I love Saturdays because I get to read and today was pretty cool because I had a revelation from a small line I read in a book on my Kindle. It was talking about a vitamin called B2+ found in a certain type of food and if it was good for you or not and it had a side remark about what a true Vitamin is; it must be something that is essential to a healthy life. I don’t know why that short statement struck me but it did. I thought about my walk with God and what would I consider “vitamins” in my relationship with Jesus and what are things that are not essential? I also considered all the “things” I have in life, such as regular TV programs DVR’d and ready to watch, a passion for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team, a love for technology (including my iPhone and Apple products), etc. You know…just stuff. I really want the coming fast that I will be starting with my church tomorrow for 21 days to be a time of evaluating what things in my life are “vitamins”, things that are OK for me but not essential, and things that are not good for me and are just time wasters. I truly believe that we need to be mindful of what we physically put in our bodies that are essential for life but also the things that consume our lives and if they have a “vitamin” quality to them or if they are just things that need to be discarded for the good of the whole emotionally and/or physically. I can say that fasting is one of my LEAST favorite disciplines as a Christian but know that it is something that needs to happen in my life and really in the life of every believer. I believe it is a time of evaluating the “vitamins” (or lack of) in your life and if you are as healthy as you think you are. I want to challenge you to really spend time in 2011 taking deliberate pauses to evaluate your life and see just how healthy or unhealthy you really are. To me, regular evaluation of your life is a “vitamin” in itself and critically essential for living the life that you will be proud of this year.
Some things I learned from my current Techno Time-Out
I have been on a 30 day fast of my iphone, music and PS3. People have asked me why take away these three things and you are still on Twitter, Facebook, read your Kindle etc. I felt that these were the three biggest distractions from me listening to God. I had one of those “if you want something to change in your life then do something different” moments so I decided to do something drastic for me.
I think the hardest thing for me to be without has been my music. I love listening to all kinds of music and at all volumes (although, loud in my truck is my favorite) Music, I have learned, also gets my mind focused when I am doing graphics on my Mac. It wasn’t until I was without my music these past weeks that I realized this fact. l also recognized how much time I was spending on my phone. I have 7 pages of apps and lots of games and distractions but need to curtail these things to a reasonable level and not always have to be checking my Facebook, Twitter or the condition of my Zombie Farm!
This blog was actually motivated out of a breakthrough I felt I had in my fast this morning. I was praying and reading my Bible and God told me that the reason why I, Brian, need “techno time-outs” is that I can get so wrapped up in what I am doing with the gadgets in my life that I forget to just simply sit back and listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling me. I am not saying that any of the gadgets I have are evil in themselves, but I do think they have the potential to steal my time and mess up the priority of Christ in my life. I also had God share with me that it was important for my future that I learn to listen to God in the midst of life. I am a pastor so I am bombarded with the issues of people almost on a daily basis but this was much deeper and broader than just ministry. I am not sure completely what it means but I got the message loud and clear. I preached in DC last week that if I was only known as a funny guy, the iphone/Tech geek, etc. and people didn’t know that Christ was number one to me, then I failed. I don’t want to fail in this life so I will do what I need to do to make sure I am tuned in to the best of my abilities to the Holy Spirit and what he says to me
I am typing this blog post from my new iPhone I just got about a week ago. I am tell you this, not just for you to think I’m cool, but to illustrate a point. At this point in my life, I don’t even have to go get my computer to type my thoughts to the world. Now for me, a lover of technology, this can be a great thing and it can be a terrible thing as well. Great because it is fun and something new to play with and learn. Terrible because it can cause me to spend more time being technological and less time being a Christian. I am not saying that I feel we need to do away with technology, but that it can be an amazing tool used in moderation. I can tell you that I spend more time playing with techno things than I do with praying and spending time in the bible. I think this is where I am feeling so strong about a techno fast each week to keep the tools I use to connect and communicate in perspective. I am not sure what day I want to do this fast, but it will start this week. I never want my hunger and thirst for technology to become stronger than my hunger and thirst for God and his presence in my life.