Head Heart Hand
Here’s the video to show your kids at the end of Expedition Ten of Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos will eventually appear, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible. Thanks to Darryl Bradford, Video Producer/Editor at PRTS for all his work on these videos.
If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.
I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next ten days or so. I’ll resume my normal blogging schedule on Monday 19th March, when I’ll continue the Digital Technology series. I do plan to post the weekly Exploring the Bible videos at the end of this week and next.
The longer I’ve wrestled with the challenges of digital technology in my life and in the lives of others, the more convinced I’ve become that the ultimate answer is not “no technology” or “more technology” (see yesterday) but “more theology.” If we want a deep, lasting, and spiritual solution, we need to learn and teach deep, lasting, and spiritual truths. Digital theology is the answer to digital technology; the oldest truths are the best rebuttal to the newest challenges. More Trinity is more effective than more technology.
God is Three-in-One
Seriously? You think the Trinity is the solution to technology? Partly, yes. The three persons of the Godhead enjoy perfect relationship with one another and seek to share that relationship with us, inviting us into that sacred community.
The Father, Son, and Spirit’s relationships with one another are characterized by love, trust, openness, and communication. Isn’t that the model for our relationship with our children, especially when it comes to technology? Isn’t that what we want to cultivate and emulate? The healthier relationship we have with our children, the healthier relationship they will have with technology. Deeper relationships are more effective than more detailed rules.
Additionally, this Three-in-Oneness is not just a relationship to copy, but a relationship to be enjoyed. We are invited to enter into that communion, to live in that holy family. The more we do that, the more the Trinity will replace technology; or, at least, regulate it so that our relationship to it is more balanced and beneficial.
God is Good
Sometimes we can view technology with such terror that we give the impression that it’s all “of the devil.” No, technology is a wonderful gift of God. We are blessed to live in such times and benefit so much from the role of technology in our daily lives. How many lives have been saved by cellphones? How many separated families have been kept together by Skype and FaceTime? How many sermons and lectures have been spread around the world by Christian ministries like Ligonier? The devil didn’t create and invent this. God did, as the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Sure, the devil abuses the gift; sure, we pervert it into sinful uses. But none of that changes the fact that God created the materials, the forces, and the brains that have produced so much beneficial technology. The more we recognize that technology is a gift of God, the more we will abhor taking his gift and using it against him; the more we will take this gift and use it as he intended.
God is All-Knowing
Our parents or spouses can’t see everything or be everywhere. Accountability software can be circumvented and our accountability partners duped. But we can’t escape, circumvent, or dupe the all-seeing eye of God. He sees everything: every place, every second, every screen, every click, every tap. He has a daily report of all the sites we visited, all the messages we sent, all the Instagram accounts we follow. If we knew that he knows, what a difference that would make. The more we can remind ourselves of God’s omnipresence and omniscience, the more we will seek to use technology in a way that gives him pleasure and not in a way that provokes his wrath. Yes, our technology use can please God. He delights to see truth instead of falsehood on Facebook, to hear sermons streaming across the world, and to witness our online witness to unbelievers.
God is Judge
God’s knowledge of us is not being filed away in some dusty cabinet or distant server that will one day be lost or wiped. No, as Judge, he will one day call us to account not just for every idle word but for every idle and idol click, for every second spent in pointless time-wasting. We may silence our internal judge, our conscience; we may outsmart our earthly judges, our parents and accountability partners; but we shall never escape the judgment of God. Let his discerning judgment help you make discerning judgments in your use of technology
God is Savior
Sometimes guilt stops sin; our consciences pain us and warn us to change our ways. More times, guilt multiplies sin; it leaves us hopeless and despairing. We’ve sinned yet again with our cellphone, failed once more on our iPad. We feel so condemned, what’s the point in trying any more? We’ve sinned so much; what harm will another sin do?
Guilt also multiplies sin by creating distance between ourselves and God. It alienates us and separates us from God, making sin all the easier. That’s why we need to hear about salvation, grace, and forgiveness all over again.
Nothing deters sin like the forgiveness of sin because it not only removes guilt, it also multiples love for the Forgiver. The more we can embrace forgiveness, the more we embrace the Forgiver, the more love to (and from) Christ we will enjoy.
God is Powerful
Sometimes we can feel like giving up the battle against the dangers of technology. We look at the forces ranged against us and our children and ask, “What’s the point?” What am I against so much?”
You’re right, the forces are too many and too mighty. However, greater is he who is with us than he who is with them. With God all things are possible, and he loves to demonstrate his possibility especially in our impossibility. His power is made especially manifest in our weakness. When we feel and confess our helplessness, that’s when he moves in with his almighty power. He can keep us and our children. He is able and mighty to save. He can also give us and all our children the Holy Spirit to resist temptation and to do what is right and good. His Spirit is far more influential than the spirit of the age.
God is Wise
Sometimes we might be tempted to think God did not foresee this massive moral and spiritual challenge, that he did not anticipate it, and, therefore, has nothing in his Word to help us. After all, the Bible was written thousands of years ago. What can the papyrus age say to the digital age? Thankfully God did foresee, he did anticipate, and has put sufficient truth in the Bible to guide us through this minefield. Many New Testament verses on Christian ethics can be applied to technology, but I’ve found the book of Proverbs especially helpful as a source of divine wisdom for the digital age. Why not read through it asking God for light on how to apply these ancient wisdom principles to modern times. God is wiser than the wisest tech moguls and has anticipated every development in technology until the end of time. We will never reach a day when we say, “Well the Bible has run out of truth?”
