Tech. Tuesday– I See You

Good afternoon readers! Today is Tech. Tuesday! I have a thought-provoking post for you today.

Today I booked my wife and I’s flight to Seattle for our summer vacation. I haven’t been on a plane since shortly after 9/11. A lot of things have changed in airport security since then. I thought about those while booking our flight.

The thing I wanted to talk about today was full body scanners. Are they necessary? Here is an article I found originally here.

Twenty-five years ago if someone told you that by the year 2010 that in order to get on a plane you would have to walk through an air chamber that “sniffs” out bombs, they would have laughed at you. And rightfully so, the thought of a bomb sniffing machine can still sound outlandish, but they exist. Security devices to secure buildings, airports and even just small, temporary venues has exploded in the last decade with 9/11 pushing people to find better, easier and more accurate ways of detecting threats.

The latest in the series of science fiction turned fact machines are full body scanners. These scanners, instead of just beeping the presence of metal, actual scan and produce an image of where any item (metal or not) is and the form that it is in. They do this either by minute radio waves that only penetrate clothing but can bounce off of other items or by taking X-rays of the subject within twenty seconds of each other and making a full body image that shows foreign objects.

Potential problems with full body scans range from health concerns (there are none) all the way to invasion of privacy. More alarming of the debates, is that with the radio wave type scanner it is possible to discern a great amount of detail about the subject inside the scanner. It is thought by many that the detail, even with the software that blurs the faces subjects, will eventually lead to many lawsuits if it becomes necessary for all people to pass through these as it may at a few airports very soon. Fortunately, for now at least, you have the option of traditional security screening over the full body scanners, offering a private way to pass through.

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Another thing I was thinking about when booking the flight was that, God really doesn’t need an x-ray machine or a full body scanner to be able to see what is going on inside of us. Every moment of everyday, He knows what is going on. He knows us inside and out.

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So what are your thoughts readers?

Are the an invasion of privacy? Will they do more harm than good?

If God were to take you aside and look inside you, what would He find? What’s going on inside of you? Is it something great, or does it need repair?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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Tech. Tuesday — The Bible and the Iphone

Good afternoon readers! Sorry about the late post, but it is Tech. Tuesday! Today we are going to look at the Bible and the Iphone. Ever since the Iphone came out, it has been considered the best  “smartphone” technology, and continues to be the best according to consumers. Several thousand applications have been developed to be used on the phone and itouch devices.

One of the most important applications I have on my phone is the Bible. Several different applications have been made for the Bible, but I use the application created by the folks over at YouVersion.com.

It gives you the capability to view many translations, see what others think about a verse, read a Bible plan, etc.; all from your phone screen. How cool is that?

So readers, do you think that the Bible applications are a necessity for a “smartphone” user? If you do, what application do you have? If not, why not?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

* I and this blog do not get paid to share this with you.

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Tech. Tuesday! Social Networking for Christians

Hello again readers. Today is a beautiful day! It is Tech. Tuesday, and we will be looking a Social Networking for Christians.

Facebook, by far is considered one of the biggest social networking websites out there. It boasts the following statistics on its’ site.

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 60 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans

Myspace is another social networking website as well that boasts similar numbers.

Now you may have seen the controversy surrounding both these websites. They include stories such as missing teenagers, sexual predators, etc. So how do we keep kids safe?

  1. Privacy Controls are the biggest thing
  2. Monitor Their Activity
  3. I suggest Christian alternatives

Below are a view ideas of Christian alternatives. Now I know they aren’t as popular as the above mentioned, but they are cool.

Tangle is an awesome Christian website. It combines the ideas of Youtube, Facebook and Myspace. It also gives a little more than that. He is some information I found on their site.

The vision of tangle is to be a place where members can come together to connect, share, and grow together in faith and life. How can users do this? tangle users can connect with each other by creating and joining group pages for their churches, bands, ministries and shared interests. tangle users can share their lives, thoughts, and passions through videos, photos, and blogs. Finally, tangle users can use the website’s unique tools such as the Online Bible and the Prayer Wall to grow in faith in Christ while being in fellowship with Christians from all over the world.

Shoutlife is another great Christian oriented alternative to Facebook or Myspace. Here is some information I found on their site.

ShoutLife.com is a free community / social networking website that offers customized profiles with unlimited photos, networks, events, private/instant messaging, blogging and more. We are unique in that our community is safe and clean, yet is still feature rich. We focus on creating and promoting a fun and positive environment. At ShoutLife.com, you can connect with your friends and meet new people as well as amazing music artists, authors, comedians, organizations and more.

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So readers, what are your thoughts? Are these websites a good idea?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

* I and this blog do not get paid to share this with you.

