Category Archives: Technology

#3BCIAmThird

3BCIAmThirdThis summer, Third Baptist Church will take advantage of social media to stay connected and encourage each other as we let our light shine in our community.  With so many opportunities to take vacation, play ball, picnic, water ski, fish, and so on, it’s easy to see how we can be a bit scattered over these next few months.

As believers, we influence those around wherever we go.  It can be as simple as opening a door for someone, taking someone a meal, or it can even be a conversation about spiritual things.  We live like this because Christ loved us enough to erase our guilt – and we are called to do the same for those we encounter wherever we go.

So, as you are out this summer, take a “selfie” and include the hashtag #3BCIAmThird, and tweet it out to everyone.  Or, put it on Face Book or Instagram.

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A Must-Have Daily Bible Reading App

app storeI’m an app fanatic.  I’m fascinated by the world of smartphone and iPad apps and the ability they have to make life easier.

For instance, need a recipe using quinoa?  There’s an app for that.

Want to know what constellation you’re looking at, or if that’s a satellite overhead?  There’s an app for that, too.

Need a better price on an item you’re wanting to purchase? Open an app, scan the bar code, and you’ll be told which store near you has a better price.

Amazing.

It doesn’t stop there, though.  Do a search in the app store for ‘Christianity’, and I’m not sure the apps ever stop loading. Apps for Bible versions, prayer, hymnals, and so on are many.  It can be overwhelming.  Often the best way to approach finding an app for what you need is to ask someone…let them be the person to wade through the sea of apps so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

A few weeks ago, I began to look for an app with a systematic Bible reading plan that would help me focus on more scripture than a singular New Testament reading, or Old Testament, or Psalm.  I needed something that would methodically direct me through readings from the Psalms, Old and New Testaments.

photoI did a bit of research and found the Book of Common Prayer: Daily Office Readings.

If you’re familiar with the Book of Common Prayer at all, you know it’s been around for quite some time…since 1549.  It was birthed out of the English Reformation and has been used in the Church of England, or Anglican Church, ever since.  Now, in 2014, you can read it on your smartphone or iPad.

When you open the app, you’ll notice the readings are labeled ‘Daily Office Readings’.  This is a photo1term that refers to set times during the day that are set aside for reading and prayer.  For example, the Daily Office of Vespers occurs at sundown, followed by the Office of Compline, around 9:00 pm.  Then, there’s the Midnight Office followed by Matins, which occurs at dawn.  During the day, other Offices occur, as well.

I suppose, if you want to be a good Anglican, you can read a scripture at various times throughout the day.  But, for me, I prefer to read the five scriptures – which come from the Psalms,  and the Old and New Testaments – in one quiet time.  The version used is the English Standard Version which is what I use for most of my reading.  I’ve discovered, too, that the readings will have a common theme throughout (trusting God, praise, and so on).

I encourage you to try this app.  It’s a systematic way to read God’s Word, it’s conveniently presented on your device, and you have the joy of knowing that many, many others are reading these same scriptures with you on that particular day.

Get to the store.

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There’s Not an App for That

iphone-bigAs the smartphones and tablets become more and more common, the offering of apps seem like a form of electronic mitosis – dividing and doubling to the 10th power.  It really is overwhelming.  And, if you look long and hard, you can find an app that will do just about anything.

There’s an App for That

You can check your balance, read a newspaper, stargaze constellations,  and use a compass.  You can see which flights are overhead at any moment in time, and then proceed to go to sleep with the help of a sound machine.  You can check the calories and carbs of what you’ve eaten that day, or you can see everything you want to know about the Grand Ole Opry (and then buy tickets to a show).  You can check scores, watch TV, or work on your presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.  Then, there are games, maps, GPS, Twitter, Facebook, and weather.  And let’s don’t forget a police scanner, a metronome, Kindle, musical instruments, and any particular version of the Bible you prefer.  Those are just a few of the apps on my phone.

Apps I Don’t Recommend

There are some apps that are just downright bizarre.

hello-cow1.     Hello Cow.  This is a simple app.  It’s a picture of a cow.  You talk to the cow, and it will ‘moo.’  The more you talk to the cow, the happier it is.  Really?  I’m not sure I could handle the guilt.

