Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tuesday Potpourri

** You've heard of cell church, house church, skate church, - how about a street church? Guy Muse writes about it here.
When we arrived at 5:30 they were just setting up plastic chairs on the sidewalk out in front of their house. Cars, buses and people were rushing by. The noise level was incredibly high and distracting. I kept wondering how do they have "church" in that kind of environment? Well that is their environment, their world. They live in a constant state of noise and have learned to live their lives without becoming distracted by what is to me a high noise level.

Once I began to get over the noise I was introduced to a new believer, Jessenia, who was just baptized a week ago. While waiting for things to get started, I asked her to share with me how she came to know the Lord. With a big smile on her face she related to me that she had had a dream where a beautiful Jesus was calling out to her and saying "come to me..." She awoke and gave her heart to Jesus overwhelmed by the love she had sensed in her dream. I have long ago stopped trying to figure out the mysteries of God's dealings with a world He loves so much. It seems He refuses to fit inside all the little boxes I have for Him!

By then a sufficient number of youth had gathered to be able to start. Right as we were cranking up, part of a gang of 5-6 rough-looking youth walked through the middle of our meeting. The hairs on my head stood up thinking we would be held up, but they apparently had better things to do with their time than interupt a church meeting, so they moved on without incidence.

Two large speakers were set up in a window and loud music began to pour out of them from inside the house sound system. This is what we sang to and believe me we were louder than the street noise! With the music cranked up and our "off key" singing, it was enough to attract the attention of quite a crowd of people in the area. There were about as many by-standers as there were 'church people' present. Talk about a seeker-sensitive service--this defines the term!

** John Wood, ex-Microsoft director and the nonprofit he started called Room to Read:
And he's concerned with one more thing: the fact that more than 850 million people around the world can't read. Wood is the founder of Room to Read, a nonprofit group that builds schools and libraries for children in Asia. "There are nearly 1 billion illiterate people in the world," says Wood. "My goal is to help 10 million children achieve literacy by 2010."

Without question, he has a long way to go. But it's hard to argue with the results so far. In just three years, Room to Read has established 300 school libraries, built 25 schools, donated more than 140,000 books, set up 11 computer rooms, and awarded 100 scholarships to fund the education of young girls. Most of this work has taken place in Nepal, but Room to Read is also building schools and libraries in Vietnam, and there are plans to expand into Cambodia and India. As Wood speaks, a cargo ship steams from San Francisco to Ho Chi Minh City, carrying more than 30,000 books such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Math in Action. In a few weeks, Nguyen Hoai Nam, Room to Read's program director for Vietnam, will meet the ship and, in partnership with the city's Department of Education and Training, deliver books to schools.

Still, 10 million children? Wood is unfazed. Achieving that goal means doubling the number of kids his organization reaches every year for the next eight years. "Why is that not possible?" he asks. "Microsoft doubled every year in its early days. Cisco more than doubled every year. I worked in a lot of different organizations at Microsoft that doubled year to year, and none of us thought it was incredible."

** Polly LaBarre on Southwest Airlines and its sense of mission [during an interview on the book "Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win"]
In the midst of the financial carnage and heartaches of the airline business, there’s one company that keeps growing, keeps creating jobs, and keeps generating wealth. And that, of course, is Southwest.

Southwest didn't achieve these results because its fares were a little lower than Delta's or its service was a little friendlier than United's. It achieved those results because it re-imagined what it meant to be an airline. If you ask Herb Kelleher what business he’s in, he won’t say the airline business or the transportation business. He’ll say Southwest is in the freedom business.

The purpose of Southwest is to democratize the skies-to make it as easy and affordable for rank-and-file Americans to travel as it is for the well-to-do. That’s a pretty commonplace idea today-but largely because Southwest fought the entrenched conventions of the industry so doggedly in pursuit of that purpose. Its unrivaled success is based on its unique sense of mission rather than any breakthrough technology or unprecedented business insight.

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