Life, God, Techonology, and Randomness

“Excellent” Propaganda – a review of excellence

Marriage, divorce, creation, evolution, slavery, dogma, Islam, Egyptians and science; these are just some of the hot topics that the most recent effort from Propaganda touches on in his newest album Excellent, no  forgiveness required for asking

You would be hard pressed to find a better word to title this album as it is in a nut-shell, Excellent. In a world full of overproduction, auto-tune and sampling this stands above the rest in my recent memory. The beats — simple, the lyrics — thought inducing and the questions posed and left debated hit hard while focusing our thoughts both toward God and toward the world that we live in currently.

Throughout the duration Propaganda switches seamlessly from Spoken Word to rap and back with no noticeable change of pace. It’s the first time I’ve heard it done so well and it honestly leaves you feeling a bit taken aback by the simplicity of the delivery combined with the simplicity of the beat. From the beginning track to the last there is a story told (one worth listening to) that points to the struggles that we all have in life and in being a Christian. He takes us to a place where we are often afraid to go and leaves you feeling welcomed to the discussion without feeling embarrassed for having similar thoughts.

To be succinct I’ll just say this: in a world full of albums that speak of nothing but self it would be a disservice to not grab this album. Not to mention the album can be gotten for free here or through iTunes. Set aside an hour of your life and really just listen to it…I know I don’t regret it.


Jesus Never Said He Was God

Did Jesus ever say I AM GOD? This question was literally thrown at me recently and it’s a huge question with just as huge implications weighing in the balance based on its answer; Let’s dive in.

There are many ways to proclaim any given fact, multiple proofs if you will (think mathematics here) by simple context. To prove that I am a father I could simply just say: “Hey! Meet my son and daughter, she was just born isn’t she cute?”, or I could also just flat-out say that I am a father in one grand declaration. Either ways work and both are equally relevant. So while it’s important to understand what Jesus, himself, said it’s just as equally important to understand the context as well as what the people who He was speaking to believed He meant depending on what He said. Let me show you just a few examples.

There are many references where Jesus calls himself the Son of Man here is one.

Mark 14:60-64

Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

Notice that they accuse him of blasphemy for saying he is the Son if Man, but why…I am the son if a man? It’s in reference to Daniel 7:13-14.

I’ll let you look that up on your own but he is basically saying that he is the divine authority.

His claims of deity are just as numerous, here is an example.

John 10:24-33

So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me? The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

The last sentence there is think hits it home. His enemies are the ones that claim he is God, Jesus never implicitly says it much like it’s not necessary for me to implicitly claim I am a father. There is enough other corroborating evidence to support it without me laying it out kindergarten style. Moreover, Jesus does something that only God has the authority to do, like the forgiveness of sin spread throughout the Gospels leading up to the Gentlemen on the cross next to Him at death.

It’s important to see the overall context and the audience that Jesus is speaking too when answering this question. Did Jesus ever flat-out say he was God? No. Did he explain it in other terms? Absolutely.

These are just a few examples and I challenge you to seek out your own answers.

Be blessed.

Tweet Lanes for Android Review (Updated)

On either iOS or Android there certainly is no shortage of Twitter apps. Some have specific purposes or excel at one feature or another and all are functional, usually. Android though it seems is quickly becoming the best place to experience Twitter. Since they released their Development Standards for apps times have changed on Android. It used to be that the apps were poorly done ports of iOS or were just plain ugly to begin with. Tweet Lanes is neither one of those. Let’s check it out..

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Ntelos – State of the Company

It’s been awhile since I wrote about tech but that time has come to pass, I have a grievance.

We switched to Ntelos about a year ago and for the most part life has passed along as usual. Recently, however, my wife’s phone has been giving her issues. I’ve been able to fix it off and on and get rid of the error messages and allow her to still use the thing but it’s coming to a stop-gap soon. Here is the dilemma of a rural carrier…options, let me explain.

We switched for a few reasons from Sprint, mostly because her phone was crapping out and she needed a new one and the fact that they are about 4 gallons of milk cheaper per month than Sprint (while using the same network) so there was minimal interruption. We got new phones and went on our way. About a year later though her phone is having issues like horrible speaker quality, inability to actually use apps (memory), limited software updates, etc. That in and of itself isn’t really a new issue as with any technology eventually they get full/used/worn out and must be replaced.

The problem is that 1 year later the phone options are actually the exact same as they were a year ago, our carrier has only added one new phone option in 1 year and that is just ridiculous. Granted the one phone that they brought on is the iPhone 4/4S and it’s a great option but what do you do when you want a new phone but don’t want to be forced to get an iPhone. Here is the state of affairs for Ntelos’ phone lineup:

iPhone 4 – released June 2010 / February 2011
iPhone 4S – released October 14, 2011
Blackberry Bold 9930 – released August, 2011
Blackberry Curve 9350 – released October 2011
Blackberry Curve 9930 – released August 2011
Blackberry Bold 9650 – released May 2010
Samsung Repp – released November 2011
Samsung Admire – released August 2011
Samsung Showcase – released December 2010
Htc Merge – released May/June 2011
Sony Experia Play – released May 2011
Motorola Milestone Plus – released November 2010

