Friday, August 29, 2008

iTunes' "Feature"

So I recently discovered that the reason I haven't been getting updates for some of my second-tier podcasts. (First-tiers are ones I listen to right away when they are released. Second-tiers are the ones I listen to when I get a chance.)

Anyway... the reason I haven't been getting the updates? An heretofore unknown "Feature" that iTunes has.

It stops updating podcasts you haven't listened to in a while!


I'm sure glad my RSS reader doesn't unsubscribe from feeds for me. As of this morning I have around 600 unread posts (that's not an exaggeration) from the many blogs I follow.

Is this really a feature? Aren't hard-drives big enough and iPod users savvy enough to manage the extra information you might download with a podcast you neglect for a couple of weeks? And does anyone out there know if there is a way to turn this "feature" off?

Next week I will introduce some of the podcasts I listen to, but it's up to you to figure out which ones are first-tier and which ones are second-tier.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Irving Bible Church - An Example to Us All

Yesterday I linked to this story from the Dallas Morning News about Irving Bible Church's decision to have a woman preach at their Sunday morning service.

Guest Blogger - Justin Hentschel
Today I welcome the contribution from guest blogger, Justin Hentschel. Justin is a close friend of mine who recently graduated with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served as the interim youth pastor and later the jr. high youth pastor for Waxahachie Bible Church in Waxahachie, Texas.

Irving Bible Church - An Example to Us All

I learned about Irving Bible Church’s decision on women in ministry a couple of months ago, a few days after they announced their conclusions to the congregation. After reading their 24 page summary on Women and Minstry and looking at their webpage, one thing became clear to me. Whatever your stance is on women in ministry, you could see that IBC believe that they were seeking to follow the Bible. Perhaps they are wrong, perhaps not, but their intention was to remain faithful to Scripture and to God. That seemed abundantly clear.

Or so I thought. In the Dallas Morning News article that followed Jackie Roese’s message, a prominent Dallas pastor, Tommy Nelson, compared their decision to a virus for liberalism. He understands IBC’s stand as not merely a wrong interpretation of the Bible, but a dismissal of the Bible as a true and authoritative.

Since I have a great deal of respect for this pastor, these statements trouble me a great deal. I wonder if he read IBC’s material. One may disagree with IBC’s conclusions, but they definitely have a deep respect for Scripture as God’s inspired text. Part of me wants to shame this pastor for suggesting otherwise, but then...

...I remember how often I do the same thing.

My interpretation of the Bible always seems biblical and those who disagree me are setting aside clear Scriptural teaching. My views on controversial topics are pure and unbiased, while others are skewed by their own prejudices. How easy it is for us to see the interpretative plank in others’ eyes, but not our own?

This is why I respect Irving Bible so much. I've seen both sides of this issue demean, strawman, and demagogue the other, while IBC presents their position with grace and humility. May we all show Christ's character as they have.

Discaimer: The preceding article is the work of Justin Hentschel, and does not necessarily reflect the position of Waxahachie Bible Church or DigitalWorship.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Woman Preaches at Irving Bible Church

According to another article from the Dallas Morning News, This past Sunday, Irving Bible Church had a woman, Jackie Roese (pronounced Reese), preach at the Sunday morning service this week.

This has been coming for a while, as a few months ago the elders of Irving Bible released a statement entitled "Women and Ministry at IBC," or you can read the short version at this part of their website.

Whatever side you come down on the issue of women's roles in ministry, I think anyone can respect this decision by Irving Bible Church in that it is something they appear to have carefully studied and struggled with the pertinent scriptural passages. And that they have given more than just words to this study and they decided to act on their convictions.

Listen to Jackie's message from Sunday, August 25 on John 4.

What do you think about this decision that Iriving Bible Church made? What do you think of her message?

Special thanks to Justin Hentschel, who emailed me this story this morning. Justin is a fellow graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, and has played a significant role in the way I read, understand, and express my thoughts on scripture.

Update: Justin will be sharing his thoughts on this topic here at DigitalWorship tomorrow. Trust me, you don't want to miss it, so keep checking back or subscribe to the RSS feed and get updated as soon as his thoughts are posted.

