Airplane Mode: Apply Liberally

[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]

airplaneWhen I was younger, I was always amused at creams or ointments that would include in their instructions the phrase “Apply Liberally.”

It was permission — more than that, an urging — to be generously free-wheeling with the application of their product. Don’t cheap out. Don’t fear side effects. Go for it. If a bit is good, imagine what more might achieve!

I’ve learned that Airplane Mode might be treated the same way.

In case you need a catch-up, Airplane Mode is a setting on electronic devices like cell phones and tablets that provides a one-click cutting-off from all external signals. As the name suggests, it was designed with air travel in mind, so that we could all respond in a split second to the flight attendant’s request that all transmitting devices be shut off. This great feature provides the compromise humanity has longed for: We can now appease the flight attendant and keep playing Angry Birds.

My discovery: Use Airplane Mode more liberally than that.

Nights: I flip on Airplane Mode right before I determine it’s close-my-eyes time. Who needs a sound sleep interrupted by even the vibration of a not-quite-silent phone?

Meals: If you’ve ever determined that family suppers are being compromised by texts or tweets, treat your dining table as an airliner. Your spouse will love you, and you may well rediscover the pleasure of a beep-free meal.

Visits: Rediscover the luxuries of speaking with and listening to the people your Facebook page claims you love most. When anyone can interrupt any moment for any reason, something has been lost — mark that down. This available-at-all-moments access, once reserved for brain surgeons and rulers of nations, now proceeds to thin out every moment in which all of us live. Hit Airplane Mode for an hour, and re-establish your skills at attentively caring for one person at a time.

Movies: Theaters already warn customers to turn off their phones so as to avoid being pummeled by angry film buffs during the show. If powering off seems too extreme, use Airplane Mode to fully engage in your entertainment and save your skin.

Thinking: There are some tasks that can be achieved with the fringes of one’s attention. But there are other tasks (particularly creative work or focused study) that demand our uncompromised A-game. Why self-sabotage by holding or wearing a buzz-bomb through which any time-terrorist can detonate the device and blow your hard-earned train of thought right off the tracks? In the name of efficiency, use Airplane Mode. Flip it back when you need that mental breather later on, and grant yourself freedom to ride every wave of inspiration or concentration as far as you can.

Airplane Mode: Start applying it liberally. You may be surprised at its healing benefits!



Six-Pack (56)

Way too long away! I have missed every one of you, AND I’ve missed posting. Time to re-establish order in our post-sickness lives. Cheers to new days and new starts!

So let’s jump in: Here is the first Six-Pack of 2014 — the best pieces that have kicked off my year. As usual, selections are generally centered on faith or ministry, though we leave sufficient license to include who-knows-what as we discover it!

If six ever feels overwhelming, start with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move out from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) My Advice to Married Couples After Divorcing My Wife of 16 Years (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Married, single, divorced, engaged, want-to-be-married, couldn’t-care-less — if you know another human being, read this. It might change the way you see or touch those lives.

2) How I Rediscovered Faith
Relevant Magazine‘s latest issue involves Malcolm Gladwell recounting a life-altering trip to Winnipeg as part of the research on his last book.

3) The Absolute Best iPhone Apps for Pastors
I do love being a pastor (most of the time), and I do love having an iPhone (most of the time). This list, from ProPreacher provides an interesting read for any other preacher trying to wield smartphones productively.

4) SATAN: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel?
This is a LONG read. But if you’ve ever been interested in the person of Satan as Scripture describes him, this is fascinating stuff that will have you asking new questions and re-reading familiar old passages with fresh eyes.

5) Interview with the Ultimate Warrior (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
This is a fun article, filled with childhood flashbacks for this former WWF fan. The former superstar chats about everything from career challenges to the business side of wrestling to being in a video game still today to slamming Andre the Giant.

6) Why Atheists are Angry at God
Joe Carter, of TGC, observes that some atheists approach non-faith in a strictly logical and rational way. But he notes what he considers to be far more atheists whose stance is emotionally charged. His question: What are they mad about? That might be good to know.

May your week ahead be filled with life, as you seek the One from whom it flows!

leaveacommentYOUR TURN: Your input makes this post better!

  • Which link above was today’s best-of-the-best?
  • Why that one?

Direct others to the best of the bunch with a quick comment.

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (24)

Welcome to Wandering & Wondering!

Just in time for Christmas, it’s your latest edition of the “Saturday Six-Pack”.

Typically centered on faith or ministry, you’re sure to find some who-knows-what tossed in!

If having a half-dozen options paralyzes you, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) A Circle of Honour
One of the most powerful acts you can carry out in your relationships is to initiate experiences in which those around you are appreciated, honoured, and admired… and they know it!  Great piece from Leadership Journal.

