January 26, 2008

What the Bible says about technology

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 8:59 am

Recently I was challenged by an individual that said there was no difference between the appliance typically called a television and our computers! This got me thinking about what I believe are differences between these types of technology and also thinking about what God’s Word teaches us about technology. I’ll save my opinions on the differences for some other time, for it does not really matter what Michael thinks, what God thinks and what He requires of each of His children is what really matters.

The following is my testimony of what God has shown me in this area. These are some of the principles that Shawna and I live by and we use these principles to govern our use of any and every form of technology. One thing I know is that the technology in our world is changing very rapidly. I believe every sincere Christian will desire to build on principles that will stand not only in 2008 but in 2018, 2028, 2038, etc! My goal is for my children to build their personal convictions upon solid Bible principles that will guide them when they grow up and leave home. I’m trying to do this in my life, and by God’s grace I’m trying to pass this desire on to each of my children.

First of all, the Bible doesn’t specifically mention any particular technology. Sometimes I wish it were very plain what was acceptable and what was not acceptable for individuals serving God, but God in His infinite wisdom did not choose to have the Bible written in this way. So, we have to take the principles it contains and carefully work out our own salvation, with fear and trembling, and believe me, it is sometimes very fearful (Philippians 2:12).

The following scriptures are taken from The Living Bible. I’ve found this paraphrase to be very helpful when trying to apply God’s Word to my life.

Psalm 141:4, “Take away my lust for evil things; don’t let me want to be with sinners, doing what they do, sharing their dainties.”

Psalm 101:2-4, “I will try to walk a blameless path, but how I need your help, especially in my own home, where I long to act as I should. Help me to refuse the low and vulgar things; help me to abhor all crooked deals of every kind, to have no part in them. I will reject all selfishness and stay away from every evil.”

Philippians 4:8-9, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Keep away from every kind of evil.”

These four passages of scripture contain principles that I am trying to live by personally, and also principles Shawna and I are trying to adhere to in our home. The beautiful thing about this is that these principles give us FREEDOM to use technology of all sorts as long as we are not violating the principles of holy living.

For us, we decided to not own a television, but we did decide to try and carefully use the internet, computers, and DVDs in a controlled manner. We had a pastor that once said (back before DVDs were so popular) that a VCR had better be a Very Controlled Resource! I think that is very good, and it is so applicable to every form of technology.

Personally, I believe God has given me the gift of using and understanding technology. My children are growing up in a world heavily influenced by technology, television, and movies. As their father, I have the HUGE responsibility of helping to guide them and teach them these biblical principles. In addition to this, Shawna and I have assumed the responsibility of educating them in all areas of life by also homeschooling them. The technologies that we use help us accomplish these tasks. We are very thankful for what God has entrusted to our care and we are striving to be good and faithful stewards.

One of my Bible heroes is Daniel…he was such an excellent example of living with integrity. You can read some comments I made about him recently on my blog. I want to live like Daniel…I want to be willing to remove anything from my life that would interfere with my living a life of integrity.

Several years ago I tried to adopt the Christian Internet Code of Ethics from the Church of the Nazarene. I would challenge anyone who is using the internet to adhere to these guidelines.

Finally, when I stand before God I want Him to be able to say “Good work! You did your job well” (Matthew 25:21, The Message). I’m doing my best to serve God and live out the purpose He has for my life in the 21st century! Technology isn’t going away, and as long as the Lord tarries we are going to increasingly live in a technology saturated society. When I die, and when someone closes the box on my life, I trust they will be able to say the words that were written about David in Acts 13:36, “For David, after serving his own generation in God’s plan, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed” (HCSB).

Are you serving your generation in God’s plan? Are you using the talents that He has given you and the resources that He has allowed you to have in your life to help advance His Kingdom? I trust that you can answer YES to these questions.

One of my favorite song writers, Haldor Lillenas, wrote these words:

I desire that my life shall be ordered by Thee, that my will be in perfect accord. With Thine own sov’reign will, Thy desires to fulfill, my wonderful, wonderful Lord.

All the talents I have I have laid at Thy feet; Thy approval shall be my reward. Be my store great or small, I surrender it all to my wonderful, wonderful Lord.


January 14, 2008

God’s faithful protection!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 2:24 pm

I don’t normally do too much to help my dear wife with homeschooling our daughters.  Oh, I’m very supportive of what she is doing and I want her to do it, but I’m not a “school teacher.”  Shawna is very good at what she does, so I willingly allow her to take care of this part of raising our family.There is however, one thing I’ve tried to do to help with home school and that is, Home Economics!  I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and Shawna says I’m a “good cook.”  I’m glad she thinks so, but whether or not I’m good doesn’t matter, I do enjoy it and it is something I can together with Luanna and Esther. 

This weekend Luanna wanted to fix something for breakfast on Saturday.  So, Friday evening she looked through a cook book and found a recipe for a coffee cake that you prepare the night before and keep it in the refrigerator until baking time.  She did a wonderful job along with Esther’s help, mixing the ingredients up and we safely slid the cake in the refrigerator, ready for baking Saturday morning.

When Saturday morning rolled around, Luanna put the cake in the oven and while it baked for 30 minutes the girls set the table and Esther and I worked on starting a crock pot full of vegetable soup for eating later in the day.  Shawna was having an unusually rough day with her “morning sickness” so she was in bed resting.  When the cake was done Luanna asked me to help her take it out of the oven so she would not burn herself.  I quickly grabbed the pan and placed right on the stove top on one of the burners.  Luanna came along and looked at her picture perfect coffee cake!  She was proud of it, and rightfully so.  She carefully cut it into pieces for serving, and then left the kitchen along with Esther and Julianna.  I was busy finishing up a couple of things and taking care of the boiled eggs I had just prepared. 

