Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Joe Montana and the Empty Wallet

Creative Writing assignment. idea taken from/inspired by:

Write a monetized micro-story. 300 words or less. Give your story a title.

[mine comes in at over 500... oops]

Joe Montana and the Empty Wallet

It was a rainy afternoon in the fall of yesteryear. The family station wagon, yellow and rusted, was filled: mom and dad up front, older sisters one, two and three in the middle, me in the back. It was the monthly Saturday shopping trip to the discount store. All of the women of the family went in, the men stayed in the car. I was no man, though - a mere 7 or 8 - but I felt like one now sitting in my mom's front seat next to my dad, listening to news radio.

And we waited… and we waited… and waited some more. My dad said "It's what men do… wait on women!" Then he laughed. I didn't. I was impatient. My mind began to think of all the things inside that department store that i would want. I made a list in my head. My eyes grew big and my heart began to race. I knew what could make the torment of waiting be forgotten and forgiven.

Football cards. Yeah. Football… I had begun collecting trading cards a few years earlier, mostly baseball but this was a November Saturday. It was football season and I wanted football cards. I didn't want the measly single pack with 15 cards, I wanted the three pack with 51 cards, wrapped in cellophane, no doubt hanging near the check out counter, luring young boys to nag their parents to buy them.

Now all I had to do was get in the store.

My dad, enjoying the newscast wouldn't budge. I asked my dad if I could "please, please, please get a pack of football cards?"

"I don't have any money" my dad said. I didn't believe him. What kid does when a parent says that? Of course he has money. He's a dad.

I pressed him more and more… begged… pleaded… begged some more. With raised voices, we went back and forth.

Then finally, the moment of infamy arrived. Looking me square in the eye my dad firmly spoke "I don't have anything."

I asked him to show me his wallet… a no no for kids… but he did it… he opened it up… and there, inside was a crisp one dollar bill. no other bills but one. Gazing at his last dollar, I asked if I could have it and he obliged.

That rainy Saturday afternoon, at the age of 7 or 8, I took my dad's last dollar, went in to the store and walked out with a cellophane wrapped pack of 1882 Topps football cards. With a Joe Montana action shot staring at me through the clear plastic wrap, I was now in heaven.

Twenty five years later as I said my last goodbyes to my father, all I could think of was that rainy Saturday afternoon when he literally gave me all that he had, in order to bring me just a fraction of joy wrapped in cellophane. Even though my dad is no longer with me, I still have that Joe Montana card. It now serves as an everlasting reminder of how great my father really was and how a measly gift of a dollar bill can have lasting effects on one's life.

~Tim Beck
Oct 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

what's next for church.

When the form changes, so does the underlying business model, which of course changes the function as well.

Mail ---> email

Books ---> ebooks

DVD ---> YouTube/Netflix

1040 ---> Online taxes

Visa ---> Paypal

Open outcry ---> Electronic trading

Voice call centers ---> forums and online chat

Direct mail ---> permission marketing

In each case, the original players in the legacy industry decided that the new form could be bolted onto their existing business model. And in each case they were wrong. Speed and marginal cost and ubiquity and a dozen other elements of digitalness changed the interaction itself, and so the function changes too.

The question that gets asked about technology, the one that is almost always precisely the wrong question is, "How does this advance help our business?"

The correct question is, "how does this advance undermine our business model and require us/enable us to build a new one?"

There are projects that are possible with ebooks or Kickstarter or email that could never have worked in an analog universe. Most of the money made in the stock market today is via trading approaches that didn't even exist thirty years ago.

When a change in form comes to your industry, the first thing to discover is how it will change the function.

~Seth Godin

how does this message relate to the church and its future?

"When a change in form comes to your industry, the first thing to discover is how it will change the function."

i believe that mainline denominations have considered the changing of church but i don't know that mainline denominations have ever considered how it will change its function. society is changing. culture is changing. how we communicate, interact and gather information is changing. social media and technology surely have showed us just how magnificent and powerful that medium can be. just look at the civilian uprising in the mid-east. Social media played a significant role in its progress. people mobilized quickly because of Twitter and Facebook and as a result, a series of revolutions.

the world is changing rapidly. but is the church?

if we, the church, are asking the question (and many of us are not willing to consider asking) perhaps we are asking the wrong question.