I’ve only scratched the surface, but I hope you’re persuaded that the ultimate answer to digital technology is digital theology.Previous Posts: Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health, Digital Technology is Killing our Relationships. Digital Technology is Killing our Productivity, Digital Technology is Killing our Souls. Digital Detox, Thriving in Digital Babylon.
Three Types of Evangelistic Contexts: Contact, Context, and Friendship
Over the years, I have noticed at least three different kinds of evangelistic contexts we may encounter when engaging in personal evangelism.
The Most Important Time to Go to Church
“The most important time to be at church is when you don’t feel like it. I’ve talked with three Christians about this recently—two struggling with depression, and a third who just went through a tough break-up—who’ve stopped gathering with God’s people during a difficult season. Whether for weeks or months, all three have decided to stop going to church.”
One of the best things churches can do for people with mental illness
“The people in your church who live with emotional pain and mental strain are not weaker than the rest of the congregation; they are stronger for the battles they have won. And your church needs them in ministry.”
Preaching Points: Aim for the Ear!
This is so so important:
“Don’t preach as would a writer; preach as a preacher! Preachers who fail to appreciate the vast difference between their oral craft and writing usually display very different understandings of their task—centered in the pulpit and congregation for one and in the desk and study for the other.”
How to think like John Bunyan
“I recommend to you that reading Bunyan is worth it. Every Christian in centuries before our own, if they had books, they had a copy of the Bible and they had a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress, and there’s a reason for that. It’s a book that can help you hold onto these three realities like Bunyan did: the priority of salvation, the endurance of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus, and the priority of perseverance in the Christian life.”
Womanhood Series: What’s the Highest Calling for the Childless?
“Whether you’re childless or know someone who is, it is important that we reshape how we view our femininity and biblical womanhood. Femininity isn’t fluffy and child-centered, but a fierce and glorious calling from the Lord”
Six Core Convictions on Media and Technology
“These are the six convictions for me when it comes to media, technology, and the Christian life.”
Christians Should Prepare To Defend From Mass Shooters In Church
It is therefore no wonder that, like people who work in schools and other gun-free zones, American Christians are beginning to ask themselves, “What happens when the shooter comes to my church?” How are we to handle a situation like that? Like anyone else, Christians would rather mentally and physically prepare for such an eventuality rather than being caught unawares.
Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament by John D. Currid $4.99.
The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses by Chris Bruno $2.99.
A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture by Keith Mathison (free).
How do we thrive in digital Babylon? Over a number of posts, we’ve highlighted many of the advantages of technology, warned of some of the dangers, and begun a digital detox. But we want to turn more positive and suggest what a healthy digital diet might look like at different ages and stages of life.
You’ll remember how Daniel and his friends purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves with the heathen diet of Babylon (Daniel 1:8). They still ate though. But they chose a different diet, a less exciting diet, to the one offered them in Babylon. And the result? With God’s blessing they thrived and flourished ten times more than their peers (Daniel 1:20). So what will a Daniel diet in digital Babylon look like?
There are probably a few people left who are still trying the “no technology” approach. They say: “The dangers are too great; the consequences are too awful. Therefore, we’ll keep separate from the world by rejecting technology. We won’t buy it, and we will ban our children from using it, too.”
This approach is admirable and understandable, but impossible. Digital technology is so pervasive that trying to avoid it is like trying to avoid breathing. And even if we succeed in avoiding contamination, our children certainly won’t. They will find it, or it will find them. They will then be using it without our knowledge and without any training and teaching—probably the worst of all worlds.
Other people try the “more technology” strategy. That’s what I used to focus on most, the idea being that we use good technology to defeat bad technology. So, we set up passwords and time limits on home computers, we add tracking apps to our children’s cell phones, we install accountability software on our laptops, and so on. All of these things are good and can certainly be helpful parts of an overall package of caring for ourselves and our children.
If you want to go all-in on this, then go for the Challies Porn Free Family Plan. Add Circle if you want the Fort Knox version. If you don’t do that, then at least get Covenant Eyes on all your family’s devices—including your own (Shona and I both use Covenant Eyes to keep one another accountable).
There are some problems, though, if we are relying on the “more technology” approach alone. The first is that we can never get enough good technology to beat bad technology. Teens are especially adept at circumventing controls and finding loopholes in the most secure systems. Sure, we can slow them down, we can make it more difficult by putting some obstacles in the way, but if they are determined enough, they are going to beat us. They can always find more technology to beat our “more technology” battle plan.
Also, even if we succeed in securing their devices, as soon as they walk out the door, they can access anything they want on friends’ devices. Or, they can simply get another device and hide it from us.
This approach can sometimes tend toward legalism and often undermines relationships by creating a sort of “cat and mouse” scenario, resulting in suspicion on the one side and hiding on the other.
We need technology, but we need more than “more technology.” Tomorrow we’ll begin to look at what more we can do to help our families thrive in digital Babylon.
Previous Posts: Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health, Digital Technology is Killing our Relationships. Digital Technology is Killing our Productivity, Digital Technology is Killing our Souls. Digital Detox.
3GT Episode 74: De(com)pression
One of the most common questions I get asked when I speak about depression and mental illness is, “How can I help my husband who’s depressed but won’t even talk about it?” You may get some help in this podcast as three men discuss depression.
“Many in the church suffer with depression and the questions it raises. Aren’t Christians always supposed to be happy? So is it sinful to be depressed? Is it always a spiritual problem? Where do you go for help? How do you help someone with it? Are resources outside the church an option? Are medications ever beneficial? What are some of the dangers in traveling down the road of depression? And what does the Bible have to say about all of this?”
