Apps for the Christian’s Smartphone

I must confess, I have always been a technophile.  From the old Atari my brother and I played as children, to the ubiquitous tablets and smartphones, I’ve always got my eye on the last trends and topics in gadgetry and software.

While these gizmos can easily become black holes of time, motivation, and creativity (it is disturbing to learn how many hours one spends on social media or games), they can also be convenient tools of productivity and enlightenment.

For example, just today I was having a conversation with someone about the nefarious “chigger” that likes to eat at the legs of residents of South Dakota, and a quick Google Search brought me instantly more information than I could have ever wanted (note – you really don’t want to read this at the dinner table).

I thought that I’d let you know of some of the most helpful apps that are currently on your Pastor’s smart phone.  I am an iPhone/iPad user, so all of these are currently available in the Apple app store on your phone or tablet.  I don’t know about their availability on Android devices – sorry.

Logos – Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 2.35.53 PMI use the Logos Bible Study Software for my Sermon prep, daily bible reading, prayer journaling, just about everything that’s Bible study related.  I have this on my laptop (a paid version), and everything I do there is instantly updated on my tablet and phone.  The app provides customizable Bible reading plans, easy to use word studies, and even a version of the  audio Bible, so that you can listen to the Bible while on the road or working around the house.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 2.39.42 PMVyrso/Kindle/iBooks – While I still love holding a real paper book in my hand, I cannot dismiss the convenience and volume of resources available on an e-reader.  The Vyrso reader is connected to the Logos library, and anything I highlight, underline, or any resource connected to scripture, is instantly searchable and available to copy and paste (with the citation of the quote provided, too).  Kindle and iBooks are great readers as well, and offer tremendous deals from time to time on great literature and scholarly works.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 2.52.19 PMFighter Verses – This is created by Desiring God ministries, and is a great tool for helping you memorize scripture.  It has quizzes, games, songs, just about anything to help you hide God’s word in your heart.  The app automatically brings up a new verse each week, and offers commentary, studies, and other resources to help you grow in understanding the Scriptures.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 2.57.08 PMCatechisms – This is another memory tool, but specifically for learning the Westminster Shorter Catechism.  It also offers memorization tools for the Larger Catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Geneva Catechism.  You can set this at your own tempo, either learning a question a day, or moving on only when you’re ready.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 3.00.36 PMRefNet – This is basically Ligonier Ministry radio online.  RefNet (Reformation Network) is 24-hour Christian internet radio featuring biblical preaching and teaching.  Listen in for free and be enriched by the ministries of Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, and many more.

There are, of course, a lot of other apps on the phone, but these are ones that I have found particularly helpful in ministry, and just in my own Christian walk.  Other notables, but not specifically ministry related are: Spotify (streaming music), Evernote (a note taking app that is great for sermon prep), and AccuWeather (for reliable updates on weather in the area).  I’m sorry I haven’t included links to all of the apps, but as I mentioned they are all available in the App Store on your phone, or tablet.

Wasted by Glory

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Habakkuk 2:14 ESV

I know there’s always the danger of coming home from a conference and feeling dissatisfied with life and work.  You go away for a couple of days, free from the stress and busyness of the everyday life, and is drudgery having to get back into the same old routine again.  You struggle to implement the great ideas you picked up, and no one else shares your enthusiasm.  You can’t go back to the mountain top, and eventually the passion dies.  I’ve been through this before, I recognize it for what it is, and I know to avoid it.

However, what I’m experiencing this week is something completely different.  Last week I attended the Desiring God Pastor’s Conference.  Speaking at the conference on prayer were such authors as Joel Beeke, Mark Dever, Francis Chan, and John Piper.  1700 pastors were led in uplifting worship by a fantastic band.  Yes, I came home with some great ideas, a few more books to fill the shelves, and a renewed sense of commitment in prayer. 

In a few months, the remarkable things that were said may be forgotten.  I may get bogged down and forget my resolve.  I may have to walk away from the mountain top and live among the maddening crowds.  But there is something that I will never lose.

In a unique way, this conference allowed me, through the reading of scripture and “prayerful prayer” to, for a brief moment, have a taste of the all-surpassing glory of God.  For just a moment, I saw myself for who I truly am – a sinner in need of grace, distracted by so many things from the greatness and glory of God, chasing after so many lesser loves rather than resting in the wonderful love of my blessed redeemer – and I saw God glorified and lifted up – full of grace and truth, redeeming and restoring all whom He calls to Himself, sanctifying and preserving His church. 

I have been wasted by glory, I cannot be the same. 

I will work twice as hard to in some way communicate the glory of God in my messages, but I know that even in my greatest eloquence I will always fall short.

I have committed to renewed prayer, but now find myself waiting in silence, recalling God’s words of scripture, allowing Him to speak to my heart and mind.

I cannot read through Scripture without stopping in amazement at how God’s goodness and glory jump off of every page.

The gadgets and stuff that I once daydreamed about seem silly to me now.

I still find beauty in the world around me, joy in the love of family and friends, but my heart is consumed with a passion that lies elsewhere.

Food doesn’t even taste as good, now that I have “tasted” the goodness of God.

I have been wasted to the world by the glory of God.

And yet, I find a renewed appreciation for the blessings God has provided, a renewed love for my wife and kids, and a greater compassion for the church and for those in need.

Because the world no longer holds the answer for me, because my eyes are fixed on Christ, the author and finisher of my faith, perhaps now I am of more use to God and benefit to the world.

May my life reflect the glory of the Lord, that all may know His greatness and love.