Friday, December 7, 2012

Favorite Apps of 2012

Here are my favorites for iPhone and iPad this year with links to check them out for yourself.  Some are free and some cost so beware:).  If you have some favorites, leave a link in the comments.  I love to find new ways of accomplishing stuff.  And the more I can feed the tech addiction the better!  These are in no particular order other than the way they came from my head.

A marriage saver for me, I am able to track expenses and mileage better than ever.  And by better than ever, I mean, at all.  Seems like this one cost a few bucks but it is worth every penny.  I tried many free ones until I finally bit the bullet and bought this one.

Touch Banking
This one is particular to the financial institution we use, and your bank probably has an app by now.  This is free and it allows me to check the balance and transactions from all my accounts on the go.  I have caught more errors and managed my money better because of this simple, free app.

Keynote and Keynote Remote
Giving presentations has never been so easy and user friendly!  You can now integrate presentations from PowerPoint.  With Keynote you can set up the presentation on your laptop or iPad, and with Keynote Remote you can control it through WiFi connection.

For the students and writers this app scans the bar code on books and gives you an instant bibliography that you can email in three formats: APA, MLA, and Chicago.  I wish I had this when I was in seminary or college.  I'm so glad I have it now.  It makes preparing papers, grading papers, and keeping track of research so easy!

Most of you probably have this one already, but worth mentioning because you can have just the right music anywhere you go now.  The premium subscription is worth it in my opinion to get rid of the commercials, but I do listen to a lot of music.

I discovered this one while camping.  We started with the free version and quickly moved to the paid version.  My kids and I hold the phone or iPad up to the sky and it shows where constellations, satellites, and planets are located.  

This app is a bit expensive, but if you go geocaching by yourself or with others it is worth it. Treasure hunting is fun and the kids love discovering things.  It gets us outside and going to new places.

Jetpack Joyride
My gaming experience is limited to short games that help me turn my mind off for a while.  

Survival Run
Ditto from the last one.

Ditto again.

Ditto again...If you like naming that tune and don't mind me beating you, get this one:).  Again I got the free one to start, but then moved to the paid version.

I am always on the lookout for a good book and a great deal.  This app has saved me a lot of money this year, and it has cut down on the impulse buying in bookstores.  You can scan to compare pricing, create wish lists for later, or buy online from the app.  The one drawback is that you can't buy in the kindle store directly from the app.  That requires a quick move to your browser and the site.

If you are a mac user and want a great Bible software that offers scholarly resources, this is it.  The app is free, but the program and upgrades cost per module.  If you just want a bible on your phone use the YouVersion app.

I love to be able to check out what is showing on the big screen, and watch trailers from the same place.  I remember siting on the phone growing up waiting for the movie I wanted to see come across the recording only to miss the time.  Of course, I was on a phone with a cord attached to a wall too.  Now all the info I need is right at my fingertips.

I don't have to waste a trip out to check if a movie is available for rent now.  Just check the listings and locations available.  You can reserve the movie directly from the app and get the movie you want guaranteed.

And lastly, another movie app.  If you have a subscription to Netflix this allows you to watch movies from many devices.  This works on the go if you have a 4G connection from your device.

Don't forget to leave your tips and recommendations in the comments!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review: "God of the Mundane" It's a Christivus Miracle!

Many of you have seen the classic Seinfeld episode revealing George's colored heritage of Festivus.  It is the festival for the "rest of us" complete with the airing of grievances and feats of strength.  It was created not by the Seinfeld show but by a father of one of the writers who was fed up with the over commercialization of the holidays.  Our Super-Sized world certainly is enough to leave one disillusioned.  Even in our churches what is celebrated are the BIG visions, BIG Sundays, BIG acts of faith, but what about the rest of the mundane moments of life?  Is God at work in those too, or do we only experience God when the sea is split and I do something radical for God?

Matt Redmond, author of God of the Mundane, is turning our gaze away from the over sensationalized Christianity that is so prevalent in our American churches.  We are consumed with a drive to be radical, risk taking, dreamers who forget that God is at work redeeming every moment of every day.  Most of those moments are filled with driving to and from work, changing diapers, drinking refreshing beverages, and generally not "spiritual" giant activities.  So what do we do with ALL of those other moments which are the majority of our existence?  Is there a "Christivus" (Christianity for the rest of us)?  Redmond very personally and passionately proposes that the gospel and God Himself is at work in all of the moments of our lives not just the few, the proud, the giant moments of the faith. 

"We are redeemed from the slavery of thinking our mundane life is not enough."

There can be much guilt heaped on the life of a Christian with so many Super-Sized faith messages. We end up rolling in our obesity and missing the precious moments God has given us each and every day.  Redmond asks so many good questions contrasting the Super-Spiritual drive and the everyday moments,

"Really? Is this the normal Christian life? Is God sitting around waiting for each and every believer to do something monumental? Is this the warp and woof of the New Testament? Are the lifestyles of the Apostles the standard for the persons in the pew? Are the first-century believers the standard? 

Is this our God? 

In the economy of God, do only the times when we are doing something life-changing have any spiritual cache with Him? Does He look over the mundane work of the housewife only to see the missions trip she may go on? 

So, I wondered."

We all should wonder and question the call to BIG Christianity in comparison to the call of the gospel.  This message is so needed in our oversized church world.  There is a Christianity for the rest of us.  The gospel does transform every moment of our lives, and Redmond has proclaimed it here.  It is a Christivus miracle!