7 Ways to Work Hard at Rest
“Life tends toward business. Have you noticed? Clutter and frantic are effortless. Clean and calm tend to slip away while we’re not looking. Over the last several years I’ve been through busier seasons, and now God has kindly provided more of a sabbatical kind of season. I’ve noticed several things about the idea of Sabbath rest:
- Busy seasons are often when I’ve learned how to do Sabbath well.
- Not being busy is never a guarantee that I’m actually resting my soul.
- Paradoxically, drawing from both of these points, rest is hard work.
Here are some specific lessons I’ve learned along the way. Maybe they’ll help you to endure amid busyness and fatigue.”
The Slow Burn of Bitterness
Struggle with bitterness? Let Nancy counsel you through it and out of it:
“No one ever says, “When I grow up, I want to be bitter.” But life has a way of handing us hurts that can collect, insults and offenses that seem to stick to our souls and refuse to let go. Of course, we don’t want to see ourselves as bitter. And yet, when the word “forgiveness” comes up, we sometimes find ourselves becoming uncomfortable. We sense we’re about to be asked to do something we really don’t want to do. A face comes into view in our mind’s eye. A fire reignites inside us at the thought of what happened or what didn’t happen, what was said or what went unsaid, revealing that there are embers of unforgiveness smoldering inside us that threaten to burn forever if they are not doused for good. But how will that ever happen? I can tell you how it happened for me.”
What do You Mean by Asking Me to Meditate on Scripture!?
Biblical counselors often ask people to meditate on Scripture. What do they mean by that?
A Drunk, Anxious, and Depressed CEO: The Obvious Path To Business Success
Read and apply to pastoring instead of CEO
“Sleeping 2 hours less than your ideal, or decreasing the quality of your sleep by 25% leads to a 30% decrease in performance in your PFC. This means you will make worse decisions, you will be worse at communicating, you will have less focus, you will be less able to resist temptation, you will worse at planning, executing plans, or sticking to any plan or commitment. The behaviors of your PFC-in running the business of your body, brain, and consciousness-will be on par with a drunk, anxious, depressed, malnourished CEO. The business of being healthy, and joyfully pursuing your goals, interest and ambitions, will be a failing business. You will be bankrupt very soon.”
Enrollment Data, Public Opinion Suggest The College Bubble Is Popping
“A lethal combination of radical liberalism, a rapidly evolving economy, and unstoppable technological progress is all but certain to fell America’s ivory tower.”
The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament by various authors (mixed bag, but some excellent chapters) $2.99.
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges $3.99.
Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn $1.99.
Here’s the video to show your kids at the end of Expedition Nine of Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos will eventually appear, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible. Thanks to Darryl Bradford, Video Producer/Editor at PRTS for all his work on these videos.
If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at the positives of digital technology and we’ve looked at the negatives. Clearly we need help to manage digital technology in a way that will maximize its benefits and minimize its dangers. Next week I want to introduce you to a number of practical helps towards this. But in the meantime, how do we detox, how do we wean ourselves and our children off digital heroin, and how do we minimize withdrawal symptoms and the chances of a relapse?
Let’s first define what an addiction is: It’s a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health.
That fits digital addiction doesn’t it?
Second, let’s identify diagnostic questions to help us figure out the nature and extent of digital addiction. This is a vital step towards detox. There are two main areas to focus on–quantity and quality. Use an index card and try to keep a daily record of these two measures.
How many hours a day do I spend on my devices?
Include all your devices: phone, iPad, laptop, desktop, video game console, etc. Do not include time spent purely for vocational purposes. Include browser time, text time, and App time.
How many times a day do I use my devices?
Someone may not spend 10 hours a day online but they may be ruining their day by checking into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and email fifty times a day. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. According to Time magazine, the average American checks their phone 46 times a day and for the average teen, it’s 74 checks a day.
How useful/valuable/productive/healthy is the time I spend using my devices? This is not just a question about whether some activity is moral or immoral, but whether it is wise or foolish, important or trivial, valuable or worthless.
Even just recording this information should have immediate benefits. I’ve given this and similar exercises to a number of people, and every single one of them has said that they were shocked to discover how many times they were going online, how long they were spending there, and how most of what they were doing was such a waste of time. Just doing this simple exercise made an immediate impact on the quantity and quality of digital data they consumed.
DIGITAL DETOX QUESTIONNAIRE
But if you’re really serious about detoxing, then you need a more sophisticated tool. Try this Digital Detox Questionnaire. To make the best use of it:
1. Download the pdf.
2. Have a look at the questions to find out what to measure each day.
3. Complete the questionnaire at the end of each day.
4. Total your points to find out where you are on the digital addiction scale
- 100+ You are passed-out drunk on data
- 60+ You are drunk and disorderly
- 0-30 You are sober and almost tee-total!
5. Repeat exercise a week later to see if you are making progress in your digital detox.
The aim is gradual reduction and you probably need to do this a couple of times a month to keep on top of it.
Previous Posts: Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health, Digital Technology is Killing our Relationships. Digital Technology is Killing our Productivity, Digital Technology is Killing our Souls.
