Today I preached the fifth installment of my sermon series focusing on the tenets of the Disciples of Christ. (Check out this page for more information)
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)
Apple made a big splash recently with the introduction of their newest iPhone: the iPhone 5C and 5S. Both come with the latest in mobile technology and computing but if the only thing you use it for is to make phone calls then you might have over paid for a basic cell phone.
There are hundreds of thousands of apps (short for applications) for smart phones and tablets across multiple platforms. These apps range from simple games to complex video games, from books to business software and complex data management and everything in between. It is hard to deny the fact that smart phones and tablets have taken their place in our society (for good or for ill).
Apple coined the phrase “there’s an app for that” when they began to promote their ever-expanding App Store. People and companies have made millions of dollars all through a platform that allows people to carry a mini computer in their pocket.
With school back in full swing across the country, this signals the return of the crowded calendar– practices, rehearsals, play dates, sleepovers, doctor’s appointments, projects, study groups, test, meet the teacher night, open houses and the list goes on and on. Being a dad myself I know the perils of trying to coordinate calendars or even know what is going on throughout the week, not to mention what many parents have to face with their own employment outside of the home.
I consider myself to be a pretty tech savvy dad. I began sift through the App Stores and across the internet to see if there any apps or programs that could help streamline my already busy schedule. If there really was an “app for that” then it would stand to reason that there are apps to help me get my life in order.
Many of the smart phones and tablets have basic standard apps already supplied by the manufacturer– calendar, reminders, email and voice memo software, but I have found that there are some features missing that could help make being a parent in the 21st century a bit more manageable.
Below are my Top Five Tech Tips for Parents. Please note that most of the apps/programs do work across iOS (the operating system for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) and Android (the operating system for many smart devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, Nexus 7 and the Droid by Motorola.)
DISCLAIMER: I am not being compensated in any way by the companies listed below; the opinions expressed here are my own.
Cozi is a great organization app. I like it for several reasons. First you are able to have one username and password for your entire family; one family, one login, one shared calendar. Each member of your family can have access to the shared calendar and add their own events so everyone can see. You also have the option to have an agenda emailed to you at the beginning of each week so you can see at a glance what your week is shaping up to be. Another feature that I really enjoy is the shopping list. We have all been there… you create a shopping list and you leave it at home. You try to remember but invariably you forget the almond milk or the pine nuts or some key ingredient to your wife’s favorite dish. Now with Cozi you can have it on your phone and check off the items as you go. Cozi has been for me a real life saver and best of all its FREE!
Cozi helps you keep track of everything from school schedules to sports activities, grocery lists, meals and chores — all in one place accessible by every member of the family and from any computer or mobile device.– http://www.cozi.com
I have a saying “if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen.” I have a lot of things in my calendar and Calendars5 (Formerly Calendars+) helps me to stay organized. Before having a smart phone I kept a Google Calendar. Over time this calendar has grown from my just my class schedule to play dates, doctors appointments, wife’s work schedule and more. Most smart phones have calendar apps but I like Calendars5 because it allows me to view my additional calendars in Google Cal that the built-in calendar app does not. It has a clean interface and has a very fast sync rate.
Calendars 5 seamlessly syncs with local iOS calendars, Reminders and even Google Calendar.
Now all your events and tasks are in a single application, which is always on hand.– http://readdle.com/products/calendars5/
In the 21st Century a high percentage of people access the internet. People shop, chat, read and learn from a variety of different places. Sometimes we want the internet to be something that works for us not the other way around… enter IFTTT.com; IFTTT stands for “If This Then That.” It’s a pretty simple process. You create a “recipe” for what you want to happen. There are 71 different “channels” (SMS, Weather, Google Drive, etc.) to use in the recipe. For example, every morning I get a text with the weather forecast of the day (see below). There are a lot of different ways to use this service. You can have it set up so if you post a picture to Instagram it will email that picture to somone (like Grandparents who generally don’t have Instagram).
The recipes can be useful or just silly. IFTTT allows you to customize the content you want and where you want that content to go.
Since about 1993 email has been a part of our modern world. Many people have multiple accounts– work, personal, just for fantasy sports, etc. Email is one of the primary ways people communicate today and that’s why it’s so important to have an application that helps you see you inbox in a better way and help you to get through your emails quickly and efficiently. I believe that Mailbox is that app. You are able to quickly read, delete, reorder and label emails all with the goal of reaching “inbox zero.”
We redesigned the inbox to make email light, fast, and mobile-friendly. Quickly swipe messages to your archive or trash. Scan an entire conversation at once with chat-like organization. Snooze emails until later with the tap of a button.– www.mailboxapp.com/about/
I like to read articles, blogs and news sites online. The problem is that sometimes there are times when I do not have enough time to read all of the content I want. So I end up emailing my myself links to articles; over time this became a hassle and I was glad when I found Pocket.