With my back to the oven, I started smelling what smelled like burning cake.  This puzzled me since we had removed it from the oven.  So, I turned around and looked and saw smoke rising from the middle of this beautiful coffee cake!  Immediately it dawned on me that I had placed that cake on the burner that I had used for boiling eggs.  The front burner had been left on and her cake was burning on the bottom.  I grabbed the pot holders and quickly moved the cake and set it over on the other side of the range on a cookie sheet, hoping to salvage this cake for breakfast.

As I was moving my hands away from the pan, the glass cookware EXPLODED and covered our kitchen with glass and hot cake!  I could feel the vibration of this explosion in my hand, that still had a glove on it.  Wow!  I was stunned. 

Immediately I looked around to make sure that all three girls were safe and not in the way.  It was at that moment that I realized they were all out of the kitchen.  Moments before one or more of them had been in there working!  Praise the Lord for his very timely protection.  Everyone escaped what could have been serious injuries from hot flying glass and cake! 

Shawna came running from the bedroom to see what had happened and helped with some clean up.  We all survived, but we did lose the cake and the pan.  Luanna made another cake which we baked later in the day.God used this to show me how much He cares for His children, and it brings to mind the words to a chorus we often sing at church:

God is helping His children.  God is showing He cares.  God is working in our behalf, God is answering prayer.  For He cares for His children – He never leaves us alone.  He always walks beside us, for He cares for His own.  God is helping His children.  God is showing He cares.  God is working in our behalf, God is answering prayer.

“Absolutely no darkness”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 8:02 am

1 John 1:5, “God is light…there is absolutely no darkness in Him” (HCSB).There is no room for darkness in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is a tough standard…especially when we live in a world that is full of the darkness of sin.  Whether we are at Wal-Mart buying groceries, at the library getting materials for our children, or online using the technology that God has allowed us to have, darkness and evil are everywhere around.  Is it possible for us to have a relationship with “absolutely no darkness?”  I believe the answer is a resounding YES! 

God has promised to never leave nor forsake His children.  He will provide us the guidance we need to live in a dark world and yet not allow that darkness to invade our lives and interfere in our relationship with Him.  When I think about living in a corrupt world and not having darkness in my life, I think about one of my Bible heroes named Daniel.In Daniel 6:4-5 we read about Daniel’s life… “They could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him” (HCSB).  Wow!  What a statement! 

This verse drastically challenges me because I think about my life…if someone went through my house, my library, or my web-browsing history would they be satisfied that there was no evidence of corruption?  I certainly hope so!  That is my desire…but living a pure and holy life does not come without diligence and purpose.  I believe this is why these words could be said of Daniel.

Before we ever make it to Daniel 6, we read in Daniel 1:8 that “Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself” (NASB).  The key to me is the phrase “made up his mind.”  Daniel had a purpose…he was a man of integrity, and he purposed to avoid anything that would bring even a trace of corruption or negligence into his life.

My prayer and desire is to so live my life that anyone could look through my life and I would have nothing to hide.  I’m thankful that if there is something that is not pleasing to God we do have an advocate through His son, Jesus Christ.  There is forgiveness of sin available to anyone who comes to Jesus with a repentant heart!

January 5, 2008

Are you trying to catch people?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 10:09 am

Luke 10b, in my Holman Christian Standard Bible reads, “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” In the Living Bible this verse reads “you’ll be fishing for the souls of men.”

The following quote is taken from Turning Points Devotional:

“Pastor H. Edwin Young once explained the reason for the growth of his church in Houston, Texas. ‘Everything we do has a hook in it,’ he said. Their many activities, programs, ministries, and events are all designed to ‘catch’ people. And that’s biblical. Do you have any hooks in the water?”

When I read this devotional this morning, my heart was challenged. I thought about a man I know, David Hughes. David is an avid fisherman…I mean, he takes fishing very seriously. He knows where to go, when to go, and what to take with him in order to hopefully bring home a load of fish. I once was talking with David and he told me he hand makes all of his fishing lures! I would call him a serious fisherman.

I recall when I was a teenager going fishing with my Aunt Melba. She was also an avid fisherwoman. We would get up early on a Saturday morning and she would pick me up at my house and we would head out to Heritage Lake Park in south Overland Park, KS. Melba knew where to go to find the most fish. She also took with her certain kinds of bait and lures. Normally, we would return home with several nice fish. What I know for sure is this; it took effort and diligence for us to catch fish. I never remember seeing a fish jump out of the water and land in our five-gallon bucket that we carried the fish home in!

As Christians, I believe everything we do with other people should have a “hook” in it. Our “hooks” should not just be “salvation hooks” but rather hooks designed to encourage, strengthen, and challenge even other fellow believers. Certainly, we should be trying to catch unsaved people, but our focus should also be on other aspects of the Christian life.

What about your church? I’m sure your church has various services, events, and programs. Are these activities all designed with a “hook” like Pastor Young mentioned? I find that at my church, it doesn’t seem like much we do is done with a hook in it. We are more focused on thinking the fish are just going to jump out of the water and land in our bucket or our boat. I don’t think it has ever or will ever work that way.

May God help each of us to be avid fishers of men and do our best to “hook” others for the advancement of God’s Kingdom!

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