Month: July 2011

Battle with Words

Battle with Words

My good friend Scott Lee was looking for a place to publish his occasional, short musings. A proponent of “less is more” – he wanted a venue smaller than a blog of his own but bigger than a status update or Tweet. His writings are in a different style than my own and I welcome the variety. Hope you enjoy.

I could waste your time with a long intro.

Or I could get right down to the point, which is what this post is kind of about.

For me words are starting lose their power.

Every day I read thousands of words. I browse countless articles and blog posts, mostly about technology. But occasionally I’ll stop by a well know ministry related site.

Here’s my confession. After nearly everything I read my action is no more than simply closing my laptop lid. I go unaffected. Unchanged. Is it on purpose or am I just overwhelmed? I don’t know.

Here’s the kicker, I’ve started noticing my online word-handling  affecting my attitude towards the words I read in the Bible. I treat them as having the same weight. Before you stone me let me just say yes, I know in my very being that the words found in the Bible are not  just the penned words of my forefathers. They are words from the Father.

But still I struggle.

What advice do you have for me?
What advice do you have for others like me that read words and discard the message?
Can we, the people flooded by noise be resurrected?

The Book I Often Forget

The Book I Often Forget

Photo by Kelly Jackson Photography

Typically, when you get married, you have a dump truck full of gifts and cards to sort through after the big day. Not to mention the steady stream of engagement gifts beforehand. This was Ashley’s and I’s experience over five years ago. We still have most of the things given to us.

One type of gift that never seemed to be in short supply was the marriage book. Numerous titles about relationships, finance, newlyweds, family, etc. line our bookshelves.

Many of these titles were great and gave us some foundational truths and realities to help us start our new season together. But there was one title that I received and at first glance thought was quite “cheesemo.” It wasn’t the content, because I thought the concept was good, but for some reason, “The Power of a Praying Husband” didn’t resonate with me. I immediately thought of Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, Dana Carvey’s character on SNL, the Church Lady, ultra-conservative Sunday morning church service and various cliche Christian bumper stickers. “The Power of a Praying Husband” might be a really helpful book, but it didn’t jump to the top of my reading list.

Early into our marriage, interested in the content, I put Ned, the Church Lady and all my other Christian stereotypes aside and decided to read the book. Ashley read the “Power of a Praying Wife” at the same time. From what I remember, my book provided some good conversation and if nothing else, got me doing exactly what the title said – praying for my wife. That book would sit on my shelf for the next several years. And it came rushing back into memory this week.

With the arrival of our son Malachi and the advancement of the Burns Family Expansion Project, life has been full of adjustments. Figuring out the little guy is challenging. You rule out the obvious – dirty diaper, hungry, tired and then you’re left with playing 21 Questions with someone who doesn’t speak English.

Over several days, I was at a loss. Malachi’s daily routine and rhythm was absent of both routine and rhythm. Ashley was frustrated. I was powerless.

One morning, I got my butt outta bed earlier than usual and set out to specifically, intentionally do what I sometimes shamefully forget to do – pray for my wife. The adage that prayer should be our first response and not our last resort rings true. Eventually the morning at the Burns house was underway and with a quick shower I was out the door.

Two hours later I got a text message from Ashley with the words that left me dumbfounded, awestruck and smiling.

“Thanks for praying for me this morning :-)”

We never talked about praying for her! I didn’t tell her I had. It wasn’t a discussion the night before or in the morning as I headed out. But she was prompted to thank me for praying for her.

I texted back, “how did you know?” She simply replied, “I just felt it”.

There is significant power when a husband and wife pray for one another (Romans 8:26, Phillipians 4:6). Yet we often try to “fix” things ourselves and prayer becomes our last resort. Pray for your spouse today. As Christians there is untapped potential in the power of prayer, waiting for you every day.

Saying Hello to Amazon Kindle with Special Offers

Saying Hello to Amazon Kindle with Special Offers

For months, I browsed the e-reader market in search of a winner. After carefully examining Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Amazon’s Kindle and a host of other candidates I settled on the Kindle because it had:

  • a lower-price
  • the ability to sync between devices on a book-by-book, page-by-page basis. Meaning, with WhisperSync if I stopped reading on my Kindle at home, I could grab a iPhone or iPod Touch and read on the go, right where I left off.
  • a huge library
  • wi-fi built in
  • a great screen
  • exclusive rights with some publishers. While I can’t say I like it – Amazon signs exclusivity agreements with some publishers. I didn’t want to have the possibility of not getting a title on an e-reader.

In the months leading up to my birthday, Amazon released an additional version of the Kindle with Special Offers.  Save $25 and receive Special Offers periodically on the Kindle. At first glance I was a bit skeptical. But the Special Offers never appear while you read and only appear on the “Home” screen and when the screensaver turns on.

I decided to go with the Special Offers version and save the $25. In just about three days, the Kindle arrived pre-configured with my Amazon account, complete with a “Hello Danny, welcome to Kindle” letter when I powered it on. Not necessary but a nice touch.

As I flipped on the wi-fi, downloaded some sample books and began reading, I noticed the ads on the home screen. The static ad wasn’t obtrusive, but I didn’t really need any summer swim wear from Amazon. Oh well, I saved $25, right?

To my surprise, over the last several weeks, the Special Offers have actually been really good deals. Since I was already planning on purchasing a few books, these deals have been quite “special”.

  • $20 Amazon Credit for $10
  • $10 Amazon Credit if you use a VISA card for any order
  • 1 Kindle book for $1 ( thousands of titles)

I’m not sure if the “Special Offers well” will dry up, but I’m a fan. You get all the benefits of a regular Kindle with additional Special Offers. The ads rotate periodically whenever you connect via wi-fi or USB and again, don’t interrupt the reading of books.

What kind of effect will the Kindle have on my reading? Will I read more? What about printed books? Libraries? It’s too early to tell, but if you’re in the market for an e-reader – the Kindle with Special Offers is definitely a solid choice.