Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have any cussers @ your church?

Love this story: Story.

How would people react in your church if a first timer cussed?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Upcoming Shows

I am looking forward to the next couple months. I get the privilege of leading worship with a lot of very talented musicians at some awesome venues in Ventura County.

Here is what's ahead:

I lead worship at the best church venue in the county every Sunday morning at www.riverparkcc.com.

December 11
Leading a worship set at "An EPIC Night of Worship" in Ventura, CA. There will be four other bands playing. Music starts at 6pm and I'm on at 9pm.

December 22, 23 & 24
Playing with the band and leading a couple Christmas songs at Camarillo Community Church's family Christmas event called "Gifts". Nick Vujicic will be speaking. Each show is expected to sell out with 1,000 people in attendance. I heard Nick speak this past spring at Catalyst West Coast. This guy is an incredible communicator and God has opened doors for him to speak to millions of people around the globe. Check out his website and learn more about him! Here is a 2 minute clip of him on 20/20.

Hope to see you at these events! If you need a great worship band for your next event email me at jameslaingmusic@gmail.com. Listen to a few songs I recorded a while back and check out my EPK (Electronic Press Kit).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eph 4:16

"...according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Eph 4:16

Effectual: producing or capable of producing an intended effect; adequate.

Strongs Concordance:

Word: energeia

Pronounce: en-erg'-i-ah

Strongs Number: G1753

Orig: from 1756; efficiency ("energy"):--operation, strong, (effectual) working.

Are you producing an intended effect where you sit? If not you may be decreasing the body from building itself up in love. That's a sobering thought. We can read a lot from what we produce. We can choose to read into what we produce instead of reading what we produce. Every situation does have a context but we need to be self-aware as to whether we are painting our own context or really seeing the context at hand. Speaking the truth in love to ourselves is an opportunity to "grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (Eph 4:15)

Healthy community can help to diminish our own self deception. A community infused with trust, with invitations to evaluate on a macro level and personal level. This level of vulnerability is not easy but it's worth it. Imagine a whole community functioning on this level of vulnerability. Every part playing the role it was designed to play. Every part NOT playing the role it was NOT designed to play.

God calls all of us to speak the truth in love to ourselves and honestly evaluate what we produce in our personal, family and vocational roles.

Just a few thoughts God has brought to mind to kick off my week. Does your team communicate on this level? How can you contribute towards this level of health this week in your life, family and work?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Get In the Ring!

Had a great community group tonight. We discussed Rom 12:18 in the context of family relationships. Every family has some level of dysfunction in it. There are no perfect people, no perfect families. The bottom line of our conversation and the DVD we watched is that within our imperfect families it's always worth fighting for relationship. Even when it will turn out to be a losing fight is still WORTH the fight! Too many family members give up and stop fighting, they quit pursuing relationship and before they know it it's multiple years without communicating and something inside of them feels dead.

I know there are some relationships where physical or psychological abuse is taking place and those relationships just need to stop. But when personality differences, annoying idiosyncrasies, or pride cause friction you've got to stay in the ring. Even if you're the only one fighting, even though who you're fighting for has no interest in reciprocating any kind of relationship... it's worth the fight.

A great application tonight was writing a letter to a parent or child with one goal in that letter: To share all the good memories with that person. Even in all the mess, there is usually something redeemable. There may be tons of dirt between you but it's worth digging through all that to find the gold of great memories. And gold always shines a little brighter when shared with another.

What are you waiting for? Go write that letter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Orange Tour/Call Update

Last night was not as good. I made 195 calls and secured 7 addresses. Most of the numbers didn't exist. :\

Today I attended the Orange Tour with Reggie Joiner in Burbank. It was a great reminder of what our mission is and how we're implementing our mission. It also reminded me why I left a comfortable position to take a risk and start a new church. "Change will only take place when the pain of the status quo is bigger than the pain of change."

It was a boiling 105 degrees in Burbank today... so nice to live on the coast and be protected most of the time from that kind of heat! (And smog!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Calls, Calls & more Calls!

