Tech Tip: YouTube Playlist Basics

YouTube is a great resource for churches, small groups, and other events or venues when maybe you don’t have any musicians or song leaders but you’d like to have some time worshiping the Lord together through music. Here are a few tips to help you do that using a YouTube playlist.

Make a YouTube Playlist on a Mobile Device

  1. Open the YouTube App
  2. If you’re not already logged in, log in
  3. Find a video you want to add to a playlist
  4. Tap and hold “Save”
  5. To add it to an existing playlist, tap the playlist
  6. To create a new playlist, tap “+ New Playlist”

Make a YouTube Playlist in your Browser

  1. Go to http://www.youtube.com
  2. If you’re not already logged in, log in
  3. Play a video you want to add to a playlist
  4. Click “Save”
  5. To add to an existing playlist, click the box
  6. To create a new playlist, click “+ Create new playlist”
  7. Type the name and click “CREATE”

Rearranging Videos on a YouTube Playlist

  1. Open the YouTube App or visit YouTube in your browser
  2. If you’re not already logged in, log in
  3. Find the Library section (location varies by device)
  4. Click the playlist you want to rearrange
  5. Click or tap the left side “=” of the video and drag up or down

Play a YouTube Playlist on Another Device

  1. Open the YouTube App or visit YouTube in your browser
  2. If you’re not already logged in, log in
  3. Find the Library section (location varies by device)
  4. Click the playlist you want to play
  5. Shuffle videos by clicking or tapping the crossing arrows

Love Has Come

An original Christmas worship song based on John 1:1-18.

Love Has Come
Words and music by Tim Northup

Lying in a manger the Promised Child was born
His parents stared in wonder could this be the Lord?
Surrounded by the shepherds, come to testify
As heaven’s host was praising him
Glory to God on high

Love has come, love has come
The Son of God is born to save the world
Love has come, love has come
Heaven’s Light has come to dwell with us
Heaven’s Light has come to dwell in us

Forsaking every privilege, He laid aside his crown
Born to dwell among us, coming to His own
Despised and rejected the Son of Man was scorned
But faithful unto death He brought
Salvation to the world

Love has come, love has come
The Son of God is born to save the world
Love has come, love has come
Heaven’s Light has come to dwell with us
Heaven’s Light has come to dwell in us

Love has come, love has come
The Son of God is born to save the world
Love has come, love has come
Heaven’s Light has come to dwell with us
Heaven’s Light has come to dwell in us

In Everything Give Thanks

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Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for You. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NJKV)

The ancient city of Thessalonica was the capital of the Roman province Macedonia, making it a hotspot for Roman travel, trade, politics, and religion in the region. And when Paul preached in Thessalonica, he quickly encountered much hostility from local non-believers. After Paul left, the Thessalonians continued to experience similar hostility and persecution in the city. Against this backdrop of hostile daily life, we read Paul’s isntructions to the Thessalonian church.

Confession time. When God lets my life get uncomfortable, I get upset. Personally, my issue is anger. When life starts piling on the difficulties, even the small annoyances that I can usually shake off feel like red-hot iron pokers burning away sanity.

Maybe you’re like me and your issue is anger. Or maybe your struggle is with discouragement, doubt, and despair. Or, perhaps, when life closes in around you, you detach from the world and run away. Whatever your response, all of us at various times experience the pressures of life weighing heavily on us.

But imagine being a Thessalonian believer. You’re living in the center of a pagan world that worships their gods with gluttonous parties, drunkenness, wild orgies, and so forth. As a Thessalonian, you used to do those things, too. But now, as a believer in Jesus, He has set you free from those lifestyles of sin and you don’t do those things anymore. But your old friends aren’t ok with that. They won’t sell you food, clothes, or other necessities. They won’t socialize with you anymore. And if you start telling them about Jesus, they literally drag you and your family out of your house and beat you.

