Tech Tuesday: How to – Be notified of free iTunes content!

I was so excited to write this, I really wanted to tell everyone of a cool new-ish song by the band, New World Son. Their latest single, “There Is A Way” is soulful, energetic and inspiring with the lyrics. I previewed the album and the rest of it is right up there with single, very solid and one of 2010’s top releases in my opinion, regardless of your musical tastes or taste for “Christian” music. A lot of the comments I’ve read about this song and album start out with “I didn’t even know this was a Christian band!” or “I don’t really care that they’re a Christian band, this is great music!” which I find pretty funny because a few years ago, I thought ALL Christian music sounded like Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith…not really my cup of tea (though talented people), but you (hopefully) see what I’m getting at….right?

So, back to the excitement of writing this…I had heard this song on K-Love and was prepared to buy it off of iTunes when I noticed it was being offered as a free single! I quickly downloaded it and checked back often on iTunes to see if it was still there and to best of my memory, it was still there last week, but now it’s gone. So I want to share a way that you can keep up with new free releases on iTunes in case great Christian content comes up again (it’s rare, so you gotta be quick about this stuff).

What you’ll need:  iTunes, a free RSS reader (most web browsers including Apple’s Safari has this built right in, an internet connection

Steps:

Pretty simple, right? Well, while researching a few points here, I noticed people have made it even easier by creating tutorials and even blogs that already do most of this work for you, gotta love the internet, right? 🙂 I do encourage you to check these sources out, they are helpful and should help make this process easy:

Regardless, the song is well worth the .99 cents, so pick it up if you like the preview, hope you enjoy it!

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Quiet Time: Mark 3

1Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

4Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Crowds Follow Jesus

7Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11Whenever the evil[a] spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.

The Appointing of the Twelve Apostles

13Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14He appointed twelve—designating them apostles[b]—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15and to have authority to drive out demons. 16These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Jesus and Beelzebub

20Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.21When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub[c]! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”

30He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”


Key Verse: 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.


Reflection/Application: Oh the drama! It seems as if the Pharisees sent a spy to watch Jesus and look for any reason/excuse to bring forth their form of justice on him. To this, Jesus displayed his own version of “bring it on!” and healed the disabled man. I get quite a lot out of this chapter, if you don’t mind, I’d like to break it down in a few areas:

• Healing on the Sabbath – Jesus was all about love and healing for those that needed it, be it healing of the heart or healing physically. Perhaps this is a great parable on how we should treat those in need? How do you react when faced with those in need (panhandlers, homeless, etc.)? I find it interesting that the Pharisees thought they were doing good by watching, waiting and judging and thought Jesus was doing evil by healing on the Sabbath. I think Satan was very busy in the hearts of many this day…

• Jesus, angry? – Wouldn’t you be? Ephesians 4:26 instructs us to deal with anger properly and I think Jesus was doing this here…he’s angry because of the hard hearts he’s seeing yet his own action is not wrathful but more so out of love to the disabled man. I think we should all feel the same way if we were to enter a room and there was someone in need, yet no one was doing anything about it. This whole event reminds me of a somewhat recent event that happened in NYC this year: Dozens Walk Past Dying Hero Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax On New York … Would this had been you, would you had done anything? Think about if you were visiting the city and were scared or lost…definitely says something about our modern society…skipping ahead to the next topic and the key verse:

• A kingdom divided – This is where we stand, so many political agendas and division, it’s getting hard to find a group of more than 10 people that share the same values or beliefs. We are constantly told by multiple sources (media, friends, leaders, etc.) that if we’re “this” type of person then we should believe “this”. I know the whole “WWJD” is clichĂ©, but it holds true…I think there should also be a “WWPS” (What Would Paul Say?) after reading Ephesians and learning about the unity that Paul was teaching. There’s only one good rule book if you’re wondering about your beliefs, it has about 66 chapters in it so you better get to reading 🙂


Quiet Time: Mark 2

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

1A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The Calling of Levi

13Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

15While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

18Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”

19Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.

21“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

Lord of the Sabbath

23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Key Verse: Mark 2:5 – 5″When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” and 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Reflection/Application: So if you haven’t quite figured it out yet, the gospel of Mark is an account like the other gospels, but this one seems to focus on more of the miracles and actions of Jesus. The fact that Jesus “saw their faith” is a reference to the holy trinity, that Jesus is God! When he next forgave the paralytic and sent the religious authorities into a frenzy. Imagine if you heard someone say this today…you’d think they were crazy! They only knew that God was able to forgive man of his sins, but boy I would have loved to had seen their faces when he cured the man and had him walk…what a display!

This chapter is a great reminder that Jesus is God, Jesus loves sinner and that we should all have love in our heart so that we may spread Jesus’s love. The 4 men who lowered the paralytic, their faith and bravado are something to honor, a great reminder that we too must bring our friends and those that need Him to Him…doesn’t matter to whom or what others think…tell everyone you know!

Quiet Time: Mark 1

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[a]

2It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”[b]—
3“a voice of one calling in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ “[c] 4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with[d] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus

9At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

12At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

The Calling of the First Disciples

14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18At once they left their nets and followed him.

19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit

21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil[e] spirit cried out, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Jesus Heals Many

29As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. 31So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place

35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

A Man With Leprosy

40A man with leprosy[f] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.

43Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44“See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Key Verse: Mark 1:17 – “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Reflection/Application: Jesus was working miracles, teaching radical practices and trying to go unnoticed or without fame but his work on mankind was too powerful. He took fishermen to make them fishers of men…this to me is a reminder to not get caught up in my interests that take me away from God to fulfill a self-serving purpose, but to follow God and learn from his teachings so that I may reach others by being a messenger of truth.

This was a powerful passage to me today as I’m affirmed to be that light in the dark (like a spinner bait in murky waters) to attract those needing guidance.