Best. Playlist. Ever.

I’ve really enjoyed a new Bible playlist on a my iPhone.  It took some time to set up but it was worth it.  It covers the entire Bible in 150 days (with Proverbs repeating every 30 days — one chapter a day except for the first day, which has two).  It includes a variety of areas each day.  It is roughly 36 minutes per day, which is about the length of my morning commute.

Each day has:

  • 1 chapter of Proverbs
  • 1 Psalm
  • 4-5 chapters of the Old Testament (I used the chronological version)
  • 1-2 chapters of the New Testament (basically in order, though I spread the Gospels out so it has Matthew, then Acts, then some letters, then Mark, then some letters, etc. and ends up with John)

For example, day 1 had chapters 1-9 below, day 2 had 10-17, etc.  To state the obvious, you could still enjoy the variety even if you don’t listen to 8-9 chapters in one day.

itune

You can get free audio Bible downloads in a variety of translations at Faith Comes By Hearing.  You can also contribute to them to help get the audio Bible out in hundreds of languages around the world.  This is vital for people who can’t read.  If you ever go on a mission trip be sure to take some of their Proclaimer audio devices.

If you haven’t tried listening to the Bible, give it a try — even if it is just a chapter per day.  Redeem your commute, or your workout, or your chores, or whatever else you do!

Roundup

Mia Love runs rings around our current President and most politicians on both sides with her accurate and common sense views. I love how she is so clear and unapologetic. I hope she has a long and successful career.

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From the “I am not making this up, but I wish I was” category: Joel Osteen greeting cards.

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I’m relieved that the iPhone 5 announcement (Official response: “Yawn”) didn’t have more to it, or I might have been tempted to upgrade. But iOS6 looks good. They finally added a “rewind 10 seconds button” to go with the “forward 30 seconds” feature. And they added a double-speed option to go with the old 1.5 speed. There is a triple-speed option but that’s too fast!

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Anyone who thinks the Romney tax return issues are still a big deal is too gullible to vote. If only they cared a fraction as much about all the things Obama has sealed, or if they would take the time to learn about what he wrote in his own books! (Er, uh, at least what someone wrote in the books credited to him.)

The real story should be about how Senator Harry Reid and others told wild lies and won’t be held accountable.

If journalism hadn’t died in 2008 they’d be writing about how incredibly generous Romney has been for decades and about how stingy Obama and Biden are (not to mention Democratic politicians in general).

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This is highly scientific and true. Early in my career I almost said something about a client’s apparent pregnancy who turned out not to be pregnant. Ever since I remember not to say a thing, regardless of how pregnant someone looks.

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Benny Hinn is such a transparently false teacher that I put most of his followers in the “you got what you deserve category.” Here are just a few of his pronouncements, via The Watchman’s Bagpipes: Did They Really Say That?!?

“I’m sick and tired of hearing about streets of gold. I don’t need gold in heaven, I’ve got to have it now!”

“Poverty is a demon. God had to show me a vision of a demon literally to prove this to me.”

“I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me. … Holy Spirit take over in the name of Jesus. … You say, ‘I never heard of that.’ Well do you think you’re in this church to hear things you’ve heard for the last fifty years?”

“The Spirit of God tells me an earthquake will hit the east coast of America and destroy much in the nineties.” [never happened]

“Not one place will be safe from earthquakes in the nineties. Those who have not known earthquakes will know it.” [never happened]

“The Spirit tells me Fidel Castro will die in the nineties.” [still alive in 2012]

“And angels to this day can decide to rebel against God.”

“Now the Lord just told me – and I don’t know whether this is true or not…”

Fooducate

My brother-in-law introduced me to a cool app called Fooducate.  You can search for foods online or just scan the barcode of a food product with your phone and it gives you nutritional information like this.

Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Caramel Nut Cereal

Most things aren’t surprising.  Dr. Pepper gets a D?  Wow!  Organic carrots get an A?  Who would have thought?

But it is very useful to discover what foods pretend to be healthy but aren’t.  Even the most nutritious looking, name brand protein bars get lousy scores.  Just eat a Snickers instead (cheaper and tastier).

