Is God For Reals?

I have this thing lately that I do with my grandson when he excitedly tells me something. I say “Are you for reals?” He thinks it’s funny and is convincing me in his own way that he believes what he’s telling me.

There are many beliefs out there in the world. Today, people are less likely to believe that God is “for reals” and it’s hard to convince them otherwise. It simply comes down to whether you believe or not.

When I was growing up, a lot more people believed in God. Today, there are either people who don’t believe or they have other gods they place their beliefs in.

I have seen that there are basically three types of people who don’t believe in God:

First, there is the person that just never believed in God or was never taught anything about God to begin with.

Second, there is the person who bases their beliefs on scientific proof rather than God.

Third, there is the person who once believed in God but at a crucial time in their life they were either hurt by God not answering their prayers or hurt by other believers.

If you are reading this blog expecting me to offer you conclusive evidence that God exists then you will be disappointed. I will not be able to convince you – especially if you are someone described in one of the above categories. I have never seen God nor has He ever spoken to me in an audible voice. I wish He would but He hasn’t it and, if I’m being honest with you, I don’t understand why.

I was raised in the church so my belief in God was formed at an early age. As I got older, I evolved into my own relationship with God based upon my personal experiences and studies. I did go through a period of my life when I was intent on getting God to speak to me. I prayed, pleaded and fasted to induce God to speak to me. I read books and listened to tapes about ways that God speaks to people. Some people I knew personally even claimed that God had spoken to them through other people or mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit. I even bought their tapes and listened to them repeatedly expecting God to do the same for me.

Well, you guessed it, He didn’t and never has. While it still puzzles me. I continue to believe. Without solid and undeniable proof? Yes. Can I explain why I do? No. That’s just who I am. I continue to believe regardless. I often explained to God how difficult it is for us to relate to Him when He doesn’t communicate to us like we do other people in our lives. We read in the Bible how He spoke to those people and did miracles that, if done today, would prove solidify to people that there is a God. Sometimes it really gives God some bad public relations when He doesn’t. I have even caught myself telling God that He missed a golden opportunity to show people that He is God. I’m sure He is amused by my commentary on His lack of activity.

The bottom line is that God is not a genie that we can summon whenever we want Him to appear and grant our wishes. He’s God and we’re not and that isn’t going to change. Sometimes I wonder about these people who claim God spoke to them or this who speaking in tongues thing that some religious folks do to show how spiritual they are.

Speaking of speaking in tongues, let me tell you some of my experience with this alleged method of communicating with God.

I grew up in a Pentecostal church which believed in this thing called speaking in tongues. In many services, people who speak some kind of gibberish language and then someone would “interpret” in English – usually the King James Version of English – to tell everyone else what the Holy Spirit said. Sadly, I would say I saw more of this method as a way of manipulation than it was actually something that came from God. In all of my years in the church I never understood this act of speaking in tongues. I studied it and I tried it but it just didn’t work for me. I knew many people who could speak in tongues instantly but they were difficult people otherwise. I even have known people who could fluently speak in tongues but would cuss you out the next day. I even had a former pastor who would even tell racist jokes. I guess they were out of the spirit huh? I’m still very skeptical of the practice of speaking in tongues. I won’t say it isn’t legitimate in some situations but I can tell you from first-hand experience that it was often not legitimate. I know of a couple in a church where my dad was the pastor who used this practice to tell Him he was wrong in what He was preaching and tried to manipulate the rest of the church into thinking their way about him while advocating how spiritual they were. So, no, I do not have good examples of this speaking in tongues thing.

So, let’s get back to the question….is God for reals? How is it that I can still believe when I have no proof?

I could list a bunch of Bible verses here in this blog but that’s not going to convince you or anybody else. There are people who don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God so if you try to use that as “proof” then that defeats the purpose. People don’t want to hear you use the Bible since it was written by man. I get that. That’s a difficult argument to overcome. They always say “inspired” men wrote the Bible which has been handed down and translated many time over the generations. Even Christians are quickly to hit you with a Bible verse to support their politic view while ignoring other parts which speak to them and their own sins.

So what’s so wrong believing in a God that I can’t prove to you that exists? How terrible is it that I do my best to live up to the principles of the Bible? The Ten Commandments? Jesus Christ? Is that so terrible? Believing in God doesn’t mean you have to be a freak about it and preaching on a street corner somewhere. It doesn’t mean you have to be an activist and preach hate on people who don’t believe.

