Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Brick

We had our 2nd happening at The Brick last night; which means we invited a bunch of friends over to hang out and eat some of the best pizza in Kokomo.

A year ago Sandra started making pizza every Friday night. Initially the kids and I were less than excited about "Pizza Night." Undeterred by our lack luster response, Sandra began tweaking her pizza, little by little, week to week, until we started saying, "Wow...this is better than take-out pizza...seriously--this is great!"

Eating her super-incredible pies in the context of watching shows like "Diners, Drive-thrus & Dives," made me think that Kokomo doesn't have a non-chain "best-pizza-in-town" kind of a place. And perhaps that place, for now, is our home. And maybe we should just start serving great free pizza to good friends and people we want to know better and see what comes of it.

Why "The Brick?"
First, it's a throwback to one of our favorites series' of all time: Northern Exposure. In its quirky artsy Alaskan town, The Brick was the local restaurant where everyone hung out, shared lightly or talked deeply. Secondly it's the signature of how Sandra makes her crazy-good pies: on stones (or a "brick").

Last week Sandra created a FaceBook invitation and asked about 35 people to The Brick. Twenty showed up; old friends, new friends, church friends, and "church not-so-much" friends. It was a kick to see so many people give a few hours of their time to stop in and hang out, have some pizza, drink a beer, glass of wine, Pepsi or lemonade. Sandra kicked out 5 pizzas to critical acclaim.

How do I get in on this?
We'll see how this goes. I'm guessing Sandra will send out another coveted FaceBook invite this week. But you don't need one. Just drop me or Sandra a line & see if The Brick is open on the Friday you want to pop in. We may start a "bring a bev" guideline. Here's to seeing what happens with The Brick--cheers!

Pics from last night.
UPDATE: 4.3.09--31 people show up & we ate our way through 7 pizzas in ONE hour!
Pics from 4.3.09

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Friday, March 20, 2009

50mm 1.4 Nikon Lens

W O W ! I may never take this lens off of my D40! I purchased this lens so that I could take good low light pictures without a flash. The big bonus is it will auto-focus on the D40.
The $100 f/1.8 lens I had was great for the money; it's only drawback was it was manual focus on the D40 which made for lots of less than "tack sharp" pics.
One of the first things I noticed was how "beefy" it is. It's heavy. Substantial for its size. But it feels good on the camera.
I have been looking forward to this lens since I heard about it in fall '08. And initially it has surpassed my expectations. Looking forward to shooting some indoor parties, concerts etc.
Here are some I shot around Oakbrook.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tough Question

The last couple of days our church staff has had some sobering email exchanges about how much (or little) we've personally been inviting people to church.

I was already tracking along those lines based on this sobering question I ran across a week ago in a devotional I've been in since January:

"Is your faith worth sharing?"

God's been using that question to rattle my cage. Seriously. That question reveals the truth that I share what I'm excited about. I talk, blog or post about what captivates me. Things that have my attention don't require a place on my "to do" list--I naturally do them--naturally talk about them.

I am guilty of (for example) being at the ballpark and not engaging in spiritual conversations and feeling good about "not being in the work mode." That's wrong.

My challenge is to work hard, play hard, replenish and at all times be a "light" "salt." Not be salt and light when I'm on the clock---leaving the salt at the office.

This YouTube clip by Penn Gillette that Jeremy posted on the church blogsite got me going too:

I will follow God to grow beyond this. What do you think about the question, "Is your faith worth sharing?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

How do I know what's happening at Oakbrook?

Simply save this link in your web browser favorites!
Mouse over events for more details.

We're implementing a new database for our church and Oakbrook Valley calendar can be viewed with any web browser.

The program is StaffTool and so far we think it's very effective. It's web based so all administrators can view it from any online computer or device. We don't have to back it up and it's very user friendly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

391 Year Old Bible

This Bible will be on display Sunday for the Grand Opening of our new bookstore @ Oakbrook: Lakeside Cafe and Books. It was printed in 1618 in England and handed down through a family that attends our church.

Click here to check out the pics...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Photography Podcasts

There are some great FREE podcasts to listen to as you're driving home from work, mowing the yard (coming soon!), or drinking coffee at your favorite hangout.

Tack Sharp's episode #1 had this suggestion from pro photographer, James D. Davidson (approximate quote):

"One of the best things for a new photographer to do is bolt on a 50mm 1.8 lens and don't take it off for a long time. You'll learn so much about shooting with that prime lens."

Here are some good websites (in no particular order)--from there you can get FREE subscriptions to their podcasts from iTunes.

TACK SHARP by Dan Benjamin & James David Davidson

TWiP (this week in photography)

Photography 101 by Scott Wittenburg

Camera Position by Jeff Curto

Check out this cool LENS RENTAL site the TACK SHARP guys told me about!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Googling God

I had a great time yesterday at church joining Mark and Sam in a very casual "panel discussion" taking turns answering questions that people in our church sent in.

I loved the format--how great is it to be with your friends, sitting in comfy leather chairs, drinking coffee and talking about God in front of several hundred more friends??! Great time--loved it!

My three questions were:
1. What's the deal with the Trinity?
2. Why does God allow bad stuff to happen to good peeps?
3. What's more important to God: my serving or quiet time w/Him?

Click here for a pdf of my answers.