The Calling

A couple months ago I faced one of the hardest decisions of my life. If I followed through I would leave a church that I helped start with some amazing friends. I would have to say goodbye to a youth group full of the best students in the world that my wife and I led for almost 5 years. We would need move out of a small town community that we had involved ourselves in. I would need to tell my daughter she was going to a new school and would be leaving her friends. And I would be leaving full time job that I loved with awesome coworkers, paid well and had every opportunity for advancement.

I left all of this to be a pastor at Willow Creek Baptist Church.

Most would say I was crazy. But in that moment while being insanely difficult, the decision was also easy.


Because I know this is what I was meant to do.

I was called.

Traditionally throughout church history pastors have been identified in two ways. First through an internal call, which is the person's own desire to be a pastor and secondly through an external call which is the affirmation of those around him.

The apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy told him, "If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position."

This inward call was described by Martin Luther as “God’s voice heard by faith.” Charles Spurgeon described it as “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work.” Basically those called sense a growing compulsion to preach and teach the Bible, and to minister to the people of God.

This is a compulsion I've had for a long time and while I've been able to dedicate part of my life and work to satisfy this desire I've always wanted to have the opportunity to take my passions, talents, and gifts and use them full time to work in a church.

Spurgeon famously warned those who asked his advice to avoid working in the ministry at all costs and to only continue if they could do nothing else. “If he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.”

I love to teach and preach and I desire nothing more than to communicate the Bible in ways that people can understand.

So with that the people at Willow Creek recognized my desire and affirmed the qualities for a pastor and asked me to join them.

I am so grateful for my brothers and sisters at Lakeside and you all have done so much to help me grow. I'm also grateful for the people at Copyblogger. You gave me an amazing gift of being able to do things I loved, have a ton of fun doing them all while being at home with my family.

I can't wait to see how this next chapter in my life unfolds.

Still Virbtacular

A few weeks ago I wrote about the new social networking site called Virb. I still think it's the best social site in terms of what it allows the individual to do with their pages. You have full control over the CSS and even the html (which is rare and cool). This allows people to do some really cool things with their profile pages. I worked on mine for a couple days and I think it ended up pretty nice. You can see it here. I was fortunate to get noticed a bit as well. My profile ended up being featured on the "Virb Is" page which is reserved to show newcomers to the site what the site is capable of. They tend to feature unique and cool profiles so being included was a big honor and pretty cool.

My profile also caught the eyes of several other sites that feature interesting profiles. and have featured my profile.

Since designers and creative types have gravitated toward Virb I've met a lot of new interesting people. Hopefully I'll be able to collaborate with some of them on future projects.

If you still don't have a Virb profile what are you waiting for? Get over there, sign up and join in the frivolity!


I've written about the nastiness of MySpace several times and the regular influx of provocative friend requests finally led to my divorce of "the largest social network on planet earth." So now where do I go for all my social goodness? It's a question I'm really not that concerned with frankly but when I found out about Virb, I had a new home.

Mike Davidson introduced me to this glorious MySpace replacement that not only looks a million times better, it functions infinitely better.

What I like best is the ability to radically modify your profile page. You can see what I've done with mine here.

Check it out and create a profile for yourself.

Running Across Iowa

Mickie and I recently acquired a treadmill and in the interest of not being fat have decided to have a contest. We are going to run across Iowa. I made up a couple of charts where we'll keep track of our progress. The incentive just to win and get fit wasn't enough as we have also decided that the winner will take home a fabulous prize!

But we haven't decided on the prizes yet. It can be one thing that we both would want or it could be a different prize depending on who wins.

Tell us who you think will win and give a suggestion for a prize. If we choose your idea maybe you'll win something too!

I Changed It...again

Cue trumpet and drumroll please... Yeah! Its a new design! Tell all your friends and family.

If you subscribe to the rss feed or have the content delievered to your email you might notice a bunch of weird ones. Ignore them if you want. I am in the process of chaging over my portfolio to be managed by Wordpress (the cms that runs my site).

Let me know if there are any problems or bugs.

Help My T-Shirt!

My Submission I submitted a tee shirt design called A Series of Tubes to to be voted on and hopefully printed. If I get enough high scores the shirt will be printed and sold from the site and I will win some prizes. Take a look at it and if you like it, sign up and give it a score.



P.S. I'm sure Threadless would be happy if you bought a tee too!

Change Is In The Air

One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment."— Robert E. Quinn

You hopefully have noticed that you are not on the same familiar site anymore.

In an effort to do more with personal branding I am moving my blog here to I was lucky enough to acquire it last year when somebody let it go. In the world of freelance web and graphic design a personal name means a lot more than a company name. I will still be operating officially as Red Letters Studio but I am making more of a concentrated effort to brand my name in the area of design.

The only major changes to the site is obviously the design, I added a portion of my portfolio, there is a contact page, and I am once again pointing everyone to Flickr to view all of the pictures.

I don't see the content of the blog changing much, though I would like to post more often.

Those of you who have subscribed through email and rss don't have to do anything. You should still continue to get notified whenever the blog is updated. Contact me if you do encounter problems.

Our email addresses have not changed either. You can still reach us at josh(at) and mickie(at)

Photos of the New House

I went by our new house today and took some pictures outside. Listed below are the specs on the ol' homestead taken straight from the sell sheet. You can see all the rest of the pics on Flickr. And no, the boat doesn't come with the house, but I'm trying convince the seller to leave his pool table...

  • 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath , 2400 total finished square feet
  • Built in 1993 and remodled in 02-04 with lots of extras!
  • 1400 sqft finished on the main level w/3 bedrooms +2 baths
  • 1000 sqft finished on the lower level w/1 bedroom + 1 full bath

Main Level Living Spaces

  • Large master bedroom w/bath and bay window
  • 2 bedrooms adjacent to master bedroom
  • Bath w/whirlpool tub
  • Mudroom + washer and dryer
  • Formal living room w/cathedral ceiling

Kitchen and Dining Room

  • New counter tops, crown molding oak cabinetry
  • Built in plate and wine rack (ooooo, ahhhhh)
  • Built in half round breakfast table
  • hardwood parquet flooring
  • Dining room is 12x15 w/cathedral ceiling and hardwood flooring
  • Built in oak and glass china cabinet
  • Window seats and architectural windows

Lower Level

  • Family room w/built in oak book case
  • Built in oak corner entertainment center
  • Office w/built in desk and oak cabinets
  • Bedroom w/ full bathroom + walk-in closet
  • Game room/kids play room
  • Storage room/possible 5th bedroom


  • 3+1/2 stall garage, insulated, w/heated shop
  • Garden shed, garden arbor w/swing
  • Kids play-fort w/sandbox, swing, and slides

We're pretty excited.