Christian Tech

How Steve Jobs Accidentally Changed the Persecuted Church appeared at Don’t Eat the Fruit .com back in April.  I read the article, copied the link, and then filed it away.  Read the full article here.

In a nutshell, Jobs never set out to change the way the Gospel is spread.  In Steve Jobs own words the iPod “changed everything.”  The biggest change was storage space; we now measure mp3 capacity in gigabytes.  How does that affect the church?  Countries that stop Bibles at the border usually don’t care about mp3 players.  People groups that do not even have a written language can listen to the Word, and recharge the device with solar power anywhere on earth.

Next the iPhone set the standard for video formatting.  You can record video in mp4 and be pretty sure any device can render it.  Now it’s the iPad.  With the widespread acceptance of ePub (also used by Nook) instead of just a digital Bible a user can basically carry an entire seminary worth of information.

Steve Jobs never set out to enable the Christian church.  I’m not saying Christians around the world use Apple technology to spread the Gospel.  Jobs drove the state of the art forward, and created industry standards that the church can use to everyone’s advantage.

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Jesus Junk

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I posted Cross of Christ, a light-hearted little rant about the image at left.  That’s an mp3 player in the shape of a cross.  I asked if this was just another piece of Jesus Junk, a commercialized piece of whatever that nobody actually needs but retailers imagine Christians will buy.  I buy Christian CD’s and t-shirts, and there are some other items that are pretty legit.  I shop Christian bookstores mostly for books but have bought “other” things there as well.  But some people buy Christianized versions of products they already own.  Or ridiculous things that they would never have bought if it wasn’t shaped like a cross, or wrapped in tiny scriptures, or embossed with an image of Jesus.

The Jesus Christ Show has an extensive collection of Jesus Junk.  I’m sorry if 1) that expression offends you, and 2) you bought/own any of the items pictured.  I mean no disrespect to Jesus using that term, and imagine he has facepalmed himself a time a two over some of the things people market Christians just to make a buck.  Browse the pics, have a laugh, and remember: none of us conform to his image perfectly.  I fail every single day and he loves me in spite of myself.

Our Call to Discipleship

studyingAt the end of Matthew’s Gospel (28:16-20) Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission.  In Mark’s account (16:15), Jesus commands the disciples to “preach the gospel to all creation.”  This was the first verse I ever memorized as a child.  In the King James it reads “to every creature.”  The wording in Matthew is a little different.  We’re not just to preach the gospel, we are to make disciples.  What’s the difference?  Continue reading

Tips for Creating MP3’s

faith-by-hearingI have to thank Challies Dot Com for sharing this link, so that I can share it with my audience.

Faith By Hearing is the first 4 column blog I’ve ever seen.  Digital Etiquette for MP3 Creators gives some tips on how to do a better job of turning sermons and lectures in MP3’s that are both easy to find and of a manageable size.  I appreciate the advice, and perhaps many of us would do well to heed it.

Faith By Hearing has an extensive catalog of sermons and teachings by many well known speakers, some of whom may surprise you.  Their site will be added under the Useful Resources links, and I highly recommend spending some quality time there.

Ever feel like you’re alone?

Elijah is one of the better known prophets of the Old Testament.  Just after defeating the prophets of Baal, however, Elijah does something very strange considering his victory.  He hides out in a cave and simply asks God to kill him.  1 Kings chapter 19 is the very well known passage where there is a wind, but God was not in the wind; there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake.  Finally he hears the voice of God in a small still voice.  I’m sure you’ve at least heard of this story.  But twice in this passage Elijah expresses his concern that he is the only true believer left in the world.  God basically tells him to get over his pity party, and informs him that there are 7,000 still in Israel that never bowed the knee to Baal.  The lesson for us is that we are often not as alone as we think.

In Genesis chapter 14, Abram is the only man of faith we know about.  After the flood, the population of the world grew, and very quickly forgot about God.  As far as we know, Abram is the only person God is talking to period.  Then he meets Melchizadek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High (El Elyon in Hebrew).  Melchizadek blesses Abram, and Abram gives the priest a tenth of all he has.  What’s weird about all this is the tribe of Levi, from which the Levitical priests are anointed, will not exist for hundreds of years yet.  Levi was Abraham’s great-grandson, but not yet, not in Genesis 14.  The New Testament book of Hebrews makes a big deal of this, and has a lot to say about the relationship between Abraham the patriarch and this priest not of the Levite order.  Simply put, Abram was not alone in his belief of the True and the Living God. 

At times, we are placed in tough places to grow.  Remember the sunflower story?  It can be discouraging, but recall the words of Jesus in Matthew 28: “I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”  Just before that he said all authority was given to him in heaven and on earth.  Not only are we not alone, who better could we ask be with us? 

Here is this sermon in mp3: abraham-and-melchizadek