Guest Post by Brian Hedges, author of Watchfulness: Recovering a Lost Spiritual Discipline
Many believers underestimate the evil one’s power to deceive. Evil sometimes feels more terrifying in fiction than in real life. People shudder at the description of malevolent aliens, vampires, and Black Riders but greet biblical warnings about the devil with a yawn. But though the Nazgúl in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are truly frightening, the mortal enemy of our souls is more terrible by far. “Be sober, be vigilant,” writes Peter, “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Listen up, Christian. You have an implacable enemy whose single objective is to plant a victory flag in the soil of your vanquished faith. He wants to devour you, consume you, and destroy you.
Writing to the Corinthians, Paul says, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). Are you? Do you recognize the danger of his deceptions, the malignity of his temptations, and the subtlety of his insinuations? Don’t underestimate the devil. As Richard Rogers observes, the devil first comes to us as a tempter and then as an accuser. First he seduces us with the fleeting pleasures of sin. When he succeeds, he tallies up our transgressions and roars in our consciences in the hellish attempt to drive us to despair.
Sometimes he even injects evil, blasphemous thoughts into our minds. There is a scene in Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian passed through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and came to the mouth of a burning pit. Bunyan tells us that at just that moment, “one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stepped up softly to him, and, whisperingly, suggested many grievous blasphemies to him, which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind.” A wise friend once told me that the enemy speaks to us in our own voice and with our own accent.
The point is this: we have a spiritual enemy who is poised to make us fall any way he can.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great
And armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal.
Watchfulness is necessary because we are at war and the stakes are high. This is surely one reason why Paul includes watchfulness as he exhorts us to prayer, following his exposition of the Christian armor in Ephesians 6: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (v. 18).
This suggests that watching is one means for putting the armor on. As Rogers says, “To have this armor ready to keep us and conduct us safely throughout our life in our practice of Christianity, this is to be done: we must watch continually and pray with heart (Matt. 26:41). This we must do often.”
Watchfulness: Recovering a Lost Spiritual Discipline by Brian Hedges.
“If you love your Bible, if you love the Puritans, and if you love your own soul, then this little book is a banquet awaiting you to come and indulge your spiritual appetite!
—Brian Borgman, Pastor of Grace Community Church, Minden, Nevada, and Author of Feelings and Faith, Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life, and Coauthor of Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective
“In a sea of antinomian easy believism, Watchfulness is a five-alarm fire bell calling us all to work out our salvation with fear, trembling, and effort. It’s about time. In twenty years of ministry, I have not read a single article, let alone book, that deals with the urgent issue of watchfulness. This book is long overdue and desperately needed.”
—Todd Friel, Host of Wretched Radio and Author of Reset for Parents: How to Keep Your Kids from Backsliding
“Pick this up and start implementing it today.”
—Jason M. Garwood, Teaching Pastor of Cross & Crown Church, Northern Virginia, and Author of Be Holy: Learning the Path of Sanctification
“If you would enjoy Christ more, safeguard your soul with greater effectiveness, and live the faith-filled life more intentionally, devour these pages. It will do your soul good and sow seeds for a life of devotion to Christ.”
—Jason Helopoulos, Associate Pastor, University Reformed Church, Lansing, Michigan, and Author of A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home
“This book will elevate your pursuit of personal holiness as it brings to the forefront of your mind the eternal benefits of watching over your heart and being alert for your enemy.”
—Steven J. Lawson, President, OnePassion Ministries, Dallas, Texas
“A small gem of a book…with gospel-driven exhortation and warnings to busy Christians. Timely and necessary.”
—Derek W. H. Thomas, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; Chancellor’s Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary; and Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries
“Brian Hedges makes the dead speak to us with a fresh voice on a neglected topic for the refreshment of our souls.”
—Ryan M. McGraw, Morton H. Smith Professor of Systematic Theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
The Many Faces of Legalism
“We are all born with a legal-heart, and the Christian life is one of discovering just how legal-hearted we continue to be. It’s not until we understand the right use of God’s law in its intimate union with the gospel that we begin to move away from every form of legalism. ”
Benny Hinn Says He’s Guilty of Taking the Prosperity Gospel Outside of What the Bible Teaches
“He explained, “When I was younger I was influenced by the preachers who taught whatever they taught. But as I’ve lived longer, I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute, you know this doesn’t fit totally with the Bible and it doesn’t fit with the reality.’ So what is prosperity? No lack. I’ve said this before.”"
It’s not just you, everybody is exhausted
“The chaos of life and its collision with technology and tragedy has more of us feeling drained, frazzled and emotionally overrun. Put simply: We are exhausted.”
7 tips for learning biblical Hebrew from Miles Van Pelt
“Tip 6: Get enough sleep every night Another important tip for studying Hebrew is to make sure you get enough sleep every night for your brain to be working properly the next day. I understand that one of the biggest temptations is to stay up late and to get up early—and minimize your sleep. The problem is your brain needs rest in order to memorize and understand things. The more sleep you can get while you’re studying a language, the better you’ll learn that language and the faster you’ll be able to use it. ”
Build Your Social Budget Like a Financial Budget
“If that sounds like your life, then you need a social budget. Like a financial budget, a social budget allocates your available time towards both pre-determined commitments and “discretionary experiences,” and helps you determine how to spend your time in accordance with your values. Even if you’re pretty happy with the way your social life is going, a social budget can help you make more time for the people you want in your life, while spending less time on social events that leave you feeling bored or drained.”
The Pastor’s Self-Care in Four Easy Steps
“Self-care, is a realistic view of how to take care of the only bodies we have in this life; bodies which house our minds and our souls. Self-care is the physical, emotional, and spiritual equivalent of automobile maintenance. Change the oil, check the transmission fluid, check the air-pressure, and get weird noises checked out, then your car or truck should last. Ignore the “clunk, clunk” or the smoking tailpipe long enough and expect a costly repair later.”