Texans Determined to Die Early and Happy

As the summer begins to wind down and temperatures begin to cool down to the balmy mid-90's, thoughts turn to what the fall has in store for us. We don't think of changing leaves and blustery fall afternoons that call winter to our doorsteps. No. Our minds become fixated on the coming State Fair of Texas and the question,"What miraculous goodies will they try to fry this year?"

In recent past we've seen the unveiling of several heart-stopping favorites such as:

Fried Oreos
Fried Oreos

The not-fried-but-fun-to-say-aloud Chocolate Covered Key Lime Pie on a Stick
Key Lime Pie on a Stick

and, the unlikely, Fried Coke
Fried Coke

But this year I do believe the state fair has outdone itself. The following is the list of this year's Big Tex Award finalists.

Fernies All-American Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Without trying it I would say: This sounds like the poor man's montey cristo. Although raspberry dipping sauce sounds a whole lot tastier than "tomato soup dipping sauce," which is what this treat comes with according to the Dallas Morning News. (Frappuccino not included.)

Chicken Fried Bacon
Chicken Fried Bacon
Without trying it I would say: It costs 12 coupons and 2 years of your life. For a healthier choice, you can go with the honey mustard or the ranch dressing rather than the gravy as shown above.

Fried Banana Split
Picture unavailable - It's basically banana and peanut butter rolled into a ball, then topped with all your normal banana split toppings. Oh... and the banana-peanut butter thing is dipped in batter and fried.
Without trying it I would say: This is one of the first ones that sounds like it might be good. The real problem is no matter how much you walk at the fair, you will still have a net gain of calories for the day.

Texas Fried Jelly Bellies
Jelly Belly+ Funnel Cake
Without trying it I would say: Don't eat this around friends otherwise you will get jokes all day about your newfound fried jelly belly.

Deep Fried S'mores
It's like this, but far less healthy.
Without trying it I would say: It seems like someone should have come up with this before. I don't really care for s'mores all that much because they are too hard to eat without getting it all over you, but maybe the batter helps that problem.

Fire & Ice
Picture unavailable - Description from the Dallas Morning News reads, "A pineapple ring battered and deep-fried, topped with banana-flavored whipped cream that’s been frozen in liquid nitrogen. The smoking concoction is covered in strawberries and syrup."
Without trying it I would say: Did that really say "liquid nitrogen?" I'm thinking the selling point for this one is that, unlike the rest of these, you'll never be able to try to make it at home.

Fried Chocolate Truffles
Tuffles, but wrapped in batter.
Without trying it I would say: Deep frying chocolate truffles seems akin to painting some touch-ups on the Mona Lisa. It might help, but it could turn out disasterous, so why risk it?

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls
Picture unavailable - According to the Dallas Morning News, "Fresh strawberries covered in a thick chocolate shell, dipped in a waffle batter and deep-fried. Dusted with powdered sugar and served on a stick."
Without trying it I would say: Everything about that description sounds good to me. It has three things going for it: 1) it's got fresh strawberries, so, therefore, the illusion of healthy. 2) waffle batter sounds much better than the funnel cake batter the rest of these claim to use. 3) it's on a stick, so it's portable. Perfect for walking the calories off as you consume them.

For the record the only food on this entire list I've ever had was the chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick and that was mainly because I liked saying it so much that I wanted to say "chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick" to the guy selling them.

Which one sounds the best to you?

Read the full story at the

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Finally Here

After a few snags along the way, I finally got around to creating a PDF of my research paper from Dallas Theological Seminary. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, so please leave a comment or message me on Facebook because I'm sure there are things that I haven't thought of concerning this topic.

An Argument for the Legitimacy of an Online Church

Update: This link broke somewhere along the way. I'm working on another solution right now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

12 Second Gospel

There was some talk over the last couple of months about expressing the gospel as a tweet on Twitter (See "Tweet the Gospel" by Brian Baute).

Yesterday, I came across this fancy site called 12 Seconds. The basic idea is that this website allows you to create 12 second videos in order to connect with friends and family. The cool part is you can use your phone to record and upload the videos, so theoretically you could do this without being tethered to your computer.

This is how I understand it translated into an SAT analogy.

Twitter : Blogging :: 12 Seconds : Video Blogs

So, that begs the question. See if you could share the gospel in a 12 Second video. It will really challenge you to think about what is truly fundamental to the gospel.

