4 apps that make my life better!


I am super grateful to be living in the age of technology. There are so many functions and aides available in the portable delight of my trusty iPhone that make my brain clearer and my days easier. 

I am not particularly techy. But I’m all for working smarter not harder – these apps help me do that. They’re not new or fancy but here’s how I use them. 


Calendar App 

This is about mind management. I keep ALL of my daily movements, appointments and events in this and I do whatever it tells me. I don’t say yes to any invitation or appointment without checking &/or entering it in my calendar. Having all this information centralised and on hand allows me to check the night before what my day will look like, eliminate the chances of a double booking and it’s programmable alerts (inclusive of allowing travel times) keep me on track throughout the day. 

Read more about the psychology behind it here – why you should remember nothing


Over – photo editing & image creation 

I use this to create all of my visuals for social media and communication. Blog graphics, quote images, invitations and promotions are all created in this super intuitive app. I import photos from free sites (such as StockSnap.io and Pexels.com) and use in-app artwork, fonts and templates to generate high res images for export to online or printing. 

There are font and image packages and upgrades available. I’ve purchased some and have found them great value but the basic package is sufficient without them.  


YouVersion Bible App 

The usefulness of this app cannot be overstated. From the benefit of having a Bible with me always (when I would not otherwise have access to a paper Bible) to its extensive range of translations and reading and devotional plans through to the audio functions – this is such a powerful app. You can book mark and highlight favourite passages, generate images of verses, interact with other users, host events …if only it could make me a coffee it’d be perfect! 🙂

Read 3 reasons to give audio reading a try

OneNote 

I am 110% sure I’m barely scratching the surface of the functionality of this app but what I’ve started to use I love. It’s a ‘digital notebook’ – a place to collate lists, notes and ideas that is always accessible. I use it to keep records and notes for meetings with individuals or teams, ideas for events and messages, and shopping lists all in the one place. Groups can collaborate via shared notebooks. Images and text can be saved as well as scribbles and drawings. 

What about you? What apps do you use frequently? Which ones would you recommend?

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how far can I go?


“How far can I go?” Easily the number one question – spoken or not – of Christian dating couples in relation to physical intimacy. “How far is too far?” Or asked another way, “What is the absolute most we can get away with without actually sinning?”

I’ve heard all manner of answers to it, from the ‘click and whistle’ approach (cause you can’t get up to too much if you’re hands are clicking and your lips are whistling!) all the way through to justifying everything outside of vaginal intercourse (which leaves a whole lot of options!).

It reflects the natural bent of the human heart – but particularly the young person as they explore their emerging independence and self-governance – to know where the boundary is so that we can run right up close to it. How close to the fire can we stand without getting burnt? How far can I go?

It’s the wrong question. 

We don’t ask it with some other boundaries.

When standing on the edge of a very tall building we’re more likely to ask ‘how far BACK from the edge do I need to stand to be safe?’ And only the brave (or stupid) would venture too close. Because we know that the consequences of finding out where ‘too far’ is would be dire!

We need a better understanding of sexual intimacy. 

While they may be true, ‘God says’ or ‘the Bible says’ are not adequate boundaries. They’re a good start but ultimately unsustainable without a greater sense of purpose and intent. An understanding of why God wants us to honour our own and one another’s sexuality (including His intended design for us to experience and explore our sexuality in covenanted marriage, the preciousness of our physical person and His desire to keep us from heart-wounding) is needed to carry beyond the legalism to a deeply held desire for God’s best for us and for the other.

Externally imposed rules and boundaries are no match for internally determined desires, goals and intentions. A deeply held understanding of and a conviction around God’s best is needed to make good personal choices and also to process any sense of falling short. 

God desires that we would not be wounded sexually through abuse, rejection, confusion or manipulation. He doesn’t intend for sexual intimacy to be a thing of comparison or competition. God doesn’t want us to carry the heart burden of sexual regret or remorse as well as other potential physical consequences.

God designed us as sexual beings and, as with everything He made, it works best when experienced as He intended for us. God’s love for us compels Him to draw a boundary around our sexual exploration and engagement.

Honour as a boundary. 