Hide, Replenish, and Go
“I am tired. Over the past year, I have found myself being stretched thin and out of energy. I tend to overwork myself and overload myself with productive tasks. However, I also find myself running on more energy than I have on my own. The last few months have awakened my need for hiding and resting. I do not mean that I am hiding from responsibility or people. Instead, I am trying to discipline myself to hide in Scripture. I realize I cannot do this on my own and it does not come naturally for me to rely on someone else. I have set out to discipline myself in three things: hiding in Scripture, being replenished in Scripture, and being sent by Scripture.”
Five Reasons Many Pastors Struggle with Depression
“These are the five primary causes pastors identified as the reasons behind their depression. Each of the causes is followed by a direct quote from pastors who shared with me their struggles.”
A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You by Paul David Tripp $2.39.
Meet the Puritans by Joel R. Beeke $4.99.
The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible by Joel R. Beeke $9.99.
Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality by William Edgar $3.99
Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ by Tony Reinke $3.99.
Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit by Sam Storms $3.99.
Digital Technology is Killing our Self-Control
The Great Disconnect: MegaHERTZ to MegaHURTS by Michael Wolff and Bradley Bridges.
Violent video games result in less activity in the prefrontal portions of the brain, which are involved in inhibition, concentration and self-control.
- Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain in exactly the same way that cocaine does.
- Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.
- This addictive effect is why Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.”
- The handbook of “Internet Addiction” by Dr. Kimberly Young states that 18 percent of college-age internet users in the US suffer from tech addiction.
- The immersive and addictive world of screens dampens and stunts key developmental processes.
“Once a kid has crossed the line into true tech addiction, treatment can be very difficult. Indeed, I have found it easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.”
In some ways, the psychological impact caused by Facebook, Snapchat and other digital platforms can be more difficult to treat than other recognised addictions, Driskell says. “It’s worse than alcohol or drug abuse because it’s much more engaging and there’s no stigma behind it,” he says. Driskell charges $150 per hour and works with patients on a weekly basis for at least six months.
Digital Technology is Killing our Purity
Multiple and manifold temptations and all in the privacy of our own homes.
If you click through you’ll find peer-reviewed research on how porn harms the brain, porn affects relationships, and porn affects society. The Table of Contents is frightening enough before even opening the research.
Almost a third of teenagers have shared explicit pictures of themselves online and regularly share naked photos with each other via their smart phones, seemingly blissfully unaware – or in denial - of the pitfalls.
Teens and young adults said “Not Recycling” is more immoral than viewing pornographic images. They also placed “thinking negatively about someone with a different point of view” as a much worse activity than viewing pornography.
Pre-marital sex is dropping. That sounds like a good thing until we find out that it’s largely because pornography and social media are disincentivizing young people from pursuing real romantic relationships.
Digital Technology is Killing our Spiritual Disciplines
It’s killing communion with God as it usurps communication with him first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and throughout the day.
I surveyed eight thousand Christians about social media routines. More than half of the respondents (54 percent) admitted to checking a smartphone within minutes of waking. When asked whether they were more likely to check email and social media before or after spiritual disciplines on a typical morning, 73 percent said before. This reality is especially concerning
Tony Reinke analyzes the changes in our use of digital technology between 2015 and 2016. The clearest finding is “that our mobile devices, our tablets, and especially our smartphones are filling in more and more of life’s little gaps with perfectly sized bits of consumable media.” He warns us: “The worst of our compulsive social media habits in the empty spaces of our lives is corroding our prayer lives.”
In the little cracks of time in my day, with my limited attention, I am more apt to speak into social media than I am to pray. That’s the brute honesty of the situation. And because of this negligence, God feels more distant to my life as a result.
I’ll tell you, one of the reasons we don’t go so deep and we don’t mourn so deeply and we don’t weep so bitterly and we don’t contemplate things like David did is because we’re so caught up in the trivialities of our – you know what, there’s a time to turn off your computer, turn off your phone…And if you’ve gotta take a 12-gauge shot gun and put a slug hole through the front of your television in order to get alone with the Lord, then do it.
Digital Technology is Killing our Churches
I have young adult friends who spend most of their life secluded in front of a computer screen, often missing the relational blessings God intends for us. Isolation almost always leads to trouble.
It’s not uncommon to see a public tweet or a Facebook post that speaks positively of Christ, followed by a post that contradicts the kind of life Christ expects us to live–both from the same person. It’s not surprising that the world sometimes ignores our message of the transforming power of the gospel.
Digital Technology is Killing our Time
So much time is being frittered away online, especially on social media.
8-10 year old children spend on average 8 hrs of media/tech time a day. Tweens or teenagers average 11 hrs or more
The typical person by their early 20’s will have spent more than 30,000 hours on the internet or playing videogames. That’s roughly 3.5 years on the internet, playing games or using technology.
- We are spending more time than ever glued to our mobile devices — especially young people.
- 25% of millennials look at their phone more than 100 times a day compared with just 10% of baby boomers,
- Half of millennials look at their phone more than 50 times a day — three times the rate of boomers.
- One in four millennials spend five hours a day on their phones and 50% spend at least 3 hours.
Digital Technology is Killing our Working Lives
According to their 2015 report, distractions annually eat up 759 hours per worker. That’s just one hour shy of twenty complete 40-hour workweeks every year!
Tests of office workers reveal that they check email 30-40 times an hour, although they think it’s only 10-15 times an hour. 1 in 4 people check their smartphone every 30 minutes, 1 in 5 every 10 minutes.
