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5 Thoughts: Preaching with an iPad

iPad 2
Some time ago I posted my First Impressions of my brand new iPad 2. Since then I have been using the iPad for many purposes, including preaching. During this time I have had several opportunities to experiment with different ways of implementing the iPad for this purpose. Along the way I’ve accumulated several (hopefully) helpful thoughts for anyone who might be considering the iPad as a preaching tool. Here are five of those thoughts…

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Jottings – The Real Secret of Preaching


The real secret of expository preaching is not mastering certain techniques, but being mastered by certain convictions.

From the Langham Partnership’s Daily Thought #636

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Thinking Like A Digital Missionary


And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Over the last 25 years the world we live in has radically changed. Back in 1987 most people had never heard of the Internet, sent an email, or even made a call from a mobile phone. People regularly used a phonebook, not Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was only 2 years old on this date in 1987!). In fact, if you are old enough to vote, the world of today neither looks nor functions like the world you were born into. The world is radically different.

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iPad 2 – First Impressions

Three weeks ago I purchased my first tablet computer, an Apple 16GB Black Wi-Fi 3G iPad 2.

Truth is, I have desired an iPad since the day Apple first announced their revolutionary product…. I can even remember posting “iWant iPad” as my Facebook status! However, I resisted the urge for one reason: the cost. The device is not cheap. So I decided to wait, as they say “time will tell”.

Over the almost two years from January 27, 2010 when Steve Jobs first announced the iPad I have kept my eyes on the reviews, testimonies of friends who use the iPad, and the competition. What became clear from the reviews and word of mouth, is that the iPad is in fact a fantastic device. And, while the competition is drastically less expensive the competition’s product doesn’t measure up. So, for the first time since 1983 (when I purchased an Apple IIe) I bought an Apple computer.

After working with the device for three weeks I can honesty say the iPad is worth every penny I paid for it — no buyer’s remorse here!

What I like:

  • Portability. I do a considerable amount of traveling, by road and by air, so having a lightweight easily portable computer is important for me. Lugging around my old Windows based Dell laptop had become a real pain. The laptop, plus the power pack and cords, is too heavy and bulky to travel with. With the iPad I can do just about everything I could with a laptop. No, I’m not going to type a ten page paper on the iPad, but I rarely have the need to do that much typing while I’m on the go.
  • Ease Of Use. Like most Apple products the iPad is dead simple to use right out of the box.
  • Great Reader. When I’m traveling I am doing a lot of reading, and regardless of what I’m reading (the Bible, RSS feeds, PDFs, ebooks, etc.) the iPad has proven to be a great tool. One great feature offered by many apps is the ability to “swipe” through a document instead of “scrolling”. Swiping is very much like turning the page of a “real” book, it is intuitive and feels natural. I find it much superior to scrolling up and down through a document.
  • Syncs Seamlessly With The Cloud. iOS 5 (the software that runs the iPad) works seamlessly with “the cloud” (think storage and even processing of data on the internet). The iPad easily connects with numerous cloud computing services such as Apple’s own iCloud, Google Docs, Dropbox, and many more. Through the magic of cloud computing you have access to endless and inexpensive (often free) online data storage. That is why I purchased the 16GB version. No reason to spend more on the 32GB or 64GB models.
  • Preaching. I have found the iPad to be a fantastic tool to preach with. I will save most of my thoughts on this point for a full post at another time. However, using an iPad is considerably less cumbersome than a traditional print Bible with folded notes (hopefully) tucked inside.
  • Presentations. I almost didn’t purchase an iPad because I thought it wasn’t possible to give a PowerPoint presentation from one. I was wrong. I’ll will write a full post about this soon, but all you need is Apple’s iPad VGA Adapter cable, and an app such as Quickoffice Pro HD.

