My experiences at Granger Community Church

Good day everyone :). I hope you all had an awesome weekend and e everyone is refreshed for another week of school/work.

I had a pretty awesome weekend just hanging out in South Bend. I stayed home and watched Simpsons episodes, slept in on Saturday, and, of course, ate food :). But what about Sunday?

Sunday morning, my cousin and I woke up and went to the 11:30 service at GCC, also known as Granger Community Church.

GCC is a mega church with I’d say around 5 to 7,000 members, with swells of people into the 15,000’s during important Christian events such as Easter or Christmas.

They have two campuses, one in Granger (Main building) and one in Elkhart. I’ve only been to the Granger building so I don’t know anything about the Elkhart campus and how they operate, if they stream in video from Granger or if they have their own pastor there. If anyone from GCC reads this, please comment. I’m curious as how the Elkhart campus is operated.

The Granger campus is very easy to find, being in a centralized location with restaurants and hotels nearby. The Granger campus has multiple entrances so getting in and leaving can happen quickly and efficiantly. Once you pull into the driveway, one could easily become confused and believe they have pulled into a mall parking lot. Fear not, everything is clearly labeled. My roommate just followed a couple cars upon entering the parking lot. There is overflow parking available on the property for those busy times of the year. After seeing how big the parking lot was, I was concerned about how people with disabilities would navigate a parking lot this size in extreme weather conditions. Then I saw a shuttle van. I assume it took people from their cars to the building’s doors. Again, please comment if anyone knows differently.

I’ve heard a lot about GCC from some friends of mine at Calvin College and I knew what to expect in the service, but I knew nothing about the building and where to go when you entered the building.

I was surprised, for a mega church of that size, to find the sanctuary easy to find. It’s right in front of you as you enter the sliding doors. I have uploaded a video to YouTube of the “sanctuary.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxF3Z8ZORb4

As you can see from the video, the sanctuary is really large. And the stage…well, I don’t think I need to say much. Upon walking in, I thought of the sanctuary more of a concert hall than a place of worship. I was proven wrong though. I still felt the praise and worship of the music and I didn’t feel like I was at a rock concert. The music is lively and energetic. The pastor was humorous and was very expressive in tones, voice, and facial expressions. His stories were relevant to the sermon topic as well. I also like the references to pop culture. The sermon title was #FAIL. For those of us on twitter, we know what #FAIL is :). And this church encourages people to use Twitter during the service, as GCC is a member of YouVersion, a website dedicated to churches that offer online notes. It’s a very powerful service and, yes, there is an iPhone app for that! 🙂

I was happy to be in a friendly place, worshiping with enthusiastic believers, and having awesome worship music accompanying a well-done sermon. Below are some pictures I took during service.

This is the stage with a really big monitor behind it

As you can see, this church possesses a lot of awesome technologies. Their giant monitors make things easier to read for people with low vision. See the pic below to see what I’m talking about.

The large screen carries the Praise and Worship song lyrics

I apologize for the blurriness of the lyrics. The video backgrounds on the giant screen were effecting my camera focus. Speaking of the video backgrounds, here is a pic of a video background. They flow with the music, almost like an iTunes visualizations.

An example of video backgrounds

Again, I apologize for the blurriness. And the last pic I have is of the announcements done via video. Nothing special here, but you can see how they split the video on the giant screen.

The Feed Video Announcements

Their announcements video is called The Feed. It just tells the congregations what’s going on in the church and informs people how they can get involved.

As you can see, I had a great time at GCC. I would appreciate feedback/comments from people who are members at GCC and what their experiences have been like.

But there is one last thing I wish to mention. Regarding the kindness and warmness of people, there is one other church were I get that…and that is my home church called Sunrise Ministries in Michigan. I felt like I was in a mega Sunrise Ministries service.

If you want to learn more about GCC, click here.

GCC is also on Facebook and Twitter.

GCC has a YouTube channel as well.

GCC partners with YouVersion as well, a digital web Bible reading service where you can do lessons and follow along with the sermons. Click here to go to GCC’s YouVersion page.

There are plenty of ways to get in touch with the people at GCC.

I hope you found this enjoyable and will try GCC if you’re in the South Bend area.

***UPDATE***

There is an online campus as well where you can watch and participate in the worship service. The online services start on Sunday night at 6:30 and 8:30 PM. Watch at live.gccwired.com.

General Ranting; Life and Religion

Hello everyone.  I hope you all had a better week than I did.  I know some of my readers had just the same amount of bitterness this week as I have had.

