Published by Brian Slezak on 15 Nov 2010

Wisdom from A Church Tech – Financial Stewardship

Over the years in my position at Church of the Resurrection I have come across some interesting facts that I felt were worth sharing. I wanted to start with a piece of wisdom from the FPU program (highly recommended) combined with the patterns of giving I’ve witnessed from my chair at Resurrection. Dave Ramsey [of FPU] says if you wish to be wealthy then adopt the habits of wealthy people or “do what rich people do.” Starting from that philosophy and applying that to the extremely consistent pattern of donors at Resurrection I can say, “when determining your tithe or regular offering to the church, estimate your pledge conservatively and give generously.”

Year over year those giving the most per household overpay their pledge by a surprising amount. Most likely this is because these families conservatively estimate their pledging and manage their funds very closely. Also a factor is the uncertainty in variable annual salaries, yet people pledge conservatively not liberally. I can say in my everyday personal finances I estimate conservatively and am always surprised by how much is left over, almost as though it were above what was possible. Luke 12:42-44

Year over year those giving the least to the church underpay their pledge. Lack of money management is a prime suspect but also likely are those that do not have a spirit of giving and thus no drive to reach their target.

Although not surprising to me, I am fascinated how clearly the scriptures explain these patterns.

For those who have will be given more, and they will have an abundance. As for those who do not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 25:29

Those that steward their resources wisely will find they always have more than they need, and those that do not will seem to have less than they need.

Published by Brian Slezak on 09 Nov 2010

A Rebirth

Time passed, and I found myself missing the days I had something worthwhile to express and expose to the world. theofficecurmudgeon.com gathered dust due to a poor installation of WordPress that ran unusably slow and kept me from using it. After I decided to move my blog to a stable platform I also concluded it was time for a new direction. I am and always will remain the office curmudgeon, yet as we find ourselves growing older, changing, and becoming more of whom we always were I figured my blog should move with me. Thus I attempt to start a new chapter with brianslezak.com. Here’s hoping I have something valuable to add to this infinite space of wasted time.

Published by Brian Slezak on 18 Feb 2010

Windows Search Advanced Query Syntax

I am overly impressed with the gigantic list of syntax options one has in Windows Search. Not only is it a huge list, but many of them work as expected.

I just migrated to a new work laptop, and subsequently from Windows XP to Windows 7. I was absolutely tied to Google Desktop in XP, but now I’m wondering if Microsoft just won me over and I don’t need to download and install GD. (Surprising, because this may be the first time Microsoft has won me over on anything since Windows 2000. I may have to install GD for the recent e-mail gadget that it provides, but I may not turn on indexing. I’m beside myself.

Published by Brian Slezak on 16 Feb 2010

Firefox Hotkey Management

I love this Firefox add-on so much I had to blog about it.

Hot keys are great. They make us geeks more productive, which in turn allows us to slack off more. Geeks love slacking. Aside from this, some time ago I installed the Delicious Bookmarks add-on for Firefox. It very cruelly hijacked my Web Developer Toolbar hot keys.

Geek not happy.

I’ve searched for months for a solution, and just today while migrating to a new laptop (very shiny BTW,) I finally found it. This is an absolutely brilliant add-on. All thanks to dorando.

Every Windows application should come with a similar utility, and Windows should have its own management of hot keys! (If you have suggestions on similar utilities, please comment.)

Published by Brian Slezak on 07 Oct 2009

RefreshCache Reflections

This week I had the honor to attend RefreshCache, the first annual Arena developers meeting. It inspired me to post on my blog after a long, long hiatus.

Inspired
Having the opportunity to interact with some of the most talented and God loving software developers and thinkers is beyond words. The event was inspiring in of itself, but there were some great highlights.

I was inspired by the hospitality of Nick Airdo and his family, and Nick’s leadership. Nick talked me into staying at his place rather than holing up in a nearby hotel, and I was blessed by that. Nick’s leadership within the Arena community impacts people deeper than he realizes, and we are all thankful for the spirit and energy he brings.

I was inspired by Jon Edmiston and the vision he brings to community software development. His gifts as a visionary are a blessing to this band of developers, and I wait in anticipation for the fruits the upcoming projects will produce.

I was inspired by each individual that attended, and by the sheer fact that God has stationed every one of us in this particular community, and with individual skills that combine to create something greater than each of us.

