Thinking Out Loud

June 7, 2012

Post 2,000: Of the Writing of Blog Posts There is No End


Solomon would probably have had a lot to say about social media.  The verse alluded today is Eccl. 12:12

New Living Translation (©2007)
But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.

Living at a time when there was no word for “million” — and no need for one for many centuries to follow — Solomon, the man of many words, would be at a loss for some on encountering the number undecillion which means “trillion trillion trillion.”  Pardon me while I update my spell-check.

CNN reports:

One of the crucial mechanisms powering the Internet got a giant, years-in-the-making overhaul on Wednesday.

When we say “giant,” we’re not kidding. Silly-sounding huge number alert: The Internet’s address book grew from “just” 4.3 billion unique addresses to 340 undecillion (that’s 340 trillion trillion trillion)…

The Internet is running out of addresses, and if nothing were done, you certainly would notice. New devices simply wouldn’t be able to connect.

To prevent that from happening, the Internet Society, a global standards-setting organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; and Reston, Va., has been working for years to launch a new Internet Protocol (IP) standard called IPv6.

IP is a global communications standard used for linking connected devices together. Every networked device — your PC, smartphone, laptop, tablet and other gizmos — needs a unique IP address.

With IPv6, there are now enough IP combinations for everyone in the world to have a billion billion IP addresses for every second of their life

That sounds unimaginably vast, but it’s necessary, because the number of connected devices is exploding. By 2016, Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) predicts there will be three networked devices per person on earth. We’re not just talking about your smartphone and tablet; your washing machine, wristwatch and car will be connected too. Each of those connected things needs an IP address.

Then there’s all the items that won’t necessarily connect to the Internet themselves, but will be communicating with other wired gadgets. Developers are putting chips into eyeglasses, clothes and pill bottles. Each one of those items needs an IP address as well.

The current IP standard, IPv4, was structured like this:, with each “xxx” able to go from 0 to 255. IPv6 expands that so each “x” can be a 0 through 9 or “a” through “f,” and it’s structured like this: xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx.

[continue reading at CNN Money]

Running out of addresses?  That sounds familiar.  The way things are going, next thing they’ll be making us use ten digit dialing to reach a local phone number.

But washing machines and pill bottles aside, there are a lot voices competing for you attention.  The conversation table is getting larger and larger and technically everyone has a seat at every conversation.

One minute you have something you want to share with a handful of friends, and the next thing you know, you’ve written 2,000 blog posts.

I write about faith-focused issues, but nothing stops me from dropping by a site devoted to organic gardening, Formula One racing, or Spanish literature and leaving a comment, even if I have no idea what on earth — or woe?, as the kids say — I am talking about.  And nothing stops the biblically illiterate and the theologically challenged from dropping by here and pontificating about the state of affairs at the Crystal Cathedral, Max Lucado’s latest book, or something quoted from Augustine.

The only option is that the ‘open’ internet suddenly starts to have closed doors.  A few minutes ago an online acquaintance suggested I visit a particular web page where I was met with:

“But wait a minute;” I said to no one in particular, “This is me. I belong here.”

Is this the future?

Another generation of hip Christians once sat around campfires singing,

I’ll shout it from the mountain tops
I want my world to know
The Lord of love, has come to me
I want to pass it on.

Well, they (we?) thought they (we?) were hip. But the desire to share a message, to bring good news, to evangelize was implicit in faith.

And I’ve always been part of that.  Just weeks ago, I realized that so much of what I have done in my life has revolved around wanting to spread the word on something.  To let people know about something.  To network.  To connect individuals with resources.  To introduce people to new ideas.

The internet is the perfect medium for shouting a message.  Blogging is one of many ideal platforms.  You can indeed make your message heard even among the gazillion — or maybe that should be undecillion — writers screaming for attention.  Just recently this blog rated #7 in a top 50 list of Christian blogs ranked by the number of Google indexed pages.  Yeah, really; little old me just sitting next to the wood stove in my log cabin high up on a mountain surrounded by pine trees.  (Actually, that would be quite nice.)

But you have to shout really loud to make yourself heard because there are

So. Many. Voices.

Several undecillion of them.  (But not that one, that’s a coffee pot in New Jersey.)

June 10, 2011

Ya Want Deep Preaching? I’ll Give Ya Deep…

This piece appeared originally earlier in the week at Christianity 201.

There are presently two strains of evangelical preaching emerging. Some preachers, like Andy Stanley prefer the “one thing” approach; providing a rhythm and cadence to their preaching which leaves their listeners remembering a clear message and a clear application. The classic, “It’s Friday Night… But Sunday’s A-Comin'” is a message you’ve probably heard, or at least heard alluded to, that is based on this type of teaching.

The other style is the kind of message that gives you much information about context and history as well as cross-references to at least a dozen related scriptures. There are multiple points and various information sidebars.  While both styles can do verse-by-verse, or exegetical teaching; this exegetical style or expository preaching is considered by some a hallmark as to what constitutes real depth in preaching ministry.

The problem is that sometimes the people in the second camp, feel that the people in the first camp are not giving their people enough “depth.” This came up in the Elephant Room Conference where Steven Furtick used hyperbole to indicate the degree to which he did not want to aim for going deep on Sunday mornings.*

And it comes up here in this exchange between John Piper and Rick Warren. You might prefer to go direct to the YouTube page and click on some of the other subjects covered in this interview series. Some of the clips will also run in playlist form, allowing you to just sit back as the videos play in succession.

“Simple does not mean shallow.” “Simple does not mean simplistic.” What is deep? Warren says he taught series on sanctification and incarnation without actually using the words; do you think that is possible?

*For your interest, here is the discussion between Steven Furtick and Matt Chandler, moderated by James MacDonald. It gives you some insight into how pastors wrestle with the “deep” question.

What’s your definition of deep preaching?

April 3, 2009

A New Solution to Transitional Times in Local Churches

A few months ago I shared my feelings about the transitional times that Evangelical churches experience when they are between pastors.    After writing that another handful of other churches in our province joined the list of churches presently seeking a new pastor.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been on the telephone and e-mail with various groups and found myself saying, more than once, “You’ve got a projector and you’ve got a DVD player.   Cue up a video.”

It’s true.   Pastoral vacancy periods need not be “down time.”  While I ultimately support the idea of “lay people” in the church stepping up, during such times, there’s no ignoring that some of the best communicators in the English-speaking world are available on quality DVD.

Now, Craig Groschel and Bobby Gruenewald and the people at have decided to make it official.   They’ve contracted a number of top teachers — most, but not all American — who have agreed to make their material available online for free to churches looking for a dynamic challenge on an upcoming Sunday morning.

videoteaching-dotcomThe service is called and while the website promised that you’d be downloading during the first quarter of 2009 — which technically ended a few days ago — they’ve released the initial teaching lineup and are collecting contact info for an update mailing list.

While the list is somewhat homogeneous at first blush — all are male, pastors of large (if not mega) churches, all in a similar age range — the list is not as homogeneous in terms of doctrine.   There’s some variety here for churches of all stripes.

In some ways, the site is a concession to what everybody knows smaller churches, cell churches, network churches and home study groups have been doing for years.    So why didn’t somebody start this sooner?


Hopefully Andy Stanley will toss in a sermon or two.   Ditto John Ortberg.   And Anne Graham Lotz.   And a few older guys.   And a few younger, up-and-coming guys.   And a few more women.   But not Beth Moore.

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