Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yet another new lens ;-)

Nikon AF-S 35mm 1.8 DX. For most DSLRers this very affordable $200 lens is what you need to take great indoor photos without a flash. (And if you need a flash, just buy this one.) If you own a D40, D60, D70, D80, D90, this lens is for you.

With the digital SLRs a 50mm (focal length) lens is just a little too "long" for inside informal photos. Back in the days of film camera, a 50mm was the workhorse "all occasions" lens. The digital equivalent is a 35mm (focal length) lens.

(Geeky part) In a digital camera, the "sensor" is what captures the image. In a film camera, a frame of physical film captures the image. The sensor (in all but professional DSLRs, referred to as a "crop frame.") is smaller than a frame of 35 mm film.

The result is in digi-cams, a 35mm (focal length) lens = a 50mm (focal length) film lens. Likewise a 50mm digi-cam lens is more like a 75mm film lens. (end geeky part)

Basically, this is a great indoor party, family get together, wedding reception lens. Here are some pics I shot with it at The Brick last week. Notice that shots that captured the whole room would not have been possible w/my 50mm 1.4 lens.

By the way, an f/1.8 lens is enough. Even though f/1.4 lenses are out there, f/1.8 will do what 99% of the people want.

For $200 this 35mm 1.8 lens will take fantastic pics and last your lifetime. I get my gear at Roberts north-side store on US 31 in Indy.

Shoot on!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Strange Joy

I don't do a lot of funerals in my job, but one came up this week. A friend from church lost his father. So Wednesday I met with him, his mother and sisters. They laughed, cried, told stories; sometimes stopping to reel in emotions and corral tears.

Quickly I realized this was one of those guys that I missed out on. And quickly I could feel their loss and before we were done I was sincerely weeping with them. They talked, told stories and I took feverish notes.

Stories and details fresh in my mind, I went back to my office to put it all together. I had thoughts like, "Wow, what a life well lived...what a positive legacy." And quickly the joy of it hit me: I get to creatively recap a great life. I get to be the family storyteller...

(It has probably helped my perspective having done a funeral whereupon the family had no real stories to tell me; I'm not exaggerating.)

So there is a strange fun--a strange joy in the celebration of a life that really impacted people. A life that made people better. A life that leaves a hole. It's an honor and privilege to be part of something so profound as saying goodbye to a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather.

A life well-lived leaves a strange joy for me--who gets to serve this family. Praying all will go well tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leading the Leaders

Sandra and I went to "Small Group Leader Training" tonight. Jason Braun, Oakbrook's Director of Connections gets together these informal huddles of group leaders to share a pitch-in meal then talk about leadership, vision---generally, how to be better group leaders.

It's a very informal evening that's conducive to connecting, sharing and learning. Jason gets leaders together about once per quarter in someone's home.

If you're a group leader and haven't been to one of these, you're missing out! (more pics)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Battery Grip for Nikon D90

Just bought the Zeikos ZE-NBG90, a non-Nikon product for my D90. My initial impression is very positive. Feels solid. Good grip material on it. Fits like a glove. Nothing about it looks like it was made by a third party manufacturer. We'll see how it goes over time, but initially "Two Thumbs Up."

I did a lot of googling since there are a lot of third party grips. I decided to go non-Nikon simply for price. Nikon grip is $140-$160. The Zeikos was $67.78 @ Amazon. I read reviews and this YouTube video finally helped me choose Zeikos.

Why the grip? When shooting sports I often shoot portrait (turning the camera 90 degrees). The grip puts another shutter release on the camera so when you rotate the camera your hand can stay in the same comfortable shooting position.

It also allows you to put two batteries in the camera for all-day shoots. I could see adding one of these grips for my D40. The D40 camera body is small and I could imagine how the grip would be more comfortable. (The D40 is still an amazing camera!)

Here are some pics of the grip on my D90:

Friday, August 14, 2009

NEW Protege Program to Launch @ Oakbrook!

Oakbrook is launching a new program to develop future church leaders; it's called Protege.

What is the OCC Protégé Program?

The Protégé Program is a year-long intensive spiritual growth, leadership development, and ministry immersion experience at Oakbrook Community Church. As an OCC Protégé, you will be given the opportunity to learn from some of great innovative thinkers and creators in ministry, participate in the day to day activities of church staff culture, stretch yourself as a leader, and lay a firm foundation for a life-long pursuit of the passion and vision that God has placed on your life.

Who is it for? What is the goal?

The Protégé Program is a training and proving ground for emerging church leaders. During your Protégé year, you will accumulate valuable experience, mentors, and knowledge that will prepare you for stepping into the next phase of your God-given calling. Our desire is that your Protégé year will give you the experience you need to find a full-time staff position in a local church or para-church ministry.

It is primarily designed for people immediately after high school or college (18-20-somethings), but not exclusive to that age demographic.

What experience will I gain?

Protégés will gain valuable experience in three primary areas: spiritual formation, leadership development, and practical ministry experience. Protégés will gain experience in the following areas:

  • Attend Learning Labs- make new discoveries in leadership development, spiritual growth, and ministry methods from members of the OCC staff
  • Develop a Spiritual Growth Plan
  • Develop a Leadership Development Plan
  • Lead small groups and ministries
  • Participate in an OCC missions experience
  • Serve at weekend services, outreach projects and leadership development events
  • Build community with fellow members of your Protégé class through weekly study, prayer, and reflection groups.
  • Be mentored by your ministry-focus department leader
  • Attend leadership development conferences with the OCC team

What ministry areas can a Protégé participate in?

Each Protégé will focus in one of the following ministry areas: Discipleship, Worship, Media, Missions/Outreach, or Children/Youth. During the application process, you will rank your top three ministry focus choices.

