MacBook Pro vs Surface: Theotek Podcast 084

Last week Apple and Microsoft unveiled new computers. Apple showed off a newly designed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID while Microsoft refreshed their Surface Book and introduced a professional creativity focused all-in-one system called the Surface Studio. It will run the new Windows Creative Edition coming out next year. We talk about the two companies and their vision for what customers want in hardware. Watch the podcast below or listen at the bottom of this page.

Microsoft Surface Studio and Windows Creative Edition

We took the two announcements events in the order they came, starting with Microsoft’s unveiling of Windows Creative Edition. Most of what they covered focused on creating content using Windows. They were enamored with 3D since Paint gets an update to include 3D. My colleague Travis Pope of GottaBeMobile tells you all about the new version.


The SurfaceBook gets an update to the SurfaceBook 2 (starts at $2,399). It’s a two-in-one mobile device that’s mostly a laptop, but with a detachable screen. Microsoft first released it last year, but it was extremely buggy. They fixed the bugs and now they put in new processors and upped the video graphics chip for better overall performance and great battery life.


The biggest news of their event centered around the new desktop all-in-one. It’s called the Surface Studio (starts at $2,999) and comes with a huge 28-inch touchscreen that the user can adjust to use upright like a traditional desktop system or fold it down to work on it like a drafting table. Again, check out the GottaBeMobile post about it.

2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar


The biggest controversy in our discussion centered around the gimmicky nature of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple unveiled this updated MacBook. I don’t like that it comes with only USB-C ports. They’re great ports and I love them, hoping that in a few years that’s what everyone uses to sync and charge and connect peripherals, including the iPhone. However, we’re not there yet and we need things like an HDMI port or SD card slots. The other guys disagreed with me because they’re mostly Apple Fanboys (just kidding, sort of). Read more about it in my post for


Our Favorite Things

We ended with Our Favorite Things!

ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

My favorite thing was an adapter for the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that lets users both charge and listen to their phone at the same time. The ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter ($18) has a Lightning connector on one end and on the other there’s a place to plug both a Lightning charging or syncing cable in and 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has volume keys and a button for answering the phone or play/pause.

ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in black

It’s not perfect since it slows down fast charging adapters. I plugged my iPad charger that usually boosts the iPhone battery 10% in about 5 minutes. With this it takes longer.


Rick picked a nice iPad Pro case that comes with a sturdy secure Apple Pencil holder. The Poetic QuarterBack Case for iPad Pro 12.9 with Apple Pencil Holder ($15) covers the back of the iPad and holds your Apple Pencil in place. He loves it and convinced me to get one too. I ordered the Green and Gold version so I can run around with Green Bay Packer colors on my iPad.


It’s compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover. It also includes all the other button and port cutouts or access.

LaRosa ordered an Apple Watch 2 (starts at $369 for 38mm Series 2), so we’ll hear more about that when he gets it.



What Microsoft, Google and Apple Can Do for the Church: Theotek Podcast #042

With Microsoft, Google and Apple all releasing new hardware and software, we talked about what they can do to help the church.

We’ve already discussed the Apple hardware and software announcements for this Fall. We chatted about Google’s goodies too. Now it’s Microsoft’s turn. But more importantly for us, what can these three companies and their technology do to help the church do the Great Commission? This week’s episode covered this question. Watch it here or listen below.

The new stuff from Microsoft includes a new Surface Pro 4 tablet with the Surface Pen and Surface Type Cover updated with better keyboard and trackpad. There’s also the new Surface Book, a 2-in-1 notebook/tablet with high-end specs and a high-end price.

surface book

At the end we each recommend our choice for the most interesting or exciting of the new Apple, Google and Microsoft devices.

windows 10

Theotek Podcast #034: Windows 9, I Mean Windows 10

Windows 10 finally launched with a few upgrade hiccups, but it’s mostly a nice update to the Windows operating system. We talk in this week’s Theotek Podcast #034: Windows 9, I Mean Windows 10 about some of the things we really like and don’t like about the Windows 10 operating system and the update.

Windows 10 is easy to get. Just download the ISO or update media creation tool from Microsoft. The other option means waiting for Microsoft to offer it to you, if you reserved a copy using the little white Windows logo that pops up in the Windows 7 and Windows 8 system tray.

Upgrading to Windows 10

The upgrade goes smoothly for most people, but as always, backup your important data. I recommend doing that and then restoring your computer to factory spec using the recovery tool in Windows 8 or using your computer manufacturer’s recovery system if you’re running Windows 7. This will help you get a better Windows 10 experience. After restoring to Windows 8 or Windows 7 factory spec, then update all the drivers using Windows Update. Finally, after all that, run the update you downloaded using the link above.

windows 10

OneDrive users will find a strange change from Windows 8. In Windows 8, OneDrive would put links to all of your files that aren’t installed locally. In other words, when a user set up OneDrive in Windows 8, they didn’t have to download all their files, but the folder looked like they did. Some of the files would only be placeholders so you knew what files your OneDrive stash contained online even if they didn’t reside on the hard drive. Click on a placeholder and Microsoft would download the file and then open it.

This placeholder method worked great on computers with limited storage. Users knew what they have online, but the file didn’t eat up precious space on a low-end computer or tablet with only 16 or 32GB of local storage, like the HP Stream 13 I own. However, in Windows 10 doesn’t work this way. They removed the placeholders in Windows 10 and only shows the files actually residing on the local hard drive. Some people prefer it this way but many of us like having the placeholders. Microsoft plans to restore the feature in an upcoming update.

