Divorcing My Phone

Last week in my regular blog readings, I stumbled across an article titled ‘Notifications are of the Devil.‘ Citing a few different studies, the writer of the blog said that we are wired to constantly be interrupted. Anytime our phone goes off we almost instantaneously check it. And why is there a compulsive urge to check it? “Recent studies show that the same neurotransmitter that fuels many other chemical addictions also is released when you get a notification from a text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc.”

So what did I do in response to this? I turned off all notifications on my phone. I have found myself much more able to focus on the tasks at hand and much less prone to worry about what’s going on in the social networks. I have started to enjoy the things I’m doing much more because I’m not trying to double time on either of them. Overall, it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience in which I am incredibly grateful to be rid of that chain. How do you keep your phone in check?

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Dual Hard Drives in My Mac

With technology changing faster than I can keep up, there is one new piece of technology I recently installed in my computer to help clear up some space and give me a MUCH faster computer. I got a solid state drive.

For those of you who don’t really know how computers work, your hard drive is your most fragile piece of the computer, and generally the most prone to fail. The way standard hard drives work is by spinning and using magnets, but when you use a laptop you’re generally moving around which can bump parts of the hard drive and cause it to fail. Today, solid state drives get rid of those spinning parts and operate much faster than a regular hard drive. BUT those solid state drives are generally much more expensive than regular hard drives. So what is the answer for someone on a pastor’s budget? Dual hard drives! I found on lifehacker (a tech blog) an article about how to have 2 hard drives installed in a MacBook Pro and I thought I’d give it a shot and I am already blown away!

The basic premise of doing this is to put all your apps and operating system on the solid state disc and leave all your files that take up much more space on the regular drive so you get speed of the solid state drive without sacrificing the space of a regular drive. You do lose the use of your CD drive in the process, but for the 2 times a month I use it I thought it was worth it. My programs are opening faster, my computer starts faster and I cleared up almost 50 GB of space on my hard drive. I would strongly recommend this for anyone who uses their computer for more than word processing.

You can order the CD drive replacement here, and I would recommend getting the bay for the optical drive, which lets you plug your CD drive into a USB plug and still use it. The solid state drive I bought was a Samsung drive that I found on NewEgg for $80. Let me know if you have any questions about this!

Saying ‘NO’ to Facebook

Many things have changed in my life over the past month, one of them being that I have given up facebook. I thought this would be a very difficult change for me to achieve, but it’s actually been a lot easier than I expected. So here are some things I’ve seen improve in my life through not having facebook.

First, I’ve become a lot more intentional at keeping up with my real friends. I had something like 900 “friends” on facebook, of those 900 friends, I actually regularly stay in touch with about 40 of them (including family and people who live very close to me). Not having facebook has forced me to get better at maintaining the relationships with those that I truly care about, and I am so grateful for things like texting that allow me to stay in touch with them very quickly.

Secondly, I’ve found myself getting a lot more creative. I’ve had to come up with new things to do to replace the down time I had where I would just sit and check facebook. It’s been very refreshing to not always wonder what’s being said, or who mentioned me in a comment or who has the newest pictures up. Tied in to this, I’ve been reading quite a bit more. There are so many resources out there that I’ve been trying to delve into that I have finally found the time to do.

Third, and most importantly in my mind, I find myself being much more present when I spend time with people. I don’t have facebook to fall back on if things get boring or there is a lull in the conversation, I need to force myself to be all there and focus on the person I’m spending time with.

So for you: do you find facebook taking over your life? How have you found ways that you can maintain real significant relationships with people apart from facebook? Do you think giving up facebook is a good thing to do?

The Consequences of a Liberal Lifestyle

I found a very interesting story about how the culture is pushing a 10 year old to become a gamer as well as watch explicit videos on YouTube. You can read the article here. This is a very sad commentary on what is going on in the world today. This is something I experienced in going to public school in rural North Dakota, with people showing me pornographic pictures in 7th grade. Thankfully, gaming wasn’t as big of an issue, and the only online interaction we had was MSN Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger, and I even had to sneak onto those to use them!

My only concern with the article is Rod’s response. As he explains why this is the very reason he homeschools his kids, he goes on to say that parents are alone in this struggle:

Your kids’ school is not going to help you, and may not be able to even if it wanted to.

