My CLA Takeaway

The Christian Leadership Alliance was a pretty amazing experience. I’d never been around so many Christians for so long. There were guest speakers, praise and worship leaders, dramas, classes, vendors, etc. And while I heard some great things – most of it went in one ear and out the other. This could account for my “holy” deficit. But one class I attended on BRANDING got me thinking.

First of all, they define “branding” as a promise you make your client.  For instance, WalMart says “Low Prices”, and Delta says “You’ll Love the Way We Fly.” Our instructor pointed out that in order for a brand to stick – every point of contact with the customer has to reinforce the promise. I give WalMart a YES, but Delta might want to rework theirs a bit.

So..I was thinking about the Christian brand. What is our promise? Not the Jesus promise, but when we put on the label CHRISTIAN, what do we promise to be? Promise to do? How do we promise to act? And are we reinforcing that at every point of contact with a lost world?

Movies always show Christians as judgemental, gossipy hypocrites. Ouch. Are we reinforcing or refuting THAT brand? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between Christians and non-Christians which means our brand could be, “Change your religion, not your lifestyle.” Not good.

The teacher said before you can build your brand, you have to define what it is. What do YOU think the Christian brand is? If you want to know if you’re living it, ask a non-believer, someone with full access to your life, to tell you what they think it is based on YOU.

Let me know how that works out. I’d do it, but I don’t think “sarcastic” would look good on a logo.

With Friends Like These

Excuse me for the short post, but today has been a blur, like yesterday, and the day before – long seminars surrounded by Godly people, interrupted by excessive food consumption. Tonight we went to a lovely dinner and listened to Chuck Swindoll. Then afterward, Lori and I had an deep conversation about the biblical points he’d raised and how to apply them to our lives. It went something like this:

Me: Do you think that older guy at the table thought I was an idiot?

Lori: Which guy?

Me: You know, the older author.

Lori: Ohhh, him. Yes. He absolutely did. I’m not sure about the other guy.

Me: You mean he might have thought I was an idiot too??

Lori: It depends. How much did you talk to him?

Tomorrow is our last day and we’ll be spending it with Focus on the Family. I’ll be the mute girl in the corner.

American Idol and Tornadoes

I’ll be honest, I’m writing this after a long day of seminars and leadership sessions and laughing so hard that someone actually peed their pants. In a word, “exhausted.”  This review may or may not bear any resemblance to reality. Unlike the perfectly worded and on-point critiques of the past.

Living legend Carol King provides tonight’s inspiration.  This is the point where I thought, “Hey, she looks like that guy that sang that song,” then I couldn’t remember the song or the guy and spend thirty minutes on YouTube searching for “dude from the 70’s”. Oh yeah, Jimmy Hall.

Well that was worth all my time and effort. Now, where was I?

Jacob is up first up and sings it over and over and over in rehearsal. Who dressed Jacob? I’m guessing Haley cause she has the most to benefit from him losing. There are so many great singers in the world, but Jacob is not one of them. ARGGGH. Stephen says it “was beautiful, man”. I HATE him. Jennifer says there were spaces where it wasn’t perfect. Yes, if you consider the Grand Canyon a “space”. Randy said the scatting was incredible. I hope he scats on out of here tomorrow. C-

Why is Jimmy trying to kill Lauren? First he disses Miley, then he brings in her producers, and now Miley herself. He must be paying some serious penance for trashing her.  Lauren looks beautiful and she is singing GREAT. JL0 says she was pushing, Randy says it’s time to throw down the gauntlet and he didn’t love the song, but loved that she came with a vengeance and a bunch of other stuff that I ignored, and Stephen says she shined when her voice broke. I must shine every time I sing. I loved it – A!

Haley and Casey sing I Hear the Earth Move Under my Feet which allows us to see some flirtatious banter. Casey isn’t doing it for me, and the whole dancing together thing makes me a little embarrassed for them. Duet – solid C.

