Moving to a new Blog Service

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 by Aaron

Well, it’s that time.

We’ve had a good couple year, WordPress.  But, all good things must come to an end.

We’re moving on over to

If you’re following me via RSS, please update to

See you over there!


This Messed Up Wound Where a Friend Once Was

Posted in life of linne on February 25, 2011 by Aaron

One year ago, on March 11th. 2010, I lost one of my best friends.

This wasn’t a loss due to him leaving town, due to him passing away, or due our lives just drifting apart – those all just happen sometimes.  We live in a busy day and age and it’s hard to hold on to friendships with the hustle of the day; that is, unfortunately, the reality of our time in life.  I can deal with that.

And this wasn’t just a good friend whose leaving can be worked over with time and a few tears.  This was a best friend; a man who helped me propose to my bride, a man who I shared my aspirations and struggles with, a man who I knew wouldn’t hesitate to move between me and any adversary that threatened me in order to take a punch – or throw a punch to defend me.

The truth is he was one of the bravest, most loyal men I ever knew, sometimes to where I wondered if he was loyal and brave to a fault.

But then, one year ago, he became a coward.

You see, I believed in him and his skills.  There was an opportunity for us to work together on a project that would enable him to be paid in order to do his craft.  I trusted him with one of the biggest projects of my career because I knew the quality he could bring and, genuinely, wanted to give him a chance to create something amazing.  It turned out less than amazing, but we gave him another shot even through I was reprimanded.  I believed in him that much, I was that loyal to him – when everyone I shared his art with questioned my judgement I said, no, this is good – I know because my friend told me so.

So we gave him more projects.  We paid him what he asked, and then I renegotiated to pay him even more for the future projects because he felt he deserved it and I agreed. Of the seven agreed upon projects, only 3 were delivered.  For 3 months, my emails went unreturned even when projects were due and contracts needed to be signed.  Then, finally, I was able to schedule a lunch with one of the other business partners/artists involved.

At the end of our lunch, I find out that my former best friend had become a coward and – instead of being willing to join us for lunch – had sent a note to be read.  A note saying he couldn’t be my friend anymore.

A note.

He forced a mutal friend of ours to read a note to me saying how prideful I was, saying how horrible of a business person I was, how I robbed him of money, how I was the most selfish person he knew, how my only care in my life was for my career, and, most importantly, how my actions caused him to question the Gospel. This once brave, loyal man didn’t have the courage to face me and say anything to my face – instead he had someone else do his dirty work for him.

It wasn’t until then that I realized how abusive this best friend was. A flood of memories came rushing back to me of the times he mocked me, of the times people told me he talked behind my back but I didn’t believe them, of the times he would cause trouble  just to watch me react.  I had always looked over those things because I valued him as a friend; I forgave him for simply being himself and loved him all the same. But this finally broke me:

He intentionally put another friend out to deliver this horrible, gut-wrenching note saying our friendship was over and that I was a horrible human being.  He made another man read this note as I sat and openly wept in a public restaurant.  He was such a coward that he was willing to ruin my friendship with the messenger; my understanding from the conversation is that he even told the messenger that he wasn’t allowed to be my friend anymore either.  I’m not making that up – that was discussed in our lunch.

The messenger said we, and our respective spouses, would get dinner some time once things had calmed down.  I’ve never heard from the messenger since.  I’m assuming my once brave friend wouldn’t let him – because the messenger told me that he wouldn’t do dinner with us if my former friend didn’t want him to.

This huge, gaping wound in my life is still huge and gaping.  I thought a year later I’d be over it.  To be honest, I stopped blogging mostly because of this experience: in the note it was clearly stated that my blog and twitter made him upset because I would talk about the good things in my life too much.  To be personal, to dig all the way deep, I haven’t made any new close friends since this wound.  I used to be warm and support men and become their friend quickly and strongly… but only in writing this email do I realize that I haven’t done that in the past year like I used to.

