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This Is Us - Technology

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This Is Us  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:00
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Would you agree with me that the relationship that we have with technology is very unique? Seriously! Our relationship with technology is unprecedented in the entire scope of human history.
If you consider the explosion in technology that has been happening, even since you were born, it is staggering and mind-blowing.
Ya’ll were born in the 2000s. Let’s take a look at the technology explosion that has taken place during your lifetime.
· This was the hot, new cellphone in 1999.
· Facebook was invented in 2004.
· The original iPhone came out in 2007 . [Picture]
· Instagram was created in 2010.
· Snapchat was created in 2011.
· In 2004, less than 45 percent of teens had a phone. Today, more than 95 percent do.
· 73 percent of people ages 18 through 34 said they would be panicked without their phone.
· 68 percent of people in your age group do not go one hour without checking their phone.
Never in history have we had such an opportunity to have our minds and time completely saturated with information and entertainment.
Imagine not having social media. Imagine not having the ability to text. Imagine not having the ability to pull up a map on command to direct you where to drive.
Does that relieve you, or stress you out?
This was the reality for all of humanity until less than 10 years ago. This concept of carrying around the world in your pocket and having access to anything and everything is only a recent phenomenon that no other generation in history has ever had.
Now, I am not here tonight to tell you that technology is evil and that we should do a phone-smashing after service! Clearly, technology has incredible benefits.

How does technology affect us?

But you need to understand how technology is impacting us! We are living in it and might not be aware of how it is affected us.
You see, along with the great benefits that technology offers, there are some negative ways that we might be impacted, and my goal tonight is to make you aware of this.
increase in screen time, decrease in social skills
Predators, unknowns
You need to be aware of your technology to assess whether it is leveraging you or if it is limiting you, practically, relationally, and spiritually.
Now, I love social media and technology. I do believe it can really help us connect with people. However, my concern tonight is how it affects our own personal health.

Technology affects your own personal health.

It used to be that there were natural periods throughout the day when there was solitude and silence. In that time, we would think and pray and dream.
- Stopped at a stoplight.
- Waiting in line.
- Eating lunch.
- Study hall.
- At night before bed.
Moments of silent reflection and social engagement have become fewer and farther in between because of our technology.
What is your go to during these times throughout the day? Most likely, it is your cellphone. It was become normal for our phones to be a place for comfort and escape.
Preacher [Ben Stuart] said, “The endless stream of information and connection that can be tapped into at any moment has invaded every moment. And because it can be tapped into anywhere, it has invaded our lives everywhere.”

Our technology has invaded our lives.

This is us! Welcome to 2018. This impacts all of us!
This impacts me.
In preparation for this talk, I made myself hyper-aware of my technology habits, and I was shocked at what I discovered about myself. Let me tell you some of the things that I observed over the past few weeks about me and my relationship with my phone.
· My phone was the first thing that I looked at when I got out of bed in the morning.
· Unless I controlled myself, my first instinct in the morning was to open up Instagram/fb to see what happened while I was asleep, and then check my email. Check hockey scores.
· While I was working, I had my phone right by my desk, and I found myself glancing at it often.
· When I was at home, sometimes my phone was on the counter. But when the ping went off for a text, I was literally paralyzed from doing anything else until I handled it. Most of the time, it was in my hand.
· When my eyes glanced at my phone, I would press the “on” button just to make sure that I did not miss a text.
· Once the phone was on and I realized that I did not have a text, I would start through the list—Instagram, Facebook, email, time-wasting game. Once I snapped out of it, I realized I had distracted myself from my work for a good 5 to 7 minutes.
· When I was waiting in line somewhere, my first instinct was to look at my phone.
· I refreshed my email probably an average of 12 to 15 times per day.
· I found myself checking my pockets for it constantly to make sure I had not left it anywhere.
· When I sat down to lunch with a student or co-worker, it sat right to my right like the Old West when you would set your gun down.
· First thing in the morning, last thing at night … my phone is my go-to throughout the day.
And as I thought about it, I realized that there was no moment in my day when my phone was not right by me at my fingertips.
And I had thought to myself, “What if my phone was replaced by M&Ms or coffee?” If the behavior that I exhibited with my phone was the same with M&Ms or coffee, you would tell me that I was an addict who needed to get some major help.
Could it be that I was addicted to my phone? The honest answer to that question scared me.
I am not here tonight to proclaim a destruction of technology, but I am here to proclaim an awareness of our technology.
Because the reality is the way that most of us use our technology—our phones especially—might be hindering and limiting us more than it is leveraging us.
You see, I said it before, but technology has changed the rhythms that everyone else in history before us had.

We need new rhythms.

There used to be normal rhythms of desolate moments, quiet moments, and moments of solitude—but these moments no longer exist and are filled with technology.
This new rhythm was very counter to the life that is demonstrated by Jesus. All four Gospels make us aware of this fact: that the rhythm of Jesus’ life was to enter the world of ministry, and then He would withdraw to desolate places by Himself.
Matthew 14:23 CSB
After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone.
Mark 1:35 CSB
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.
Luke 5:16 CSB
Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
John 6:15 CSB
Therefore, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
This was an ongoing pattern in the life of Jesus. Often, we see Him getting by Himself and praying to God. One time He went off by himself for almost a full night, and the disciples left Him to go to the other side of a lake. Jesus went into the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry to get all by himself.
“Jesus had a rhythm—He would enter the intensity and retreat to privacy and intimacy.”

Jesus had a rhythm for connecting to God without distractions.

What was good for Jesus is good for us. The desolate place was a place of silence, solitude, no distraction, and complete focus—a place where Jesus could get refueled by God, a place where He could get direction, a place where He could get comfort.
But this is not true for most of us in America in 2018. We enter the intensity and noise and never escape it, because it is at our fingertips all of the time, and it is hard to disconnect from it and escape.
Throughout Scripture, there is a pattern that the desolate place was the place where God brought people before He used them. People like David, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
Why? Because it is the place where they could be alone and have their thoughts cleared, and hear clearly and respond.
Have you ever considered that your lack of time in the desolate place could be hindering your effectiveness for God?
If you are a follower of Jesus, God wants time with you in solitude. And I wonder how often you and I miss out because we are filling the gaps with noise. How long has it been since you have had a time of solitude?
I think that many people today are feeling less and less like they have a closeness with God, and I wonder how much of that is simply because they have filled the gaps of silence with technology.
Ask yourself: “When it comes to my technology, is it enhancing or hindering the quality of my personal time with the Lord?”
If you don’t want technology to master you, then you have to put some boundaries in place.
As I have been analyzing this in my own life, there are a few things that I have been trying to do that have helped me take steps to ensure that I am intentionally having times of solitude.
You have to put some boundaries on your technology so that it does not overtake you.
I want to end by giving you four practices that can help you to put healthy boundaries on your technology and allow you the opportunity to engage in the secret place.
1. Meditation before media.
a. Make technology the next thing—not the first thing.
2. Table it when talking.
a. Put your phone away in social settings.
3. Phone-fast.
a. Take one day a week and don’t look at your phone from sunup to sundown.
4. Build in moments and rhythms for solitude.
a. When I catch myself using my phone as my go-to, I force myself to take a break
Technology can be a blessing. It does not have to master us! Technology is ours to leverage and elevate us, not limit us.

Control your technology. Don’t let it control you.

Control your technology habits before your technology controls you.
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