Feb 212014
 

As the Internet namespace expansion program continues its roll-out, I’m hearing this recurring question from pastors: “How do I get my .CHURCH domain name?” I talk with quite a number of people from churches regularly in person and over social media, partly because I host the Social Media Church podcast for conversations with church leaders about social media, and partly because I’m a regular church-goer (and morph into a fanatic multi-church-goer twice a year–for Christmas and Easter.)

According to early indicators (via the 1&1 pre-reservations count), these .CHURCH domain names are very popular and a lot of people want them. .CHURCH is in the top 30 of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains) out of an estimated 1,000+ suffixes!

.church-in-the-top30

The date when the public would be able to get these domain names ending in .CHURCH is not yet determined. Launch date is unknown. The process for how you register for a .CHURCH domain name is not yet open, but it will be similar to how anyone gets a domain name today. And, it will be, first come first serve. What is know so far is this: on February 6th, 2014, the .CHURCH Registry Agreement was signed; that means it’s officially on its way towards launch.

The best answer to the question at this time: stay tuned for more details here @ djchuang.com and I’ll keep you updated.

Is there a way to reserve a domain name ahead of time? Not exactly. There are registrar websites that have a “pre-reservation” or “pre-order” or “pre-registration” form to capture your contact info, but you’ll need to exercise discernment and read the fine print to see what you’re signing over.

However, if you have a trademark on your church name, there is a special process for registering your .CHURCH domain name early, before the proverbial doors open to the public. (Or could we say flood gates?) Say, for example, you’re Mars Hill Church, and you had a trademark for Mars Hill, you could have the option to get MarsHill.Church by registering with the Trademark Clearinghouse, and then it’s up to you to stay alert for the “Sunrise phase,” and then register your trademarked name ahead of the public. It’s sorta like priority access at the airport.

And there’s one more thing.

I work on the .BIBLE Registry launch team for my day job. We’re able to share much more about how the launch process is going for the .BIBLE gTLD and our team will be blogging about how .BIBLE domain names will open up a digital space for all things Bible. We would be thrilled to have church leaders be a part of it! All that’s happening over at the .BIBLE blog (BibleTLD.org/blog) and you can pre-register the .BIBLE domain names you’re interested in there for free and win an .BIBLE Digital Charger.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLD

p.s. LifeChurch.tv had been 1 of 2 applicants for to be the .CHURCH registry operator, but there’s only room for one operator.  This is the only remaining content on LifeChurch.tv’s DotChurch.org website:

Thank you for your interest in .church domain names. Donuts Inc. will be the registry for .church, and you can find out more about them on their site.

And there’s a copy of the email announcement from LifeChurch.tv posted on a January 2014 blog post .church Domain Update at ChurchMag. And, there’s this commentary from Brad Zimmerman @cmdtvNew .Church Domains Are On The Way From An Unlikely Source (churchmediadesign.tv 1/30/14)

Sep 242011
 

America was founded with a primary motivation for the freedom to worship without government regulations. (Unlike some, I am not convinced that America was intended to be a “Christian nation” or founded on “Judeo-Christian principles,” though Christian influence was certainly part of the mix. What is clear to me is religious freedom that guarantees the right to worship.)

Freedom of religion is so important that it is the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Part of that 1st amendment gets a ton of visibility and buzz, the part about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The other part not as much, the part about the freedom of assembly. Both are just as important! The text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

San Juan Capistrano, the city where I work, has cited a home gathering for violating its ordinances. The Fromm’s home hosts a Bible study, which happens to have met on Sunday mornings. I’ve been there a few times. It’s a quiet and contemplative time, not disruptive to the neighborhood.

Their Municipal Code, Section 9-3.301 requires a conditional use permit when a meeting is held in a residential district by “Religious, fraternal, or nonprofit organizations,” and that “includes churches, temples, synagogues, monasteries, religious retreats, and other places of religious worship and other fraternal and community service organizations.”

You’d think that enforcing such laws should be done with utmost caution for its proximity to the 1st Amendment. Verify the details before acting.

San Juan Capistrano decided to enforce this ordinance on the Fromm’s, issuing 2 citations totaling $300 to date. And, the news about the Fromms have spread across mainstream media (msm) and the blogosphere. Sure, zoning for residential areas may have been designed to prevent noise and traffic problems. But that wasn’t the infraction cited. Many neighbors have written letters of support, denying they were disturbed by the presence of the Bible study.

But, the Fromm’s gathering is not a church or nonprofit organization. Their gathering is a group Bible study. Fromms have had Bible study gatherings in their home for years, some larger, some smaller. The larger ones may number like 20 or even 50. They have no intention to establish a church. The latest updates are being posted at the chuckfromm.net blog and Facebook page. [update: short list of links to media coverage, unabridged list]

The question: when a group of people peaceably assemble for whatever, religious or fraternal or non-profit, when is that gathering deemed too large to be personal and requiring a permit and/or non-profit organization? When does a home Bible study become too large and should become a church? And is it okay for a group to decline from setting up a government-sanctioned non-profit organization? Does the government determine what group is a church or isn’t a church? For those with religious convictions, theology is what determines what is or isn’t a church. And theology is not something government wants to get involved in.

