A Theology of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter

googe-facebook-amazon-twitter

We use Google to try and feel omniscient like God. God knows all things, and with Google we feel like we can know all things, too.

We use Facebook to try and feel omnipresent like God. God is in all places at all times, and with Facebook we feel like we can be present everywhere, too.

We use Amazon to try and feel omnipotent like God. God can do all things effortlessly, and with Amazon we feel like we can get anything we want with a single click.

And Twitter, well, Twitter is just the devil.
  

12 Favorite Productivity Principles

I am a pastor and have a variety of tasks to fulfill each week – study, prayer, counseling, visitation, teaching, administration, etc. I also enjoy reading about productivity and learning how best to use my time for both professional and personal pursuits. I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way and have compiled my twelve favorite productivity principles below. I trust you will find them helpful in your life as well.

(Note: You can also access all twelve principles in one longer posting here: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

Links to individual articles in the series:

1. 20/20/MIT – First things first
2. Morning, afternoon, evening rule – Finding your rhythm
3. Habit stacking – Habits are hard, but routines are routine
4. Ideal weekly schedule – A place for everything, and everything in its place
5. Appointments, tasks and information – Using the right tool for the job
6. Task processing – One thing at a time (micro-tasking)
7. Working with resistance – Resistance is not futile
8. 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep
9. Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all
10. “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush
11. “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy
12. “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do
00. Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary
 

A Quarantine Prayer

A quarantine prayer:

“Dear Lord, as our hair grows longer, and our patience grows shorter, please give us strength for these troubled times!”

 

Coronavirus Q & A and the Bible

The following is a Coronavirus Q & A session I did for our church this week answering the following five questions about coronavirus and the Bible:

1. Is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin on the earth?
2. If God is all-good and all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop the suffering?
3. Why do Christians sometimes get sick and die?
4. Does the coronavirus mean that Jesus is coming back soon?
5. How does God want me to respond to the coronavirus?

Click here for a transcript of the video.

Coronavirus Q & A (Video length: 20:30)

 

Coronavirus and God’s Protective Care

Today’s message was called Coronavirus and God’s Protective Care, taken from Psalm 91:1-16. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Trust God (1-2)
   A. Dwell in the shelter of the Most High (1)
   B. Say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and fortress.” (2)

II. Do not fear (3-8)
   A. God covers you with his wings (3-4)
      – Psalm 57:1
   B. God is with you day and night (5-6)
      – Psalm 121:3-6
   C. God is with you no matter how bad it gets (7-8)
      – 1 Peter 3:14

III. Look to God for protection (9-13)
   A. No harm will befall you (9-10)
      – Psalm 139:16
   B. God’s angels are guarding you (11-12)
      – Matthew 18:10
   C. God gives you power over the enemy (13)
      – Luke 12:4-5
Two errors to avoid when claiming God’s promises:
   1) Do not be foolish and test the Lord (Matthew 4:5-7)
   2) Do not limit God’s promises to this life only (Philippians 1:21)

IV. Rest in God’s love (14-16)
   A. God rescues and protects his people (14)
   B. God answers the prayers of his people (15)
   C. God gives eternal life to his people (16)
      – John 10:28
Nothing can separate us from God’s love! (Romans 8:37-39)

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

Recommended Online Bible Studies

Recommended Online Bible Studies

During this time of coronavirus and sheltering in place, we all have a unique opportunity to spend extra time studying God’s word. To help you with this, I have compiled the following list of free resources.

I encourage you to look the list over, ask God for guidance and then pick one that appeals to you. Then, just click and begin! When you finish one resource, start a new one! Let’s use our time wisely and productively during these days that God has given us.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
 


 
Our Daily Bread: Click here

You can read the daily devotional online at the link above.
 


 
The Bible Project: Click here

The Bible Project provides brief 5-10 minute video overviews for every book in the Bible. They are interesting, informative and visually appealing. There are 66 books in the Bible. We probably have a couple more months of sheltering at home. So, here’s an idea. Do one overview a day and complete all the videos over the next 66 days!

 


 
The Eyewitness Easter Series: Click here

The Eyewitness Bible Easter Series includes eight episodes to be watched on each day of Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday. Each 15-minute video contains a first-person account of a Bible story appropriate for Holy Week.
 


 
Anxious for Nothing, by Max Lucado: Click here

Teacher Max Lucado helps you dive deep into Scripture to explore God’s treatment plan for anxiety as found in the most underlined verse in the Bible: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
 


 
Every Believer a Witness: Click here

Learn how to share your faith with others! A five-part course from Evangelism Explosion teaching you the basics of how to share your faith with confidence.
 


