HP Chromebook X2 – Real World Review

About five or six years ago, I started using Chromebooks. Up to that point, I was squarely in the world of Windows.

I loved Windows as an operating system, but grew weary of the slow boots, slow updates, and program conflicts. I was also looking for something cheaper than most of the Windows laptops on the market.

Chromebook fit the bill. My first Chromebook was about $200 and served me very well. It booted within 20 seconds, the updates were not intrusive, and the system just worked. The only reason I ever upgraded to new computers was to get one that was faster and had more ram.

I’ve been using this Chromebook for about a year. It is light, quick, and starts up in seconds. Since it is detachable, I use it as a tablet as well. It comes with both a keyboard and a pen.

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Lenten Opportunities

Spin Cycle

My mom would quip how she didn’t know if she was coming or going from time to time. Her acknowledgment usually came during busy times when I wanted to start a new activity or had something I needed her to do.

My mom and dad were 43 when I came into the picture. They had already raised my two sisters and, I’m sure, at 55, would rather be winding down rather than trying to keep up with a 12-year-old. What I believe she was attempting to communicate was how busy she was with competing goals and priorities. At 12-years-old I didn’t know how life gets busy and sometimes we just want to stop.

The earth spins at about 1000 miles per hour (at the equator). We may not know it, but we are constantly spinning, spinning, spinning. I’ve heard people say, “Stop the world, I want to get off” not because of the earth’s constant spin, but because life can spin out of control.

The earth’s constant motion isn’t what gets to us, it’s all the motion in our lives. Regardless of our desire to “stop the world”, it won’t happen. The earth will keep spinning (which is a very good thing) and so do our lives. Even those times when we believe our life will slow down, it doesn’t. Sometimes our lives spin even faster.

Lent As An Opportunity

We are already busy, so what does it mean to add something like Lent into the mix?

Instead of viewing Lent as “one more thing”, what if we see Lent as an opportunity to “stop the world”? Well, not exactly “stop the world” but at least slow it down somewhat. The world will keep spinning, but our lives don’t need to. Lent can be an opportunity when we choose to slow down our spinning lives.

The WHAT of Lent

Historically, Lent has been a time of intentional prayer and self-denial. Over forty days we are reminded of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness (see Luke 4). During that time, Jesus fasted, prayed, and combated the devil. The focus on self-denial and prayer helps us connect with Jesus’ time in the wilderness as he prepared for God’s mission.

Our forty days of Lent (which doesn’t include Sundays) started on Feb. 26th with Ash Wednesday and lasts until the Saturday before Easter. What you choose to do during these forty days can have a profound effect on your life and soul. Lent can empower us and prepare us for God’s purpose.

The HOW of Lent

Knowing the history and purpose of Lent can be helpful, but the power of Lent comes via intentional practices. Practices that draw us closer to Jesus, help us to love others, and have the potential to transform our lives empower us to follow Jesus. During the days of Lent, we find newness of life.

The power of Lent comes from our choice to enter into practices that create space for God. The faster our life spins, the easier it is to neglect God. Time for prayer, scripture, and other spiritual practices becomes limited and, at times, completely bypassed, forfeited for other pressing activities. When we decide to find time to draw near to God, we discover how he draws near to us.

The WHY of Lent

Why should we embrace our Lenten opportunity? Because we need Lent. We need to be reminded that life doesn’t consist of our lives spinning out of control. We need time to sit with Jesus in the desert of our soul. We need practices of self-denial and prayer. We need to be reminded that through Jesus’ self-denial and death, we have life abundantly. Lent also prepares us for the celebration of Resurrection.

Invitation to a Holy Lent

The word “holy” means to be set apart. In order to have a Holy Lent, we set it apart. If we want to experience the power of Lent, it must look different than our ordinary days.

How can we set Lent apart? Here are some ideas:

“Giving up” something for Lent is a popular Lenten practice. Whether a favorite treat, time watching TV, or some other item or activity, when we say “no” to ourselves we enter into self-denial.

Fasting a meal or a day (or longer) connects us to Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness.

Setting a fixed time for prayer and reading Scripture can be a time of renewal.

Adding a spiritual practice such as prayer, scripture, spending time in nature, serving somewhere, attending Sunday Worship services, or attending Lenten Reflections, helps connect us to self-denial and renewal.

Yes, our lives may be busy, perhaps overflowing. In order to add Lenten practices, we may have to say “no” in order to say “yes.” What can you say no to? Can you say no to a favorite TV program? A destructive activity? A favorite vice? A favorite food? Eating three (or two) meals a day? The reality is, if we are going to say “yes” to a Lenten practice, we may have to say “no” to an ordinary activity. If we are going to “stop the world” we must say “no” so we can say “yes.” Doing so sets Lent apart, helping us experience a holy Lent.

A Prayer

As you reflect on what God desires for you during this season, I offer two prayers. The first is Charles de Foucauld’s prayer of abandonment. The second prayer for you to offer Jesus during Lent.

Here is Charles de Foucauld’s prayer of abandonment:

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you Lord,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my father.

Jesus, please help me to walk with you in self-denial. You denied yourself by going to the cross and dying so that I might live. Help me to say no to myself, so others can live. May this season of Lent be a Holy season set apart for you and your purposes. Guide me during these forty days. May I be transformed through you. Peace, David.

Review – Didn’t See It Coming – Carey Nieuwhof

In “Didn’t See it Coming” Carey Nieuwhof outlines seven challenges that can catch a pastor or leader by surprise even though they are ubiquitous. The seven challenges are Cynicism, Compromise, Disconnection, Irrelevance, Pride, Burnout, and Emptiness.  Carey calls these seven challenges “epidemics of our age.” While these things have a tendency to catch us off guard, they don’t need to if we see the warning signs.

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Doing Our Best Work

Note: While I focus on pastoral work in this article, I believe anyone who struggles with scheduling creative work may benefit. I debated publishing this, fearing that some may not understand the various pressures and struggles of pastors and others who must address problems without clear solutions or perform other tasks which draw on creative resources. After sharing the article with a friend who encouraged me to post it, I offer it in hopes that some find encouragement, hope, or understanding.

The Creative Pastor

Are pastors creatives? While I’ve lamented the stress of forced creativity of writing and presenting weekly sermons, I don’t know if I’ve viewed pastors as creatives. I know artists, musicians, screenwriters, and such do creative work, but pastors aren’t writing screenplays, poems, songs, or painting beautiful pictures. I’m not sure I’ve considered that pastors may be just as creative but in a different way. Continue reading “Doing Our Best Work”