Category Archives: Spiritual Formation

Accordance 2.0 for iOS

If you like to study the Bible and you have an iOS device (especially an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus) the new version of Accordance Bible for iOS is definitely worth checking out. Now optimized for the larger screen and full of useful new features… It’s free with a growing free tool set. If you invest in a library, it’s all there to use and enjoy on the go… The mobile feature set keeps growing. I’ve asked them for an updated interface for a while now, so I have to give them credit for going all out! Well done, Accordance!

The Wonder Cable and Why Change is Good…

This is the time of year we sometimes have to fix or replace things. The snow has finally melted, revealing the spoils of winter weather wars. Yesterday, I caught my neighbor up on his roof, finally able to take his Christmas lights down!  We’ve had to fix or replace several odd items from a clothes dryer to ravaged windshield wipers. The winter even claimed my daughter’s laptop, which had me thinking about the fast-moving world we live in. The link above is to an article about new ports on computers from last fall in a tech magazine. Who cares? Why now? Apple introduced a new computer with only one port. Everyone (including me) has been freaking out about the disappearing ports. The article above prophetically revealed in advance why it may have been a genius move after all. It turns out this one port can transfer super high-speed data, drive a mind-blowing 4k display, and charge the laptop all at one time. This illustrates a great point. People worry too much. These days once one person makes a negative public statement everyone else repeats it over and over. The story gains momentum. Gossip is the new news. Worry about change is the new normal. We miss out on enjoying opportunities.
Whether it’s relationships under stress or picking a new computer, life keeps moving forward. When we embrace change we are actually more free to slow down and consider what’s positive about what’s new. We can’t control the weather. But thankfully Spring eventually comes. I’m glad I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago or 10 years ago or 20 years ago. Some of the new stuff is good. It’s time to stop worrying about what might happen and get on with living in the present with a hopeful eye to the future. Hey, I could stand to lose a few ports anyway…

ESPN’s Schoenfield ranks Cubs preseason No. 13

Originally posted on Cubs Vine Line Blog:


(Photo by Stephen Green)

With the official beginning of Spring Training just weeks away, ESPN senior writer David Schoenfield has been unveiling his preseason MLB team rankings. On Wednesday, he named the Cubs No. 13 on his list, predicting the club would finish with an 84-78 record.

I‘m just the messenger: Just pointing out that [Jon] Lester had a 4.82 ERA in 2012 and 3.75 in 2013. Yes, big 2014, new league, no DH and more cutters instead of four-seamers and he could be even better. But you never know. He may not be as good as he was last year. And then there’s Jake Arrieta, former faded prospect turned rotation anchor. He looks like the real deal but … again … you never know. Hey, I’m trying. I like the Cubs! I have them ranked 13th!

The final word: If I had more guts I’d predict them to…

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If You’re Going to See “Left Behind” – Do Me a Favor. . .

Originally posted on A Grateful Discontentment:

The new Left Behind movie is out, and I have no intention of seeing it. My personal reasons are many, but the fact that it’s not my thing doesn’t mean I insist on others holding the same opinion. If you’re a fan of the book series, the previous movies, and you’ve been anxiously awaiting this newest rendition, that’s fine. We can still be friends. As a friend, though, I would ask that in your “end times” fervor you do me a favor. Several favors, actually.

Please don’t turn a particular view of eschatology into a matter of orthodoxy.

The specific understanding of last things expressed in the Left Behind series is deeply ingrained in the thought of many American Christians. So much so that even in churches like mine, which takes no particular stand on issues such as a pretribulational rapture, there are those for whom no other system of…

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2013 Apple TV revision gets its first exclusive feature: iOS 8’s Peer-to-Peer AirPlay


Finally! Now the Apple TV is truly a semi-portable presentation device. The newest model paired with a recent iPad can share presentations wirelessly, even without both devices being on the same network. This is great for several church, education and corporate situations.
1. A guest speaker doesn’t have to be given full access to protected networks.
2. If a network is down, a previously created presentation can still go on (as long as it doesn’t require internet access for content).
3. Complex corporate and university networks don’t have to be burdened with local presentations, preserving bandwidth for mission-critical services.

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:


When Apple released Apple TV software update 7.0 earlier this month, it came with support for new iOS 8 features including the new Peer-to-Peer AirPlay feature. First announced when Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay allows users on iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite release to stream content to an Apple TV without having to connect to the same wireless network. What we didn’t know at the time, however, is that the feature is limited to only the latest Apple TV hardware:

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Aubrey, Wall Lead Irish Past Orange


This is my nephew, Brandon, who plays soccer for Notre Dame. We’re very proud of his effort and attitude.

Originally posted on Notre Dame Soccer Blog:

Standout performances from its youngest and oldest starters paced No. 4 Notre Dame in its 1-0 win over No. 20 Syracuse on Saturday night.

Sophomore center back Brandon Aubrey headed in a Patrick Hodan free kick in the 74th minute for the game’s lone goal. It was the first collegiate tally for Aubrey, who was making just his sixth start in an Irish uniform. After appearing in just fourteen games last year as a forward, Aubrey used a strong spring to win a starting role on the back line. His performance has been admirable thus far despite having to adjust to a new position.

“He’s still really learning the position,” head coach Bobby Clark said. “He’s just getting better every game, and he’s done well.”

“He’s just a confident kid. He’s not an overconfident-type, doesn’t talk a lot, but he plays confidently.”