What are your thoughts on What do you think about condensing the gosple into these ultra-short expressions?

Edit: is still not open to the public yet, but you can still see what the videos are like and, if you're interested, request an invitation to the alpha testing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What is a Church?

Today over at Swerve,'s blog, they are discussing the definition of a church in a post titled Defining Church. You can also read my contribution to the Swerve community here.

As you may or may not know, I would consider LifeChurch to be one of the more technologically astute churches out there, as they utilize lots of different approaches to reach people with the message of the cross. Some of their more creative approaches are an Internet Campus and also a Second Life Campus.
LifeChurch SL Campus

Several people have asked for a copy of my research paper on the online churches. I do intend to make it available for people to read, so if you would like a copy of it, leave a comment and let me know and I'll get one to you as soon as possible. If you already asked for a copy of it, and have been waiting for some time now, I want you to know I haven't forgotten about you.

Keep checking DigitalWorship for a link in the next couple of days. Or subscribe to the DigitalWorship Feed and get updates as soon as they are posted!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bears in Dallas

Monday I was out playing disc golf with my wife at B.B. Owen Park (join me sometime if you're in the Dallas area!), and we had decided that we would only play the front 9 holes as the weather was kind of rainy. We have to take the cool days when we can get them in Dallas, you know.

I decided to play the 10th hole before we headed back home. Stepping onto the pad, I proceed to launch my disc into a heavily wooded area and it looks like it went in pretty far. It's a strange part of the park where this bamboo stuff grows rather than the native Dallas vegetation. My theory is they put the bamboo out there because of it's unique ability to gobble up discs that go awry.

Amy and I spent the next 10 minutes looking for the thing through all kinds of wet leaves and the whole time she's informing me that we wouldn't be doing this had we just stuck to the plan of playing only 9 holes to start with.

After searching in futility, I started to lose hope of finding the disc. Before we left I decided to give one more area of bamboo a good shake, when all of a sudden the trees started to move and bend like on the first episode of Lost. Fear overwhelmed me as stepped back from the trees.

I couldn't figure out what was coming out of the forest at me! Was it another golfer's disc that missed it's mark? I hadn't seen anyone else out there. Could it be a someone who lives in the tree-covered areas of the park? Perhaps.

These are the thoughts of a rational person though.

My first thought was, "Bears!" (For readers who are not familiar with Dallas, Texas, the chances of seeing wild bears in Dallas are about as good as finding a solid gold bar that's enclosed in a protective casing formed out of a flawless diamond on your front porch one morning.)

Amy of course is just laughing at me the entire time because she sees that the commotion in the woods was caused by none other than my disc falling from some of the upper branches.

The lesson: You thinking there are bears can be almost as deadly as the actual presence of bears since both situations have roughly the equal chance of causing you to have a heart attack before your 30th birthday.

The other lesson: Don't get attacked by bears when your wife is around because she might just laugh at you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

quick update

I commandeered a friend's iPhone and decided to just leave a quick greeting to everyone! Had a great time camping and at the beach. I will update you all about my trip later on.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Our Modern Struggle

Sure gas prices are high, stocks are shaky, and our political climate is in upheaval. But the real issue facing many Americans today is this:

How do we blog while we're camping?

Rather than attempt to leap this seemingly insurmountable hurdle, I will do what those who camped before me so long ago did: Take a break.

Other solutions exist, of course, but given my limited time before my trip and my current financial situation, these are now unavailable to me.

Allow me to address any concerns you may have about my upcoming absence.

Question: "Blogger lets you schedule posts! Why not just get ahead and then we would never know you were gone?"

Answer: That's what a person who had planned their blog better might have done. Taking a break is also a strategic move to help you realize how much you miss me when I'm gone. (See the previous month's complete void of posts for evidence of this.)

Question: "Just use your iPhone to update your blog!"

Answer: Actually, it's an iPod touch. It's like an iPhone, but with an extra bit of disappointment to those who think it's an iPhone at first glance. I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation with people. Anyway, to use the iPod I would need a WiFi connection at the campground. I don't think there is one, but I'll keep the iPod with me just in case. Oh, and that wasn't a question. Try again.

Question: "Can't you just find an internet cafe or something when you go to town?"