As a Thessalonian, your first pastor, Paul, and his ministry team were forced out of town by such hostility. But he has heard about your struggles and he has written you a letter, encouraging you to give thanks in everything. How absurd!

But Paul doesn’t say, “rise up and slaughter the offenders,” or “take them to court and squeeze every penny from them,” or “run for office and force Christian morals on society.” Those are the methods of men. They’re not our mission from God.

God’s will for us is to let Him transform our hearts and minds into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s mission for us is to go out, into all the unbelieving world, preaching the gospel and making disciples of the nations. Both God’s will and God’s mission require us to remember the single most important fact of every believer’s existence:

Jesus Christ died for our sins, saved us from death, and gives us eternal life.

It is this reality that enables us and impels us to be thankful at all times, in all things. One author explains the situation this way,

[Remember] Rom. 8:28, [how] all of which cooperate for good to God’s children and thus call forth our thanks to God. We need to learn this secret of the happy Christian life—thankfulness. If everything actually conspires to do us good, how can we do otherwise than always rejoice? [1]

Our thankfulness is not based on external circumstances. It flows from our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we begin looking at life through the lens of salvation, we see God working through the hardship in this life to make us holy. That holiness grows in us, making us more like Jesus, focusing our hearts toward heaven, filling us with joy, and turning our frowns upside down.

[1] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon (Columbus, OH: Lutheran Book Concern, 1937), 358.

Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Glaze

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

  • Servings: 16 pancakes
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick oats, blended into flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp iodized salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups sweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium size mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients until well combined.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until well combined.
  3. A little bit at a time, stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. In a preheated skillet or griddle, use 1/4 measuring cup to pour batter.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat on each side for 2-4 minutes, flipping when the edges become firm and the top isn’t shiny.

About 90 calories per pancake.

Peanut Butter Maple Glaze

  • Servings: 16 tablespoons (roughly)
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. Pour ingredients into a small sauce pan.
  2. Simmer over low heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

About 95 calories per tablespoon.

Be Anxious for Nothing

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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV)

Pardon my bluntness, but sometimes life just sucks, doesn’t it? You make these plans and they seem so important, but as the time approaches one thing after another just starts tearing them down. You have these people in your life, people you care about so deeply, that you’re ready to do almost anything for them, but when you need them, they seem to let you down. Maybe it’s your job, or you just can’t seem to find or keep a job. Maybe it’s a loved one who has fallen on hard times, illness, or death. Or maybe your own health burdens you on a daily basis. Whatever your situation, I am confident that each of us, whether presently or in times past, has experienced these kinds of discouraging situations.

I believe these kinds of situations can, depending on the circumstances, qualify as what the Bible calls “anxieties,” or “cares.” The Greek word has a long history and it has a double-meaning, very similar to our English word “cares.” In the positive sense, it can refer to any kind of heart-felt motivation to help someone else, “caring” for someone else when they are sick, weak, or in some kind of need. In the negative sense, it can also refer to any kind of heart-felt need that goes unsatisfied, like if you are sick, weak, or in need, but you feel as though you’re alone and no one is helping you. Both kinds of “cares” are strong enough to demand our full attention. And therein lies the problem—for when we fix our eyes on the situation, we take our eyes off Christ.

But there is a remedy for that feeling of discouragement and despair. You see, that feeling comes from a false perspective. You may feel alone, but you aren’t alone. God is with you. So, Paul says, the remedy isn’t to focus more on the situation, but to fix your eyes of the Lord. And prayer is the single most effective strategy for doing just that. And if you are willing to go to God in prayer, Paul gives a promise—the Peace of God will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Paul doesn’t say might or probably. He says will. That’s not just a style of translation—that’s the literal rendering of the Greek. When we fix our eyes on the Lord, we can be absolutely sure that His peace will guard our hearts and minds from the efforts of the Enemy and the world to discourage us.

