Canva: A Big Help For Graphics

24 06 2015

ImadeThis On CanvaMaking our own slides, posters, flyers, bulletin graphics etcetera can be daunting. Photoshop is usually too high powered for what we want to do or just too expensive for a small church to purchase.

Searching Google images and then trying to secure permission for graphics that really don’t fit our message is “striving after the wind.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy to use, powerful enough, inexpensive, modern looking way to produce various graphics? Well there is a good online service that is offers all of this and more.

Canva is a website that has hundreds of great templates, Typography designs, images and backgrounds many are free, some are just one US dollar. The designs are flexible in that you can change fonts, colors, backgrounds to most of the templates. You can start from scratch and design just about any kind of graphic you need.

Have you ever wanted to customize your Facebook header? Canva has templates that are perfect pixel size. How often do you want to upload a graphic to Instagram but can’t remember the pixel size needed so it looks right? Nearly every social media there is allows customization but expects you to make your graphics a specific size to fit. Canva has figured that out for you and provided templates that are ready to go, just add your pics, or select one from the thousands for sale $1.00 on Canva’s site. When you have finished your wording and tweaking download it to your computer and “Bob’s your uncle” it’s yours to post anywhere anytime from now on!

Canva even offers online training in graphic design. If you need inspiration for new ways to create and use graphics they will provide great examples of good design from various places on the Internet.

I made the bar graphic on the side in less than 45 seconds. Imagine what you could do if you were really trying! Your church is going to be happy you found this site if  you start using it for your graphic media projects!

Joe Chase


A Great Time Saver TextExpander

23 09 2014

I use an online Bible program.  Many times I will copy a passage of Scripture hoping to paste it

TextExpander snippet

TextExpander snippet

into Microsoft Word and the standard “cmd v” will not work. That means going to the edit menu, selecting “Edit” then scrolling to “Paste Special,” that brings up a menu box that gives you the option to “paste plain text.”  Do that 20 or thirty times as you prepare a sermon outline, then the PowerPoint slides and that adds up to hundreds of mouse clicks, and typing.

Well to the rescue is a TextExpander snippet that bypasses all those pesky mouse travels, clicks and typing.  I can instead type ptp and TextExpander will paste the clipboard contents in the style the document is currently using. This is so simple to set up and use that I wish I had known about this 30 years ago when I was in Preacher Training School and college.

The snippet uses TextExpander’s %clipboard command.  You can assign the hotkey abbreviation to whatever you choose.  I will be using this snippet hundreds of times this month alone.  Here is a screen shot of the TextExpander window with the assigned snippet and the abbreviation.

What great timesaving tips can you share?  Do you have an app that you couldn’t make it through the day without using? Tell me about it.

A Free Tool

17 07 2013

I hate retyping things I’ve typed before. I have many, many notebooks from my Preaching School and College days. I have even more hand typed sermons I’ve written over the years. I’d love to have them search ready in my Evernote or Google Drive.

So, lately I’ve been scanning notebooks into PDF format. I then upload them to a free service that recognizes the text for free or very low cost if you are scanning mountains of text. It can cost as low as 4 pennies per sheet if you buy enough credits.

I’ve found the service is accurate most of the time. Some of the older papers have stains and such that interfere so I might have to go back in fix a few words here and there before saving the document in Word Format.

Now all those notes and old sermons are ready to be manipulated, copied, pasted and tweeked into useable text for use again. And most of it done with just a mouse and very little typing again. will give you several pages of free scans delivered to your mailbox or downloadable upon completion. This is a great tool for those of us who have little if any secretary support. Give it a try.

Introducing New Songs

20 09 2011

Worship ought to be expressed in fresh words new melodies in each generation.  There is certainly no reason to abandon old songs just because they are old.  It is a challenge to bring new songs to the church.  Often people resist them because they cannot yet sing them.  Bringing fresh songs to the worship time must be done carefully.

There is something about having to concentrate on learning the music that detracts from our ability to fully worship.  So you don’t want to have too many unfamiliar songs in one setting.  People will stop worshiping to learn.  You can get by with a new song in the service if you work it in to a grouping of familiar ones.

As a worship leader in an a capella assembly you can’t depend on instruments to carry the melody and harmony for you.  To overcome that challenge you have to teach the song to at least one person per part who can carry the parts while you lead the melody.   Better yet get a group together at sometime other than the assembly to teach the song to a larger group that can carry the parts in the assembly.

When teaching a new song to a group in a smaller session I do the following things.

  1. Seat singers in parts.
  2. Everyone listen to the melody a few times, while they read through the sheet music.
  3. Everyone sing the melody until they have a feeling of how the song goes.  (Most harmony singers will already have a feel for where there part will fit with the melody).
  4. Have one or two people sing the melody while you teach all the males the Bass part.
  5. Have a couple people sing melody while all males sing the Tenor part.
  6. Repeat this with the alto parts.
  7. Now try to put all the parts together.

This format really helps singers to get to know the song.  This group can then help you in the assembly teach the song to the entire body.

Another helpful way is to get a group together to record the song and make it available to the congregation.  Learning CD’s of several new songs can be a great help to the church.  It is getting less expensive all the time to record.  When making learning CD’s it is a good idea to pan Soprano and Tenor hard Right and the Alto Bass hard left.  This allows easy isolation of each part.  Be sure your recording is accurate to the sheet music or you will have to reteach parts.

