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In the book of Revelation we have a vision of a multitude praising and worshipping before the throne of God,

“…crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 7:9–12, ESV)

All the worship given to God *is also given to the Lamb*–to Jesus–who retains that identity and is worshipped for it forever! There can be no separation between what God is like and what Jesus is like. The who point of incarnation is for the Shepherd to be with his sheep, to both identify himself to them and with them so that they will recognize his voice. We can be absolutely sure that if we are listening to and obeying Jesus, we are hearing and responding to God. If we want to know what God is like, we can say without qualification that God’s character is exactly like Jesus.

From this week’s sermon.

SKETCH 01

In the spirit of Micro.blog’s emphasis on short form content, here’s a short musical sketch. Maybe I’ll do more.

Why I might (one day) get an iPad

I continue to enjoy my 2016 13 inch Dell Inspiron. It’s still pretty snappy, can do pretty much anything I need for work, and I’ve grown to appreciate the ability to use it as a tablet on occasion at my desk. It’s nice to be able to flip it around in tent mode for watching videos and operating the interface via touch. Still, it’s kinda big to lug around everywhere I go, and takes up a lot of space when traveling.

Mostly it stays at home for heavy writing days, and goes with me to my study at church (again mostly spending time doing research and some limited graphic design). I’d love to have a smaller, lighter computer for those times when I want to write an email, do research, etc, but don’t want be so weighed down.

Currently, I have an Amazon Fire HD tablet that is actually surprisingly useful for some of these applications. It handles email and basic web browsing well, and I can connect my portable Bluetooth keyboard for a great typing experience. I can even write longer pieces (like I’m doing right now) in Jotterpad, a nice Markdown editor that has great Dropbox support. The Logos Bible app works acceptably well for basic research.

However, the performance of the Fire tablet starts to drop when it comes to heavier web browsing and biblical research via the Logos mobile app. Plus, there’s no way to mirror the display on a TV, so using my Fire as a lightweight solution for presentations is out. Right now I’d have to put a bit more money into a special case to make my tablet work well to type on while sitting in my lap.

So, I’ve been looking into a future purchase to supplement my primary laptop. This would be a secondary (yet capable) machine with a smaller form factor for travel and being out and about. I’d love for it to replace my tablet so that when I’m on the go I can have only one device with me in addition to my phone.

I was instantly drawn Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of products, of course, because this is exactly what they promise: A full computer experience in an ultra portable package, with touch support for the times you want to be in tablet mode. And since it’s a real Windows 10 device, you can easily use all kinds of peripherals like mice, external displays, etc. There are a few limitations for me when comes to the Surface Pro: 1) some apps aren’t available (like the Amazon Prime video app) 2) The expensive price tag (cheapest configuration I could find was around $800), 3) the size.

The apps that aren’t available on Windows aren’t that big of a deal to me, because that slight inconvenience is massively outweighed by the apps that are available in full desktop mode. For me, having the full Logos Bible desktop experience available on the go is incredibly compelling.

There’s no getting around the price, and by all accounts the Surface Pros are worth it in terms of build quality and performance. However, that’s the amount of cash I’d want to spend on my primary machine, which brings me to the fact that Surface Pros are still pretty big at 12 inches. I’m sure the bezels are thinner than my Inspiron, but the Pro not that much smaller. Could a Surface Pro be a total laptop replacement for me? Absolutely, but I’d really prefer a 10 inch form factor for portability.

What about the newish Surface Go? It’s exactly what I want, except for the terrible performance. Side note: I actually purchased the ASUS knockoff version of the Surface Go, the ASUS Transformer Mini, and while the price and aesthetics were on point, it also performed terribly. I returned it to Amazon after a few day of struggling to get it to really work for me. Turns out just about every small Windows computer is using super under-powered hardware.

So where does that leave me, assuming portability is one of my highest priorities and I don’t want to shell out the cash to completely replace my current primary computer?

I think the only really viable option is the Apple iPad.

Not the iPad Air (fully outfitted, even the base model gets up to nearly $800) and certainly not the iPad Pro. But the basic 128 GB iPad model gets me great performance, portability, multi-tasking, all my essential apps (but no Windows games, bummer) and the ability to mirror my screen for presentations (and hopefully secondary display support soon). I can get one of those, a bluetooth keyboard case and an Apple Pencil for under $450. I’m not ready to take the plunge quite yet, but I think that’s where I’m headed.

Last bowl of the now discontinued Dunhill Early Morning Pipe this morning. Enjoying with coffee as as I always have.

Ed Stetzer:

…our churches need to be a safe place for people who wander, and for people who wonder.

Reflecting on Rachel: Why She Mattered

Now, a call to give our very lives for the sake of discipleship, for the sake of following Jesus, might seem rather morbid. It might seem rather depressing. It might seem rather pointless, yet we must remember we are in Easter season.

We have to remember that Christians are an Easter people, which means we recognize the call to die is from the Risen Christ.

And so if we follow him–even to the cross!–we can be sure that he will lead us through the cross and into eternal, Resurrected life with him.

From this week’s sermon.

Sunday evening in the back yard…time for a few minutes of relaxation before putting the kids to bed. Cult Blood Red Moon in my trusty Cassillero 591 bent pipe.