A Few Gripes:

  • The Cost. As mentioned above the iPad is expensive. Because Apple consistently produces excellent products they are able to charge a premium for their products… I guess the old saying is true, “you get what you pay for”.
  • Minimal Customization. I’ve been using an Android powered phone for nearly two years, so I have grown accustom to the almost unlimited ways Android allows users to customize the look, feel, and functionality of the phone. Endless apps, widgets, “skins”, and live wallpapers allow me to create an entirely unique phone custom designed for me and the way I function. The ability to customize iOS is severely limited.
  • Juvenile Interruptions. “Hey dad, can I use your iPad”, “Hey dad, can I watch Dora on your iPad”, “Hey dad, can I play a game on your iPad”, “Hey dad…..” ok, ok ’nuff said.

The bottom line: The iPad 2 is a winner.

What do you think of the iPad? Lets us know in the comments… (click “Read More” and go to the bottom of the post).

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Good News In A Floating Bottle

“As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25

On February 25, 2010 my friend Sammy Albury dropped a bottle into the sea near his home in Man-O-War Cay, the Bahamas. It contained a note, bearing this inscription: “God has given us this day, so let’s enjoy it.” Accompanying that message was a small page from the Psalms.

Later that year, brother Sammy went to be with the Lord, not knowing that his message would travel approximately 3,700 miles to Frouxeira Beach, near Valdoviño in Galicia on Spain’s northwest coast*. This amazing incident brought the verse at the top of this post to mind. The story also reminded me of the way that little things we perform faithfully can return to us in time to come.

True Philanthropy

Spreading God’s truth is aided and made more memorable by acts of kindness and Christian love. Distractions abound in this fast-paced world, and it is easy to miss opportunities to testify to the lost regarding God’s grace, not to mention to remind the saved of His love for them. It can be something ever so small: giving someone a gospel tract, a word of encouragement, or a simple prayer offered for someone in need. Sending letters and cards to cheer the sick or the lonely is a time-honored tactic for doing good to one’s fellowman (of course, e-mail is also an option, but many prefer the “human touch” of physical mail.)

Brother Sammy left behind more than just an innovative floating tract; he also bequeathed a good reputation and a godly testimony to his family, friends, and acquaintances on the island where he lived. It is true that he sent “good news from a far country.” Additionally, he left a legacy of sharing his faith over many years to those that he encountered.

Leaving Behind Something Worthwhile

Almost twenty years ago a brother in the Lord shared some meaningful advice with me: “Always preach Christ,” he said. So often I have thought of those simple words – often as I step into the pulpit to share God’s Word – and they have helped to moor me to the solid rock of Christ-centered preaching. I am not sure that the man who imparted that advice even remembers that incident. Yet the Lord has often used his counsel to help me stayed focused upon Himself in Bible teaching.

All of which leads me to ask: What am I leaving behind? What “good news” am I sending forth through my words and works? For that matter, what are you doing to impact others for eternity and glorify God? Pondering these questions from time to time is certainly a valuable exercise.

*Carla Elias, “De las Bahamas a Valdoviño en una botella” (“From the Bahamas to Valdoviño in a bottle”), Spanish newspaper article in La Voz de Galicia, accessed here on 10/10/11: http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/galicia/2011/10/08/0003_201110G8P16992.htm

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Jottings – Preaching Christ

If you are preaching Christ, you are preaching grace.

Bob Upton speaking at the 2011 Workers & Elders Conference in Raleigh, NC

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Jottings – Modern Preaching

Ministers can proclaim anything in a stained-glass voice at 11:30 on Sunday morning following the singing of hymns. Yet when they fail to preach the Scriptures, they abandon their authority. No longer do they confront their hearers with a word from God. That is why most modern preaching evokes little more than a wide yawn. God is not in it.

Haddon W. Robinson (2001). Biblical Preaching, 2nd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. Page 20. In many churches today professionally choreographed performances have replaced the authentic, albeit homespun, church meetings of our grandparents. Such stage driven “worship” is considered by many to be progress; a refreshing (or at least entertaining) change from the past. With all of this change, it seems the emphasis our grandparent’s churches put on God’s Word has also gone to the wayside. Verse by verse expository preaching has been replaced with an entertaining, religious form of modivational speaches. As Haddon Robinson said, when we fail to preach the Scriptures God is not in it.

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