Pocket allows users to save articles, links, posts. videos or whatever to be read later. It integrates well with Twitter and social media and is accessible via your browser as well. Once you sign up you will have your content with you where ever you are.
Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device—phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch, during commutes or travel—even offline.–getpocket.com
I hope these help! If you were lucky enough to get a gold iPhone 5S then fill it with these apps!
If you have a suggestion for apps or sites that help you as a parent be sure to comment below!
You never know I might come out with Part 2!
Today I preached part four of a six part series about the Disciples of Christ focusing on the primary tenets and beliefs.
Disciples are called together around one essential of faith: belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Bible, the Holy Spirit study and prayer, and are expected to extend that freedom to others.– disciples.org
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)
Creation (photo by Rev. Evan Dolive)
One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite tv shows.
Have a great weekend!
On various social media platforms people are recalling where they were or how they found out about the events that took place on September 11, 2001.
It’s hard to imagine that in 2001 many things that we use everyday had not been invented yet– items like Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005),Twitter (2006), the iPhone (2007), even this blogging platform wasn’t released until 2003.
A lot has changed in the last 12 years some for good and others not so much.
As I reflect on this day that is etched into so many people’s minds I am instantly transported to the moment when I heard the grave news. The guy living across the hall from me in college stopped me on my way to chemistry and told me the news. I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Although 12 years have passed, for many that day is still as fresh at is was in 2001. The world has gotten a lot smaller and in some cases more harsh. What happened 12 years was a national tragedy, one that our nation has taken the time to remember each year. We recall the names of those who died, we have moments of silence to honor them and we grieve all over again.
In my ministry in health care I meet people who have recently lost a love one. At times they will say something “I know that I need to get over it.” I stop them and I tell them that its ok if they never “get over it” and in all actuality they will never “get over it.” The goal is not getting over a tragedy is goal is learning to deal with the pain, the hurt, the grief and the loss. Too often we think that we should sprint to the acceptance phase of the stages of grief; we as a society don’t do well with grief, for some reason we get uncomfortable.
May we remember those who died this day; those on the planes and those trying to rescue the people trapped in the Trade Centers- not just on the anniversary.
May we never forget.
This week’s guest post is from my good friend, Lily Gross. Lily has lived an fast paced life living in places from Madagascar, Colorado, Maine and now she is back in the great state of Texas… for now. I admire Lily for her eloquence and her insight when it comes to the world around us. I was excited to know that she wanted to contribute here.
If you want to write a post be sure to click here for more info!
I have fallen victim (well, in a voluntary kind of way) to our culture’s obsession with keeping up appearances: buying things to impress others with my wealth and taste, pursuing a career that is the envy of others, and maintaining a physique that shows my neighbors I have the money, time and self-discipline to stay thin. Relative to that last point, I have dieted and juice-fasted and put in long hours at the gym all in the name of vanity.
Historically my inspiration to work out and stay trim came from a feeling of subconscious insecurity: that I’m not skinny enough, not toned enough, don’t look perfect in a bikini. Pictures of svelte models and the mental image of good-looking men ready to judge my body: these are what kept me returning to the treadmill. In fact, a major reason I’ve had memberships at co-ed gyms was knowing I’d hold myself accountable to a good workout if cute guys were there to witness me huff and puff on the elliptical in my cute spandex ensemble.
With goals inspired by vanity, I set myself up for either disappointment and guilt or pride and self-idolization. If I failed to eat few enough calories and to run enough miles, my heart sank when I stepped on the scale, crushing my spirit. If I succeeded in losing weight and looked in the mirror and liked what I saw, my ego inflated and I gave myself all the credit for a job well done. Of course even the latter outcome is subject to defeat: just when I’d begin feeling accomplished and sexy, I’d find something else about my body to criticize. And God forbid a woman thinner/fitter than me crossed my path; then I’d be completely deflated and have to trudge back to the gym disheartened.
I could blame the media. The entertainment industry and advertisers have something to sell the American public: a feeling of dissatisfaction with what we already have. Don’t have a Lexus? You should. Got crow’s feet? Disgusting! Flabby? You’ll never have a love life. So we are fed the lies that we aren’t good enough and that we need to buy whatever’s being sold to solve the problem. But while the media should be scrutinized and in some cases boycotted for their destructive messages, they don’t own my wallet and they don’t own my mind. It’s up to me to buy or not buy a product; it’s up to me to succumb to feeling sub-par. In the sage words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Of course our BMI, the make/model of our car, and what degrees we hold mean nothing to God – which is ironic, given that those are things we most intensely pursue but it’s His approval and love we as Christians should be seeking first and foremost. He cares more about how we’re working out our hearts, figuratively. What am I doing to positively affect the lives of those around me? How am I bringing glory to Him? Am I more concerned with storing up my treasures in heaven or here on earth?
