Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So why am I so excited about Slideshare...

If you look at the last few entries I have made here, they all revolve around an online service called Slideshare. This online community allows you to upload and share slide presentation with people in a variety of ways. People can see the presentation on the Slideshare website itself (www.slideshare.net), you can embed the presentation in your Facebook profile, on your blog or website and even email links to anyone you would like. You can get to my Slideshare account and see some of the presentations I have posted by clicking here.

While this may be cool for some, (especially ministry tech geeks like me), it begs the question SO WHAT? I mean, what is the big deal about being able to put your sermon presentations online? Does that really matter?

Well, it might. Obviously leveraging the power of your visuals with your audio will help you communicate more effectively. If not, why did you build the PowerPoint presentation to begin with? But it goes beyond that...or at least it should. 

Think of some of these possibilities...

1. Build short, 3-4 minute presentations to teach people about the inspiration of the Bible, Christian evidences, the importance of the church, New Testament Christianity and more and then embed them in your Facebook profile, blog or congregation's website.

2. Build a short 3-4 minute presentation that describes your congregation, its purpose and mission to attract visitors.

3. Build a presentation to introduce new members to the elders, deacons and ministry staff.

4. Build short presentations to answer common Bible questions that people ask most often.

Getting the idea? There are hundreds of ways that you might leverage this tool in ministry. Share your ideas with me...I would love to hear what ideas you all come up with...let me know!

Here is an example to get you started...

The Beauty of the Universe
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: hubble galaxies)

The Worthy Walk

I must say that I am impressed with SlideShare. I have always wanted a way to connect the sermon audio files back to the PowerPoint (or Keynote) presentation and I must say...this is it! The interface is easy to use and once you get the hang of it, matching the audio with the slides is pretty straightforward. Obviously, any fancy transitions and effects are lost in the transfer and I even had some font problems with this newest test file, but that is not a real problem.

I Have posted another test file. Just so you know it is a 25 minute sermon. I wanted to try something a little bigger as a test.

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

The Worthy Walk
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: colossians walk)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Slideshare: Passion for Growth

I have recently discovered a website called SlideShare (www.slideshare.net). It allows you to post presentations created in PowerPoint (or Keynote) online for a larger community to see. The potential here seems great to me.  You can even link recorded audio from a podcast to the presentation and edit it so that it matches your slide changes. I have posted this test here and also on my Facebook profile as a test. 

This test was a lesson I presented in Chapel back in November.

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
Passion for Growth
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: hard-work passion)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Promote your blog on Facebook

My students often ask me how they can get people to find their ministry blogs. While there are a number of options to getting your blog out there, one of my current students simply posted his blog as part of his Facebook profile and instantly began to get readers. I must admit that I have only been using Facebook for a few months, but this is a great way to promote your blog and get readers. I am an "old guy" and though it is not much I have over 140 Facebook friends. Many younger people have two or three times that number. Post your blog on your Facebook and people will start reading. Offer them something worth sharing with others and they just might tell others to read as well.

Logos for MAC is now shipping!

The day is finally here and Logos for MAC is now shipping! I have to say that Logos was one of the major reasons that I purchased a Windows based laptop six years ago. I have been a MAC user for over 15 years, but Logos tempted me to switch. Eighteen months ago I finally repented of that mistake and came back home to a machine that works. I purchased a 15" Macbook Pro and have been happy ever since. I have been running my Logos through Fusion on my MAC and truthfully it works very well. I have only had a few pesky problems with this set-up. I even teach Logos in the classroom in Windows running on my MAC and for the most part my students don't notice a difference.

I have been using the final beta version for a couple of months now and I must say that it certainly runs very fast on my Macbook Pro. There were still some features missing in the beta that I am hopeful they have added to the final version, but we will see. While I am sure, as a 1.0 product, that there will be some growing pains and some features that we may have to wait for, I am excited at the possibility of being free from the Windows environment.

As always with Logos, they have been faithful to their promise to make a cross grade as painless financially as possible. Those of us with heavy investments in very large libraries on the Windows side can purchase a cross-grade MAC engine for $59 and all of our electronic books will work with it. Unlike many companies (Adobe, Microsoft, and others) that force you to purchase full versions when you switch platforms, Logos has made this simple, easy, and affordable.

I will try to give a full review once my copy arrives and I have time to work with it thoroughly.