2) Seven Questions with Scot McKnight (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Here, David Kinnaman and Scot McKnight take a look at recent Barna research on Christian women today, particularly women’s levels of satisfaction within the church. Whatever your own take on women’s roles in the Church today, Scot offers compelling perspectives on the research.  Men and women alike, your comments below on this piece could start a fascinating discussion.

3) The Paradox of Advent
This reflective prayer vividly describes the real wonder of the Christmas season.  Thanks for sharing, Scotty Smith.  If you need one more worthwhile tweeter to follow, @ScottyWardSmith will do you well.

4) Six Reasons a Pastor Should Work a Month in Advance
Mark Pierce makes a few compelling (yet brief) arguments for why more pastors might wish to pursue this approach to preaching.  Read it before you wonder, “But how would I ever pull that off?”  Then Google a quote about a will and a way.  Then decide what your next step might be.

5) Best Mac Apps of 2012
For Mac-lovers who enjoy finding new programs and such, this list may provide some enlightenment. If anything, the list made me realize that I use my iPhone for a lot of things that I don’t even address on my computer.  Several of these apps were also focused on more creative folks than myself.

6) How Social Media is Destroying Productivity (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
An article featured in last week’s Six-Pack contained this line: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And a poverty of attention is one of the impacts of social media. This infographic (by ChurchMag) portrays the stats most interestingly.

Merry Christmas to all of you!  May your week be unusually full of an awareness of just how very close God has come.

Blessings on you, my friends.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff with a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (14)

Welcome to the weekend, and thanks for spending some time “Wandering & Wondering”.

This weekend’s Six-Pack features a half-dozen online offerings from the past week.  As usual, these articles are mostly faith-focused or ministry-geared, with a bit of disorderly-pile-of-who-knows-what tossed in!

Today’s edition:

1) Cheap Law
In his latest post for Gospel Coalition, Tullian Tchividjian shares this word: “Jesus shows that because God’s demands are unqualified and undiluted, the grace we desperately need must be unqualified and undiluted.”  He warns that the great problem in the church today is the same problem Jesus addressed in Matthew 5–cheap law, not cheap grace.  He then directs us to a very sharp piece by John Dink.

2) When the Church Lost Its Voice
Scot McKnight summarizes a chapter from Ross Douthat’s recent book, “Bad Religion” that sketches five major shifts that have undermined the faithful witness of the church over the past six decades.

3) The Enemy of Innovation and Creativity
That quest that many of us have toward ever higher levels of efficiency?  Patrick Lencioni has a warning about that.

4) Sectarianism Sucks
Frank Viola’s more proper title opens this piece that includes some powerful text from Watchman Nee on this divisive disease that still damagingly infects Christ’s Body.

5) Five Warning Signs of Declining Church Health
From his archives, Thom Rainer shares these five tip-offs for diagnosing un-health within one’s church before it hits dangerous extents.

6) The Moral Importance of the iPhone
This very brief piece from John Pattison provides a few provocative questions for any of us who depends regularly on technology.

Enjoy your weekend, friends, through renewing yourself and reverencing God.

NHL Playoffs: Round One

Are you or a loved-but-currently-lost one consumed by this year’s NHL playoffs?

Here is my interested-but-not-immersed approach to time-efficient fan-dom:

1) First three games of all series: Maybe catch minutes here and there.  Mostly follow series score through TSN’s iPhone app.

2) Game four, a few minutes of viewing is supplemented by morning edition of SportsCentre.  (More attention is given if a sweep could happen.)

3) Game five, a period may be viewed, especially a third one.  At this point, overtime becomes nearly mandatory viewing.

4) By game six, I may commit to watching two-thirds of a game, and overtime has become must-see TV.

5) Game seven: I follow the flow loosely until the third period, when a close game will hook me in for the duration.

Now that you know how to view the playoffs.  Place your votes on the big-money question for the first round:

How about you?  Any playoff routines or rituals?  Is this “the most wonderful time of the year”, or a waste of ten weeks? 

Three iPhone Apps You Should Consider

The old adage encourages, “Shake what your mama gave you!”

Beyond the mamas and the shaking lies a sentiment about using what you are given.  But what if what has been given is not all that it could be?

This is the question for many iPhone owners: Which of those preloaded apps could be improved upon? Which upgrades are worth the change?

Here are three moves that I am glad I made:

1) Camera
One of the most significant upgrades from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S revolves around its photographic capabilities.  That said, why not push that progress even further?  My experience at trying to do this revolves around two apps:

This is one of the most highly-reviewed apps in both the official App Store and in other sources I have read.  One review I read said that Tap Tap Tap, the app’s developer is so skilled at advancing the photography of iDevices that Apple frequently incorporates their developments into later releases of their own stuff.  What’s that quote about that the highest form of flattery?