So if I’ve given up on maintaining my physique for the sake of show, what then is my motivation? Healthy eating and exercise are in and of themselves certainly nothing sinful. God gave us these temples with the charge of taking care of them, so that they can do His good work and live a long and prosperous life. That entails selecting the right kinds of food – both spiritual and tangible – to most effectively engage our bodies in godly activities.
I’ve always found science and Christianity compatible, and in that vein I’ve always seen God as the ultimate scientist. He’s the creator of atoms and cells and cardiovascular systems and nutrition. He designed us to run optimally when fit. Regular, sustained physical activity elevates endorphin levels, promotes better sleep, increases blood flow to the brain, and staves off infection. If we apply the biblical metaphor to ourselves as being soldiers in God’s army, imagine how ineffective we are when we’re malnourished, tired, and sick. Before we go into battle, we need to invest in our wellness, physiologically and otherwise, so we are ready to serve Him in every way possible.
I can’t promise that I won’t occasionally be tempted to lose weight because of an upcoming reunion or pool party, because, well, I’m a young woman susceptible to vanity in a world that abides by it. But I can promise that my efforts will truly be in vain if not for the right reasons and will leave me feeling hollow and unfulfilled. Train with me as I prepare myself for whatever God has in store, and together we can make up a strong, healthy corps of followers of Jesus.
It was a typical Sunday in South Texas for the Dolive crew. We got up, went to church, worshiped, sang and I preached. We got into our vehicle and made our way back home. We have done this cycle numerous times but this one ended with a twist. We were about 5 minutes down the road when my wife and I hear our daughter saying “hi” to someone. I noticed a truck trying to pull up next to us and waving frantically. My first thought was “did I leave something on top of the car?” or “is this a prank?”; it was neither. The people in the truck called out “you have a flat” and pointed to my front tire.
This group of people couldn’t have told me at a better time; we were near an exit for a gas station where I confirmed that I indeed had a flat time. I filled it with air and we made our way back home. We stopped a few miles down the road and checked the tire again… it was back to its deflated status. Luckily we were close to the next town where I thought there was a auto parts store or a tire shop or something where we could fix the tire. (In hindsight I should have just changed it but then again that’s hindsight.)
As we were exiting the interstate I heard the dreaded rumble… the rumble of an extremely flat tire. I turned into a gas station and I knew what was ahead of me, changing a tire…in a suit… in the heat of Texas. (By this point it was in the 90s with the Heat Index of about 100… see below).
I’ll admit I have never had the best of luck when changing tires. Sure I remember the 30 minute video that we all saw in Driver’s Ed but that was like 14 years ago. On other occasions when I have had to change a tire I could never loosen the lugs to actually change it.
So there I was lugging the tire out of the car, the wife and kids walking to the Dairy Queen next to the gas station and I am already beginning to sweat. As I am trying to place the jack under the car a gentleman comes up and inquires if I need help. Emphatically I answer yes.
We get to work on tire… breaking the lugs, jacking the car up, rolling the tire which was coming apart at the seams (literally) and replacing it. We didn’t say too much to each other. I don’t even know what his name was, what he did for a living or where he hailed from- all I knew was that he took time out of his day to help me. In a relatively short amount of time we had changed the tire and as quick as he had arrived, he was gone.
I packed up the old tire and jack and drove out of the gas station and headed for the DQ (that’s Texan speak for Dairy Queen). My lovely wife had ordered me a meal and I came in and sat down. I was dripping with sweat, I had road grime on my face (because I had wiped the sweat away from my dirty hands) and I was thankful for cold A/C.
After a few minutes in the restaurant it dawned on me what had taken place, in some weird way I had experienced a mini Emmaus moment. (The story in Luke when Christ was walking with two people on the road to Emmaus [a town outside of Jerusalem] after the crucifixion); they didn’t know it was Christ until he was gone.
Questions began to swirl in head: Had I been touched by grace in the face of a stranger? Did I not recognize the presence of Christ especially in the man who stopped to help? I felt bad for not recognizing what was happening in the moment. Maybe that’s the point of the Emmaus story to remind us that Christ’s presence and essence can be seen and felt in every aspect of life including changing a tire on a hot Sunday afternoon in South East Texas.
Have we missed those moments where God is hitting us over the head by using people to continue the work of God in the world? Has the church been so focused on bodies, babies and baptisms that we have failed to see the goodness of God outside the four walls of the church?
I talk to people nearly every day about the presence of God in the world. I speak of how God knows us, cares for us and is abiding with humanity in every time and place. But as with most things they are easier said than done, sometimes it takes something drastic to get our attention instead of trying to navigate this thing called life alone.
For one to actually contemplate the presence of God in the world is a bit overwhelming; God is present in every aspect of human life– from the trees, to the clouds, the faces of people we interact with each day are all created by the same hands of God.
My only hope is that it doesn’t take another flat tire for me to be aware of the presence of God in my life.