The question that gets asked about technology, the one that is almost always precisely the wrong question is, "How does this advance help our business?"

The correct question is, "how does this advance undermine our business model and require us/enable us to build a new one?"

how does the advancement of society, social media, technology or whatever new thing is on the horizon undermine not our message of Gospel (for it is the same yesterday, today and forever ) but our business model (how we 'do' church) and require us to build a new one? i don't know if we are truly willing to build a new model for living and doing church. but i am hopeful that there may be some willing to try.

i think Seth's post, although about business, is hearty food for thought for any church planter or redeveloper. other leaders of congregations should take notice as well, for the good of the church and for the sake of its survival.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away last night. this is my tribute.

(posted last nite)
Steve Jobs was a brilliant man. a revolutionary. a visionary. a great thinker who saw the potential of '1000 songs in your pocket' and sold us on why we needed it. he designed products with class and a sense of style, with operating systems that were simple and stunning, that made us awestruck. i bought in to his vision and my life is better because of it. he inspired me, my wife and my 8 year old son who boldly proclaimed 3 years ago 'i want to be him when i grows up.' Thank you Steve and rest in peace.

(posted this morning)
i type this today while perusing the internet on my iMac. when i head to work in a few moments, i'll take calls, listen to music and check e-mail on my iPhone. when my wife gets going, she'll edit photos for her photography business on her MacBook Pro. my two year old will then play educational games on the iPad and when my other kids get home from school, after finishing their homework and playing outside, they'll no doubt play on the iPod. Thank you Steve Jobs for being an integral part of every day. Again, rest in peace.

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. ~Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: Cult Hero
Steve Jobs: Font Innovator
Steve Jobs: Key dates from his life and work
Steve Jobs: Design Perfectionist
Steve Jobs: Impact on the sports world

This commercial introducing the Macintosh computer premiered during the 1984 Super Bowl. It signaled the beginning of a whole new way of looking at how humans could interact with computers and technology.


Think Different

think different. that is one of many things i will take from Steve Jobs. Think different. Dare to change the world.

Thanks Steve. You gave us what we didn't know we needed.

you will be missed.

Some key dates from the life and work of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.:

1955: Stephen Paul Jobs is born on Feb. 24.

1972: Jobs enrolls at Reed College in Portland, Ore., but drops out after a semester.

1974: Jobs works for video game maker Atari and attends meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve Wozniak, a high school friend who was a few years older.

1975: Jobs and Woz attend Homebrew Computer Club meetings.

1976: Apple Computer is formed on April Fool's Day, shortly after Wozniak and Jobs create a new computer circuit board in a Silicon Valley garage. A third co-founder, Ron Wayne, leaves the company after less than two weeks. The Apple I computer goes on sale by the summer for $666.66.

1977: Apple is incorporated by its founders and a group of venture capitalists. It unveils Apple II, the first personal computer to generate color graphics. Revenue reaches $1 million.

1978: Jobs' daughter Lisa is born to girlfriend Chrisann Brennan.

1979: Jobs visits Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, and is inspired by a computer with a graphical user interface.

1980: Apple goes public, raising $110 million in one of the biggest initial public offerings to date.

1982: Annual revenue climbs to $1 billion.

1983: The Lisa computer goes on sale with much fanfare, only to be pulled two years later. Jobs lures John Sculley away from Pepsico Inc. to serve as Apple's CEO.

1984: Iconic "1984" Macintosh commercial directed by Ridley Scott airs during the Super Bowl. The Macintosh computer goes on sale.

1985: Jobs and Sculley clash, leading to Jobs' resignation. Wozniak also resigns from Apple this year.

1986: Jobs starts Next Inc., a new computer company making high-end machines for universities. He also buys Pixar from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas for $10 million.

1989: First NeXT computer goes on sale with a $6,500 price tag.

1991: Apple and IBM Corp. announce an alliance to develop new PC microprocessors and software. Apple unveils portable Macs called PowerBook.