[disclosure: I work with Chuck Fromm and Worship Leader magazine]

Jan 082011
 

YouVersion.com and its whole tribe of mobile apps is arguably currently the most widely-available digital Bible in existence on the planet. For this month of January, they’re rallying a campaign with a goal of 1 BILLION MINUTES of Bible reading. At the time of this writing, over 144 million minutes of Bible reading have happened, and the counter is running.

According to this ChristianToday.com article, Bible app users challenged to spend 1 billion minutes reading the Bible, the Billion Minutes challenge was announced on a November webcast.

My own Bible reading pace had it’s inconsistent hiccups. Currently, I’m using the OwnIt365 reading plan. I like the social networking dynamics weaved in with it.

Some random asides about this YouVersion Billion Minute challenge:

  • Shouldn’t the URL be youversion.com/1billion instead of youversion.com/billions ?
  • Is social media the only way to find out about this Bible reading challenge? I’ve seen a good bit of mention on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, even mainstream media. Could a banner button or link or something on the youversion.com home page add to the participation?
  • Do we have to read the Bible using a Youversion-related manner? Could our reading of a printed Bible or via email or via BibleGateway.com count towards the challenge goal?
  • If I left a web browser window open to YouVersion.com, will that count towards the goal? Or is it only counting Bible reading on mobile apps? Is it only counting verses that get displayed as the person is scrolling, or is would the clock keep ticking if I just left a screen on 1 Bible passage? Don’t want to game the system, but if it’s being gamed…
  • Would an embeddable Billion minute counter widget add to the viralness of this challenge? Is it okay for the challenge counter to be embedded on other websites?
  • Is there a way for someone to get a counter for their own Bible reading minutes? Someone might want to know how many minutes they’ve added to the overall Billion Minute challenge.
  • In our over-simplified focused fast communication world, it’s not as easy to get fuller context or details. Those would have probably answered most of my questions. If it’s already been blogged somewhere, a link to that on the challenge counter page would be good. So I thought I’d ask out loud in the open here. Maybe one of the YouVersion team people will stop by and answer. :) I don’t have to know, but I am curious.
Jan 032011
 

What it all comes down to, is choosing to remember and choosing to do it. Bible reading. Just do it. And it’s a choice and decision every time. The choices we make determine the people we become.

notes

As this new year of 2011 gets into full swing, I hear this talk from someone who’s read the Bible every day for 25 years, married to someone who’s read the Bible every day for 37 years, and mentions someone who read the Bible through in 20 days. Daunting. Not as inspiring to me as it was intended.

I have a confession. I haven’t had a streak or habit like that. And I have lots of (not so good) reasons for not reading the Bible every day. Reasons like:

I’m not a predictable creature of routines. I’m way better at being inconsistent and unpredictable.

I haven’t made a commitment like that, that 1st decision to do something every day, like Bible reading. There’s some wisdom to counting the cost before making a commitment. Failing to come through on commitment isn’t a good thing. I just don’t see myself doing a daily commitment. (There are other kinds of commitments, like being married, that was a decision and action that happened one day in the past, that continues to have consequence, but those don’t require a daily choice to do something to keep it.)

I know people who (say they) read the Bible every day or have a daily devotional life. And I’ll take them at their word on that. But their lives don’t show much patience nor kindness nor life change. Some even turn out to have scandalous lives of hypocrisy. Doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I don’t want to be like that. Perspective: that’s their problem. It don’t have to be like that. I don’t have to be that guy.

I’m not motivated by the things that motivate and inspire other people. Goals. Plans. Challenges. Resolutions. Accountability. Competition. Those don’t work for me. What motivates me is elusive.

I don’t want Bible reading to be the kind of habit or routine where it becomes auto-pilot and disengages my heart & soul. Perspective: just because I’m doing something daily doesn’t mean it has to be disengaging.

I don’t want Bible reading to be an overspiritualized escape from the real world. It’s too easy for Bible reading to reinforce my biases and self-talk and cultural lenses. Perspective: I can believe by faith that God’s Spirit can break through my echo chamber and inspire new insights & thoughts to change me. And, reading & discussing Bible in community with others can break my self-talk too.

I blog all this to share honestly what I wrestle with. I’m way imperfect and don’t have it together. I think it can be a good thing to let one’s flaws and warts be shown rather than hidden. I think honesty is way more inspiring when it’s not an excuse for “that’s just the way I am” and it’s a confession of a desire for a turning point in life and even a humble need for help.

Sometime between Christmas and the New Year, I felt my heart changed. I give God credit for changing my heart to choose Bible reading in 2011. I got a couple days head start on a plan called the Bible in 90 Days. Didn’t make it to day 3. Not sticking that plan.