Part of my free comic book day haul.

G investigates a surprisingly lifelike alligator at a local park

Miraz Jordan - Why not move a community group’s website to FB?

Really good points here. Using FB as your content “home” if you are a church or other organization is asking for trouble, and may even end up inadvertently excluding some people.

The slaveholding mentality, which many American Christians assume is past, continues to distort the way we read Scripture and think about each other. With gentleness and humility, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove shares how we can find freedom in the way of Jesus.

I learned a lot from this Renovare podcast episode. Definitely worth a listen.

Photo By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Photo By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Link

This piece by @Ben is by far one of the most helpful and practical I have stumbled across on going full time with an iPad Pro.

The File Manager Strategy for Keeping and Organizing Your Notes

Over the past few years I have been an avid user of OneNote as a way to organize reference material, plan projects, and keep personal notes. However, I have been increasingly frustrated by the direction its going in terms of how accessible your notes are. As Microsoft transitions to a more web-centric approach, your notes aren’t even fully available to you on your device; rather, they are stored in the cloud. Furthermore, there’s no easy export from the most up to date version of the app.

As I began to explore alternatives I realized that most note-taking applications suffer from the same drawback: they are hard to get your notes out of if you need to back up or take them to another service, and aren’t always available on every device, all the time. For me, the perfect notetaking application allows me to store reference files and writings in a way that’s easy to search, fully portable, easy to back up, and as future-proof as possible.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized the answer was right in front of me, and it was a strategy I had used in the past:

The file system.

Yes, just the humble file system on my laptop! It just makes sense.

  • Notes can be in any format needed (image, plain text, RTF PDF, Word)
  • Notes can be organized in virtually any way I like with a well thought out file structure and file names.
  • Search is robust and built in, and can include things like size, type, date modified, date created, and more.
  • Using apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive (but–sadly–not iCloud), all notes are fully searchable and available on any device with Internet access, while always being available offline where I need them to be.
  • Since everything is just files in folders and synced via a web service, a single note or a group of notes can be shared with granular control.
  • Backup is as easy as making a zip archive and throwing it on a USB drive.

Sometimes you just don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

I love these beautiful lilies my wife set out for Easter. Watching them bloom over the past week is a meaningful reminder that in the Great Tradition of the Church, Easter is an ongoing celebration, with its own multi-week season and every Sunday being a mini-Easter celebration in itself.

If you wonder why the Resurrection of Jesus is so important (and why it gives a real reason for hope), you could give my Easter sermon a listen.

How do I know that I’m saved? This is a question that plagues many faithful Christians, particularly those in Evangelical circles. With such a strong emphasis on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Evangelicalism has contributed to a false mindset in which salvation depends upon a person’s sense of being saved. If I don’t feel Jesus today—if I don’t feel all that saved— then how do I know that I really am saved? If only there were something outside of my personal feelings that revealed God’s love to me! Thanks be to God, there is.

Myles Hixon, “Maundy Thursday: A Collect Reflection” via Anglican Pastor

Setup with a laptop stand

The ergonomic improvements from this simple shift to using a laptop stand and bluetooth keyboard are quite noticeable.

Nulaxy latop stand looks great!

The laptop stand I got is super sturdy, looks great, and is decently portable.

Nulaxy Adjustable Laptop Stand

Other stuff in the photos:

A frictionless Weekly Review

For those of us that practice GTD to manage our commitments and keep them with integrity, the weekly review habit is crucial. This is the time each week when you take moment to break from the minutia, look up, and take stock of the situation by updating and looking over your lists of projects and next actions. Many of us find it difficult to keep a regular review habit, mostly because it takes effort, and—even though there is a psychological payoff—it’s easy to shrug off in the name of urgent demands on your time.

So anything I can do to make my weekly review easier, I want to do, which is why I am excited about sharing the fact that the last two weeks I have had the most frictionless weekly reviews I have ever had thanks to a tool called Workflowy (btw if you sign up for free at that link I will get a bit of a feature bump to my free plan).

It’s a deceptively simple piece of software; online outliners are a dime a dozen, but this one is fast, easy to use, and thanks to its robust search capabilities and tagging system, quite powerful as well.

All that said, it was the simplicity of it that made all the difference. I have a top level node labeled “GTD” with all my lists there. I can zoom in easily and just focus on the particular list I need, or zoom out and see the whole thing, which is what I did for my review. And it made it so easy, because I could just scroll through! No switching lists on different virtual pages, no complicated sorting. Just simple scrolling as if the whole thing was on a sheet of paper.

Absolutely brilliant.

Updated my now page.

It’s a different way of life to intentionally avoid the new and shiny to for the good of your wallet and your soul.

People say GTD requires too much time manging your lists. This is a feature, not a bug.

I notice that when I publish a draft in Micro.blog, it retains the date in the timeline that I created the draft, so it doesn’t get posted to the timeline. Interesting aspect of this functionality.

Makeshift laptop stand. I realized half of my chronic neck and shoulder pain is probably due to hunching over my computer.

The Unbusy Microcast: Slowing Down To Take A Walk

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. -Soren Kierkegaard

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http://nathanrhale.com/podcast.xml

Here’s a handy site to estimate reading times of text.