BibleDraft 1.0

Today I’m happy to finally put a project I’ve been working on for quite awhile on this site. The project is called BibleDraft and you can find its home on my new projects page.


The Background

Since the big thing in movies in the last 10 years has been origin stories, let’s start with the background[1] on this script. Continue reading


Doug Wilson On The Reality Of The Incarnation

Doug Wilson, from his excellent book God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas is the Foundation for Everything. This passage has make me shake with joy and fear for what it meant that Christ became a man.

We ought always to reflect on the profound reality of the Incarnation. Over the course of time, we have added a bunch of cultural traditions to the celebration of the Christmas season, which is absolutely fine, but at the same time we want to take care not to obscure anything central. So, enjoy the fudge, and the sleigh bells jingling, and bringing the woods into your living room… but enjoy it all for the right reason.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:1,14)

John’s gospel begins with the words in the beginning, deliberately echoing the first words of Genesis (Gen. 1:1). Just as God created the heavens and the earth, so in the arrival of Jesus, He was recreating the heavens and the earth (v. 1). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. What does this mean? The withness is defined by the word Word. The Word was with God the Father in the way our words are with us. They are not the same. And yet, at the same time, our words reveal us and are to be identified with us. We are what we speak. Out of the abundance of the heart, a man speaks, and we are this way because God is the same way. Out of the abundance of His heart, He speaks. Now, this perfect Word, this Word that came from the Father without any degradation of meaning, this Word which was also to be identified with the Father, what did He do? He became flesh, John says, and dwelt among us (v. 14). Did this bring about degradation of meaning? No, John says— we beheld his glory (v. 14). What glory? The glory of the only begotten of the Father. What glory? A glory that was full of grace and truth.…

…Now, consider the nature of the miracle we celebrate at Christmas. Without losing anything “in the translation,” God brought this conversation into this world, starting in the womb of a young Jewish woman. The Word (the Word we have been speaking of) became flesh, and all carnal philosophy and wisdom fall backwards, like the men who came to arrest the Lord.

…we need to take careful note of the fact that Jesus was not telling us to do something that He was unwilling to do Himself. We should see this as the very model of His particular kind of servant leadership. Jesus told us to become like little children. And what did He do in the Incarnation? He became a little child. The one, in short, who told us that we needed to be humbled, converted, and made like little children, was the same one who humbled Himself and took the form of a baby in the womb of a young maiden. Jesus told us to become like little children, but He did so as the one who had— in an utterly unique way— become a little child.

He, the eternal Word, the one who spoke the galaxies into existence, was willing to become a little baby boy who could do nothing with words except jabber, and in that jabbering, make glad his mother and earthly father. He, the source of all life and all nourishment for that life, was willing to be breastfed. He, the same one who had separated the night from the day, and had shaped the sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night, was willing to have his diapers changed for a year or so. It is not disrespectful to speak this way; for Christians, it is disrespectful not to. We believe in the Incarnation, in the Word made flesh. This is our glory; this is our salvation.

Jesus told us that in order to enter His kingdom, we would have to stoop. This is not surprising, because He was the one who stooped in a mystifying way in the creation of that kingdom. He stooped —the ultimate Word became a single cell, and then a cluster of cells, and then visibly a baby, although still less than a pound, and then a child who kicked his mother from inside, delighting her immeasurably. He became a little child, and then, years later, He told us to copy Him in this demeanor— to become little children.…

…The atonement did not start when the first nail went in and then stop when the Lord breathed His last breath. The entire life of Christ was involved in our salvation, from His conception on. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah said that we were healed by His stripes, which were inflicted before the cross (Is. 53: 5), and that by His knowledge He will justify many (Is. 53: 11). The Lord’s time on the cross cannot be detached from the rest of His sinless life, and it is theological folly to try.

Wilson, Douglas (2012-11-16). God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas is the Foundation for Everything (Kindle Locations 453-526) Kindle Edition.

Workflow to Pythonista: New from Gist

While the rest of iOS-land is caught up in the Workflow frenzy, the past few days I’ve been spending my free time learning more about scripting in Python. One major project I’ve been working on is a large update to my Drafts & Pythonista workflow for getting Bible verses. Since I’m such a hack and Pythonista doesn’t have version control built-in, I’ve been uploading my work-in-progress files to GitHub as private gists so I can go back in case I royally screw things up. That’s caused me to be downloading a lot of gists lately. Continue reading

25 of My Favorite Christmas Songs

A few days ago I noticed that Casey Liss had posted a few of his favorite Christmas albums, so I thought I’d do a list of some of my Christmas favorites. Most of them I could find on Spotify, but a few are from some rather obscure Christmas samplers when I was in high school. There are basically 3 albums that I rituallistically listen to at this time of year:

  1. Michael W. Smith’s Christmas – it’s like Coca-Cola Classic. Can’t beat the real thing
  2. Mannheim Steamroller’s A Fresh Aire ChristmasCarol of the Bells has a reggae breakdown in it – can it get better than that?
  3. George Winston’s December – this is really the only piano-based album I love and I think a huge reason is because of the nostalgia. Coming in from working outside on the farm to this playing on a Saturday just felt so cozy.

These are basically presented in no particular order, with a few exceptions:

  • I started the playlist off with “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. I love the way he yells it 3:19. Amen. So much longing and a great way to start the Christmas season – longing for His coming.
  • I ended it with some purpose too:
    • the gospel being presented in A Stick, A Carrot & String (“And the snake who’d held the world, a stick, a carrot and a string, was crushed beneath the foot of you’re not wanting anything.”). I almost always end up with misty eyes when listening to this song
    • This is War gives such a different view of what the birth of Christ was about than what we’re used to thinking of.
    • All Glory Be To Christ is to the tune of Auld Lang Syne and a great way to start off a new day/week/year
    • Evermore is just a great reminder that when Spotify is gone and I am dead and this blog is gone and this life is over, He will still be reigning.