Cereals are often much less healthy than you’d think.  I recommend checking them before you buy.  If you want a treat, then don’t worry about the score.  But don’t be fooled into thinking you are eating healthy when you aren’t.

Should you upgrade to the iPhone 4s?

Droid 2 and iPhone 4 screens on

Image by lalunablanca via Flickr

Maybe.  If you have a 3G or earlier version, you might appreciate the speed, screen clarity, faster tethering, voice recognition for typing, camera and more.  I upgraded last week and have been pleased with it.  I use my phone all day, every day so that helped rationalize the switch (Podcasts on the way to work, music for my workouts, reading the Bible twice each day, prayer list app once or twice a day, catching up on blogs and Facebook, email, tethering my laptop to the Internet, etc.)

If you have an iPhone 4, don’t bother upgrading.  Most of the improvements are in the free iOS 5 upgrade (if you have a 3G, definitely do the iOS upgrade).

The voice recognition works well.  It will save lots of time correcting my email and text typing errors!  You can say things like “period,” “dash” and “exclamation point” and it will insert them.

The Siri function, which is supposed to accept voice commands, is a joke.  It got one thing right for me (looking up the schedule of the football team where my youngest attends college) but the rest has been gibberish or simply no results at all.

Clever invention for iPhone earbuds

I like the sound from my iPhone headphones but they are lousy for working out, as they often fall out.  But these little clips are a nice invention and are only $10 (I’ve spent way more than that on other headphones that don’t last very long).

Loving your enemies

Alternate title, read like a grumbling Homer Simpson: “Stupid John MacArthur sermons making me feel guilty about not loving my stupid enemies.”

Seriously, I just listened to a series by MacArthur about loving our enemies (I’m 4 months behind on Podcasts, for you MacArthur fans wondering if you missed something).  He made some powerful points about how loving the seemingly un-lovable and those hostile to us helps them see God, because that is exactly what God did for us.  We’re saved by his grace and not because we had anything to offer him or did anything for which He owes us.  We rebelled against him as enemies, yet He loved us and saved us.

Putting that into practice in the blog world is a challenge.  While my SuperFans (TM) are a regular fixture on my iPhone prayer list app, I don’t think that engaging them personally is productive.  I prefer to pray that while they are going through the Bible to abuse it to support their false teachings that God will open their eyes to the truth of his word.  True biblical love is having a person’s long-term best interests at heart.  Their ultimate good rests in being reconciled to the one true God.

As Jesus pointed out, it is easy to love those who are good to us.  It takes more effort to love those who can do nothing for us, but it isn’t nearly as hard to do as loving my enemies.  Once I focus on people in, say, prison ministry, I find it easy to love them.  Then again, I wasn’t their victim.  That is when things get tough: Loving those who seek the worst for you.

It is also hard with pro-legalized abortionists — especially those claiming the name of Christ — because it isn’t just their hatred of you that you are dealing with but your desire to protect the victims of their satanic ideology.

The same thing goes with pro-gay theologians, who claim the name of Christ while teaching falsehoods about him and advancing policies that will be very harmful to children.

I try to remember what one preacher said when asked why he didn’t lash out at some gay activists who burst into his church in protest and threw condoms at the pulpit: “I don’t get mad if a blind person steps on my foot.”

Our enemies are just doing what is in their job description.  I’ve been convicted and reminded that loving them — in the biblical sense — is in our job description.  Praying for them and not reacting in the same manner they use is a start.

Yes, it is hard to love our enemies, but I often think of a woman in Kenya who is one of the most amazing Christians I’ve ever met.  Her husband went nuts and hacked her with a machete, cutting off her hands and almost cutting off one of her legs.  He left her for dead, but she survived and was helped at the hospital we support there.  She instantly forgave him because Jesus said to.  If she can forgive something that severe . . .

Steve Jobs, Big Brother

See From Iconic to Ironic – Steve Jobs Transformation into Big Brother | NOM Blog.

Apparently Apple Computers “got the memo” that it is “OK” to discriminate against Christians. Leading that charge is their Chairman/CEO Steve Jobs. Despite one of the highest positive ratings available (4+), Apple pulled an app developed by the Manhattan Declaration—a group of 500,000 Christians who have publicly declared their support for traditional marriage, life and religious liberty—from their iTunes store.

