News keeps coming in daily of the spread and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools, churches and businesses across our nation are closed for at least the near future. But not all the news is bad. In our city of Lubbock many people, organizations and businesses are stepping forward and giving and serving our community with no strings attached. I like to think this is at least partly the result of the strong influence that Christianity still exerts in our city and region. Hopefully those reading this in other parts of our nation are seeing similar generosity; perhaps some are even part of Christian churches involved in such service. Continue Reading
Tech & Internet
A project at Sunset International Bible Institute that I have been involved with since its planning stages is the Sunset Digital Library app. At Sunset we have a large archive of older video and audio recordings of our instructors and ministers dating as far back as 1970. Some of the well-known names (now deceased) include Cline Paden, Gerald Paden, Ted Stewart, Truman Scott, Doyle Paden, Abe Lincoln, Richard Rogers, Norman Gipson and Richard Baggett. Others still with us include Ed Wharton, Truitt Adair, Ken Jones, Dan Rouse and many others. Continue Reading
I am a fervent believer in listening to podcasts. These free online video and audio series allow me to learn, grow and even be entertained by listening while driving. My favorite podcasts include those by good Bible teachers, on technology, and other topics I have a particular interest in. One I always listen to without fail comes out every Wednesday, entitled, “5 Minutes in Church History.” It can be found through the podcast apps on iPhone, iPad, Google Play store, etc. It can also be accessed through Dr. Nichols’ website, www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com. Continue Reading
For much of my early ministry I carried a small notebook around in my pocket to write down and keep random bits of information I might need later. This would include (before cellphones!) phone numbers, addresses, to do lists, shopping lists, and various thoughts about upcoming lessons I might be working on. While I still have a few of these pocket notebooks around, I no longer use them.
Instead I now use my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smart phone with the free Google Keep notes app on it. What a useful, versatile and handy app this is! Everything I enter in it immediately is available on the Google Keep app on my Apple iPad, in the Google Keep app in my laptop and desktop’s Chrome web browser, and even by going to the https://keep.google.com website and logging in using my Google Gmail account.
I use Keep mostly as a place to type in the various bits of info I want to keep, but it has many additional features I have not even tried. Read about some of the many things you can do with Google Keep at these websites: PCWorld, Lifewire, and PCMag.
There are numerous other apps available which do more or less the same thing as Google Keep – think Evernote, Apple Notes, etc. But I wholeheartedly recommend the free Keep app for its combination of ease of use, versatility, and almost universal accessibility on any device.
For some time now, preachers and teachers have joined the education and business communities in using visual presentations with their teaching. This usually means the use of either Microsoft PowerPoint (for both Windows and Mac OS) or Apple Keynote (Mac OS). And these are the two software packages I have used for years as well.
But recently I decided to be adventurous and try an online slide creation and presentation software available free from Google. I had tried Google Slides several years ago but found it too awkward, unintuitive and lacking in features to continue using. Many changes for the better have come to Slides since then. The cost of admission is simply a Gmail email account login, which is itself free. Continue Reading
The foundation for effective Bible study (in addition to the Scriptures) is a good library of resources, mostly in the form of books. As a result, most of us who preach or teach have invested heavily over the years in printed books – Bible translations, dictionaries, commentaries, atlases, word studies, original language reference works, etc. My own personal library is comprised of several thousand such books. And my library would be even larger except occasional moves and space constraints have forced me over the years to weed out and give away less-used books to keep the overall quantity down.
Being bi-vocational and working in technology along with teaching and preaching, I have longed for a way to digitally access my most needed resources. This dream first started being fulfilled with the introduction of Bible software packages. I believe I purchased my first such software around 1990, when the interface was still DOS based (black and white text only with no graphics) before the days of Microsoft Windows. And I still own and actively update and expand some 5 different major Bible software packages even today. Continue Reading
The Internet is a vast place filled with all manner of content. Unfortunately, we don’t always have time to read every article that we come across online that looks interesting or useful to our spiritual journeys. This is where an app and service like Pocket (www.getpocket.com) can help.
Pocket is a service that will save those blog posts and articles that you want to set aside for later viewing. It is incredibly simple to use and is available on just about every phone, tablet and computer that can access the Internet. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t save something to my “Pocket” to read later. Whether it is an article that someone sends to me via email, something that I encounter on social media or while doing research on any number of subjects, Pocket can save it for me. Continue Reading
One of the most touted major Bible software programs is Logos by Faithlife. I have owned and used Logos since V.2 in about 2003 (called Libronix back then). The Windows and Mac versions are now up to V.8. In addition, iPhone, iPad and Android phone and tablet versions are also available. I have spent thousands of dollars expanding my Logos library and dutifully upgrading as new versions have been released. The good news is that once I purchase Logos once, I can run it on the various platforms without spending more money except to upgrade versions as they come along. I don’t need to sing the praises of the Logos software; many others do that already.
However, I scarcely ever use my Logos main program – even though I regularly pay to keep it up to date and purchase occasional additional resources to expand my library. Why don’t I use it more? Because it is so complicated to use! Now, for someone who invests a considerable amount of time to learn its intricacies, then uses it almost daily and exclusively, its complexity ceases to be an issue I suppose. But that is not me. Now this post is not intended to primarily criticize the usability of Logos, but to point out why I like it and how I use it despite this major (to me) hindrance. Continue Reading
The Internet is everywhere in our lives these days. Whether it be at home, school, restaurants, bookstores or even in our churches, people have come to rely on having fast, stable access to the Internet. Recently, I began looking for a way to extend my high-speed internet connection at home out to the far edges of my home. Like many, our internet connection is brought into our home at one corner of the house and the speed and stability of the connection degrades the further away you get from the Wi-Fi router.Continue Reading
This is the first of what will be an ongoing series of podcast reviews. These reviews will focus on podcasts that we have discovered that offer something that we believe our readers will find useful, enriching, or at the very least, entertaining.
Podcasts, for those who are not aware, are essentially audio shows that can be listened to “on-demand” via most phones, tablets and computers. There are a vast number of different podcasts available covering just about any topic that can be imagined. The show that I would like to introduce you to today is called Three Chords and the Truth: The Apologetics Podcast.Continue Reading