Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Are you on twitter? I have been on twitter for about 4 months now. It’s growing on me more and more everyday. One of the things I like about it is that you can pick and choose who you receive updates from. You find a person or organization that you want to follow and their updates show up on your home page. You can also synch your twitter account with your facebook account and update both at the same time.

If you are a tweep (twitter peep), here are three people/organizations you need to follow on twitter…

1. XXX CHURCH (@xxxchurch) – This is an amazing ministry that I fully support. It provides free resources to help individuals break free from the chains of pornography. By following them on twitter, you can be the first to read new blog posts and articles, see new podcasts, and more. You can also follow their founder, Craig Gross, on twitter (@craigxxxchurch).

2. I AM SECOND (@IamSecond) – This is another amazing ministry that is making a significant impact in culture right now. Their website is known for having video testimonials of people (famous and not famous) who put God first in their lives. By following them on twitter, you get updates on new videos, information on how to get involved, share prayer requests, and more.

3. THE BATTING STANCE GUY (@BattingStanceG) – This guy is hilarious. If you are a baseball fan, the Batting Stance Guy is a must follow on twitter. This guy immitates professional baseball player batting stances. By following him on twitter, he will give you links to new videos. Plus, he has a funny insight on sports and baseball.

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Shameless plug:

You can also follow me on twitter @briancromer.

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Who are people/organizations that I need to be following on twitter?

Check out this video that we showed last night for week 3 of “Messy Spirituality”…

Yesterday I checked my mailbox and saw that I got a letter in the mail. With today’s world full of email, text messages, facebook, twitter, and myspace, that hand-written note is almost obsolete today.

When I saw the letter, I immediately got a huge smile came across my face. It was a letter from Angie. Angie is an eight year old Columbian girl who Heather and I have been sponsoring through Compassion International. We have been supporting Angie now for four years. Her letters, which she now writes herself (when we started her mom or dad had to write them), make my day.

Here is yesterday’s letter (they translate literally – just in case it sounds funny):

Dear Brian Cromer,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  my family is doing well; thanks be to God! We attend church on Sundays at 5pm. We gather together with other people on Wednesdays at 6pm and we talk about God. Sometimes we have ice cream after the meetings. Sometimes we have ice cream on Saturdays and we go swimming. I am happy! Thank you for your letters. I want you to know that I love you so much. I am 8 yrs old. I am in third grade. My family says hello! Do you like animals? I say goodbye. May our Lord keep you safe.

Love,

Angie

Absolutely precious. The letter also came (like always) with one of Angie’s beautiful drawings. Check it out…

I have never seen Angie face-to-face. I have never heard her voice. Even still, I love her with all my heart. I pray for her everyday and I know that an eight year old Columbian girl is praying for me everyday.

For only $38 a month you can make the same lasting impact on a child and develop a relationship like this. I implore you to seriously think about partnering with Compassion International to make an eternal difference in a child’s life. $38 a month is nothing for most of us – simply don’t go out to eat after church for one Sunday. For more information on how you can sponsor a child like Angie, CLICK HERE.

Came across this video on Scott Williams’ blog. This video will blow your mind.

Is social media a fan?

How has social media changed your life?

What social media statistics stood out to you?

Share your thoughts on these compelling statistics and the overall impact of social media.

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I have been blogging since March 2008. By no means does 20 months of blogging qualify me as a blogging expert. I do not have this whole blogging thing figured out. However, in the past 20 months I have learned a thing or two about blogging and myself in the process.

I get asked from time-to-time for blogging tips from prospecting bloggers. So without further adieu, here are the things that I have learned about blogging and myself in what I call…Confessions of a Blogger.

