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The Youth Specialties book Living with Questions is a free ebook right now. You can get it on Amazon or iBooks.

Publisher Description:

A practical and personal approach to apologeticsfor students. How many times has your teacher asked you a question, and you stare blankly at the ceiling, hoping to discover the answer lingering there? It’s frustrating when we don’t know the answers to the questions we’re asked by others, but it can be even more frustrating when we don’t know the answers to the questions we are asking ourselves. Have you ever asked one of these questions?* Does what I think really matter?* What is truth?* Is God there?* Has God spoken?* Am I important enough?* Am I good enough?* What’s so great about heaven?If you’ve ever wondered about any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place. In Living with Questions, Dale Fincher will help you look at each of these questions in such a way that you’ll discover clues, helpful tools, and answers—and what they all mean for your life and your faith. The answers you find will put you on a path to dig deeper and gain confidence in your faith. As Dale addresses the big questions that he’s been asked by students across the country, you’ll find that you’re not alone in your doubt, confusion, orquestioning. As you learn to live with questions, even the answers are only steps in the right direction. You’ll find how they whet the appetite to go deeper into your purpose on this planet and to discover something big—yet very personal—that’s worth living for.

I’m not sure how long it’ll be free, so act fast:

10 Favorites from 2011

Chris —  January 1, 2012 — 2 Comments

Here are some of my favorites from 2011:

1. MacBook Air – I love this little computer.  Great for travel, and super fast.

2. Sticky Faith – These books have really made me think a lot about youth ministry and being a parent.  I highly recommend them. Plus check out for more insights in their articles and blog.

3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I found this book to be a difficult read.  He could be so harsh with people.  It really made me think about leadership, success, and family from someone who did great things, but failed at so much too.

4. iPad 2  – This continues to be a device that changes the way I interact with content.  I love it.

5. Kindle Fire – You probably didn’t expect to see this after I listed the iPad, but it’s a different device for me.  It’s a great reader that also does some tablet functions.  Plus, I love that there’s someone pushing the iPad to be better.

6. YSnetwork – This one is personal, but we launched it this fall at YS (where I work).  It’s a great way to connect with other youth workers, join a network or build your own.  It’s free to join, and if you sign up join the Youth Ministry Geek network to stay connected.

7. Flipboard – This is probably the app I use the most, and with the addition of the iPhone version a month ago, I just use it even more.  It’s by far my favorite news reader.

Flipboard - Flipboard Inc.

8. GoPro – I got one of these cameras to take on our vacation to Hawaii this year, and it’s so much fun.  We use it under water, on water slides, in the pool, the beach, on the trampoline.  It’s a great camera to take when you don’t want to risk you full size, expensive one.  Sure it has it’s limitations, but you get an amazing picture that can go anywhere.  It’s my Flip Camera replacement.

9.Timbuk2 Control Laptop Case – After about 7 years, my old shoulder bag finally wore out. This was my replacement.  Things I love about it: separate sleeves for laptop and ipad, TSA compliant so I don’t have to take my laptop out, not too big, but big enough.

10. Tech News Today –  I love podcasts and increasingly over the last year, this has been my #1 to go to.  It’s about 45 minutes every week day covering the lastest in the world of technology.  Entertaining and informative, perfect for this geek.

What were you’re favorites from the last year?

Here’s part 2 of my favorite iPhone / iPad apps for ministry and everyday life.

1. Bible – – This is my go to Bible reader on the iOS platform.  I’ve tried others, but I always come back to this one.  The team at LifeChurch just keeps making it better and better.

2. AppShopper – As a app junkie, I’m always looking for new apps and AppShopper is a great way to find out what’s new.  One of my favorite things about this app, is creating a wish list, and you’ll receive and email when the app is updated or on sale.  I’ve saved a ton just waiting till the app I wanted was on sale or even free.

3. Kindle – This is my go to book reader.  I think iBooks is prettier, but I love Amazon’s pricing and I love being able to access my books on all my devices.  I always look to kindle first for ebooks.

4.GarageBand – This one is iPad only but if you are interested in making music, this is an amazing app.  It’s the touch version of the popular app on OS X.  You can play piano, drums, or guitar and record them.  It’s also been so fun watching my kids make music of their own and get into it.  I love this app.

5. iMovie – This is my favorite quick video editor for iOS.  Again, the touch version of another of Apple’s desktop iLife apps, but it works so well on iOS.  It’s great for simple videos on the go that you can upload directly to YouTube or Flickr.  Easy to use and fast.

6. OmniOutliner for iPad – Another iPad app here, but it’s so useful. I often organize my thoughts in Outlines, and this is a great tool for that.  I use it for projects, teaching, writing, and just organizing.  It also works with the desktop version which I also really like.  Like all Omni apps, it’s a little on the expensive side, but I always feel it’s worth it in the end.

7. Documents To Go® – Office Suite – I’m a big fan of Google Docs and do a lot of my writing there, and this is best Google docs editor I’ve used.  I can access all my google docs there so I can edit or write on the go.  It also can access microsoft office docs stored in dropbox so you can edit or access on the go.

Bonus Pick: Live Curriculum – OK this one is a little selfish, but I’m pretty proud of it.  It’s the first app I helped design and produce.  It’s the app to access Simply Youth Ministry’s LIVE Curriculum. Click here to learn more about it.

There are so many other apps I use all the time, but I’d love to hear about some of your favorites.  What ones did I miss?  Tell me in the comments.

Bill Hybles challenged me to “Read for 30 minutes a day.” Well, I was in the room when we said that and it challenged me. Reading helps me be a better thinker, reading challenges my position with other’s thoughts, reading get’s me away from TV, and “I don’t know what I don’t know.” A professor once said, “you need to read a lot and read from experts in the field, they ask questions you never thought to ask and give you answers you never knew you didn’t know.” I probably do not have to convince you that reading is a good thing. I actually do not enjoy “sitting down with a good book,” I have to make this happen in my life. Here are a few tech resources that help reading become less painful for me.