Your church, lacking an awareness of the seriousness of the cultural situation, and perhaps having lost confidence in its message, is probably not going to help you. Your community is probably not going to help you either, because people either choose not to see what’s happening, or understandably feel so powerless against technology and the deeper cultural forces it carries with it that they tell themselves it’s not as bad as all that.

It’s just you. What now?

I find this even more sad than a liberal culture negatively affecting children! Of course the culture is going to continue to push Christians away from what is good right and true, but does that mean families need to pull in even closer to their “bubble” to protect themselves without any concern for what is going on around them? NO! This is the very reason we have the church and community around us to lovingly support rebuke and encourage us in our growth in holiness. Yes, the church hasn’t always done a good job of reaching out to families and helping to protect them, I’m struggling with this at the church I serve in as well, but there are many good families who are together doing the best they can to help each other as they raise their children to, Lord willing, become godly men and women. If we don’t have the church to support us in this, who do we have? I’m incredibly grateful for families who took an interest in me as I was growing up. Even when I go back home today I’ll stop and visit those parents just to catch up. That is what the body should do as we live in a broken culture. Don’t withdraw, but engage and show how we interact with the world around us in a godly way.

Preaching From an iPad Part 2 – How To

One of my friends asked me to show him how to set up your sermon on an iPad so here is a guide for how to set up your sermon from Word to ultimately working in iBooks on your iPad.
The first thing you need to do is actually write your sermon! I use Microsoft Word for all my typing. I’ve tried using Pages and NeoOffice and just found Word to be the easiest and most versatile. Once you’re done and ready to send it to the iPad you need to save it so you’d click File -> Save As

1That will take you to this screen:

2

Name it whatever you want to name it, and make sure you save it to a place you can easily find. I always save it to my desktop. Then click in the Format box.

3Change the format to PDF, then click Save. Now is when it’s important to remember where you saved it! E-mail it to yourself as at attachment to the e-mail you can access on your iPad. I typically use this e-mail as a chance for some encouragement! Open the e-mail on your iPad and it should look like this:

4Click on the attachment to download the file, it will open in a new window like this:

5Once you have that open, click the arrow in the top right corner which will give you a list of available apps to open the file with.

6Click ‘Open in iBooks’ and it may take a little bit to load depending on the size of your sermon, but you’ll finally have your sermon on your iPad looking like this:

7One of the best things about this is you can also see what time it is and how quickly you need to wrap up your sermon! A couple thing to remember about this is typically people have their display set to go to sleep after a couple minutes. I shut mine off for this. I also turned the brightness up all the way and made sure there weren’t any lights behind me that put a bad glare on the screen. I found this very easy to use and preach from without having to shuffle through what would have been 18 pages. My iPad has a smart cover on it too which has magnets in it so when I placed it on the music stand to preach from the smart cover held it in place really well. Feel free to ask me any questions about putting your sermons on your iPad!

 

 

 

 

 

Preaching From an iPad

One of the things I really enjoy is technology. I love learning how to use new technological advances to make my life easier and find ways to do the things I am doing better. I love finding new recipes on Pinterest, following people on Twitter and staying in touch with friends on Facebook. This past week for the first time, I used my iPad to preach, and I loved it! I thought it was much easier than trying to shuffle through paper, and having my Bible app easily accessible was great! We also have almost our whole Sunday service automated so I can control the background music, the slides and the sound board now all through my iPad. We’ve been using a newer presentation program Proclaim for all our services and I’ve found it great to use!

So this past week I wrote out my manuscript and tried to stick to it very carefully as I was dealing with a weighty issue (worship through music). I had it all typed in Word and highlighted the main points I needed to remember, then exported it as a pdf and then preached from it using the iBooks app that apple makes. It was incredible easy. All I had to do was tap on the right side of the screen and the next screen would pop up. If you have an iPad, I highly recommend using it to preach. I even have all my music in it so I lead music for church on my iPad. It really amazes me how easy it is to use and have everything I need in one centralized location.

The Phone Stack

I found an awesome new game to play! Cell phones have invaded every part of our lives. It’s generally the first thing to look at in the morning, and the last thing you see before you go to bed at night. It even has taken over meal table conversations, as any lull in the conversation is invaded by a tweet, text, e-mail or call. The concept behind this game is pretty easy: everyone puts their phone in a stack in the middle of the table, and the first person to grab their phone has to pay for the meal. It’s intense, good accountability, and just funny to see people squirm. Do you think you could last entire meal without grabbing your phone?