Running Mates

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /
The whole travelling companions theme has continued to roll around my head the last few weeks. That combined with the fact that I have been doing a little more running reminded me of how the Bible uses a race as a metaphor for discipleship. Ask my family what my favourite verse is and they will sing in unison, 1 Corinthians 9:24. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Who you run that race with is vital, and running with my workmate Matt recently, has helped me visualise what type of leader, what type of running mate I want to be in the future.

Matt and I committed to each other just after the new year, to run a couple of times a week. As I make my commitment at the end of June, I will be committing to run the race with a bunch of people who as of yet don’t really know me and I them, but never-the-less I will be making that commitment. I want to be the type of man who follows through on that commitment. There are times when Matt asks me if I’m running, and my whole mind shouts no it’s raining and cold outside. I am sure he feels the same, but because that would impact the other person, we drag our weary bodies out the door. Being a disciple is no different, and I want the people I am on the race with to expect encouragement to get moving again from me, and I from them.

Then there was last week when Matt not only didn’t feel like going, but once we went he seemed to be finding it harder than usual. Matts ten years my junior so normally is the one egging us on and making the pace. This day his nipper had been keeping him and his good lady awake so he was just shattered. I could probably have run ahead, but Matt had hung around for me most of the time, so I just took the role of the pacemaker for that day and encouraged him. Stuff happens in life and sometimes we need to swap who the pace maker is. I want to be the type of leader who knows when to do that, and then knows when to swap back.

I could go on stretching the running mate metaphor to breaking point. But please forgive me one last parallel that has come to mind as I have been pondering it on our runs. On the home stretch of our runs, including the day I lead the pace, Matt will finish with a sprint. I do as well, but somehow the legs don’t carry me as fast as the spritely Matt. It’s at this point I get to make decision to be miffed at this young upstart, or happy that he is leading the way. Surprisingly for someone with my inclination towards competition I have found that I have been happy to see the energy he has to do this. Now if I can take that parallel and mimic it in whatever leader I become, I may become a small success as a leader. If I can smile as people I help in the future outrun me in their discipleship walk then I will know that I really am walking in God’s will. Then I will know that I do run in such a way as to get the prize.

On My iPad

Not entirely a post that relates to my journey, but more a tool that I use daily or in reality hourly, whilst I travel on this journey of mine.

I am a big user of my iPad and am constantly asked what applications I use. I always kept a note of these in my Evernote account to email people who asked. Then it dawned on me that others may find it useful, so I decided to post it somewhere. These are not the only apps, but they are the apps that see daily use, and have stuck around whilst others have come and gone. I have not included the built in apps such as safari, mail and calendar which as you could imagine also get constant use.

There is obviously a biase towards my interests, but for what it’s worth here is the list.

Home Screen

Dropbox – FREE –
Access files away from my PC that I have saved into my Dropbox folder. Use htttp:// to sign up for a FREE Dropbox account, or your toes will fall off.

Evernote – FREE –
Create and syncronise to cloud different notes I user for everything other then my diary which I use SimpleNote for, because Simplenote integrates TextExpander.


SimpleNote – FREE –
Create and syncronise to cloud basic text notes works with TextExpander.

GoodReader – £2.99 –
General Document reader. PDFs / Doc etc. Can sync to DropBox. Can annotate pdfs and now has tabs for multiple pdfs.

Calculator4 – .59p –
There is no calculator on the iPad. Free ones are available, I just like this advert and clutter free version.

Twitter – FREE –
Twitter client.

Gmail Short Cut. – FREE –
The iPad version of Gmails client is great. Goto the URL in Safari. Tap on the icon at the top eft of the page that looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it. Select “Add to Home Screen”.

Facebook short cut – FREE –
Goto the URL in Safari. Tap on the icon at the top eft of the page that looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it. Select “Add to Home Screen”.


BibleReader – .59p –
As it says from Olive Tree. Bibles in the price range of $20 comes with KJ


Bible – Free –
More basic interface, but integrates with the great Incredibly offers versions like ESV for free offline reading. Improving all the time.

Reeder – £1.79 –
Synronise with Google news feeds.

Kindle – FREE –
I prefer Amazon books to iBooks.

Early Edition – £2.99 –
I use this to create a daily paper from news feeds.

InstaPaper – £2.99 –
Install the InstaPaper shortcut in your browser and clip websites for reading later. I mainly purchased this to support the developer. I generally pump the RSS feed from my free account into my RSS reader.

QuickOffice Pro HD – 8.99 –
I switched to Quick Office for word, excel, powerpoint editing etc from DocsToGo slightly nicer DropBox integration and layout.


BBC iPlayer – FREE –
Plays BBC content. Not offline ;-(

4oD Catch Up – FREE –
Plays Channel 4 content. Not offline ;-(

ITV Player – FREE –
Plays ITV content. Not offline ;-(

Nice front end to the BBC news site.

