Sunday, July 31, 2011

Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process by Blaine Hogan (Book review)

If you are a creative person or work and lead creative people, especially in the context of church, this book is an absolute must read! It is an important book for the creatives because Blaine takes you through the process of creating and the price that needs to be paid for creating. It is also an important book for leaders who lead creatives because it helps them understand what the creatives go through in order to create on a continual basis. I have had the opportunity in the last few years to watch and experience Blaine's creative work on the internet and I have always been moved by his productions and art.

In his book UNTITLED, Blaine writes about the creative process, the work that goes inside the creative, the failures, fears and mistakes that will be made and the price that creatives need to pay to create art. It is a book that is short and to the point. If you have read and like books like Poke the box By Seth Godin or Do the Work by Steven Pressfield you will really enjoy this book.

I have attended thousands of church services in my life. Attended them in several countries and been to various denominational and non-denominational churches. I have seen both very good art and very bad art in them. From my perspective there is very little good art and a lot of bad art currently in the church. Since Blaine has a lot of experience leading and creating in the context of a local church (Willow Creek in Chicago), he is someone who knows what he is talking about. It is not just theory but him actually going through the process of creating over and over again. If you are involved in creating art in the local church, this is a short book that you and your team can read to gain some valuable insights into creativity.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is creating or wants to create meaning art.

Here is a video of Blaine talking about the book! 

Blaine Hogan on Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process from Clarkvideos on Vimeo.

You can buy the book here! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My take on P90X workout!

I have been working out on a regular basis for the past few years. It started with me being 'that guy' at the gym who did not really know how to use the equipment and felt overwhelmed and intimidated by other guys in the place. 

Then I was introduced to P90X by my cousin and things changed after that. It was definitely intimidating just to watch some of the workouts but something in me just wanted to try it and I am really glad i did. So far I have finished the 90 day workout routine several times. My goal was and still is to be strong and healthy not necessarily, a six pack so once I complete the routine I take some time off during Christmas or vacation and get back to it later. 

P90X pushed me and taught me a lot about my body and the basics of working out. I learnt about good form and the importance of including weights, cardio and stretching. Tony Horton, who is the instructor does a good job of motivating people to keep pushing.  

If you are looking into workout programs, I highly recommend this workout. It is absolutely tough but you will definitely see results. I did not follow the meal plan all the way but ate healthy and was able to see results. 

You can get more information here and buy the product here

Have you used this program and if so what has your experience been with it? What other workout programs have you worked with?

Monday, July 25, 2011

5 reasons I use Evernote.

I have been using Evernote regularly for more than year now and I am a fan! It is the best tool that I have come across for storing and retrieving information.

Here are 5 reasons why I started using Evernote:

  1. Easy to use: Evernote is very easy to use and can be used on several different platforms. You can find a lot of tutorial videos here. I use both application both on my mac and my iPhone.
  2. Cloud computing: I really like that I can upload information from various devices and can access the information from various devices. As long as I can find some wifi or cell phone service I can access the information I need from my account. 
  3. Store everything: I can store documents in various versions, audio files, pictures, articles etc. There is no limit when it comes to storage space. 
  4. Unlimited uses: You can use Evernote in as many ways as your mind can come up with. Users come up with new ideas all the time. 
  5. Free: All of this is absolutely free! There is a 'premium' option that you can sign up for once you really like the product but if you decide not to, you can still use the product for free for as long as you like! 
Do you currently use Evernote and if you don't what tools do you use to store your information?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What is Google+

A short helpful video for those of you who are still trying to figure Google+ out.

I will let you know my thoughts on Google+ soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Random Fridays. July 15th

  1. Difference between nutritional doctors and medical doctors, and the need for more nutritional doctors. Good documentary
  2. Learnt of a great example of leadership from Alexander the great here
  3. Good panel discussion between Mark Driscoll, Albert Mohler and others about the relationship between seminaries and local churches. You can listen to it here
  4. Some great resources to help you with creative blocks!
  5. Really loving this book right now! Highly recommend it. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Faith in action

This is a devotional that I recently wrote for Streaming Faith
The subject of having faith in God is something that seems very elementary in our walk, but a closer look at faith might change that. Everyone of us who is a christian became one by placing our faith in God. But if we don’t examine ourselves on a continual basis, we will soon find ourselves placing our faith in everything but God.
It all starts with believing. You cannot act on something if you don’t believe. It is important that what you and I believe is in line with the word of God. Believing in God is not the same as having faith in God. Faith requires action. We see this over and over again in the Bible. Every time God..... You can finish reading it here....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

5 ways to develop commitment

The word 'commitment' is defined as the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself. I wrote about the importance of commitment here. It is one thing to know the importance of commitment but actually being committed is another thing.

