Questions to ask Yourself about Electronics

Michael Combs, second from left, with his family using electronic devices.

Many in our culture act as if electronics, social media and TV are neutral. They are simply there. That is naive at best. Electronics are not neutral. They dictate our lives, pump us with more desire for approval, and often help us waste time and miss out on relationships with family and friends. They can keep us from work and ultimately, run our lives and ruin our lives.

Below are some helpful questions from Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions by Arthur Boers to ask yourself about your relationship with electronics:

Attention: What is the primary and ongoing focus of our awareness? Screens and virtual relationships? Family and neighbors? Voyeuristic television “reality shows”? Nature and our surrounding environment? Is our capacity to pay attention, dwell, and be aware diminishing? Are we so overwhelmed with information and stimulation that our ability to respond is affected? Are we moving from receptivity to expecting to control what we perceive?

Limits: What guides our sense of what is appropriate? Do we have the moral strength to recognize when something is beyond the pale and that we need to say no? Or does technology, which makes more and more things possible, including voyeurism, pornography, and gambling, also make all things permissible? Which taboos are worth guarding? How does technology free us from moral constraints and accountability? What is the relationship of technology to addictions? How does technology reinforce addictions? How is technology itself addictive?

Engagement: How are we coping with life and its challenges? Do we approach our day and those we love with calm anticipation, eager to be and work together? Or do such rushed and harried attention spans lead us into being demanding and curt? How does technology speed encounters, making conflicts and misunderstandings more likely? Does planned and perceived obsolescence contribute to eroding commitments?

Relationships: Do our lives include rich networks of loved ones, supportive friends, caring confidants, and casual acquaintances? Are there people who know us in our fullness, care about our hardships, and challenge us to grow in virtue? Or are our lives characterized by growing isolation and loneliness, our relationships dispersed and fragmented? What are the implications of having relationships increasingly mediated by technology while opportunities for face-to-face conversations decline and in-the-flesh friendships decrease? How does technology reinforce casual approaches to relationships, ones that are easy to enter or exit but do not necessarily sustain? What kinds of communities are created by our technology use?

Time: Do we have a sense that there is enough room in our lifestyles for the things that truly matter—work and play, rigor and rest, love and laughter? Or are we too busy to live according to our deepest and highest priorities? Do distracting demands and pressures lure us away from our highest values? How does engagement with technology make us busier? And how does technology erode and displace opportunities to pause and determine, reflect on, and honor ultimate priorities? Space: How well connected are we with the geography and places where we are located? Are we rooted in neighborhoods, connected to the earth and our environment? Or is much of our life lived abstractly in “virtual” reality?

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Making Room for What Matters | Cut Back on Electronics

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepYesterday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutes

Today I want to talk about one of the main things that keeps us from having breathing room and enjoying life: electronics. 

I’m not going to tell you that electronics are bad or evil, because they don’t have to be. But, they do need to be controlled in your life.

Why?

They waste time and sap life out of us.

There are also studies being done about how our brains are struggling to handle all the screen time we are getting.

How often have you checked your email, facebook or twitter only to get angry, jealous or frustrated?

Then why do you keep doing it?

Why do you distract yourself at night when you can connect with your kids or spouse? Let’s be honest for a minute, for many people, electronics are an escape from life. At that point, it becomes a sin. It is a way to not deal with something or someone. It is a way to get lost, to escape, it becomes a fantasy.

If you are like me, you need to cut back on electronics. Over the weekend, I don’t check my email. I spend very little time on social media on the weekend and at night. During work hours, I block Facebook on my computer so it doesn’t distract me.

When Katie and I have date nights, we have a strict no electronics policy.

One thing we’ve started to do is to put the Do Not Disturb feature on our phones after 9pm. That means no texts or alerts on our phones. Often, I’ll still pick up my phone to see if I have any alerts and remember, “Oh yeah, nothing will come through.”

Try it sometime.

Tonight, this weekend, your next vacation, sign off of social media and email.

The reason we don’t has to do with fear. Fear we will miss something. Fear that we will discover we aren’t as important as we think. And pride. Pride about how many likes and RT’s our posts get.

So, what are you waiting for?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the most controversial or at least, the one thing you will think is unattainable, yet can make an enormous impact on how much you enjoy life.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Carl Lafterton on 6 ways to look godly without really growing.

This time last year, I mentioned six ways to look godly while not growing in your faith — and then spent 2013 battling them, falling for them, and finding several other ways, too. So here, for 2014, are six more ways to look great while doing little…

Kevin DeYoung on The 10 commandments of twitter.

And the Lord of Twitter spoke all these words saying, I am the Lord your God, who gave thee computers and tablets and smartphones, the Holy One of all social media who foreknew the internet before the foundation of the earth, yea even when the world of handles and hashtags was without form and void.

5 ways to fight entitlement in your kids.

On the one hand, you want to provide your child with every advantage. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like when you do that, you’re feeding an incredibly unhealthy characteristic in our culture.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Nick Roen on An alternative script for same-sex attraction.

“There is nothing wrong with living a gay lifestyle. In fact, if you repress who you are, you will never live a happy, fulfilled life. Be true to yourself!” This is the overwhelming message of society regarding homosexuality. Mark Yarhouse refers to this as “the gay script,” the blueprint for how homosexuals are to live. “Embrace who you are,” a swelling number shout, “and you will find happiness!” I disagree.

Fast Company on 10 surprising stats about social media that will make you change your social media strategy.

Tom Ascol on 35 lessons from being a pastor for 35 years.