A lot of random things have been happening in my life that haven’t been so pleasant this week.

First off, a best friend of mine is going through a difficult time right now.  One of her friends was raped and practically beaten.  She is really messed up at the moment right now.  I don’t know how many of you are religious, but if you are, regardless of your faith background, please offer up prayers for her – that my friend will have sound advice for her friend and that her friend can get immediate help.

As my friend was telling me this, I couldn’t help but think what has happened to the world lately.  It just seems that people are becoming more sinister and more evil than ever before.  What causes this?  What is causing people to want to do harm to other people?

My cousin and I were talking a couple nights ago about faith and what it means to be a Christian and leading with a Christian example.  I can’t help but wonder how many self proclaimed Christians claim to be Christian but act completely different.  The girl that raped my friend’s friend was a Christian at one time.  What happened?  What do her actions say for the rest of us?  It’s very very hard to have a faith based conversation with people who don’t know about Christianity.

There is a song by DC Talk called What if I Stumble. At the beginning of the song, there is a spoken word section that reads as follows,

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

How can Christians go out and minister if we have our own people committing the very things we know are wrong?  That girl who raped my friend’s friend is an example.  She once said she was a Christian and then goes and does something this distasteful and has been doing other degrading things to other people.

I beg people out there, who are religious, to be honest with others, be true to your beliefs and don’t stray.

I beg people, who are not religious, out there to not judge all of us just because we have a handful of people who go and do terrible things.

Those are my pleas.  That’s what’s been on my mind for the last couple days.  I don’t want to step on any toes of people who have different beliefs than I do.  All I want is people to be tolerant of others and others’ beliefs.  I don’t know what the right faith is for everyone, but I know what faith is right for me.  As long as peoples’ faiths are a peaceful, loving, and tolerant of others beliefs, then more power to you and I hope it works for you.

What is your take on faith?  Do you feel that Christians have set bad examples?  Have Christians hurt you in your past?  Feel free to leave a comment, so long as it is tolerant of others’ faiths and beliefs.  I will not accept any religion bashing of any kind in the comments.

Bethel Blogging! MobileMe Vs. WordPress

Apple's MobileMe Logo
Apple's MobileMe Logo (c) Apple

Good afternoon everyone!  I hope you all had an awesome weekend.

I had an awesome vacation/holiday with my awesome family!  I wasn’t able to see my sister, but I’ll get to see her in a couple weeks :).

Anyway, let’s get down to business.

First off, I love MobileMe.  It is a great service especially if you travel a lot and want access to a virtual USB thumb drive, if you desire to screen share back to your home iMac, or if, God forbid, you lose your iPhone.  But there is one thing that bothers me about the MobileMe service.

As many of you know by now, I used to blog using MobileMe.  I designed and maintained my own blogging site, which was a lot of fun.  I was able to customize the color scheme, add or remove pictures, youtube videos, etc.  But there was one draw back.  A lot of places would block access to the MobileMe service.  For example, I like to blog at Bethel College.  Unfortunately, Bethel College blocks access to some of the MobileMe services.  I am able to screen share to my MacBook Pro at home and access the files on that computer remotely, but I cannot access my iDisk nor am I able to update my former blog.  I was also unable to upload podcasts as well :(.  I also had the same problems at Calvin College.  However, I was able to find a work around, but it just added a lot of hassle and headaches to the situation.

Another draw back to the MobileMe service is that you cannot make the blogs look and feel streamlined on a mobile device.  So if you wanted to view my former blog on an iPhone, you had to view the whole website.  Luckily on my site, there isn’t a lot of data to load so it was able to load fast for the most part.  But I really wanted to have a website that had a mobile theme to it so it would look not only pleasant on a mobile device but also load quickly and save time on loading, especially for people without unlimited data plans.

Now that I’ve switched to WordPress, I’ve found a happy medium.  I am able to access the WordPress.com website from anywhere on my MacBook Air.  They even have an iPhone application so I can blog straight from my iPhone.  MobileMe does not have this functionality at all, but I hope one day it will.  I’ve also found a great Offline editor for my computers, if I’m away from a WiFi connection.

If the MobileMe blogging feature via iWeb were to gain support for mobile themed views and able to create/edit from the iPhone, I would think about switching back to MobileMe for blogging.  But for now, I am totally content with what I have and it works really well for my situation.  No more headaches!  🙂

What do you think about iWeb’s functionality for blogging?  Do you wish to see improvements for blogging via iWeb?  Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions :).

