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Article by Marshall Segal; Staff writer,

You make at least a thousand decisions every single day, most of which you never think about, even for a second. That means if you are awake for sixteen hours each day (on average), you make a decision every minute — what you say or don’t say, and how you say it; where you go or don’t go, and how you get there; what you click or don’t click; what you eat or drink or read or buy or listen to. A decision a minute is a conservative estimate.

Don’t believe me? If you have a smartphone, you’ve logged a lot of the decisions you’ve made in the last 24 hours — messages texted, emails sent, podcasts listened to, calls ignored, apps opened, orders placed, tweets liked, sports scores checked — all decisions made. Our defaults are decisions — just decisions without intentionality. Even when we put off a decision, we’ve made a decision.

We don’t want to think about life as one long series of millions of decisions, because then we’re accountable for those decisions — if not to one another, then at least to God. But whether we acknowledge the decisions or not, we are making them, and we will be held accountable — even for every tiny, idle word (Matthew 12:36).

Our phones are not a peripheral part of our life anymore. They have become a personal LED billboard revealing who and what matters most to us. Our phone is a currency — like our money, our words, and our time — that helps us see what we love. And over time, it can help us shape what we love. Or, if we put off making proactive decisions with it, our phone can just as easily decide what we love.

Our smartphones are instruments of mass distraction. They’ve been engineered — decades now of study, testing, and marketing — to distract us. They have the power to derail our lives and undermine our priorities. Instead of taking us where we want to go, they more often hijack our plans and take us somewhere completely different.

It can be like riding a bus to work five days a week for a year, and then one day neglecting to ever get off the bus. We just ride around wherever the bus turns until it’s time to go home again. Tony Reinke describes the process:

In the digital age, we idolize our phones when we lose the ability to ask if they help us (or hurt us) in reaching our spiritual goals. We grow so fascinated with technological glitz that we become captive to the wonderful means of our phones — their speed, organization, and efficiency — and these means themselves become sufficient ends. Our destination remains foggy because we are fixated on the speed of our travel. We mistakenly submit human and spiritual goals to our technological possibilities. This is reverse adaptation. (12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, 115)

Our phones used to be a means to relationship, a means to work, a means to ministry. The iPhone suddenly made the means an end — or perhaps better, a means to me.

Give Your Phone a Mission Statement

Have you ever thought about giving your phone a mission statement?

Like Disney: To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.

Or ESPN: To serve sports fans wherever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about or played.

Or Chipotle: To ensure that better food is accessible to everyone.

Or Instagram: To capture and share the world’s moments.

The reason most of don’t think about giving our phones a mission statement is that we never think about giving ourselves a mission statement. Unlike Disney, Chipotle, or Instagram, we don’t think about life in those terms. We live and work and play, eat and drink, talk and watch without any definable or discernible sense of direction or purpose.

Without a clear sense of mission, we make decisions based on what we want in the moment — what feels right — not because the decision fulfills a purpose for us. We let our push notifications drive the bus.

Why Did God Make You?

So what will your mission statement be? You don’t need to hire a marketing agency, or spend hours wordsmithing something. You can start with the simplest personal mission statement for all of life in the Bible: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Is your smartphone helping you accomplish that?

It’s not a rhetorical question. Do our phones tangibly help us make more of our one thousand daily decisions in a way that tells the world how much we love our God? Or do our phones eat up hundreds of those decisions with lesser things, distracting us from the amazing and thrilling mission God has given us?

If you are in Christ, God chose you, saved you, and made you his own blood-bought sons and daughters “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6). Paul goes on in the same paragraph to say that the one who works everything in the world according to his will has set aside an infinite and everlasting inheritance for you. Why? “To the praise of his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:12). How do you know you’ll make it to heaven and receive your inheritance? “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14).

Saved to make God look glorious. Blessed to make God look satisfying. Kept to make God look worthy. Don’t own a smartphone for anything less. Buy and carry a phone to enjoy and demonstrate the value of God. We don’t make God glorious, or satisfying, or worthy, but our lives (and phones) will either say he is all those things, or not.

Put Your Phone on a Leash

Growing up, our phone sat on the kitchen counter. The cord reached five or six feet in any direction. If Mom or Dad needed a little privacy, they stretched the cord around the corner into the living room.

Back then, we only picked up our phone when we really needed it. Now, we almost never put our phones down, not even when we’re talking to someone face to face. Our phones follow us literally everywhere we go — the front yard, the bedroom, the car, even the bathroom — a kind of twisted “upgrade” from the corded phone. Phones were once attached to walls; now we’re attached to them — unless we force them to serve a higher purpose and a higher happiness.

