Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Checkers vs. Chess

The following is an article that I wrote for Convergence Ministries:
I prefer checkers to chess. I know chess is considered by many to be the more mature game of the two, but checkers doesn’t require as much thought or strategy. Sure, there is some strategy involved with checkers, but you could easily play checkers without having to think nearly as hard. Also, with checkers you can be more reactive if you were feeling particularly lazy.

However, one day I was driving and I was thinking about how I was leading my life, family, and ministry. That is when the metaphor of checkers vs. chess first popped up in my mind regarding life and leadership. I had been leading my life with a reaction-driven mentality, and often was moving forward impulsively hoping for the best and not thinking about how my current ‘moves’ would be impacting the future. I was viewing my life like a person who was playing checkers.

I’m not very good at chess, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why I do not prefer it to checkers. However, I know people who are great at chess and often think many moves ahead. They are responsive, strategic, and are aware how one move will effect another opportunity. When I realized this it hit me, “I need to begin viewing life and leadership like a chess player!”

As ministers, leaders, spouses, parents, and teammates we can learn a lot from this metaphor. Most of us lead our lives and all that is involved as lazy checker players. We have tons of opportunities and options on our plate and rather than slowly considering the long-term goals and visions we are serving, we usually react to the most appealing options and ‘fires’ that pop up. Of course, we all have seasons of life when this is inevitable, however, this tends to be the norm rather than the exception for many.

It is not easy to change how we view life, especially if we have forced ourselves into a place where disorganization rules our lives. I know first hand how crippling disorganization can be, so the first step to transition from checker-style living to living like a chess player is to get organized, which I recently did. Also, it will take some time to sit and consider how your current decisions are going to effect long-term impact on you, your family, your church, or your organization. However, this is imperative in order to shift your thinking and outlook.

Those of us who are in any leadership position have a lot that is required of us. The stress builds up quickly and we are forced to make a lot of decisions. However, it is possible to be more strategic in our approach and this is why I hope you will commit to shifting your thinking away from reacting like a checker player and learn to be responsive and strategic like a chess player. You will find that the more you demonstrate this shift, the more your people (family, church members, etc.) will trust you and follow your lead, and the lower stress you will experience in the long-run. Leading like a chess player requires that we keep the end in mind (capturing the King) while being intentional about the steps in getting there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Brenham Pressure Washing - Update

On Monday evening I bought my new pressure washer and I was really excited to get started early Tuesday morning at my first job. I took the pressure washer out of the box, put it together, grabbed all my tools, my chemicals, new towels, hoses, etc. and loaded up my Civic. It was pretty funny, I had to put my pressure washer in the front seat of my Civic, because it would not fit into the trunk, nor the back seat (I have a 2 door Civic). A pressure washing site specifically said that I should get a van or truck, "Truck or Van - Something to carry your equipment and I don't advise showing up to a job site in a Civic."  That is a direct quote...

Tuesday morning I rose early to drive to Sugar Land to do my first 'official' job (2nd total) for our friends Rob and Morgan. Here are some before pictures.

So, I arrive around 9:45 a.m. and start unpacking my Civic.  I get everything out and set up the hoses, put gas into my pressure washer, and crank it up.  I take care of their fences first, no problem and work my way around the house.  When I get to the front porch, I decide to give my turbo head a try.  I put it on, and then pop.  It comes out.  I think to myself, "Hmm...  Maybe I'll wait on that one..."  Then I place another normal head on it and water starts spraying everywhere.  Turns out that I blew an O-ring...  Thus, leading to trip 1 to Home Depot.

When I got to Home Depot (about 10-15 minutes away) I grab a new spray wand and head back to the job.  I get back to work and finish the front walk and their sitting area without a problem.  When I get started on the driveway my washer loses pressure and then I hear a loud PSSSSHHHHHHH and look back at my rig and see water spraying out of the hose, at a high pressure.  Apparently the hose (which was a cheap piece of junk) touched my engine and burned right through.  Hence, trip 2 to Home Depot.

I find a hose, but it has a different connector than the one I was using.  However, it says it is compatible with Troy Bilt, so I grab an adapter and some other things and head back to the house.  

I get back to the house...  The hose does not fit.  It is raining...  Burrrrrrgh...  I head back to Home Depot for Trip 3.  I get there, grab a few other types of adapters, drive back to the house. DOESN'T FIT !@&*#*!!!!  SO, I get back into my 'inappropriate for pressure washing business' Civic and head to Lowes, which is about 20 minutes or so away.  I get there, grab a new hose, go back to the house, and finally get to finish the job.  I'm loaded up at 4:00 pm and heading out.  6 Hours to do a 3 hour job...  Tough learning curve.

However, the job turned out looking good and my clients were happy.  Here are some after pics.

I had the privilege of pressure washing my parents front and back of their house.  It was an all day project, but turned out great.

If you have any needs or know anyone who does, have them check out Brenham Pressure Washing!

I'll take customers in the Houston area as well as around Brenham...  No job is too small. :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008


We recently met some new friends here in Brenham and they are great.  Andy and Gabriele recently moved down from Oklahoma.  Recently Gabriele was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is a horrific disease.  However, rather than be defeated they decided to be proactive by working towards a solution.  

I encourage you to check out their blog and purchase some of Andy's art.

I've recently started Brenham Pressure Washing as a way to supplement our ministry income when times are slow. The idea came about a while back when I heard of a friend in missions who does something similar on the side. I recently noticed a pressure washer in my parents garage I asked my Dad about it and he said, "I don't think it's been used but twice." I asked if I could borrow it, and as always, my generous Dad agreed.

