I use some pretty helpful apps to get stuff done as a pastor, and I thought I’d share some of them with you. I work from an iPhone+iPad but if you don’t, you’ll have to check their availability on your preferred platform.

Need some help with jump-starting your prayer life? Or, maybe managing your prayer lists/requests?

Check out the Echo Prayer Manager by Clover Sites. It has a beautiful interface that is simple and easy to use. I’ve tried several different apps for logging prayers, but couldn’t really get into the groove with any of them. Fortunately, I stumbled across Echo, and it has helped me reengage and maintain regular times of intercession. I use it to keep track of personal and family needs, friends’ requests, as well as for my church.

When you open it, you’re immediately met with the choice to pray from a list you’ve already entered or to add a new one, either of which is available with a simple tap. There are other helpful features, such as an alarm and AirPlay connectivity, that also may be suitable to your needs.

Echo syncs through their website so you can use it on a number of devices, including the iPad.

Echo Prayer App | Free 

It’s been a very good day. I love being a dad, and I appreciate a day where I’m reminded of all the good dads there are around me. Especially my Dad, David Siders, and my Father-in-law, David Newman​. What a couple of excellent men God has blessed me and my family with.

Before becoming a dad, I didn’t know my life was incomplete. Knowing now what I didn’t then, there’s no way I’d ever go back. It’s kind of like this commercial:

Fatherhood. It’s a dirty awesome job, and I’m glad I get to do it.

I’m glad for what my friend Ryan–and others like him–are saying about Charleston and other incidences of violence towards the black community. I agree wholeheartedly and echo his call to do our part for justice.


This hits especially close to home for me as a pastor. To think that someone could be welcomed into the church, observe (and maybe even participate in) the activities, and then perpetrate brutal violence against the people in the room while spouting hate is almost unthinkable. I say almost because this happens more than we’re comfortable admitting–even in houses of worship. And it should sober all of us to the fear that many carry around everyday because of their skin color, speech patterns, or attire.

So, how are you being prompting to get involved? Perhaps it’s by asking tough questions that invite correction to your skewed view of reality. Or perhaps it’s by marching for justice. Or by weeping with those who weep. But whatever it is, do something. Don’t just sit there and accept this as someone else’s problem. We’re called to more as Christians–a higher standard where we cry with the Old Testament prophet Amos, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24).

Rant on, friends.

A photographer in Vancouver has presented a thought-provoking take on the role of religion in our current culture. Gods of Suburbia is Dina Goldstein’s “visual analysis of religious faith within the context of the modern forces of technology, science and secularism.” Between Jesus in the Vancouver slums, Satan as a tow truck driver, and Darwin in a casino, no one’s religious notions are exempt from being poked and prodded.

Jesus’ meal with the apostles is reimagined as “Last Supper, East Vancouver.” The table is scattered with beer cans and the apostles are captured as chain-smoking derelicts. Goldstein says,

My reenactment of history’s most famous dinner party is meant to portray the treatment of the most vulnerable by society. I have placed Jesus and his Apostles, a street gang, specifically in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This is Canada’s poorest postal code and a place of chronic drug abuse, alcohol addiction and mental illness. Jesus and the Apostles consume the diet of street people: cheap packaged noodles, cheap beer and canned tuna, while Judas plots his betrayal of Jesus.

Check out the Huffington Post’s video coverage of her shoot:

What thought about who Jesus would hang out with are provoked when you look at these pictures? What do you think about the intersection of other religions and suburbia?

At my desk is a chair I bought several years ago. It has served as a backup until recently, collecting dust in a spare room. That is, until the fake leather of my go-to chair had flaked off to the point of not being able to stand the little black flecks scattered around the room. The backup-now-go-to is decent enough and it gets the job done. But I now remember why it was banished.

When I sit down everything is well and fine, that is, until I stop focusing on what I’m doing and realize things are a bit higher than when I first began my task. The chair needs continual adjustment because it has this bad habit of slowly lowering itself, so much that I don’t even realize it as it’s happening.

And, I’ll tell you, I’ve felt like this chair behaves for more days than I can remember. A slow lowering from the pressure of life, the letdowns, and the questions about the future. I’m glad for the little adjustments which lift me higher, but I keep wondering if the problems are going to ever get fixed. In the chair’s case, there’s only so much I can do before I simply break down and buy a new one. I know that’s not my fate, and I’m holding onto hope that in all these things there’s a better future ahead.

I had a thought yesterday and gives some perspective:

I came across this blog post about Bill Watterson (of Calvin & Hobbes fame) and his advice on creative integrity. He says the following, which I just love:

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how many setbacks and discouragements you face. The world needs hopeful visionaries who can see what might be.


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