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Tech. Tuesday — Guitar Praise

Good morning readers! It is Tech. Tuesday! The other day, I got a xbox 360 elite from my wife as a college graduation present. It came with two games and I purchased NCAA College Football 2010. This last weekend I was thinking about video games and the old original Nintendo and the games I played as a kid. I remember Super Mario Bros. , Duck Hunt, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donkey Kong, etc.. Those were really fun. I also remember one game that my friend had. It was a Christian game called BibleMan. We played it on a PC, but I used to think that was so odd.

Well I was in a Christian bookstore recently and saw another Christian video game. This time it was for both PC and Mac. With the popularity of the Guitar Hero games and Rock  Band, I think this was a good move. It is called Guitar Praise.

It features 50 songs from Christian rock artists like tobyMac, dcTalk, Hawk Nelson, and more! I only wish it could run on my new xbox. For more information about Guitar Praise, click here .

What do you think readers? Are Christian video games worth buying/playing?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

*In no way am I or this blog paid to share this with you.

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Tech. Tuesday– Churches and Technology

Good morning everyone. Today is Tech. Tuesday! Today I wanted to share with you an article I found relating to technology and today’s church. I live in Oklahoma City, and each week, a new issue of a free newspaper comes out called The Gazette. They write articles on different things, and I thought this was interesting. Enjoy!

Metro churches turn to technology to spread the good word

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

By Malena Lott

According to the New Testament, Jesus’ jour­neys were mostly relegated to modern-day Israel and the West Bank. His message and ministry, primarily by word of mouth. His mode of travel, primarily by foot. Yet despite his limited geographic reach, his message went viral, bringing in crowds from near and far to hear him speak.

Today, “going viral” has a new meaning: utilizing technology, and specifically social media, to spread messages, where just a decade before, we relied on print communication outside of the pulpit. With one click of the mouse, a message can be sent around the world. It begs the question: If Jesus were alive today, would he Twitter? Have a Facebook profile? Flickr account? Post proof of his miracles on YouTube?

Like no other time in history, it is possible to be “everywhere at once,” even if you’re not an omniscient being. In the fast-evolving world of technology, does “church” as a physical place of worship matter as much as its mission? How is spreading the word of the Gospel changing?

“If Jesus were alive, I don’t think he’d have to use social media,” said Tony Steward, online community pastor at LifeChurch.tv. “His followers all have mobile phones. They’d be spreading his message for him. He loved to be around people, from prostitutes to tax col­lectors. He’d still go where the people go.”

Striking a balance

Jeff Wilson, the pastor of innovation and communication at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, thinks Jesus would encourage his fol­lowers to use every option available to spread the good news, as he com­manded in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptiz­ing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you.”

Wilson manages the Twitter account @HendersonHills, which currently has nearly 200 followers, but doesn’t follow anyone back. That means he uses the microblogging service to push con­tent instead of building relationships. Some pastors are more active, like Scott Williams (@ScottWilliams), a campus pastor at LifeChurch.tv on Northwest Expressway, who has 31,783 followers and follows 23,170 and counting. For example, on Dec. 1, Williams posted, “Just finished talkin w/ a guy having some marriage problems. I digg provid­ing tools & steps: God, Communication, Comittment, Date Nights…”

Even older churches are beginning to use high-tech tools, including Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday. Its communications pastor, Bob Miller, said the challenge is to strike a balance.

“We have many in our fellowship who are not tech-savvy and don’t have Internet access. There are many who think e-mail is old-fashioned and only communicate on Twitter and Facebook. The goal is to communicate in a way so that each person has an opportunity to know, act or respond, which requires mul­tiple avenues of communication,” he said.

The role of managing the church communications continues to grow, including adding volunteers and even an IT staff to keep up. Area churches use services such as YouTube and iTunes for podcasts, Flickr for sharing photos, and Twitter and Facebook for promot­ing its events and building community. If you’d like to hear more from the pas­tor than his pulpit message on Sunday, well, there’s a blog for that, too. For one, Henderson Hills pastor Dennis Newkirk’s blog, “From Dennis,” gets a link from the home page of the church’s Web site at http://www.hhbc.com.

Online Church

While the usage of social media appears to be promoting the church more than the message of Christ, Steward believes that’s a natural step in the progression of adapting tech­nology, including providing “online church,” something he described as a part of LifeChurch.tv’s DNA, making it perhaps the most high-tech church in the metro area. Founded in 1996, LifeChurch.tv began using video teaching in 2001 and offers free wor­ship resources to networked churches around the world; it recently surpassed 1 million downloads of such material.

People can not only watch LifeChurch.tv’s online services from anywhere around the world, but are able to interact with a volunteer team led by an “experience host,” get questions answered and have people pray for them.

