Promotional Videos for the 2016 Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference

This weekend, following a wonderful 3 day vacation together on the nearby Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country, my family joined me at Mo-Ranch for the annual Men’s Conference Planning Retreat. This is the third year I’ve served on the Men’s Council. Normally we meet over a weekend in September, but because of a conflict we met in October this year. The weather was spectacular! It’s been a dream of mine for many years to bring my family to Mo-Ranch. Last Thanksgiving, we had reservations to spend the holiday at Mo-Ranch with our family and my wife’s parents, but illness prevented us from going. It was awesome to have them with me and for them to be able to experience the joy which is Mo-Ranch!

During our planning day yesterday and following this morning’s church service, I recorded several video interviews with other members of our men’s council to create two videos. The first one is 4.5 minutes long, and is a promotional video for the men’s conference which takes place the first weekend in May each year.

The second is 3 minutes long, and is a promotional video encouraging other men to join our Mo-Ranch Men’s Council.

I have wanted to create “quick edit videos” like these the past two years at Mo-Ranch, but hadn’t had the courage to take the initiative and volunteer to do so. This year I did, and I think they turned out well. Hopefully they will be used to help more men become aware of the wonderful annual Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference, as well as the opportunity to serve on the council.

I shot these with my iPhone 6S and edited them with iMovie on my iPhone this afternoon, during a leg of our return car trip when my wife drove. I really like this quick-edit video format, which includes multiple people sharing related thoughts in different short clips.

Energized to Tell God’s Story Through Creative Expression

Yesterday on Saturday, August 22, 2015, Shelly and I participated in a wonderful morning workshop at Frontline Church in Oklahoma City. Our friend Kori Hall was one of the organizers of this unique event, called “Story: The Six Days In Between.” The description of the event on the Frontline blog was:

A conversation and workshop
For artists and creatives
Telling the story
Of gospel collision
With human lives

I’m not sure exactly how many people attended, but I’d guess around 75. The morning started off with musician and worship leader, Charlie Hall, explaining the background and vision for the Story Workshop.

I hadn’t pre-planned doing this, but I realized shortly after the workshop started it might be good to broadcast and archive some of the event via Periscope. Last week I learned about and registered with Katch, which is a free cloud service that archives Periscope video broadcasts so they remain online and archived longer than 24 hours. I didn’t Periscope Charlie’s initial comments, so I’ll attempt to paraphrase.

Basically, some of the leaders within Frontline Church have been planning this Story Workshop as a way to encourage networking and collaboration among artistic creatives within their community as well as the larger Oklahoma City metro area. We all have different gifts from God, and I liked what Charlie had to say about how the things we make with our gifts do NOT define who we are… yet that is a tendency we all have as human beings. Charlie encouraged us to lay our gifts at the feet of Christ, and seek to find ways to collaborate together to creatively share SNAPSHOTS of life as followers of Christ to a world in need of the hope which God offers. I love Frontline’s core mission: “To love God, to love others, and to push back darkness.” The Story Workshop is a way to invite and empower a diverse group of creative individuals to intentionally focus on telling God’s story in our community through a variety of voices and mediums.

I started to Periscope the opening session as filmmaker and videographer Derek Watson (of Lampstand Media in OKC) shared about the power of story and introduced a short video collaboration he created with Kori. I later cross-posted this video to YouTube.

I hope they will post that video online at some point, and if they do I’ll definitely update this post and insert it. It was powerful. Kori is an amazing “spoken word” poet and performer, and the video featured prose she wrote and shared.

After the introductory session, we each selected a different breakout session. The choices were Film, Visual Art, Performance Art, Writing, Photography, and Music. I was going to attend Film, but Shelly asked if I was going to writing… she was planning to stay for film. She’s helped her 3rd and 4th graders at Positive Tomorrows the past two years create and share some wonderful videos on their classroom YouTube channel,  and wanted to get some ideas for elevating their digital storytelling projects. Since I’m continuing to help organize the local “Write Well, Sell Well Conference” for writers in Oklahoma City, it did make sense for me to join the writer’s breakout… and I’m very glad I did.