 
The God Who Speaks: Click here (free for Amazon Prime)

The God Who Speaks is a 90-minute documentary that traces the evidence of the Bible’s authority through interviews with some of the most respected apologists, scholars, and pastors in the evangelical world. This film answers common objections about the Bible’s reliability and equips believers to confidently base their lives on the power of God’s Word.
 


 
Pilgrim’s Progress for Kids: Click here

Parents, your kids can watch the children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress for free!
 


 
YouVersion Bible Studies: Click here

The YouVersion Bible app offers a number of Bible studies and devotions. The nice thing about the YouVersion app is that you can sign up with some friends and do the Bible studies together. Here are three recommended studies:

 


 
The Gospel Coalition Bible Studies: Click here

The Gospel Coalition has a wide variety of Bible studies and classes available. Here are two recommended studies:

  • Basics of Systematic Theology: Click here
  • God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible: Click here

 


 
Ligonier Connect Bible Studies: Click here

Ligonier is the teaching ministry of R.C. Sproul. Ligonier has made their entire library of teaching videos available for free through June 30. You can take the classes by yourself or invite others to join you. They have hundreds of videos, so here are some recommended classes and topics.

You can either click “Create Group” to study together, or just click the “Preview” tab to go directly to the class. Each class has a video to watch as well as optional questions for discussion or reflection.

  • Dealing with Difficult Problems, by R.C. Sproul: Click here
  • Understanding the Parables, by R.C. Sproul: Click here
  • Contentment, by Melissa Kruger: Click here
  • The New Testament Canon (How we got our Bible), by Michael Kruger: Click here
  • The Life of Samson, by Robert Godfrey: Click here
  • Learning to Love the Psalms, by Robert Godfrey: Click here
  • Church History, by Robert Godfrey: Click here
  • The Attributes of God, by Steven Lawson: Click here

 


 
Sermons: Click here to listen / Click here to read

You can access the audio and written transcripts of various sermons I’ve preached over the years at the above links. Here are some recommended series:

 


 
Wow, I know that’s a lot! Remember, you can’t do all of these, but you can do some. Go ahead – pick one and get started today!
 

Dreading the Time Change?

Dreading the time change later in the week? Try the incremental approach. Ten minutes a day instead of an hour all at once.

Click here for How to Beat Daylight Savings Time
 

New “Praying For” Series

We are doing a new series of messages Sunday mornings on praying for various things. Here are the links to the various messages in the series.

Praying For … Series
(Click here for a PDF of all the sermon outlines for the series.)

Praying For series

Praying for Things – 1 John 5:14-15
Praying for Forgiveness – 1 John 1:5-10
Praying for Healing – James 5:13-16
Praying for Victory over Sin – 2 Peter 1:3-4
Praying for Church and Family – Matthew 6:9-13
Praying for the Lost – Colossians 4:2-6
Praying for Missions – Matthew 9:35-38
 

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 9/8/2019

Sunday’s message in the David and Saul series was called View from the Cave, taken from 1 Samuel 22:1-5. Here is a brief outline of the message:

How do you deal with God’s delays?

I. Serve God where you are (1-2)
      – 1 Peter 4:19
   A. Commit yourself to God
   B. Continue to do good

II. Continue to seek God’s will (3-4)
      – Ruth 1-4
   A. Remember what God has done in the past
   B. Seek God’s will for the future

III. Be quick to respond to God’s word (5)
      – Hebrews 4:12
   A. Be open to hearing God’s word
   B. Be quick to obey God’s word

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

PP00: Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

00. Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary

Here are a few miscellaneous productivity tips that I have found useful for myself. They may or may not work for you, but they are all worth trying.

– Key naps (the pause that refreshes)

If I’m tired in the afternoon or early evening, I will often take a key nap. I lean back in my easy chair, grasp a key between my thumb and forefinger, rest my arm on the arm of the chair with the key positioned over the floor, close my eyes and wait to fall asleep. The moment I fall asleep, my thumb and forefinger relax, and the key falls to the floor waking me back up again.

It’s just a micro-nap, and yet I wake up feeling refreshed and alert. Even though it’s only for a split-second, I often hit such a deep state of sleep that when the key hits the floor, I wake up momentarily disoriented, not knowing where I am, not even sure what the sound was that woke me up.

A key nap in the afternoon or evening doesn’t disturb my sleep schedule at night. And it is usually all I need to stay alert until bedtime.

– Shave twice

I dislike shaving, so I do it twice a day instead of once. It’s easier and quicker to shave in the morning when I shave the night before. And it’s easy to shave at night when I’ve already shaved in the morning. By the way, this principle works with any job that gets progressively harder the longer you put it off (for example: paying bills, trimming the hedges, etc.).