I’m hopeful that I’ll keep making progress in my Bible reading. All it takes is making that choice every day. Will update you in a month or two with how it goes.

May 192010
 

Mike Erre is the Teaching Pastor at ROCKHARBOR. I’m actually not writing an ode, couldn’t do poetry if I got schooled, or, I’d get schooled for trying.



Mike Erre is about to start a new season as he transitions out of that role into the vast yonder unknown and steps out by faith. (cf. listen to audio of announcement before 4/25/10 sermon; link to mp3) Mike has authored 4 books:

You can also read blog posts, some philosophical, from Mike Erre at ConversantLife.com.

Wikipedia describes Erre to be: “Considered by many to be a rising star among American evangelicals”, while Yelper’s describe Mike as: “phenomenal“, “A ‘tonsorially challenged’ guy named Mike, looking for all the world like a linebacker refugee from tutelage of Woody Hayes (he wishes!), is perspiring profusely, and rummaging through the Bible“, a big, bald, sweaty dude wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt walk around and produce stirring analogies and strikingly relevant parables to illustrate the workings of God in our lives, occasionally pausing to remind people not to rush the stage due to his extreme attractiveness, it’s just brilliant.

// [update] Talbot Seminary features Mike Erre about the value of seminary in this video //
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Feb 262010
 

It’s the weekend and that means fun, especially for those of you who have an Xbox for indoor use and don’t have the balmy Southern California weather to go outdoors. (confession: I don’t have an Xbox, though I do have a Wii and a Mii, and I’m out of town this weekend to Nashville for NRB REACH — follow @djchuang247 for my live tweets.)

For those of you with an Xbox, you can win a free copy of the Bible Navigator X right here! Bible NavigatorHow to win: add a comment and describe one creative way you would use the Bible Navigator X. Winner will be selected by random drawing from the commenters. Comment must be submitted before Sunday February 28th 11:59pm Central, when the weekend ends. One entry per person. Multiple comments okay, but only one contest entry counts per commenter.

Bible Navigator X: HCSB is the first app on the XBOX 360 that allows the user to read the entire Bible from their 360. All the essential Bible functions are there: easy navigation, bookmarks, search, concordance, and themess. HCSB = Holman Christian Standard Bible translation of the Bible; press release; watch video intro:

Prize is courtesy of Aaron Linne (a self-described video game aficionado with an entire room of his home dedicated to gaming.[1])

Dec 072009
 

A brand new Bible was recently released: The Poverty and Justice Bible. Published by the American Bible Society in collaboration with World Vision, the Poverty and Justice Bible gives more insights into what the Bible has to say about today’s toughest topics: from homelessness to healthcare, literacy to wages, immigrants to abuse.

This Bible literally highlights the verses about social justice and fighting injustices — more than 2,000 verses. It’s the Contemporary English Version and the cover is printed on 25% paper recycled content paperboard.
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Mar 212009
 

Once in a while, I get a question via the contact page, and some of them are worth answering in the open for the benefit of all. Here’s one about why God made sex for marriage.

Question: I need some help. I am doing a talk to teens on sex and abstinence. I saw some stuff on your blog that was helpful. The question I never really see get answered by anyone is this: why is sex part of God’s plan for married people? I see lots of stuff on why we should wait, but not why God made it this way or when it became that way? Obviously Adam and Eve were the first 2 people around and so that was the only option for them, but when did it become only for married couples?

djchuang >> God’s plan for sex in marriage was right there from the beginning, in Genesis 2, i.e. the two shall become one flesh. While it may not have been spelled out as “thou shalt not” in Genesis, the sacredness of sex in marriage is repeatedly mentioned throughout Scriptures, e.g. Thou shalt not commit adultery (Ex 20), Jesus’ teaching on marriage (Mt 19), and Eph. 5‘s teaching on how marriage is the real-life example of how Christ loves the church.

That was my quick summary answer in a minute. What would you add?

Nov 242008
 

I gave a brief devotional this past Wednesday before a group of church leaders at the Multi-Site Churches Leadership Community. I read from Jeremiah 1:1-13, and the talk revolved around 2 questions:

My childhood dream was to be a stand-up comedian. But I didn’t quite have what it took and didn’t have the motivation to get what it takes. For years I looked for what I should be doing with my life, trying to find a role model for a career that fit me. That’s been elusive for me. I couldn’t find a job or career that really fit me.

Now in my 40s (having turned 42 in July), I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I don’t fit. I’m unconventional; unpredictable. Not a good corporate guy. I look at the world differently than most people. I’m not the kind of guy that colors within the lines, nor thinking outside the box. I’d say, “What box?”

I’m not a focused goal-oriented guy. I have racing thoughts, random and wild ideas. I’m a hacker, great at short-term projects where I can find a creative solution. I’m a networker, great at connecting people to people and people to resources.
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