Vacation Time – Away From Crazy Life

Hello everyone! If any college students are on spring break, I hope you are enjoying it. For those not on break yet, I hope your time comes soon.

I’ve been enjoying my break a lot. It started off with a relaxing weekend at my apartment. We didn’t do too much other than watch movies, Simpsons, and the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. It was fun just to relax and hang out.

Monday, I went to my cousin’s house and stayed there for a couple days. We had to take his car into the shop for repairs. More on that later. We hung out with his sister while thier mom (my aunt) worked. We had fun watching Looney Tunes via Netflix streaming. (I’m hoping to see it in iPhones and iPads).  We just stayed at home and relaxed, which is always good especially if your life is hectic and chaotic.

Thursday, my aunt took us to my parent’s house and we began our trip up to my cottage with a stop off at La Señorita, a fantastic mexican restaurant if you are journeying in Northern Michigan.  After the long journey, we were finally able to continue relaxing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  It is a wonderful feeling to be able to just relax and not worry about the rest of the world.  And even when you are here in Michigan, especially in the wilderness, you are able to escape the rest of the world.  Sure, I have internet here and satellite TV, but I get to spend time with my family and just hang out with them.

We did get an update on my cousin’s car.  There is a transmission fluid leak somewhere and they are trying to fix it.  Let’s hope that’s the only problem and a new transmission, or a new car, won’t be necessary.

We’ll be making our long Journey back home on Sunday.  I just need to remember to make sure I grab some more bed padding since my aerobed popped last week.  That’s another blog rant for another time.

I hope you all have a refreshing weekend.  Take it easy and I’ll blog some more when I have more time on my hands.  🙂

The Taurus Lives…Ecto Testing

263204.jpg

Hello everyone. I hope everyone is having a great night.

Well, I have received news on my cousin’s car. Turns out there is some sort of transmission problem. What we don’t know is how much damage has been done to the car and/or transmission. The mechanic believes that there is a leak due to a missing transmission dip stick. He has ordered one and it should be here Friday. We will know then if a leak is causing these problems. If it’s something serious, then we are in big trouble. It costs a lot of money to fix a transmission. Let’s hope it’s nothing really bad and let’s hope that there is no damage on the transmission.

On a lighter note, I think I found a good offline editor for blogging. It’s the first one I tried earlier. It’s called Ecto. It was sending empty texts windows. I’m not sure why either. It was really annoying. We’ll see how this works now. You can learn more about Ecto here: http://illuminex.com/ecto/ You get a 21 day trial upon download and it only costs $19.95 after that. It seems to work pretty good.

If this program works really well, I’ll write up a more thorough review later. Have a good night everyone. 🙂

Offline Blogging Editors – FAIL!

The Surrender Flag

Hello everyone.  I hope you are all having a wonder afternoon as you are now relaxing at home after work.  🙂

Anyway, I was trying out some different offline blogging editors for the Mac OS X platform and…wow!  I can’t figure out how they work.  I was trying out Ecto, a mac only offline editing client, but for some odd reason it wouldn’t publish the body of the post!  It’s so confusing!

I’ve tried five different times to get this to work and it ends with the white flag.  But if I need to do any offline blogging, I’ll just use iWork’s Pages to draft my blog entries and upload them when I’m back online.  I can also use the iPhone app as well.  🙂

Do you have an offline editor that’s easy to use and figure out?  Please comment if you do.  🙂

Update on TwitterFeed (Part 2)

Well I have another update regarding TwitterFeed and Facebook.

The good news is that it will post to facebook….eventually. After running my own experiment, I discovered that it takes 2 hours from the time posted to the time it shows up on facebook.

It’s not too big of a deal. I just thought it would post at the same time as Twitter would (30 minutes after post).

Oh well, as long as it gets there right? 😉

For now, I’m enjoying a great movie. Overboard. 🙂

Update on TwitterFeed

TwitterFeed Logo

Good morning everyone!  If you’ve been putting up with my recent blogging spree (Sorry people), you’ve probably heard reach out to the tech community and ask if anyone has had any problems with TwitterFeed in relation to Facebook.

I decided to run an experiment last night to see how long the aforementioned blog post would take to post to Facebook from the time posted to the time I saw it on my Facebook wall.  It took nearly two hours from the time I posted the blog on WordPress to seeing it on Facebook!  I have TwitterFeed setup to scan my blog’s RSS feed on the half hour.

Is this a Facebook problem or a TwitterFeed problem?  I’m going to see if this two hour gap is consistent or if it’s totally random with this blog posting.  What are your thoughts?  What do you big time bloggers use to share your posts with the world?