I hate telemarketers. I used to try and mess with them. Sometimes I would set a timer and see how long I could keep them on the line before they hung up on me. ;) I'd ask them question after question like I was really interested in their product but never buy. What a jerk I was!

I actually had a job as a telemarketer for 3.5 hours. I was selling AT&T long distance a few years back. They asked me to not come back because I didn't make one sale... well, actually I had one guy wanting to buy but he was an Iranian student without a credit card and we could only sell to those with a credit card. A funny: I'm freaking nervous (and hating myself for actually being a telemarketer!), while trying to keep up with the automatic dial system. Every time I hung up a new caller was on the line... in fact most times that person had already said hello before I was connected with them! So I'm looking at all the names quickly pop up on the screen and saying, "Hi! Is this Mr Brown, Mrs Green etc..." In the fray I looked at the next name without thinking and ask, "Is this Mr. Jehova?" The computer had dialed a Kingdom Hall. :)

Anyway, this week I had my third evening of taking part in a calling campaign to get the word out about RPCC. Our goal is to call about 30,000 people! The calling is going a little slower than anticipated because many of our volunteers are freaked out about doing this. Our calling has been overwhelmingly successful thus far and I've actually been enjoying it a lot! The cool thing is that we're not selling anything and we're actually not even asking people to go to church. It's a very 'soft' sell. We just tell people we're a new church in the area and ask if we can send them information to keep them updated on our progress. That's it! So every address we get we're sending them information.

Here are my numbers so far.

Dialed: 652
Addresses received: 53
That's 8%.
(Keep in mind that the majority of the numbers dialed were answering machines and we will call them back. We anticipate that we'll get addresses of at least 10%.)

If we call 30,000 people that's 3,000 people who will receive a few mail pieces from us and a follow up call! I'm excited to see what God is gonna do with this! We're inviting all these people to come out Oct 24 to a special Saturday evening service at the barn. If you want to be a catalyst for life change for people you don't know come and make some calls with me. I'll be doing it again tomorrow night and at least two nights next week. It's really fun because you never know how people will respond. I'd say 95% are very polite and are not put off by the call. I get a few hangups and a few "I've got my own religion... click" but I've also had great conversations with people including one guy who is a Hindu, attends a Hindu church but asked me to send him information. How cool is that???

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Joy in Sorrow

I celebrated twice this weekend. Yesterday a wedding, today a memorial. Both events were for friends. I cried a lot at the memorial for Kim, for what could have been and especially for her 5 year old daughter who will now live with a distant memory of her mama. I cried for Shanna because at one time she was very close with Kim and cherished their friendship. We met Sean, Kim and Robyn at the end of August in 2004... both our daughters less than a month old. In fact, we learned that our daughters were born on the exact same day. They came by to start a small group with us that actually ended up being just us four. We spent a couple months together going through Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" book. Yes, I did actually mean that I celebrated at the memorial too... Kim loved Jesus and I know she's with Him, with a new healthy body, quizzing Him like crazy about things we don't get answers to in this life.

I met Nick & Rachel for the first time in January. They came to check out our church and were heading out of the service when I shook their hands and asked them about their story. They were brand new to town from Washington State and I know moving to a new area is hard at first. Shanna and I had them over for dinner that Thursday and while talking about the Office we became good friends (Thanks Michael Scott!). That led to marriage counseling and yesterday I officiated their wedding. A perfect day for a great couple!

I played with my kids a lot tonight, gave them extra hugs and am reminded of the amazing gift that life is... something that should be cherished and lived to the full because it's gone too soon. Tomorrow is a new day and really a new season. I have been part-time at RPCC since March while Shanna has been working full-time. We made a commitment to do this at least until September and that is now here. She is now part time (and a full time mom!) and I need to fill that gap in our budget ASAP. I've applied at many places but now that I'm not playing "Mr. Mom" full time I can get more aggressive in my search. I'm actually looking forward to getting a part time job because I'll get to meet new people and invite them to check out RPCC.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

8 Principles for Leading a Team

Perry Noble shares some valuable points when leading others. This is a must read if you are in a position of leadership. In fact, it's a must read for everyone because we all lead someone in one way or anther!