Once you’ve introduced a new song to your congregation repeat it often.  It is really a good idea to repeat it at least twice in the first service it is introduced.  Use it several times in the following weeks so people begin to recognize it and can start singing without having to concentrate on learning the music and word.

Joe Chase

Use That New Electronic Picture Frame

16 09 2011

I love the new technology we have to disseminate information. I really hate announcements, making them and listening to them too. However, they are a necessary part of an active congregation. We use an announcement PowerPoint before and after services. That’s great for our folks who actually come into the auditorium and sit down before the service starts.

Recently I discovered that PowerPoint allows you to save your whole slideshow in jpeg format. This will allow you to use the slideshow on an electronic picture frame. These can be purchased for $50 to $150. Put those jpegs on the frame and they will scroll your announcements anywhere you can set the frame. Many of these frames are battery powered so you can even put them in an area with no power outlet.

Put one in the foyer, classrooms, restrooms, anyplace people congregate. Many of the newer frames are wifi. This will allow you to save your slides to a website and assign it an rss feed and voila you never have to sync the frame by hand again.

The frames are usually small. Don’t bother buying one smaller than 8 inches or you will struggle reading text on the slides.

Nice flat-screen monitors are getting less expensive too. You can pick one up for less than $100 at BestBuy or Wal-Mart. Drag that junked out laptop or desktop and hook it to your nice new monitor and use it to scroll announcements in remote locations that allow you to hide the tower.

Public Bible Reading

2 06 2011

Remember public reading from God’s Word is important. God even told us to do it. As with anything God tells us to do we should do it as skillfully as possible.

Be certain that you know what the passage is about. Understanding Scripture is key to reading it well.

Use the emotion called for in the context. If this is an angry narrative read it with anger in your voice. If the characters are sad and crying certainly that calls for a crying inflection.

You might even try changing your voice for the various speakers within the passage. We are not calling for a full readers theatre, but a change in voice, place on the stage etc. will certainly help the hearers see which character is speaking.

Observe punctuation. Use pauses for emphasis. These simple inflections give life to a reading.

Practice several times before you read in the assembly. A cold reading will lack the impact that a well rehearsed reading will have.

Pray about your role in the worship of God and the edification of the Church.

Here are several passages that will help you stretch your emotions as you read. Have fun. Try doing this as a family assignment or as a Bible class assignment.

John 11:38-44 Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead

John 11:38-44 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. (39) Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” (40) Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (41) So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. (42) I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” (43) When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” (44) The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

1 Kings 18:41-46 Elijah Prays for Rain

1 Kings 18:41-46 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” (42) So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (43) And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. (44) And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.'” (45) And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (46) And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Exodus 3:1-10 Moses and the Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-10 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (2) And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. (3) And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” (4) When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (5) Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (6) And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (7) Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, (8) and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (9) And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. (10) Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Psalm 121:1-8 My Help Comes from the Lord

Psalms 121:1-8 A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? (2) My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (3) He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. (4) Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (5) The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. (6) The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. (8) The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Love the Lord Your God

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

1 Samuel 17:41-51 David Kills Goliath

1 Samuel 17:41-51 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. (42) And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. (43) And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (44) The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” (45) Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (46) This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, (47) and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (48) When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. (49) And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. (50) So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. (51) Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus Gives the Great Commission

Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. (17) And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. (18) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Revelation 4:1-5 Worshiping God in Heaven

Revelation 4:1-5 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (2) At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. (3) And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. (4) Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. (5) From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,

Revelation 22:12-21 Jesus Is Coming

Revelation 22:12-21 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (15) Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (16) “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (17) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (18) I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, (19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (20) He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (21) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

The Need for Breathing!

6 05 2011

You might think that breathing would just be natural when you lead singing. However, the stress of leading singing can take your breath away.

Stress can hamper even sympathetic muscles. It’s true when we are nervous or under great stress we breath more shallow. The activity involved in leading singing can also steal our breath.

Solution, breathing deeply! Sounds stupid doesn’t. Before you take the podium take several deep breaths and exhale completely so you can take in more air. Taking in more oxygen helps calm your nerves and gives you the needed support for the activity of leading worship.

During the week you should do some simple deep breathing exercises.

  • Begin by exhaling as much air as possible.
  • Inhale deeply (Remember deep breathing involves those stomach, back and side muscles).
  • Now exhale in short pants. (Like a dog, not the Bermuda type).  This will engage those big muscles that control breathing.
  • Do this a dozen times.
  • Next inhale deeply and exhale making a an “S” sound.  Continue this until all your air is gone.
  • This “S” exhale will help build stamina, the “S” sound will put no strain on your voice.
  • You can do this exercise making a “Z” sound which engages the voice too, don’t strain or push though.

If you will do this routine a few times a day for a few weeks it will certainly help you build the ability to breath deeply.  That in turn will help you when it comes time to lead singing.

Lack of deep breathing and breath control is one of the causes of vocal fatigue and voice strain.  You don’t want that ever.

So in the words of Faith Hill “Just Breathe”.

What helps you remember to breathe during worship leading or singing?  I’d love to hear your helpful hints.  Comment here or drop me a note chasejoseph(a)

Joseph D. Chase
Gospel Preacher
1000 N. Loop 485
PO Box 667
Gladewater, TX 75647
(903) 845.2531 office