There will always be skeptics who have their own ideas concerning God and will point to their own evidence and, for some, there will be no amount of proof that will convince them otherwise. That doesn’t mean they’re right.

Even if I told you God has spoken to me in an audible voice or done some sort of miracle in my life, that still wouldn’t prove anything to you since it didn’t happen to your personally. This is why the belief in God is a “personal” relationship. A church and a preacher can’t do it for you, you have to do it yourself. I have heard people say that I would rather believe in God and be wrong than not believe as if they have some sort of “insurance policy” when they die. That’s a pretty weak belief. You either believe or you don’t.

So, I choose to believe. Agree with me or not. That’s your decision. If you don’t believe I can’t debate you into changing your opinion. My only hope is that God will reveal Himself to you in your own life.

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Confessions of an Apple Watch Convert

I finally gave in. I have an Apple Watch.

Yes, I know how geeky that sounds. If you know me, you know that I love gadgets and techie stuff.

So why am I so late in jumping on the Apple Watch bandwagon?

Two reasons: Cost and how geeky they have looked wearing them.

When the Apple Watch first came out one of my co-workers got one and it made him look like a total geek with the enormous watch face and white watch band. Along with costs that exceeded what I thought was necessary, I refused to join the club.

This past Christmas, I decided that I wanted to get a replacement for my Fitbit. I was still resistant to the Apple Watch. I had looked at the new version of the Fitbit as well as other smart watches. I finally asked Santa Claus for a smart watch from Fossil. It looked the most like a normal watch. When I got it, it looked great but it was a hassle to keep it connected to my iPhone. When my wife got the new, cheaper version of the Apple Watch 3 series, I was convinced and decided to give in.

I have been very happy with it.

One of the main arguments I would tell myself as a reason not to get an Apple Watch was that I still needed to have my iPhone. I have learned that this isn’t a big deal. It’s actually nice to simply look at the watch than pull out my phone. With my old fitbit, I could receive text notifications but couldn’t respond, now with my Apple Watch I can respond with either a preset response or use the microphone to transcribe my response. (Yes, it makes you look like a secret agent talking to the phone.) I can also check the weather or my steps for the day. No need to pull out the phone.

The Apple Watch doesn’t look as geeky now and you can get a non-nerd watch band to go with them. I like that.

And the obvious question some ask is: Does it tell time? Yes, it does and in any format you choose.

What’s my favorite feature of the Apple Watch? Text notifications and being able to respond without using my phone.

I have been using my Apple Watch for two months now and glad I made the conversion to it. I have to admit that I was hesitant to get rid of my Fitbit but I’m okay with it now. I can still track my steps as I did before and have a lot more cool features than ever.

So if you are debating about buying an Apple Watch, don’t sweat it. Just do it. Especially if you have an iPhone. If you have an iPhone, don’t waste your time with any other brand of smart watch. Trust me. You will save yourself a lot of aggravation.

For more information about the Apple Watch Series 3, click here.

Where Is God When We’re Hurting?

I don’t like pain. Pain hurts.

If you are a believer, you have faith that God can heal. We read the passages in the Bible where Jesus healed. Nothing was impossible for Him. We read these and even hear modern day stories of healing and believe them.

Then we find ourselves hurting and in pain. We pray and have faith that God can heal us.

But then He doesn’t. What do we do now? How good is our faith then?

I recently found myself writhing in pain after a fall. It was bad. I didn’t have time to formulate a proper prayer. All I could say was “Oh God! Oh God!” That was the only plea I could utter. I hoped that God would take away my pain. He didn’t.

It is a difficult place to be in when you need healing but don’t receive it. It’s a lot easier to believe in healing and have faith until you need it. When you pray and believe and it doesn’t happen. All you are left with after you pray is the pain.

Hello God? Are you there?

The Bible tells us that He never leaves or forsakes us but it sure seems like He does that sometimes. It can definitely shake your faith if you let it. The pain is the only thing you can see. Getting relief is what you seek. At that moment nothing is more important. It is difficult when it seems God is absent.

God doesn’t leave us in the time of our pain. It may seem like it but He’s there and He never leaves our side. I can’t tell you it’s easy because it’s not. It takes even more faith to believe He’s there even when everything suggests that He isn’t.