It's easy to think of others who lead and which of these they struggle with... check the mirror and see what you may be struggling with. Or even better (this could be #9 on this list!), ask those who follow you to read this and give you feedback on what they think you struggle with. Ouch, that could hurt, but what you will learn will be worth it as long as you keep #4 in mind. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

See You Soon River Park!

We finished our final Sunday at Rio Vista Middle School in River Park. Rio School District raised our rent by over 50%, which is way beyond any comparable space in the area (Their special way of saying "Please do church elsewhere."), so we have moved out of River Park. We're taking our portable church 10 minutes south to an amazing facility that is actually charging us fair rental value! Did I mention fair? ... not bitter ;) God's up to something here, we're praying that we can get back into Oxnard when the commercial area finally opens in River Park which will make that area more of a destination.

Here is our new home beginning this Sunday. The Camarillo Ranch is a prominent Ventura County location for community events, school field trips, weddings, receptions, film shoots and now for church! I'm stoked we get to meet in a barn that was built in 1905. The whole property is an historic landmark in Camarillo and the grounds are beautifully landscaped with flowers, trails and fountains.

We are kicking off an amazing 6 week series this Sunday with Andy Stanley titled "5 Things God Uses To Grow Your Faith". I will be leading worship with an amazing group of musicians. Don't miss out on seeing us do Church At the Barn this Sunday beginning at 10am.

Top 100 Christian Blogs

Top 100 Christian Blogs.

I clicked on #1 which is Piper's. Today he summarizes Obama's speech to students. What I read in his summary is great and even encouraged me today. I hope many students get to see it today don't you?

Here is Obama's speech transcript.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Financial Peace University

I have had the honor to facilitate a Dave Ramsey F.P.U. class this summer through at River Park Community Church. We have four weeks to go of a thirteen week class. This class has literally changed a dozen lives this summer. There are couples in this class that have stronger marriages because they are finally working together as a team on family finances. We have parents that have changed their parenting styles and are now proactive with teaching their kids financial wisdom. We have a glass jar that is full of 15 credit card pieces! They were all cut up by class members who are determined to get out of debt. The honor is to witness all this life change take place! There is power when a small group of people gather together to keep each other accountable and celebrate wins.

If you've never taken this class, I highly recommend it. You can find one near you on Dave's website: www.daveramsey.com. If you can't make one soon, at least pick up and read his book "Total Money Makeover" and start to change your family tree!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our National Motto

Do you know what the official national motto is for the United States of America? You probably see it everyday. In fact, you probably hold this motto in your hand everyday.

Give up?

Here it is: "IN GOD WE TRUST"

Seriously! I didn't know this was our official motto. Did you? On July 30, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law officially establishing "In God We Trust" as the national motto of the United States of America.

So here's a great question. Does this still ring true in 2009? Do you think the politicians in Washington reflect this motto in their service to the country? Why is this theme seem to be a continuous one in Washington? When was the last time a U.S. President actually prayed to the God "we trust" publicly on air or in print?

Check out this great message by Andy Stanley entitled "God & Country" as he explores the conscience of America in 2009. Then come to River Park Community Church for the compelling final part of this message series this Sunday.

Happy 4th of July weekend! And, Happy July 1st week to all you Canadians out there!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

iPhone 3.0 Arrives Today!

Major change coming. Good change. It's gonna cost me. It's $10 to make the change cause I have an iPhone without the Phone. iTouch update is supposed to cost $9.99 big ones to download the update. May be worth it though. Many new and very cool features in this update. Check out the details here.