Twitter: Spending 30 minutes reading tweets really does not count but sometimes you get a good nugget to chew on. I am a fan of TweetDeck and Hootsuite.

Books: I stick with Kindle because that is where I started my ebooks collection and I can read them on any of my devices. If you have Kindle books then all your notes and highlights are stored here. Chime in below with your favorite features from your Kindle, Nook, iBook, or other eReader.

Articles: I love downloading and reading PDF files with iAnnotate PDF. If you have an iPad and read a lot of PDF documents this app is more than a reader. Click the link and look at it’s features. It is kind of pricey at $9.99 but this app is outstanding!

News: I rarely pick up a news paper, in fact most of my news come when my favorite TV program is interrupted by a breaking news. If I am looking for news I get it from an app on my iPad like Fox News, CNN, USA Today or apps like Zite, Flipboard, and Pulse News that download news and blog feeds.

Blogs: Google Reader is my favorite feed reader for collecting and reading a lot of blogs (the “J” and “K” keys are your friend!) But if you want to take notes and send them to friends try Awesome Highlighter (It is currently down, but keep checking the link…it’s a cool free tool). And I am currently going crazy with Instapaper, it takes away the clutter and stores your tagged posts for reading later. Create a free account and if you want to go the extra mile check out the app, it isn’t free but it is wroth the expense. Zite, Flipboard, and Pulse News apps have an Instapaper button, sending stories to your account for some follow-up or later reading.


For all you Android users out there, Amazon launched their long rumored Android AppStore.  I was able to do a little browsing and bought a couple of apps from it. I found it a little easier to use than the regular android marketplace.  It seemed easier to find things, but that could be because the catalog is definitely smaller. I also appreciated that when i searched for “Live Wallpapers” to use on my Nexus S I didn’t get a bunch of soft porn offerings.

One thing they are doing that I’m sure will drive traffic is everyday they are going to offer one paid app for free.  Today is Angry Birds Rio, and I a huge Angry Birds fan, so that just makes it all the better.

If you’re an Android user, it’s worth checking out.  Also pick up the new Angry Birds Rio for free.

Read Kindle Books on Your PC

Chris —  February 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

Though I have not received a kindle from a secret santa or generous church member, I have bought a handful of Kindle books to read on my iPhone.  I know that some people really don’t like the idea of reading on a backlit screen, but I find it less of a strain on my eyes than the hour or so I spent focusing on the lower contrast Kindle screen.

I LOVE the idea of the Kindle, but have a hard time justifying spending $259-489 on something that is solely for reading text. On the other hand, the iPhone screen is just small enough to become annoying when you are trying to read for an extended amount of time.

While doing some of my almost weekly ordering on Amazon, I noticed a “Kindle for PC App” link, downloaded the app and was excited, but not for long.  The app is simple, and focuses on one thing: reading a book.  It does well at that though it has a serious lack of polish.  Polish is one thing; functionality is another.

One of the books I have purchased is a textbook for seminary.  You can imagine how excited I was to be able to use my laptop to view it and make notes.  Wrong!  All the app does is view the text, bookmarks and notes you have created elsewhere.  This does not make sense.  If I can make notes on my iPhone, why not my Laptop?  It feels like Amazon is getting to preoccupied with selling the Kindle hardware (which is begging for someone to come along and perfect it) instead of the books.

The download is free and the app is stable, but don’t expect your book reader itch to be scratched by this app.  Also, it’s not currently available for Mac, but you can give them your email address here and have them send you a notice when it is released.


Amazon announced today the Kindle DX.  It’s a larger version of their existing ebook reading.  The larger screen is suppose to make reading Newspapers and Magazines easier.  In addition to the larger screen, it has native PDF support and storage for up to 3500 books.  Another cool new feature is it will auto rotate from Portrait to Landscape modes.  Looks interesting, but I think I would still have to go with the original sized Kindle.  Even though native PDF support would be great.

I’m still holding out for the rumored larger iPod / iPhone tablet.  I think that would be the device for me.

I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle 2 for a while, in fact I was pretty sure I was going to order one this week, but I’m not so sure now.  I was traveling home from NYMC yesterday and was telling my buddy Andy, that this exactly what I wanted, and today Amazon did it.  They released an iPhone / iPod Touch app for that allows you to read any Kindle books right on your device. Some (like Andy) don’t think that the iPhone has the right screen or size for reading, well now we can decide for ourselves.  I’ve tried a number of book readers for the iPhone, but the biggest problem was always buying the content (it was really expensive) or finding a good way to get books I already had on to it.  It looks like this solves both those problems.

Here’s a video about it (it’s a little long, but gives a good overview):

Here’s my quick Pros and Cons to this:


  • I don’t have to spend $389 to get access to the kindle content, I can buy it right on my phone.
  • I don’t have to carry another device, I always have my phone
  • If I do get a Kindle all my books that I buy will transfer over to it.
  • Access to the great prices on books in the Kindle format
  • The app is Free


  • iPhone screen is small, reading experience won’t be as good
  • It will probably have an effect on battery life when I’m on the road
  • I’ll spend more money at Amazon (I’m sure they don’t see this as a con)
  • Purchase process is a little confusing, it would be nice if you could buy it directly from the app instead of through Safari.

If you’d like to read more, here’s a more detailed article: Amazon Kindle App for iPhone

Here’s a link to the App: Kindle for iPhone (opens in iTunes)

What do you think?  Will reading books on your phone be a good experience?

If only it would have been here a week ago.