Sunday, August 23, 2009

ChMS - All church check-in - SUCCESS!

It is a glorious day. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing at about 500 miles per hour. Ah, the desert... But check-in is over for the three big services, and it was a resounding success.

All told we checked in 1,174 kids over three services so far this weekend. The largest service was 527 kids. We used sixteen check-in stations, which is overkill, but made the whole process go very smoothly and quickly. By our testing calculations on Friday we can checkin roughly 100 kids per kiosk per service, not counting the task of entering families. Using the planned twelve stations (the extra four are for other classes and other parts of the campus, but we are using them for the first month or so) we should be able to checkin up to about 1000 kids per service, roughly twice what we have at our biggest service.

This photo was taken at 10:59. Last week at this time there were six lines out the door of people waiting to get to the check-in tables. This week there were a lot of people, but the lines moved quickly and most were able to checkin in under a minute. The longest amount of time was spent explaining to parents what the three labels were for. Next week, those explanations won't be necessary, making this even faster still.

We found one bug in a beta arena dll (created for us to code around a microsoft problem) that we will get resolved this week. We also found that parents don't believe that their kids are ever "new walkers" they are only "confident walkers" so we will remove the new walker designation... Still, the weekend was a resounding success.

Thanks again to Jason and Nick at CCCEV for writing the checkin module we are using, and to the guys at Arena for creating a database powerful enough for us to pull this off. Also props to the volunteers around HDC that helped us pull this off. From the kids team to the IT volunteers to the guys that helped us fit out the kiosks, build the back panels for power and ethernet, fill the bottoms with sand etc. it was a true team effort.

Time to celebrate!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ChMS - Tick..tick...tick...

The kiosks are built and tested.

The check-in software has been revised to fit our needs perfectly and tested.

The family registration module has been built and tested.

The system has been setup to put kids in the proper rooms and balance rooms with overlapping age ranges.

The congregation has been informed.

People have been given opportunities to update their data.

We have demoed the check-in system from the stage during services.

We have tested for six weeks in a smaller venue.

There can be no more delays...

Check-in goes live to our entire church Saturday night at 6PM.

That ticking. Is it a bomb, or is it counting down to a celebration?


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vin Scully can read my wife's mind!

During tonight's dodger game Hiroki Kuroda, the dodger pitcher was hit in the head by a line drive and seriously injured. My whole family was watching the game, and we were all deeply concerned. After a few minutes of chatter and watching him be attended to by the trainer and other personnel, Patty says "I wonder if he is married"

Vin Scully replies: If you are wondering, Kuroda is married and has two daughters.

A few minutes pass and the game is about to resume.

Patty: What do they do about the batter?

Vin Scully: That is ruled as a ground rule double in case you wonder about such things right now.

We start to laugh, and remark about how good Vin Scully really is. He has been doing this so long he can anticipate what his audience wants to know...

Patty: Where are they going to take him? I hope they tell us before the end of the game.

Vin Scully: They have taken Kuroda to St. Josephs hospital nearby.



PS - I would assume updates on kuroda will be posted here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scriptural or Cultural

Recently I did a pre-marital appointment for a couple who wanted to attend our marriage class. They indicated in their application that they were living together. Part of our requirement for being part of the class is that couples not be living together, and if they are we meet with them to encourage them to separate until their wedding. Not knowing how the appointment would go, I wanted to prepare and be sure that I had solid scriptural footing for any conversations that might arise.

I figured there had to be a verse somewhere that said "Thou shalt not knock boots until thy wedding day, thus saith the Lord" but it is nowhere to be found. So I asked another pastor. He looked at me funny. "Hmm, I don't know. Let's look" and he pulled out a little counseling guide that pointed to 1 Corinthians 6:

1Cor. 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
1Cor. 6:10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Ok, but what, exactly, does sexually immoral mean? Because they are not adulterers, they aren't married. Well, in Greek it's pornos. Looking at the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, pornos seems to be related to prostitution. Well, they aren't going to prostitutes so that doesn't exactly apply... Other greek lexicons were of no help either. They mostly talk of immoral behavior or relationship to prostitution. Hmmm. Ok, so what if they claim "we aren't immoral, we are in a monogamous relationship with one another!"

So I asked another pastor. He pointed me to Hebrews 13:4

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Ok, but they aren't married, and they aren't guilty of adultery, and the sexually immoral had that pesky pornos root again. I began to wonder if this was more of a cultural thing than a scriptural thing. After all, in 1 Corinthians 6:16 it seems to indicate that it is the sexual act that creates the union in God's eyes, not the marriage ceremony:

1Cor. 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
1Cor. 6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

It was at this point that my wife joked "we shouldn't have waited!" to which we all laughed. So I asked another pastor. He went first to corinthians, and then to another passage that had that pesky greek word pornos in it. He replied confidently "but pornos means immorality!" and then we discussed that a bit. Pornos is often claimed to mean a lot of things, but when you come right down to it, it seems to tie mostly to prostitition. It was amazing to me how confident we all were without ever really digging into the scriptures involved.

So I went to yet another pastor and asked him. He immediately went to Ephesians 5:3 -

Eph. 5:3 ¶ But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

We have a winner! Regardless of how you exegete porneia or pornos, this verse is clear about sexual purity in english or in Greek. I didn't exactly expect them to begin arguing greek roots with me, and I wasn't about to tell them to continue on in sexual sin, but I found it very interesting how difficult it was for guys who know their bible to answer this question when challenged on those very points.

It did get me thinking about how easy it is to apply culture to the scripture, and to assume that cultural values are biblical values. It is always good to search the word of God to be sure that our assumptions are backed up by the text. In this case I believe they are, but I was definitely surprised at how not black and white this whole discussion really was when we dug in.


Monday, August 3, 2009

16 Years

July 31 was our 16th anniversary. 16 years ago Patty said "I do" and life changed forever. These 16 years have been the best years of my life. I am grateful to God for the family he gave me, and grateful to Patty for what a wonderful wife she has been all these years.

Over these years we've:
- lived in one apartment and three houses in four different cities.
- had two wonderful children.
- had the privilege of serving at two great churches
- developed many great friendships
- driven across the country from california to virginia
- gone to hawaii, guam and yap as a family
- developed our own holiday traditions
- experienced joy and heartbreak innumerable times
- buried a parent
- loved
- been loved
- and the list goes on.

When we first got married people would say "how to you like being married?" to which I would reply "I highly recommend it!"

I still do. My wife rocks.