Digital Technology is Killing our Workplaces
A study at the University of California, Irvine, found that knowledge workers have focus periods of just eleven minutes on average, in-between interruptions. As Campbell said, “if you need to focus, ‘work’ is pretty much the worst place you could be.”
Digital Technology is Killing our Downtime
Working life is no longer limited to one place and certain hours, but we are always on from first thing to last thing at night, always contactable, even on vacation. 75% of 25-29 year olds sleep with their phones. 25% of employees say that they feel their job security depends on them being available beyond normal working hours.
Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health, Digital Technology is Killing our Relationships.
Did You Know That Charles Spurgeon Struggled with Depression?
“It comes as a surprise to some that Charles Spurgeon had a lifelong battle with depression. His reputation as a famed and powerful preacher, his cheery wit, and his cigar-smoking manliness might lead us to imagine there could never be a chink in his Victorian Englishman’s armor. It shouldn’t be a surprise, of course: being full of life in a fallen world must mean distress, and Spurgeon’s life was indeed full of physical and mental pain.”
Learning the Biblical ABCs of Emotional Intelligence
“As Christians, we have scores and scores of resources for renewing our minds and taking every thought captive to the gospel. Yet, as Christians, we don’t spend as much time thinking about, nor do we have many solid biblical resources on renewing our emotions or taking every emotion captive to the gospel. With this dearth of resources in mind, I’ve collated 6 of my writings on emotions into a free PDF document: ”
3 ways to disciple our children in an age of confusion
“The culture is speaking loud and clear. We must be louder and clearer. Three ways we can do this well is to tell, tune in, and talk:”
The Danger of Neglecting Beauty
“In my experience, many Christians are strongest in their desire for truth and goodness, with beauty running a distant third. But when we neglect the pursuit of beauty, we neglect pursuing one of the primary qualities of God.”
Wheaton College Wins Court Battle Over Obama’s Birth Control Mandate
“Another judge signaled a win for religious liberty by barring the federal government from forcing the christian school to pay for employee birth control.”
The Difference between Guilt and Shame
“Though Guilt and Shame are twins, born in the garden, only moments apart, they aren’t identical. Guilt is usually tied to an event: I did something bad. Shame is tied to a person: I am bad. Guilt is the wound. Shame is the scar. Guilt is isolated to the individual. Shame is contagious.”
Why I Am Not An Atheist by David J. Randall $2.99.
The Work of Christ: What the Events of Jesus’ Life Mean for You by R. C. Sproul $2.39.
Adoniram Judson by Jason G. Duesing $0.99.
Here’s the video to show your kids at the end of Expedition Eight of Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos will eventually appear, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible. Thanks to Darryl Bradford, Video Producer/Editor at PRTS for all his work on these videos.
If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.
Although so much digital technology revolves around communication, it has had a devastating impact on so many aspects of relationships.
Digital Technology is Killing our Identity
Successful relationships cannot happen unless the people involved have a clear sense of personal identity. But we cultivate and project so many social media personas that we’ve forgotten who we really are. The Internet has changed the way we present ourselves to one another.
Today teenage girls live online, a recent study revealing that “92 percent were going online from a mobile device daily” (10). But this online world isn’t the screen of innocent fun so many parents believe it to be. It’s a hypersexualized world where validation, acceptance, and worth are inexorably connected to sexual appeal and appetite.
We live in a world of false realities. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all offer an alternate view of who we are as individuals. We can tweet spiritual tweets and show off our immaculate houses or perfectly cooked food on Instagram. We can either judge or feel judged as we scan our Facebook timelines, and Pinterest shows us how far we fall from perfection.
The “reality” photos and statuses published are just as much a mask as the perfect happy posts we broadcast. Neither show our cyber friends who we really are. We are safe from vulnerability, risk of failure, and have complete control of the image we portray of ourselves.
Digital Technology is Killing Family Life
A recent survey found:
- More than a third of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices.
- Of pupils who had asked their parents to put down their phones, 46% said their parents took no notice while 44% felt upset and ignored.
- 82% of students felt meal times should be device-free
- 22% said the use of mobiles stopped their families enjoying each other’s compan
“Our poll shows that children are aware of many of the risks associated with overuse of technology but they need the adults in their lives to set clear boundaries and role model sensible behaviour.”
Digital Technology is Killing Parenting
If you doubt that, look at this sign.
Then read the story behind it.
Digital Technology is Killing our Friendships
By killing our listening skills and speaking abilities, it’s killing face-to-face communication and friendships
A report suggests that more than two hours of social media use a day doubled the chances of a person experiencing social isolation. It claims exposure to idealised representations of other people’s lives may cause feelings of envy.
While I have undoubtedly gained an immense amount from these (internet relationships), I have frequently found them to be a retreat from the challenge of actual relationships with Christian neighbors with whom I differ.
Social-networking sites like Facebook promise to connect us to friends. But the portrait of iGen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely, dislocated generation. Teens who visit social-networking sites every day but see their friends in person less frequently are the most likely to agree with the statements “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.” Teens’ feelings of loneliness spiked in 2013 and have remained high since.
Simon Sinek argues that this social media has become a societal addiction and the main reason for poor self-esteem and shallow relationships.
Digital Technology is Killing our Marriages
“Certain family therapy theorists maintain that when you are working with a couple, there are always three people in the room to consider: the man, the woman, and the relationship itself. The more I have begun to work with couples, the more I’ve realized that this maxim is actually a half-truth. There are three people in the room, but far too often the third ‘person’ is one partner’s smartphone.”