– Daylight savings time

I always have a hard time adjusting to Daylight Savings Time when you change the clocks forward an hour in the spring. So now, instead of changing the clock forward one hour on Saturday night, I change it in ten-minute increments starting the week before. I only do this with the bedtime clock, and I adjust my bedtime and waketime accordingly. (See article: How to Beat Daylight Savings Time)

– Wipe shower

One common productivity tip you often hear about is to make the bed when you first get up. This is called an anchor discipline. An anchor discipline is a simple task you do each day without fail that helps reinforce the other disciplines in your life. Plus, you always have a bed that is made!

I don’t make the bed when I first get up (mostly because my wife is still in it). Instead, I wipe the shower. When I finish showering, I take a minute to wipe down the shower. I use a separate towel for this than the towel I use for myself. I wipe down the shampoo bottle and put it away. Then I wipe down the walls and especially the edges and corners where the water gathers.

I use this as my anchor discipline which helps reinforce my other disciplines for the day. Plus, I always have a clean shower!

Back to the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles
 

PP12: “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

12. “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do

This is another wonderfully counterintuitive principle that is incredibly powerful once you put it into practice. Don’t tell people what you’re going to do. Do it first, then tell them.

Here’s how this plays out in real life. Let’s say there’s something you want to do, perhaps declutter your home or lose weight or write a book. You would think telling other people what you are going to do would make you more likely to do it. But it doesn’t always work out that way. (The exception is if you tell someone who is holding you accountable to your goals.)

When you tell someone what you are going to do, you get a feeling of accomplishment even though you haven’t really done anything yet. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we talk about what we’re going to do. It makes us feel good.

Unfortunately, that good feeling is counterproductive. It breeds a false sense of accomplishment that reduces your motivation to do the intended task. As a result, you may never get around to actually doing it.

The next time you get the urge to tell people what you are going to do, resist the urge and don’t tell them. You will find it incredibly frustrating at first because you want to feel that sense of accomplishment. But it will keep your motivation for actually doing the task that much stronger.

Don’t tell people what you’re going to do. Do it first, then tell them. Once you learn the “do it first” principle, you will have a whole host of actual accomplishments to talk about instead of mere potential accomplishments.

—————————————–

Well, that’s it. Those are my 12 favorite productivity principles. I hope you found them helpful, as they have been extremely helpful to me. Tomorrow I will wrap this series up with one last post sharing several miscellaneous tips I have also found useful.

Next in series: PP00: Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary
 

PP11: “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

11. “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy

I love these last two principles. They are counterintuitive, and yet very powerful once you grasp them.

The default principle alerts us to a quirk of human nature. Unless we are intentional about what we are doing, most of us will default to what is easy over what is most enjoyable.

If I ask myself, “What do I enjoy more, reading books or reading blogs?” I actually enjoy reading books more. But it’s easier to read blogs. Unless I am intentional about it, I will default to easy every time.

If I ask myself, “What do I enjoy more, going outside or watching TV?” I actually enjoy going outside more. But it’s easier watching TV. I need to be careful that I don’t default to easy and sacrifice enjoyment along the way.

There are many areas in our lives where we automatically default to easy over enjoyment. Do you want to enjoy life? Of course you do! Then be aware of the default principle and learn to choose enjoyment over easy.

Next in series: PP12: “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do
 

PP10: “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

10. “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush

This is another great principle I learned from Mark Forster’s book, Get Everything Done. Mark shares how he was always packing his briefcase at the last minute and rushing out the door. So, he learned to pack the briefcase earlier. That way, when it was time to leave, he could just pick up the briefcase and go.

This principle is simple: doing things ahead of time will make your life simpler and less stressful. It’s a simple principle but with thousands of applications. Here are just a couple of the ways I use it.

  1. I don’t wait until I’m ready to go to work before eating breakfast and getting dressed for work. I eat breakfast and get dressed earlier so that I am not rushing at the last minute.
     
  2. I don’t wait until I’m ready to go to bed to wash up and get ready for bed. I do it earlier in the evening. That way when I’m ready to go to bed, I can just go to bed. This also helps me get to sleep on time (see principle #8).
     
  3. I don’t wait until Wednesday morning to prepare my teaching for Wednesday night. I start preparing Monday or Tuesday. It takes the same amount of time but is far less stressful and a more pleasant experience.
     

A funny thing about the briefcase principle. When you attempt to do something ahead of time, you will experience resistance. Not a super strong resistance, usually just the dismissive thought: “I don’t need to do this right now.” But remember, resistance is a sign that this really is the best time to do it (see principle #7). Don’t let resistance work against you. Work with the resistance and do the task anyways.

Doing things ahead of time doesn’t take any more time than doing things at the last minute, but it’s far less stressful. See how many ways you can put the briefcase principle to work in your life.

Next in series: PP11: “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy