Wednesday, January 27, 2010

01.27.2010 - off to kenya

a graphic my dad made for us :)

Jess and I are off to Kenya today. Please be praying for us. We return in 10 days.

Wanna read about what we'll be doing there? Click here.

If there's internet where we are I'll do my best to keep you all updated, but no promises. Check the twitter feed below for the most recent updates.

JIM baker

Friday, January 22, 2010

01.22.10 - why a vision statement is important

out and about with the 5dm2 // jamestown NY // jan 2010

In a previous post I asked other youth pastors if they could sum up what they were trying to do in 5 sentences or less. We had an awesome ongoing conversation with 26 comments. It challenged me to think about a lot, and it made me realize how blessed I am to be in such an awesome network of people.

While I'm not impressed with grand vision statements if there is no real evidence of those things getting done, I think that having a tangible vision statement helps put parameters and borders on what we do. We can examine everything we do with, "does this help us achieve the things we've set out to achieve?" A vision statement helps keep us focused and on track. In a world where there are pushes, pulls and well meaning suggestions in every direction, we could use some parameters.

I'm still working on my 5 sentences. They need to be given more thought because I want you to hold me accountable to them. I encourage you if you have a vision statement for your ministry or for your life share it with us and ask yourself if the things you're doing are in line with that.

JIM baker

Thursday, January 21, 2010

01.21.10 - layout changes and twitter

Jason approves :) // dec 2009 // 20d

So as you're looking around you probably notice some things... the header image changed... its still an image from our engagement shoot by Pranee Loffer though.

I added a twitter feed below so you can see what's going on most recently.

If you tweet add me @jimjessbaker

I'm only displaying the main post, you can click on old posts at the bottom of the page. Below that you can see posts categorized by labels. (didn't like the way it looked so i removed it)

I've been thinking about making the dive into twitter for a while now and made the jump last nite. My friend Phil Cunningham tweeted a video of him in Cambodia shot on his iphone, which showed up as his facebook status with a link.

The whole point of me buying this phone was to keep in better touch with people so be looking for more pic and video correspondence soon.

Let me know what you think of the changes in the comment section.

using echofon as my iphone twitter app as reccomended by Phil.

JIM baker

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

01.20.10 - one week till we leave for KENYA!

The Africa Team! Photo Courtesy of Josiah Blick.

Jess, Jim, Anne, Heather, Dave, Arielle, Brian and Devonne.

Next week at this time we will all be on a plane headed for half way across the world to Migori Kenya.

So here's a little bit more detailed post about what we'll be doing while we are over there.

photo courtesy of Rick Rohlin

John Okinda runs an orphanage, a training school for Christians, a high school, and a teachers college. One of our main objectives in going over is to get a headshot portrait of each of the 200 orphans so that we can find sponsors for them.

Along with meeting with the District Commissioner of Migori, Mr. Julius Mutul, we will have opportunities to teach, preach, love on and most of all learn from the people of Migori, Kenya.

Our team is made up of 3 different parent/teen pairs. As the youth pastors of the congregation sending us, we are truly honored to be a part of such an experience that will deepen these family relationships for a lifetime.

Here's John's website. And here is a satellite view of where we will be staying.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and financial support!

JIM baker

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

01.19.10 - WOAH! Daniel Chung's art

I was just looking at Daniel's facebook profile tonite and ran across his album of artwork from his first year in college. I am BLOWN AWAY.

I met Daniel in the summer of 2007 in Comitan Mexico. He came down with his youth group to serve where my team was already.

I asked his permission to download the pictures and clean them up a bit (adjusted the white balance, and did a crappy job of cloning out the distracting lamp in the top pic) to show you all.

Its been a while since I've seen something that has impressed me so much.

When asked about his artwork Daniel said..

"We were to make art out of 1 object and I just went crazy with it, I just started art so I didn't have the drawing/painting craft practiced like them so i just did what I was used to building stuff.."

The two pieces above were made with plain white drawing paper.

If you're interested in buying these pieces... you can't.

"I'm glad you like it, sold it all though, took up too much space"

To see the full album of Daniel's artwork click here.

JIM baker

Monday, January 18, 2010

01.18.10 - digital noise ISO

As I mentioned in this post, I bought the canon 5dm2 because of its full frame sensor which allows it to handle noise much better at high ISO's. Meaning better quality pictures in low light. Below are some completely unedited examples of how my different cameras handle ISO 3200.

Chris and Sharon's wedding // October 2008 NYC

taken with the Canon G11 @ iso 3200
(notice ALL the noise)

Shot for a photostory (click the link to watch it) I did for Phil Cunningham // Kona Hawaii 2008

taken with the canon 20d @ iso 3200

(some noise, more noticeable in the upper left hand corner in the shadows, not as bad as I thought it was in my head though, I always made out the 20d to be a noise monster)

Dan Mohler preaching at Praise Fellowship this weekend

5dm2 pretty much no visible noise.

So there ya have it folks... can you tell a difference?

Just got confirmation on my lens rental of the 100-400 for Africa. 9 days until we leave.

I'll write a bit more updated blog about Africa since I know a little more than when I wrote about the trip in October.

JIM baker

Sunday, January 17, 2010

01.17.10 - Dan Mohler

dan preaching friday night // iso 3200 5dm2 :)

So I'm not going to lie, there was a lot of hype to the leading up to Dan Mohler coming and speaking to our church... I was getting a little sick of hearing his name. (I'm just being real.) But the hype was underplayed, Dan Mohler was amazing, some of the best teaching I've sat under.

Friday night, Dan brought a strong message about our identity because of the finished work of Christ. This quote blew me away.
"The cross of Christ speaks more of our value than of our sin."

Saturday morning he just shared testimonies and gave practical ways to see God move in power in our every day lives. When asked about overcoming the fear of man when we're 'doing evangelism' he responded with this
"the love for man takes away the fear of man."

The pastoral staff went out to lunch with him saturday afternoon for lunch and we had the privilege to hear testimonies of some of people that Dan walks with. Crazy stuff, crazy in a good way. Crazy, like Jesus was serious when he said

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." - John 14:12

Saturday evening, and both services this morning were packed with more great teaching and ministry. I plan on getting the whole weekends teaching on cd to hear it again.

If you haven't heard Dan Mohler speak, you should check him out.

God's GOOD.

JIM baker

Friday, January 15, 2010

01.15.10 - cf cards

taken today with the g11

In this post I complained a bit about having to throw down a pretty penny on bigger and faster cf cards for my new camera. I tested my san disk extreme pro 16 gig card this morning and am amazed at the speed.

I remember vividly the first time card speed became a bother. It was when I was shooting Nate and Ashley's engagement photos. I had just gotten back from traveling and was so tired. I was quickly shooting frame after frame, because the sun light was disappearing fast. I was using san disk extreme II 4 gig cards and the camera would seemingly lock up and not let me take more pictures because it was slowly writing to the card. My new camera came with an extreme III 8gig card and gives me the same lag as the 20d did with the extreme II cards.

photo by me // canon 20d // aug 2008

The extreme pro cards are a different story. Sitting in my living room this morning I popped off 16 raw files in continuos mode before it even paused to write, and then when I kept the shutter held down, the lag was less than one second between taking the pictures. The extreme pro cards are definitely pricey but well worth it in my book. I can keep shooting at the speed I want to shoot at and I don't have to wait for the card to catch up.

JIM baker

p.s no I'm not avoiding my own 5 sentences, I'm still thinking, thanks for all the responses, if you haven't checked out the conversation you should do so here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

01.13.10 - what are we working towards?

photo by me // feb 2008 // kailua kona hawaii

This post stems out of my own frustration, of trying to figure out what the real goal is of our youth ministry. What is it that I want the students in our ministry to walk away with? What do we want their lives to really look like? I think this question has to be asked before we start trying to do anything. Identifying the goal to see what we're working for.

For those of you involved with any ministry, can you sum up what you're trying to do in five sentences or less? What are your ultimate end goals?

If our goal is vague, then what are we really working towards? "Living a Godly life" isn't specific enough, what does that look like?

As we are trying to figure out what to do with our youth groups, with our congregations, small groups, with the retreat we're planning, with our very own lives do we ever stop to ask "what's the point?"

I challenge you to think this over, and post your five sentences or less here in the comment section. Then ask the question, if these are the goals, is what we're doing moving us in that direction? How can what we're doing be tweaked to be more effective to help us reach our ultimate goals?

JIM baker

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

01.12.10 - truth

taken with the 5dm2

Last night at our youth group we talked about truth.

Some of the students preformed a skit where the main character was trying to figure out what 2+2 was. As she asked people this question, people told her different answers based on how it felt, or gave a convincing argument simply by how loud they spoke, we even had a news caster interviewing a "math expert" give us a different answer from anyone else.

Mike Rohlin (who introduced himself as the older, smarter, better looking brother of our pastor Rick Rohlin) came and spoke on Media Literacy.

He challenged our students to dig a little deeper, and ask some critical questions. Examples like what is the motivation of this news channel? If they are simply just trying to provide information then why are there ten different news stations? If its about viewers, ratings and money then how does that effect how they will tell the story?

The highlight of the evening might have been when Mike Rohlin sang along to Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus which we were analyzing for truth.

"Why do we believe that the bible is true?" I asked our group of 6th through 12th graders. The room was silent. I smiled and assured them in two weeks we'd be learning why from Tim Smart one of our church elders.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." - Mark 12:30

JIM baker

total side note check out Perry Noble's latest blog "What if the Pharisees Twittered"

Monday, January 11, 2010

01.11.10 - remain

on a walk with the 5dm2

REMAIN - verb
continue to exist, esp. after other similar or related people or things have ceased to exist

Saturday the 9th about twenty of us twenty-somethings gathered for two hours in the PF cafe for some musical worship led from an electric guitar. The sermon time seemed more like an honest conversation between Corey Errett who was "preaching' and us, the congregation.

I would guess that the biggest age demograph of people leaving the church would be between 18 and 30. Why?

Is it that church isn't relevant or is it that authentic community is hard and requires effort from us twenty somethings. "Real life" has set in, and everyones schedule is a lot busier than it was in college when community came easy.

It's our time to be the initiators, the decision makers, the influencers. The very reason you probably don't come to church is the very thing you need to be respectfully and honorably talking to your church leadership about and bringing change.

Come REMAIN with us Saturday Jan 24 2010 in the PF Cafe. Feel free to ask hard questions, we don't promise any answers though. Be ready to take initiative and responsibility for your faith, we aren't going to blame anyone else anymore. Lets be the change we want to see in the church.

JIM baker

Sunday, January 10, 2010

01.10.10 - MY NEW CAMERA IS HERE!!!

first pic with the 5dm2 and EF 24-105 f4 L IS USM -taken on jan 8 2010 in Jamestown NY

first pic with the 20d and EF 28-105 f3.5-4.5 II USM - taken on feb 2 2006 in Columbia MD.

Quite the contrast... 4 years ago no wedding ring, no beautiful wife, and the pic was blurry, good thing I've improved a bit and learned to use my camera out of the box.

Pictures are fun. A great way to remember things. I encourage you to take more pictures in 2010.

I'm super impressed with the 5dm2, I'll put some examples up soon. But the biggest thing I notice is its ability to shoot without much digital noise at high ISOs. One of the biggests reasons I bought it and it delivers.

It's funny to me, I purchased a mid range zoom as my first lens with my 20d and now that I upgraded to the 5d the first lens I bought for this camera was a mid range zoom too. I guess its a good place to start.

I'll blog more soon, promise.

JIM baker

Thursday, January 7, 2010

01.07.10 - accumulation

shot with the canon g11 edited in imovie hd

Tuesday was our day off and I spent it making this video, all shot from the warmth of my home.

I've had plenty of days off but this was the first one that felt like a "real day off." Jamestown NY is starting to feel like home. Jess and I rearranged some furniture in our apartment, played monopoly with Sandi, (I LOVE monopoly) and then had dinner with our friends Andrew and Jackie.

I shot this video because I wanted to show you how peaceful snow looks as its falling. But it made me think. Even though snow looks so peaceful as falls, once it hits the ground it accumulates quickly. If it's not properly taken care it can become destructive very fast.

What have we allowed to build up in our lives because we were caught up in enjoying how it looks and how it feels but not realizing the affect of its accumulation. What in our lives needs to be maintained?

JIM baker

Monday, January 4, 2010

01.04.10 - out with the old and in with the new

Kailua Kona Hawaii 2008 - School of Photography

It's been a week without a dslr and well, enough is enough. So today I ordered my new camera.

I bought the Canon EOS5d Mark II with the 24-105 f4 L lens. :)

I'm pumped to have pro gear to go to Africa which happens to be a little more than 3 weeks away...

I choose this camera because it has a full size sensor which means it handles low light A LOT better than the crop sensors like on my 20d. I find myself a lot of times shooting in low light situations so I'm pumped to have a camera that can handle it without giving me a lot of noise at higher ISOs.

Plus it shoots HD Video... here's a sample video from canon's website shot entirely with the 5dm2.

The only downside I see so far is that when you upgrade to pro gear you have to upgrade EVERYTHING to pro gear. Since the new camera is 21.1 megapixels that means I need MUCH bigger and faster cards. I dropped a pretty penny on CF cards.

I had to do some shopping around but between B & H, Adorama and Amazon I found the best deals on everything and didn't have to pay a dime in shipping. Yay for smart shopping!

JIM baker

Friday, January 1, 2010

01.01.10 - happy new year

NYE @ camp mission meadows 2009

Jess and I brought in the new year with over one hundred kids grades 7-12 from six different churches at Camp Mission Meadows.

Andy Frudd from Bemus Point Methodist brought an awesome message about allowing God to unload our backpacks full of junk and start the new year fresh. I presented the simple gospel message of God's love and plan and an awesome time of worship followed led by Ben and Liz Blick.

Andy encouraged the kids to pray for one another. A teenage boy whom I didn't know ran up to me sobbing and just clung on to me. I had the privelage to minister God's love and truth to him as he spewed tears and snot all over my shoulder :)

What an awesome way to bring in the New Year.

God I ask that 2010 would be a year that we realize how much You love us and that you have so much more in store for us than we're currently living in and that You'd free us up to walk in those things.

JIM baker