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What’s offensive is the action of Steve Jobs. Jobs allows applications in support of gay marriage and abortion. Planned Parenthood has an app, so do several gay marriage groups. There’s an app to sign petitions to repeal Proposition 8 in California. And there is even an app coming to allow gay marriage backers to “report” priests and pastors who preach about the sanctity of marriage!

Roundup

What a coincidence!  The SEIU (Service Employees International Union, a major supporter and influencer of the President) is involved in all sorts of voter fraud activities.

Are you ready to be a leader? Some excellent questions. Samples below.  Go read ‘em all.

2. Do you retain control of yourself when things go wrong? The leader who loses self-control in testing circumstances forfeits respect and loses influence. He must be calm in crisis and resilient in adversity and disappointment.

3. Do you think independently? While using to the full the thought of others, the leader cannot afford to let others do his thinking or make his decisions for him.

4. Can you handle criticism objectively and remain unmoved under it? Do you turn it to good account? The humble man can derive benefit from petty and even malicious criticism.

5. Do you possess the ability to secure discipline without having to resort to a show of authority? True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and requires no external show of force.

What Media Bias? CBS Reporters Joke About How Best to Smear Joe Miller – Amazing.  Note to journalists: Be sure you actually hang up before talking about how you are actively working against a Republican candidate.

Can you believe the Democrats are going to lose on Tuesday?  How can that happen when their kind, hopeful, non-divisive, inclusive leaders said all these things?

  • These people told their clients to say that you hate African-Americans.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate Latinos.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate gays.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate women.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate Jews.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate Muslims.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate the poor.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate America.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were fascists.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were theocrats.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were stupid.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were uneducated.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were hatemongers.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were insane.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were violent extremists.
  • These people told their clients to call you unpatriotic.
  • These people told their clients to call you cowards.
  • These people told their clients to mock you at every opportunity.
  • These people told their clients to deliberately use a sexual slur when referring to you.
  • These people told their clients to trivialize and dismiss your concerns at every opportunity.

But Obama will come out the day after the election and talk about how we have to work together!

Kids’ book prizes to include gay and lesbian award – something about millstones comes to mind . . .

An award for gay and lesbian literature will be included in the American Library Association’s annual announcement of children’s prizes, a list which features the prestigious and influential Caldecott and Newbery medals.

Obama Gets Heckled, Then Lies About Republican Support for Global AIDS Funding – I have a video on my iPhone of a World Vision employee going on and on about how much he likes President Bush.

In fact, President Bush was credited for huge contributions to fighting AIDS in Africa going back to 2003. The Washington Post noted that he had tripled funding by 2006. The AP lauded Bush’s efforts in this regard. The Telegraph called him “an African hero.” The BBC suggested Bush may have been the continent’s best friend. Scientific studies showed the Bush initiated program had reduced the mortality rate by 10%, amounting to hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.

Important hand sanitizer video (Hat tip: Kevin)

P90X follow up

Well, I finished the 13 weeks.  I’ll definitely do the routine again but with a few modifications.  The jumping bothered my neck so unfortunately I need to cut out the plyometrics and a couple other moves.  But I’ll just substitute a biking / stair stepper day and a couple other exercises.

I will mix in some more traditional weeks of lifting, but one thing P90X has done is get me to pick up the pace of my workouts.  I’ll try to rest less between sets.  I’ve learned lots of new exercises that I plan to work in.

I’m going mix in weeks of traditional workouts with another round of P90X, but I can already tell that I’ll miss Tony Horton pushing me and setting a faster pace.  Working out to the DVDs really is a bit like having a personal trainer.

I finally broke down and ordered a heart monitor watch.  I think my rate gets too high when doing the legs & back routine.

I had already been working out steadily so my changes weren’t that dramatic, but I am a lot more flexible and my chin-ups are at all-time highs.  I’ve had periods when I was younger and could lift more raw weights, but as far as overall fitness goes this is probably the best I’ve had.  The variety of moves and coverage (strength, cardio and flexibility) is outstanding.