Online isn’t just relegated to the computer anymore, either. Steward sees mobile applications as the next “big thing” in technology, and LifeChurch. tv even encourages its members to  follow along with the pastor’s weekly talk on their Web-enabled phones, to access the Bible via YouVersion. com, take notes and even e-mail the talk to others, all during the service.

Henderson Hills will follow in LifeChurch.tv’s digital footsteps, adding live, interactive ministry to the online service experience, and Bethany Nazarene recently added sermons to its Web site at http://www.beth­anynaz.org, although they are neither live nor moderated.

Not a replacement

Does this new technology mean you can skip church altogether and just watch at home in your PJs or while sipping coffee at Starbucks? Not so fast.

“Scripture clearly says being a part of a fellowship is one of the direct commands of Jesus,” Wilson said, who believes watching the online service is a convenience for those traveling or homebound, but not a replacement for church in person.

Steward adds that online church is “not even competition, because most of those watching aren’t a part of a local church to begin with. We see it as another part of our ministry. It allows us to con­nect with more people and more places. One of the growth things is we stop tell­ing them how to connect with us, but instead value and honor them at their point of need.”

The pastors all agreed the Web site is the first stop for spiritual seekers to learn more about the church and even watch a few services before they visit in person. Tracking Web usage provides churches with helpful research to guide its mission, too.

In 30 days’ time, Bethany Nazarene’s site had 7,157 visits with 41,791 page views.

“This is up 5.75 percent over the previous month,” Miller said, noting that the online sermons and study guides were among the most popular pages. He said the church’s Facebook page, with 494 members, represents about 22 per­cent of its Sunday attendance.

LifeChurch.tv has online tracking down to a science, devoting a part of its site specifically to digital missions that explain the initiatives and providing a link to donate. The Web site states: “At LifeChurch.tv, God has led us to leverage every technology tool within our grasp to spread his truth and love across the planet. And he is working through these efforts more powerfully than we even dreamed possible. For just 7¢ a person, we reached 1,008,567 people in July 09.”

One of the things Miller loves see­ing churches do is use technology for instant feedback.

“We recently asked people to text us their prayer requests during a prayer time. And immediately they were read and were prayed for,” he said.

Face-to-face or Facebook?

While you may not be asked for text prayer requests during mass at liturgical churches such as the Catholic Church, Roxy Kostuck, a 32-year-old member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mustang, said her technology require­ments are that the Web site be up-to-date with the latest information and events going on in the church.

“E-mail newsletters would be a nice supplement to the printed church bulletin and would help reduce paper waste, too,” Kostuck said. Although it’s not through her own parish’s Web site, she enjoys looking up Scripture online and sharing biblical quotes with her friends via e-mail and Facebook.

Dr. Jami Lewis, a member of First Unitarian Church in Midtown, said she no longer even notices the bulletins on corkboards at church, and rarely reads the printed newsletter mailed to her home.

“As parents, we rely on e-mail so much to stay informed,” Lewis said. “A lot of us are on Facebook, so we have started a few chats before, but it didn’t really go far. We do have a care and concern group on Facebook where we get updates, but not very often.”

While technology may be seen only as an “aid” in the church’s mission, it has already rapidly changed the way we live and work in just the last few years. The future of Christianity — or any reli­gion, really — likely won’t be driven by church elders or pastors of innovation at all, but by the youngest of the flock who may Google God and come up with a radically new way of experiencing him that we haven’t thought of yet.

Generation Z, those born between the mid-1990s to today, will be the most highly connected generation in history, with a true lifelong use of computers and media technologies, giving the group the label of “Digital Natives.” No doubt they’ll take digital to a higher power.

Got Jesus? There’s an app for that.–Malena Lott

*Taken from here

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So, what are your thoughts? Should today’s church be involved with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media? Should sermons be uploaded to podcasts? Should churches run  a website?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

* In no way am I or this blog getting paid to share this article with you.

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New Blog Schedule

Hello readers! I hope everyone’s Monday went well. I hope your Valentine’s Day was great as well.

I wanted to let you know of the direction my blog is going to go for a little bit. Right now, my time is really limited, so I will be scheduling blog posts in advance.

The following is the schedule I plan to keep to right now.

Monday: Music Monday.. An album review, song review, or anything related to Christian music

Tuesday: Tech. Tuesday.. Something related to technology and today’s Christian.

Wednesday: News Wednesday… Something interesting posted in the news from the current day or previous week.

Thursday: Scripture Thursday.. Thoughts on a verse or sermon I have read or heard from the current day or previous week.

Friday: Feature Friday.. Featured blog or Christian website

Saturday: Movie Saturday.. Upcoming movies and my thoughts about them.

Sunday.. Day of rest..

Well readers, that is what I think I will be doing for a little bit. I hope you like the changes.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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