Check it out here http://www.logos.com/mac

Friday, December 05, 2008

UBS4 vs. the NA27 Greek texts

The question was asked in class yesterday about the differences between the UBS4 and the Nestle-Aland 27th Greek texts. Here is a link to an article on the Logos website about the differences.

For the sake of class - I would prefer you use the UBS4 so that we can all stay on the same page.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You must read this book.....

I know, I know, it has been awhile since I posted anything, but I have been crazy busy this summer.

I have just received a book entitled, Slide:ology, The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, by Nancy Duarte. This book is a MUST READ for anyone who uses PowerPoint! It is an easy read and the book itself is very well organized. There is a companion website that allows you to download a number of the sample presentations in the book so you can see first hand how the files were set up.

This book is NOT a PowerPoint instruction manual! It teaches you VISUAL COMMUNICATION! How do you use presentations to communicate? Most preachers have been trained in verbal communication and not visual communication. When they jump into PowerPoint they stumble with how to give power and impact to their message using such a visual medium. This book will help from the moment you read the first few pages.

Give your audience a break...read this book!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The importance of "uniquely occurring words" and how to find them

I have been having some conversations lately with some colleagues regarding "uniquely occurring words" in the New Testament. It seems significant that out of the whole of the Greek language, there are places where the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament writers to use a word that appears no where else in Scripture. That one word is exactly what the Holy Spirit intended to be used and is was not adequate to describe anything else in the New Testament. An example appears in James 3:17 when two such words appear in the list of characteristics of the "wisdom from above."

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
Jamess 3:17 (NASB).

In this verse the words for "reasonable" and the word for "unwavering" are uniquely occurring words. They appear no where else in the New Testament. Studying these words can bring a great deal of additional meaning to the section being studied. The Holy Spirit chose these words specifically because of their unique ability to say what needed to be said. We should take the time to look more closely at these words to discover why they are so appropriate for the section being studied.

So how do you find these words?

Englishman's Concordance
Obviously you can find these "uniquely occurring words" using a hardback paper concordance, but that can be very time consuming. In Logos Bible Software you can run an Englishman's Concordance report on a suspected word and it will show you every verse that uses the word. To run and Englishman's Concordance report you must use the New American Standard (NASB), the King James Version (KJV), or one of the two new reverse interlinear versions, the English Standard Reverse Interlinear (ESV) or the New Revised Standard Reverse Interlinear (NRSV). Simply right mouse click on a word in the text and select Englishman's Concordance from the pulldown menu that appears.

The drawback to this approach is that you may miss some uniquely occurring words because you did not look them up in Englishman's. Which words do you check and which words do you skip?

Exegetical Guide
The Exegetical Guide provides a way to find ALL of the uniquely occurring words in a pericope at once. For example, when I ran this report (with setting that I will explain next) I found 11 more uniquely occurring words in James 3 in addition to the two I had already identified in James 3:17.

To set up the Exegetical Guide to find these words:

  1. Open the Exegetical Guide and click Properties in the upper right corner of the window.
  2. Deselect everything in the list (This report will take a long time to run and you need to strip any information that you don't need out of the report to make it manageable)
  3. Look at the Word by Word section of this report properties.
  4. Be sure to deselect Show Verse Text (If you don't turn this off it will list every word in the pericope. If your pericope in and entire book, it will really slow things down.)
  5. Set "Filter Out Words Whose Lemmas Occur More Than..." to 1
  6. Choose which parts of speech you are interested in searching for
  7. Select any Root Word Analysis options that you would like. I leave all of these selected.
  8. Run the report
PLEASE NOTE: This report may take some time depending on the speed or your computer and the size of the pericope you have chosen. You will also have to choose "MORE" at the bottom of the report to see all of the entries. You may have to click "MORE" a number of times to see them all.

This approach will help you identify these words and you may be surprised at the depth they can bring to your studies. Look at these words closely to discover why the Holy Spirit chose that exact word for that exact purpose. It can be very exciting.

Happy word hunting....

Friday, June 06, 2008

Controlling Logos when pasting verses into your notes....

Many times my students and friends ask me how to stop Logos from pasting in footnotes when they copy and paste Bible verses into their documents. Often times they will tell me that they have deselected "Include footnotes when copying" from the TOOLS / OPTIONS / GENERAL / INTERFACE menu, but it doesn't solve the problem. The answer lies in the terminology. You need to understand the difference between footnotes and bibliographic references.

