Today is FaithTree’s second ever online prayer walk and several hundred people have already spent time going through a loop of prayer prompts that help us to think about what to pray for, listened to encouraging devotionals from God’s Word and shared their own prayer requests. It isn’t too late to take part (if you are reading this on August 20) and you don’t have to live in St. Louis to take part — we have people from all over the world participating! Check it out here
A Fork Not Taken and the Calling to Plant
A year ago last night, I stared out at Table Rock Lake far more in turmoil than I can ever remember. Table Rock has always been a place I unwound from the stresses of life, but that night it felt like life’s prickliest bits were staring back at me from the lake. Dominating the briar were two dramatically different paths for ministry in front of me and all the ramifications for life surrounding them. For the first time I can remember, the place I have always said I would love to live at felt alien.
Last week, I posted about getting started with sourdough starter. While I started my starter ostensibly for bread, pizza is what has utterly sold me on the process. I cannot commend this recipe enough, with just a few slight changes I’ll describe.
After trying it several different ways, I think the best crust comes from planning ahead one day before you want the pizza. When you go through the daily discard and feeding ritual, place the discard in another bowl and feed it, just like you do for the main starter, similarly to what I mentioned last week. That should produce just enough “fresh discard” the next day for the pizza recipe and it gives the pizza crust a milder flavor and flakier texture than using several days of accumulation of discard. In sourdough terminology, this is the “levain”.
Doing this the day before, and not just a few hours ahead of dinner, is essential if you want thin crust pizza.
Not realizing apparently everyone else was thinking the same thing, it occurred to me back in March that the pandemic shelter-at-home time would be a perfect time to learn about the art of making sourdough bread. I wasn’t trying to be trendy, I just am fascinated by the idea of sourdough. In a way, raising your own “yeast colony” is sort of like a vegetable garden: sure you can buy produce at the grocery store, but everyone knows those tomatoes and peppers and peaches will taste better if you buy them from a local farmer when they are fresh or if you raise them in your backyard.
My adventure into becoming a yeast farmer took a little while for my brain to properly make sense of, so now that I think I have at least the basics down, I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered, especially since I’ve discovered raising my little sourdough farm is not only relatively easy, but makes some of the most incredible pizza I’ve had. If you love St. Louis style pizza, you can use a simple sourdough pizza crust recipe I’ll include in my next post to make what I believe is a St. Louis-style pizza better than many pizzerias’ version.
(Admittedly, several months in, I’ve only made bread once, but I’ve found some other things I love that it can make and I wanted to share them here both for your enjoyment and for my safe keeping lest I lose the recipes.)
Modern technology makes hard things — like live streaming — that would have all but required a full behind the scenes staff just a few years ago relatively possible with just a couple of people.
Until something malfunctions.
As we’ve been preparing at FaithTree and Little Hills for the FaithTree Online Community Prayer Walk, we’ve had more of the issues possible with streaming pop up than ever before. Today almost every aspect of the live streaming setup for Steadfast (pictured) malfunctioned at some point in preparation for the livestream and, if you tried to watch it live, you noticed the audio was missing (please check out the reposted version with audio here).
Like every other aspect of life, of course, this is a good opportunity for prayer. I would be most appreciative for prayers both for what I expect will be an incredible day on Thursday for the Prayer Walk and also for the livestreams to come at Little Hills. I’m grateful for your prayers and also your patience if you “attend” Steadfast on Monday nights and couldn’t hear anything tonight. On to Thursday and then next week’s Steadfast!
Need a new phone? The iPhone SE (2020) “outclasses all Android phones.” Seriously, no matter how much you spend on an Android, Apple’s $399 “budget” phone will be faster. While it doesn’t have all the other features of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, it shares the same, incredibly high performance processor as its brain.
To put it in perspective, the iPhone 11 Pro, in its tiny size with no cooling, can achieve over 50% of the performance of a maxed out 16” MacBook Pro running Intel Core i9 processors and the 2020 iPad Pro bests numerous laptops. When Apple is confident enough if its engineering to put its best processor design in its cheapest phone, what exactly does it have ahead that it could put into the rumored in-house designed processor for Macs? An ARM based future could be very, very exciting despite the pains of a transition.
This is a really good piece on where the coronavirus stands, particularly in comparison to the flu.
Friends, please keep trying to #flattenthecurve. It is working and we can be ingenious to find ways to keep life, ministry and work moving along — I’m seeing so many people being so creative already. I think for the Christian this truly does come under “loving your neighbor.” Even if, say, I get a mild case, what if the person I give it to doesn’t? I know a number of people sent to ICU by this and one who has died so far.
The flu can be bad, but I have never known so many people severely afflicted during a single flu season and those run for six months. This is the situation in sum: even with drastic response unlike anything we do for the flu, in just one month, this has killed more people than a bad flu season of six months. That is sobering and calls us to carefulness as we value the preciousness of each life God has made.
Those of you who are involved with FaithTree likely know that George Haynes, who had been very involved with FaithTree for much of its story as part of the worship team (percussion), a behind the scenes helper and simply a smiling presence, had been battling brain cancer since last fall. While the brain cancer had paralyzed George on his one side and forced him into a skilled care facility, he had continued to be active via online means and was largely physically OK. Sadly, despite his facility going into lockdown towards the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, George somehow contracted it and had spent the past few weeks in the hospital; the last few days his situation had grown worse and — it still feels hard to believe I am writing this — George went into the presence of his Savior this morning.
Seriously, friends, it’s time to move on from Zoom. They seriously don’t know how to do security and, if you reused a password from elsewhere with Zoom, now you are at higher risk of identity theft. No one who takes security seriously should even consider installing Zoom on their computer at this point or using it for any communication.
NBC News’ Ezra Kaplan and Kevin Collier report:
Zoom users who reuse the same passwords from other accounts can face an ugly unintended consequence — having their login information sold on the dark web.
Personal account information including email addresses, passwords and the web addresses for Zoom meetings are both being posted freely and sold for pennies. One dataset for sale on a dark web marketplace, discovered by an independent security firm and verified by NBC News, includes about 530,000 accounts.
(HT: Christopher Wright)
Since the first reported death from COVID-19 in the United States on March 2, we’ve averaged about 550 deaths per day (if you average it out over those 42 days), though the average in April is much higher. If that overall average were to continue for six months like a flu season, we would be looking at over 100,000 deaths; if the higher present rate continued, it would be more like a quarter million. Let’s hope our efforts to #FlattenTheCurve help and, more than that, let’s keep praying to the God who has power over death that he would heal our world and comfort those for whom those averages aren’t average at all, because they include their loved ones.