Church Photo and Video: Theotek Podcast #064

Do you use a camera at your church? If so, then you’ll want to either watch or listen to the Theotek Podcast as we talk about church photo and video tools and tips. We welcomed a great church video expert, Matt Fridg from Church Video Coach. He knows a ton about church video solutions, from streaming your worship services online to creating video sermon illustrations or church videos to promote events or share your church’s story to members, visitors or potential attendees.

Image credit: jsawkins on Flickr.
Image credit: jsawkins on Flickr.

Matt wrote the following article about using DSLR cameras in church. He talked about the article and then gave some recommendations for better alternatives.

Why DSLR Cameras Fall Short for Church Service Video


To do your live streaming, Matt mentioned as one solution. It’s priced a little higher than smaller churches might feel comfortable using. There’s also a few free options like Ustream, Livestream and now Facebook Live Video.

He’s more of a video expert than a church photo expert, but they’re closely related.

Our team also talked about our uses of church photo tools for worship images used in sermon illustrations or for promoting groups/events. We also like to use church photo albums in digital form for remembering big events in our churches.

Our Favorite Things

Rick talked about the new point-and-shoot camera he’s getting for his coming trip to China and the far east.

chase jarvis blog

Matt recommended a great photography blog by photographer Chase Jarvis.

babylon bee

Wes and I both love the Christian satire and comedy blog, Babylon Bee.


Bible Mark Up App Presents Bible: Theotek Podcast #063

I’m always looking for some cool ways to present God’s word in my preaching and teaching ministry like the app Bible Mark Up. When I started watching John Piper’s Look at the Book video series on YouTube, I loved the simple and elegant black background with white Bible text that he uses in these videos. He draws on the text and screen using colorful marking pens. I investigated and discovered that Piper’s using something that inspired the developer of the app Bible Mark Up. The developer liked the videos and wanted a mobile version and so he created Bible Mark Up for Android and then ported Bible Mark Up over to iOS. We talked to Ernie Lail of Maranatha Technologies on this week’s Theotek Podcast seen below. The audio is at the bottom of the page.

Bible Mark Up App

This free iPad or Android app inserts the Bible text from one of a number of translations on a black background. The teacher or Bible student uses the 9 colors to draw on the screen in Bible Mark Up. Watch John Piper to use a tool similar to Bible Mark Up, which inspired the app, in his “Look at the Book” video series on YouTube (seen below).

Logos Bible Software users can also buy these videos along with a nice study guide that goes with the videos. The free video series puts the videos and the study guide right inside Logos Bible Software.

Bible Mark Up app used by John Piper Look at the Book

Piper draws circles and lines and underlines the text showing relationships between ideas and words. He uses colors to connect one part of the text with another. It’s simple but skillful. I’ve begun using it in my teaching ministry and plan to do more.

The app includes some cool features. It’s got a lot of international translations in addition to the ESV, NASB and KJV. Sadly, they don’t offer my preferred HCSB translation. For teachers who use original languages it includes Greek Textus Receptus and Hebrew Aleppo Codex.

We also get access to some public domain works like Strong’s, Lexicons and some Commentaries all online. I haven’t used anything but the English Bible texts, since I don’t plan to do my study in the app. I just use it to present.

Bible Mark Up scripture selection

Ernie Lail, the developer of Bible Mark Up, told us that he created primarily as a study tool. He wanted something that lets him mark up the text like Piper does in his videos.

Here’s the workflow. The opening screen asks the user to type in a Bible reference (see above). It will then copy the text to the black screen in portrait orientation at first. Tap on the end of the line to change the line breaks. At the bottom of the screen there’s a button that reads Modify Breaks. Tap it to move the next line up to the current line that you tapped. Repeat this till the lines all show up the way you want. Then tap on Scale & Move at the bottom and pinch to zoom or shrink the text. Remember to keep the text large enough so people in the back of the room can read the text.

When you’re ready, turn the tablet into landscape mode and tap on Draw. Use the colored inking and markup buttons to draw when you wish. I will often underline or circle key words, put parenthesis around a phrase I’m discussing or draw lines to show relationship between words or phrases. Use multiple colors. For example, if a text is discussing one topic but has some sub topics, circle or underline all the words related to one of the subtopics in one color. Then use another color to visually link the next sub topic. Use lines to connect pronouns with the proper noun they represent.

Bible Mark Up demo

The app could use an update and here’s what I’d include?