  • My #1 blogging rule: Don’t take yourself too seriously. I’m not that special or important. I am not entitled anything from anybody because I have a blog.
  • A big temptation with blogging and all social networking media is narcissism. Fight being narcissistic in blogging.
  • Blogging is a discipline for me just like eating healthy, working out, Bible study, and prayer.
  • Blogging is very therapeutic for me.
  • I’m much better with a computer and Internet than paper and pen. Blogging is basically a journal with accountability. I was always terrible at writing in a journal. I tried many times but never was consistent. Blogging changed that.
  • In 2o months, there have been over 89,300 total views, 1,862 comments, and 388 posts. I have no clue if that is good or not.
  • My busiest day on the blog was Friday, August 15, 2008 with 666 views. This bothers me greatly and I would really like this number to change.
  • I know blogging is very 2005 and already outdated, but I like it much better than other social networking websites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.
  • I use other social networking websites  (like Facebook and Twitter) to funnel more people to my blog. I direct people from both websites at strategic times of the day – morning, before lunch, after lunch, late afternoon, and night.
  • I view blogging as part of my ministry.
  • You need to write consistently to have a more successful blog.
  • Post lots of pictures on your blog to get more views. (Google Images will find them on searches.)
  • Deep down, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE getting blog comments. They bring me joy and motivation to keep writing…seriously.
  • I write about a number of different subjects. I don’t ever want my writing to be predictable.
  • I am amazed at all the random strangers that stumble onto my blog. In those moments, it becomes even more clear to me that blogging is part of my ministry.
  • If YOURNAME.com is available, I recommend purchasing the domain name. It is affordable (especially through WordPress). It feels a little weird, but you never know if you will need it in the future. Don’t let someone grab it first.
  • While I love getting blog comments, I hate getting spam comments.

I could go on and on. However, I want you to share your confessions. I’m sure I’ll add some more of my confessions to the comment section as I think of them.

Comments? Questions? Confessions?

365 Club logo

Check out this awesome story of how technology and twitter has changed the world (from “The Reason Your Church Must Twitter” by Anthony D. Coppedge)…

A pastor friend of mine, Dave Ferguson (@daveferguson), was prompted by God to buy everyone working at the Kinko’s where he was a Starbucks drink of his or her choice. Dave posted about it on Twitter and how this “random act of kindness” was received. The next thing Dave knows, someone Re-Tweeted (RT) his post and then went and set up a Facebook group called “The 365 Club” and said Dave’s tweet was the initiator. The 365 Club is where people commit to doing one random act of kindness everyday for the next year. As of the time of this publishing there were already 300 members who have committed to over 110,000 acts of kindness in 2009!

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UPDATE: As of today, the 365 Club has over 10,000 members.

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I am going on record and saying that I will not EVER use twitter. :)”

That sentence was taken from my blog post on April 8, 2009. I am now suffering from a bad case of foot in mouth disease.

Have you ever done anything that you promised you never would do? Maybe you have been anti-whatever for years before you found yourself using or doing that very thing you spoke out against. Maybe things that never appealed to you started to look enticing. We could be talking about something as small as eating onions, as big as becoming an alcoholic, and everything in between.

If I were to be completely honest, I do this quite a bit. I come down with this foot in mouth disease when I say I will never do something and then end up doing that very thing.

I have been anti-twitter or a while. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was my lack of understanding what it really was. Maybe it was not wanting to have another something to keep up with. Maybe it was the thought of the word “tweet” becoming part of my regular vocabulary.

With all that being said, I AM OFFICIALLY ON TWITTER.

I put a lot of thought into this decision. On the recommendation of a good friend (@wkohring), I read the e-book “The Reason Your Church Must Twitter” by Anthony D. Coppedge. After reading this book and doing some research, I have decided to twitter.

Here are the main reasons why I have made this decision:

  • Twitter is a free and simple way to connect churches to the cell phones of their congregation, volunteers, and staff.
  • Twitter is a near-instant, almost-anywhere communication that has the potential to change the face of ministry.
  • Twitter is faster than email, easier than phone calls, and more manageable than group text.
  • Twitter is an excellent way to reinforce the theme and points of messages during the week.
  • Twitter (like Facebook & the blog) will help people better to relate to me as a person, not just as a pastor.
  • I can update my Twitter & Facebook status at the same time.
  • I will use Twitter to consistently direct people to my blog. My blog will continue to get the majority of my attention and energy. I love the discipline of consistent writing, so that will not change. Twitter will only help increase the flow of traffic to my blog.