2.     ZombieBooth 3D.  Take any picture, preferably one of yourself, and it will show what you look like as a zombie.  You know, something I’ve always wondered is, “What would I look like dead?”

3.     Honey It’s Me.  This is an app similar to Siri in that it will have a conversation with you.  Judging by the title, it’s for life time members of the Lonely Hearts Club.  Yeesh!

4.     iVoodoo Doll.  This one explains itself.  I’m sure it’s a favorite app in south Louisiana or in the Caribbean.ivoodoo doll

5.     Hang Time.  Ever wonder how high you can throw your $200 phone?  This app will time it…just throw it as high as you can and it’ll tell you how long your phone was in the air.  May be hard to read, though, if the screen is shattered.  Just sayin’.

6.     Pimple Popper.  Just like it says, it’s a virtual acne-fest of pimple popping fun.  If you’re good, you can pop more pimples than your IQ number, which, if you’ve got this app on your phone, shouldn’t be hard to do.

Apps for the Christian

If you’re a Christian, the apps are just as numerous.  On one smartphone or tablet, you can use apps to read devotionals, hear sermons, read the Bible, or study your small group curriculum.  I use mine when I lead worship…all of  the music charts, scripture, responsive readings are on my tablet.  And, for my personal devotion time, I have several apps that I use.

bible app1.     Bibles.  I use Crossway’s ESV Bible as well as the Bible Gateway app.  It has many translations, helps and resources.

2.     Devotional.  I can use Desiring God or Ligonier for their devotional material.  The apps contain a daily reading, videos, teaching and more.

3.     Confessions.  I have the Christian Creeds & Reformed Confessions app that I like to have handy as I study history or theology.

4.     Worship.  There are numerous hymnals that can be placed on a smartphone or tablet.  I have the Baptist Hymnal, the Lutheran Hymnal, the Methodist Hymnal, and several others.  And, the Common Worship & Prayer is the Anglican app for The Book of Common Prayer.

5.  Evangelism.  If you need help sharing the gospel, there are apps for that, too.  I have 2 Ways to Live, which is a 2-Ways-to-Live-orangeresource to show God’s plan of salvation.  There’s the God Tools app, that has the 4 Spiritual Laws.  And, there’s the Jesus Evangelism Tool and the Roman Road apps.

There’s Not an App for This

There is one thing, though, that there’s no app for – actually sharing the gospel.  Intending to share the gospel and actually doing it are two different things.  Thabiti Anyabwile tells a poignant story of actually sharing the gospel with someone when he initially didn’t want to.  And, Mike Lee gives some insight about how to actually share the gospel in his post, Getting to the Gospel.

So, while there’s an app for everything, remember that there are only some things you and I can do.

  

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Texting for Senior Adults

Though I’m not officially a senior adult, I’m starting to become aware of that culture and what is expected of me.  Here’s a great video that explains texting to senior adults.

 

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The Right Music at the Right Time.

Music is incredibly powerful.

Don’t believe that?  Imagine watching a movie or a tv show without music.  It would be painful.

Here’a link to a site I enjoy called Songza.  As the site says, it’s the right music at the right time.  Music chosen for your needs by music experts.  Or, you might say, curators.

Need an energy boost?  The folks at Songza will give you s a steady diet of music that will get your heart pumping and your head bobbing.

Need to study?  There’s music for that.

Need to relax?  They’ll pick it out for you.

So, enjoy.  And, you can thank me later!

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2 Sides of a Round Ball: Gay Marriage

On Wednesday, President Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States, publicly declared in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts his stance on same-sex marriage.  He stated:

“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally…at a certain point, I just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

This comes on the heels of Vice-President Joe Biden’s public statement that he supports same-sex marriage.  On NBC’s Meet the Press, Biden stated:

“I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”

On One Side of the Ball

Obama is the sitting President of the United States of America.  He’s a politician.  And, he’s free to have an opinion.  However, he must also accept the responsibility that, as President, he can and will promote and influence public opinion, appoint judges, and direct civil policy.  Politically, he has the responsibility to avoid such a public statement in this matter.

Obama made a grave mistake in publicly stating his opinion regarding same-sex marriage.  He’s politicizing this issue given to him – forced upon him – by his Vice-President, and, perhaps, the Democratic Party.  Just days ago, the White House Press Secretary emphasized that the President’s opinion on same-sex marriage – an “evolution” – is what it has been all along and that it hasn’t changed.