During the Last Supper, I think the disciples were feeling some anxieties. For at least a few days, Jesus had been telling them about how he would be betrayed and killed. He was going to leave them. In my mind I can imagine reclining at the table among the disciples, thinking, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Aren’t you supposed to be the King of Israel? But you say you’re going to die. And what’s this business about rising in three days?”

While Jesus and the disciples were talking after the meal, Jesus instructed them about many things, including peace. As John 14:27 says,

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The peace of God is a gift given to us by Jesus. It was made possible by the death of Jesus, which paid the debt for our sins and reconciled us to the Father. In this way, Jesus made peace for us with the Father (see Rom 5:10-11). And now, the peace of God can rule our hearts. But God does not force his peace on us. As Colossians 3:15 says, we have to let his peace rule our hearts. How? By fixing our eyes on the Lord through prayer. And how is this possible? Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Meal Planning Made Easy

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Some very dear friends of mine recently shared with me their desire to eat healthier and asked me if I had any tips to share that might help them with meal planning. I remember when I was where they were, wanting to eat healthier but not knowing where to begin. Then it dawned on me that other people might be wondering the same thing. So, here’s my current approach to meal planning. If you’re just starting out or you’re looking for a new approach, my hope is that you might find something here to inspire you on own journey toward more healthful eating.

Making the Plan

I start by thinking about how many meals I need for the week using basic arithmetic: 2 servings per meal, 2 meals per day, 6 days a week means I need 24 servings. So, if I make 3 meals a week, at 8 servings per meal, that’s enough for my wife and I for six days. And I keep a few staples on hand (ingredients for grilled cheese, a couple frozen pizzas, some skillet meals) to fill in any gaps.

For breakfast, I keep healthier options like whole grain cereal (Kashi, Special K, etc.), granola bars, fresh fruits, fat free milk, low-calorie yogurt, etc. on hand. I also make scrambled eggs (2 eggs, 2 whites), turkey bacon, and toast or tortillas sometimes. My goal is keep it simple, keep it healthy, keep it interesting.

For snacks, I keep healthier options on hand like low-calorie popcorn, low-calorie granola bars, and sometimes low-calorie yogurt. I have a version of grilled cheese I make with reduced-fat cheese, low-calorie bread, and low-calorie butter spray that I snack on fairly often as well. We don’t keep much in the way of chips and cookies, etc. around the house.

Executing the Plan

I usually cook twice early in the week (Sunday or Monday, and Tuesday) and once later in the week (Thursday or Friday). This will get our family of three through a whole week on home cooked meals with leftovers. That’s just what works best for my schedule. Then eating out becomes a choice, not a necessity. Also, I cook whichever meal I feel like cooking on whichever day I feel like cooking it. I know some people plan specific meals for specific days, which is great! But that doesn’t work for me. Try out some different strategies and find what works best for you.

The key to meal planning is being intentional—thinking through what you want to cook and eat, if you’ll be able to make the meal (time, skill, tools, etc.), making your grocery list, and following through with actually making the meals. It’s easiest for me to cook bigger meals with more leftovers and keep the recipes pretty simple. I do experiment occasionally as well, but those results can be hit or miss!

A Sample Plan

This is an actual meal plan I made for our family a couple weeks ago.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 2lb ground beef (or ground turkey for leaner, healthier protein)
  • 1 box (16oz) spaghetti (any pasta will do, i buy whatever’s cheapest)
  • 2 (24oz) jars or cans of pasta sauce (Prego, hunts, etc.)

Directions

  1. Brown the meat, drain.
  2. Add sauce to meat, cook on low 20-30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cook pasta per directions on the box.
  4. Drain pasta, pour in meat sauce, stir.
  5. Portion into 8 even servings between plates (for that meal) and Tupperware (for leftovers), then serve.
Roughly 450-500 calories. Remember that extra sides and toppings (like cheese) are extra calories. Suggested side: small side salad with light dressing.