Every case of married infidelity I have seen has involved some form of indiscretion committed on a phone. I have even spent whole (paid!) sessions helping couples learn how to manage their phones.
Digital Technology is Killing our Private Lives
It’s killing privacy as every moment is now digitized not for family archives but for instant upload to the world for likes and hearts by complete strangers.
We don’t have much of a private life any more as so much lived out in public arena, making mistakes very public too. Also, so much gathering of personal data is going on undetected.
The average parent will post almost 1,000 photos of their child online before he or she turns five, according to a 2015 survey of 2,000 parents by The Parent Zone, a U.K.-based site devoted to Internet safety and parenting in the digital age.
The real reason why our son doesn’t have a phone is because we think his middle-school years will be better spent without one. The answer I’ve given, over and over again, is this: I want you to be free from middle school drama when you’re at home.
Previous Posts: Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health.
Yesterday we saw that digital technology is killing our minds. But it’s also killing our health by killing our sleep, our physical exercise, our mental health, and our lives.
Digital technology is killing our sleep
Screen technology is killing our health partly by its shortening, shallowing, and interrupting of sleep. Excess and late technology use damages quality and length of sleep. Kids are consuming 11 hours of media a day with huge impact on quality and quantity of sleep.
- Although teens need about 9 hours of sleep the average is now less than seven.
- 57% percent more teens were sleep deprived in 2015 than in 1991.
- The change can be traced largely to when teens get a smartphone.
- Teens who spend three or more hours a day on electronic devices are 28 percent more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep than those who spend fewer than three hours,
- Children who use a media device right before bed are more likely to sleep less than they should, more likely to sleep poorly, and more than twice as likely to be sleepy during the day.
- Sleep deprivation is linked to compromised thinking and reasoning, susceptibility to illness, weight gain, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.
I asked my undergraduate students at San Diego State University what they do with their phone while they sleep. Their answers were a profile in obsession. Nearly all slept with their phone, putting it under their pillow, on the mattress, or at the very least within arm’s reach of the bed. They checked social media right before they went to sleep, and reached for their phone as soon as they woke up in the morning (they had to—all of them used it as their alarm clock). Their phone was the last thing they saw before they went to sleep and the first thing they saw when they woke up. If they woke in the middle of the night, they often ended up looking at their phone. Some used the language of addiction. “I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it,” one said about looking at her phone while in bed.
Digital Technology is killing physical exercise
Many children are not accessing the outdoors, engaging in enough regular physical activity, and experiencing the benefit of child-led free play,” adds Vanessa Lapointe, PhD, a parenting author and psychologist in British Columbia. “This changes the chemical makeup of the brain and lead to increases in anxiety and related mood shifts.”
Digital technology is killing our mental health
Constant beeps, buzzes, and updates reduce undisturbed time for the brain to rest. Unlike other revolutionary media like radio and TV, the Internet is ubiquitous. We never get even a few minutes waiting in line with our own thoughts but turn to the smartphone to fill it up.
While iGens may be physically “safe,” their emotional and mental selves are often a mess. Today’s teens are more depressed; more prone to bullying, and being bullied; more likely to commit suicide. They often struggle with a FOMO (“fear of missing out”) so intense it affects their psychological wellbeing, the decisions they make, and the friendships they form. They struggle with body image and confidence. They struggle to foster healthy, wholesome friendships and romance.
6 million American teens grapple with an anxiety disorder of some kind. That’s probably an underestimate because it doesn’t take into account children under 12, whom therapists say are also increasingly facing anxiety that exceeds normal childhood fears and worries. The three main reasons given are “more pressure, more stimulus, and more trickle-down stress.”
They feel pressure to create and manage a digital identity. And they have endless information at their technological fingertips which has the potential to emotionally overwhelm them.
“They’re in a cauldron of stimulus they can’t get away from, or don’t want to get away from, or don’t know how to get away from.”
Instagram, an app that people use to share photos of their lives as seen through a series of flattering filters, was rated worst for the mental health of young people in a study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K.
“Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol,” Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said in a statement. “It is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues.” (Indeed, one-quarter of millennials look at their phone more than 100 times a day compared with just 10% of baby boomers, a study released this week found.) Both Instagram and Snapchat “are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people,” she says.
Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy. There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness.
Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.
The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression. Eighth-graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 percent, while those who play sports, go to religious services, or even do homework more than the average teen cut their risk significantly.
Digital technology is (literally) killing our lives
9: Number of Americans killed every day from motor vehicle accidents that involved distracted driving, such as using a cellphone, texting or eating.
1 in 4: The probability that a motor vehicle crash involved a cellphone.
40%: The percentage of teens who say they have been a passenger in a car whose driver used a cellphone in a way that put them in danger.
33%: The percentage of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64 who reported reading or writing text messages while driving in the previous month. In comparison, only 15 percent of drivers from Spain reported texting while driving in the same period.
341,000: Number of motor vehicle crashes in 2013 that involved texting.
4x: How much using a cellphone while driving increases the risk of a crash.
2: Number of seconds a driver can safely glance away from the road while operating a motor vehicle.
5: Number of seconds drivers take their eyes off the road to send a text message, on average.
The Missing Word in Our Modern Gospel
“There’s a word missing from the presentation of our modern gospel. It’s the word repent. Yeah, I know, that sounds old school, like an embarrassing sidewalk preacher with a sandwich board and cheap tracts with bad graphics and lots of exclamation points. And yet, even a cursory glance at the New Testament demonstrates that we haven’t understood the message of the gospel if we never talk about repentance.”
