5 Websites I’m Thankful For

Thank you for visitingThe Internet has revolutionized many aspects of my life from the way I work to the way I communicate with friends and family to the way I play. It’s improved the way I learn about the world to the way I shop. It’s even changed the way I spend time with God and find spiritual nourishment. For the most part I think that’s a good thing. I’m better informed and better connected than ever before. That’s something to be thankful for.

So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday and focus on Giving Thanks, I thought I’d write about 5 websites I’m thankful for. See if any of these make your list.


1) Google
I search Google at least 20 times a day for tons of different things:

  • How to spell a word correctly.
  • The exact phrasing of a quote I want to use in an article.
  • Statistics or a historical reference I want to use in an article.
  • A map to the restaurant I’m meeting a friend at for lunch.
  • Help an error message I’m getting in some software.
  • News on a topic I’m interested in.

Google gives me information on almost anything I want to know. That helps me solve problems and make better informed decisions.

2) Facebook
Facebook is on the verge of becoming the relational hub of my life. I wouldn’t say its significant part of my closest relationships, but it’s allowed me to become better connected with friends from church and even get reconnected with some long lost friends from high school and college.

3) Bible Gateway
I’ve got a confession to make – I rarely open my Bible at home. (Gasp!) That’s because I do almost all my scripture reading online. Most mornings before anyone else in my house is awake, I go to BibleGateway.com and read a Bible passage. I can check out different translations and cross-references. Then I journal my reflections and prayers in a Word document. That’s what my morning time with God looks like.

4) My Church’s website
I check my church’s website a couple times a week. Usually it’s get more info on an upcoming activity. . If it wasn’t for that site I would probably show up at the wrong date or time for things. Sometimes I use the discussion questions posted in the sermon notes/blog for my personal devotions.

5) Webkinz
If you’re not familiar with Webkinz, it’s an interactive children’s site. You buy a stuffed animal, then you login to the Webkinz site with it, and there’s a whole interactive world where you do stuff with the virtual version of your pet – feed it, play games with it, decorate a room for it, and more. So, what’s a 37 year old man doing on Webkinz you ask? Interacting and having a shared experience with my 7 year old daughter and my 5-year-old son.

Honorable mention goes to the dozens of blogs, forums, and online magazines I go to on a regular basis to learn about web technology, search marketing, leadership, spiritual development like WebProWorld.com, SearchEngineWatch.com, Barna.org, MondayMorningInsight.com, LeadershipJournal.net, and many others. And of course, I spend about 10 hours a day here on OurChurch.Com.

How about you? What are the top 5 websites you’re thankful for?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

8 Responses to “5 Websites I’m Thankful For”

  1. I agree with your first choice, I google every day also. I work from my truck, and I also use yellowpages.com alot to find address and phone numbers to contractors I deal with. My third, but the one I am most thankful for is ourchurch.com, I am thankful for this website because of the way I, as a know nothing about no website stuff, kind of person, could use your tools to make my other favorite website, http://www.antioch-md.com. My churches website. I have had so many blessings by being the webmaster, that I cannot count them unless you have a month or so. The last website I use alot is probably Ebay. I sell things from time to time, and buy about the same way. I can find some really neat stuff on there sometimes. Thanks, Lee

  2. I don’t know if I have 5, but I am thankful for the internet. To think, that 20 years ago, we didn’t have all this. This year, I too got on Facebook. Turned out to be a lot better for me than MySpace. I have been able to stay in touch with old friends and get to know new ones. I’m feeling pretty good about having over 100 friends. I’m thankful for my own website, because it has been my bread and butter these days. It has been fun adding to it and working on it. I love iTunes. It is a great place to find songs and download them for my iPod and also I discovered a podcast that does classic Jesus Music which has been a lot of fun for me.

  3. Hi. Although I read your posts as they come through my email, this is the first one that I have replied to. I am very thankful for OurChurch.com. I believe that OurChurch.com is a vital rung in the ladder that has made it possible for us to be where we are today. When we started PuppetsForJESUS.com just a few years back, we had quite a big vision, but we did not have any idea on how to get there. OurChurch.com has helped us so much in the process. We started to venture out online and chose OurChurch.com because it is a Christian company. We built a free site, and of course, we couldn’t stop there. Through the wealth of free help files and resources, I started to learn some simple basics about managing a website, search engines, html, and all that good geeky stuff. Through awesome customer service, support, and your optimization services, we have accomplished more than we could have ever imagined, and we’re still growing and moving forward! Who knows what God has in store! I am very thankful for the time you spent answering all my questions and taking the time to help me and show me the things that I needed to do in order to have a successful website. We are on the top of Google and the other major SEs for all our keywords, and that makes it possible for us to reach the world! Because of our site, we have been able to help others get started in puppetry ministry, earn money to support our family, and give more to missions than we have ever imagined. What a blessing to operate a business and a ministry from the “headquarters” of my own home. Our website makes it possible to be here with our four young children, enjoy my family, and focus on creative ministry. As a professional writer, I have also been able to sell more books. Through our missions program, we have been able to send thousands of dollars worth of puppets and materials to missionaries all over the world. We are constantly receiving praise reports about people coming to Christ and how our training resources, skits, and puppets were a part of the process. We are so blessed to be a part of something so awesome. This is a perfect example of “one body.” We could not have helped without your help and services. In the body, you’re a part of every good thing that we do through our website. OurChurch.com is a good business, but it is an awesome ministry, and wonderful blessing. Thank you for being a part of our ministry and making it possible for us to reach out on the internet. May God continue to bless and grow OurChurch.com and every person who is a part of it beyond imagination.

    In Christ,

    Andriea Chenot

  4. Lee and Warren – Thanks for the comments. eBay and iTunes probably make a lot of people’s top 5. Glad to hear your own sites are in your top 5 too. :)

    Andriea – Thanks for the awesome compliment. Glad to hear PuppetsForJesus is doing well and that OurChurch.Com had some part in helping that to happen. That’s why OCC exists and what we live to hear. I hope you don’t mind, but we copied it to our testimonials forum topic:
    http://forums.ourchurch.com/viewtopic.php?t=6

  5. There is “Goodsearch.com” as well which when you search it donates to your favorite charity and I use it alot.
    Google, Ourchurch.com, are probably the top on my list. CNN is in there too.
    AOL.com gets me online daily
    Thanks

  6. Thanks, Paul – for taking the time to share your favorite web sites. I agree with all of yours, plus all the other ones mentioned. I take “google” for granted, and am glad to be reminded to be thankful for it. I also use biblegateway.com regularly to get scripture for my husband’s sermons. It has a good selection of translations. I would also add, YouTube.com and GodTube.com. Lots of Christian ministries on those sites. Thank you for all the help OCC has given to us. Beacon helped me learn all the html lingo, and now, it’s even easier with NEOne. Most of our church website was developed through Beacon, though, and updated through NEOne (www.LovingGrace.net). Thanks for everything, and for taking time for us! — Joy Westervelt

  7. I love the site http://www.shorttermmissions.com. If you are looking for a trip to go on, it has a HUGE database. It helped me find a trip to Thailand a couple of years ago that was life changing.

    I am also TRYING to make a site that will help people interested in going on trips. It is called http://www.missionslaunch.com. It has helpful articles – at least I think they are:)

  8. I totally agree with your first three choices. I would throw in Youtube- it is a great platform that our clients can use to communicate. You do not have to have super HD quality video to get scene and you have the ability to embed them on any website…great tool for churches.

    I would also say iTunes because again it is a great tool to help syndicate your videos or tv broadcasts. Our clients love to see their messages on there.

    Great blog post!