If you plan to use your phone for any form of image-capturing, spend the buck on this one.  Seven million people are already on the wagon!

Camera Awesome
If I didn’t already use Camera+, this would likely be my next choice.  For the cheapies out there, this one rings in at the optimal price of FREE.  I am not a huge fan of the generic “awesomize” feature, though if you are looking for a mindless way to improve most photos in a single click, this may meet your desire.  Something I DO like is that Camera Awesome allows you to toggle over to video mode, whereas my app of choice, Camera+, leaves you stuck in strictly-stills mode.

2) Calendar
Initially using the built-in Calendar on my 4S, I had no real issues with the app.  More than anything, it was the multitude of alternative calendar apps available that got me to wondering how many different ways there were to design a digital calendar.  Make no mistake, there are MANY, my friends!

After some online homework, I settled on Week Calendar, primarily because I agree with their premise that the primary look that most of use in day-timers or agendas is… wait for it… a WEEK.  Surprisingly, this feature is not available on many of the calendar apps.  With some minor tweaking of the settings, one can craft this app into exactly what you need to stay organized, without having any unnecessary features cluttering up the process.  I have continued to check out other apps but have settled quite happily on Week Calendar.

If you want other alternatives, you could start with investigating Calvetica Calendar or QuickCal Mobile, to name but two of the options out there.

3) Twitter
My Twitter frequency and  usage increased markedly when I purchased my iPhone.  For starters, Twitter is just a lot more enjoyable to use on my phone, so much so that I seldom even check it on my computer anymore.  A couple reasons come to mind: 1) I love being able to rifle through the latest tweets when I just have a minute or two to spare.  Those quick peeks, spread through the day, allow me to stay on top of the pile, quickly starring favourites for later, and never feeling much burden in the task of keeping up.  2) Tweetbot.

Like my journey with Calendar, I had no real beefs with the pre-loaded official Twitter app, aside from wanting the ability to schedule and disperse tweets over time.  The search for that feature led me to Tweetbot, which does NOT possess that feature at all!  (If Tweetbot ever adds the ability to schedule tweets, they will have perfected this creation.)  However, if there is a better app for my Twitter-life than Tweetbot, I have yet to find it.  The cheapskate in me balked at paying a couple bucks for an app to replace  the  free-and-not-obviously-flawed Twitter app.  The rest of me has never looked back since growing accustomed to the sleek design and smooth usability of Tweetbot.  If you’re looking to enhance your Twitter experience, join the Tweetbot team.  You will not be disappointed.

How about you?  Any “app upgrades” that you would deem most worthy?  Any moves you made that you ended up undoing afterward?

Comment below to share.  I would love to learn from you.


Saturday Six-Pack (6)

Welcome to the weekend, and thanks for spending some time “Wandering & Wondering”.

Typically, the Saturday Six-Pack features articles that are faith-focused or ministry-geared, but I reserve the right to live up to the “disorderly pile of who-knows-what” tagline at the top of this page!  This particular edition covers everything from conflict, to creativity, from iPhone addictions to inbred elephants. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Without further delay:

1) Why Conflict in Life is Terrific
A better life can be found on the other side of conflict.  Donald Miller provides some guidance on how to navigate those potential-filled times of tension.

2) Creativity, Excellence,… and Patience
If you want to be great at whatever you do, then check this brief read out.  If you don’t want to be great at whatever you do, then find something else to do.

3) Our Hearts, Desperately Deceptive
If you can guess the connection between pears, prostitution, and the crookedness of the human heart, then don’t click on this one.  But if you can’t…

4) Quotes for Lent
The season of Lent is all but finished for another year, but this wonderful list of quotes might help you look back on the season that was and help you consider what God may have wanted to do in your life over the past forty days.

5) How Can I Stop Using My Phone all the Time and Actually Connect with Real People in the Real World?
After awarding this post with the longest-title-in-in-the-history-of-the-Saturday-Six-Pack trophy, I now direct any technology-trapped readers to rediscover the world that is NOT contained on that admittedly incredible screen in your pocket.  How to create a bit more freedom from the phone?  Read on.

6) Stop Inbreeding Innovation
Any article that begins with a paragraph about inbred elephants gets stuck in the Six-Pack; that is one of this blog’s founding principles.  That said, when the trunked beasts and their dangerously narrow family trees is set aside, what you’ll find here is a challenge to broaden your chances at fresh and creative ideas.  If you could use that, you could use a lesson in pachyderm sperm bank management first.

Have a great weekend, friends–renew yourself and reverence God.