This is a place for me to share and document personal interests such as music, technology, and other writing. Please enjoy; I love to receive comments and hear back from you! And if there is something you'd like me to record or a tech question, please let me know! For more of an overview, see the "Who Am I?" and "Ministry Passions" tabs above.

the temple song

Today I preached on Jesus clearing the Temple (twice)... I used this song to "unpack" the account in John 2. The words were written by my friend, Gerrit Dawson; I wrote the music back in 2000 or so and we used it as a "sermon-song" as I did this morning. It was written on piano, which is how I've always played it (you can hear that in the middle of the sermon audio: starts at 9:55). But for tonight's "Sunday is for Songs" I decided to try it on the guitar. It's a different feel (and a little rough), but I kind of liked it. And yes, those are my Christmas jammies. :)

republic wireless vs verizon

I previously wrote comparing iOS7 and Android. This was prompted by my move from an iPhone to the Moto X phone. In that post I mentioned that the move was prompted by the high cost of cell/data service from Verizon and the prospect of adding new lines for teenagers. Now the specific needs of every individual and family are different when it comes to mobile voice, text, and data, and I'm not going to cost out every scenario (in fact, just my own); BUT, I think the savings will be evident for just about any configuration and if you are looking to reduce your monthly bill, I'd recommend checking into Republic Wireless. (I should also add that I priced the other major competitors - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile - and some pay-as-you-go options; Republic knocked it out of the park for me, cost-wise.)  Final disclaimer: if you ONLY need cellular voice/text and have no interest in internet apps on your phone (even for 'free' data), you probably can find a better deal elsewhere.  Having said that, I'll note the Republic prices for that scenario. Just to compare oranges to oranges, I'll price out the Moto X on Verizon (which is the phone Republic requires*). Note that all new plans seem to be unlimited talk/text, so I'll just make distinctions on data plans. VERIZON (family of 4) So the basic pricing structure and plan is their new "more everything" plan. With a 2-yr contract you can get a basic phone for free and a Moto X (the model we will price out with Republic) for $50. After that the monthly fees are as follows: $40/month for smart phones and $30/month for basic phones. Then, you purchase shared data for the family (10GB is $100/mo and you can adjust up or down in 2GB/$10 increments - so 8GB shared is $90/mo; 12GB is $110/mo, etc...) Here are the two scenarios we were considering... 4 smart phones: Cost after 2 yrs. - $6200 (avg. $258/mo)!!
  • Moto X, new 2-yr. contract: $50/phone x4 = $200 up front
  • Monthly line access: $40/smart phone x4 = $160/month
  • SHARED 8GB data; mobile hotspot included = $90/month
2 smart phones, 2 basic phones*: Cost after 2 yrs. - $5140 (avg. $214/mo)
  • Moto X, new 2-yr contract: $50/each x2 = $100 up front
  • Basic phone, new 2-yr contract: free
  • Monthly line access is $40/smart phone; $30/basic phone = $140/month
  • SHARED 4GB data; mobile hotspot included: $70 
    *Part of our consideration was that the teens had 5 yr old iPod touches (smart wi-fi devices) that are dying, so we were interested in some semi-mobile way for them to continue connecting with internet apps; made sense to consider all-in-one devices; replacement iPod touches are approx $220 (16GB) - $300 (32GB) each. REPUBLIC WIRELESS (family of 4) So the basic pricing structure and plan is not over how much data, but HOW FAST you get it; it's all "unlimited." You can get wifi-only data )$10/mo), 3G data ($25/mo), or 4G data ($40/mo). And you can switch between plans up to twice a month - like if you were traveling or had a need for more or less data. You do have to purchase the Moto X at full price up front ($300); this has been the only phone Republic Wireless uses, though they just announced a lower-cost Moto G ($170) coming in April 2014. All plans are "no contract" - i.e., get out at any point. There is a 30-day full refund on the phone and plan if you want to try it out. And even if you quit, the phone will still work as a wifi device (like an iPod Touch). Phone cannot be used on another carrier. 4 smart phones: Cost after 2 yrs. - $5040 (avg. to $210/mo) (this is the 'fastest'; not what we needed, though)
    • Moto X, no contract: approx. $300/phone x4 = $1200 up front
    • 4G unlimited data (no mobile hotspot) = $40/month x4 = $160/mo
    4 smart phones: Cost after 2 yrs. - $3600 (avg. to $150/mo) Here's the high end of what we will eventually land on (after our last Verizon contract is up)...
    • Moto X, no contract: approx. $300/phone x4 = $1200 up front
    • 3G unlimited data (no hotspot) = $25/month x4 = $100/mo.
    4 smart phones: Cost after 2 yrs. - $3240 (avg. to $135/mo) Here's where we may end since two of our family would fit well with the lower cost Moto G
    • Moto X, no contract: approx. $300/phone x2 = $600 up front 
    • Moto G, no contract: approx. $170/phone x2 = $240 up front
    • 3G unlimited data (no hotspot) = $25/month x4 = $100/mo.
    *LOW-COST Plan: Cost after 2 yrs. - $390(avg. to $16.25/mo)
    • Moto G (8GB): $150 up front
    • Wi-FI unlimited data = $10/mo (and you always can 'turn on' 3G or 4G if you need it!)
    FINALLY... that all was enough for us to switch and not look back, but a significant bonus for us was the "hybrid calling" feature --> when in a wifi area, Republic Wireless uses the wifi for the call rather than cell... and we get ZERO cell signal (any carrier) in our house. I would have paid Verizon prices to have my cell phone work in my house, so this was a huge benefit. (No longer have to stand in the driveway to use the cell phone!) 

    the only bread i need

    This is a song by Jim Terrell, the "singing handyman" and a good friend. He wrote it a few years ago at our request to be used in a worship service.  I was looking for special music for this morning's "bread of life" theme and asked him to sing it again. It is focused more on God's Word as the "bread we need" but it all inter-relates, since in our current series we are seeing how Jesus made such a point to "fulfill/complete the scripture" (a la Matthew 5:17). Here is a link to hear the live recording this morning (will open and play in another window), with the lyrics below. Jim is playing guitar and singing and I am playing mandolin and harmonizing. The Only Bread I Need (Jim Terrell - GSPC worship 03.02.14) Dear Lord you break for me Bread of Life I always need Found only in your living Word Open my ears, dear Lord, So you are soundly heard You bless me each and every day; Your true Word along the way Open my eyes so I will see Your light on these winding roads and mountains ahead of me And I feel a gentle wind blowing, the warmest comfort I shall find Truth in your Living Word, your Living Word is mine Life a journey of many miles; and we won’t pass it without our trials But you’ve assured us, every woman and man As we take our journey home we’ll be in the palm of your hand So I bow my head and pray; As your words I joyfully say My hunger disappears as my soul you feed You are the living truth and strength, the only bread I need And I feel a gentle wind blowing, the warmest comfort I shall find Truth in your Living Word, your Living Word is mine