If you’ve thought about trying it, give it a go.  But heed the warnings below and on the DVDs!  Just compete with yourself.  If you can only do 2 push-ups but you work up to 3, then 4, then 5, then you are winning.

Original post

I’m almost halfway through the 13 week P90X fitness routine and wanted to share some thoughts on it.  I’ve exercised regularly for 30+ years, almost all just self-training — mostly lifting plus jogging/exercise bike type stuff.  When I see “As seen on TV” I take it as a reason not to buy the product in question.  But I heard of several people at work and on Facebook who used P90X and liked it so I decided to give it a try.

My philosophy on fitness is that God has numbered our days but that our choices make a big difference in how we live those days.  Narcissism and excessive exercise aren’t good, but letting ourselves go doesn’t optimize our work for the Kingdom either.  Illness can strike anyone, but I want to accomplish as much as I can with whatever days I have left and I want to minimize any burdens on my family.  I like to stay on the giving side of the giving/receiving equation as much as possible.  Exercise is also a great stress relief.  Therefore, I strive to stay fit.

Observations

Continue reading

P90X: The “X” stands for, “Wow, this is really quite difficult.”

I’m almost halfway through the 13 week P90X fitness routine and wanted to share some thoughts on it.  I’ve exercised regularly for 30+ years, almost all just self-training — mostly lifting plus jogging/exercise bike type stuff.  When I see “As seen on TV” I take it as a reason not to buy the product in question.  But I heard of several people at work and on Facebook who used P90X and liked it so I decided to give it a try.

My philosophy on fitness is that God has numbered our days but that our choices make a big difference in how we live those days.  Narcissism and excessive exercise aren’t good, but letting ourselves go doesn’t optimize our work for the Kingdom either.  Illness can strike anyone, but I want to accomplish as much as I can with whatever days I have left and I want to minimize any burdens on my family.  I like to stay on the giving side of the giving/receiving equation as much as possible.  Exercise is also a great stress relief.  Therefore, I strive to stay fit.

Observations

Overall, I’ve been thrilled with it. It was sort of like having a personal trainer / class to participate in, but on my schedule and at a fraction of the cost.  I love the challenge.

Lots and lots of push-ups and pull-ups (many varieties of each), though you can use a chair to help on the pull-ups or use exercise bands.

Great variety of exercises: Lifting, stretching, plyometrics, yoga (just the stretches / moves with no religious stuff and actually a nice bit of humor — I wish they’d give it another name), core training and more.

The big theme is “muscle confusion,” where the routines change often and there is a lot of variety in the routines.

You need to be in shape to do this.  Seems counter-intuitive, eh?  But it is very demanding.  It isn’t just the exercises, it is the pace.  Those warnings in the beginning of the DVDs are no joke.  You do not want to dive straight into this.

Hardest routine for me: Legs and back.  One-legged squats followed by another thigh exercise followed by chin-ups will leave you breathless, especially when you do many cycles like that with little rest.  Honorable mention: Plyometrics.  Lots and lots of jumps.  Took me a while to be able to get through it without pausing.

Easiest – er, uh, I mean least difficult — Kenbo kick boxing.  Lots of variety and challenging, but at a fairly even pace.  Truly a fun workout.

You need to put your ego on the shelf and just do what you can in the beginning.  Follow the exercise, but do less repetitions or with less intensity.  Hit the pause button.  The people in the videos have been through the routines so of course they can do them better than you.  But you’ll make progress quickly.

Compete against yourself, not those in the video.  If you have to hit the pause button 10 times the first week and only 8 times the second, then you are winning.

The cost is reasonable — $140 for the program with 12 DVDs plus whatever you spend on bands / dumbbells, etc.  Not cheap, but way cheaper than a personal trainer.

I put the audio onto my iPhone so I can use it at the gym or if I travel.  Once you have watched the DVDs enough you know how the technique works.  I obviously can’t travel with dumbbells but the bands will suffice.  One of my employees did this while traveling, but apparently the person on the floor below didn’t appreciate him doing plyometrics (hence the call from the front desk)

The instructor (Tony Horton) He does a good job of explaining the technique and repeating it.

The warm-up and cool down periods are very thorough.

If you are just beginning I recommend skimming through the workout DVDs before you start.  It takes some of the mystery out of it and helps you get ready.