It is important during these times that we thank Him. We can thank Him that the situation wasn’t any worse than it is and ask Him for strength to get through our pain. At some point we know that there must be a reason that God didn’t heal us when we asked. There is obviously a higher purpose that He didn’t respond when we needed healing.

Trust me, it is harder than it sounds. Pain has a way of humbling us. We are strong and confident until we are hurting and suffering with intense pain. God still loves us even if He still allows us to suffer pain. It is tempting to question His very existence while we are looking at our own blood leaking from our bodies. This is when faith finds its biggest test. Faith is the strongest when we are our weakest.

Unfortunately pain is a part of life. As long as we are in this fallen world, we will face pain at some point in the course of our lives. Our full physical healing awaits us in heaven where we are told we will experience no pain, sickness, disease, suffering or death. (Revelation 2:1) This means that God won’t always heal us. Even when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus still had to die again. Now, that stinks doesn’t it? Although we fear death, death is the door to our final healing. That’s what Jesus did when He suffered and died for our sins.

When we are hurting, let faith go through the test with us. Faith doesn’t mean our prayers are always answered. I love to listen to good praise and worship songs or encouraging Christian music songs but when the ear buds are in our ears and we are hurting, that’s when it really tests our faith. Are we going to remain strong during the test or will we let our pain cause us to give in?

Christ knows something about suffering. He knows what it feels like when you pray for the suffering to pass and your prayer isn’t answered. He went through that so He knows how we feel when we ask and relief to our pain doesn’t come. It isn’t always neat and easy to explain when God doesn’t respond to our plea to be healed. I can’t say that it makes sense.

Psalm 34:18 assures us that He is there and with us when we are broken whether we feel like He is or not. His love for us isn’t determined by our pain.

Welcome to the Freak (Accident) Show

Carrie Underwood tripped over her dog’s leashes and needed 40-50 stitches to her face and broke her wrist.

Jimmy Fallon tripped on a rug in his kitchen and got his wedding ring caught on the counter almost losing his finger.

TODAY SHOW anchor Savannah Guthrie suffered a serious eye injury when her 2-year-old son threw a toy train at her. The accident caused her retina to be detached and some vision loss.

Freak accidents. They are accidents that you wouldn’t expect to happen which occur under highly unusual and unlikely circumstances.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are approximately 29 million visits to the Emergency Room each year due to freak accidents.

Anyone can be victim to a freak accident. One missed step can cause weeks of pain. It is definitely not something you plan and nothing can prepare you for it.

Here are some things that you experience when you have a freak accident:

Your work doesn’t give a damn. They are only concerned about getting the work done. Sorry to break that to you but none of us are that important to our work. Let it go because YOU are more important than the job.

Healing takes time (and patience) – This is hard to see in the beginning but it does take time. The length of time varies depending on the injury but it does take time. It can’t be rushed. Resist the pressure of resuming normal activities until you are truly ready.

Fight the depression – Being hurt stinks. You feel hopeless and frustrated. It is easy to fall into despair that you can’t function normally. You have to fight it and take one step at a time.

Mental healing is important too – When you have experienced a freak accident, you constantly relive the events. It takes time to feel confident again. Most freak accidents are things that could not have been prevented or to prevent it happening again. Sometimes the mental healing is harder than the physical healing.

People who really care about you really care about you – You will find out who really cares about you when you are hurt and need assistance recovering. The important people in your life will rise to the occasion.

Let people help you – It’s challenging for people who are independent to admit they need help. When you simply can’t do it yourself, let people help you.

Being injured sucks. None of us likes being taken down physically but when we are it is important to let the body rest. Unless you are a professional athlete there is no need to “push through the pain” and get back into your daily routine. Rest is the most underrated – and berated – part of recovery. Rest means putting down the smartphone and stop answering work emails. Rest means “time out” from activity. Do not underestimate the importance of rest in your recovery process.

Freak accidents happen. Cut yourself some slack when it happens.

Carrie Underwood told Ellen DeGeneres that the moment when she tripped over her dogs’ leashes was just as intense as it sounds—and she had no idea what the damage would be. “I feel like any time anything happens, it’s adrenaline or something, you don’t really know until you take a second to assess… It was one of those random things in life,” she said.

XFL Expansion To Nashville?