I don’t think about that day very often, because it messes me up when I do.  It throws me off and makes me wonder what random thing I should have done differently.

The afternoon after the note – where so much rested upon the issues that occurred because of our business agreements – I spent going through emails and calendars trying to piece together what went wrong.  How had I messed up so badly in our business dealings that I would lose a friend? Was I really that bad of a businessman? I had to have the answer – and the answer was, in all of our dealings, only one thing happened negative on my side: we were late with one payment by 6 days… but even that was because the invoice turned in was wrong. Once the correct invoice was in, we paid within the 30 days we have alloted to pay (of course, this is just my side of the story. I admit something more must have happened… but I just can’t find the data to show where we messed up. And I looked, desperately – I wanted to know how to make it right).

And so, instead of a great collaboration between me and one of my best friends… I am left with this messed up wound where a friend once was.

I don’t know why I finally wrote some of these thoughts down.  I guess it was just time to share the story.  I know that, whether I like it or not, this experience has colored my friendships the past year.  I know it’s changed how I do business.  I know that I’ve written dozens of blog posts like this in my head, but never could put it into words in a text box.

To my friends, I’m sorry if I’ve been a coward.  This is a part of my life story now; help me rebuild what friendship means.

To my former friend, I still love you. I understand the friendship is over and – quite frankly – I don’t know how much I want it back. But I still love you, and I can’t wait for the eternal day in Heaven where we finally have the epiphany about how trivial these things were and grace can flow. That will be a good day. And then we will be friends again.

Attempt #1 to Get Back in the Habit

Posted in Uncategorized on October 12, 2010 by Aaron

Tomorrow, I will stand on a stage in front of me friends and peers at work, and get to demo When I first interviewed for my current job, I was told there were three major tasks ahead of me:

  1. Develop an online community site for The Love Dare, an incredible book that had already hit the New York Times
  2. Redesign our company’s website to make it a more user-friendly experience and a solid tool to be able to market from and
  3. in coordination with the launch of the HCSB Study Bible, develop an online Bible site that could truly be a useful tool for people wanting to study the Bible.

The past 18 months have been full of so much excitement, so many challenges, and so much awesome that it’s hard to put into words. There are parts of me that wish I had been blogging all along, just for my own memories, but there are times you have to be silent… and when you’re working on awesome-but-secret projects, it’s best to be silent.

Of course, in the past 18 months I have been able to work with top tier talent (literally) from across the globe.  In no way do I meant that I have done these things by myself; the exact opposite is true.  I’ve been involved in these grand projects and, in doing so, I have learned only how much talent is around me.  It’s always an honor to have a seat at any table and to be a part of such strong teams.  Being the last guy picked for sports teams at recess put such a strange spin on being a part of such amazing team-based projects.

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I really don’t feel I have much to say. It’s strange how things go in cycles. Hopefully, I can get back into the habit. Alas, there’s something about working all day that leaves one weary… that’s not a complaint, but a feeling of contentment. I love that I have the kind of job that I can pour into and feel fulfilled… and get to make neat little bits of awesome that – hopefully – truly can change someone’s world. Thanks for visiting again, if you haven’t been here in a while. Don’t worry – I haven’t either!

After Success, Pray

Posted in life of linne, of the spiritual on January 20, 2010 by Aaron

One of the things I continue to struggle with in my life is knowing just how to deal with success.  Because we are taught to remain humble and because I know that all good things come from God, it sometimes feels almost like I’m doing something wrong when I acknowledge that, yes, I did something good.

A while back I was honored to be in a group who got to hear from the producer of the movie Fireproof and one of the authors of Love Dare, Alex Kendrick.  As he discussed how they went into development of the film, he said over and over again that everything they did was prayed about.  There was only one thing that he could attribute any success to, and life-change to – and that was prayer.