FOOTNOTES - refers to the inline footnotes contained in a Bible verse text (or any other text for that matter). When you deselect "Include footnotes when copying" it simply does not copy any cross references or footnotes contained in the pericope you are using.

Here is an example of footnotes:

1 Peter 1:23 (NASB95)

23 for you have been a born again b not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring c word of God.

a John 3:3; 1 Pet 1:3

b John 1:13

c Heb 4:12

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

This text from 1 Peter was pasted in fully formatted. The footnotes are included.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCE - refers to the reference giving the source of the actual quote. This is really the problem. Most people are asking me how to stop Logos from adding the bibliographic reference to what they are pasting. The confusion lies in the fact that Logos uses a literal footnote to add the bibliographic reference! In the example of 1 Peter 1:23 given above you will notice that the bibliographic reference is listed after the [1] at the end of the text that was pasted. To keep Logos from doing this, you need to MODIFY THE COPY AND PASTE STYLE Logos uses.

1. Select the COPY BIBLE VERSES icon in your system tray (this is the small black book icon).
2. Select the STYLE from the pull down menu that you want to change and click the CUSTOMIZE button to the right
3. Click the MODIFY button on the right side menu to see the options available to you
4. Make sure that "Include bibliographic reference" is NOT selected and then save the style.

Now, whenever you use this new copy and paste style, the bibliographic reference will be omitted from your entry.

Happy pasting....

RefTagger lets you link the Bible to your website

The folks at Logos Bible Software have done it again. They have created a new tool called RefTagger. This tool allows you to link Bible references on your website to Biblegateway.com so visitors can see the text for themselves. RefTagger goes through your page and links Bible references automatically. When a visitor hovers their mouse over the reference, a small pop-up window opens showing them the verse. You can choose between the KJV, ESV and NLT translations for your pop-up and it is very easy to add to your website. There is also an icon option that lets any visitor using Logos Bible Software open the verse in Logos right from your website. This new free tool is available here.

Here is an example of how this works: 
1 Peter 1:5
James 1:2-4
You can included a verse anywhere John 3:16 in your text and RefTagger will track it down for you.

I didn't have to do anything but include the Bible reference in my article. RefTagger did the rest. It will also go back through any of my previous articles and do the same thing. 

Pretty nifty stuff.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Adding some power to your Vocabulary Lists in Logos...

Many of you are familiar with the power of Vocabulary Lists in the Logos Bible Software. This feature allows you to map all of the Greek words in a pericope, a book or an entire section of Scripture and then list those words either alphabetically or by frequency. This can become an indispensable tool for helping determine "key words" within a book. I have posted about how to use this tool in the past and have a video tutorial available to show you the basics here.

Marking Key Words in the Vocabulary List

When you display these Vocabulary Lists by word frequency in descending order you can then scan the list for possible keywords. But once you find them, what do you do with them? Well, the first thing I do once I find a possible key word in the list is MARK IT.

1. Double click any word in the list to edit it

2. Move your cursor in front of the Greek word and insert an asterisk (*) in front of the word

3. Now resort the list (right-click on the book name at the top of the list) alphabetically.

Now that there is an asterisk in front of these words, they will come to the top of the list when you sort it alphabetically. The cool part is that this doesn't affect the frequency listing at all! If you resort by frequency, the words are still in there original position in the list.

The beauty of all of this is that now when you sort these lists, you can see all of the keywords together at the top rather than having to scan down through the list to find them. Once they are all together, you can use them to search the text, do word studies and all kinds of cool stuff!

Try this out - you will love it! Happy (word) hunting.

NEXT: How to do searches from your Vocabulary Lists

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No user serviceable parts inside...

Marketing expert, Seth Godin posted this very short article on his blog today and I wanted to share it with you:

No user servicable parts inside

That's what it says on countless electronic and mechanical devices. "Don't touch this," it says, "you're way too dumb to open it... you'll get hurt"

The problem, of course, is that pretty soon you start looking at the entire world that way. Whether it's web design or Google analytics or backing up your hard drive or just talking to the guys in the plant about your new ideas, it's really easy to see the world as a black box.

Here's a simple secret of success: ignore the sticker.

Figure out how to use the tools that the most successful people in your field understand innately.

