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Ones and ZerosOnes and Zeros
by Ben Steed

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    My second grade science project was a bit different from what the other students did. While my pint-sized competitors presented projects on seed germination and laundry detergent effectiveness, my project was simple: ones and zeros. The other kids had elaborate presentations with colorful charts and photos. I had two items on my presentation table: a stack of 256 note cards and a row of eight lights from radio shack. I used these items to illustrate the simple yet powerful nature of binary code. Every word or picture that you see on your computer screen is actually a long strand of binary code. At the time, I didn’t know how powerful it was, and neither did the judges. But God knew, and He had big plans in store.

    Almost a decade later, I was sitting at the dinner table at my brother’s apartment on New Year’s Eve. As my family was talking, the topic of e-mail came up. I loved e-mail, but was really tired of all of the stories and jokes that were being passed around through e-mail. We brainstormed about what else could be done with it, and came up with the idea to send a daily Bible verse through e-mail each day. That year in my freshman dorm room, I began one night by sending out a Bible verse via e-mail to 11 people, most of which were my family.

    My subscription list grew, so I set up a free web site to help populate my list as well as handle subscriptions. In November of that year I started Verseoftheday.com, and the daily devotional grew by leaps and bounds. Two years and millions of mouse-clicks later, I joined the Heartlight team with over 10,000 subscribers who received my daily e-mail consisting of a Bible verse and proverb. While the story about how I joined the team is a good one, the story about how I found them is better.

    The same year I started Verse of the Day, I had heard in a chapel service about thirteen Christians imprisoned in Laos. I was moved by the story, and had to find more information. I browsed the Internet to try and learn more about the situation. That’s when I stumbled upon the Heartlight web site. They had set up a daily news report about the situation in Laos, sharing news of the events with thousands of Christians. I was in awe. I had seen a glimpse of what God was doing through the Internet, and I wanted to be a part of it.

...He had big plans in store.
    A number of events took place in the winter of 2000 that led me to an internship with Heartlight that summer. After spending a hot summer in Austin, I continued to work with Heartlight part-time as I finished my last two years of college back in Arkansas. Just a few months ago I graduated from Harding University, and now I’ve joined the Heartlight team full-time. Soon my wife Andrea and I will be moving to Rochester, Minnesota where we will work the Christians at the Oak Tree Church, a small body of believers that are reaching out to a community who needs Christ. I’ll be working for Heartlight remotely, focusing on web development and graphic design.

    When I met Phil and Paul for the first time, I knew from the beginning that they were genuine. They were fun, smart, and down to earth. But most of all, they were men of God, possessing a sense of mission. We share many things in common: a love for Dr. Pepper, a love for music, but most importantly, a love for God and a willingness to serve Him. It’s that love— actually, the love that God has for each of us that keeps us going. Sometimes it’s tough. Other times I feel like no one cares. Often I want to give up. It’s at those times when the Spirit gently reminds me that we’re doing something great, and when what you’re doing really matters, it’s never easy. However, with God by our side, we have done and will continue to do great things for His kingdom.

    My binary code project got a 2nd Place ribbon, the equivalent of a “B”. I remember being upset about it. Those note cards took a long time to make, and the judges didn’t seem to consider my hard work! But looking back on it, I’m eternally grateful that I chose that project. The binary code I learned was simple, but powerful. I’ve come to realize that Heartlight is exactly the same. Put together a few humble souls with a desire to make an impact on the web, and God can do great things — even with ones and zeros.

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      © 2002, Ben Steed.

      Title: "Ones and Zeros"
      Author: Ben Steed
      Publication Date: August 21, 2002


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Ben Steed is a recent graduate of Harding University, and has been a member of the Heartlight Team since January of 2000.


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