Non-Spotify Tracks

All Alone on Christmas – Darlene Love

To me, the only real version of this song is this one, from the Home Alone 2 soundtrack. All other versions are trash.

Mele Kalikimaka – One Eighty / Flight One Eighty

When I was in Jr. High & High School I was so in love with Hawaii. Naturally this became a favorite.

O, Holy Night – Seven Day Jesus

You’ve gotta have O, Holy Night right? This is my favorite version, it’s humble, just like His birth

Jesu Bambino – Plankeye

I don’t know what it is about this song (probably the guitar in the verses), but I love it.

Mookie’s Last Christmas – Saosin

This is the most unconventional song on the list, and easily one of my favorite Christmas songs. I don’t know about 90% of the lyrics, but it just hits the spot.

Using Drafts and Pythonista for Quick Bible Verses (ESV)

This workflow has been turned into the BibleDraft project. Visit that page for more info.

I have long had the desire to have quick access to the text of bible verses. Maybe I want to email it, text it, put it in Day One, or just have it for my immediate consumption. I've always felt that the Bible apps were too slow or had too many taps for that time when you just need to get the verse and move things forward.

So while on vacation this summer I took two of my favorite apps, Drafts and Pythonista and built a very simple Bible action. Drafts is perfect for this because when you open it up, it's ready to accept text. And I'd already modified a Python script for Editorial to take sermon notes with inline Bible verses. So I took those two tools and created a simple Drafts action to:

  1. Take the draft, needs to be a Bible verse (call me Captain Obvious)
  2. Send the reference to Pythonista
  3. run a Python script entitled “quick ESV verse” and have Pythonista pull the reference text from the ESV Bible's API
  4. Return the reference as bold markdown with the verses on the lines below it.

And that's all the action was designed to do. For the 3 people in the world who:

  • use Drafts
  • use Pythonista
  • use the ESV translation
  • are dissatisfied with the speed of looking up verses in their current Bible app

I hope you find this helpful. Grab the “Quick ESV” action for Drafts and create a script in Pythonista entitled “quick ESV” with the code below or if you have the “New from Gist” workflow installed in Pythonista you can get the link here.

Update 1: I realize that the way I tweaked the Drafts Action now requires Drafts 4. Some of you may still be running Drafts 3. If that’s the case let me know and I’ll update the script so it works on both versions

Alibaba Is Amazing

I was catching up on some Planet Money podcasts recently and decided to listen to one about the Internet site Alibaba.

I guess I was rather ignorant about who Alibaba is and what you can buy there. I was thinking it was a social network, probably because of its affiliation with Yahoo. Boy was I wrong.

You can think of Alibaba like Amazon or Ebay, except you can buy way more on Alibaba — you can get a used 747 airplane, or an oil tanker, or 500 million tiny screws.

The story goes on to tell about how American startups are using to build their supply chain and some cool products. If your looking for a really interesting 15 minutes, check out the episode below.

NPR: Planet Money Podcast: #565: The Story Of Alibaba

A quick tweak to my ESV Bible Workflow in Editorial

I’d previously written about how I went and turned Editorial for iOS into my favorite tool for taking sermon notes. Well, last night as I was falling asleep I came up with a slight tweak that really improves the workflow.

Previously, I had the workflow pop up an error if no text was selected. Last night I realized that popup would be better as input text box if no text was selected. So that’s the tweak I made and it really improves the workflow. That way you don’t have to type the verse and select it if you can anticipate that the pastor is going to reference another passage. You can download the updated workflow here.

Music Monday: Letters by Butch Walker (yes, a day early)

Today is a momentous day: Letters by Butch Walker is 10 years old. If you know me at all, you know that Butch is my favorite artist (see previous posts here). For many years, I would buy this album for friends just out of the blue so they’d be introduced to Butch. To understand why this is such a big deal to me, first, let’s cover a little background.

Continue reading

A URL Scheme for Logos Bible Software for iOS

As a quick follow-up to my previous post, it turns out that Logos for iPhone/iPad does have a URL scheme. No, not the type I was looking for with X-Callback support, but still, a URL scheme nonetheless. I thought I’d quick publish how I’m using it in case any other geeks are looking for a way to open Logos directly to a bible or book.

We have chosen Psalms as a passage of scripture for our two girls. As a part of my nightly routine with my daughters, I will read the Psalm with them. I could be a normal dad and pull out a physical bible[1] or I could pull out my phone, which I invariably have with me everywhere I go. That means that if we’re somewhere and we just need to read something to keep her engaged, I have easy access to it.

I had been using the built in “favorites” feature to Logos for iOS but that was way too many steps. I was trying to think of ways to get to get to the Psalm. Should I put the text into a markdown file and launch that file from Launch Center Pro? Should I use LCP to launch directly to a website like that will have the passage? Neither of these options were great in my mind. Then after a few weeks, I remembered that Logos had URL links long before I got into this whole iOS automation thing.

I went to the Logos forums and realized that someone had already done a great job with LCP & Logos. So here’s what I did.

  1. Went to the passage I wanted in Logos for Mac and selected Copy Location as URL.
  2. Send Logos URL to my iPhone via Command-C
  3. Open Launch Center Pro
  4. Create a new action using the url on the clipboard as the URL.
  5. Name the action.
  6. Boom! Open directly to the passage (or section if it’s a book)

Getting a URL from Logos Bible Software for Mac


  1. I should note that my daughter and I do read out of The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm almost every night.  ↩