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Archive for February 4th, 2013

Pastor Kevin DeYoung has written a two part article on how modern technology that allows us to be connected all the time can have a deleterious influence on our souls.  He addresses three dangers he sees and has encountered personally:  the danger of addiction, acedia, and never being alone.  An excerpt:

In his bestselling book The Shallows, Nicholas Carr reflects on how his attitude toward the web has changed. In 2005—the year he says the “Web went 2.0″—he found the digital experience exhilarating. He loved how blogging junked the traditional publishing apparatus. He loved the speed of the internet, the ease, the hyperlinks, the search engines, the sound, the videos, everything.

But then, he recalls, “a serpent of doubt slithered into my infoparadise” (15). He realized that the Net had control over his life in a way his traditional PC never did. His habits were changing, morphing to accommodate a digital way of life. He became dependent on the internet for information and stimulation. He found his ability to pay attention declining. “At first I’d figured that the problem was a symptom of middle-age mind rot. But my brain, I realized, wasn’t just drifting. It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed it—and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became. Even when I was away from my computer, I yearned to check e-mail, click links, do some Googling. I wanted to beconnected” (16).

I’ve noticed the same thing happening to me for the past few years. Unless I’m really in a groove, I can’t seem to work for more than twenty minutes without getting the urge to check my email, glance at a blog, or get caught up on Twitter. It’s a terrible feeling. In a postscript to The Shallows, Carr explains that after his book came out he heard from dozens of people (usually by email) who wanted to share their own stories of how the Web had “scattered their attention, parched their memory, or turned them into compulsive nibblers of info-snacks.” One college senior sent Carr a long note describing how he had struggled “with a moderate to major form of Internet addiction” since the third grade. “I am unable to focus on anything in a deep or detailed manner” the student wrote. “The only thing my mind can do, indeed the only thing it wants to do, is plug back into that distracted frenzied blitz of online information.” He confessed this, even thought he was sure that “the happiest and most fulfilled times of my life have all involved a prolonged separation from the Internet” (226). Many of us are simply overcome—hour after hour, day after day—by the urge to connect online. And as Christians we know that “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19).

Part 1 and Part 2

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“Why do you tell your child a thing twenty times?” asked some one of a mother. “Because,” said she, “I find nineteen times is not enough.” Now, when a soul is to be ploughed, it may so happen that hundreds of furrows will not do it. What then? Why, plough all day till the work is done. Whether you are ministers, missionaries, teachers, or private soul-winners, never grow weary, for your work is noble, and the reward of it is infinite. The grace of God is seen in our being permitted to engage in such holy service; it is greatly magnified in sustaining us in it, and it will be pre-eminently conspicuous in enabling us to hold out till we can say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”

~Charles Haddon Spurgeon (HT: GirlTalk)

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Mark shares 15 ways you can become like Doug, the encourager:

1.  Point out how you see God working in their life.  Tell them how you can see they have changed over the last six months, year or five years.  ”You know, a year ago you would have responded in anger. But today you were patient and gentle.”

2.  Tell them you are praying for them – and be sure to do that.

3.  Point out any ways they encourage you.  ”Thank you for sharing that scripture this morning. It really helped me.”

4.  Share an encouraging scripture with them.  ”I’m sure you know this, but none of your labor in the Lord is vain. Someday you’ll be rewarded for what you’re doing right now.”

5.  Encourage them that God is for them and will be faithful to them

6.  Tell them what you appreciate/respect/like/enjoy about them.  Thank them for ways they inspire you.  Point out good qualities they have.

7.  Appreciate and thank them for any ways they serve.

8.  Encourage them for any effort you see them making in the right direction.

9.  Encourage them not to give up. “God is going to come through for you. He will surely reward your faithfulness. Someday this will all be worth it when you are standing before God in heaven and he says to you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.’ ”

10.  Thank them for their example to you.  ”Thank you for being an example to me of faithfulness to your husband through thick and thin.” “Thank you for your example to me of trusting God in affliction.”

11.  Commend them for any job well done.

12.  Share with them how you see them glorifying God.  ”You know, to forgive your brother for the way he hurt you is so pleasing to God.”

13.  Encourage them for any gifts or talents they have.  Thank them for ways their gifts have blessed you.

14.  Point out the fruit of the Spirit you see in their life.  ”I appreciate how consistently joyful you are.”

15.  Remind them that they have a sympathetic and compassionate great high priest who intercedes for them.

If you want to know more about Doug the encourager click and read “15 Ways to Become More Like Doug, the Encourager.”

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Stephen Altrogge writes a thought-provoking piece with the backdrop of all the emphasis currently in Christianity about not wasting your life, doing hard things, crazy love, and being radical for Christ.  He doesn’t knock such talk but he thinks we might be making some wrong applications or at least narrow ones. He puts the question, “What does radical Christianity look like?” to the Bible:

What does this look like practically? What does it look like to be radical for Jesus every single day? Well, it actually looks pretty ordinary. At least in the world’s eyes. Being radical for Jesus means fighting against our sin aggressively, and being willing to do whatever it takes to cut sin out of our lives (Matt. 5:29). It means blessing those who hate you, and giving your possessions to your enemies (Matt. 5:39). It means being poor in spirit, meek, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Matt. 5:2-11).

The Bible’s description of the radical Christian life is not particularly sexy or glamorous. Being radical for Jesus means being subject to the authorities (Rom. 13:1). It means being patient in tribulation, constant in prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, and showing hospitality (Rom. 12:12-13). These aren’t particularly exciting things, but I think we need to realize that these are radical! The world does not operate this way. Those who don’t know God curse in the midst of tribulation, never pray, indulge their sins, curse their enemies, and despise righteousness. If we seek to obey the Bible, we will be radical. If we seek to follow Jesus, that will inevitably lead to crazy love.

I’m not opposed to doing big things for God. We need more people in the mission field and the orphanages. But for most of us, being radical for Jesus means being faithful to do the “ordinary” Christian things. The Christian life is inherently radical, inherently risky, and inherently crazy. Following Jesus means dying to myself every single day. That is radical. If I seek to obey God’s word, my life will look very different than the rest of the world.

Read all of  “Jesus Doesn’t Want Your Risk, He Wants Your Life.”

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Terry Johnson:

If all I hear is that I am a son and a saint, I may become flippant about sin and negligent of duty.

However, if I err in the other direction, I may sink into the Slough of Despond. If all I hear is that I am a miserable wretch of a sinner, then I am unlikely to experience the joy of forgiveness: justification, adoption, and the certainty of eternal life.

If all I hear is that I am a servant, then God may become to me an oppressive taskmaster, whose presence is avoided because an awareness of God means still another task added to my already overburdened job description.

You can read the whole thing here.

HT: JT

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