After a successful first weekend of the XFL, there is premature speculation on what cities the league might expand to next. Personally, I think it’s way too soon to assume that the XFL will add more cities yet. This version of the league has been operating in a slow and methodical method so I don’t see expansion in the near future. But, if they had a successful season and started looking at other cities, would Nashville be in the running?

The XFL is not afraid of putting teams in cities with National Football League (NFL) franchises. They already put teams in New York, Dallas, Houston, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington D.C. so there is no reason they couldn’t consider Nashville.

Unfortunately, I think there are other cities more suited for the XFL than Nashville. I think San Diego and San Antonio would be at the top of the XFL’s expansion list. The XFL would be remiss if they passed up on San Diego which was abandoned by the Chargers. Along with San Antonio, I also think Columbus (OH), Louisville (KY) and Orlando (FL) could be ahead of any possibility of a Nashville XFL thought.

Nashville would have some things on the con list to consider. First, they would not have a dedicated stadium since Nashville’s Major League Soccer (MLS) would also share Nissan Stadium until their stadium is built (if ever). The next big issue is the weather. The weather is so unpredictable in Middle Tennessee in February and March. It can be in the 70s one day and snow the next few days as well as rainy/stormy times that are frequent during this time of the year.

COULD Nashville support an XFL team? Yes, they absolutely could. This area could support it but there are other cities that would be a better fit for the league.

It’s simply too early to speculate on the future of the XFL after just one week. Past leagues have failed so the emphasis should be for stability and filling a niche during football’s off-season.

Let’s just see how it goes in 2020 and see if the XFL even makes it through the season.

Second Coming Of The XFL

This weekend, the return of the XFL kicked off in Dallas, New York, Houston and Washington D.C.

I liked it and have a good feeling about this league.

Early reviews and ratings are already better than last year’s failure of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) which failed to finish the season.

I watched the highlights of all four games from the first weekend and I think they have a quality product on the field. It’s also a kinder, gentler version of the original XFL that Vince McMahn put in our faces in 2001.

I also love the rule changes with the kickoff and extra point rules where they have eliminated kicking the point after touchdown for letting teams go for 1,2 or 3 points. I think that’s a great idea.

The league had an average attendance of 17,000 in Dallas, DC, New York and Houston which isn’t too bad. The XFL generated more ticket sales revenue prior to kickoff than last year’s AAF generated during its entire season. TV ratings where respectable with over 3.3 million viewers.

So can the XFL make it where so many others have failed? It depends on one very important thing – money. If they play within their means and don’t try to compete with the National Football League (NFL) they could last a bit longer than other leagues that have failed in the past. I also think that scheduling might help. I’m not sure that starting the season the week after the Super Bowl is a good plan. I might have waited until the first weekend in March.

The XFL has a great opportunity to be a developmental league for the NFL. The XFL isn’t trying to do that yet but if they can be a stable league, the NFL might see the advantage of a working relationship. I would like to see that happen. I have always thought that a spring football league could work with the right financing and management.

I was glad to see that the new XFL dropped the gimmicky WWE hype from the first version. Maybe they got it right this time. It’s hard to predict their future after the first week but they are certainly off to a good start.

Scores from the first week:

DC Defenders 31, Seattle Dragons 19

Houston Roughnecks 37, Los Angeles Wildcats 17

New York Guardians 23, Tampa Bay Vipers 3

St. Louis Battlehawks 15, Dallas Renegades 9

5 Ways To Navigate The Missteps In Life

stumbling man cartoon illustrationOne step.   One simple step  That’s all it took for me recently to change my life for the past two weeks.

Life can change in an instant.  We go along with the daily routine and our plans.  We think we are in control until God shows us that we don’t have things figured out.  Even if you don’t believe in God, I can tell you that life or the universe or whatever you believe in has a way of throwing you off of your plan and the things you thought you had under control.

We aren’t as smart as we think we are.  Life happens and then we have to make adjustments.

For most people the first thing they say is: “Why did this happen to me?”  Some people are quick to blame God whether they are a believer or not.  God doesn’t work that way.  Bad things happen to us regardless of our religious level.  (Matthew 5:45)  I have even heard Christians ask why would God let bad things happen to them.  Seriously?  Stuff happens.  That’s just how life is.  None of us are immune from life tripping us up once in a while.

We can ask that question but what answer do we expect to get that would satisfy us?  Things just happen.  We make wrong decisions and we take wrong steps.  What has happened has happened.  There’s not much we can do about things after they have happened.  THE most important thing we can do is to adjust and follow the course that is ahead of us at that point.

