Archives For Kindle

Sticky Faith Deal on E-books

Chris —  August 6, 2012 — 4 Comments

I don’t know if you’ve read the Sticky Faith books, but they are some of the best ministry books I’ve read during the last year.  Based on the research by Fuller Youth Institute, authors Kara Powell, Chap Clark and Brad Griffin have really reshaped my thinking about how different age groups within a church can help each other and the effect it ultimately has on the younger ones.

You can get both the book and the youth worker book right now for only $3.99 and the student curriculum for $9.99.

Amazon Kindle:


Or if you’d rather get the physical copies, use the code sticky08 to save an additional 15% off all three at (click HERE to go the the books).

Also Fuller Youth Institue is doing a series of webcast this week to jump start Back to School thinking.  Visit for more info.

I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out this book, Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling: Creating Fictional Stories that Illuminate the Message of Jesus, but I highly recommend it.  Story and narrative are my favorite way to teach and this is a great resource to help with that.

From the publisher:

As communicators in a culture saturated with storylines, we have the profound opportunity to invite our students into the masterful Story of God. There are a variety of ways to invite our students into this Story, but this book discusses and explores how to teach through one of Jesus’ most powerful modes of communication–fictional storytelling. Rabbinical storytelling (otherwise known as Jewish Agada) embraces the narrative of Scripture and invites its listeners into understanding and participation. Our Rabbi, Jesus, employed this mode of communication through his parables. Approaching the topic as a theologian, philosopher and artist, Jon invites and teaches how to create modern-day parables that illuminate the message of Jesus. These stories do not simply illustrate the message; they are, in fact, the message. Whether hoping to articulate deep theological concepts or relevant topics, teaching through the art of fictional storytelling has the potential to engage and invite our students into The Story.

In this book:
*You will learn how to create your own fictional stories (modern day parables) that use a realistic setting, engaging characters and a thought provoking plot to communicate a specific topic.

*You are given practical worksheets that offer guidance in developing such stories

*Jon includes a variety of stories he has developed over his years of youth ministry and offers them as a resource to any youth pastor/communicator.

And the best part is right now it’s on sale for $1.99 for the Kindle Edition and iBooks Edition.  Hurry, I’m not sure how long this price will last.

Today and tomorrow 3 of Francis Chan’s bestselling books free in ebook form, they are great books and I highly recommend them:

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Happy Easter!

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.


It was a perfect storm:  1. I realized I could save well over $200 a year on seminary text books purchasing them on the kindle store.  2. I found $100 off deal when you subscribe to Audible 3. I made the decision to wait until the next revision to buy the iPad.  It culminated in the purchase of a kindle.  The first question I had was, how do I get news and free books onto it without having to manually copy and paste, and transcode into the Amazon format blah blah blah.

That is the problem for which Calibre is the solution.  Calibre is an ebook management program that allows you to automate all the tedium of dealing with ebooks.  After doing some basic setup, all you do is import files and then click the “send to device” button and voila!  It appears on your reader.

But it does more than convert and upload ebooks; it will also manage fetching your favorite news and blogs.  It comes preconfigured with a myriad of news sources in 25 languages complete with a place for login information if that service has a paywall.  Once you select the  news source, you tell Calibre how often you want it to be retrieved, and it will download the news and automatically send it after it is obtained.

Want to keep up with your favorite blogs that are not listed already in Calibre?  No problem!  Just click on the triangle next to the “fetch news” icon and you can choose to add a custom news source (think rss) and it will then appear in your list.

The only problem I could find is that the user interface is not totally transparent.  For example, you should be able to click and hold the icons that have the dropdown options.  Add to that several other oddly located things and you see where the future improvements will need to be focused.

That being said, it is the best implementation I could find of these features.  And it’s 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.

My Favorites from 2009

Chris —  December 31, 2009 — Leave a comment

Well 2009 is officially over, and I was thinking about some of the tech that made it’s way into my world during the year. Here’s some of my favorites:

Mozy – I committed to online backup this year having deciding that my time machine wasn’t enough.  Mostly because if something happened at my house the chances of losing both were pretty high.  I went with Mozy, and after having a harddrive crash while on a trip and I was still able to access my data, I’m sold.  It’s definitely worth the $5 a month it costs.

Dropbox – This has become a tool I use daily.  Great for online storage and sharing.  And it’s FREE!

Teleport – This little bit of software allows you to share one keyboard and mouse between 2 macs without any extra hardware.  It’s really cleaned up my desk and I love the way it works.  Price: FREE

iPhone 3gs – This is so much more than a phone to me. It allows me to be away from the office but still take care of quite a bit of my daily tasks.  I love it.

MacBook Pro Uni-body – My old Macbook Pro was great for almost 3 years, but my recent upgrade to one of the new Uni-body models has been a great one.  The power is awesome.  To compare, my old machine took 90 minutes to export the SYM podcast that I produce each week, and the new laptop does the same video in 35.  I love it.  Although if you are thinking about upgrading, I would wait to see if there are any upgrades early in the year.

Flip MinoHD Camcorder – This is such a great little camera.  So easy to use and a great picture for what it costs.  You aren’t going to produce a major motion picture with this, but to capture camp memory, quick event highlights, and fun family moments, I love it.  Read my full review here: review-flip-minohd.

Kindle 2 -I upgraded my ebook reader to the Kindle this year.  I really enjoy reading on it.  A few things that make it great:

  1. Battery life
  2. Amazon Store – so many titles, and great prices.
  3. Always connected – I can download books where ever I am, and it doesn’t cost any extra

Web: Great new gadget site.  I do a lot of my gadget research here.  I also really enjoy their podcast.

LIVE Curriculum: I think most of you know, I am the web manager for Simply Youth Ministry, and one of the big projects I worked on this year was this online curriculum. I am really proud of what we put together, and when I think of 2009 it was a huge part of it.

New Product - Live Curriculum - Doug Fields' 4-Yea

Now on to 2010.

Ever have a long document and wish you could simply turn your macbook on its side and use it like a kindle to read the book/document? All you need is to download the Display Rotation Menu from Mage Software.  It adds a menu bar item that allows you to rotate your Mac Laptop and use it as if it were an ebook reader only without the several hundred dollars to Amazon or Sony.  It doesn’t work on all mac laptops because of graphics card limitations, but they have the short list of which somewhat current models are omitted.