YouVersion Bible App

I love using the YouVersion Bible app (free) on my iPhone. In fact, LifeChurch.tv has a lot of free resources available. Here’s their new video promoting the Bible app:

Positive Facebook Story

I sometimes tend to rag on electronic media and our culture’s embrace of such advances as a positive development a priori. So, I thought I would pass along a story about how God has used Facebook in a cool way. This comes via email (shared with permission) from someone in our community, and the names have been changed:

Linda has a friend, Sharon, who goes to [a church in our community] and is due to give birth soon. Sharon has been uncomfortable and on facebook mentioned something of her situation. Instead of just posting “I’ll be praying”, Linda wrote out her prayer on her facebook wall. Sharon has several LDS friends. Her LDS friends commented how awesome it was that someone took the time and used facebook as a means to immediately pray.

These same LDS friends had a gathering of people after this and Sharon was there. The LDS friends said something about needing prayer and asked, “Will someone pray for me.” Nobody stepped up, but Sharon. Again these LDS friends thought it was amazing that people actually took time to pray right then and there for one another. Some time passed and this LDS friend was so taken back by this whole thing, that she inquired more about Sharon’s story. Sharon shared her faith in Christ.

Next, this LDS friend received her “calling” to the young women’s group. The friend asked her bishop if Sharon could come and share her testimony at their group. Yes, she told the bishop that Sharon was an evangelical Christian and attends [same church in our community]. The bishop still said yes. So, point of the story: from one little prayer written on facebook, doors were opened and now a sister in Christ will go share her testimony of her relationship with the true and living God in an LDS young women’s group.

Pretty cool story. God is good.

Thought of the Day

There’s nothing that can spoil a good cup of chai at a coffee house like a television.

NYT: Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price

This article in the NYT is one more reminder that technology changes the way we think.  Rather than simply accept all technology as morally neutral, I’d love to see youth workers do some real theological work on how students interact with technology.  As I read this article, I realized that already this morning, I’ve checked email on my iPhone (which sleeps next to me on my nightstand, by the way), read an article on George Steinbrenner, checked more than a handful of websites that I frequent for new posts, and now, entered a new post on this blog.  Scripture should lead us and inform us in how we interact with certain aspects of our culture, and technology is no different.

Mr. Nass says the Stanford studies are important because they show multitasking’s lingering effects: “The scary part for guys like Kord is, they can’t shut off their multitasking tendencies when they’re not multitasking.”

Melina Uncapher, a neurobiologist on the Stanford team, said she and other researchers were unsure whether the muddied multitaskers were simply prone to distraction and would have had trouble focusing in any era. But she added that the idea that information overload causes distraction was supported by more and more research.

A study at the University of California, Irvine, found that people interrupted by e-mail reported significantly increased stress compared with those left to focus. Stress hormones have been shown to reduce short-term memory, said Gary Small, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Hat Tip: Youthworker Journal

Comic of the Day

From Zits:

CNN.com: Jesus Christ cartoon in development at Comedy Central

Um…no comment. But I do sense a great video illustration on the deity of Christ coming.

Jesus Christ is regularly depicted as a supporting character on one of Comedy Central’s staple programs, “South Park,” but now he might star in his own animated series.

The network announced their programming plans for the upcoming year Thursday, and among some of the shows in the script development phase is a half-hour cartoon called “JC.”

The series would be about “JC (Jesus Christ) wanting to escape his father’s enormous shadow and to live life in NYC as a regular guy. A lot has changed in 2000 years and he is the ultimate fish out of water,” according to a press release. “Meanwhile his all-powerful yet apathetic father would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city. JC is a playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb.”

It’s important to note that script development is the very earliest stage a program can be in, said Comedy Central’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Albani in a statement to CNN.

In fact, this stage is so early, Comedy Central’s Albani “wanted to emphasize that projects at the script deal level are several levels away from being greenlit to series and appearing on air … most script deals do not even get a pilot order, the next step in the development process.”

The comments on the CNN.com post are quite interesting. We seem to act like Jesus is a taboo subject, but when the topic comes up, lots of people chime in. If we’re willing to have a little faith and boldness, there are plenty of opportunities to discuss Jesus with people. Hmm…I guess I did have a comment after all.

Animoto Slideshow Video

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Animoto.com, a service that turns photos and short video clips into great slideshow videos. Well, I tried it out and was really impressed. Here’s the video I created of our church’s 30 Hour Famine event a couple of weeks ago:

My only complaint is that for the regular $3 (or $30/year) videos, photos need to be under 5MB, and if you have a really slick camera with a high resolution (which our leader who took photos did), you’ll need to use an editing tool to lower the resolution. Didn’t change the final quality of the video, but it was kind of annoying. However, it is overall a really great service. One way I’ll be using it is to create a slideshow for students to see at the last session of a retreat. Just upload the photos and you’re on your way!

Online missionaries spread Gospel in cyberspace

Something to be on the lookout for:

For 2,000 years, Christian missionaries have traveled to foreign lands to spread the Gospel.

Today, there are thousands of missionaries preaching around the world without leaving home. Sometimes even while wearing pajamas.

Global Media Outreach, a branch of Campus Crusade for Christ, held a Webinar, or online seminar, this week to raise awareness and to motivate people to participate in online missions.

With tomorrow being designated Internet Evangelism Day (by the Internet Evangelism Coalition), Michelle Diedrich of GMO said she wants “to change the way we think” about the Internet.

“We are the first generation – ever – to hold in our hands the technology to give every person on earth multiple chances to accept Jesus Christ,” Ms. Diedrich, GMO’s communications director, said in the Wednesday seminar.

In addition, check out the Online Missions Trip site.

Hat Tip: Kendall Harmon

Dear Facebook Friend

The following is an excerpt from a fictional letter imagined by Brian Ford:

You keep telling me it’s not about religion and that’s it about a relationship. But…if it’s about a relationship why haven’t you invited me to your youth group or church? Why haven’t you told me about this Jesus you SAY you have a relationship with? And if connecting with what you call “non-believers” is SO important, than why am I just one of your 500+ Facebook friends that you never actually speak to or see in person? Doesn’t your Jesus tell you to love others? So how is sending me invites to something in the virtual realm showing me love and pointing me to the eternal realm you say you’re living for?

I think I will read this letter in our Sunday morning gathering sometime this month. It’s not just a good reminder for students, it’s a good reminder for all of us, whether or not we spend time on Facebook.