Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

2010 Atlanta Bloggers Meetup

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It’s that time of year again…time for the our 3rd Annual Bloggers Meetup in Atlanta! So many of you have been emailing or DMing asking about this so I’m excited to share the details for what is one of the highlights of my year.

A few changes this year…

New Location

First of all, the Loafing Leprechaun – a restaurant we had come to love in the two brief years we were there – has closed up shop. Fortunately though, we have a new location that is almost as close. This year we will be meeting at The Arena Tavern which is still within walking distance for those who are coming from the Catalyst Labs.

Benefiting Thrive Africa!

We also decided to change one more thing this year. I know many of you enjoyed the swag bags you got last year at the Meetup (and we’re so thankful for all the publishers and record labels who provided them) but isn’t it “more blessed to give than receive?” Of course it is! That’s why this year we’re charging $5 per person with100% of the ticket price going to my dear friend Alece Ronzino (@GritAndGlory) and her amazing ministry Thrive Africa. I’m so excited to be able to partner with Thrive and help them in their mission – all while having an enjoyable evening with other bloggers!

RSVP & Facebook Event Page

Every year so far we’ve had such an overwhelming response to this meetup that we’ve had to turn people away once we filled up. All of the details are on the  BloggersMeetup.org web page including a page to purchase your tickets for this years Meetup before we run out of spots! To officially RSVP and see who else is coming, go to our Facebook Event Page.

Here are a few pictures from last year’s meetup.

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Hope you can make it! Remember, RSVP on our Facebook Page and go to BloggersMeetup.org to get your tickets before they’re all gone!…

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Catalyst 09: Shane Hipps

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In this session Shane Hipps, author of Flickering Pixels, shared about what and how we communicate our message in today’s digital world. Don’t forget to keep checking in over at CatalystBackstage.com

Shane Hipps – The Medium Is The Message

  • Christianity is fundamentally a communication event
  • “The methods change but the message stays the same.” i.e. You have to innovate your methods otherwise the gospel becomes increasingly irrelevant.
  • The medium, in fact, IS the message – how you say something as much as or more than what you say
  • What you use to communicate will determine how your message is heard and received
  • The content of any particular medium is like the slight-of-hand that a magician performs. While we’re distracted the message is subtly communicated
  • In advertising there is a big difference between the printed words and images. Our brains process them differently. When you present your views in an essay format, it invites argument. However, when you present your opinion using images, it represses the logical side of our brain and causes us to become more accepting of the message.
  • Mark 2:22 “No one pours new wine into old wine skins…” Jesus makes the emphasis that the wine is new as well as the wine skin. In other words, you must update your methods and your message. The gospel of message has changed through the years depending on who it was being presented to, where they were at and at what time in history they were from.
  • And yet, the ever-changing gospel never changes. How is that possible? Look at a picture of yourself when you were a baby. You look, act and function completely different now than you did when you were a child…and yet, you are still the same person.
  • The look, function and feel of a mustard seen is completely different than the look, function and feel of a mustard tree. And yet a mustard tree cannot exist without that tiny mustard seed. They are the same and yet always changing. The leaves that grow on the tree do not invalidate the mustard seed.
  • The DNA of the gospel will never change (love wins, grace is free, etc.)

I haven’t read Shane’s book, Flickering Pixels, yet but I want to after this talk. Your thoughts?

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Catalyst 09: Malcolm Gladwell

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In this session, Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, talked about the danger of being overconfident as a leader.

Malcom Gladwell

  • Experts can still make mistakes. You need look no further than the current economic crisis to see an example of this.
  • Does more information allow you to make a better decision? You can still be wrong wrong even with more information. In a study, a group of individuals were asked to make a decision about a certain thing with little information. As more and more information was provided to them their decision didn’t necessarily change but their confidence in their decision increased.
  • Incompetence irritates me, overconfidence scares me
  • We generally like people who are overconfident. When a brain surgery says before surgery, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine,” he is being overconfident and we want him to be. And yet he can still be wrong in his overconfidence.
  • When we’re trapped by our overconfidence and arrogance, the world around us can change and we will never know it (example: the banks, and mortgage brokers who thought the economy would keep going up…)
  • In times of crisis we think we need daring and bold decision making from our leaders. We don’t. What we need in times of crisis from our leaders is humility (note: I thought this was an interesting point…I’m not sure what I think about Malcolm’s point here but maybe I need to hear more context)
  • Andy Stanley’s Question to Malcom: What are the warning signs of an overconfident leader? There is a potential for overconfidence in all of us. We should be looking for it in every leader in our organization. The biggest warning sign is when our leaders stop listening to the advice of others.
  • The opposite of an overconfident person is a person with humility – being willing to listen to others
  • When a small business reaches a certain point in their growth, the entrepreneur fails to realize that the same rules that helped them grow to where they are at now will not take them to where they need to be. As your organization or church grows, it becomes imperative that leadership begins to become more and more collective.
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Catalyst 09: Andy Stanley

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Here’s my first post from Catalyst 2009, On Your Mark. In the first session Andy Stanley shared about leaving our mark as leaders. Don’t forget to stop by CatalystBackstage.com and check out all the fun and interviews there with Anne & Los.

