Jesus Saves and So Should You

by Denn Guptill

We have two teenagers who have virtually been raised with personal computers. PCs have been an integral part of their lives since they were big enough to sit up at the keyboard.

They have played games on the computer, drawn pictures, listened to music, surfed the web and have done countless school projects over the past twelve years of their education. So why is it that they still come to me with much anxiety to announce, "I had my project almost finished and the computer crashed and I lost it all!"?

Now, I understand that as a caring father and a man of God that the proper response should be compassion and empathy. But how many times does it have to happen? And so I have come up with a response that doesn't do much for them but makes me feel better. Now when the come to me with sad stories of technological melt down and lost homework I simply place my hands on their shoulders, look them deep in the eyes, and in my most compassionate voice I intone, "Jesus saves and so should you."

The downside is that when I lose a file (incidentally, never my fault) I have to keep my mouth shut because I know there will be no sympathy from my offspring.

Most if not all of us have experienced that feeling of despair when all of a sudden we are confronted with the blue screen of death or an “irrecoverable error” message. That feeling is compounded with the sudden realization that it's been much too long since the last time you saved.

We all know that we need to periodically save our work, but the head knowledge doesn't translate to a heart knowledge until we lose three hours of work late Saturday night. And it's not the stupid computers fault, it’s not Bill Gates' fault and it's not the fault of Satan and his horde of cyber-demons. It is your fault because you didn't save your work. And as Billy Sunday once said: “Sin can be forgiven but stupid is forever.”

Fortunately, Microsoft must have an affinity for idiots because they keep making it easier to save our work and to recover that which we haven't saved. As soon as you have started your first PowerPoint slide, save your presentation. Do not hesitate, just do it. You have three options: you can click the little floppy disk icon at the top of the screen, or you can click File and then click Save or Save As, or you can simply press the ctrl key along with the S key.

If this is your initial save you will be prompted to enter a name for your presentation. If you have already named and saved your work this process will overwrite the original each time you save. Here's a suggestion… don't get cute. Select a name that will be easy to remember and is descriptive of your work. someday you might be looking for your file and you might not remember that whimsical name you used to tag your presentation.

Microsoft has included a nifty feature in the most recent versions of PowerPoint that automatically saves a copy of your presentation at user definable intervals. If your computer crashes or the program stops responding (I realize how unlikely either scenario sounds), you should be able to recover the majority of your lost work. This feature can be accessed by going to the tools menu, selecting options, and clicking on the save tab.

One of the great things about computers is that file folders are free and you don't have to drive to the office supply store to get them. All of your presentations should be saved in a PowerPoint folder located in the "My Documents" folder. However, if you simply save them in the PowerPoint folder you will waste valuable time scrolling down through hundreds of files looking for that specific file you need right now. To simplify your search, set up several new folders under PowerPoint. What you ultimately decide to name your folders is a personal decision, but at a minimum you should have individual folders for your sermons, services, announcements and songs. Other folders can be added based on your needs. It's handy to have an archive folder as well where you can keep older sermon files in the infinitely remote chance that you decide to preach a message a second time. Gasp!

(As an aside, one of my professors at Bible College once told me if a sermon isn't good enough to preach twice it isn't good enough to preach once.)

I would be irresponsible if I didn't speak to the topic of backing up your work. Two things should be noted. The first is anyone who doesn't back up their files deserves to lose them. The second is I've lost more files through the years then I can count. Sermons, PowerPoint presentations, and spreadsheets. You name it, I've lost it. But I am trying to save my work more. The key word in that sentence being trying. With the technology that is now available on computers there is no reason why you can't back your documents every week or at least once a month. Drop a rewritable CD into you CD writer and you can back up 600 mb while you go for coffee. No excuses. But if you are not a backup kind of person, you still won't do it often enough. That is your choice, but do the rest of us a favor: when you lose your work, don't whine about it.

Copyright Denn Guptill /