Ground Beef Tacos

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2lb ground beef (or ground turkey for leaner, healthier protein)
  • 2 small packets taco seasoning (I prefer the low sodium off brand)
  • 16 taco shells or taco-size tortillas (2 per serving)
  • Desired toppings (shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa, etc)

Directions

  1. Cook meat per directions on the taco seasoning packets.
  2. Prep toppings, prepping extras for leftovers (shredding lettuce, dicing tomatoes, etc).
  3. Heat shells/tortillas if desired.
  4. Serve (one large serving spoon full of taco meat is about a serving).
Roughly 450-500 calories. Remember that extra sides and toppings (like cheese) are extra calories. Suggested side: carrots and celery or fresh fruit.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2lb chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 (10oz) can mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 (10oz) can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (15oz) can corn
  • 5-6 soft taco tortillas
  • 8oz shredded cheese
  • Seasonings to taste (esp. granulated garlic, ground cumin, chili powder)

Directions

  1. Cook the chicken, then dice into small pieces or shred it.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. In a mixing bowl stir together chicken, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken soup, canned corn (drained), taco seasoning, and extra seasonings.
  4. Cut tortillas into strips about 2-2 1/2 inches wide (about 4 strips per tortilla).
  5. Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Then layer tortillas, chicken mix, and shredded cheese just like making lasagna.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil, bake another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool 3-5 minutes, then portion into 8 even servings between plates (for that meal) and Tupperware (for leftovers), then serve.
Roughly 400-450 calories. Remember that extra sides and toppings (like cheese) are extra calories. Suggested side: small portion of tortilla chips with salsa.

Closing Thoughts

You might notice I don’t splurge for the “healthy” options—I tend to go for the budget varieties unless there’s a significant health benefit (there’s usually not) or there’s a specific dietary need. Meal planning is a balance of budgeting time (to plan and cook), talent (to plan things you can actually make), tastes (to make things you like to eat), and treasure (finding relatively healthy ingredients at affordable prices). But if you’re willing to be intentional and invest the time and energy to plan, and you have some basic cookware and cooking options at home, you’ve got all you need to provide healthier, more affordable meals for you and your household!

Do Not Fear, Little Flock

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Then He [Jesus] said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:22-34, NKJV)

Psalm 23:2 begins, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” Sheep are timid, fearful creatures. They aren’t strong or smart, they’re always looking for food and water, and they’re easy pray for predators. So, sheep are typically restless animals, rarely feeling sufficiently provided for and secure enough to lie down and rest. Instead, they wander about on edge, easily spooked and rarely satisfied with where they are.

A responsible shepherd meets the needs of their flock to address these issues. Such a shepherd ensures that the pasture land is well cared for, providing nourishing food and having ample water for the flock. They also protect the sheep from predators, fighting them off in defense of the sheep. And sometimes shepherds use music to sooth the sheep, drowning out strange noises and helping the sheep relax so they can lie down and rest. But, of course, the sheep have to recognize the shepherd’s protections and provisions and then choose to rest in the shepherd’s presence.

In Luke 12, Jesus instructs his disciples not to fear because the Father is such a good shepherd. He promises His Kingdom to every sheep in His sheepfold. God protects us from our Adversary—Satan and his servants—as well as the forces of the world that threaten to overtake us. The Father also provides for our every need. He created us, after all, and He knows that we need food, water, clothing, and so forth. So, Jesus tells us, we can rest in the protection and provision of the Father.

But, as Jesus explains, our ability to find spiritual rest depends on our intentional seeking for God. Jesus gently rebukes his disciples with the phrase, “O you of little faith.” God made the universe in such a way that our spiritual rest depends on us focusing our hearts on Him. If we focus our hearts on the physical challenges of this life, we are restless, wandering on edge, searching for safer, greener pastures. But when we focus our hearts on seeking our loving Father, He promises that we will find spiritual rest in Him as He provides for our earthly needs.

May we seek God and His Kingdom with our whole hearts, that we may find He will not only supply our earthly needs, but He will also give us rest.