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.


The day I met Reginald

Mark 9:41  I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.

We were on our way to an evening meeting and had a few McDonald’s coupons that were about to expire, so we decided to take advantage of the free burgers on our way.  We turned the corner, one driveway away from our destination, when we first saw Reginald.

He was on the side of the road with a large white trash bag in one hand and a small Styrofoam cup in the other.  The white bag likely held most of, if not all of his belongings, and the cup was full of pixie sticks and had a handwritten sign that said ‘candy 10¢’. 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?  

God wanted him in jail

It is not easy to understand, but it was part of God’s plan that Joseph end up in shackles, in slavery, and ultimately in jail. It may be part of God’s plan that you go through some difficult, confusing times as well.

Psalm 105:16-19
He called down famine on the land
    and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17 and he sent a man before them—
    Joseph, sold as a slave. 
18 They bruised his feet with shackles, 
    his neck was put in irons,
19 till what he foretold came to pass,
    till the word of the Lord proved him true.

The story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is well-known. Just ask Donny Osmond about his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

A quick recap, Joseph was well-loved by his father, and in fact was the favorite of all the sons.  The beautiful robe was a gift from his father.

One day Joseph had a few different dreams that he shared with his brothers.  Basically he dreamed that his brothers gathered around and bowed down to him. The brothers already disliked him, since he was the favorite son, and as you might expect, these dreams made them even more upset.  At the time, no one realized that the dreams were from God and actually letting them know of an event that would happen in the future.

One day their father set Joseph to check on his brothers as they were taking care of the sheep.  His brothers conspired to kill him, but decided instead to sell him as a slave to a group of passing Ishmaelites.

Continue reading

Are you holding onto the Past?

 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

Have you watched the show “Hoarders’?   It’s the one with people who never throw anything away.  I spent the day in a friend’s garage yesterday.  There is no question that it would meet the requirements for the show.

I know he grew up in the depression era, so part of me can understand him not wanting to get rid of anything.  And he loved a good deal, even if it was something he would never use.  But years and years of buying useless stuff and never throwing things away led to the photo you see here.

I thought a lot about the piles of junk.   It was not his intention to allow the things of his past to ruin his present, but look at the photo.  It was a mess.

Life can become a mess when I hold on to too much stuff from the past.  Good or bad, the things in my past are just that, they are past.  Surrounding myself with my past will hinder my present, and make it even more difficult to look to the future.

Continue reading

Life lessons learned from a baby bird

And how much more valuable you are than birds! Luke 12:24

I had a very unique experience this week.  I was in the garden taking care of some weeds, when I heard an animal sound.  I first thought it was Jumpy squirrel antagonizing our dog (my daughter named him, and he come around a lot).  I looked around, but didn’t see him, so I continued with the weeds.  The noise continued, but I could not find the source, that is until the source of the noise came to me.

A baby black bird hopped through the flowers along the fence.  I stopped the gardening and watched as little Chirpy, as I called him, came hopping right to me.  I took the dog in the house so he didn’t accidentally hurt Chirpy.  When I returned, Chirpy came hopping right toward me.  It was obvious that he was very hungry, and his cry was one of hunger.
I looked all around, and could not see his parents anywhere.  I do not know where Chirpy came from, but it was obvious he was hungry and alone. If I didn’t do something, he would die.

I went to the garden and dug up a few slugs, and later some worms.  I chopped them up, all while Chirpy was hiding in the garden across the yard.  When I was ready with the slugs, I had my video camera, and I am so glad I did. It would be hard to believe what happened next, without being able to see it.  I called to Chirpy with my best chirp, and sure enough Chirpy started up chirping himself, and came running through the garden right to me!  You can watch the video yourself here. 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