We had a great turnout of over twenty people for the writing group, and we started (similar to a WordPress OKC Meetup) by having everyone briefly share about themselves and their current writing project(s) or interests.

I have worked on a variety of Christian-related media projects and websites the past 9 years, since we moved to Oklahoma, but this month I got the idea of naming the book project I’ve been wanting to write “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ.” I registered this domain on August 8th (dw4jc.com) and decided the corresponding hashtag (#dw4jc) would be both unique and good since it’s so short. I brainstormed and wrote down about seven book chapter titles, and then set aside this project to work on later.

During Saturday’s Story Workshop, I was struck (again) by how important it is for writers to have both catalysts for writing and accountability partners. I often create because of deadlines: Conferences at which I present or deadlines which are related to upcoming professional development events.

During our writing time in the breakout session, I uploaded and configured WordPress on the dw4jc.com website, but didn’t have time to write much content on it.

Inspired by the Story Workshop, last night I spent about five hours installing CommentPress, creating the chapter pages for the “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” book project, and writing some content on each of the pages so early visitors could get a partial look into the focus and ideas of the project.

Four years ago when I was teaching one day per week at the University of North Texas and writing the first three chapters of my dissertation, I thought of the “3 Minutes About Jesus” project and registered a corresponding domain. In the succeeding years, I recorded and shared several videos on the site… but it wasn’t something that “took off” or I spent lots of time trying to develop.

When I thought of the dw4jc.com domain earlier this month, I also thought it would be good to use the October 23-24, Write Well, Sell Well Conference as a deadline to get an initial version of the book finished to share in printed form. This may seem like an unrealistic deadline, but it’s similar to timelines I’ve followed previously for other books I’ve self-published. I’m not positive if I’ll make that deadline, but the Story Workshop certainly served as a catalyst for me to take significant steps in this writing project.

Here’s the Katch archived Periscope video of the Story Workshop closing session with Charlie Hall. It’s also cross-posted to YouTube.

Like Kori, I’m looking forward to seeing where this collaboration is going to take us!

Here’s a Storify archive of all the tweets sharing during yesterday’s workshop.

God Identifies Us By Giving His Holy Spirit

A powerful & important reminder this morning via Don Boyd’s message at our Friday Morning Men’s Group:

13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭1‬:‭13‬ NLT)

Identity is so important and I’m thinking about it more as our kids get older. I want to define my identity in Christ. I need to seek guidance and direction from God and His Holy Spirit. Today especially, My eyes are open to the direction God wants me to go in my life.

I know sometimes God brings us into situations of great discomfort to shift our thinking and behavior into a new direction. I think sometimes we bring ourselves into those situations by our own poor choices, but God has mercy on us and lifts us up with His grace when we call upon His name.

Please pray for me to have faith in the promises and truth of God and His word.

It is dark in the valley, but there is light & help above in the heavens.

Sketchnotes About a Sermon on Racism in America

These are my sermon sketch notes from January 18, 2015, at First United Methodist Church in Manhattan, Kansas. The sermon was preached by Pastor Patrick McLaughlin, who is Associate Pastor of Missions & Outreach at FMC. The title of the sermon was, “Would Jesus Call the U.S. a Racist Society?” This is part of a series titled, “Pastor’s Press Conference,” and archived versions of sermons are available online. The initial Bible passage Patrick started the sermon with was Colossians 3:12-17:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sermon Sketchnotes: Jan 18, 2015 by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

While these issues are extremely important and timely for Christians in the United States to consider today given our recent events, I was surprised that the “closing prescriptions” offered by Patrick did not include any citations or references to Scripture. Because of this, his message overall was not differentiated from secular “calls to action” for social justice which we hear from different non-profit groups and organizations. The message itself is and was good, but it was essentially “missing Jesus.”