This week there’s going to be a few posts coming up on the blog about some successes I’ve had recently.  Some dreams that have come true, goals of mine that I believe were God-given that have seen fruit.  I think it’s important that we share in one another’s joy.  I think it’s important that we pause and enjoy the gifts of success that God has allowed us to partake in.

I think we need to embrace success more often.

But, in doing so, just as we need to pray from the onset of any endeavor, we need to pray during and after it as well.  Prayers of thanks and prayers of humility.  Prayers that any struggles or battles we fight along the way are there to make things better, to make us fight harder or, in more cases that we care to admit, to get our attention that we’re doing it wrong.

Even now, even as I’m writing this, I still feel like it’s taboo to say, “Hey! I’m excited about this thing I did! Look!”  Or even the thought that a part of me worries that this post is really communicating to you: “Guess what! I prayed! I really did!”  Its so hard to find that balance of self-awareness of your personal success vs being prideful.  I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve blogged so seldom lately.

But… the fact of the matter is that the Lord has given me a season of success.  It could easily be gone tomorrow with one wrong word or one late project.  So I’m choosing to rejoice in the things that God has blessed my life with, labors that have seen success and – hopefully – will serve in their own way to spread the good news of hope and love.

And thanks to all you who help teach me, give me grace, and convince me to share my thoughts with the world.

Disciple Me

Posted in life of linne, of the spiritual on January 19, 2010 by Aaron

It’s a subject that my wife and I talk quite a bit about:

We need to be discipled.

Not merely an all-inclusive general “we,” not a community-based program in our church “we,” but a very granular, specific “we” as an she and I.  We have great days, experiences and conversations where we sharpen each other.  We have people of all ages who speak into our lives, that we grow in Christ with, that we can learn from.  But… there are so few people who we can point to and say: this person specifically took time to teach me, to disciple me, to pass on wisdom, love, rebukes and passion for the Word.

As my life fills up with more school work, with greater job responsibilities, with the lives of people that we’re trying to teach and disciple… I worry that I will somehow miss the chance to even allow someone to speak into my life.  I worry that some day I might think, “Yes! I know enough!  I have achieved what this world calls success!” and – at that moment – somehow deny or ignore someone whose journey was meant to connect with mine.

There are people I look up to, who I consider mentors-from-afar.  I have people who teach around me.  I have people I observe and learn from.  But I still feel a yearning for someone to develop that discipling relationship with me.  To hold me accountable to the plans God has for me and my family.  To teach me some of the so-many-things-I-don’t-know.

I don’t know if it’s just that the part of the people of God that I interact with have lost the art of discipleship, or if people for some reason think I don’t need it.  I don’t know why I’ve gone to great men of God and said “this is a need!” and then… nothing.  And I’m left still feeling that need, wanting desperately to fill a void that I know is in my life.

But, as desperate and hopeful as I am about finding someone, or someones, to take an interest and disciple this child, I do so little to pass my little wisdom on and let others know that I am praying for them.  And, though I’ve (in)directly asked people to disciple me before… it’s not like finding a mentor was actively on the top of my to-do list for 2009.  It was there… just not always at the very front of my mindset.


What do you do?  How do you find a mentor?  What do you look for in someone else to disciple?  What’s your discipleship story?

A Gamer’s FAQ to Bible Navigator X

Posted in B&H Publishing Group, Bible Navigator X, future of the Bible, gaming, lifeway on November 12, 2009 by Aaron

On Tuesday, LifeWay announced the development of Bible Navigator X for the XBOX 360, via the Indie Games Channel and XNA.  In the next few weeks we’ll be talking more about the application on and but, since a lot of the gaming sites have picked up the news, I wanted to be able to answer some questions specifically for you.

1) Why only the XBOX 360?

B&H is producing this via the XBOX Live Indie Games channel; the other consoles and handhelds don’t offer a similar toolset.  While we would be interested in developing for those platforms, the opportunities simply aren’t there right now for us.