Scotty does You’ve Got a Friend. He starts sitting and holding the mike with only ONE hand which is a big improvement over the usual creepy/crawler performance. I think it’s sounds really FLAT and a bit of a snoozer. I’ve seen so many people do this song, and all of them did it better. Randy says the beginning was flawless, Stephen says he’s never sang better which is ridiculous, and JLo says he is getting better at reaching for the notes. They are on crack.  C-

James sings Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. BabyFace says he was blown away, and Jimmy says he and Carole King were made for each other. Okay, I’m NOT a James Durbin fan, or a fan of hard rock, but the dude KILLED it.  Stephen says it was the first song he ever made out with a girl to, JLo says it was magical, and Randy says he might just win the whole thing. I had written him off as a rock version of Adam Lambert, but he just MIGHT win the whole thing. A+

Lauren and Scotty sing something. This is not going well already when Scotty gives Lauren advice on how to hold her microphone.  I think she sounds great and he sounds like corn-pone-corny-candy-corn. JLo says Lauren sang her brains off and that Scotty did a great job backing her up. Which I’m sure he LOVED.  B+

Casey is up next. Jimmy says Casey is always pushing the boundaries.  Right, kissing JLo on the cheek is ground breaking!  Well, he LOOKS dapper. I’m going to admit something. I like the blues, and I like freaky singers, and I actually bought a Taylor Hicks cd. I’m not proud, but I tell you this to say that if I think you’ve jumped the shark, you’ve probably lost everyone else. I’m going to start calling him Freeda after my special needs dog who growls at the voices in her head. No love for Casey. C

Haley sings something. At the point they were introducing her, I was calling Georgia because a TORNADO is on the way and I needed to tell JD to go to the basement. And to take the Moonpie. Men have to be told these things you know.  I THINK she did well, but I didn’t see God like Stephen. Everyone else says something which is trumped by Lori telling me a mile wide tornado hit  Rome, Ga. and that her family is hiding in the bathroom.  Uh… B-?

Jacob and James scream the last duet and it confuses Stephen more than usual. I thought they were annoying. This whole duet thing has put me in a bad mood. That and the tornado thing. C

So, JACOB is going home, obviously.  Leave a comment and let me know what YOU think. And that you made it safely through the storm. That’s important too.

The Highs and Lows of Conferences

Me before the conference, “Let’s get up every morning and go to the gym, eat salads, and do our own version of The Biggest Loser so that when we get off the plane, everyone is shocked at our weight loss.”

Me AT the conference, “Can I have some cheese with my cheese?”

Are conferences EVER really what you expect?

This is our view. I asked at the counter for an upgrade because The Pioneer Woman ALWAYS gets a room upgrade and then they asked me what I wanted and all I could say was, “You choose.” Its conveniently located on the 10th floor right across from the vending machines. And while the room itself is fine, I have what can only be described as blood on my sheet. Yes, BLOOD.

Other than the fact that it doesn’t look like a murder took place here, I’ve tried not to think of it’s origin.

Lori and I spend the morning at a seminar on Building your Social Media Strategy which was GREAT especially since the guys leading it made our room a hotspot and we had wifi the entire time. They formed a group on Facebook and we all joined it so we could post questions online and not by raising our hands like the losers in the Best Practices for Risk Management class.

Later we attempted to go to dinner but since the other 1000 attendees had the same idea and the three hotel restaurants are all served by ONE kitchen, there was a 45 minute wait on everything.

Lori took it well. We finally made a dinner out of chips and queso which I enjoyed despite the whole lactose intolerance thing.

And after THAT, we went to hear Priscilla Shirrer speak which was a definite HIGH. Mainly it was about being one in a million and some other stuff that I’ll totally plagiarize on some Holy Sunday post in the future.

But that’s not all that happened. Despite now being 3:00 a.m., Lori and I went to the Exhibitors Hall and signed up for every free thing they offered. And I WON. A pair of Chuck Taylors!

Well, actually the vendor told us to wear their company pin in a prominent place and that they would come by later to pick someone out of the crowd. If you hear of some Christian chick walking around the conference leading with her right breast, it was Lori. So anyway, when they came up to us, since we were both standing together and we were both wearing their pins, we had to decide which one of us was the winner.

And we agreed it should be me because I was jumping up and down like I’d just won the Mediterranean Cruise for two, and Lori wears weaponry instead of shoes.

I’m not kidding. Can you guess what belongs to me and what belongs to her?

At least if we find more blood on the sheets, we’ll know what caused it.

Hook ‘Em Horns

That’s Dallas, right? I’m laying in my hotel room, looking out my big glass window at the Dallas skyline. If you read of a Dallas blogger lamenting women who walk around their hotels with their extended bellies hanging out, you’ll know he’s the lucky dude in the high rise condo across the street.

I got to the Atlanta airport today at one o’clock, sat around for an hour at the sweltering gate, (Hey, Hartsfield, turn on your air conditioning!) THEN sat on the tarmac for another hour, and THEN flew all around Texas in order to avoid thunderstorms that were surrounding the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. If there is one thing I enjoy more than flying, it’s flying during a thunderstorm. After an hour in the shuttle bus which made TWO stops before depositing me at the hotel, I ate three fish tacos and am now bloated, relaxed and ready for bed.

