Circle: A Review

Porn is everywhere. It's damaging, and, according to statistics, something that is a temptation for everyone, including pastors. It's important to take steps to protect ourselves, and our families, from this danger.

For years, I've used OpenDNS, a service that provides faster Internet, as well as filtering and identity theft protection. It's affordable and easy. I've now added a second layer of protection called Circle. It's easy to set up and use, and I'm finding it to be a great solution.

Setup is simple. Circle looks like it was designed by Apple. You simply plug it in, and open the app, and follow simple instructions. After connecting to your network and downloading updates, it asks you to set up an account. Then you have two steps left: to add an account for each person, and to assign devices on your network to each person. You can customize settings for each person using presets, and adjust settings for filtered content, time limits, and bedtimes.

The trickiest part is figuring out what each device is, but Circle helps you with that too.

Once setup is complete, Circle works in the background. You won't even notice it's there. If you browse to a filtered site, you get a message that says, "Looks like you've been filtered." It gives you a summary of your time online that day, as well as other content from Disney.

Using the app, you can adjust settings. You can also view reports for each user, including time spent online, browser history, and blocked sites.

Circle is easy to set up and customize, and it just works. The reporting is helpful, and it works on every connected device. You can also block restricted videos on YouTube, enforce Google Safe Search, and block ads.

I have only two complaints. First: Circle only ships to the United States. I hope this will change soon. Second: I hope they improve the page that's served when filtered. The page is attractive, but I doubt I'll get much use from the Disney content. I won't complain much, though, since their partnership with Disney probably means it comes at a cheaper price.

Everyone needs to take action to protect themselves from porn. Circle is a great product, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants an effective and easy solution in their home.

More from Amazon.com | MeetCircle.com

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

3 Reasons Why Exercise Is Good for Your Soul

I’ve come to think that exercise is not only good for the body; for the Christian, it’s also good for the soul. And here are 3 reasons why.

Three Ways Millennials Make You a Better Leader

Millennials, as a whole, are more intrinsically motivated and less extrinsically motivated than preceding generations. And this should make leaders better because it pulls them into intrinsic motivation.

Troubleshooting the Celebrity Pastor Problem

What are some specific, practical things that can be done to work against the idolization of the successful pastor?

Where’s Your Heart?

God wants your heart. He isn’t looking just for “donors” for His kingdom.

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Four Preaching Mistakes to Avoid

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking is out this week. While I'm not convinced that sermons should be like TED Talks, I'm already finding lessons that we can apply to preaching in this book.

Chapter 3 of TED Talks lists four common mistakes to avoid. Here they are, with some comments as they apply to preaching:

The Sales Pitch — "Sometimes speakers get it exactly wrong. They plan to take, not give." Self-promotion has no place in the pulpit. Our preaching must be focused on the glory of God and the good of the people, not on how the congregation can fit into our agenda.

The Ramble — "So if you’re going to gift people with a wondrous idea, you first have to spend some preparation time. Rambling is not an option." No further comment needed.

The Org Bore — "An organization is fascinating to those who work for it— and deeply boring to almost everyone else...Everything changes, though, when you focus on the nature of the work that you’re doing, and the power of the ideas that infuse it, not on the org itself or its products." Keep the focus on the glory of God and the big picture of gospel ministry rather than on the nuts and bolts of ministry.

The Inspiration Performance — "The intense appeal of the standing ovation can lead aspiring speakers to do bad things." Aim to be helpful rather than to be impressive.

I'm finding some good lessons in this book, and hope to post a review soon.

More from Amazon.com

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

The Hardest Part of Ministry

The hardest part of pastoral ministry is not the work. It's not that things take longer than you'd think, or that success is hard to measure. The hardest part of ministry is relational pain.

“The most difficult thing I have found in Christian ministry is opposition from people I thought were friends, or at least colleagues, fellow-workers,” says N.T. Wright. Kevin Miller of Leadership Journal writes:

If there were a binding contract to sign before entering ministry, the fine print would include: "The undersigned acknowledges that the pastoral ministry may be hazardous and subject the undersigned to expressions of animosity, including but not limited to calumny, slander, misrepresentation, and betrayal."

I don’t think there’s a pastor around who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is the very stuff of ministry.

Take the Apostle Paul. Near the end of his ministry, and when he needed his friends the most, his friends let him down. “All who are in Asia turned away from me…” (2 Timothy 1:15). That "all" had names: Phygelus, Hermogenes, and Demas, and more. Every betrayal has names.

Without minimizing the pain, Paul was able to write:

But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:17-18)

In the middle of his pain, Paul sensed God’s presence. He felt God’s strengthening. He still held on to the mission that God had given him. Tim Keller notices that that phrase “the Lord…strengthened me”  is a phrase that usually means to nurse and bind up wounds. God doesn’t just stand by and watch. He cares for us and heals us.

The most difficult thing in Christian ministry is relational. Count on it. You're in good company, and you serve someone who stands by you, and is really good at binding up wounds.

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

Four Steps to Kill Nagging Sins

Here are four strategies for maintaining vigilance in the fight, drawn from John Owen, and particularly in relation to a nagging, persistent sin — that kind that keeps on tripping us up and entangling us in its grip.

Advice for Future Church Planters

As I reflect on the disciplines, gifts, and knowledge needed to plant a church, this is what I would do if I were a seminarian who hoped to plant a church.

Four Reasons You Need Weekly Sermon Evaluation

The benefits here are probably obvious, but let me clarify a few of them.

How to Become a Heretic

If you want to fall into the roll of becoming a heretic here is how it will likely happen.

Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’

We should not “feel like.” We should argue rationally, feel deeply and take full responsibility for our interaction with the world.

Unsolicited Advice for My Three Sons

With no further ado, the first installment of my partially-baked, unsolicited advice follows.

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.