Technology. There are days I love it & other days I really wish I was born in Laura Ingalls’ time & could live in a cabin in the woods, milk the cow, sweep our dirt floor, & tend the stove all day. But, then I remember I couldn’t do all that while listening to my iPod & quickly thank God I live in this day & age!
I think we all know the huge pitfalls of it in our spiritual lives: it can eat away at our time with frivolous nothingness between gaming, pintrest, twitter, etc., it feeds any perfectionist tendencies (you could make that photo perfect if you just run it through the photo editor one more time…), and can be a huge trap for porn of all kinds if you don’t put serious barriers on your devices. But I got to thinking this week of all the really great ways technology has improved my spiritual life. I list them here to give ideas if you’ve never thought to use it these ways. Please add to the list if you have ways not listed here. Let’s swap ideas!
1 – The last few years we finally gave in & started texting. It has been SO encouraging at times we have needed immediate prayer to be able to text my Circle of Sisters &/or Keith’s Band of Brothers to pray for the situation. The return text alert rings, even if we can’t read them right away, brings such encouragement knowing we are being covered! And my friends & I occasionally get so excited about a passage, we’ll text it to each other for encouragement. Or a prayer for each other “out of the blue”. It’s nice to be able to move as the Spirit moves without calling – they can read it when they get a chance. It always makes my day when I get those kinds of texts!
2 – Speaking of prayer, every Tuesday we can join around the country on a phone conference call to pray for revival in our nation. How cool is that?? One week I was privileged to pray with a man in Texas, woman in Mass, another in Michigan, etc. So exciting! For info on how to join in on the action, click here to visit the One Cry page. Another great thing about these prayer conference calls is that even when I can’t join them, I signed up to get a text alert to remind me every Tuesday about it. It’s amazing how fast a week goes by & I think, “Man, is it Tuesday again?” It makes praying for our nation’s spiritual awakening a priority. If I have gotten too busy that week to remember to pray for our nation, that little alert gives me the needed reminder.
3 – Our church has a facebook page as well as a ministry trailer in a trailer park. The lady that coordinates things like after school tutoring, Good News Clubs, coat distributions, etc. posts needs every now & then. Last week, a neighbor in the park needed a stove so she posted on our fb page. It’s a great way to get the word out, spread the news for help, & allow others to pray for & contribute. And you can pass the good news quickly when the prayer is answered. Love it!!
4 – The last few days there has been a prayer summit in Colorado. We could join Joni Eareckson Tada, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Shirley Dobson, David Jeremiah, etc. in the 27 hour prayercast in the comfort of our own home for free! Amazing.
5 – Family worship rocks! A surround sound home theater system is not out of the norm these days. Twelve years ago, we had a small group that started using it for worship time. The leader at that time made power points, but these days, Keith leads our family regularly with ease using YouTube playlists. Can’t get any easier. If we need the words, we just put one on with the lyrics. And it’s so fun to crank the sound up & praise the Lord together! Keith has lately been putting our family Bible reading up on the TV each night for our evening family devotional time. He has it set up to mirror our computer (Air Parrot), & we can then read together on the big screen from whatever translation we wish (BIble Gateway), & we can even hear it read to us in various voices using the audio Bible found there.
6 – Can’t say enough about podcasts! You become who you hang out with & thanks to podcasts, I can “hang out” with some really great people. If you’ve never been to OnePlace, go check it out & find some new “friends” to fill your mind with Truth on a regular basis. We can get anything from daily encouragement from Joni Eareckson Tada & Revive Our Hearts, to our pastor’s sermon if we missed a Sunday or our national missions conference sessions from two years ago. Keith likes to listen to the messages each week from our Virginia pastor we had when we first got married. There’s kids programing, Focus on the Family, Phil Vischer now has a weekly podcast, etc. You can listen on your own time: while mowing the lawn, baking a cake, or grocery shopping. Plus, you can start & stop it as needed, like when you’re needed to stop & kiss a boo-boo! Genius invention, that little Shuffle clipped to my collar. Brings me encouragement daily.
7 – Our worship leader recently started posting new songs she wants to teach the congregation on our church facebook account. What a great idea! Now we can listen at home & get the tune & words down so we are freed up to worship in cooperate worship time. I enjoy new songs, but hate that awkward first few weeks when I can’t sing along because I don’t know the tune or words. Those of us who can read music REALLY Do miss hymnals at times like that. This eliminates that frustration.
8 – When I led our church children’s group, I started a blog to keep parents informed on what we talked about, up coming events, pictures, etc. It also worked well to keep my stuff organized as a leader. To see what I mean, click here.
9 – I’ve seen church sites feature testimonies for a few reasons. First it gives a way to share that testimony! Secondly, it’s a great way for new members to get to know others in the church. I love the idea & wish more churches did it. Click here to see how one church does it.
10 – It’s so easy these days to just click & get a monthly prayer sheet to print & pray. Here’s the pdf for October 2013 for an example. Or find a great Bible reading plan (Click here for the one we use).
11 – It’s great to be able to get book, game, and movie reviews with a Christian perspective. Plugged In is our go-to source. We don’t watch a movie without first checking it out here.
12 – You can get things put daily into your email to remind you to pray, or give you a devotional from your favorite devo writer, etc. We’ve gotten My Utmost For His Highest, Prayer Challenges from Revive Our Hearts, Commands of Christ, Unreached People Group of the Day, etc.
13 – There are some GREAT websites for kids these days: Adventures in Odyssey for free on line listening, Studio 252 for weekly Bible stories that connect with monthly character qualities all rolled into a cool TV show format, G.C. Kidz Club is a great missions site for kids, & Club Jelly Telly for fresh Christian children’s programing to name a few.
14 – The every day DVD is still amazing. The fact that I can “travel” with my family any night of the week to the Holy Land & get top notch teaching at the press of a button is incredible. If you’ve never seen Ray Vander Laan, the next 22 minutes you have free, treat yourself here then go watch more. We watched the lesson linked below last night with the kids. I dare you to watch it without being moved to tears by the end. They never disappoint! Just one of so many great resources we have at our fingertips these days.
15 – It is so easy to get $$ to people when they need it. Last year, we had a friend pass away who had a brother living 2,000 miles away in seminary. Rather than give flowers, we really wanted to help him get home to be with his family. Within 24 hours, we were able to get the news, pass the news around to friends all over the country, collect $$ via paypal, & put the gift electronically in this brother’s church fund (they have a way you can give on line) so the pastor was able to personally hand him the love gift with a note from all of us & start making flight arrangements! Simply amazing. Most charity organizations now have sites were you can give monthly, one time, it keeps track of what & when you gave for tax purposes for you, too. And if you have missionaries you support, you can do it all on line & many save oodles of money having their prayer letters on line, too. My, this list keeps getting longer…
So which of these do you use? In what other ways has technology bettered your spiritual life? Do share!