Monday, June 18, 2012

MVP apps


I love it when I am introduced to a new app that is functional, especially ones that I can use often. So, I thought I'd share my most valuable apps. I'm probably way behind therefore I'd love to know what your most valuable apps are and be introduced to some new ones that could add value to my life.

Evernote 
My word processing app for writing, taking notes and organizing. I can sync it to my iPhone, iPad and laptop.  It has so many features, which I'm just now learning how best to use.  Its uses are so extensive, and there is an e-book available about the many applications for Evernote.

You Version Bible
There are many Bible apps but the one I find most useful is the You Version. It has multi translations available on and off line, with the choice of parallel versions on your screen.  There are also options for taking notes, audio and commentaries. For more Bible study, I use the BibleStudytools.com app. 

Pandora
The best music app I recently discovered when I bought a home speaker and iPhone charger combo.  I never used it much away from home.  So now while I charge my phone, I use Pandora to access and play the music of my choice. Whatever mood I want to create, I just type in the artist, song or style of music and I enjoy the songs I choose or ones similar as long as I need.  It's great for creating the atmosphere for writing or praying. 

Flipboard
A great app for reading magazines, newspapers, blogs and Facebook. Better on my iPad than iPhone but the iPhone app makes reading web based material easier.  Other similar apps include Zite and Pulse news. 

Words With Friends
I don't play video or many other games, but I love this Scrabble alternative. I keep in touch with a lot of friends and actually communicate thru this word game. Challenge me to a game. 

Camera Plus
Someone recommended this camera app and I love to use it to take pictures. You can edit your photos quickly and powerfully after taking them.  I found that you often don't need to use a flash when taking the picture but have the option of adding the flash after the picture is taken. People often comment about my photos, how colorful and clear they are. All because of Camera+.

Web Albums
I use this for storing, organizing and accessing my photos. This syncs with my Picasa website where I store all my photos on line.  So I can sort them and view them on all my devices.

Find iPhone 
This is the least used but perhaps most valuable app.  I've had to use it three times.  Not long after I'd gotten the app, I dropped my iPhone at night when getting out of the car.  I didn't realize I had lost it until I went to dinner that night.  I had my iPad and used my find iPhone app which led me back to the parking lot.  There it was lying on the parking lot next to where I'd parked!  

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Art of Kingdom Building


Barbara and I had the great fortune recently of traveling for two weeks through Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany, visiting some very old and beautiful towns and cities.  One of the highlights was touring several royal residences from the 17th and 18th centuries.  

One of the things that struck me as we walked through these incredible palaces was how much time, effort, money and lives these rulers spent building themselves up and creating this supreme image.  It seems their ascention was only limited by their ability to create the illusion of greatness.  Most everything about these palaces from the lavish gardens to the extravagant, grandiose entry halls and waiting rooms, was to show the guest king just how important and powerful the ruler was.  Their incredible castles were the ultimate symbol of their image and as we traveled from country to country I got the feeling there was tremendous competition to keep up with the neighboring emperor.

As I returned to San Antonio, I began to ask myself if there was a bit of image building in my life also.  I certaninly don't place much importance in money and power.  But I asked myself, am I trying to build God's kingdom or my own?  Is there some inner desire to shape an image that comes from my flesh and not from an identity based on God's imprint?  Have I bought into the world's idea that I can create my own image apart from God?  It's a good practice to give yourself a good motivation check every so often.

In this world that demands that we reshape our image out of a need for affirmation, love and acceptance, pastors can easily fall into the trap of building kingdoms to their own selves and calling them monuments to God.  I knew a pastor that actually made it known that his goal was to have a larger church than the biggest church in town! He made no bones about what motivated him.  Yet there are probably hundreds of pastors who would never admit it, but are driven by similar demons of pride and the need to be significant.   
Have you examined your motivation lately?  Am I building God's kingdom or my own?  What in my ministry is of the flesh and what is of God?  Is there a way to tell the difference?  What is the biggest trap that church planters fall prey to?  

How to choose the right path

“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and ...