Wow just wow! Look at that. All of those Android phones are using software that is 2 to 3 years old and mildly unsecure on web standards and a failing Blackberry stable. The only thing missing from last year is a Windows Phone and a HTC unibody phone the Desire. This is disheartening for these reasons:

  1. Web/App standards require new software for continued support and you’re limited on all devices above except for iPhone
  2. Blackberry is dying and the bulk of their lineup is looking to continue a platform without much support
  3. All phones except for maybe the Showcase are low-end phones (these phones have their place) and that’s sad when arguably your 2nd best phone is almost 2 years old

You shouldn’t be relegated to have to get an iPhone to get continued support from the manufacturer. Ntelos is part of the Associated Carrier Group for the exact reasons of being able to band together to get better support and phones for customers, apparently to no avail. The other concern is that back in August Ntelos alluded to the fact that they are considering a shift to LTE, which really is the only way to stay relevant as the market is going there, but none of the phones above have a chance to work on that frequency or speed.

When it comes down to it they need to focus on upgrading their Android lineup (largest market share in world), continue to support a few mid range devices (not the bulk that they do now), stay in the game with iPhone, and possibly add a few Windows Phone devices as they are up and coming and it would be unwise to avoid them and continue to support Blackberry (currently in a tailspin).

A Word of Encouragement

It’s a tough job sometimes to be a Christian in the world today, though admittedly we have it the best in America. Here we have less persecution and less upheaval overall than our brothers and sisters in Christ in other nations. Still though sometimes here still we can feel beaten down daily/weekly.

It’s so hard to try to be “Christian” all the time and constantly having people want to beat you down at the slightest stumble. I believe that it stems from the lack of understanding or the misinterpretation by unbelievers that all Christians apparently have it all together and
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Instruments only Words Not Allowed or the Stories of Chick-fil-A

We will host Spirit Night and give part of the proceeds to the local church.

We will unabashedly say we are a Christian company.

We will not open on Sunday’s.

We will say, “My Pleasure!”

We will edit our message.


For the longest time I thought that Chick-fil-A was a Christian company Read the rest of this entry »

Jesus Plus Nothing

Let me just be clear and let you know where I stand on the topic; Jesus plus nothing = the Gospel. In and of itself, open and shut case, take that to the bank.

Here’s the problem though. I hear so many people lately, probably longer than that really, that are throwing all these things on top of the Gospel. Things like be a good person, go to church, give to charity, only wear this type of clothes to church, blah, blah, blah. In and of itself those things are great and most Christians I would hope would do that; but those things are not the Gospel.

You see when you add anything to the saving grace of Jesus it becomes religion. I am constantly annoyed by people who think that Christianity is a religion. Religion is really just a form of behavior modification. It’s a series of steps that make you feel moral and in turn in good standing with a holy God. The Bible itself calls out these people in Matthew 7:22. Many people think that acting right or saying the right things will earn grace but it won’t, it’s ultimately a heart issue.

Behavior modification won’t work. All of history shows that it doesn’t matter what we do we can never seem to follow the rules, we need grace, unearned grace.

**edit** It’s odd how the Spirit works. I’ve been thinking about this topic for weeks and this morning we discussed it in Church.

People that do and don’t take notes in church

Two Sundays ago I sat next to a gentleman in church that took notes, furiously, I didn’t and I’m not sure that I feel guilty about it.

Back in my youth I was a gang buster for some notes in church. I’d write them everywhere; in the margins of the Bible, the offering envelope, my neighbors hand, whatever was handily accessible. But now not so much.

I blame it primarily on the tech revolution and college. I crammed so much in college into my head that has now vacated that I think I feel like I have space empty each Sunday and I can just easily add it there. Also…I never really have a pen on me.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating on the dude that takes notes, he’s probably way smarter than me with his catalogue of sermons that are stored on the bottom shelf of the bookshelf.

How about you? Know anyone that takes notes during church, do you?

We are Eternal (that’s huge)

This morning as I was checking the news on Flipboard the first two stories I read (saw) were exact opposites and it was, I don’t know the word, but I’ll try to express it here.

The first story that I saw was of a child lost to their family extremely early in life. The abruptness when it happened a few months ago hurt me to read and learn of and when I was reminded of it today the same feelings of loss and grief and frustration at our broken world were reignited. I can only pray for my friends in their loss and know that God is good but that doesn’t make it any less infuriating. It reminded me that we are all born broken in one way or another and that we are destined for a date with death and can’t stop it, none of us.
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C.S. Lewis and Pintrest (yikes)

I don’t really want Pintrest. I don’t think I really need it. Honestly I don’t need another social network in my life. I could care less about pinning things, about (insert whatever it is people do on Pintrest here) this or that.

Today though my whole world shifted. C.S. Lewis is on Pintrest and there are amazing things and quotes from him all coallated there. It just may be the one thing that draws me in. I have to confess…I’m a bit of a C.S. Lewis junkie and I absolutely love the little quotes you can find around the web.

I need some help here….should my man-crush on all things Lewis be enough to put me on it? Should I hold firm?