"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

18 handy free web tools

March 2, 2021

There are some little things that you want to be able to do quickly with the minimum of fuss, and without faffing around with big and complicated software downloads, or firing up a whole office suite.

I thought I’d share with you the tools I have bookmarked over the years to help me work more efficiently. Whether you want to work out how long a talk will take to give, get hold of a temporary email address, manipulate an image or calculate the time between two different dates, hopefully you’ll find these links useful (in alphabetical order).

  1. Background noise – Coffitivity (free with paid option). Sometimes it helps to have a bit of background noise when you’re working rather than complete silence. The free version of Coffitivity give you the option of ‘Morning Murmur’, ‘Lunchtime Lounge’ and ‘University Undertones.’ 

  2. Case converter - Convert Case (free). If you’ve accidentally left Caps Lock on or if you’re copying some text that’s all in capitals, you can quickly and easily convert the case with this handy tool. It also features a character count and word count.

  3. Currency convertor (free). Check live market rates on all major world currencies.

  4. Date calculator (free). Add to or subtract from any date. 

  5. HTML Colour codes (free). A quick and easy way to find out what a particular colour is so that you can use it in logos and design. You can enter a web address or upload an image and just point the colour you want to know about. 

  6. Image tools (free). A suite of image tools from the makers of the text tools. Includes the ability to add text to image, pixilate an image, make an image transparent, convert lots of image formats, add a border and loads more. 

  7. Map tools (free). This is more like a suite of tools with so much on offer. Work out distances and areas; find places within a radius; work out how far you can travel in a set time; save a route on a map and loads more. Great for planning trips or working with geographic data.

  8. Plain text editor - EditPad (free). If you want to quickly make a note of something or if you want to strip the formatting out of some copied text before pasting it into another document, this is a brilliant tool. I use it all the time as it’s so simple and effective. 

  9. Productivity timer - Marinara Timer (free). This has a Pomodoro timer to help you take regular breaks in your working day. You can also set up a custom timer to fit round your working patterns. 

  10. Random generator (free). You never know when you might need a random country / animal / date / number / letter, but when you do, this is the place to go. 

  11. Read time (free). This is a great way to work out how long and article or blog post is going to take to read, for your own information or to assist visitors to your site. 

  12. Sort list (free). Paste your list and sort it according to various criteria including alphabetically, naturally or random. 

  13. Speech calculator (free). If you’re giving a talk and want to know roughly how long what you have written will take to present, this is a great tool. You can choose fast, average or slow delivery speed. I’ve found it to be pretty accurate and very handy. 

  14. Temporary email (free with paid version). Sometimes you need a temporary email for filling in a form or signing up for a download. This is a quick and easy way to get one. 

  15. Text tools (free). Another collection of tools. There are far too many to list, but some of the most useful and interesting ones are: Create image from text; Remove duplicate lines; Extract a text fragment; Reverse text…  

  16. Time zones (free). Work out the time anywhere in the world. Great for planning meetings with people in different countries. 

  17. Timer, alarm, stopwatch, countdown (free). Doesn’t really need any explanation!

  18. Unit convertor (free). Convert pretty much anything including length, temperature, area, volume, weight and time.
For more handy tools see my other blog posts:


Christianity and sexuality, can the church be inclusive? Critical Witness interview

February 15, 2021
I recently had the privilege of appearing on the Critical Witness podcast to share a bit of my story and talk about sexuality, identity, mission, the gospel, and how the church can be truly welcoming to same-sex attracted people and invite them into a journey of radical discipleship.

We had lots of fun and I was reminded of how wonderful, challenging and rewarding the gospel of Jesus is. I hope you enjoy watching / listening.

Listen on the Critical Witness podcast page (episode #24)
Listen on Ap...
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Top Christian YouTube channels: Part 2

January 26, 2021

This is the second in my series of top Christian YouTube channels. You can read the first post here. As before, they're in no particular order.
  1. Anchored North - Hard-hitting evangelistic videos on subjects that matter in our culture including sexuality, drugs, abortion, New Age and lots more.
  2. LUMO - Illuminating the gospels for our visual age, these are dramatisations of the scriptural text.
  3. Verge Network - A great mix of videos to equip the missional church. They have a significant number of vi...

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Adultery and lust - Matthew 5: 27 - 30

January 26, 2021
As part of our Sermon on the Mount series at church, I gave a short talk on Jesus' teaching about adultery and lust from Matthew 5: 27 - 30.

Talk outline:

  1. The problem of the heart

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

    (a) The Bible doesn’t say that sex is bad

    (b) Jesus is talking about all forms of sexual immorality

  2. Our heart condition is serious


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Book Recommendations 2020

December 31, 2020
I have managed 114 books this year – not including part books and academic papers that I’ve read for my MA – which I’m pretty happy with. I think the COVID-19 situation has given me more time to read which is one good thing to come out of it. As usual, I’m doing a round up of my favourites which I hope will help you discover some interesting reads.

Top Christian

  • Paradoxology – Krish Kandiah
    This is an excellent exploration of some of the trickier bits of the Bible and paradoxes of f...

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God gives us... joy

December 14, 2020
This is a short talk that I gave for Gateshead Central Baptist Church in advent 2020. Each week we focussed on a different word that is integral to life in Christ and mine was 'Joy'!

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Picture This Thought - Benches [Peace]

December 2, 2020
A reflection on what biblical peace means - so much more than ‘peace and quiet’, but rather the joy of restoration and reconciliation.

[Jesus replied] “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid...
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Checklist for rational scientific atheists

November 30, 2020
There are two things that strike me when I engage with people who claim to prefer science to religion. The first is the claim that science and religion are somehow essentially opposed to one another (which isn't true). The second is that the Christianity that they reject doesn't look anything like the Christianity that I know and love. I'm really surprised that many who value science so highly fail to employ the scientific method when it comes to assessing the truth (or otherwise) of Christia...
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Top christian YouTube channels: Part 1

November 17, 2020

There's a wealth of great Christian content on YouTube, but sometimes finding it can be tricky. To help you, I've put together some of my favourite channels (in no particular order). Enjoy.

  1. Bible Project - They have hundreds of fantastic videos exploring books of the Bible, themes, Hebrew and Greek words, plus Bible study resources to go with them.
  2. Speak Life - All sorts of stuff including very shareable Christmas videos and lots of evangelistic material helping to apply the gospel to our cultu...

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Psalm 104

November 17, 2020
A reading of Psalm 104 illustrated by beautiful photography.

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