In his sermon, Patrick read verses from Colossians and Ephesians, but his message sounded and felt like more of a history lecture on social justice rather than a sermon in a mainline church. In the sketchnotes, I inserted the words “Let our hearts be transformed by God’s Love and His Word.” Patrick emphasized the importance of us loving each other, and put the focus of action on what WE as human beings could and can do. This made his message strike me as somewhat Gnostic, since it did not emphasize our need for Christ and the idea that WE cannot do anything (including change race relations in our communities and culture) without God’s power and actions.

I think this was the first time I’ve heard a pastor give a personal, racism-based “confession” during a sermon, and I think there was value in this. It took courage for him to admit mistakes he had made as a youth, which particularly focused on using the “N word.” I totally agree that we need to be having dialog within our churches and our communities about how we can constructively move forward with improving race relations. Patrick’s suggestions about “listening to the stories of others in our communities” and “sitting down at the table to eat together” particularly resonated with me. As a Storychaser, I especially agree with the first one, but the second one is an important strategy I don’t think we discuss or utilize nearly enough to promote understanding and the overall strengthening of relationships.

From a technical standpoint, I was able to use a stylus for these sermon sketchnotes (unlike last week) and again used the iPad app ProCreate. I exported my finished sketchnote as an image to the photo roll and uploaded it to Flickr, and also exported it as a video. I imported the video into iMovie for iPad and added voice narration, doubling the time for the playback so I had more time to talk. Lastly I uploaded the combined video using YouTube Capture. Here’s the narrated version:

I added this to my Flickr set for visual notes / sketchnotes. I was visiting FUMC in Manhattan, Kansas, today with my parents. I’m a member and elder at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma.

If you’d like to learn more about sketchnoting, see my resources on visual notetaking in “Mapping Media to the Curriculum” and my eBook single on “Visual Notetaking.”

Flipboard magazine: On Faith, God & Jesus

I love the iPad app Flipboard. It is, without a doubt, the best way to read information that others share with you via social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The only other iPad magazine I currently read which can compare is National Geographic, but that is written and curated by professional journalists.

I started a new @flipboard magazine today: “On Faith, God & Jesus.” The description I wrote is:

A collection of articles and posts related to Christianity, religion, and faith aggregated by Wesley Fryer. Including an article here does not constitute the endorsement of or agreement by the aggregator (Wes) with the topics addressed or opinions expressed. For the opinions of Wes related to issues of faith, see his Christian blog, “Eyes Right” on https://pocketshare.speedofcreativity.org

I hope you subscribe and share this with others. I won’t post to this Flipboard magazine as often as I do to my edtech Fipboard magazine, “iReading with Wes,” but I’ll post periodically when I find and read / watch / listen to thought provoking content related to faith, God and Jesus.

A Facebook App College Students Hide From Parents

This post fits into the unique category, “Stuff that is pretty dark and I don’t know if I should even blog about it.” I found a tweet today about a Facebook app which people are using to connect with friends they want to have sex with. I’m not going to link directly to the app here or mention it by name, because I don’t want to amplify it by giving it whatever meager Google SEO points this blog can give. I first debated with myself whether to share this link at all, and secondly whether to share it on my main educational technology blog or not. I decided to just share it here on Eyes Right.

Life is about many things, but one of the most important is CHOICES. This app is a case in point. Technology is enabling and empowering us in powerful ways, but at the same time it challenges us to define WHO WE ARE both for ourselves and to others through our actions.

People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do

You can be sure Apple (with its present guidelines) would not approve this as an iOS app in its app store. 🙁 – I can recommend the Movie Box app for the whole family if you are looking for something new, works on most phones I think.

Solar Under the Sun: Kenya (December 2012)

This evening I helped Robert Menja, who went on a mission trip to Kenya with Solar Under the Sun and Upendo Kids International in December 2012, create a 5.5 minute narrated slideshow about his experiences.

We’re going to work together on another video next Monday. I’m very excited to be able to help Robert with this! For more related resources, see my presentation wiki, “Telling Your Mission Story with iPad Video.” I’ll be sharing a presentation about this at the 2013 Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference on May 4, 2013.