What does a typical week of a Protégé look like?

There is no typical week at OCC! Every week will look different depending on the specific upcoming ministry needs. Each Tuesday, Protégés will participate in OCC staff prayer, monthly staff meetings, departmental meetings, and Protégé growth group. The Protégé growth group will consist of on-going discipleship training and leadership development for the Protégés in a small group setting for accountability, prayer, and encouragement. Protégés will also attend learning labs with the teaching team of OCC for further spiritual and leadership development and training in topics such as self-leadership, the culture and Christianity, discipleship, introspection, dreaming God-sized dreams etc.

Protégés will also lead weekly small group and ministry gatherings and participate in weekend services, outreach projects and leadership development events. Protégés will also be responsible for taking the lead on various projects within their ministry-focus area.

What OCC staff members do a Protégé interact with?

The Protégé Program will be administered by Morgan Young (associate pastor). He will serve as the primary leader for the Protégé experience. Protégés will also work directly with and be mentored by a department leader in their ministry focus and interact with Mark Malin (lead pastor) and other staff during the learning labs.

What qualifications are you looking for in Protégés?

Previous ministry and leadership experience is preferred and specific experience in the desired ministry focus area is certainly favored. We also look for people who have a clear sense of calling and dare to dream big dreams for the Kingdom of God. However, we are also big believers in attitude, flexibility, sense of humor, ability to work within a team environment, so we weigh those kinds of personality traits heavily.

When are the dates for the program?

The 2009-2010 Protégé Program will run from September 2009 through August 2010.

What is the admission process?

Complete the application and submit to Oakbrook Church, 3409 S. 200 W., Kokomo IN 46902, attention: Morgan Young. Three references are also required. One should be from a current pastor or ministry leader, one should be from a current or former pastor or ministry leader, and one can be of a personal nature.

What is the cost to attend the OCC Protégé Program?

There is no cost to attend the OCC Protégé Program, but you will need the finances to support you and your family for one year in Kokomo IN. You may accomplish this through fundraising, working a second job, or some combination of the two. You will need to generate enough funds to cover rent, food, transportation and other necessities. You may also need to raise specific funds if there is a non-local missions trip scheduled. You will need your own computer.

Can I get college credit?

Currently, the Protégé Program is not designed to be a seminary or Bible college experience; therefore, we are not currently offering any college or seminary credit. However, if you believe your current Bible college or seminary would be willing to offer independent study or internship credit for your involvement, then we are willing to work with you and your academic institution to provide them with the necessary documentation.

Does OCC provide housing for Protégés?

Generally, OCC does not currently have housing available for Protégés. However, if we had a few Protégés of the same sex, there may be a possibility of using our house at Oakbrook Valley.

Is the Protégé part-time or full-time?

You can do either, depending on your financial needs. Part-time Protégés are expected to work 25-30 hours per week. Full-time Protégés are expected to work at least 40 hours per week.

Can I seek part-time employment?

Absolutely! It is our expectation that most, if not all, protégés will secure secondary outside employment. We ask, however, that ministry expectations and time requirements take precedent over outside work schedules.

Do I need a car?

A car is always helpful for errands, day trips and given there’s no public transportation in Kokomo.

How can I find out more information?

Contact Morgan Young,, 765.455.1100 ext 207

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can I have TOO MUCH empathy??

I have had some people approach me after last Sunday's "Less Than" talk about empathy. Their question was a good one: "Can I have too much empathy?"

They are people who are prone to feel for everyone. They have a personality that "feels" for others very easily.

My simple answer is, "Yes. You can have empathy for too many people."

Jesus was God and He was here, walking around and interacting with people. He didn't heal everyone. He didn't feel everyone's pain. He often got away from the demanding crowds to be alone.

We are not Jesus. It's safe to say our capacity to empathize and "get in the water with people" is less than Jesus'. Jesus seemed to know there was a line. Call it "capacity." Whatever we want to call it, Jesus withdrew even when people were looking for Him.

We all have a capacity to care for others. If we go over that capacity and "get in the water" with too many people we will in essence, drown. Get bogged down and be ineffective for the Kingdom.

To know your capacity, you'll have to discern what that is for you. It could also be healthy to discuss some questions about yourself with a trusted friend:

1. Do I feel a need to care for everyone because I don't think God cares or will save the day? Do I have a minor "god" complex?

2. Do I sometimes resent all my caring because no one really does it for me?

3. Do I care for others to cover an unmet need in myself?

As a person in ministry I have to wrestle with the reality that there are many more people than I have time for. So one of the things I've done in the last eight months is increase my prayer list. I have people on there that I have concern for, but don't feel called to "get in the water" with. So I am taking their concerns to the Father each day.

Remember, if we get in the water with too many people, we'll be grossly ineffective. God gave you limits--a capacity for care. Ask Him to guide you to stay within your God-given capacity so you can serve well for a long, long time.

Hope that helps.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Less Than" week 2

This morning capped off a busy, productive, and hopefully redemptive week of ministry. Friday and Saturday I had the honor of officiating half of the wedding of my friends, Austin & Rachel Butler.

It was great that two people who'd been involved in their respective churches chose to involve both of their pastors. Thanks to Pastor Steve Fair, the Zellers, Butlers, and great people at Clarksville Christian Church.

And this morning I gave the 2nd and last installment of our Less Than mini-series at Oakbrook. Teaching is humbling, scary and somehow altogether fun. I appreciate that I have been able to grow in this and experience what it is to teach at Oakbrook.

My message transcript. (pdf)

The fill-in-the-blank notes. (pdf)

The book the series was based upon. (available at Lakeside Cafe & Books)

Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott's website