The new $99 price coupled with horrible service from Verizon Wireless over the last few months has me on the edge of a decision to sign an AT&T contract. Do you know a lot of people switching with the new iPhone price reduction?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Twitter in Church

I recently went to Catalyst West Coast where they posted twitter comments by the crowd on the big screen. It reminded me of Junior High summer camp. The last evening of camp as 500 students are gathered for the last meeting they get the opportunity to stand up and share in front of their leaders and peers. Sometimes you hear some amazing things that students had learned that week and how they plan to change the way they live once they get home. But there is always that one kid who is short on self awareness. He stands up 4 times and stretches the 2 minute time limit each time to go on about things he made up on the spot just to get chance to get up and talk one more time. I think that kid grew up and was tweeting at the conference.

Time magazine just did an article on a church that uses twitter in their worship service. What are the benefits and potential problems using twitter at church? Do you think this is the next big thing in church?

Drive Conference 2009

Got back yesterday from the Drive Conference at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. Had a great time or learning, worship and FUN!

Andy Stanley taught in the three main sessions. A few takeaways:
1. "Uncertainty is permanent and is why we need leaders. Leaders can afford to be uncertain but not unclear."
2. "It's very dangerous to attach God's name to your plans because they always change whereas vision does not."
3. "Leadership is not about making decisions on your own, it's about owning decisions you make."
4. "To be a great leader, you must be a great listener because you are probbably not the smartest person in your organization. You are just the leader."
5. "Leaders are attracted to environments where their ideas and opinions are heard. Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say."
6. "In a seniority structure, title and position, rather than insight or creativity, determine who sits at the decision-making table. Eventually, a seniority structure leaves the seniors in charge."
7. "Fairness ended in the garden of Eden. When you shoot for fairness you become unjust. Shoot for what is right."
8. "Vision: A mental picture of what could be, fueled by the passion of what should be."
9. "If doing Church is hard, it's because it is. But it's worth it."

I have worked in churches where the senior leaders always sat at the decision making table. Even though these leaders had a passion for young families they didn't have a clue about how to create environments for young families. What they created was an environment that repelled young families. The results of a fair, seniority seniority structure. This could have been overcome if they invited those with insight into young families to sit at the decision table.

How have you seen the seniority structure played out in your organization?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is an Evangelical Christian?

I am a Christian. This means that I believe the Holy Bible is a message from God to humanity. To be more specific I could use the terms "Evangelical Christian". If you don't understand those two terms let me briefly share what they mean.

The word "Evangelical" comes from a Greek word that means "Good News".
(The word "Gospel" also means "Good News")
The word "Christian" comes from the Bible in Acts 11:26 to describe those who are followers of Jesus Christ.

Placing those two words together means that I am a believer in Jesus Christ and strive to be faithful in promoting the "Good News" in my action, attitude and speech.

Here are four points that summarize the message (Good News) of the Bible and what it means to become a Christian.

1. God: the loving creator of the everything, who is Holy, or set apart, from creation. AKA: is perfect!
2. Us: humanity is not perfect. Nobody would argue with the fact that there are no perfect people. (My wife can attest to this fact by being married to me!) We all mess up, act selfish and think/act in in unGodly ways. So we have a problem. Imperfect humanity cannot have a relationship with a perfect God. God cannot stand the presence of a messed up, selfish, sinful man.

3. Jesus Christ: God's love is so audacious that He wanted to provide a way for us to have a right relationship with Him. He did this by sending Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, to die on a cross on our behalf. Our sin deserves death and permanent separation from God. BUT God allowed Christ to die in our place, for our sins, so that we can come into a permanent right relationship with God. Jesus saves us from the penalty of our sins. Is knowing this enough to have a right relationship with God? No. The devil even knows this and he is definitely not in a right relationship with God!
4. You and me personally: To cross the line into a right relationship with God you have to personally trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
A. Savior: Trust that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.
B. Lord: You must decide in thought and deed to make Jesus Christ your ultimate authority. What Jesus modeled and encourages people to do is what we must strive to do. Granted, you will not be able to do this with perfection BUT your new ultimate life goal has changed from following and pleasing someone/something else to following and pleasing Christ in every area of your life. How can you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ? By reading the Bible and getting involved in a church where the Bible is taught and you can rub shoulders with people who will encourage you in your relationship with Christ.