  1. An erase button that removes all the markups in a single tap. Ernie told us he may add that soon.
  2. I’d like the ability to pay extra for other modern translations or reference works. I understand the app developer can’t make it free if he adds paid content, but I’d love to pay to get that kind of content.
  3. Add shapes like lines, ovals, boxes and more.
  4. Change from black to white background.
  5. If you change the background color then you need to change the text color. It’d be great if I could highlight a word or words and change just the color of those words.

Even if the developer never adds the above features, it’s still a worthwhile tool to install on your iPad or Android tablet.

Our Favorite Things

This week we actually started off with the first recommendation.

Ricoh Theta S 360-degree Camera

Watch as a I demo the Ricoh Theta S camera at the top of the podcast. It’s a nice little 360-degree camera that uses two ultra wide-angle fish eye lenses to take a complete 360-degree photo at the tap of the button. It also shoots HD video. Users can post the photos and video online to the company’s website made just for their shots or to YouTube in the case of video. Use the editing app to trim video or another one to create interesting images using the shots taken with the camera. Check out the examples below:

high peak church taken with ricoh theta s

The shot above shows the interesting results you can get with the Ricoh Theta S and the image editor on iOS.

The front of High Peak Baptist Church #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I haven’t posted any videos I’d want anyone else to see. Here’s one from the online gallery at

Passing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I love my camera, but it’s not cheap. Get it on Amazon for a couple bucks less than at Ricoh’s online store. It’s $350.

Dark Sky for iOS

dark sky app iphone

Rick showed off the great weather app called Dark Sky. They call it “hyperlocal” weather. It’s incredibly accurate even nailing the start and stop times for rain. There’s an Apple Watch extension built into the app.

iPhone SE

apple iphone se

LaRosa John chose to highlight the new iPhone SE. It’s an iPhone 5s with the power and guts of an iPhone 6s without the 3D Touch screen. Apple sells it for a little less than they sell their flagship phones. He likes the smaller size and wants to pick on up.

Technolust! Save Money When You WANT to Spend: Theotek Podcast #062

Do you experience Technolust? It’s the feeling you get when you just want some new gadget or software and can’t really afford it. You’ve maybe got the money or room on a credit card and the desire is strong. But you know you don’t need it and it might even be damaging to your finances if you buy it anyway. We’ll share some thoughts on how to avoid getting in a hole or going into debt unnecessarily. We’ve got the cure for Technolust.

The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) It also tells us not to covet. However, it’s so easy to fall into the trap. How do you avoid the trap of covetousness in the area of tech, what we call Technolust?

Avoiding Technolust

Here’s a list of our tips for avoiding technolust…

  • Stay accountable – make sure your spouse or a friend is checking on you so you don’t spend when you can’t afford it or don’t need it.
  • Set limits – don’t bring your credit card with you shopping or put extra funds in an account you can’t easily access.
  • Find relief before the longing hits you – don’t shop when you don’t need anything or avoid websites or magazines that promote technolust.
  • Satisfy the hunger with something far less cheaper – buy an app or some software or upgrade a computer with some memory or with an accessory.

What to do when you regret a purchase? Plenty of people experience buyers remorse. We talked about why that is, so make sure you watch or listen to the podcast. Here’s what we do.

  • Return it! Don’t buy from places where you can’t return things.
  • Give it away. Someone else may need it to be productive or to replace something they’ve lost due to failure, theft or just losing something.
  • Make sure you can buy. Walk away from the purchase and think hard about it before forking over the cash or plastic.
  • Sell it. Craigslist, eBay and Amazon allow you to sell things and if it’s barely used you may even get close to full price.
  • Repent. If you’re giving into covetousness, then you need to repent by returning it, selling it at a slight loss or giving it away.

Our Favorite Things

I talked about my Samsung Gear VR, which T-Mobile gave me as part of a promotion that’s no longer available. Check it my article about it at GottaBeMobile.


You can also use the Google Cardboard devices which work like Gear VR. Here’s a cheap one at Amazon.

amazon echo tap

Speaking of Amazon, I also showed off my new Amazon Tap. It’s a voice controlled mobile speaker that does so much more. It’s like the computer in Star Wars with a limited set of tools like playing music, sharing sports scores, weather updates and even ordering pizza at Dominos.

ipad pro apple pencil

Apple iPad Pro and More: Theotek Podcast #061

Apple introduced the new iPad Pro 9.7-inch model, which is basically and iPad Air 2 with an update and the iPad Pro display. It uses the Apple Pencil and comes with an optional Smart Keyboard that fits the smaller iPad. They also announced a new iPhone SE.

We talked about the new Apple news and shared Our Favorite Things! We had some fun with this one as Rick shared his excitement of the new Batman v. Superman movie that released that week. I talked again about my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Wes mentioned his new WD NAS backup storage device.