I have forgotten how to read
“For a long time Michael Harris convinced himself that a childhood spent immersed in old-fashioned books would insulate him from our new media climate – that he could keep on reading in the old way because his mind was formed in pre-internet days. He was wrong”
Does It Bother You That God Barred Moses from the Promised Land?
“Numbers 20 doesn’t bother me anymore. It challenges me, as God always intended it to. I’m thankful for the warning this story provides. I’m thankful also that even in this act of judgment, God’s heart of holy love shines.”
5 Reasons Emotional Intelligence Is so Important for Leaders
“Emotional intelligence is the extent to which someone is able to understand, filter through, and leverage his or her emotions in order to accomplish a task.It is an interpersonal, intangible set of abilities. And whereas your IQ is a constant, EQ can be developed and increased. ”
Gather Your Seashells while Ye May
How Don’t Waste Your Life inspired a generation to limit theirs.
Mass Shootings, Mental Illness, and Local Church Ministry
“Yes, I believe the church should have a more active voice in the conversations around mental illness, but it is unwise for a church to begin talking about mental illness in the immediate aftermath of these kinds of tragedies.
What Happens After I Die? by Michael Allen Rogers $2.99.
Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside by Greg Dutcher $5.78
The Absurdity of Unbelief: A Worldview Apologetic of the Christian Faith by Jeffrey D. Johnson $0.99
We have gained much from technology, but we have also lost much. It has enhanced our lives, but it’s also (slowly) killing our lives. I want to highlight its murderous power over the next few days, starting with how it’s killing our minds
Digital technology is killing our concentration
Our brains have been literally swamped and reprogrammed. We spend around 6 hours per day consuming digital media. As a result, the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to eight seconds since 2000, while the goldfish attention span is nine seconds.
Digital technology is killing our IQ
University of London found people who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines similar to if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8 year old child.
Digital technology is killing our reading
Christopher Ingraham reported for the Post last year that the percentage of Americans who read literary content has dropped to at least a three-decade low. In 2015, less than half of Americans reported reading at least one work of literature—down from 57 percent in 1982.
Digital technology is killing our memory
Memorizing Scripture texts and references has become a lost art because we just need the odd word and a rough idea of location to Google the verse. We think we know things but all we know is that we can find it on Google.
Digital technology is killing our problem solving.
We don’t work at answering questions, puzzling something through, but, again, just Google it. In YouTube is my Father, Michael Anthony Adams describes how YouTube has become his substitute father, teaching him things like how to tie a tie and fix a flat.
Digital Technology is killing our creativity
With nearly every technological advancement comes secondary effects. Most of these are unseen and certainly not intended. One such area involves free time to simply think. This is an open time when we can allow our minds to wander a bit and latch onto things that we may not normally have the opportunity to think through. I believe this free space is vital and increasingly being diminished…It’s like we are allergic to mental down time. There is no space for deep thinking, creativity, or dreaming when we are constantly distracted or diverted by our technology.
A few thousand years ago, God sent his people into Babylonian exile where they had to live in a culture that was extremely hostile to them and their faith. Yet God called them to continue to seek the good of the land, to have children, and parent them for his glory (Jer. 29:4-14).
Although we are not in physical Babylon, we are very much living in digital Babylon, an all-pervasive digital culture extremely hostile to the Christian faith and true spirituality. I believe digital Babylon is at least as dangerous as historical Babylon. Historical Babylon slew its thousands but digital Babylon its tens of thousands.
Although hundreds of thousands were taken into Babylonian captivity, seventy years later, when God called them to return to Israel, only several thousand actually did so. The rest had been thoroughly Babylonized over the years. If we want to avoid that in digital Babylon, we need to clearly identify the digital dangers we are facing and the damage they are doing.
This is vital because those who do so and can get digital technology under control are going to be uniquely placed to excel – intellectually, relationally, vocationally, educationally, and financially. There is no surer way to stand out and gain a massive “competitive advantage” in every area of life, relationships, and work.
But control (or lack of it) of our devices is also the biggest determinant of our spiritual health, growth, and usefulness. If we want to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, we must grow in digital self-discipline
I’m 100% convinced that there’s nothing more important for individual Christians than to get digital technology under control. I really mean that. This is going to make or break our Christian lives, our families, and our churches for decades to come.
This is a multi-dimensional problem with multi-dimensional solutions. It’s going to require some eye-gouging and some hand-amputation (Matt. 5:29). It will involve much putting off and much putting on (Eph. 4:22-24). But life on the other side of this will be so worth it that we may eventually look back with shock and horror, asking one another, “What. Was. I. Doing?”
Over the coming days, I’m going to be highlighting how digital Babylon threatens this generation
Four guidelines for mental health issues and the church
“Developing pastoral practices and a church environment that welcomes people who struggle with mental health issues requires awareness, intentionality, and wisdom, but every effort a church makes, both great and small, offers new hope and practical help to the silent sufferers among us.”
18 Questions about Faith and Mental Illness
“As I’ve read, counseled, and thought about the subject of mental illness, here are some of the questions that have emerged. ”
Getting Beyond the Stigma of Mental Illness
The study found that pastors and churches want to help those who experience mental illness. But those good intentions don’t always lead to effective ministry.
Heath Lambert’s Story of Abuse
This is a remarkable testimony to the grace and power of God
Heaven by Christopher W. Morgan and others $2.99.
A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul E. Miller $3.19.
The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves $2.99.