Leaving Your Mark – Andy Stanley

  • Most leaders won’t realize the significance of their mark until long after it has been left.
  • In Joshua 5 Joshua encountered an angel standing before him with a drawn sword. God basically told Joshua, “I have not come to be a part of your story. I’m not even here to be a part of Israel’s story. I’m here to find out if you’re willing to be a part of MY story.” Our response to that question will determine the mark we leave behind
  • God is not someone who has been invited to play a part on my story. Instead, as a leader I have been privileged to play a part in His.
  • Am I willing to submit my leadership gifting to a bigger picture and a larger story?
  • Joshua determined that he would not be a man in authority but a man under authority. He would not be a man out to make his mark but a person who would be commited to let God make a mark through him.
  • “God takes full responsibility for the life that is wholly devoted to Him.”
  • It’s not about the mark you leave. It’s about being in the perfect place so that God can make his mark through you.
  • When God does his greatest work through you, you won’t even know it happened.
  • Living to make my mark is too small a thing to give my life to. But when God calls us to let him make his mark through us, that is the thing willing to give our life for.
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Catalyst 09: Rob Bell

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I was really looking forward to Rob Bell’s session here at Catalyst this year. He always blows me away and challenges me every time I hear him. Rob Bell’s latest book is Drops Like Stars.

This was such an amazing talk. I’m sure I didn’t do it justice in this post. If you can you really need to hear this message when it comes out on CD or DVD.


Rob Bell – “10 Years Ago I Didn’t Get This”

  • RobBell-20091008-151510Is bigger better?
  • John 6 – “…from this time on many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him…”
  • Jesus had to confront many misconceptions the Jews had about who the Messiah was and what he was to do. When he told them about what the Messiah came to do many of the disciples said, “We can’t do that.”
  • Sometimes the crowd thins and people leave.
  • What would Jesus say to modern church growth experts who say “If you do A, B and C then this and this will happen”?
  • Yes, sometimes there are large crowds but sometimes large groups leave. Sometimes the crowd thins and not everyone comes with you.
  • Luke 21 – Jesus saw the rich giving large amounts and the poor widow giving a small amount. Even though the rich had given more money Jesus said that the poor widow had given more than all of them. More is not always more.
  • Rob took a stab at magazines and organizations that rank churches according to their influence and creativity. “Really?” he said, “And this coming from people who claim to follow a man who said ‘The first will be last’?”
  • Is the church in our culture known for its beautiful, self
  • When you rank and break down a church into numbers and statistics you violate the bride of Christ and what she was meant to be.
  • Have you had a deep dissatisfaction with what you’ve done? Are you carrying this burden for this thing you’re building for God? Have you stressed about the size of your church or organization? God wants to set you free from that.
  • The ten commandments end with “You shall not covet.” Some people view this as more of a reward than a commandment – if you love God and seek him wholeheartedly you won’t want any other life than your own?
  • Have you been observing a sabbath? Which day of the week are you busy doing nothing? Which day of the week have you set aside to feed your own soul so on the other six you have enough food to share with others? Which day of the week can you not be reached by phone or email?
  • Does your spouse get your very best or does your spouse get what’s left over after you’ve given your best to the church? (personal note…holy crap! Talk about kicking you in the teeth!)
  • If things are going well with the church but not with your family then they’re not doing well with either. They are inextricably linked. You ignore the one at the peril of the other.
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Atlanta Bloggers Meetup Next Week

I’m so excited about meeting so many of you at the Atlanta Bloggers Meetup next week! Between going to Catalyst and hanging out with other bloggers, it’s going to be like my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.

I also found out earlier this week that the Dealy Viper Shin-Dig will be taking place later that evening at the same location as the Blogger Meetup so if you hang around you’ll get a chance to meet Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite and the rest of the Deadly Viper crew. The one-and-only Anne Jackson will also be on hand capturing all the juicy details for CatalystBackstage and I’ll finally get to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Acuff (StuffChristiansLike). We may even have a surprise visitor stop by!

Many of you have been asking who all is going to be at the meetup. Here’s the list of everyone who has registered so far. If you have some time before the conference check out some of these amazing bloggers:

  • Jonathan Herron
  • Josh Allen
  • Matt Simon
  • Russ Hutto
  • Pat Rowland
  • Pete Wilson
  • Jenni Catron
  • Ryan Bult
  • Chad Roberts
  • Dave Senes
  • Anne Jackson
  • Shawn Elledge
  • Shannon White
  • Adam Miller
  • Stuart Delony
  • Kevin Twombly
  • Jon Acuff
  • Mark Acuff
  • Bennett Acuff
  • Cherith Carpenter
  • Brett Carpenter
  • Shaun King
  • Dawn Nicole Baldwin
  • Keith Baldwin
  • Michael Harrison
  • Crystal Renaud
  • Lynse Leanne
  • Mark LeHew
  • Terrace Crawford
  • Dave Daniels
  • Kim Daniels
  • Aaron Dininny
  • Katie Dininny
  • Tim Liu
  • Zak White
  • Nic Burleson
  • Cole Phillips
  • Adam Black
  • Bryan McGee
  • Jennifer McGee
  • Mike Paschal
  • Ryan Detzel
  • Nick Carnes
  • Brad Ruggles
  • Lisa Ruggles
  • Aaron Foster
  • Jason Ruggles
  • Tom Hinton
  • Corbin Prows
  • Jake Miller
  • Adam Flynt
  • Travis Thompson

Remember, Twitter will be abuzz with activity during the conference as well (#catalyst08 is the hash tag to use and follow). I’m looking forward to meeting and hanging with all of you! See you next week in Atlanta!…

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