Reading: Song of Songs 1-4; Psalm 11

Father, in you I take refuge. Not in my savings, not in my strength, not in the security of my home. For you are in your holy temple. Your throne is in heaven. You are righteous, and you love those who are righteous through the blood of your Son. You pursued me over and over again, until finally you found me. Now you have set me at your banqueting table, and your banner over me is love. Each day I awake when the day breathes and the shadows flee to spend time in your embrace, enjoying the embrace of my Father. 

You’re born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there’s a loophole.

Billy Graham

Reading: Ecclesiastes 9-12; Psalm 10

Father, why do you seem so far away in times of trouble? It seems like you turn a blind eye to those who mock you and scorn your name. They are the ones who prosper instead of those who fear you. But you do know the works of our hands, and nothing escapes your sight. You hear the cries of those who love you, and you will execute justice, whether in this life or the one to come. Instead of worrying about things which are too great, I should be enjoying the life you have given me. Thank you for your provision for my family. Thank you for my wife whom I love and also like. Thank you for my children who teach me so much about you and bring so much joy to my life. Thank you for the work you have given me to do. When all is said and done, all that matters is that I fear you and obey your commands. Thank you for Jesus, who allows me to do that. 

You can lose your ministry and still keep your family, but if you lose your family you lose them both.

Robby Gallaty

Reading: Ecclesiastes 5-8; Psalm 9

Father, I will remember all your wonderful blessings and how you’ve answered my prayers. You sit enthroned forever, executing justice with righteousness. You are a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know you put their trust in you, because you do not forsake those who search you out. There will come a day when there will be no more poor or needy because you will usher in justice once and for all. Money and riches will never satisfy. Let me rejoice in what you have given me, Lord, and let me learn to accept each day as a gift. That which you have set before me is better than that which I hope for. Though we mine your Word and the wisdom of this world, we can never understand why you do what you do. Your understanding is so far above ours that we cannot comprehend them. 

Grace is not opposed to effort, it’s opposed to earning.

Dallas Willard

Complexity requires wisdom. Since the beginning, life has continued to increase in complexity at a more rapid pace. Each societal, cultural, or technological change requires wisdom for how to navigate the new, more complex world.

We used to have decades, or even centuries, to develop a base of wisdom through living and thinking deeply. But that world no longer exists.

The pace of wisdom and technology

Remarking on this in the preface to his book The Tech-Wise Family, Andy Crouch writes, “…the pace of technological change has surpassed anyone’s capacity to develop enough wisdom to handle it.” I think his point is that technological change is coming much faster than we’re able to develop wisdom about how to react to it. And he’s right.

As I write this, it’s 2017 and both Google and Apple have already held their annual developer’s conferences. The central themes of both were artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The iPhone was introduced a mere ten years ago in 2007 (along with Facebook and Twitter), kicking off the smartphone explosion which revolutionized the way humans interact with the world. But we’ve had little time to reflect on all that’s changed.

Think of how this has worked with something like social media. It used to feel like every 6 months a new platform would come out you’d have to be on. While you were still trying to learn Facebook all your friends were getting on Twitter. While you were learning Twitter you heard about this photo sharing app called Instagram everyone was loving. Then it was Snapchat. Next it’ll be some VR or AR platform. Each of these requires unique wisdom and discernment to use, but we’ve had next to no time to develop that wisdom – much less pass it along to the next generation.

That’s not to say there’s no wisdom for navigating these spheres, but there is significantly less wisdom for using Twitter than, say, driving a car. Both require some amount of skill and competency, and both can be quite dangerous, though in different ways.

Becoming desensitized to the promises of technology

Perhaps more dangerous than the speed of technological change is that we’ve become used to the pace and no longer wait to evaluate whether or not a new development actually delivered on its promises. Crouch writes, “We are stuffing our lives with technology’s new promises, with no clear sense of whether technology will help us keep the promises we’ve already made.” Facebook ballooned to the social behemoth it is today before we could think through the ramifications of consolidating so much of the world’s attention on one company’s view of what’s most important.

Now, maybe more than ever, the church needs people who will think deeply about the world around it. That world is changing faster than ever before, and if we’re not careful it’ll be like finding ourselves in a hole of our own digging. We’ll climb out, eventually. But it would have been much easier to stop digging the hole so deep to begin with.

A call for wisdom (and courage)

So this is a call for wisdom, which is really a call for courage. The world has changed quicker than anyone expected. But we can’t continue to idly accept the latest Silicon Valley offering without thinking deeply about it. We need the courage to be different, to ask tough questions, to be late adopters, or even to opt out entirely of certain forms of technology. But we can’t get there unless we cultivate technological wisdom rooted in theology.

I’ll be sharing more on this subject here in the days ahead, including more writing on the subject and sharing more resources that are helpful in developing a deeper understanding of the digital tech landscape.

Reading: Ecclesiastes 1-4; Psalm 8

Father, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Your glorious throne is above the heavens, far above all rule and authority on earth. When I consider the vastness of space it is hard to believe how much you care for your people, let alone just me. But you do. You made me and every other person your crowning achievement, then set us above all creation to rule it and and care for it. What a great mystery. That mystery stretches into throughout life as we seek to grasp that which can’t be grasped. We seek glory and honor, fame and riches, but none of these will last. We put our hope and identity in things we cannot take with us. O Lord, let me see that there is nothing better than to be joyful and enjoy the good gifts you have given me. Everything else in life will fade away except that which you have established. You have implanted eternity in the hearts of man. Let me strive after that eternal calling in Christ Jesus, pressing on to win the prize which you have stored up for me in the heavenly realms.

As a group leader, does it feel like you give the same advice to the same people and nothing ever changes? Maybe you’re doing a lot of good things, but not the most important thing. Listen to this week’s episode to find out what that is.

(Episode length: 17 mins)

LISTEN NOW

Reading: Proverbs 28-31; Psalm 7

Father, make known to me those sins I overlook. Let my eyes be open to them that I may repent. Judge me according to my righteousness, according to my integrity. I do not turn away from hearing your law, so I know you hear my prayers. Awaken your people to know the rights of the poor, that they may stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. Please give Maggie and I wisdom for disciplining our children, so that peace is instilled in our home. God, thank you for revealing yourself in Jesus, the one who came down from heaven and ascended again. The one who gathers the wind in his fists. The one who wraps up the waters in a garment. The one who established all the ends of the earth. Every word of yours proves true. Let me never distort that truth. Father, do not make me poor or rich, but give me enough for my family to have what it needs daily. O Lord, an excellent wife is hard to find, yet somehow you have blessed me with her. Thank you for Maggie, a blessing I truly don’t deserve. She deserves praise for many things, all of which you know. But I will praise for this above all else – that she fears and loves you, Lord.