Without committing or really engaging, it is impossible for us to reach the goals we have set for ourselves. With that in mind here are some keys to developing commitment:

1.         Have a clear purpose: When you work towards a goal, it is easy being committed in the beginning stages. But as you start facing pressure the temptation to quit increases and that is where you need something bigger to hold on to. That is where a sense of purpose will help you stay committed for the long run. It might be to loose weight, expand the business, reach more people etc. Always ask yourself the purpose for the goal and keep that the focus.

2.         Have the right tools: Do your homework and find the best tools that you can get. There is no point in wasting energy and time doing things ineffectively. If there are tools that can help you accomplish things in an effective way, use them. This will help you avoid frustration and burnout.

3.         Be accountable: Don't work on things by yourself. To the best of your ability try to have someone tag along with you. Even if they don't work on the same goals, be accountable to them. This will help you push towards the goals and stay committed.

4.         Create a reward & punishment system: Take some time and create a system by which you can reward yourself for accomplishing the things that you have set out to do but don't stop there. Create a punishment system as well. Punishment can be very different from person to person. For some people shame is very effective, for others it might be loosing money. Figure out what works best for you and work with that.

5.         Tell others: By telling others about the goals that you are working on, it will force you to give it your best and work as hard as possible at it. Since nobody likes to fail, you will stay committed and think twice or thrice before you quit.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? What are some other ways that you can develop commitment?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Turning dreams into reality.

I have big dreams and I have no doubt that you do too. I also realize that there are many small things and some big things that need to be done in order to make the dream a reality. As I learn and grow I realize that I will not be able to accomplish the goals and make the dream a reality if I am not really committed.

Commitment takes guts. It might be easy to dream, but making it a reality takes hard work! It is hard to fight against the resistance. Hard to say 'no' to certain people and also hard to hear others say 'no' to you.

But again, if making dreams a reality was an easy thing, then everybody would be doing it. Since someone has to do it, why not you? Why not do the hard thing? Why not make the commitment to press through and fight the resistance to see the dream become a reality!

Lack of commitment is the biggest reason for not getting things done.

It is the reason we don't accomplish the things that we set out to do.

It is the reason we give up when we face a resistance. It really doesn't matter where the resistance and pressure comes from. Fight it with everything you have, because on the other side is the reality of the dream you have been dreaming about!

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Interview with Jason Anderson

Pastor Jason Anderson of Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, AZ recently released his first book. He travels to many countries around the world preaching the Gospel and teaching believers.

I recently had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his book. Here is the interview. 

1. What is the journey? 

Simply put, many people address life and vision as though it were a sprint. Others have recognized that the complexity of growth and faith requires patience, and they will see life more as a marathon. Neither is true if you wish to grow perseverance into patience or self-control into godliness. Life is a journey. This statement compels us to understand patience.

2. When and how did this idea of ‘the journey’ become real to you?

The idea of the journey was a gift from God. He urged me to read and reread the story of the exodus as told throughout Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua. Five books of the bible dedicated to leading people from slavery into the Promised Land.  If God dedicates that much space in the word to one seamless story, recanting many details in multiple places, well, that means something, doesn't it? As I studied deeper and deeper, created a timeline, studied feasts, it suddenly became clear of a pattern that goes from slavery to Rest.  For instance, there are many stories that we follow to the Promised Land, across the Jordan, having stopped off in Egypt, and spent time in the wilderness. It's Abrahams story, Christ's Story, the Israelites story, they all have these four elements in them.  Thinking in terms of being enslaved to the law, we can see Saul was under the law (wilderness living); David operated in grace, experienced some wealth and success but was constantly battling (Joshua's promised land experience), and then Solomon, a picture of rest, success, prosperity, forty years of peace (Gideon's Promised Land experience, one battle, forty years of rest).  So many pictures tying together found me digging in deeper to see how God has created a single plan, a simple path, where God's word is literally a lamp unto my feet.

3. In the book, you write about "The Rest". Give us an idea of what it is?

REST: It's Abraham sitting at the entrance of his tent, resting, having been blessed by God in EVERY way.  It took him a lifetime to get there, the only hero of faith in the book of Hebrews who "inherited what had been promised". It’s Jesus in the bow of the boat sleeping through the storm, and then calming the seas not because He had to, but because He could. Jesus knew the word would carry Him to the other side. Complete trust in God had Him sleeping knowing full well that He was going to die on the cross, not on a boat. REST.

4. What do you want the reader of the book to walk away with?

I hope mostly the reader will leave seeing that every day is an opportunity to grow. An opportunity to believe more, give hope, share love, stand in faith, move a mountain, heal the sick, give a gift, and serve another. GROW.

5. Other than The Bible, what books have impacted you the most and how?

All time favorite book has to be John Maxwell's Winning Attitude.

6. What is a big idea that you are thinking about a lot and gets you excited these days?

What gets me excited - big idea?  I'm excited every day that The Journey is gaining momentum, distributed in stores around the nation, it is positioned to impact people. This is getting me up in the morning and praying. Mostly, I just love teaching, and playing with my family.

You can pick up a copy of the book at Amazon