Instead of being stuck in the why, we have to discover the what.  What do we do now?

Missteps can be a way of getting our attention and altering our path.  We have to look at life altering events as things that push us into a new or fresh outlook on our life’s journey.  We have the choice either to be thrown by life’s bumps or change our attitude about the situation.  Personally, I don’t like to be blindsided by unexpected situations.  I like to be prepared.  Life doesn’t always afford us an opportunity to see what is coming.

So how can we deal with life’s stumbles and missteps?

  1. Understand that things happen – We can’t control everything. When it happens, don’t let it throw you. You simply can’t plan life.
  2. Take a timeout to regroup – These unplanned stumbles in life give us an opportunity to reflect and reset ourselves.  We need these times to take a break from the routine.
  3. Make a plan to move forward – We have a chance to see what has been done in the past and make adjustments to move forward.  Instead of reacting, we can look ahead with some clarity.
  4. Build upon your strengths – You know what you do best.  Focus on those things and work on your weaknesses.  Do what you can do.
  5. Leave fear behind – We all have fears about the unknown.  Let’s don’t let our fears keep us from moving forward.  Falling down happens but we can’t be afraid to get back up again.

Don’t let the unexpected or unplanned things that happen to you to keep you down.  I know it stinks when they do.  Absorb the blow and give yourself time to rebound from it.  Use the missteps to help you reset yourself.  We can let these moments be lessons that we can learn from to adjust our course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Denominations Really Demon Nations?

churchesI recently overheard a conversation two people were having about the impeding split in the United Methodist Church. I surmised from the conversation that they aren’t so united anymore. It was disheartening to hear so much talk about church politics and nothing about reaching the lost or spreading the Gospel.

It is odd that when I often type the word denomination that it is sometimes misspelled demonations. Is that really a coincidence or is there something to that?

In the first century, there were no denominations – only the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18). Paul said there is just “one body” (Ephesians 4:4), and that body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23).

The religious folks really line up along their denominational lines and that’s a shame. Why is it that the church has to be so divided and split up so many ways? You also have people who SAY that their church is independent or non-denominational but it is simply yet another division in the church. God never intended for it to be this way.

I heard someone declare once that there won’t be any Catholics in heaven. Seriously? I don’t know anyone has been to heaven and came back to give that report. It seems that God’s people are more divided than ever. If you don’t believe me, just look at the political climate. There’s not going to be a denominational heaven or separate heavens for each church organization. There’s just going to be heaven. That’s it. Fly your church flags as much as you want but it isn’t going to be about anything that man made thinking they have the exclusive revelation from God. Man-made religions have divided God’s people for years. It has become a Christian Tower of Babel where there are so many beliefs and interpretations.

Denominations are all man-made religions.  One man or group will get a different “revelation” and then they split off to create yet another organization.  Currently there are over 200 various Christian organizations in the United States.

Here are some of the origins of the various major denominations:

  • Adventists – Adventism is a branch of Protestant Christianity that believes in the imminent Second Coming (or “Second Advent”) of Jesus Christ. It originated in the 1830s in the United States during the Second Great Awakening when Baptist preacher William Miller first publicly shared his belief that the Second Coming would occur at some point between 1843 and 1844. His followers became known as Millerites. After the Great Disappointment, the Millerite movement split up and was continued by a number of groups that held different doctrines from one another. These groups, stemming from a common Millerite ancestor, became known collectively as the Adventist movement.
  • Baptists – Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism distinguished by baptizing professing believers only (believer’s baptism, as opposed to infant baptism), and doing so by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or aspersion). Baptist churches also generally subscribe to the doctrines of soul competency (the responsibility and accountability of every person before God), sola fide (salvation by faith alone), sola scriptura (scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice) and congregationalist church government. Baptists generally recognize two ordinances: baptism and communion.  Historians trace the earliest “Baptist” church to 1609 in Amsterdam, Dutch Republic with English Separatist John Smyth as its pastor.
  • Methodists – Methodism, also known as the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their practice and belief from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John’s brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. It originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley’s death.
  • Presbyterian – Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, which is governed by representative assemblies of elders. The roots of Presbyterianism lie in the Reformation of the 16th century, the example of John Calvin’s Republic of Geneva being particularly influential. Most Reformed churches that trace their history back to Scotland are either presbyterian or congregationalist in government. In the twentieth century, some Presbyterians played an important role in the ecumenical movement, including the World Council of Churches.
  • Pentecostal – Pentecostalism is a Protestant Christian movement that emphasizes direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
  • Evangelicals – Evangelicalism is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace, solely through faith in Jesus’s atonement. Its origins are usually traced to 1738, with various theological streams contributing to its foundation, including English Methodism, the Moravian Church (in particular its bishop Nicolaus Zinzendorf and his community at Herrnhut), and German Lutheran Pietism. Preeminently, John Wesley and other early Methodists were at the root of sparking this new movement during the First Great Awakening.