2) What is the HCSB?

HCSB stands for the Holman Christian Standard Bible.  It’s one of the most modern transalations, and one of only two Bible translations (the other is the NET Bible) to have been done utilizing computers.  It’s a cross-denomination translation, with 17 denominations represented on its translation team.  You can learn more at

3) What does the ‘X’ stand for?

B&H already has a product called Bible Navigator for the PC.  We wanted to keep the name of the product line and, since this is currently and XBOX-only project it seemed fairly obvious to call it Bible Navigator X.

4) Will I need a patch to read the text in SD?

Nope; we’ll let you control the font size on Day 1.  That’s a part of the nuts and bolts of our app.  😉

5) Will there be Achievements or DLC?

Sorry, but unfortunately no.  Those features aren’t available on Indie Games.

Bible Navigator X: Fulfilling a Dream

Posted in B&H Publishing Group, Bible Navigator X, future of the Bible, gaming, life of linne, lifeway on November 10, 2009 by Aaron

As cheesy as it sounds: I love my job.

There are goals that you set for yourself in life that you hope to attain, and there are goals that you put before yourself that you place there for the sheer audicity of it all, knowing that it’s not something that will ever happen.  Like flying to the moon, adopting a pet dragon, or helping to put the very words of God into a medium that it’s never been in before.

Today my team announced that we will be bringing the HCSB translation of the Bible to the Xbox via Bible Navigator X.  This has been a dream of mine for since the XBOX 360 launched and they announced that there would be downloadable games.  Way back when it first came out, in 2005, I managed to actually get someone on the phone at Microsoft to see if we could partner with them to make something happen.  At the time, there was simply no way to make it work within their ecosystem… especially since it wouldn’t be a game.

So, fast forward 4 years, and God somehow places me in the book publishing division of LifeWay, where we publish the Bible.  And, not only that, but B&H is an honest-to-goodness inovator in the digital publishing space and, even in this economy, is willing to take financial risks if it means spreading the Good News of Christ.  So, when I asked if we could explore putting the Bible on the XBOX, my coworkers and boss actually said “yes.”

So, to begin my quest of making it happen, I posted out to a game developer’s forum asking how I might connect with someone to freelance a project.  Lo and behold, I was found by Andy Dunn – a fairly well known developer in the XBOX community.  Someone whose stuff I read back in the day when I was trying to code my own XBOX wares.

Andy and I struck up a conversation, outlined what the application would look like, and we went to town.  His wisdom was, quite honestly, astounding.  I’ve learned more about the game/app development process from him than I ever expected to know.  But there was still that nervousness… is this really going to work?

If you’ve got a dream, you’ll have spent hours thinking about it in your head, hoping that some day the reality might be even a sliver of that dream.  In these past few weeks, as Andy has dropped a build to me every few days, it has almost freaked me out.  This is the very first version of Bible Navigator X, our first go at putting this most sacred content onto a video game system… and it work with the medium so perfectly.  It feels natural and nice; like the XBOX was made to host the Bible.

In short, reality suprassed what I had dreamt up in my head.

I feel almost foolish and childlike, gushing about how exciting this is for me and how much I love my job that allows me to see dreams come true.  I have a renewed interest in spreading the Gospel of Christ, now that it’s in a medium that my peers can connect with.  I have a brand new level  of respect for the scholars and wise men who translated the Greek and Hebrew into what we call the HCSB translation… and the programmers and developers who translated that into XML and code.

And, I’m not trying to wax philosophically here… I’m just finally able to get out words that I’ve had to keep secret for so long, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted.  It’s not every day that you get to be aware of being a part of God’s plan.  It’s not every day that you know your actions could – litearlly – impact millions.  This is one of those things that I’ll tell my children about, and I will tell their grandchildren, and so on and – hopefully – so on.

Excited.  That’s how I feel.  I hope you didn’t mind my shoutting it from the internets.