barbarians” deemed beyond hope. The Celtic peoples, of which the Irish were part, were an illiterate bunch of drunken, fighting, perverted pagans who basically had sex with anyone and worshipped anything. They were such a violent and lawless people, numbering anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000, that they had no city centers or national government and were spread out among some 150 warring clans. Their enemies were terrified of them because they were known to show up for battles and partake in wild orgies before running into battle naked and drunk while screaming as if they were demon-possessed. One clan was so debased that it was customary for each of their new kings to copulate with a white mare as part of his inauguration.

Unique Missionary Strategy

In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan.

Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.

Roman Opposition

Curiously, Patrick’s unorthodox ministry methods, which had brought so much fruit among the Irish, also brought much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Because Patrick was so far removed from Roman civilization and church polity he was seen by some as an instigator of unwelcome changes. This lead to great conflicts between the Roman and Celtic Christians. The Celtic Christians had their own calendar and celebrated Easter a week earlier than their Roman counterparts. Additionally, the Roman monks shaved only the hair on the top of their head, whereas the Celtic monks shaved all of their hair except their long locks which began around the bottom of their head as a funky monk mullet. The Romans considered these and other variations by the Celtic Christian leaders to be acts of insubordination.

In the end, the Roman Church should have learned from Patrick, who is one of the greatest missionaries who has ever lived. Though Patrick’s pastors and churches looked different in method, they were very orthodox in their theology and radically committed to such things as Scripture and the Trinity. Additionally, they were some of the most gifted Christian artists the world has ever known, and their prayers and songs endure to this day around the world, including at Mars Hill where we occasionally sing the “Prayer of Saint Patrick” and the Celtic hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”

For Further Study:

  • At www.ccel.org there is a free copy available of Patrick’s book Confessions.
  • Steve Rabey’s book In the House of Memory is a good introduction to Patrick and Celtic Christianity.
  • Thomas Cahill’s book How the Irish Saved Civilization is a fascinating historical look at Patrick and the implications of Celtic Christianity on western history.
  • www.ChristianityToday.com/history is the site for Christian History and Biography magazine, which is a wonderful resource that includes an entire issue on Patrick and Celtic Christianity.

missing grandpa

Saw someone today who didn’t know about grandpa’s death.  It has been a little over 50 days.  I miss him.  I don’t want to think about all the good things and the long time I had with him and the privilege of being involved in his life everyday and the best thing that he is enjoying heaven. I just want to miss him now.