The same should be said for using technology in ministry. Yes, it takes some work, and yes, schedules are tight and time is in high demand. But, we have to see the longer road, the bigger picture - learning these technologies will change your ministry and reach people that you never dreamed you could reach.
So ignore the sticker - dive in and start to explore.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Logos ringtone for your phone...

Ok, this is cool! You can get the Logos Bible Software startup sound as a ringtone for your cellphone for free. Just download the ringtone to your phone and you are ready to go. I always hear the startup sound for Logos in my Ministry Technologies class as students are trying to get their laptops up and running, so I am used to it.

To get the free Libronix ringtone, text the number 349388 to 69937 (MYXER) or visit Myxer and follow the simple instructions. It will work on most phones, but there are a handful of phones whose carriers have disabled this service.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If you build it they will come...but how many and from where?

Let's talk about traffic. No I don't mean how long it took you to get to work today or that logjam of cars on the Interstate trying to get across town. I am talking about who is coming to your website or blog. Traffic is obviously important in this sense of the word. If no one is coming to your website or reading the posts that you labored over and posted to your blog, then why do it? If, on the other hand, you have people visiting your site from Korea or Ukraine or India, and you are in Denver, Colorado are what time your services are held and cool Mapquest directions to your building really all that important? We need to understand that the web is an international tool. That visitor from Korea, quite honestly, couldn't care less about what time services start. You need to provide him (or her) with more. Teach him some biblical truth that he didn't know before. Share something that will plant a seed in his life that may bear fruit for the Lord.

So who is coming to your site and where do they come from? I am often asked if there is a way to tell when people visit your website or blog. The answer is a resounding YES with the help our our friends at Google. Google Analytics is a free statistics package that you can easily add to your website or blog. Once installed on the pages or your website or blog you can get detailed stats about the number of people visiting your site and even where they come from. The amount of detail that can be gained from this tool is really impressive. You can learn the number of new visitors vs. returning visitors and dozens of other stats to help you understand who is looking at your site. One of the more interesting reports shows you a map of the world and when you hover you mouse over a color coded country (the color coding indicates traffic volume) you can see how many visitors have come to your site from that country. A simple click on the country shows a close up map of that country with dots from the various cities containing visitors. As an example, I know that within the last 30 days our school website (www.bvbid.org) has received:
- 2090 visits
- 55.89% of those visitors are first-time visitors to our site
- 50 countries had visitors
- within the U.S. we had visits from 49 states - North Dakota was a no show

Certainly this information can be very useful to a ministry website or blog. Knowing that a vast majority of your traffic come from a particular region or area of the globe may help you realize that you have an opportunity to reach out to people in places and lands you never dreamed were possible.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ten questions about presenting with PowerPoint

I just read a post on Guy Kawasaki's blog where he interviewed Garr Reynolds (see my previous post about Garr and his work) about what makes good and bad PowerPoint presentations. While both of these men are geared for making presentations in the business world, there is no doubt that many of the suggestions made translate to preaching and teaching with PowerPoint as well. Garr answers thirteen questions about what makes good presentations and his answers are concise and right on target. If you really want to use this tool well, you need to read this interview

I have ordered Garr's book, Presentation Zen, but it hasn't arrived yet. I will post a review as soon as I have read it. From what I have read about it, it is very good. I can't wait to dig in....

Friday, February 01, 2008

Presentation site has some excellent information...

I have just run across a website by Garr Reynolds that you really must visit. Garr has a website and blog (Presentation Zen) that deals with issues related to creating and giving presentations using PowerPoint (and Keynote if you are a MAC person). His information goes far beyond the basics of how to set up a good slide (although that is included). His information is about visual communication using these tool. He has posted an article on his website entitled, "Top Ten Slide Tips" that should be a MUST READ for everyone using these tools. If you will simply follow his suggestions your PowerPoint presentations will improve and be far more effective.

Garr makes a very strong point on his website that should be a reminder to everyone making these types of presentations:

"Your presentation is for the benefit of the audience. But boring an audience with bullet point after bullet point is of little benefit to them. Which brings us to the issue of text. The best slides may have no text at all. This may sound insane given the dependency of text slides today, but the best PowerPoint slides will be virtually meaningless with out the narration (that is you). Remember, the slides are meant to support the narration of the speaker, not make the speaker superfluous." - Garr Reynolds

Let that sink in for a minute - he slides are there to SUPPORT what you are saying! Without the benefit of what your narration and speaking, the information on the slide will probably not make sense to anyone.

