Free Friday: Free (and sale) Apps for iPad/iPhone

Assuming you are one of the millions of people who own an iPhone or iPad, you know how easy it is to browse around the app store. It is not hard to find some way to spend your app store gift cards.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a spare iTunes card laying around, you can try what I do to stretch your app dollars. I have found several websites that monitor the price of apps, and they will feature apps that go ‘on sale’ or even free.
If you want to go a step further, you can even sign up to receive emails from the sites to receive sale notification. I have enough junk mail, so I just visit the site directly. There are even apps that you can download to browse sale and free apps, but again, I prefer to visit the site directly.

This is my favorite of the three because of the rating system. When you see an app you are interested in you can click to see a description. If you scroll down toward the bottom you will see “Our Verdict”. I have found the verdict to be pretty accurate.
The following two sites are very similar, but sometimes will feature different apps.

As with anything, use your own discretion when purchasing/downloading apps. With hundreds of thousands of apps available, many of them are not of very good quality. Many times I have downloaded an app only to have to delete it after two minutes because it did not do what it was supposed to do.

What kind of apps do you use? Do you know any other sites to find sale or free apps? Leave a comment and let me know.


5 classroom and behavior management tips and tricks

Classroom/Behavior Management tips

School is starting soon, so I thought I would share a little from my days as a teacher.  As you know, many of my thoughts have ministry applications, and this one is no different.  Whether you are a classroom teacher, a home school teacher, a Sunday School teacher,  kids ministry leader, or even a parent, this may be something that can help.  When I was teaching there was something we called ‘classroom management’. I know that you may be in a small group/classroom setting, or you may be in a large group setting, but either way, the principles are the same.

Classroom management (sometimes behavior management) is something that I learned over several years of trial and error. It was a skill that I often make use of in parenting and also in a ministry setting.   A key to remember is the more you are able to identify and reinforce positive behavior, the less you need to try to discourage negative behavior. Most of the time the kids will want to imitate the positive behavior you are rewarding, because they like the reward and affirmation.

In ministry settings I have often divided the group into 2 teams, usually boys against girls.  This may or may not work in your setting, and if it doesn’t you still should be able to find a way to adapt these ideas.

Zonk Board:

This is large felt board with large felt circles. On the back of the circles are various point values. When you want to reinforce a positive behavior you can allow the child to choose a circle. Add the points to that team’s total. On the back of two circles put a ZONK, which means no points are awarded. (see the photo)

Continue reading

Something I learned about ministry while watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies (London 2012)

Some things I learned from the Opening Ceremonies:

  • Great Britain is proud of their health care system.
  •  James Bond really does know the Queen (who does have a sense of humor!)


  • Mary Poppins can do in a few minutes what took Harry Potter many years and many movies to accomplish.
  •  The Industrial Revolution is very important in British history.
  • Mr Bean can play the piano.


I walk away smiling at some of these things, and scratching my head at others.

The biggest WOW for me was to learn that the entire show cost more than $42 million.  Don’t get me wrong, forging the Olympic was impressive.  The hill turned out to be pretty cool too.  I enjoyed the fireworks display, and the copper leaves turning into the Olympic flame was very cool.  But I learned something else.

Being from ‘across the pond,’ I don’t think I fully understood some of the elements of the show (like the giant baby, or the hospital bed trampolines).  And I am not alone.  I read many articles the following day expressing the same lack of understanding.

For me, one of the highlights was Mr Bean playing the piano in the orchestra.  As I read different news columns and watched the twitter feed, over and over I saw I was not alone in counting the “Chariots of Fire” bit among the best elements of the entire show.

Considering $42 million for the total event, I would imagine the Mr Bean scene would account for very little of the total.  But yet it was one of the highlights.  So what else did I learn?

Money does not guarantee success.  If you have read many of my other posts and thoughts, you know that I often relate my thoughts to the church world of ministry.  The ministry with the most money is not always the most successful.   While it is true, more money can buy a giant baby, but if that baby confuses people, then was it successful?

I am like many people, and often wonder what it would be like to have more money to do bigger things.  The Opening Ceremony made me stop and think.  It would be better to have more Mr Bean aspects of ministry than giant babies and industrial revolutions.  Not only was Mr Bean cheaper, he was also more effective and more memorable.  That is important in ministry.  Do people walk away thinking about what they just saw/heard?  Success does not always follow money.  I say stop focusing on the money and big shows of the church down the street and start focusing on your strengths and gifts and push forward to be successful with what you have, and not worry about what you don’t have.

I have a feeling God has given you everything you need to be successful when ministering to the people/kids in your care.  Do your best where you are with what you have, and leave the giant babies to the Opening Ceremonies.

What do you think?  How does money (or lack of) affect your ministry?  What did you think of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics?  

Power of Pinterest

I’m sure by now you are familiar with  The virtual pinboard for saving and organizing photos from websites.  Based on the hours I know friends and family have spent there, I originally called it a “black hole that sucks your time”.  I have recently changed my mind.

I look at Pinterest from a different point of view than some.  I created my account and have been using it similar to other social media sites.

I have been and always will be involved in children’s ministry.  I have a Facebook and twitter account that I use to connect with like-minded people.  I share ideas, both mine and others.  Part of my mission is to help other people who work with kids.  If I read an article that I think would help someone, I post a link on twitter or Facebook to share with everyone else.  I got to thinking, why can’t Pinterest be another resource? Continue reading

Synergize your Team

Often there is a synergistic quality of a team, that is it becomes more than the sum of its parts. What we can accomplish individually is exponentially increased when we work together.

Take the story of the Tower of Babel as an example.

The people were united under a single language. The set out to make a great name for themselves. Their goal? Construct a large city with a tower that reached to the heavens.

Consider God’s words concerning the matter:

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. “(Genesis 11:6 NIV) Continue reading

Coffee Creativity

Do you enjoy a hot cup of coffee? Maybe a caramel latte or peppermint mocha is more your style. And if you are one of the few people that don’t drink coffee you at least know someone who does. But have you ever thought about where coffee comes from? I’m sure you are familiar with coffee beans, but have you ever considered the journey from plant to cup?

Somewhere in the mountains of South America there is a little coffee plant. On that plant grow handfuls of little red beans. Those beans are picked by a local coffee farmer. He takes the beans and soaks them in buckets of water to clean them, as well as soften them so the outer hull will come off easily. Once the beans are clean and dehulled, they are spread out in the warm sunlight to dry. After they dry the little beans, now green in color, the beans get bagged up and prepared to sell. Continue reading