Monday, April 26, 2010

Bethany Bullet - April 26, 2010

Now I sit me down to test,
This OS upgrade on my desk.
If I fail to install this junk,
Then my hopes and hard drive are surely sunk.
Yet if it works, I'll have a ball,
As I play the games I bought at the mall.
Chat with strangers, and email my friends,
And surf the web from end to end.
But now I sit and watch the bar,
That indicates my progress thus far.
And if this process utterly fails,
I pray the lord my backup will prevail

There seems to be a natural connection between technology and the Christian life. How many prayers have been said when installing software, trying to re-boot the computer, or figuring out that new program that was supposed to make your life easier? It is not just computers. Society has a fascination with technology. The automobile has been worshiped for over 100 years; we have committed relationships with our phones and blackberries, and we have tried to convert the unbelievers into getting TiVo or DirecTV.

Some may think that a simpler lifestyle is necessary. Take the Amish for example. They live a simple life and perhaps they have a few things right.

Perhaps technology has perpetuated a distracted lifestyle. Some days I think it would be nice to be transported to a place without cell phones or email, but most days I strive to find that balance between distraction and responsibility and often times I fail.

We live in an age where communication is instantaneous, convenience is coveted, and speed is worshiped. We are bombarded with what the world says via television, emails, and texts.

There are some who would like to retreat to a commune, move to a monastery or farm with the Amish to avoid the dangers of technology. But I think our text from Sunday gives us some information on how to find the protection that we need.

From John 10, Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. We should pause and contemplate what it means for Jesus to be our shepherd; we need to hear his words “My sheep listen to my voice.”

Indeed in this age of technology it is difficult to hear the voice of Jesus. As the sounds of technology continue to ring in our ears, we need to be sure that we can still hear the voice of our Good Shepherd.

Dr. Bob Morehead, Pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Washington state wrote this piece a number of years ago that describes the world we live in:

The paradox of our time in history is that:
We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers
Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints
We spend more but have less
We buy more, but enjoy less
We have bigger houses, and smaller families
More conveniences, but less time
We have more degrees, but less sense
More knowledge, but less judgment
More experts, yet more problems
More medicine, but less wellness
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space, but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul
We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice
We write more, but learn less
We plan more, but accomplish less
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

Has the fast pace life got you down? Are you distracted by technology that you have a hard time listening to the voice of Jesus? How do we protect ourselves from technology without becoming Amish? I have three things for you to remember and they might sound familiar.

#1-Trust your firewall.
No, not the one that protects your computer but the One that protects you from the fires of hell. It was given to you by Jesus. Because of Jesus, we have been protected from the fiery arrows of the devil. Through the power of the open tomb we are destined for heaven, not hell. Putting our trust in Jesus helps us to put aside the distractions and worries of this world. Because we can trust in our Good Shepherd, we can hear him say, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

#2- Keep your virus protection up-to-date.
This has nothing to do with software downloaded to your computer, but the Word of God downloaded daily to your mind. We are easy victims of the virus of sin. Take some time to lie down in the green pastures of God’s presence, to rest beside the quiet waters of His Word. We find protection in the Word of God, written, spoken, and found in bread and wine. This is something that should be done often and regularly. As we gather around Word and Sacrament in this place, we can hear our Good Shepherd say, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

#3- When all else fails, re-boot.
David had it right when he wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” There will be times that we are in the grip of fear, feeling the trials of temptation, and drowning in doubt. When all else fails, when we have messed up, when it looks like we cannot go on, and when we cannot hear the voice of our shepherd Jesus, re-boot. What do I mean?
Re-alize that you cannot free yourself.
Re-call what Jesus has done.
Re-pent of your sins.
Re-member that your name is written in heaven.
Re-joice in the words of the Good Shepherd, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

It is not technology that is evil, but it can be used to distract us from the task at hand. Take some time this week to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and remember His Words.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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