Visit his website and blog....take his suggestions seriously and your sermon and class presentations will definitely improve, your audience will learn more, and maybe, just maybe they may stay awake more!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ministry Tech class complete!!!! Yeah!

I just finished teaching Ministry Technology class here at Bear Valley and it went very well. More and more students are hooking in to what these technological tools can do for them and I am very excited about that.

New Ministry starting in the Northwest

One student, Mike Green is heading for the Northwest U.S. after he graduates this week to do church planting work. He has started a blog at nwevangelist.blogspot.com and plans to make it a regular part of his ministry. He has already started posting some good material that I think everyone will find interesting. Check it out.

The power of subscribing...

Blogging as a tools for preachers and evangelists provides some really unique opportunities to teach. One of the greatest advantages of using blogs is the ability that readers have to "subscribe" (don't worry - it is FREE) to your blog and stay up to date on what you post very easily. Check out online tools like Bloglines. This tool allows you to subscribe to to blogs you want to read regularly. Once you subscribe, Bloglines goes and looks for new posts on these sites every time you launch it. That means you can have the information come to you rather than you trying to remember to visit umpteen blog sites to see what is new. I currently have 55 blogs on various topics (Logos, ministry, photography, missions) that I check everyday with one simple click of my mouse. Check this out...it will change the way you think about blogging.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Technology reaches out even from Africa....

A good friend of mine, Jimmy Gee, is currently serving as Academic Dean at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching in Arusha, Tanzania. I have had the pleasure of teaching in that school and have spent a good deal of time with Jimmy and his large family there. The Gees are a great example of the mission work being done in the church today. Jimmy and his wife Trina and there numerous children are doing a great work and we all need to be praying for them. So what does this have to do with technology? Well, Jimmy has started his own blog to help us all stay up to date with the happenings in that part of the world. You can check it out at jandtgee.wordpress.com. Stop by his new blog and send him a note of encouragement.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Making typing in Greek and Hebrew easier

Trying to learn to type in Greek and Hebrew can be difficult. Remembering strange keyboard layouts like where they hid the rough breathing mark and what happened to the terminal sigma when you don't do it all the time is a strain on my brain. Quite honestly, I try to avoid it as often as possible. Well, once again our friends at Logos Bible Software have come to the rescue. They have developed a FREE tool that makes the task of typing in these languages much, much easier! Check out this post from the Logos blog on Shibboleth - it will really help while you are learning.

You can visit www.logos.com/shibboleth to download and install this free tool. I am running it under XP on my MacBook Pro using Fusion and it is running great!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Making posting blog entries easier....

As I mentioned before I do most of my work from a MAC these days. I am very happy to be back on the MAC platform and find myself more productive here. One tool (available for the MAC only) that is making my life easier is MarsEdit 2. MarsEdit 2 is a blog publishing tool that allows you to create, edit, and post blog entries from your desktop. I have always felt that the online blog editors for Blogger and other platforms was a bit clunky. MarsEdit is easy to use and is very flexible. I can create posts even when I am not online and post them when I get to a connection. It really makes things easy. I know that there are similar products available for the Windows world, but if you are on a MAC you really need to give this a try. You will love it.

New blog about our work...

Pat McIntosh, Assistant Director of our Extension Program here at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, has started a new blog about the Extension work. You can find it at mcintoshmissionreport.blogspot.com Check it out and learn more about what we are doing all over the world.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Everyone needs a hobby...

Everyone needs a hobby and mine happens to be photography. With a background as a Graphic Designer, photography keeps me into something creative. Living in Colorado certainly gives me plenty of subject matter. Just for fun I post some photos from time to time just because...I hope you enjoy them.

Dancing Elephant

Elephant shot at Lake Manyara, Tanzania. He is actually standing on two feet! Looks like he is dancing.

Class website and video access

As many of you may know I teach a class at the Bear Valley Bible Institute entitled Ministry Technologies. This year I have posted the class syllabus and assignments on a website for the students to access (http://web.mac.com/ministrytech). Why is that important to you you may be asking? There is a link on the site to view streaming video of this class! Now you can watch over 20 hours of Logos software training on your computer and learn hands-on. Just follow the link and enjoy the class. Be sure to let me know what you think.