Their website and Facebook page have lots of good tips.  They try to sell supplements but I mainly go with my Veggie Boy smoothies.  I did try their protein bars — tasty, but on the expensive side.

I generally eat pretty well but I’ve taken it up a notch.  It wasn’t by design, more of just a thought that if I’m doing all this extra work I might as well do everything else I can.

It does take more time than I’d normally set aside for fitness.  The routines are 60-75 minutes and you do them 6 days a week.  But I definitely have more energy every day, so the investment pays off.

I really appreciate their philosophy: No gimmicks, no silly promises of quick weight loss with no effort, no fad diets, etc.  Just hard, consistent work and good eating.  And it works.

Be sure to check out their Facebook page!

Tech stuff

I thought I’d share a few techie items I’ve come across recently.

Logitech Wireless Mouse M505 (Red) – these have tiny USB plugs that you can leave in the laptop all the time.  And the attachment for this model can be used with multiple accessories, so I don’t have to swap the device for my work / home / travel mice.

AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to A-Female Extension Cable (9.8 Feet / 3.0 Meters) — only $5 –  very handy way to link USB devices that aren’t close enough to your PC.  I bought one to lengthen my iPhone cable.  When it is charging / syncing with the PC the cord was too short for the phone to be used on calls.

Gomadic iPhone charger – the batter life on my iPhone is not great, so I typically charge it in the car and at work.  This charger runs on AA batteries (works with rechargeables, too) and will be a good travel backup, as well as if power is lost (like when we had no electricity for 12 days with Hurricane Ike).

ATT (a company I really, really dislike) finally offers tethering for iPhones.  What is tethering, you ask?  It simply lets your iPhone act as the Internet access point for your computer.  It costs $20 / month but is very handy if you need access at places without Wi-Fi.  You just turn on the tethering option in your iPhone settings and attach the phone to your laptop.  That’s it.  It is one of those things that worked right the first time.

What high-tech toys have you found useful?

iPhone stuff

Here are some of my favorite uses and applications for my iPhone.  It has been an amazing productivity improvement for me.  If you have an iPhone, what other apps do you use?

One thing I don’t do much on the iPhone is blog.  Anything that requires more than a couple lines of typing is too much. 

I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy reading the Bible and using the prayer list application so much, but for the last couple months I’ve used each 2-3 times per day.  I just pick a chapter then read it in the morning and before bed and often in the middle of the day. 

Features

iPod – Of course, I use the built-in iPod a lot.  I can play Podcasts at 1.5x speed and listen to 2 hours worth of sermons and apologetics shows during my commute (40 min. each way) or just driving around. 

I play music for about an hour a day when working out — a unique mix of pop, rock, contemporary Christian, classical, a little country, Broadway shows, even a couple disco tunes (eek!) — basically anything fast-paced.

The headphones have a built-in microphone and it automatically stops and restarts the music when you take a call.  Very cool.

I like the button that lets you rewind 30 seconds on Podcasts.  They need a 30 second forward button was well.

Email — having work and home email so easily accessible has been huge. 

Phone (duh) — Works seamlessly and easily with the favorites screen, recent call, keypad, Bluetooth, voicemail, etc.  My company has a way to have my office voice mails sent to me via email, so no more checking messages while I’m away.

Notes — I never used this feature much on Outlook but since I always have my iPhone with me it has come in handy for to-do’s and store lists. 

Clock features – seems like basic stuff, but I like how easy it is to program the timer (for naps and stationary biking) and how you can program multiple alarm times then just turn them on or off.

Text messages – I don’t do a lot of texting, but I like how you can save previous texts to save time in selecting a contact.

Voice memos – this has replaced my mini recorder I use when I think of brilliant thoughts for my blog (sarcasm intended).

Contacts – I hardly use that feature.  I find it easier to jump to the Search function to find a contact than to page through the long list.

Camera – I haven’t taken many pictures but it is handy to have it with you all the time.  Haven’t taken any videos.

Applications (free unless otherwise noted)

Kindle for iPhone – In some ways this is better than the real Kindle, since you can use the touch screen.  The screen is smaller, of course. 