Make your phone a means to relationship again, a means to ministry, a means to glory. Let the bright light on your screen go dim more often, so that you might “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

If we’re willing to put our phones on a leash, we will unleash ourselves to focus more on the relationships and responsibilities that matter most.

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25 Smartphone Apps Every Leader Should Know About

by Carey Nieuwhof NOVEMBER 6, 2013 

Confession: I really like technology.

As a child of the 70s who remembers having to get up off the couch to change TV channels, I am in favour of anything that makes life more productive, more rewarding or more fun.

After all, why not get ahead on the mission by becoming more efficient? I think that’s exactly what the right apps help you do.

Just so you know, my experience of all these apps is through Apple products but most of these apps have Android or other equivalents.

While you’ll know and use some of these apps, I hope there are some new ones too. Not all the apps listed are free apps (although many are), but for the price of a coffee or less in most cases your life is more productive. And one or two are web apps (websites) and don’t have an app for your phone or tablet. But they were so good I had to put them on the list.

And naturally, I’d love to know what you use, so please leave a comment. I’ll bet I’m missing some great apps.

In no particular order, of the 100+ apps I have on each device I own, here are 25 apps every leader ought to know about:


Mailbox After trying numerous email apps, Mailbox has emerged as my favourite. Don’t want to deal with an email now? Swipe left and with one tap choose the time you want it to reappear in your box. Archiving, filing and deleting is effortless. Makes it easy to be at zero inbox every day and yet you never miss anything.

Things and Gneo I have used Things by Culture Code as my default to-do list for years. It’s really good. Lately been experimenting with a new app called Gneo. It’s a bit complex but has much more diverse functionality and syncs with Evernote. Any Gneo users with more insight? Leave a comment.

Reeder 2 A simple RSS feeder that allows you easy access to whatever blogs or sites you love most. Okay, this isn’t an app but it should be. It’s a website designed to help bosses connect with their direct reports and employees better. You can design questions team members answer weekly, biweekly or monthly to help you stay connected with everyone. I love it. That’s why I included it.

Hangouts Google chat and video chat have evolved into Google Hangouts. Excellent quality. Free. Makes Skype seem ancient by comparison. You can screen share and do so much more. And it works with multiple users.

Google Hangouts on Air It’s everything Google Hangouts is except it broadcasts your video chat and automatically records it to YouTube. You can add lower third graphics, and the screen view camera switches automatically to feature whomever is speaking. Brilliant. I have used it to record blog interviews and you could do basic webinars with it. For free. Hangouts on Air is only available through Google+ on a desktop, but I had to mention it.

Evernote I use it for everything. Quick ideas. Clips for messages. Images, lists. I probably access 10% of its functionality, but I am still in love. It really does remember everything for you and is exceptionally searchable.

Dropbox I know you know DropBox. But it just had to be on the list. If you don’t know DropBox, it’s a virtual, sharable hard drive that syncs across all devices. Again, free.

Google Drive Documents at our church are almost 100% online. No more sending versions of Word or Pages docs back and forth and losing track of which version you’re on or overwriting them. Google Drive allows all your writing to be shared with key team members and documents to be edited instantly by multiple users at the same time—in a way that’s visible to everyone. Makes team work a cinch. Drive helps you access all of them on any device anywhere, even off-line.

Teleprompt+ for iPad Don’t want to spend $1000+ on a full teleprompter? Simply paste your text into Teleprompter for iPad. Set your iPad next to the camera lens and it scrolls while you talk. Not bad for 1.5% of the cost of a real one.

DocuSign Ink Never download, print, sign, scan and then send a document again. There are a bunch of apps that allow you to sign legal documents and contracts without printing a thing, but this is my fave. It just works. Perfect for iPad.

Analytics If you track your website or blog stats, the Analytics app gives you virtually all the power of the Google Analytics website on your device.


TripIt I use this for all my travel. Shares your trip data with friends and family easily and sends push notifications to your phone instantly for flight delays, gate changes and more.

TripAdvisor It’s a really great app that generates top sites, attractions, restaurants and hotels based on user-reviews.

AroundMe A GPS based app that shows you what’s, well, around you wherever you are. Perfect for restaurants, theatres, museums, shops and stores.


Word Swag More people ask me about this app than any other app (as in “what are you using to create those Instagram photos”?). I use it for creating great text-over-image pics for Instagram and Facebook. It can even make unhip non-design people like me look a bit savvy. (Thanks to my friend way cooler friend Chris for telling me about it. You should read his blog.)

Instagram Under-30s have largely left Facebook and are mostly found here, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr and Snapchat (not gonna take on Snapchat personally). Plus Instagram is still fun!

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