Living Stones Updates

 
 
 
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    Updates to the software and services provided by Living Stones Ministry
  • Living Stones Ministry

    The mission of Living Stones Ministry is to be used by God to build up His body, the Church, by providing software tools and building blocks

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Domain Recovered March 5th, 2010

My hosting company was able to reclaim the seek-first.com domain, so everything should be working fine. Again, I apologize for any problems this caused. Let me know if you’re still seeing any issues.

Outage: Domain name hijacked! March 4th, 2010

Somehow I let the seek-first.com domain name expire. Someone took the opportunity to grab it and point the domain to an advertising page.

That means that if you’re using our software, which points to api.seek-first.com, it’s not going to work.

I’m obviously trying to get the domain back. In the meantime, here’s a quick fix:
- Do a search in the software for api.seek-first.com
- Replace it with www.seek-first.net/api

I apologize for this failure and appreciate your grace and patience.

Russ

Interesting New Barna Research February 23rd, 2009

The Barna Group has just published new research on technology adoption across different generations. Here’s one of their summary observations:

“Emerging” technologies were classified by Barna research as those used by at least 20% but not more than half of computer users. These are technologies that have gone beyond fringe activities but have failed to become a weekly digital ritual of the majority.


Several spiritual elements were classified as emerging among the youngest three generations: listening to church podcasts and visiting their church website (measured for past year, not the past week). For their part, Elders have yet to move beyond limited digital access to spiritual content.

Bible Web Services Output Cleaned Up February 23rd, 2009

The original source texts I use for Bible translations include some non-standard characters that many web servers struggle with - things like curly quotes and long dashes. I’m now catching all of those that I’ve been able to identify and replacing them with standard characters. Please let me know if you see anything that I’ve missed.

Spanish Bible Version Added November 22nd, 2008

Thanks to Juan Carlos for pointing me to the Spanish translation La Biblia Reina Valera at HTML Bible and thanks to John Hurt for making the HTML version freely available. I’ve uploaded this version into the Seek First database and it is now available via web services (using version=LBRV) and through the Seek First Bible interface.

Sermons package updated July 28th, 2007

A new version of the Sermons package is now available. Some of the changes will be relatively transparent to users (e.g. switching from the Yahoo UI library to jQuery) although they do make the user interface slightly more usable. This version has eliminated the need for setting up all of the church management components just to add sermons to the church website.

Features include:

  • Support for a sermon title, date, pastor, brief summary, attachments (pictures, handouts, audio, presentations, etc.), sermon text, sermon series, topic categories associated with each sermon.
  • Listing sermons by date, pastor, sermon text, sermon series, or topic category.
  • Search for sermons by a word or phrase.

This package, like most Living Stones software, uses PHP and MySQL.

Oak Hills Presbyterian is using this software - see it here.

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User Management Software now available May 31st, 2007

The User Management package is now available for download.

The package provides a security framework that is foundational to all other Living Stones dynamic content building blocks. It is critical that only authorized administrators be able to update the content on your site, but who is allowed to do what is likely to vary across different sections of your site, so this is not a simple on/off switch. To enable that level of security control without requiring a PhD in computer science, the User Management package provides a straightforward framework for managing user access to various Living Stones building blocks.

Included in this package are the overall Living Stones administration interface, the User management component, the People management component, a login page, and a user registration page. This package, like most Living Stones software, uses PHP and MySQL.

This package simplifies and replaces the prior Living Stones Starter Kit.

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Free Bible Software May 28th, 2007

In addition to the building block previously available supporting six public domain translations of the Bible, our re-designed website also features a new building block making it easy for churches to add the English Standard Version of the Bible to their website using the ESV web service provided by the publishers of the ESV.  Note that the ESV is NOT in the public domain and therefore there are restrictions on how the text can be used.

Find both building blocks here.

Oak Hills Presbyterian is using the new ESV building block on their website here.

The Christian Homeschool Network is using the original Bible building block on their website here.

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Website Redesign May 27th, 2007

This weekend we are launching the website redesign.

In the first phase, we are focused on presentation - dramatically improving how the site looks.

In the second phase, we will be focused on developer interaction - how church website developers interact with Living Stones. As part of that effort, this updates web log is becoming the main way that developers will be informed of updates to Living Stones software.

Activity on this blog will be very limited - just updates to our software and services - and since our staffing is light, those will be relatively infrequent.

Therefore, we encourage everyone using Living Stones software to subscribe to this feed - either through an RSS reader or through the e-mail subscription (e-mails are only sent when there are new posts - meaning new software updates).

Thanks and Blessings!

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Study Shows Churches Not Making Full Use of the Power of the Internet February 8th, 2006

The Christian Post is reporting on a study by Ellison Research that reports that churches aren’t taking full advantage of the power of the Internet.

Here are some interesting stats:

  • Relatively few Protestant churches use e-mail prayer chains, have an e-mail church newsletter, or have an online member directory (only four percent)
  • The study found that church website content is usually static rather than interactive. Content usually consists of a map or directions to the church, a calendar of upcoming events, a statement of beliefs, and pages for specific ministry departments. Half of the church websites list staff emails.
  • Less likely to appear are Bible study material or helps, sermon transcripts, upcoming sermon titles or topics, sermons available in streaming audio, a bulletin board, forum, or chat room, sermons in streaming video, testimonies, and a way to donate online (two percent).
  • Larger churches are dramatically more likely to have a website and their sites tend to be more sophisticated, with far more content. For example, 60 percent of large churches with a Web site provide special pages for youth or teens, compared to only 25 percent of small churches.