Whilst boundaries around the where, what and when of physical intimacy are helpful and accountability to them necessary – the greater value of honour will ultimately fuel the kind of self-control and determination required to succeed. Honour of God’s will and heart for us, honour of our own sexuality and the gift it is intended to be in its created context and honour for one another – a deeply held sense of protection and preservation of the other’s dignity, purity and heart. 

Instead of “how far can I go?” other questions to ask …

What do I hope for in a potential future marriage relationship – how can I protect that now? How do I best honour the other person? Is this in line with God’s design for my sexuality and for sexual intimacy? How can I manage my own lust and desires? How far back from ‘the edge’ should I stay to keep from falling? What decisions do I need to make and practices should I put in place that will set me up to win?

 

single – it’s a real thing!


One of the challenges of youth is that you start making decisions that can dramatically impact your future when you are least likely to be legitimately considering your future! It’s biologically true (in relation to brain development) but also just reality that without a very long personal history a young person’s capacity to consider their future is limited.

When dealing with these decisions that come up, I like to ask young people to try and picture what they hope their future holds because it’s really only in light of this that they can make choices that are heading them in a positive direction. What kind of person do you want to be? What activities would you be doing? Where would you be working? What kind of people would be in your world? … and which of these choices you’re considering would make that future more possible?

Everyone I do that exercise with imagines that they’ll be married. Everyone. Depending on age and how far into the future we’re projecting they might also be considering children. But even those who are not particularly interested in dating right now or still believe the opposite sex has ‘germs’ – when asked to picture their future, expect it to include a spouse.

It’s part of the narrative of life. It’s how humanity was created to continue. Attraction that leads to intimacy and oneness in marriage that leads to offspring who are attracted to others and get married and have offspring. It’s the ciirrrrrrrcle of liiiiiiiiife! (You sang that, I know you did!)

While that may be exactly how the future plays out for most – it’s not a guarantee for all. And even if it is in the future for our young people – it will not be the only or necessarily most significant part of what their future holds. And even if it is to be a significant part of their future – that may be some time away. So what about now? What about between now and then?

We need to develop a theology of Singleness.

EVERYONE is born Single. EVERYONE will remain Single for a significant portion of their lives (marry at 20 and live to 80 and you’re looking at 25%!!).

SINGLENESS IS A LEGITIMATE THING!

  • Created for relationship 

As sexual, relational beings (these things are not just switched on as a preparation for marriage) everyone is called upon to appropriately manage these desires and needs in their time of Singleness – however long that may be. The wrestle of youth is a volatile mix of raging hormones, developing emotions and relational immaturity. They are difficult times to navigate. But, also for the older Single, these needs and desires are God given – how are they to be met and managed when you’re not (or not yet) married?

  • Singleness is a valid life status

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7, advocates for Singleness. He says Single life is less complicated than married life (no need to amen that loudly, married people!!). He acknowledges that Singleness allows for a singleness of focus on God without the innate energy, time and heart-focus a married relationship requires. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that he’s right. I don’t believe Paul is saying NO ONE should be married (because he’s a smart guy too, he understood the circle of life even before Disney released the Lion King) but he is saying if you’re not there are some specific freedoms, privileges and graces that are part of that season. There’s some things you can do now that you might not be able to if you marry. A different kind of freedom in your time, finances, decision making, focus and availability.

  • Singleness is a season to be embraced

Ultimately, Singleness is one of many seasons that will make up a person’s life. Ecclesiastes 3 speaks about there being ‘a time for everything and a season for every activity’. Across a life time a person will experience all manner of seasons – times of preparation and study, times of success and achievement, seasons of ‘plenty’ and seasons of ‘lack’, times of ill-health, times of grief, times of celebration and exploration … you get the idea. Every season has its own lessons to teach us, pros and cons, opportunities and challenges. Given that life is just a collection of these seasons – end to end and overlapping, long and short, repeated or forgotten – in order for our life to be lived to its fullest each season must be embraced and maximised. Singleness is no exception.

It’s completely valid to desire marriage – God asks us to bring Him the desires of our hearts. I think we’d serve ourselves, one another and our young people well to let some of these thoughts about Singleness pepper our conversations, our prayers and our expectations.