Theotek Podcast

We record the Theotek Podcast every Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. using Google Hangouts. Follow me on Google hangouts to get notified when we go live. You can watch it after the fact on YouTube or via iTunes. Podcast app users can also listen by searching for Theotek in the app. Get all the links to the audio on


Theotek Podcast #031: Heard It, Lived It, Reddit

This week on the Theotek Podcast we talked about the recent controversy over a Reddit person getting fire. What can we learn about how to talk about staff and volunteer conflict management from this story.

This past week Microsoft also released a new version of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016. Rick and I shared a little about our first impressions of the app.

You can listen below or watch it above. Check out our Podcast page for more info on where to listen or watch live.



5 Tips for Preaching with PowerPoint #3, 4 and 5

In the first part of this list of tips for preaching with PowerPoint, we shared two ways to preach with PowerPoint. The first one said, don’t use PowerPoint because it’s ugly and doesn’t include the features modern worship software programs features like quickly inserting lyrics, Bible verses, videos and images. They cost more, but the users will produce better worship presentations.

Second, we talked about being more visual with sermon point or sermon idea slides. Use less text and include quality images.

Now lest jump into tip number three.

Stop Preaching with PowerPoint and Clip Art

Back in the early nineties clip art made church bulletins and newsletters look more attractive, but they don’t look so good on a presentation slide. In fact, clip art on slides looks amateurish and ugly. That’s why we suggested using quality images found using Google Image search, Flickr’s creative commons library or Wikipedia’s library of creative commons images. In the rare case that you can’t find one in one of those places, pay for a professionally created image or get a subscription to a database of worship media like the folks at ShareFaith offer.

flickr creative commons search
Search using the box in the upper right and then click the drop down box to show the creative commons filter.

In our last post, we showed the detailed tips for finding quality images using Google. Now lets look at how to find creative commons images on Flickr.  Go to Flickr and find the search box in the upper right corner. Enter the idea you want to illustrate. In our first tips post we searched for trophies to illustrate the idea that God honors humble servants.

After the site returns some images, click on the License: Any License drop down box and click on the last item under Creative Commons Only labelled Modifications allowed. We use that because the rights holder doesn’t mind people using the image so long as they give credit. The holder will also allow the person searching to change the image.

flickr image display screen
Click on the download button in the lower right corner.

This will filter the images returning a smaller number of photos. Find the one you like and click on it and then click on the download arrow in the lower right corner. The various sizes available will pop up. Choose the largest size available or pick View all sizes. Download the image and use it to create your slide.

I use Photoshop to create my slides. Learn how to use their typography features to create attractive slides with your sermon ideas and companion images (see above).

Adobe’s creative cloud subscription for photographers only costs $9.99/month and it includes Photoshop, Lightroom and mobile apps as well as some online features.

Prepare Your Sermon with Visuals in Mind

This takes a little more explaining than any of our other tips. During the sermon preparation process think about using visual medium to make your point.

biblical preaching amazon
Biblical Preaching is one of the best books on sermon preparation ever written.

First, let me share my assumptions about sermon preparation. I assume that you will preach an expository sermon. What does that mean? In his seminal work Biblical Preaching, Haddon Robinson defines expository preaching as follows:

Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to the hearers.

We don’t have time to go into all the steps a preacher must take to derive that Biblical concept from the text. I use an inductive approach to study. I go over the text repeatedly, first outlining the text in English. Then I write down my own observations and ask investigative questions using the journalistic interrogatives: who, what, when, where, why and how.

I come up with the “Big Idea” of the text, as Haddon Robinson calls the main idea of a passage. Now it’s time to present that idea. Here’s where thinking visually comes into the process. Here’s a few tips.

  • Compose the outline of the message so that it faithfully communicates the text’s Big Idea.
  • Look over the outline and think of a single overarching illustration that you can use to hang your whole idea on
  • Think about visual illustrations that you can use to show the audience the concepts
medals and awards
Photo source: Flickr (

We’ve been using the idea of God honoring humble servants. I focused on the honor part of that Big Idea. One visual way to communicate that is a trophy. I can find pictures of trophies and use stories about people receiving trophies. People win trophies in …

  • sporting events
  • 4H fairs
  • blue ribbons in school competitions or craft shows
  • medals placed on the chest of a soldier

Now I’ve got a number of visual ways to illustrate the idea of honor.

As I begin to craft my sermon outline and need illustrations for the sub-points or supporting ideas, these visual images can help. I’ll eventually need to talk about a humble servant. Maybe I can share a clip from a movie or TV show where a humble person got honored. Maybe I can illustrate undeserved reward with a story about a person who didn’t measure up, but was given a physical reward for their repentance and willingness to admit their failure.

While I’m preparing my sermon outline and coming up with illustrations, I will look for ideas that I can share visually and pick one of these over one that’s not as visual.

Go Old School with Object Lessons

We’re talking about preaching with multimedia. Object lessons create powerful visual illustrations of concepts. They’re real and people can even touch them or on occasion feel, smell or taste them. The more senses I use, the more likely the hearer will remember my point.

desmond tutu children semon
Photo source: Wikipedia

Preachers communicate with children in traditional churches using object lessons all the time. The adults often get more out of the children’s sermon due to these concrete visual and tactile object lessons. Why not use it in the sermon too.

Using the idea of a trophy or medal to illustrate honor, I can grab a trophy and show it during the sermon. If I care to, I might be able to create some inexpensive medals to hand out to the congregation as a way to touch the object and remember it later by taking it home with them.

One word of warning. Don’t over use the object lesson. It will lose it’s wow factor. Using one object lesson every few months will interest the hearers. Using one every week will feel like a gimmick and lose impact.