And those are only the top ones.  There isn’t enough room to list all 200 in this blog.  Let’s just say there are a lot of versions of the Christian church in America.

The trouble is “holy and religious” people who get a vision something special that others reject so they rally their own followers.  No wonder that today’s church lacks the power that the New Testament church had.  Instead, you have wackos that declare whatever they are declaring against the animal kingdom, marine life and speaking in tongues that make absolutely no sense but only do it to so us how spiritual they are.

Here is one of the simplest charts I have found on the various groups:

denominational

For the first 40+ years of my life I was part of an organization which had been split from the Church of God.  This group taught that we were the TRUE church and that we were the “Bride of Christ”.  We were the only ones that had a church flag.  We were the “chosen ones”.  Sounds a bit cult-like don’t you think?  Then in the 1990s our church was deciding about the wearing of wedding rings as well as the issue of divorce and remarriage.  Wedding rings or any jewelry had previously been prohibited. This change caused yet another group split off from the church and took their people with them.

With all of this bickering over doctrine and positioning for power within church organizations, the church lost sight of its true purpose.  When I hear people say they don’t believe in organized religion I can’t say that I blame them.  Organized religion has done nothing but create divisions. There is nothing organized about them.

Am I saying you shouldn’t go to church?  No.  That’s your decision. Some people NEED church. I won’t say that all churches are bad but I think the denominational separations hurt the influence of God’s church.  I once attended a meeting where various denominations came together for a church service and the first guy that got up made a statement I have never forgotten.  He said:  “I am proud of my denomination.  It has given me a pulpit to preach it.”  Wow.  That defeated the whole purpose behind the meeting.

No wonder people are leaving the church.

Folks I have lived church in my life and I have seen it all.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Mostly the bad and the ugly.  So I am not surprised to see how divided people are today.  This is exactly what Satan has done to the church.  By dividing it with over 200 organizations, he has weakened it and it has no power to stand against the world.

It took me a long time to break away from belonging to a church denomination.  It was firmly entrenched in my thinking and took some time to fix the faulty thinking I was taught.  What did it take?  It took a week getting away from the world and going to a monastery where I spent the week in silence, prayer and fasting.  No loud preaching and no one speaking in tongues.  Just alone in silence with God.  That is when I find a REAL personal relationship with Christ.  It was nothing tied to a doctrine or traditions handed down to me.

I’m not anti-church, I’m just not ONLY church anymore.  Our relationship with God is much more than being aligned to catholic, baptist, Methodists or Church of God groups.  I think we will all be surprised who will be in heaven.  I often think about my dad who was a strict man and firm believer in the church.  I wonder what he thinks now?  I am pretty sure he realized that he was a bit too strict about the doctrine and understands more about God’s love.

I have attended many church services when the whole theme was about the reasons that other church organizations were wrong.  I have been told that Catholics are wrong because they worship Mary (which is wrong), Baptists believe that once-saved-always-saved (out of context) and others are cults (takes one to know one?).  Most pastors and avid church folks like to quote Hebrews 10:25 that has a phrase about “forsake not assembling yourselves together” but it also says “encouraging one another”.  I don’t see much of that with the many variations of the church today.

The church doesn’t need to be in competition with each other.  It was never about reaching the world so that (insert denominational group here) gets the most church members.  It isn’t the church with the most members wins (or goes to heaven) it is those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.  It’s as basic as John 3:16.  It’s the “whosever” that is important here, not WHERE you go to church.  There’s nothing wrong with going to church, let’s just not let church be the reason that we are believers.

 

Tech Review: Brydge Bluetooth Keyboard

brydge1

Do you want your iPad to function more like a MacBook? Today, I am reviewing the Brydge Bluetooth keyboard. It is a very solid keyboard that you can pair with your iPad if you want to simulate a good laptop experience.