1993: Apple introduces the Newton, a hand-held, pen-based computer. The company reports quarterly loss of $188 million in July. Sculley is replaced as CEO by Apple president Michael Spindler. Apple restructures, and Sculley resigns as chairman. At Next, Jobs decides to focus on software instead of whole computers.

1994: Apple introduces Power Macintosh computers based on the PowerPC chip it developed with IBM and Motorola. Apple decides to license its operating software and allow other companies to "clone" the Mac, adopting the model championed by Microsoft Corp.

1995: The first Mac clones go on sale. Microsoft releases Windows 95, which is easier to use than previous versions and is more like the Mac system. Apple struggles with competition, parts shortages and mistakes predicting customer demand. Pixar's "Toy Story," the first commercial computer-animated feature, hits theaters. Pixar goes to Wall Street with an IPO that raises $140 million.

1996: Apple announces plans to buy Next for $430 million for the operating system Jobs' team developed. Jobs is appointed an adviser to Apple. Gil Amelio replaces Spindler as CEO.

1997: Jobs becomes "interim" CEO after Amelio is pushed out. He foreshadows the marketing hook for a new product line by calling himself "iCEO." Jobs puts an end to Mac clones.

1998: Apple returns to profitability. It shakes up personal computer industry in 1998 with the candy-colored, all-in-one iMac desktop, the original models shaped like a futuristic TV. Apple discontinues the Newton.

2000: Apple removes "interim" label from Jobs' CEO title.

2001: The first iPod goes on sale, as do computers with OS X, the modern Mac operating system based on Next software. Apple also releases iTunes software.

2003: Apple launches the iTunes Music Store with 200,000 songs at 99 cents each, giving people a convenient way to buy music legally online. It sells 1 million songs in the first week.

2004: Jobs undergoes surgery for a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer. Apple discloses his illness after the fact.

2005: Apple expands the iPod line with the tiny Nano and an iPod that can play video. The company also announces that future Macs will use Intel chips.

2006: Disney buys Pixar for $7.4 billion. Jobs becomes Disney's largest individual shareholder, and much of his wealth is derived from this sale.

2007: Apple releases its first smartphone, the iPhone. Crowds camp overnight at stores to be one of the first to own the new device.

2008: Speculation mounts that Jobs is ill, given weight loss. In September he kicks off an Apple event and says, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," making a play off a famous Mark Twain quote after Bloomberg News accidentally publishes, then retracts, an obituary that it had prepared in advance.

2009: Jobs explains severe weight loss by saying he has a treatable hormone imbalance and that he will continue to run Apple. Days later he backtracks and announces he will be on medical leave. He returns to work in June. Later it is learned that he received a liver transplant.

2010: Apple sells 15 million of its newest gadget, the iPad, in nine months, giving rise to a new category of modern touch-screen tablet computers.

Jan. 17, 2011: In a memo to Apple employees, Jobs announces a second medical leave with no set duration. Cook again steps in to run day-to-day operations. Jobs retains CEO title and remains involved in major decisions.

Aug. 24, 2011: Apple announces that Jobs is resigning as CEO. Cook takes the CEO title, and Apple names Jobs chairman.

Oct. 5, 2011: Jobs dies at 56. Apple announces his death without giving a specific cause.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


[rundown from a youth worship service i designed - october second]

What is your calling in life?
below are three great videos from Rick Mereki - an Australian film maker. these short 1 minute films were used for an Australian travel agency. but they are brilliant and creative. i used them as part of a youth worship service on 'Understanding Your Calling' (becoming the person God called you to be).
how can we know our calling if we stand still?
embracing + consuming the life God gives you is part of your calling.
willingness to learn new things will help you connect with God's purpose for your life.

i also tied in the Bethany Hamilton story from I Am Second.
you don't have to be perfect in order for God to use you - in order to fulfill your calling, etc.

scripture references: 1 Peter 2:4-10 (the message); the story of Josiah; Revelation 2:17

also used insight for designing this service from Grace - a fresh faith fellowship in London (titled The Becoming, Sept 2011) [i adapted it for youth]
and from Jonny Baker (you've arrived / you've not arrived)