My life is fascinating. Why am I in Dallas? My friend, Lori and I are here on a SCHOLARSHIP. That’s right, Focus on the Family gave me a scholarship to a Christian LEADERSHIP Conference. I am special. I think it has something to do with my post from yesterday and my deep insight into what the 21st century church should be.

Or Lori got to bring someone and she picked me.

She may be rethinking that decision. Especially since when she called room service, we got so tickled, she literally COULD NOT SPEAK. Which is why we only got ONE pecan pie instead of two. Since it’s a Christian conference, and it was OUR fault, I thought I’d forgo the cuss fight.

I’ll keep you posted on all the things I learn this week. By the way, I’m not TEACHING at the Christian Leadership Conference, I’m an attendee. Just in case you were confused.

Lisa’s Church of Joy and Jubilation

On the way to church on Easter Sunday, I was thinking how I would do things differently if I had my own church, (and I think we can all agree that I TOTALLY should). I would like to point out that A) I was on my WAY so this is not a reflection of my personal church day experience, and B) I’d just spent the morning trying to find something sufficiently pastel/Easterly to wear that I could actually button, to no avail. Not my best morning.

So I was wondering, WHY do we go to church? Really. Some might say it’s to hear the scripture preached by a Godly man with some particular insight beyond your own. Okay. But why do we have to GO? There are several well-known and highly respected teachers that you could listen to either via the television, radio or internet. But let’s say your pastor is really great. I happen to like our pastor a lot, but his sermons are available on our website.  So why can’t I just listen from the comfort of my own home, in my comfortable pajama’s with the elastic waistband?

Maybe people go for the worship. Okay, but still, as much as a person likes their band/choir/song leader surely you could get a great worship experience by listening to Third Day, Primitive Gospel Quartet, or the Triumph Mass Choir. I’ve had lots of great worship at my house, with the CD cranked and the furniture pushed back so I can dance, and no worries that the people behind me are thinking, “Lord, don’t let her pop a button or she’ll put some one’s eye out.”

So that leads us to the THIRD reason why we should go to church according to the study I conducted in my car on my way to our Easter service. Community. According to my husband, he loves going to church with his brother and sisters in Christ, enjoying the rich interaction that comes from being in a community of believers. Really? After church I asked him how many people he really spoke to, not just a “Hello, Happy Easter,” but real, in-depth conversation. Answer – 0. Sure churches have Small Groups, Cell Groups or Sunday School classes, but my group has 5 women. FIVE out of the entire church. JD’s has two. I’m thinking there is room for improvement.

So, here’s how I would have church in the 21st Century. First of all, we’d have ONE service. Too crowded for you? Tough. Stand closer, get to know someone, maybe it will remind you of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have to crowd into dark places in SECRET to study the word.

Second, we’d have food. Nothing elaborate, but a table with breads and jams and fruit. We’d eat and talk, and socialize with each other. In order to keep the same old cliques from forming, you’d be handed a colored bracelet upon arrival. Blues would sit with blues, greens with greens, etc. And no trivial crap. The question would be, “What do you need God to do in your life right now?” “How have you shown the love of Jesus this week?”

Third, after we’d eaten, we’d arrange our chairs in a circle, so we could see each other. Then the Pastor would come and talk to us about what was happening in our community. “The Middle School in our community is having trouble with bullying, let’s pray about it.” Then we’d PRAY. Not just him, but kids and moms and dads and the people would pray for the school. The the Pastor would tell us about a family in the church who needed help with rent, and we’d take up a collection on the spot. And after we’d talked about what was going on, prayed, interacted, then he’d give us guidance. Five to ten minutes about a particular subject. “Romans 12 says, pour out your bodies as a living sacrifice, so this week sacrifice for the Kingdom. Go out of your way to bring someone to church. Mow your neighbors yard. Invite the single mom and her kids over to your house for dinner with your family.” Then the following week we’d ask each other how we did.

After it was all said and done, we’d worship. Push back the chairs, and worship like we believed the KING was listening. Like we believed all the stuff we’ve been hearing for years. Like we were the sons and daughters of a king! I’d tell people not to make plans on Sunday, cause it ain’t over till it’s over!

My church would ROCK. My church would be FUN. My church bulletins would have an OVERABUNDANCE of capital letters. And maybe, just maybe, I’d be so excited about Jesus, I wouldn’t care that the people around me were being exposed to a LOT of back fat.