Aubrey’s strike was enough for Notre Dame…

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Wrigley at 100: The Full Cubs Experience

Yesterday was Wrigley Field’s 100th Birthday celebration. And it was quite a party. There was a lot to celebrate when surveying 100 years of history. Wrigley was built on the former home of a Seminary. It was originally the home of the Chicago Whales of the Federal League (a competitor to Major League Baseball back in the day.) To distinguish them from the Major League team nearby (The Cubs) they were usually called the Federals or Feds, which eventually became their nickname. Weeghman Park (team owner) was its original name. It cost $250,000 and was completed in 2 months, opening in April of 1914. Weeghman was shrewd. The beautiful setting and success of his team forced MLB to respond by letting him buy the Cubs in 1916 (struggling at the time.) Wrigley played a major role in shaping how MLB came of age, was in the center of several national political scandals that touched even the White House (Tea Pot Dome), and along the way became one of the best places on earth to spend time with friends. History haunts this sacred ground everywhere you look. The greatest living Cubs and Bears legends (yes they played here for 50 years, winning 8 NFL Championships!) were invited to honor this great park. The ceremony concluded with Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks shuffling across the diamond like he had for 19 seasons. Ernie was rightly honored most. One of baseball’s greats who always wanted to “play two” and even requested to be able to live on the grounds while he was playing. But he never got a World Series ring and that’s the other chapter of living the Wrigley experience.

It’s one of my favorite places to be since the late 1970’s when my dad would drive me from Iowa to take in a game. (Sunny every single time he brought me.) Every season brings fresh hope that this will be the year a World Series Championship is won in these hallowed friendly confines. This special day brought gifts and cake (A throwback Federals jersey for the first 30,000 fans and a birthday cupcake for the first 10,000-yes I made sure to get both!). It seemed magical as the Cubs were winning. Samardzija was pitching like an ace. The Cubs were up 5-2 with 2 outs in the 9th and 2 strikes on the batter, when relief pitching collapsed. How many times have I seen that movie? Alas, we were all treated to the full Cubs experience. Boundless hopes, historic atmosphere, great excitement, and soul-crushing disappointment. All in the same day! But it was great to share it with my college friend Lon. Just like always, one of the best places on earth to spend the day with a friend. It’s about so much more than winning and losing. A place with a spiritual heritage of hopes handed down. I park on nearby Seminary Street whenever I can. Here’s to 100 years of Wrigley. May we run out of candles before this place breathes its last…

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Salt and Light vs Cultural Christianity

Below are a couple of intriguing links to religion trends in Great Britain and China.

Both stories seem hopeful on the surface. A Prime Minister saying Christians should be more evangelical about their faith. He even says he has felt the “healing power of the church.” Then a trend in China where the Statist nation will soon house the most Christians of any country on earth. Wow, so it’s beautiful irony, right?
But if you read on in both stories you begin to see how hard it is for the church to define success. Turns out David Cameron has been all over the map on his previous public statements about the church. He’s struggling right now and facing a surging, more conservative opposition. So it’s hard not to wonder how politically motivated the comments are. Then if you read more, it really unravels. Good schools, social programs, and just enough faith to keep people from being hopeless seems to be the role of the church. Speaking truth to power? (As long as it’s the other guys…) Bearing witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? (Sort of, but mainly just helping make sure other religions aren’t trampled…) What you end up with is pretty close to what the optimist club could provide.
But surely the China story is good news! Well, there are now mega churches in provinces of China. High walls. Cross on top. One more feature…a closed circuit camera suspended directly in front of the pulpit. This is not for live broadcast. These cameras are controlled by the State. They are to directly monitor sermons for “dangerous” content. “They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a communist way…the Old Testament book…Daniel…is seen as “very dangerous”…”
This seems pretty compromised.
To be fair, these must be gut-wrenching decisions for churches and pastors and believers to make. Do we work within the framework allowed by the culture in order to protect our level of “influence”/political freedom? Or, do we preach and live the full truth of the gospel, which challenges any and every political system?
The underground church in China has made their choice. Many Christians have left the Church of England to work more boldly for the Kingdom of God. They don’t want to be the religious arm of the State. But it’s not so easy to say that’s the only right choice.
Oh, for the happy day when those Christians who are fully and sacrificially devoted could win enough hearts and minds to eventually go public, joining those who have kept something going in the public realm. But tough questions remain…
It makes me wonder what John Wesley (kicked out of the Church of England for preaching the truth and challenging social norms) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (founding member of the confessing church of resistance to Nazi Germany, who was killed in prison) would want to tell us…

Words of faith and hope…

Forging into the Future…


Storyboarding the GospelImageThe Missional Church Engaging the Community




This past weekend marked the beginning of a new adventure for NewHope Community Church! With funding from the Center for Congregations and the NW Indiana District, we embarked on a learning journey with other pastors and leaders in the Chicagoland area. It’s called the Forge Chicago Residency.  Forge was founded by Alan Hirsch (See my post from Oct. 30th) who is a pioneer in the Missional Church Movement. For the next 9 months we are being refreshed in our skills as missionaries to a changing culture. With coaching, cohort groups and weekend intensives we are being supported on this journey. But it’s no theoretical academic adventure. In addition to reading, praying, and meeting, we are required to engage our ministry context for at least 5hrs each week! That’s 5 hours outside the office rubbing shoulders and sharing life with real people from outside our church community in their life settings. This is something I’ve always done, but not always with this much structure and intentionality. It’s a great way to live and enjoy your Christian journey. I want to learn better how to help others experience this lifestyle that makes Christian life more meaningful.

I’m thrilled to begin this journey with other leaders from our church. I’ll keep you updated along the way. Prayers are appreciated for spiritual growth and real life-changing connections with others!



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