The Next Story: Video Trailer

Here’s a great trailer for Tim Challies’ new book, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion. If you pre-order the book, you get the bonus of a Challies signature as well! Might be worth something in a few years time.

Breaking news: Students multi-task during lectures!

Colleges and Seminaries are reeling everywhere this morning from shocking new research showing (are you sitting down professors?) that students muti-task on their laptops during their lectures!

Among the academic-ego-shattering conclusions are:

  • College students used their laptops for frequent multitasking during classes, generating, on average, more than 65 new screen windows per lecture, 62% of which were unrelated to the courses they were taking,
  • Students have non course-related software applications open and active about 42% of the time.
  • Students who allocate more cognitive resources to bringing up non-course-related material on their computers show lower academic performance.
  • Instant messaging seems “especially virulent” as a distraction

And to top it all off:

  • Students understate the frequency of email and instant messaging use in the classroom when self-reporting on their laptop use.

Well, I can hardly believe it myself. The researchers obviously did not come to Puritan Reformed Seminary.

But for the sake of my now-depressed academic colleagues everywhere, can I ask if anyone has any solutions to this? Just so that I can pass them on.

The good news about stress

This is probably not the article that my wife wanted me to read this morning.

However, it has a fascinating take on how to how to change stress from debilitating to enhancing by changing the way we view it.

The researchers from Yale and Harvard start by demonstrating how most books and presentations on stress and the damage it does actually increases stress levels. You end up not only stressed, but stressed about how stressed you are. To stress is added distress.

There is an alternative approach which we found to be much more successful. Crum and I showed different three-minute videos to two groups of UBS managers. The first group watched a video detailing all the findings about how stress is debilitating. The second group watched a video that talked about scientific findings that stress enhances the human brain and body. The latter information is less well known, but equally true. Stress can cause the human brain to use more of its capabilities, improve memory and intelligence, increase productivity, and even speed recovery from things like knee surgery. Research indicates that stress, even at high levels, creates greater mental toughness, deeper relationships, heightened awareness, new perspectives, a sense of mastery, a greater appreciation for life, a heightened sense of meaning, and strengthened priorities.

And the result? When someone viewed stress as enhancing rather than debilitating, they were able to use it to their advantage with higher levels of physical health, productivity, and life satisfaction.

The authors are careful to point out that they are not saying that stress is fundamentally enhancing, nor that it can have seriously damaging effects, nor that should we seek it out. However, I think their insight is helpful when moderate levels of stress begin to worry us into a worse state of mind. As they say: “When stress happens, thinking of it as enhancing rather than debilitating can lessen the risk to your health and materially improve your productivity and performance.”

Affordable iPhone Church App for churches of any size

How much do you think it would cost to get an iPhone App developed for your Church?

Thousands of dollars, I’m afraid. Mega-church territory.

Or $99! Local church territory!

Have a look at this great offer from SermonAudio. Anyone who knows Steven Lee, CEO of SermonAudio, knows his passion for supporting evangelism through the local church. And this affordable iPhone App for local churches is just the latest in a long line of innovative services that Steven has brought to us throughout the years (see this new blog service as well).

Steven says, “This App is just one more way we’re trying to service the local church and reach more people. If people in the local church can get excited about their church’s sermons and ministry, it might be a good way for them to introduce friends to their church, as it not only supports the regular archive of sermons, videos, and live webcasts, but also photos of church events, blogs, twitter, and more. I wanted to make it as close to a ‘one-stop’ app for the church as possible.”
“The other thing was that I noticed that only the rather large ministries were able to afford to have their own apps, and I felt if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for the ‘little guy’ as well. And we’re all about the little guy on SermonAudio. So, I wanted to achieve a price that was ‘game-changing’ affordable for any-sized church.”

“I talked with one pastor at Steve Lawson’s conference and they said they looked into getting an iphone app developed, but it was several thousand dollars – impossible for a small church.So, that’s another reason why i felt the need to do this. Plus, it was simply *possible* for us to do it. We already had a SermonAudio app and so the tools were in place for us to make the church app. We had to streamline the process to make our work as efficient as possible. So that took a bit of work. But the hard part is done – the churches can enjoy the fruits of our labor!”

Here’s a sample to check out.

Connected Kingdom: Interview with Ligonier’s Chris Larson

Download here.
Over many years I’ve been blessed by the writing and broadcast ministry of R C Sproul and Ligonier ministries. Over the last year I’ve been privileged to get to know some of the great folks that work at Ligonier’s Florida HQ, including Chris Larson, Ligonier’s Executive VP. Chris models a wonderful combination of warm Christ-centered spirituality and effective servant-leadership. He’s also been a great encouragement and valued friend to me and my small team at Head Heart Hand Media. I was therefore delighted when Chris agreed to be interviewed about his life and service, especially his leadership at Ligonier ministries. As you listen, I hope that you too will be encouraged by Ligonier’s and Chris’s example to strive for God-glorifying excellence in all that you do.