It would be a place of miracles.

You May or May Not be Reading This

I’ve had server issues for days and the drama continues through the night. Some people claim to be able to see my site, I just can’t. Because I moved my hosting, “Guaranteed to be seamless!” the site could be down for up to 72 hours. 72 HOURS? My readers are finicky – I can’t give you any reason NOT to come here.


I’ve been on Live Chat for the past 2 hours and now I have nothing left to say. Which is good. In case you CAN’T see this, I wouldn’t want you to miss anything important.

American Idol Recrap

I just noticed that when the intro shows the last three winners, I had totally forgotten about them all. The longer AI is on, the less inclined I am to care. Shouldn’t that be the opposite?

Tonight’s contestants get to choose any song from the 21st century. Scotty has TEN years to pull songs from and goes with the cheesy, Just A Swinging.  By the way, I remember that song when it came out by John Anderson. Slightly more than ten years ago.  I’m so OVER that head tilted, hunchback, creeper style of singing. Stephen wants more boot-scootin’, JLo likes the story-telling quality but says it’s time to pull out the big guns, Randy says it was safe and boring. Hey, who withheld the prozac from the judges this week? They finally managed to be critical. I’m with them, D.

Say hi to James Durbin. Now say hi to his high-school marching band. It started off low and mumbled for me, but when he hit the chorus, I have to say he sounded great. JLo called it amazing, Randy called it unbelievable, and Stephen says something about his closet. Solid A.

Next up, Haley. She’s going to sing Adele. ADELE. Is it me or does it seem like Jimmy Iovine is really ready for her to go? I admit I was skeptical, but I think she sounded awesome! Randy says she found the perfect direction, Stephen says it was a great performance especially in the middle, and JLo said there were moments she brought Haley to it. I think the gods that run American Idol want her to go home. But I liked it. A-

Jacob sings Luther Vandross. He cries and I swear it looks like Jimmy is about to cry too! This is how I feel every time Jacob sings. Stephen says he is so good even though he lost the track and that his dad was up there listening. JLo says a bunch of something that I couldn’t really follow. Randy says it was good emotionally, but vocally it didn’t make him jump up and down. He wants him to stop holding back. Noooooo! Please, someone cut Randy’s mike.  For not crying during the performance alone, a B-

Casey is getting ready to sing, but first we have to watch the other contestants make fun of him. Really, Scotty? You want to make fun of how other people look when singing? Jimmy seems to really like Casey. In that Godfather Mafia way that makes you think he’ll kill you if you cross him. Casey rocks Maroon Five and manages to plant a kiss on the cheek of the most beautiful woman in the world! JLo  says she loved the performance, Randy says it was surprising and that he loved it, Stephen says he’s a cult hero and he’s so %$# good he’s pissed off a bunch of people. I think if he wins, it will be FOUR pictures at the beginning of the program that we’ll all have forgotten. B-

Stephano is ready to fight! Good thing cause Jimmy is cussing at him. He tells him to bring the sexy then shocks us all by telling us he wasn’t all that sexy when he was in school. WHAT? Well, Sir, you’ve certainly made up for it now.  Hmmm. I’m not sure Stephano should try sexy. The whole dancing with his suspenders down? Reminds me of this:

Randy says it was smooth, Stephen says he was hoping he’d dance and he did, and JLo thought he had his swag on. Same old Stephano to me, C.

Last but not least, Lauren Alaina. Jimmy Iovine decides to freak out Lauren by bringing  in Miley’s producers and remind us all that he said she was a better singer. I’m losing patience with this kid. Just SING IT, darn it. And that is one stupid dress you’re stomping around in. Stephen makes no sense at all and makes a request like he’s at Mainstreet Bar, JLo says she has color in her voice and she should go for the big notes, Randy tells her to challenge herself. I’m tired of being her weekly self-esteem builder. B MINUS for the wasted potential.

JLo says any of them can win, Randy says to BRING IT, and Stephen says to Casey that God said “all men are created equal” but some are more equal than others. I say Stephen needs to recheck his Bible.

I predict Scotty has his first visit to the bottom this week. What say you?


Because of the stupid server issues, the blog files were moved. Since it took a couple of days, my post from yesterday was lost. Which means I have to announce AGAIN that AG won the gift certificate in case you missed it. And then he can send me the same photoshopped screen-shot that turns my $25.00 offer into $2,500.

At least I also lost his comment. Gloater.