Learned
It was impossible not to take away a great deal more knowledge than one came with. One can not replace the power of physical presence and person-to-person interaction and learning. The off-the-cuff topics that spiral into deep learning opportunies are highly valuable. I enjoyed the ability to commiserate with my peers about common frustrations, as well as celebrate in successes. This was invaluable.

Thankful
I am thankful for the blessing and direction God has provided in my life, for how He has brought me across a path to this place, gifting me uniquely in the circles I now find myself.

I am thankful for the Arena developer community.

Published by Brian Slezak on 14 Jul 2009

"Those Days"

So everyone has heard about those days, as in “It is one of ‘those days.’” For me, one of those days is when I walk up to a urinal and have to take a detour into the stall to take off my shoes and pants because ….

Anyone?

Yes, my underwear is on backwards. <sighs and shakes head>

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Published by Brian Slezak on 15 May 2009

Let the church Die

See this post by Tony Steward, and the accompanying TED video. That has essentially been my argument for building services that fit a younger demographic better. Churches are horrible at this though because:

  • They are staffed and driven by people that can only reach their own demographic really well
  • New services means more time commitments, more staff causing more expenses, or stretching thin of existing staff
  • Sometimes new ‘hip’ services are seen as threats which must be contained or jettisoned
  • Leaders are overly concerned with breaking from traditions that seem to ‘weaken’ or ‘water down’ the spirituality of the service in their eyes

In Howard’s terms, they are building plutonic services. “This is the best way this church can do worship services.” :) That could be completely true. Then again, the church as a whole in the US dies massive deaths every day. If your church is declining, hey – thanks for doing your part.

Thankfully, the body of Christ is compromised of lots of church flavors and the new flavors are more and more readily available. I wish more young Christians had a calling to ministry. I am begining to settle into the belief that energy is better spent lifting up new young pastors, or new effective pastors of any age, than trying to turn around a declining church.

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Published by Brian Slezak on 14 May 2009

Gmail Promotes Atheism?

Yeah, well, apparently so. Or at the very least they support ad revenue that promotes atheism. Nice eh?

gmail-atheisim

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Published by Brian Slezak on 13 May 2009

Lucid Dreams

I have regular occurences of lucid (concious) dreams every month or two, but lately they have been happening more often, very possibly due to my lack of sleep having a newborn in the house. Referring to the wikipedia link above, I most often have dream initiated lucid dreams (DILD), but am able to force mnemonic initiated lucid dreams (MILD) as well. My lucid dreams are typically pretty brief, and I am sometimes able to manipulate the environment. Last night I had the longest lucid dream that I’ve ever experienced. Typically when I shift into the lucid moment I know I don’t have much time until I wake up so I try to manipulate the dreamscape for fun. This usually results in the lucid moment degrading rapidly. Last night’s was actually of the MILD variety, because I realized my lucid dreams are occurring more frequently, and I decided that the next time it happens I’m not going to fight it but roll with it.

Dude! That was the first time I was able to successfully stay with the lucid dream and make it last. (Here is where you can start psychoanalyzing me.) I was the current age I am now, at what I remember being my middle school helping out. I was helping set up lunch tables and stuff. There were also other random things going on like a retail store where me and a friend from my past were buying gifts for his daughter. I had multiple timelines in my life happening at the same time, because I was at my current age but my friend and his daughter were both younger than they are now. I remember being looking around and being able to focus within the dream just like you can focus your eyes when you’re awake. I remember this person needed to run downstairs to get something and was going to be right back. I stood in the bustling hallway leaning my shoulder against the wall with a tilt of my body and just watched everything, marveling at how very real everything felt, but at the same time my sense of touch and physicality was dulled.

I remember a great deal of the dream, and I remember letting the lucidity of the moment go. It was all pretty cool, and I think I may try to gain more control over things next time since I seem to be having these more often.

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Published by Brian Slezak on 28 Apr 2009

Meet My New Friend

EdgarI thought I might introduce you to my new friend. I’ve named him Edgar. Edgar came into my life today after succumbing to the lack of sleep from having Paul in the house.

I was fighting it, but finally just gave in. I hope Edgar and I don’t become too close, or I’ll have to drop him like a bad habit.

No, Seriously.

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