Now, the President has publicly stated that “to me, personally”, same-sex marriage should be allowed.  He’s trying to make a statement without offending, but, what he has done is equivalent to throwing a rock into a hornet’s nest.

On the Other Side of the Ball

Barack Obama is a Christian.  He testifies to that.  In a 2010 interview with ABC News, the President stated:

“I’m a Christian by choice…I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead — being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.  And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.  But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.”

As Christians, we make a stand and say that same-sex marriage is not compatible with the teachings of Christianity.  No where in the Bible, or the “precepts of Jesus”, as Obama says, will we find anything that would allow us to say that “to me, personally,” same-sex marriage is allowed.

Wayne Grudem, in his book Politics According to the Biblesays the Bible “contains clear and explicit teachings about marriage.”  He expounds on three statements:

1.     God created marriage at the beginning of the human race as a life-long union between one man and one woman.  Adam and Eve’s marriage was the pattern for all marriages to follow on the earth.

2.     God’s definition of marriage was not for the Jewish people only, but was intended to apply to all people in all societies for all time.    Grudem says, “That is why Jesus says that these truths about marriage come ‘from the beginning’ (Matthew 19:4) and they belong to the essence of God’s creating us as ‘male and female’.”

3.     Marriage between a man and a woman is the most fundamental institution in any society.  Grudem states, “The establishment of marriage in Genesis 1-2 comes before the establishment of any other institution in human society.  It comes immediately after the creation of man and woman.”

Same-sex marriage is wrong.  As Christians, we are called to stand with God and His Word.  If President Obama is going to make a public statement, then, as a Christian, he can do nothing other than state that marriage, according to God’s Word, is an institution reserved for one man and one woman.  To state otherwise is denying your faith.

A person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted doctrine of the Church is defined as a heretic.

In my opinion, that’s exactly what our President has done.

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The iPad 3 & Worship

A few weeks ago, I got an iPad3.

I’m not an Apple person.  My first computer was a Mac 512K.  Yes, a 512K.  My parents bought it for me to use while studying in the doctoral program at seminary.  It was impressive.

Since then, I’ve been a PC’er.  Not for any particular reason.  That’s just the way it worked out.  Besides, the Apple logo represents the first sin, doesn’t it?  You know, when Eve took a bite of the apple.  I wanted to be religiously correct.  (Even though Dell rhymes with…you know…hell)

In the last few weeks, though, I’ve had to work hard to sync my iPad3, my iPhone 4s, and my iTouch.  I’m…well…more Appl-ey, I guess.  I still dress like the PC guy in the commercial, though.

After a couple of weeks with my iPad3, I will say that I’m ecstatic about this piece of electronic wonderment.

Leading Rehearsals & Worship

The iPad3 has now become my music folder.  Every piece of music that I’m using now, from lead charts to guitar charts to trumpet parts, is on my iPad.  It’s just a swipe and touch away.

The app I use for this is called forScore.  There are many music reader apps out there.  forScore is the one I chose based on reviews of users and the specs listed.  It does a lot, and I’m not even sure I’ve touched the surface.

Once I open my app, I download charts – all in PDF format – into forScore from the Dropbox on my PC.  Once in, I can create files and setlists to keep all my charts organized for each rehearsal.  And, once rehearsal starts, I open forScore, go to my rehearsal file, and touch on the chart file.  And, there it is.  A touch in the lower right hand corner turns my page quickly.

Here are a few other things about For Score I’ve discovered and use:

Metronome:  tap the icon at the top and a metronome drops down.  I set the beats per minute and touch audible, which gives audible clicks, or visual, which makes the outline of the chart pulse in the tempo I’ve selected (reminds me of a headache I had one time).

Setlists:  helps me organize my charts for worship choir rehearsal or the Sunday meeting, including Scripture.

Links: these are identifiers that are placed on the page if I want to skip multiple pages in a score.   There’s also a way to set the pages of the chart so that you don’t page back…only forward.  You can also rearrange pages in your chart to accomplish the same thing.

Bells & Whistles:  there’s a piano keyboard that you can pop up at the bottom of your chart, as well as a pitch pipe.

There are many, many other options available in forScore for those who will read music from this device.  I look forward to discovering these as I go.

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