Robert Menja in Kenya with Solar Under the Sun

Daily Bible Audio: PRICELESS!

I posted this as a review in the Apple App Store for the free YouVersion Bible app:

I use this app every day when I’m commuting to work. This app is a HUGE part of how I’ve been able to read through the entire Bible in a year, the last two years. The daily Bible reading plans are awesome. I love the fact that multiple translations are available in audio format so I can listen while I drive. Thank you YouVersion!!! Get this app and use it daily to read as we’ll as hear God’s Word!

Narrated Sermon Art

Both Rachel (my 9 year old) and I created some visual notes yesterday during the sermon shared by Pastor Mateen Elass at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma. Today we recorded some audio to accompany our drawings, using the free mobile app and website AudioBoo, to create these “narrated art” examples.

Click the play button (play arrow) to listen to each AudioBoo below. As one is playing, you can “mouse over” the embedded image thumbnail to view a larger version of each drawing.

Leveraging YouTube to Tell The Story of Your Church Mission Outreach

YouTube and social media websites like Facebook and Twitter offer incredible opportunities for Christian mission outreach ministries to “tell their story” and share with communities both local and international about the work God is doing through their volunteers. For several years I’ve felt God is calling me to use my knowledge and skills with digital media technologies to further the gospel and support the ends of His church on earth… and tonight I had another long awaited opportunity to answer that call in a small way.

Upendo Kids International is a mission outreach non-profit based in Edmond, Oklahoma, which sends teams each summer to Kenya to show God’s love and kindness through a variety of activities. This evening, I had an opportunity to show the nineteen members of the June 2012 Upendo Kids mission team how to use the iPad application “Explain Everything” to briefly narrate five photos from their trip. All together, mission team members brought home thousands of digital photos. Until this evening, however, I don’t think any of them had recorded their voices alongside selected photos and published them as videos on YouTube. Here are the two narrated slideshows we created at the end of their meeting tonight.

Kids Touched by God in Kenya by Kelly Ewing (2.5 min)

Selfless Faith in Kenya by Carly Murray (3 min, 48 sec)

I challenged each of the mission team members present at the meeting tonight, who are mostly high school students, to create a narrated slideshow like these before school starts for them on August 19th. I told them “the devil would do a happy dance” if they stop talking about their mission trip experiences and the ways they saw God at work in Kenya after school starts in August. I dearly hope each one of them will accept my challenge and create a short narrated slideshow about their experiences in Kenya this summer, and publish it on YouTube. Some of the students and parents reported they were providing their trip sponsors / supporters with CDs including hundreds of photos from their trip. I really think a two or three minute narrated slideshow with five key photos from the mission trip would be worth MUCH more to a person or family who donated to make their trip possible.

People say “pictures are worth a thousand words,” but I agree with Margaret Nan Harkey who created the video for Celebrate Oklahoma Voices, “What’s Your Story? The Importance of Telling the Stories of Your Photos.” Photographs can become MUCH more meaningful and powerful when we put our words with them.

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

I applaud both Kelly and Carly for their courage in sharing part of their stories and experiences in Kenya this year. To check out more Kenya Mission Trip stories from June 2012 and Upendo Kids International, subscribe to UpendoKids on YouTube.

If you’re interested in leveraging the power of YouTube and digital storytelling to “tell the story” of your non-profit, I encourage you to attend an upcoming “iPad Media Camp” workshop on creating narrated slideshows. I’ll be offering this workshop again in Oklahoma City on August 31, 2012, and again on December 18th. Please check the registration page on iPadMediaCamp.com for other dates and registration links.

Also, be sure to check out the YouTube Nonprofit Program and also read the PDF, “Playbook Guide: YouTube for Good.” The price is right: YouTube video hosting is FREE. To create videos like Kelly and Carly’s, you’ll just need an iPad with the app “Explain Everything” along with photos and your voice!

1 2 3 4