The New Apple

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iStock_000020479105_SmallAnyone who has known me over the past three decades knows that I am an Apple enthusiast to the core. But if I’m being honest, it really goes beyond that. I’ve been an Apple evangelist and a card-carrying member of the Cult of Apple.

I’ve owned countless Apple computers, iPhones, iPads, and myriad Apple accessories. I’ve argued about the benefits of the Apple operating system with computer science majors more times than I’d care to remember.

QuoteI believed in Apple back when it was the underdog company while many believed it would go away. I remember mourning on the day that Steve Jobs died, and I’ll even admit that I’ve worn a black mock-turtleneck and blue jeans in homage to the iconic Apple CEO.

But something recently happened inside this Apple-centric brain of mine. Somehow, my world stopped revolving around the axis that centers on 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California.

Was it the fact that the Apple watch wasn’t quite as amazing as I hoped it might be? (I checked it out but haven’t bought one.) Has Sir Johnny Ives lost his ability to create amazing, life-changing products? Has Tim Cook broken the Apple mystique that Steve Job so skillfully created?

The reality is something much deeper. It has its context in my childhood.

I went through a fair share of bullying in my youth. I knew how it felt to be the last one picked on the baseball team. I knew what it was like to be an outcast. When I discovered that I had a talent for graphic design and that people appreciated that skill, it became my identity. It became my ticket to kudos and affirmation. And Apple was a part of that journey. I was linked with a company that from the beginning was the underdog, and yet it came out victorious. It was uncool, and then it was the coolest. The story of Apple was my own story. It became a huge part of my identity.

I recently went through a deep life change, and with it came a clearer life vision. I realized that I had never really been honest with myself. I’d always seen myself as a pretty good guy who was decent at the core. I would sing, “Amazing Grace,” and think, Wretch like me? That’s not me. I was more infatuated with myself and my goodness than I was with my God. I put my God-given talents before the God who gave the talents.

The Lord was kind and patient with me in my blindness and wretchedness. At a low point, I prayed a very specific prayer, “Lord whatever it takes, change me. Change my heart. Change my mind.”

When I prayed that prayer, I fully expected that perhaps I might come down with a terminal illness or have a heart attack. I was willing—and I made that clear to God— to be changed by whatever means He would see fit to change and mold me into the person He wanted me to be.

God answered my prayer, and in a miraculous way. In a moment… In a twinkling… It was like waking up from a coma. I once was blind, but now I see. I was able to see myself clearly for the first time in my memory.

My priorities began to refocus. Rather than spending time each day looking at the Apple news feeds and hanging on every tidbit about upcoming iPhones or operating systems, I found myself reading the Bible. Rather than caring so deeply about inanimate objects, I found myself caring deeply for the first time about my wife and my family. I plugged into what was happening in my children’s lives and started unplugging my i-devices.

I’ve been reading through Ephesians again, and this morning a passage from chapter 5 jumped off the page: “Therefore He says, ‘Awake, you who sleep. Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (14-16).

In hindsight, I cannot fathom how I could have spent so much time focusing on things that just don’t matter in the grand scheme of eternity. I lost so much in the process, and so did those who loved me. Now I’m determined to “redeem the time.”

I still have my MacBook Pro. I’m typing on it right now. But it’s unplugged and resting in my backpack more often than it used to be. I still have my iPhone, but it’s becoming more of a utilitarian tool and much less of an obsession.

I still need these tools to earn a living and take care of my family, but by the grace of God I am determined to put first things first in my life.

I want to be the “Apple of God’s eye.” In the end, that’s the only Apple that really matters to me. 

God’s DNA

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Father-Son

Last week, during our family devotions, my son Taylor was sitting next to me on the sofa. One of his sisters piped up from across the coffee table, “Man, Taylor looks so much like Dad!”

Without missing a beat, my wife quipped, “Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love that boy so much!”

For better or worse, Taylor clearly has a bit of my DNA. There are plenty of things I would rather not pass forward to my children. But those traits—good or bad—are there nonetheless.

A few years back, we walked into a church we had never visited before. One of the members there saw my daughter Chelsea and immediately said, “If you aren’t a little Conna Brueske!” (My wife’s maiden name.) In an instant, he saw the familial resemblance, even though he hadn’t seen my wife since her childhood.

Even more sobering, the more time our children spend with us, the more they also mirror our mannerisms and habits. There are often times I find myself doing something and thinking, That was just like my father.

We have been created in our Heavenly Father’s image. His DNA is flowing though us as well. It may be tainted by millennia of deterioration, but it is still there at the core of who we are.

Are we reflecting His character traits? Do people sitting across the coffee table from us recognize our Father in us? The apostle Paul admonishes us to “Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

What an awesome promise that is—that we can have the mind of Christ in us!

I want a clear family resemblance. I want people to instantly recognize that I am one of God’s kids. Not just by my countenance, but by my actions. I want to spend time with Him so that I will mirror His lovingkindness and mercy. I want to see the good in others. I want to be a voice of hope and an instrument of peace.

Father, may I reflect You in all that I do. May Your DNA multiply until there is less and less of me and more and more of You.