Thirty-five years ago this month I began serving my first church as pastor. The Rock Prairie Baptist Church in College Station, Texas took a major risk on a senior Texas A&M student by issuing me a call to be their pastor. It was my happy privilege to serve them for nearly two years before being called to the Spring Valley Baptist Church in Dallas. I am currently in my twenty-eighth year of serving Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. As I recently reflected on the last thirty-five years I wrote down some lessons learned and convictions I’ve come to or continued to hold.

Thom Rainer on Pastors and christmas gifts.

I asked a simple question on Twitter: What do you do for your pastor at Christmas time? For pastors, I asked what their congregations gave them at Christmas. Though my survey was not scientific, it was nevertheless revealing. I am truly concerned about how congregations treat pastors. I thought the issue of the Christmas gift would at least be an indicator of such concern.

Matt Walsh on Men, your porn habit is an adultery habit.

I know a guy who cheats on his wife. He cheats on her every day. He cheats on her multiple times a day. He’s a husband and a father and a serial adulterer.

Mark Driscoll on How many people should go on the honeymoon?

In the absence of any cultural definition of gender or marriage, let alone any restriction on sex, relationships in our society will only get cloudier. We will see polygamy legalized in my lifetime, perhaps even in the next twenty years.

Michael Lukaszewski on Why people don’t do what you preach.

Your content was carefully researched, outlined in detail, and prayed over it multiple times. You put in hours of study on an important topic and you communicate your guts out, only to have people walk out the door and forget everything by lunch or kickoff. You delivered a faithful, accurate, truthful and well-written message. And nobody did anything.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. 7 things every pastor should do every week on social media. Great ideas.
  2. Brian Howard on How to organize your week.
  3. How to pray for your future husband. Great insights for single and married women.
  4. Brad Lomenick on Why every leader needs a confidant. Totally agree. Here’s how a pastor can find an accountability partner.
  5. 25 apps every leader should be aware of. I love the apps I use for leadership and ministry.
  6. Tony Reinke on God’s delight in you.
  7. How to care for your pastor.
  8. Mike Myatt on The #1 problem every leader has.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Practicing biblical hospitality.
  2. Geoff Surratt on 3 reasons guests don’t return to your church.
  3. An email from a proud deadbeat dad. Love Matt’s response. Definitely shows what is wrong with men in our culture.
  4. John Piper on Parents, require obedience from your children.
  5. 6 trends in kids ministry.
  6. Carlos Whitaker on 4 tips on how to handle social media with your kids. Great tips for parents.
  7. One father writes a letter to his daughters about body image. If you have a daughter, help her understand biblical body image.
  8. 30 hour work week.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. If you want to be a great leader, you must have vision.
  2. Donald Zimmerman on How to structure your worship ministry. This makes me appreciate Paul Ingram all the more.
  3. Personal branding for introverts.
  4. Tim Challies on Do you have a personal relationship with Satan?
  5. Great leaders are rarely normal, well-adjusted people.
  6. Garrett Kell on How to destroy your marriage before it begins.
  7. Hannah Joiner on Secrets for dads with daughters.
  8. Stop trying to date yourself. Great word for singles.
  9. Chan Kilgore on What he wished he would’ve known about leadership, parenting and satanic attacks when he started pastoring. If you are a pastor or thinking about it, this is a great series of blog posts.
  10. Will people have a chance to repent after they die?
  11. Trevin Wax on When your kids say “Dad, I know all the bible stories.”
  12. What one pastor wish he would’ve known about critics and parenting when he started pastoring.
  13. Thom Rainer on 7 tips for introverted pastors.
  14. The most important interview Rick Warren has ever done. I watched this last night and was blown away while watching it. Really a moving interview.
  15. How to not make a hiring mistake.

An Awkward Interview on a New book

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Barnabas Piper on Trading street corners for social media. This is a great look at how Christians act online.
  2. Ten things Ed Stetzer has learned on twitter.
  3. Luke Simmons on How to keep what is most important in a church, most important. This is a great message for leaders.
  4. Books to read on loving God and loving others. Great book list.
  5. Paul Alexander on Leadership lessons he wished he’d known when he was younger.
  6. What Adam Ramsey wish he had known about student ministry and preaching when he started. I’m really enjoying this series on The Resurgence.
  7. R.D. McClenegan on 6 lessons I learned as a rookie pastor.
  8. 16 ways to reignite momentum.
  9. J.D. Greear on Lead by influence, not command.

The Hypocrite

Here is a teaser video for the final week of the LifeSuckers Series @peopleschurchtv. This series was great and this video was hilarious.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. How to use Evernote to keep track of everything. I love Evernote. It is the app I use more than anything else.
  2. Craig Groeschel on 4 things every leader should know about their staff.
  3. A father of 8 talks about the looks and comments he gets and what it reveals about our culture and families. I get these a lot, so I can relate.
  4. Scott Williams on The power of naps.
  5. 12 costs all leaders must be willing to pay to be successful.
  6. Jay Yarow on How 18-29 year olds view the use of technology. This is pretty eye opening and will have huge implications on life and ministry into the future.
  7. How to pray for your city.
  8. Charles Stone on 5 telling questions to ask at your next staff meeting.
  9. Sam Storms on Does God want you to be happy?
  10. Thom Rainer on How to be a better church staff member.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Why pastors should be in a study group.
  2. Jen Wilkin on Parents, do you think before you post something online about your kids. Great points for parents to think about.
  3. How to leave a church well. Such a good post. Most people leave churches quietly, but some leave with as much noise and destruction as they can muster.
  4. More honest church postcards. Good for a laugh.
  5. Tim Keller on Handling the question of the bible having contradictions.
  6. Check out the latest worship song from Soma. Such a great song.

How to start a Mumford & Sons Band.