Monday, March 18, 2013

Pastor's Bookshelf: "Blood Work" by Anthony Carter

Over Spring Break I had the opportunity to catch up on much of the reading I have been putting off due to a busy schedule.  One of the books I read was Anthony Carter's "Blood Work".  As Christians we talk about the blood of Christ, we sing about the blood of Christ, and we use Biblical phrases that mention being made clean and pure of our sin by the blood of Christ.  But have we thought deeply on the blood of Christ?  Have we spent time pondering all that the Bible says about blood and specifically its necessity in atoning for sin?

Carter has thought very deeply on this very subject to give an in-depth and engaging explanation about the multifaceted benefits of Christ's blood shed for us.  I was exhorted to great joy many times over what Christ has done for me by washing me in His blood.  I believe you will be as well.  He explores everything from the obvious sin cleansing benefits to the implications that this should have on our every day lives.

This book is available from Ligonier.org and Amazon.com.  I highly encourage you to pick it up today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishing through their Blog for a Free Book Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

5 Things I Learned By Staying Away From Facebook



When my family and I decided to take a vacation this Spring Break I also felt convicted to put all social media (such as Facebook and twitter) away for the entire time. Don't get me wrong. I think Facebook can be a very handy tool for Christians. 

As a Pastor I use it to post great quotes I come across, books worth reading, articles worth a look, warn about wolves, encourage/exhort brethren near me or in other countries. 

I post A LOT; albeit when I post an article I'm typically not on Facebook, I'm on a blog or news site and posting from there... even still.

I had to know whether my usage of Facebook had become an addiction/possible idol in my life.

The first couple of days, anytime I found myself in a moment where nothing was going on (waiting for my kids to finish eating... Standing in a line... Driving to our destination) I would grab my phone and reach my thumb towards the FB icon stopping just shy of pressing it.

I wasn't doing it from an obsessed desire to see what people were doing or to show all my friends what I was having for lunch... I was doing it because I wanted to fill the time.

By the end of day 2 it had become way easier. The urge was gone and I couldn't care less.  Day 3-5 I began noticing the things that I will detail below.  Sufficing to say here that by day 3 of no facebook or other social media it was actually quite easy to stay away.

Will I keep my facebook? Most likely. Will I continue to post so often?  Possibly on occasions but not nearly so much as before

This has helped me break the need to feel I have to check Facebook every 10 minutes (or less!!!).  

In fact, today being my first real day back online in the world of social media I have only felt compelled to log in to facebook just a couple of times and none during lunch rather than my usual every 3-5 minutes.

I HIGHLY encourage all of you to ask yourself: 'Just how dependent have I become on Facebook (or other social media)?'  Does the thought of giving it up even for a week sound like something you couldn't stand?

How about giving it up for good?  Yes or no?  I'm not saying you should deactivate your account, but if in your mind your thinking, 'I could never do that!'  My friend, you may have found an idol in your heart. Without further ado...

Things I learned from my Facebook Hiatus:

1.) Prayer time came much more frequently. I found out I was filling the free time with mindless facebooking which led to mass time consumption which equaled far less time spent praying and communicating with God.

2.) The time I spent in the Word was much more meaningful as I was not so distracted wondering who'd 'liked' my posts or who had done what that day.  It sneaks up to slowly, the desire to receive approval from others I mean. 

3.) I enjoyed more fully my time with my family. When I constantly check Facebook in the boredom time I sometimes miss my kids saying something to me the first time.  I also noticed I had far more patience in general. Don't get me wrong, I don't get upset at an interruption from Facebook, but I think the extra patience came from my brain not constantly being bombarded with my surroundings AND the Facebook world

4.) It isn't as much addiction as it is a constant effort to avoid boredom. Why do I feel I must constantly be entertained. A sound theology of rest is vital to my spiritual & physical health.   Rest
can also just be not filling my every short moment with something as much as it is taking an extended rest period such as a vacation.

5.) I fit in reading 2 books start to finish, each had at least 200pgs, and I retained more of what I read (no Facebook quote posting).  Two whole books!  Now I love to read, but absorbing two books in a week (after the kids went to bed and on our trip to and from our destination) is incredible for me.

There was an error in this gadget