So far I have cleaned my house and my driveway, The Hyde's front and back porch, and I have two more jobs lined up in Sugar Land. Although my little company is called 'Brenham Pressure Washing', I am happy to travel to the Sugar Land area to serve my friends and family. I'm excited to see where this goes. Let me know if I can help!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The other day Steph was calling me from the bathroom as she was giving Braelyn a bath, because she needed something. It took me a second to respond, so then I heard a smaller, younger voice yell, "Case!!!" Since that time, my dear daughter has been calling me by my nickname that friends and family call me... That's a bit weird... But a bit cute as well...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Summer Olympics

With the Summer Olympics right around the corner, I thought I'd offer this helpful tool.

Meters to Feet conversion
Enter Meters
Value in Feet
provided by metric conversions - Helpful Tool

I have found this website to be very helpful. You can send files up to 100 mb at a time to friends, your record label, your publisher, etc. for free. They also have subscription options where you pay some, but it allows for more files to be sent, etc. One of my favorite things about this service is that you upload it to their server, then the person can download it at their leisure. It’s way better than trying to get file sizes down to 20mb to send via E-mail or trying to send it over an IM program.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Introducing Convergence


Convergence is a community of pastors and lay leaders who are striving to align themselves to God’s vision for the local church and supportive ministries. We desire to serve the Church by equipping pastors and lay-leaders to creatively and effectively work together towards fulfilling the Great Commission in a manner that is glorifying to God and consequential in the lives of His people.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Fun with the Fam!

The girls and I had a great time today at the new outlet mall on 290!

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Pregnant Dude?

The other day I saw this article about a pregnant man. I was shocked and wondered, “What does this mean theologically if a dude is pregnant!?!?” It turns out the ‘man’ is really a woman who had a partial-sexolectamy (don’t know the proper lingo), but still had enough goods to make a kid (with the help of some specialists).

Here are a few observations:

1) That is not a man.
2) If she thinks she’s a man, she is still a she.
3) Even if she submitted to a masectomy and took some hormones to help grow some facial fuzz, she is still a woman.
4) I cannot believe Oprah had her on the show... Wait, yes I can.
5) This is another evidence that our post-modern thinking (i.e. - if you feel it, then it’s true) is permeating our culture...

This poor woman believes she’s a man. However, nature is proving that she is still a woman...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Introducing Eddie Kirkland

I just purchased "Orthodoxy" by Eddie Kirkland from iTunes.  My friend Steve Fee recommended Eddie to me.  Steve co-wrote a few of the songs on the album.  It's a great album.  You should check it out...  It's hard to find solid,  Christ-centered tunes these days.

But You're Not Hardcore...

I was driving in The Woodlands today and I saw a motortrike like this...  hrmph.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Getting Things Done

Yes. That was my office (and our dog Tucker). As you can see, it had become quite a mess! Most of it is my fault, but I had a little help from our sweet 21 month old daughter as she likes to play with stuff in Daddy's office. It had recently gotten to the point where I no longer wanted to work in my office. Instead, I would grab my laptop and head to the dining room to work. However, that was not always profitible because I have a 21 month old daughter (see above).

I recently started reading a book called Getting Things Done by David Allen. It was recommended to me several years ago by my good friend Rod Brace who is one of the most organized people that I have ever met. I tried the basics a few years back, but as you can see above, they didn't stick. After getting fed up once again with my disorganized life, I realized that the best thing for me to do was to suck it up and begin to get things done.

Last week I set aside some time, purchased the office supplies I would need to implement the process and I got to work.

I got to work at about 7:15 am and was not finished until about 6 pm that night. No lie. It took forever, BUT it was well worth it!

As of Wednesday this week, I have been using my system for one week and I am really getting things done! Is your life unorganized? If so, you are probably overwhelmed by all that has to get done, things being overlooked, or outright forgetting to do things. Let this be an encouragement to you, you can get things done! Let me know if I can help.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thinking about Corporate Worship

I couldn't sleep last night.  Not because of anything in particular, just one of those nights where sleep didn't come easy.  As I lay awake, I started thinking about the 'worship movement' that is taking place in the Church today and the emphasis on personal worship.  There is such a huge emphasis on worship style, methods, songs, etc. that we can quickly miss the One whom deserves our worship.

Also, what has come of the corporate worship experience?  If you think about it for a minute, you'd quickly realize that we bring a lot of people together to worship individually.  Now, I know that people are encouraged to sing the same song, facing the same direction, and all, but is it just me or is there an increasing emphasis made on the experience of the individual rather than the glorification of Jesus?  Plus, aren't we called to worship God as a people, not just as a person?  

Shouldn't individual worship be defined as our whole life and not just an emotion (see Romans 12:1-2)?  Listen, I'm not trying to be just another negative voice in the worship discussion.  However, I am convicted that I have not been viewing the call to corporate worship appropriately.  We need a little more of 'us and God' and a little less of 'me and God'.  I think we've gotten pretty good at 'me and God'.  

This trend also emphasizes the lack of community in the Church today.  In my experience, there appears to be more authentic community being had at coffee shops and bars, than in the church.  Why is that?  Perhaps there is a connection between our view of worship and our view of community?  The idea of community in the world is a group of people with common interests that derive benefit from one another.  However, isn't there something more that Christ calls us to?  For instance, aren't we to care for widows and orphans?  What if that even means more than paying their light bills and feeding them?  What if it means that we do life with them with the aim of encouraging one another to love and good deeds (see Hebrews 10)?

The more I consider these things, the more I realize that we must return to a higher view of corporate worship.  If you want to close your eyes and raise your hands, that is great, but don't do it at the expense of the community as a whole.  I wonder how pleased God is when we are pouring everything we are into OUR worship, but ignore those in our midst who are suffering, hurting, or just weak in faith?  That must be connected to loving our neighbors as ourselves in some way...

"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!  It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!  For there the Lord as commanded the blessing, life forevermore." - Psalm 133 (ESV)