ComcastX1

After seventeen years with DishNetwork for TV and Centurylink for phone and internet, we decided to switch to Comcast Cable.  Comcast has a terrible reputation for customer service, but we decided to risk it for cheaper prices and much faster internet. How much faster? Take a look at the graphics below. These are actual tests this week from Speedtest.net.

CenturyLink DSL

CenturyLink DSL

comcast2

Comcast Cable

The internet speed increase is huge! In addition, we went with the bundle so we have the X1 system for TV. After a couple of days of using it, I really like it. It can record 4 shows at once and it pulls in content from the internet. I also really like the Comcast On Demand. And did I mention I’m saving money each month as well! Sometimes, change can be a good thing. Here’s more info on the X1 system.

 

The New City Catechism

September 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

New-City-Catechism

Growing up Southern Baptist, I never really heard about or knew about catechisms. A friend shared The New City Catechism with me and I started reading more about it. First, what is a catechism. Here’s the dictionary definition.

catechism

For students of church history, New City Catechism is based on and adapted from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism. It consists of 52 questions and answer and it is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer. It is developed and promoted by The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church and is available as a pdf, as an interactive iPad app, and online. Here is an example of the first question. Each day has the question (the highlighted text is the shorter children’s version), a commentary, a video explanation, the Bible reference, and a prayer.

newcity

After researching it, our family has decided to use this in our family devotions. I felt we needed to be more intentional is discussing how theology applies to real life. We are on week 5 and it has already created some great discussions in our family. The kids are memorizing the questions and answers each week, and we are discussing the commentary. If you want to find out more about it, check out this post by The Gospel Coalition.

Why a catechism? Here is more from their introduction.

At present, the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost. Modern discipleship programs concentrate on practices such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism and can at times be superficial when it comes to doctrine. In contrast, the classic catechisms take students through the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer—a perfect balance of biblical theology, practical ethics, and spiritual experience. Also, the catechetical discipline of memorization drives concepts deeper into the heart and naturally holds students more accountable to master the material than do typical discipleship courses. Finally, the practice of question-answer recitation brings instructors and students into a naturally interactive, dialogical process of learning.

Packed House

September 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

Packed House at Cornerstone Today!!

pressgram-features

 

I’ve been experimenting with a new app called Pressgram on my iPhone that replaces Instagram.  Instead of uploading filtered photos into Instagram, Pressgram allows you to take control of your own photos and share them through your blog, facebook, and twitter.  Instagram has been controversial because of their terms of service (see their explanation and change of terms here), so many people are uncomfortable sharing their photos through the service. If you have a blog, you have a great opportunity to upload and share your photos directly through your blog.

The big benefit is increased traffic to your blog. I have already seen this after just posting two photos to my blog. This helps people find your content and it helps you increase your blog audience. And Pressgram even has a WordPress plugin for self-hosted websites that removes your photos from your main blog feed. I have my photos in a separate category at www.faithengineer.com/photos

Pressgram includes filters and even tilt-shift effects just like Instagram. It’s not for everyone, but for bloggers, it’s a great app. Check it out at Pressgr.am

 

Going Way Back

September 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

Going way back! 15 years ago #tbt #throwbackthursday

Finally

September 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

It feels great to finally have this framed and on the wall!

I’ve shared before about Dogwood & Holly. They are a great acoustic folk band comprised of students from Liberty University. Two of the students are from Cornerstone and they have been involved with our praise team since the beginning. The band has even led worship for us twice (watch here and here)  They currently have a kickstarter campaign to raise money for their new CD.  I encourage you to contribute and help them out. They are incredibly talented and their music is very comparable to Mumford & Sons, Punch Brothers, The Avett Brothers, or Fleet Foxes. Here’s how they describe the new album

Moth & Rust: An ecclesiastical exegesis of life, meaning, and things of consequence.

1. Musical Complexity. The songs on this record are a bit more intricate both lyrically and instrumentally. Go ahead and tack the word “progressive” in front of “folk.” Also picture us with a piano, a string section, and a Jew harp. Yes, a Jew harp. Look it up.
2. Variety. You’ll hear some straight up mountaintop bluegrass, a taste of hardcore doom folk, and some summertime chilled-out tunes. Multiple writers in a band make for musical variety. The unifying element of the album is:
3. Philosophy. The philosophy of love, evil, death, existentialism, God, humanity… all that good mental floss thematically ties this particular collection of songs together.
4. Us. Owen, Richie, Luke and Audrey. Our personalities, beliefs, experiences, and voices come through this album, just like our last one. One thing you can expect to remain the same is our authenticity. One thing you can expect to be different is our maturity as writers, musicians, and as a band. Expect a cleaner, tighter, more professional sound, without the loss of the organic rawness that characterizes the folk genre.

I’ve included a recent youtube video of them playing at a recent convocation at Liberty.  Be sure to check out their kickstarter campaign and help support the band.

If you want to see more, check out these youtube videos as well. You can pickup their first album Bonaparte on iTunes or Amazon MP3.

Chromecast for Ministry

September 2, 2013 — 2 Comments

chromecast

At a price of $35, you can’t go wrong with the Google Chromecast. This little device plugs into a HDMI input on your TV or projector and allows you to stream content from your mobile device or computer. A while back, I blogged about the AppleTV and how it can be used for ministry. The Chromecast is very similar and much cheaper than the $99 AppleTV.

This device is great for streaming youtube or Netflix or even small group videos from your computer to your TV. When you install a Google Chrome extension, you can share whatever you are viewing on your web browser directly on the TV. Google also has Chromecast apps for Android and iOS.

I haven’t picked one up yet, but I’m waiting for them to come back in stock at Amazon. Again, this would be handy to just keep in your computer bag and use when needed. I can really see this being useful for youth or children’s ministry. If you have a mac or iPhone, I still think the AppleTV is a better device, but again the price for the Chromecast is hard to beat. Here’s more info from Google.

Chromecast is a small and affordable ($35) device that you simply plug in to your high-definition (HD) TV and it allows you to use your phone, tablet or laptop to “cast” online content to your TV screen. It works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music, with more apps like Pandora coming soon. With Chromecast, we wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house.

Get started in 3 easy steps: plug Chromecast into any HDTV, connect it to WiFi, then send videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV with the press of a button

 

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