Follow me on twitter @briancromer or http://twitter.com/briancromer

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Urbanspoon is an online company that provides restaurant information. This company provides information, reviews, suggestions, and menus for restaurants all over the world. In the words of Urbanspoon, “Urbanspoon is the world’s leading provider of time-critical dining data, a major division of a very important multi-national corporation, and an all-around BIG PLAYER in the multi-billion dollar restaurant information industry.

Urbanspoon also makes an awesome, free, popular app for iPhones and iPod Touches. On this app, you can search restaurants by price, location, and type of food. I have had the Urbanspoon app on my iPhone for over a year. However, I have not had a lot of opportunities to use it living in a small town.

urbanspoon.preview

Because of our recent move to Oklahoma City, OK (which is a much bigger city than Sulphur Springs, TX), Heather and I are instituting our “Saturday night Urbanspoon date night”. For a while now, the Urbanspoon iPhone app will determine our Saturday nights.

I’m excited…

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Anybody got any restaurant recommendations for Oklahoma City?

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UPDATE 8:51PM: Urbanspoon picked HIDEAWAY PIZZA. For a pizza place (a youth pastor’s nightmare), it was really good. Ironically, I had one of the best salads I have ever had tonight.

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I enjoy shooting, making, and editing videos from time to time. This was a video I made for Sulphur Springs Workcamp 2009. I reluctantly had to use my thespian skills (or lack there of) in this video. The title of this video is “Tuesday Morning” because this is how I got to Shannon Oaks Church on the Tuesday morning of SSWC 2009. I accidently over slept and had to hustle.

WARNING: You will see me as you never have seen me if you watch this video.

That one year of “Drama 1″ my senior year of high school really paid off, huh?

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To see more videos that I have made, visit MY PROFILE ON VIMEO.COM.

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Also, that beautiful house that is featured throughout the video is for sale. You should buy it.

x3 watch

Is America addicted to porn? That is the question ABC’s Nightline asked during a 2008 broadcast. You can go to www.abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaceOff/ and see a debate over that topic. It is extremely interesting and insightful. Note of caution: this is over a national, secular broadcast so you never know their real agenda.

Pornography is drastically affecting America and the church. It is often the “dirty little secret” that is constantly being ignored and swept under the rug while it kills intimacy, marriages, and purity. The porn business is a $14 billion dollar a year industry. It is supposed to be designed for mature adults, but the reality is that it is killing America’s youth. The average age of a porn viewer is between 12-17 years old. The average age a person is first introduced to pornography is 11 years old. The reason for these startling stats is because it is only a few clicks away now. It’s not like 20 years ago, when you had to look under your dad’s mattress or go into the XXX store with a ballcap pulled down low to cover your face so nobody knew you were there. Anybody with an Internet connection can have porn available in a matter of seconds without anybody knowing.

One of the best resources I have found that is fighting the fight against pornography and calling people back to God and holiness is www.xxxchurch.com. I strongly support these guys (one of the guys, Craig Gross, is on the Nightline debate mentioned above). Check them out.

Whether you have kids or not, we have to be proactive about protecting our purity and intimacy in marriage. Here a couple of practical suggestions that I recommend you put into practice immediately in your home:

  1. Put your home computer in a public area. This definitely applies if you have kids. Don’t let your kid have a computer in their room at home.
  2. Put some sort of filter/accountability software on your computer that monitors what websites are being viewed. XXXchurch.com has a FREE software for Mac and PC that is called X3 Watch. That software is an accountability software that sends a weekly email to an accountability partner of what websites you are looking at. The key is that your partner is somebody that will hold you accountable and you don’t want them to know you are looking at porn (I recommend your wife, your pastor, your mom, etc).

I personally have X3 Watch on my personal computer. Heather (my wife) is my accountability partner. Every week she gets an email that reports any questionable websites that I may have viewed that week. On multiple occasions she has told me how proud she is of me and encourages me in my purity.

It’s time we stop sweeping this epidemic that is drastically affecting our churches, our marriages, our teenagers, and our culture under the rug. Pursue holiness. Pursue purity.