Monthly Archives: March 2009

In today’s economy, I don’t think there’s a better way to invest $32 a month:

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Category: Ministry, Personal

Our two-year old grandson Jack seems to have the talent! Here he is performing with his uncles and grandpa!

enjoymsI wrote a book about fifteen years ago for parents titled “Enjoy Your  Middle Schooler.”   The book went out of print recently (the kids on the cover started to look a bit dated) but this weekend I’ve turned the book into a seminar for parents which I’m doing at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon.

Middle schoolers (or junior highers as they are still sometimes called) are still near and dear to my heart.  When I first began doing youth ministry in YFC more than 43 years ago, it was with junior high kids.  As a college student I didn’t have enough age or experience to work with high school students, so I was put in charge of a poor unsuspecting group of junior high kids. I found my calling there and to this day feel most comfortable around this age group.

enjoy-ms-logo_smallThe seminar is Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Crew Room (13/14) at Shadow Mountain Community Church (2100 Greenfield Drive) in El Cajon.

Category: Ministry

Our daughter-in-law Tamara was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, had successful surgery and was subsequently laid off from her job.  She was denied unemployment benefits, putting a real strain on family finances.  So many of us have been praying for her and for our son Nathan as they try to keep their heads above water financially.

Does God answer prayer?  On Friday, Tamara was called by a producer at CNN to appear on Larry King Live for a special program they were doing on unemployment.


Here’s a video clip of the interview:

Who knows what the final outcome of this will be, but we are praising God for graciously providing this opportunity for Tamara.  God is good.

Category: Family, Our Children

I just finished a book by Jeff Jarvis titled What Would Google Do? which I spotted at the San Diego airport the other day.  The title intrigued me so I picked up a

Jarvis is a journalist and internet marketing expert who almost single-handedly brought down Dell Computer a few years ago with his blog.  Since then, he’s become an expert on things geeky and in this book he illuminates the worldview of today’s “Google Generation” and outlines 40 principles which have led to Google’s unprecedented success.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Give the people control.
  • Do what you do best and link to the rest (think distributed.)
  • If you’re not searchable, you won’t be found. “New publicness.”
  • Elegant organization.
  • A new economy: small is the new big.
  • Atoms are a drag (get rid of “stuff.”)
  • Free is a business model.
  • Decide what business you’re in.
  • Middlemen are doomed.
  • There is an inverse relationships between control and trust.
  • Listen.
  • Make mistakes well.
  • Life is a beta.
  • Be honest, transparent.
  • Collaborate.
  • Don’t be evil.
  • Answers are instantaneous
  • Simplify, simplify.
  • Get out of the way.

Jarvis applies these principles in a “what if” kind of way to all sorts of businesses from media companies to the airline industry.  His last chapter is titled “Exceptions” and there are two: God and Apple (computers).  In his view religion can’t be Googlejuiced and neither can Steve Jobs who does things pretty much his own way, whether we like it or not.  Jarvis doesn’t really elaborate on why religion is exempt but I’m assuming it’s because God thinks he’s Steve Jobs.

But maybe the church could stand a little Googlethink. As I go down Jarvis’ list, I think there are many Google principles which could help the church become more effective.

Certainly our unwillingness as a church to be transparent, to listen better, to “do no evil” and to simplify has driven many young people away from the church.  Some have left completely; others have started “emergent” churches which perhaps have been Googlejuiced a little too much.  Jarvis believes that companies and organizations willing to change quickly will survive.  The rest will simply go away and not be heard from again.

I’m working on a new book concerning the future of youth ministry which hopefully will be published soon. (Jarvis, by the way, predicts that books are soon going to become obsolete as the world becomes more Google-ized.)  This book has definitely given me some food for thought.  Maybe there are some ways we can do church (and youth ministry) in a Googley way without doing violence to the Gospel.  If you have any ideas on that, fire away.

Jarvis’ book has also encouraged me to blog more, which I really haven’t done (much) before.  I don’t know if anyone actually reads these things but what the heck, you never know.

Category: Ministry

March 7, 1976.  Gerald Ford was President.  The Pittsburgh Steelers were Super Bowl champs.  Rocky received the Oscar for best picture.  A peanut farmer from Georgia was beginning his campaign for the presidency.

That’s also when a very nervous banjo player went on the air for the first time to play bluegrass music on San Diego’s #1 country radio station KSON.

Who would have believed I’d still be there 33 years later?

On the air!

On the air!

We’ve done some big anniversary celebrations over the years (like a big show at the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon on our 25th) but this year I’ll celebrate on the air with some old songs from the past 33 years.  A lot of great bluegrass has been recorded during that time.  Alison Krauss was only 4 years old when I started my radio show.

Thanks to all the folks at Lincoln Financial Media (who owns KSON now) for keeping me on all these years and to all the bluegrass music fans who have been so loyal for so long.  It has been a lot of  fun (and it still is!)

You can listen to my show online when it’s being broadcast (10 p.m. on Sunday night) or you can listen “on demand” at