Thursday, December 17, 2015


Dartmouth Medical School did a study concluding that children’s brains are “hardwired to connect”. The report states that “more kids than ever suffer from depression, anxiety, and attention deficit and conduct disorders”. The report went on to say that “the lack of connectedness in society” is partially to blame.
I believe the same is true for adults. Without close relationships in our lives, stress and anxiety levels are more likely to increase. Yet, in our technological society, close relationships are becoming harder and harder to maintain. We smile when we see people sitting at the same table buried in their iPhones rather than talking; then we realize that sometimes we do the same thing.
Meaningful and balanced relationships are essential to living a healthy life. When these relationships are broken, the impact on everyone is enormous. God created us for relationships; we are created for a relationship with God and relationships with others.
While we all appreciate the tremendous advances in our technological society, one of the down sides is that human touch and relationships may suffer. It is a must, especially in our hectic-paced world, that we take time, quantity and quality, to speak to each other face-to-face, pray together, play together, have meals together, and serve with each other.
Apart from your family, Life Groups provide you a positive relational connection. Simply put, we need each other. People to talk to face-to-face, serve together, interact with about life and faith, pray together, have fun together. Our Savior came into the world of failures, dysfunction, and loneliness so that we could know and love God but also love one another.
In our high-tech world we need to be in high-touch. Relationships are first learned and then modeled in the home. Are you struggling in your relationships? If you are I want to encourage you to do three things.
First, be honest about your relationships. Do you have a support base of those you talk with, share with, serve with, and have fun with? Remember, be honest with yourself.
Second, ask God to give you the power to strengthen your relationships beyond your family. Let others know how much you appreciate them, plan to spend time with them beyond texting. Remember, be in high-touch.
Third, get involved in a Life Group. In January 2016 there is another opportunity for you to join a Life Group. You may have to try several before you really connect with people, but you must try. Your goal is to have relationships which are mutually joyful and enriching, and which don’t depend on an iPhone. Remember, Life Group sign-up is in January. Let’s fulfill what God created us for- relationships.

P.S. Why did Jesus come to earth? What we think Jesus’ purpose was and what it really was might be a little different. Join us Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 to consider 4 reasons Jesus came that you might not have thought about before. Bring a friend with you!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Do you need a tech diet?

Someone changed the words to the familiar “Jingle Bells” to fit our modern day culture. Here are the new words:

                           Dashing though the snow with a high-def touchscreen display;
                           O’er the fields we go, tweeting and texting all the way.
                           Bells on smartphones ring, making bandwidth bright,
                           What fun it is to stare and cling to a virtual world tonight

We have replaced tinsel and mistletoe with smartphones, tablets, computers, and social media. My two year old granddaughter knows how to turn on my iPhone (Yes, I have one- Jesus would too if he lived on earth today.) and play games on it.

72% of children ages 8 and younger have used a mobile device with 17% using the device daily. Technology itself is not dangerous, and can be an important tool for our children’s education. But my concern is when we allow technology to get in between our parenting and relationships; then there will be problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement saying children are “spending more time with media than they are in school… more time with media than any activity other than sleeping… media has taken over the primary role of teaching kids from schools and parents.”

The AAP says the average 8-10 year old nearly spends 8 hours a day with a variety of different media. They go on to note that excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression, and other behavior issues.

Let me pause to emphasize: I am not knocking down the value of technology in education, parenting, or in business. I am not saying we shouldn’t use the technology available to us. What I am saying is: watch your media diet, especially this time of year.

What might that diet look like? First, plan ahead for family time. Instead of hours of phones, tablets, and computers, do things as a family. You can decorate the tree, take a hike, prepare a meal together, play a game, do a puzzle, or shop and wrap gifts- turn the equipment off for a while.

Second, plan ahead for tech time. I am not asking you to go on a starvation diet, just limit your time on the computer. Don’t let technology replace your presence with family and friends.

Third, reach out and touch someone, literally. Touch is a vital human need. Talk to your children, friends, spouse with eyeball to eyeball, uninterrupted (no technology) communication. Talk about life, Jesus, Christmas, family issues, school, or work.

Time, touch, and talk; let’s implement these things this Christmas.


P.S. Christmas is a joyful, fun, and celebrative time for many, but a depressing, lonely, and sad time for others. How can you discover the balance of Christmas? Join us this week and discover “The How.” Worship with us at 9:15 or 11:00. Bring a friend- it’s Christmastime!