They are a little pricey ranging from $100-$150 but it is a very good Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad.

Setup is pretty easy. The iPad slips into brackets on the keyboard. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the keyboard if your iPad is in a case. There’s only room for the iPad which may be a negative since your iPad will not be protected. The brackets are very sturdy and come with jell-like inserts to make your iPad fit snug as well as protect your iPad from being scratched. I have to wonder how long the inserts will hold up if you insert and remove the iPad a lot. If you use your iPad as a laptop a lot you might want to just consider leaving it connected to the keyboard.  It wasn’t difficult to pair the keyboard as I was typing away in no time.

The keys on the keyboard itself are very well spaced out with the keys in the expected layout for an experienced typist. It really does look like a MacBook keyboard although the keys do feel a bit stiff. For low lighting conditions, you have the option of backlit keys. You can also use the keyboard in your lap like a real laptop. There are also multiple viewing angles for customize your typing experience.

The keyboard does make the iPad a little weighty when attached. It is still very slim and portable so I don’t think it will make a huge difference.

brydge2One of the things that bugs me about using this keyboard is that it doesn’t look smooth when closed. The brackets protrude out a bit which makes it look a bit awkward. I know it is a little picky but it may be a minor thing if you want a good laptop experience with your iPad. I can live with it.

The keyboard works with 9.7-inch iPad (5th & 6th Gen), 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air (1st & 2nd Gen).  The battery life lasts about twelve months (two hrs use per day w/no backlight use) or 20 hrs per charge (when running consistent backlight).  It is recharged with a USB-C cable.

So, the important question you might ask is…are you keeping it?

Maybe. This may be one of those keyboards I will keep for times I am using my iPad as a laptop a lot. It depends on the project I am working on at the time. It is a little pricey so that may be the only thing that leans me toward not keeping it.

Pros

  • A real MacBook laptop experience
  • Very sturdy keyboard
  • Backlit keys for low-light conditions

Cons

  • IPad has no protection
  • Jell on brackets may wear out over time
  • A bit weighty
  • Doesn’t look smooth

For more information about this product go to brydge.com

Tech Review: Yoozon Detachable Bluetooth Keyboard

Yoozon_3Today I am reviewing the Yoozon Bluetooth keyboard and using it with the iPad Air. No, Yoozon isn’t exactly a household name like Logitech or Zagg but they have a pretty good product. I am all about having a Bluetooth keyboard that will easily connect to my iPad Air and not taking away from using my iPad as an iPad.

The Yoozon Bluetooth magnetic detachable keyboard is a pretty good and inexpensive ($31.99 on Amazon) option to most other keyboards out there. I was able to connect it and start typing right away with no issues pairing the keyboard to my iPad Air. The keys are spaced out pretty well on the keyboard so I didn’t feel too cramped typing on it. The keys are placed just as you would expect for a good typing experience. I tend to fly as a typist and this keyboard did not slow me down. The only downside is that the keys are a bit slick and tend to slip off. I am sure that might change over time and wear.

Another feature I like about keyboards is backlit keys. This one has the feature. There are two settings for brightness as well as seven colors to fit your comfort level. It isn’t overpowering but enough to get you through when typing in low-light conditions.

The iPad case can be removed easily from the keyboard. It is connected with magnets so there isn’t much effort in removing the iPad. You can also position the iPad at any angle. I like this feature since I often find myself in different situations when I want to use the keyboard. It is also good for your lap and not flimsy like some other Bluetooth options. I will tell you that the keyboard and case were a little more weighty than I prefer but it can still fit nicely into my backpack without adding too much weight to my load.

Is it a keeper? I’m really picky about keyboards and this one has been in my possession longer than most. I still don’t have a good feel with the keys but I’m going to try it a bit longer.

The keyboard is compatible with iPad 2018 (6th Generation), iPad 2017 (5th Generation) and iPad Air 1

What I liked about it:

  • Magnetic detachable keyboard
  • Backlit keys
  • Multiple viewing angles
  • Protects iPad on all sides

What I didn’t like about it:

  • Keys are a bit slick to the touch
  • More weighty that I would prefer

Who would love this keyboard?
The person who wants a laptop but also an iPad without any obstacles removing or attaching the keyboard.