Downcast – £1.19 –
I prefer to manage my podcasts outside of iTunes. No real reason other then I like to be able to update them away from my PC.

Games – Heads up I’m not a real games person.

Words HD – £1.79 / FREE –
Scrabble like game. – FREE –
Play against online opponents for free.


Textexpander – £2.99 –
Integrates into some applications to allow macro insertion of text. Less useful for the non geeks now that IOS5 allows you to add your own corrections to the dictionary database.

LogMeIn Ignition – £17.99 –
Worth every penny if you want access to your home PC whilst on the road. Get a free LogMeIn account and you can remote control your home PC, or simply access the files on it. Obviously requires your home PC to be on and a free app to be installed.

Honourable Mention (Used less these days)

QuickShot – –
Camaera apps that syncs to Dropbox. I use for document scanning into Dropxbox.

AllRecipes – FREE –
Fun front end for

Documents To Go £5.99 –…
Office suite editor. I use QuickOffice more these days.

Lessons From A Tech Fast

The tech fast is over so what have did I learn? As ever it was something about me that everyone else already knew. I worshiped false idols. There you go I admit it, or at the very least I had/have the tendency like most of the population of this planet to worship false idols. If one definition of an idol is something that takes our focus away from our God, then tech for me had become an idol. If I would rather turn on a tech podcast then open my Bible, and I did, then tech had become an idol for me. Tech had stopped being the tool to aid my growth in God, and had become the focus of my attention. It’s easier to hide a tech idol, then a car idol, or a football idol but it doesn’t make it any less an idol. It seems to me that I knew the difference between a tool and idol even before I started my fast. The parameters I set were if it’s not study or impacting my income then it was out the window. Moving forward something very similar is going to be my measuring stick, because even just a few days after the fast has ended I can hear the idol calling me back into worship.

With the removal of the big idol, I spent more time with God and reading his instruction book. The thing that came out of this was that I really should stop mucking about and commit. Here I am claiming to be a Christian, even claiming a calling on my life, but I was busy putting backup plans in all over the place. It goes something like this. I’ll commit to moving into full time ministry, but I’ll continue to study technology and build up my reputation as a know it all geek, just in case that doesn’t work out. It just lacks commitment. So that’s been slimmed down to just that which brings in my here and now income. I don’t think I’m alone with this problem, I know there are many of us grey Christians out there who have not really committed. It was brought home to me on the last weekend of my tech fast. We were away camping with some friends. A mate, who is not a Christian, and I were sat with a couple of very young children enjoying the sun and just chatting. One of us said something like “you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.” This was enough for young Luke he came straight back with, “if you don’t believe in God you will go to hell.” My heart sank, here was I with a friend who I would love to see make a commitment, and some toddler is telling him he is hell bound. I looked at my friend, who by now is wetting himself laughing and I said, “well that’s not the approach I would take Luke, but I guess it’s accurate.” Then it happened my friend made one of the most profound statements about Christian life that I have ever heard. “Why not?” He said, “If you really believed all that you say, you would be out there telling everyone.” Ouch, my witness to my friend was weak, because in his eyes I was not committed. So I don’t know about you but I am taking a lesson from a young boy and an older agnostic. There is no backup plan; my full commitment to a full life in Jesus starts here.

Tech Fast

I have literally just got back from New Wine in Shepton Mallet, and what a great week we had. I ended up being team pastor with Tom and Louisa on Club 1. It was great to help where I could, but also allowed me plenty of time for reflection. One of the things I reflected on was how just being busy gets in-between me and my God. Something you will know from this blog, is a constant issue in my life. Being dumped in the middle of a field with very little in the way of distraction tends to highlight what we are missing out on the rest of the year. It’s not that I was “zapped” or had a warming of the heart as a certain theologian would put it, but that I just walked quietly with God all week. More of a certain knowledge that I am on the right track than revelation through bolts of lighting and booming voices.

One of the things that allowed this to happen was the absence of tech. That said twitter did get a bit of overload from me, and all my talks were prepped on the iPad. However in comparison to my everyday normal life, tech went from a ten to a two, and that seemed to be healthy. The issue is that tech is both my job and my hobby, making it hard to distinguish when I am working, earning money, studying, or just playing. So I have decided to follow my friend Jesus Geek (aka John) and fast from technology. Now I obviously use tech in my day job and study so I am not talking about them. I’m talking about twitter, tech podcasts, facebook, news feeds, and generally wasting Gods precious time browsing the web. The gist is, if I am not earning money from it, or studying then its out the window for the month of August 2010. So I guess my next post will happen after the 1st September 2010, it will be interesting to see what God does. I’ll keep a journal and perhaps report back in my next post.

This is Max signing off for now.