Month: November 2007

After Two Years

2007-11-29-Presentation

Giving The Presentation Today

If I was in control of life’s situations, I would have given my presentation two years ago to the audience who heard it today. Our campus ministry directors from Eastern Europe meet regularly, but it wasn’t until this year’s meeting that I was able to get on their agenda. God’s timing I suppose.

It is great to be back in Budapest for the second time in two months, and better still to be here with Cathy. Like me on my first trip back two months ago, Cathy feels totally comfortable and at home here. After dinner at the Adler tonight we had to catch ourselves and remember that we can no longer simply walk home!

And I did enjoy ‘the Jerry’ dessert tonight, having been offered it by that name by my friend, Tomas, the waiter. It was as good as ever, too.

Cathy Gets To Go!

Keleti Train Station - Budapest, Hungary

Keleti Train Station in Budapest

After my stop in Budapest in October I discovered an opportunity to further the EveryStudent.com agenda in Eastern Europe by going to the conference where all our national campus directors meet to discuss strategy. This will be an opportunity to explain to them again how students search for spiritual truth on the Internet and how we need to have a presence on the Internet in the local languages that students use to search.

This trip Cathy gets to go, too! Frequent flyer miles from my two Asian trips earlier in the year put us in range for an international ticket. She is very excited and can’t wait to see our friends there again. We hope to get to the Christmas market and freeze our toes off again like we did every December when we lived there. And eat at the Adler. And ride public transportation again. And take a look at our old home again.

3 Generations of Hertzler All-Stars

Audrey's Converse All-Stars

Audrey’s All-Stars

Converse All-Stars, that is. My dad had a pair when he was in high school. I wore a pair in high school. Yesterday Audrey bought herself a pair. The only difference is that Audrey could have purchased them in purple or as lace-up Converse All-Star boots. Neither Dad nor I had that option in our day.

Does Your Church Website Stink?

Most churches don’t have Internet marketing experts in their group, but all churches could benefit from some expert advice on how to make their church website more effective.

Here’s an online assessment you can use to evaluate your church’s website.

Really, this is just one person’s opinion of what makes a good church website, but it covers many aspects that no one would disagree with.

This survey assumes the purpose of your church’s website is to both tell others about Jesus and tell Christians about your church, but my experience tells me that a church needs three separate websites to serve three different purposes, not just one. You need a website that explains how to know God, a website brochure for your church, and a website that facilitates communication within the church.

Mixing these three purposes into a single website reduces the effectiveness of accomplishing any of the three.

A Good Week in St. Louis

Today I’m regrouping after my week in St. Louis last week. I enjoyed catching up with some old friends and getting together with some of the people we do this ministry with. As it is with most of the trips I take of this nature, I never succeed in seeing everyone I want to, but over the years we seem to stay in touch.

One of the highlights of the trip was helping replace my parents’ 30 year old stereo system with a 5.1 speaker surround sound system. The difference was significant!

Landslide Election Victory for Hertzler

Tonight the results of the exit poll is clear one week after the vote; I won the election by a landslide. The vote was split 25% – 30% – 45% with the Hertzler campaign taking 45%. My platform was “I can see things from your perspective.” I borrowed that from Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain” speech.

The election I won was to our neighborhood homeowner’s association committee. No one had previously volunteered, so I stepped up to the plate. 45% was actually just 9 votes; see the humor? And we are just one of many neighborhoods in our larger subdivision which has a total of about 60 such representatives.

My neighbor says he’ll start calling me mayor of the street.

10 Years of Trace Academy Camping

First Trace Camping Trip - 1 November 1998

Audrey and Friends 1998

Trace Camping Trip 10 Years Later - 2 November 2007

Audrey and Friends 2007

This weekend we camped with our friends at the 11th Annual Trace Academy Camping Trip. It was our 7th Trace Camping Trip in 10 years and easily one of the best yet; perfect weather, older kids (for us anyway), minimal required adult activities, and plenty of good food.

It was on this camping trip ten years ago that Audrey and Andrew began some of their friendships that continue to this day. The same is true for Andrew, Cathy and me; some of our best relationships have come from the Trace community. We are blessed.

Tip of the Day

If your brain is like mine it remembers things at all the wrong times.

For example, I remember it’s time for an oil change when I start driving somewhere instead of when I can change the oil or plan to change the oil. By the time I am at a place to schedule time to change the oil I have forgotten about it (again).

A PDA (handheld computer) helped me solve some of this problem, but it didn’t allow fast enough input to solve the whole problem. And it’s hard to type while driving.

Jott.com changed all this. (I mentioned this earlier.) With this free transcription service you can dial a number and speak a short message that will be delivered to your mailbox (or anyone else’s mailbox or phone) as a text message. This allows you to take care of the detail later when your brain is ready to take care of it.

(Actual human beings do the transcription. I have never had a personal assistant before, so the thought of someone helping me is really cool.)

Ok, after you get the hang of using Jott.com, try adding Xpenser.com for keeping track of expenses and mileage. You can set up Jott to send information to Xpenser and automatically build a file of expenses that you can access from the web anytime.

Cash is the easiest thing to lose track of, but with Xpenser.com it is now a little easier.

For example, Audrey asks me to give her last week’s allowance, but she asks while we’re going somewhere. I hand her the cash, then I speed-dial Jott on my cell phone. Jott asks me who I want to “jott”. I say “expenser” and then say, “$5 to Audrey for allowance.” About 5 minutes later my expense sheet on Xpenser includes this transaction.

This is a great service for anyone who would rather use a simple cell phone (rather than a “smartphone“) and their home computer to keep track of life’s details.