I like reading the Bible on here.  It is so easy to navigate and jump to the study notes.  It automatically synchronizes with your regular Kindle or PC Kindle software.

My Prayer Lists ($3) — This has done a lot for my prayer life.  You can put prayers in different categories and different time configurations (e.g., daily, M-W-F).  You get a new list each day or each time you shake the iPhone. 

With a huge prayer list it is easy to fall into the “can’t win, don’t try” mode where you don’t start because there isn’t enough time to get through it all.  But this way I use it multiple times per day.  It makes me much better at following up as well.  People appreciate it when they know they are “really” on your prayer list.

Logos Bible — great free program that I used multiple times per day until I started reading the Bible with the Kindle iPhone app.

Facebook – makes it very easy to stay up to date and upload pictures.

Google Reader – I can scan blogs and mark the ones I want to refer to later.  Big time saver.

Guitar toolkit ($10) — Tuner and chord finder – very easy to use!  Simplest way to look up chords that I’ve found.

Yelp – great tool for finding restaurants, stores, etc. based on your location.

Photoshop – a simple but useful photo editor. 

Doc To Go ($15) — Pretty slick program that lets you read and write Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.  Not for major editing, of course, but very handy for traveling.  This can make the difference in being able to travel without a laptop.

GPS Drive – It got good reviews but I haven’t used it yet.  Directions are free but voice commands will cost you.  The Maps app is good, too.

Shazam – provides the name of songs you are listening to.  You can be listening to the radio and it will tell you what is playing and let you buy it on iTunes.

SnapTell – sort of like Shazam except for books.  Take a picture of a book cover and it will tell you about it and let you order it.

Chipotle – lets you order and pay online so you just go to the register and pick it up.  Mmmmmmm . . . Chipotle!

My 24 – 24 Hour Fitness app — tells you class times (no benefit for me there) and locations (very handy).

ESPN Sportscenter – easy to keep up with scores

Yahoo! page – I quit using this and just use the ESPN, Weather and Stocks apps to keep up on that sort of thing.

Wikipedia — I’m not a big fan of them for anything remotely controversial, but it can be a handy app.

Dictionary.com — haven’t used it much, but handy to have.

Flixster — Movie theater locations, times and reviews.  Very easy to use for the 3 movies I see per year.

Flashlight – I downloaded this as a joke then actually needed it 30 minutes later when I dropped a nail while hammering something under my desk!

Things the iPhone is missing: Tethering to laptops so they can connect to the Internet and capability to use Adobe Flash Reader and a couple other softwares.

And they need to improve the battery life!  An auto charger is a must for me.  Mine couldn’t make it through a whole day on one charge.

I hope the Droid does well and provides some much needed competition for Apple and AT&T. 

iPhone iDolatry

I really, really like my iPhone.  My work is moving to a new program where they’ll reimburse us a fixed rate and we pay for our own phones.  Seemed like a good time to dump my SmartPhone for an iPhone.

A grown man probably shouldn’t enjoy a material possession this much.  While the keypad is still too hard to use for significant amounts of typing, there are many things I really appreciate about the iPhone:

  • You can listen to Podcasts or books at double speed (actually it is 1.5 times faster, but that is about right).  This saves a lot of time on Podcasts. 
  • With a touch of a finger you can rewind 30 seconds at a time, which is great when I missed something or want it repeated.
  • I use the iPod portion over 2 hours per day for my commutes and workouts.  It is great to have it combined with my phone.  Just one device for phone, iPod, working out, etc.
  • I love the microphone feature in the headphones.  Yesterday I got a call while working out.  The music turned off when I answered it and turned back on when I hung up.
  • I get my work and home email in one spot.
  • The interface, as with all Apple products, is so intuitive and easy to use.
  • I can keep up with email, Facebook and my Google reader during the day on breaks so it isn’t stacked up when I get home.
  • The Logos Bible application is free and easy to use.
  • The Google and map applications make it easy to find things.  It is sort of a crude GPS.
  • The My Prayer List application is really handy ($2.99).  It lets you put in all sorts of prayer requests then randomly generates them depending on how many you want to see.  I find that one big prayer list gets overwhelming.  Check it out.

Hat tip to Mrs. Green for the title