Answer: This is camping. It's not your sissified form of RV camping. We're talking real tents and dirt and snakes and everything. We're only bringing the bare essentials, such as a propane stove, a dutch oven, cookie dough, a generator, a window unit to cool the tent (this is south Texas after all), a coffee grinder/maker, and a campsite within walking distance of a Starbucks. Just kidding. We are actually camping though.

Question: "Who cares if you're gone? Just think hard while you're away and give us something good when you get back!"

Answer: Good point. It may be hard to see the implications of technology and the church out in the woods, however these next couple of days may help me see some of the technological items I use on a daily basis in their proper perspective... Actually that's probably not going to be the case at all. It will likely reveal a heretofore unrecognized reliance on technology which I will begin to realize within 12 hours of our trip and beg the group to find me a way to check my email, facebook, and blogs before I go bonkers.

All of that is to say this: Thank you for reading Digital Worship. I will be away for a few days, but don't worry. I will return on Monday eager to type and enjoy communicating with each of you very soon.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on the other side.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Am Rich - Finally!

Tonight I was scanning the Guiness Book and came across a cracker that sold for $7,840 at auction. "What kind of cracker was this?" you may ask. "Who would pay such an outrageous price for a cracker?" others my question?

The cracker was from the one of the Shackelton expeditions to the south pole (if you've never heard of these expeditions, you MUST read the Wikipedia entry at a minimum).

And the purchaser of this cracker was Johnny Van Haefton, great-nephew to Sir Philip
Brockelhurst, who was a member of Shackelton's crew. You can debate whether this cracker is worth the price paid because of sentimental value or becuase it is a part of history. More than likely, however, it's a status symbol.

Status symbols come in various shapes and sizes, and those wealthy enough to afford extravagance can now take a step away from the cars (which will likely depreciate) and houses (which will likly appreciate) to purchase something that is completely worthless the moment you buy it.

I give you....
I Am Rich
"I Am Rich," the most expensive downloadable app for your iPhone and iPod Touch. According to Fox News, the app sells for $999.99 and performs absolutly no function other than showing the picture of the glowing red gem. Some have speculated that the "i" in the lower right hand corner will give you wise counsel on maintaining your decadent lifestyle.

Owning an iPhone no longer places you in an elite group (you never were in one, by the way, since Apple has the goal of bringing a total of 10 million people into your exclusive group before 2009 begins).

If you want to be in the real elite, you must purchase "I Am Rich."

But remember, it's only a matter of time before Apple reduces the price of "I Am Rich" to $500 and releases "I Am Richer" for download for $1199!

Disc Golf, Bowling, and New Friends

My 12 year-old brother-in-law, Alex, was once sitting in his kitchen, eating one of his favorite breakfasts: leftover hot-wings. My wife entered the room and said, "Good morning."

Alex replied with a grin on his face, "I'm eating hot wings for breakfast and I'm wearing a soft shirt. Today is a good day!"

Alex has a way of putting things into perspective for you. No matter what else the day brings him, hot wings and a soft shirt are enough to make it a good day.

For the last few days I have felt down about things as I continue my job search and my wife, Amy, prepares to return for another year teaching. I have needed something to give me a boost.

Yesterday evening, I enjoyed 27 holes of disc golf, bowled a couple of games (145 was my best), and had dinner and coffee with some new friends. As my eyes grew heavy at the end of it all, I knew it was a good day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lewis and Clark

Over the last few nights, my wife and I have watched "Lewis and Clark" by Ken Burns. As such, I have developed a great respect for these men and the Corps of Discovery that crossed the North American continent.

When the team set out from St. Louis in 1803, Meriwether Lewis was just one year older than I am. Two years later, he and his team had crossed the great plains and were making preparations to cross the rocky mountains. Lewis had accomplished more in these 24 months than anyone could have dreamed possible, and yet he wrote the following words in his journal on the night of his 31st birthday.

This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the hapiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.

As I examine my life, I recognize that I have wasted more hours than I have put to good use. Failing to rise to the challenges that this modern life presents, I disply my own weaknesses.

My desire is that each of us can look back over these few short years we have "to remain in this Sublunary world" and see that we have "further[ed] the happiness of the human race" to the glory of our God who deserves no less.

Read the full text of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
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