Monthly Archives: June 2012

Apple Exhaustion

I have used Mac computers exclusively for almost a decade. I remember being one of the handful of students on my college campus using a Mac — a 12″ iBook, to be exact. It was different. It was exciting. It was better than what everyone else was using, and I knew it.

Admittedly, it was a source of pride.

Today, you can’t turn your head in any direction without seeing a MacBook, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Apple is worth $600 billion. Read that once more: $600,000,000,000. They are a corporate behemoth, with their current public image differing sharply from the renegade hammer-throwers of yesteryear.

Why has Apple succeeded?

  • Simplicity – This philosophy is best displayed through their simple, intuitive user interfaces. Using an iPad is like second nature, even for children and the elderly, because it feels so natural and unimposing.
  • Culture – First it was the Apple loyalists, then the hipsters, then their families, then the world. Apple is a magnetic force, drawing everyone towards its fiercely loyal user base.
  • Strategy – Steve Jobs said (paraphrasing here), “We control the hardware, we control the environment, and you guys can deal with it.” Geeks have cried foul for many years, but Apple’s control-freak ways have made for the world’s most secure and manageable experience.

So what’s the point of this post? I’m kind of tired of Apple.

When everyone is saying the same thing, it usually means that the last group of stragglers have finally jumped on board. When I first bought a Mac, everyone shrieked, “It’s not compatible with anything!” Today, that long-untrue lament is a relic in the tech industry. Even Apple’s most ardent critics have to admit that Apple has been on to something very smart all along.

But now that everyone is using a Mac and talking about how incredible it is and how everyone who uses a PC is a neanderthal, they’re getting annoying. The media is mostly to blame for this, as they cover every whisper of every rumor from every corner of the world so long as it’s related to an upcoming Apple product.

I’m an Apple apologist and fanatic. I own an iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Pro. I get excited with every Keynote’s announcements (even the most recent Steve-less one). I’m NOT getting rid of my products anytime soon.

But Google is at least making a challenge with the Nexus 7 and their Android phone OS. I’m excited that they’re making strides, because that means Apple must (and certainly will) step up their game.

I just hope they lose a few customers in the process. It’s getting crowded in here.

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Clint Dempsey: America’s Forgotten Sports Star

Are you an American? If so, do you know the name Clint Dempsey?

In all likelihood, the answer is a bewildered “No,” and this is a crying shame.

Dempsey

A brief summary of Clint Dempsey’s accolades:

  • He is the first American to score a hat trick in the English Premier League (widely regarded as the best soccer/football league in the world) in a 5-2 win over Newcastle United in January 2012.
  • He  finished tied for fourth in scoring during the 2011-12 English Premier League season with 17 goals (21 in all competitions).
  • He owns the record for most goals scored by a Fulham FC player in Premier League matches (50).
  • Known for his toughness, Dempsey once played two games with a broken jaw before being diagnosed by a team trainer.
  • Dempsey scored the equalizing goal against England during the 2010 World Cup’s group stage, one of the most famous goals in American soccer.

When you see Dempsey play for the United States, he is one of the first American-born players who looks like he truly belongs. His skill, touch, and footwork are on a world-class level, and yet more Americans know Landon Donovan, or even Freddy Adu.

Largely ignored, the native of Nacogdoches, Texas flicks, spins, and bursts his way through opposing defenses with a flair never seen from an American. If you don’t know of his talent, watch a few of these YouTube videos:

http://youtu.be/iCdTNAkFdec
(a compilation)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZR48Cnn9FU
(Dempsey’s “wonder goal” against Juventus)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBDrQVE414w&feature=related
(Dempsey’s story)

If you don’t watch soccer, that’s okay. But please don’t think of Freddy Adu when you hear the words “American soccer.” Don’t think of Landon Donovan. Dear heavens, please don’t think of Alexei Lalas.

Think of Clint Dempsey.

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The Half-Hearted Church

Psalm 22:3 (KJV)
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Every preacher, worship leader, musician, and/or singer has felt it before: a church that has collectively checked out of a service. Those in platform ministry can exhaust themselves, raise their voices, sing until their vocal cords can’t take it anymore, and yet nothing works — every member of the congregation seems content to follows the pattern:

  1. Walks in 1-5 minutes before/after service starts.
  2. Claps their hands lethargically during worship.
  3. Refuses to alter their expression.
  4. Sits through the preaching with an invisible force field surrounding.
  5. Stands when the preacher says stand.
  6. Offers obligatory 3-minute prayer at altar call.
  7. Rushes to a local eatery.

The Word of God asks us to not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” but merely attending church is not the point. We are to worship together, to learn together, to pray together, and grow together. How can this be accomplished if, through their body language and actions, much of the membership shows itself to be bored with church itself?

As Pastor Dean has often stated: WE DO NOT TAKE CHURCH SERVICES OFF!

Attend service with this understanding: in all likelihood, someone is experiencing your church for the very first time. I know at POBC, we have first-time guests each Sunday morning. Are we letting them down? Do they walk in expecting an apostolic, power-packed environment, but leaving feeling underwhelmed?

If we believe God’s Word, and that He “inhabits the praises of His people,” then our WORSHIP and INVOLVEMENT during a church service is crucial to creating an atmosphere in which God’s presence can work at maximum effectiveness.

Is God dependent upon us to move? No.
Are the emotions and desires of man affected by his environment? Yes!

If it was your sibling, your parent, your friend, or your co-worker who was attending church as your guest for the first time, would you worship differently? Would you hope that everyone else worships, investing their whole heart into THAT particular service? Would you do everything within your power to create fertile ground for the seed of God’s Word and Spirit? Would you walk to the altar with purpose, or would you linger back, just hoping that the service comes to an end in time to beat the other churches to your favorite restaurant?

Each service is just that opportunity for someone. Each song is a chance for the church to lift up holy hands in adoration of God. Each sermon could be the Word that someone’s guest needs desperately to hear. And each altar call could be the defining moment where someone finds God and is filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

I understand that worshipping God isn’t a scheme to trick anyone into following Him, and I know that even pop artists can send chills up your spine and bring tears to your eyes with a powerful song. But imagine we worship God with absolute sincerity, He inhabits our praises, His Spirit covers the room, and suddenly the atmosphere goes from “just another Sunday” to the Sunday that no one will ever forget. That’s what is at stake each and every week.

So my question is this:
DURING YOUR CHURCH’S LAST SERVICE, DID YOU WORSHIP LIKE SOMEONE’S SOUL DEPENDED ON IT?

Revelation 3:14-16 (ESV)
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

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