There is nothing more significant in life than growing in your relationship with Jesus Christ. That's why I do what I do at RPCC.

Nobody can force you into this relationship with God but my hope and prayer is that you would honestly consider exploring this God who is passionately in love with you.

If you have any questions please email me: james@riverparkcc.com. If you would like to find a good church where you live I can help you find one no matter what part of the world you live in.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catalyst West Coast

Had a nice drive through Malibu and then the gazillions of people who call LA, Orange & Riverside County Home. At dusk I stopped at a Malibu beach for 15 minutes to think, pray, be still, eat a McDonald's Fruit N Yogurt Parfait, watched planes take off from LAX and saw the lights from the Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier. Now I'm chilling with my in-laws tonight and then an early start tomorrow. Heading to Mariners church in Irvine for www.catalystwestcoast.com. In being a poor church planter I can't afford these conferences... and our church can't afford to pay for these right now. So, I'm volunteering which means I get in free. I get the privilege of doing sound all day tomorrow in pre-conference seminars and then helping with sound for "The Before Part" hosted by Carlos Whittaker. Day two and three I'm a stage hand, aka 'grunt' from 6am-10pm. Expect to be exhausted at the end of the week but at the same time refreshed and encouraged by a great line up of leaders. The last 7 months has been a joy but no question a lot of hard work and this week will be some needed encouragement as I continue the journey.

I miss my family already... in fact, I missed them before I even left.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Are you Canadian?

I woke up Canadian a while back. You might now be Canadian too! ;) Unlikely but funny video clip!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

River Park Egg Drop!

Yesterday was REEEEEDICULOUS!!! We had over 4,000 people show up to riverparkeggdrop.com!!! The people just kept coming and coming and coming! We advertised registration opening at 10am and people started to line up by 7:30am!!! My wife was in charge of the registration team of about 16 people. They did a phenominal job at getting 4000 people registered and gave all the kids wristbands within about 90 minutes.

Ventura County Star did an article on the event today. You can read it here. Make sure you read all the comments below. Some of them are a little dramatized but they'll help you get a feel for how CRAZY it was! Most people actually did have a great time but we sure learned a lot and if we do it again next year we will definetly be better prepared. It was so funny when the helicopter arrived... all the parents pulled out their cameras and video cameras like they have never seen a helicopter before. (They fly over many times a day around these parts!) The helicopter did about 4 fly overs before he dropped the 2,000 eggs. We advertised 10,000 eggs but the helicopter couldn't hold more than 2,000. Who knew?

Bottom line: it was a typical Easter Egg hunt (Ok, a helicopter is not so typical)... took a lot of time to plan and about 90 seconds to finish and there are always kids (and in this case parents!!!) who hog a ton of eggs and kids who get none. It's really a great activity to test (and teach) a child's character! We were honored to be able to bless our community with such a fun event.

If you ever want to plan an event like this in your area, I'd be glad to share with you how we put it together (and the mistakes we made!). We are now praying that many people who showed up would come by riverparkcc.com over the next few weeks and grow in their relationship with God.

-Stay tuned, I will post pictures and a YouTube video soon.

What did you do for Easter this year?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

1 Helicopter... 10,000 Eggs

Tonight I have begun the process of preparing my share of about 10,000 plastic Easter Eggs. I'm stuffing each one of my 2,000 with candy and a raffle ticket. Why? Because the RPCC team wants to be a blessing to Oxnard, CA. We just want to bless the families of west Ventura county with the biggest, most fun, unique Easter Egg hunt ever!
We're calling it the River Park Egg Drop.

I'm excited to see what is in store for us April 11 because everyone we talk to about this gets REALLY excited! Every time I turn around we seem to get a new sponsor. So far we've got 9 corporate sponsors and we're also teaming up with another local church plant to make this happen. All our prizes and candy have been donated. We've put up posters, put post cards in thousands of doors and car windows, pulled out Facebook ads. If you're in the area April 11, you will not want to miss this! I just hope there won't be too many scuffles with kids scrambling for the eggs! Don't worry, we will have plenty of candy for all, security and an ambulence on location! :) (They will not treat sugar highs!)

What Easter Events have you attended that were the most memorable/successful?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jamie O'neal

I don't do this often... in fact I've never done this! I commented on this YouTube video by Jamie O'neal. All these women have commented on it and are gushing about how great this video and message is, yet I've got a HUGE problem with it! I think the artist is talented and the songwriting isn't too bad but the premise is damaging to married women or those wanting to be married.

I'm kinda looking forward to some negative reaction to my comment (I like a good debate)... should be fun! My comment I posted is below. Do you agree/disagree? Why?

"Not to discard the importance of romance in a marriage (it's very important!) but if 'feeling like a woman' is exclusive to 'romance' in a marriage than she's got a very narrow definition of 'woman'. My wife feels like a woman while cleaning house, playing with our kids, making an income AND being romanced by her husband (me!). :) Ladies, please don't buy into what this video is selling!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If the Population of the Earth was 100...

What would a group of 100 people look like if they represented the population of the whole Earth? How many would be like you, or not? Here is an amazing video of what those 100 people would look like.

What surprised you about this video? What are, if anything, are you doing about it?

Friday, March 13, 2009


What's the stupidest, most embarrassing moment you've had? I remember being at a party in 7th grade and I started to play the piano... you know, trying to be cool and show off. I was standing at this piano while I played and half way through a song I felt a draft! I got pantsed! (Is that a word???) My friend (he was my friend before that!) decided it would be funny to whip my shorts to my ankles while my back was turned from everybody. It was funny, but for some reason at the time I wasn't laughing!

Yesterday John Maxwell, the leadership guru guy who has written a ton of books, was arrested. It's actually kind of a funny story. Read the news article first here. Then read his own account of it on his blog here.

I've never been arrested but I've received two or three speeding tickets. Thankfully I have not received any in the last 8-10 years. (Not that I haven't deserved them!)

Anyway, John Maxwell has a much better stupid and embarrassing story than me.

So what's your stupid, embarrassing story?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Orange County Board of Supervisors

It's refreshing to see the Orange County Board make a decision that truly considers the health of all the people in their county, including those outside and inside the womb. Read the article here.

Jon Dunn, presedint of planned parenthood in Orange county makes this contradictory statement:

"It's clear to me that the agenda of Supervisor Moorlach, and the other supervisors' willingness to go along with him, are driven more by a religious ideology than an articulate health policy that benefits the people of Orange County," Dunn said.

Mr. Dunn is not concerned about the health of the unborn and he fails to acknowledge that the source of his ideology is also a religious ideology. Besides that, he uses that term as if it's a negative thing to allow oneself to be driven by a religious ideology. Every person's world view is based upon the object of their faith. And no one can really make decisions apart from their religious ideology, unless of course their religious ideology is purely lip-service and based on image as opposed to reality.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Kind of Worker Are You?

Do you work hard or hardly work? Do you take initiative or wait to be asked? Do you hang out paralyzed in your confusion or lack of knowledge or go ask someone smarter "What can I do now?"

Until you're willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission you're not qualified to do what you love best. Why? Because God doesn't need you! Especially when you are arrogant to the point that you think certain things are beneath you.

Every able bodied person is more than qualified to set up chairs, pick up trash or move something from point A over to point B. This may not be what someone with unique gifts should be doing full time... but for a season, even an extended season, you may have to humble yourself, roll up your sleeves and break a sweat. In the process you may grow in your relationship with those working around you. But what if you're scrubbing toilets alone??? That's where the best growth with the most important relationship can take place... you and your Heavenly Father!

I don't always have the best attitude and catch myself having to REPENT! Attitude is not something that acts upon me, I'm not a helpless victim... I choose my own attitude! Tomorrow I get the privilege of doing what needs to be done a little more than normal. I typically help set up until the band arrives and we begin our sound check. Tomorrow we have a guest worship leader, who I'm looking forward to hearing, and that means I've got time to pitch in with our Road Crew more than usual. I pray for a great sleep and lot's of energy so I can work hard and honor God with everything I lift, unpack and set up.

What kind of worker are you? What kind of attitude do you have towards doing what needs to be done compared to what you love to do?

Perry has a great post about what kind of staff person you are. Read it here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catagory Winner in songdoor.com's International Song Writing Competition

I entered a song I wrote ("Spin") into a songwriting contest last year and just found out it was selected as a category winner. Don't know exactly what that means but I'm honored!

Check it out here: songdoor.com
Click on the main page to see the contest results. Scroll down and you can hear the songs.

You can purchase my song on iTunes by searching for "James Laing"... I'm the only one with that name on iTunes so far. And yes, I know. It's a very cheese-ball album cover. If you don't mind, write a review on iTunes... looks very empty without any reviews.

If you want to hear a few other songs for free check out www.myspace.com/jameslaingmusic.

You can also add me as a friend on facebook.com and hear some tunes under the "My Band" tab.

Thanks for listening!

So, who do you think will win the Super Bowl?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Barak Obama's Inauguration Speech

This is way too cool. Check out this picture of Barak Obama's inauguration speech. Try double clicking on it a few times.

In-N-Out Burger, Apple Computer and Simple Church

Last night I pulled off the 101 freeway with two words on my mind: "Double-double". As I think about my experience at In-N-Out's Drive Thru lane last night I still am surprised. When I pulled up there were no cars in front of me and no cars behind me. That's a first for me at In-N-Out, but understandable in a family town like Camarillo, CA at 7:45pm. Not too many families would be eating burgers for dinner that late.

The surprising thing was the lonely guy standing there with his portable computer register who took my order. He was over the top nice, clear, extremely helpful and completely at ease with his job. I felt like this guy is not just putting up with having to stand outside alone on this night. I felt that he actually enjoyed and took pride in his job.

Now, if you've never been to In-N-Out please stick with me as I explain the incredible process and strategy that makes this burger joint one of the busiest and inexpensive in Southern California. So sit back and relax because here comes the answer to this business phenom... hold on... are you ready?

The answer is as follows:

Combo 1,2 or 3.

Are you still with me? Relaxing time is over. That's it! Seriously! They have three combos for you to choose from. A burger empire built on simplicity and excellence (in product & service).

There is another well known company that is simple. While competers are laying off a multitude of people Apple continues strong. Read this latest article on their simplicity.

What if the church was also simple? Easy for guests to understand. No questions of "What does that mean?" or "I don't get it". What if the church offered two environments for adults. A worship service and small groups. What if that church focused on executing those environments with excellence in product and service?

No Sunday School, no sports ministries, no women's ministrys, no men's ministrys, no tutoring, no pilates, no special seasonal productions.

1. Worship Service
2. Small Groups

Simple. Excellent.

Leaving people with margin to invest in their families and communities during the week. Encouraging people to not join the local church softball league but to join the local city softball league. (Remember those salt and light passages in the Bible?)

Want a great read on this topic?

Want to experience a simple church?
Experience riverparkcc.com

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ventura County Star

River Park Community Church was featured in the Community Section of the Ventura County Star Yesterday. Though the a few facts were skewed, like the fact that I apparently am not on staff, (I am) it was actually a fair article. Check out the article here.

The next two Sundays are our Grand Opening Sundays. We begin doing both the Adult Worship and Kidstuf weekly. Make a point to join us this Sunday or next! I'm going to be doing "Say" by John Mayer with the band. It's a great song and I'm thankful I've got great players this Sunday. 

Last night I played Wii, watched the ball drop in NY City at midnight and then watched an episode of the first season of Hero's... I am totally addicted to this show, seems to get better each episode! "Save the cheerleader, save the world!"

Happy New Year!