Rick Warren - Being A Disciple In The Digital Age
Have I told you lately that I love you? For those of you that don't know hallelujah is a Hebrew word. Hallelu means praise the and jah is short for Yahweh which means Lord. Hallelujah simply means, hallelujah simply means praise the Lord. So that's what we were doing just a second ago. All right, I want you to pull out two things. Pull out the message notes for this weekend in one hand and if you have a cellphone I want you to pull that out in the other hand. Okay, both of these. I want you to have two things in your hands. The message notes and a cellphone. Now what I want you to look at first is your cellphone. Don't answer it. If you have a smartphone, you hold in your hand more power than NASA had when they put a man on the moon. There's more power in one little cellphone than we had in existence when America put a man on the moon. You have more technology in your hand.
Let me show you what the first hard drive looked like. Look up here on the screen. That was it, that was five megabytes of storage. Not very portable, about the size of two men. Several thousand pounds. Now that's five megabytes, in your phone right now you have a minimum, even if you got a cheapy phone you have a minimum of 1000 times that in your phone. And you can buy 10,000 times that and put it on your phone. You have no idea how much power you have in your pocket. That's why in 2007 Time Magazine named the iPhone, that's the year it came out this. The invention of the year. Now since that's happened it's been renamed because the cellphone, the smartphone is by far the most behavior changing invention in the history of mankind. Nothing else comes close. Not the wheel, not fire, not the steam engine, not the automobile. Nothing comes close to the power of this little invention. Why, because like with a car you can do maybe 10 different things with a car.
But with this you can do thousands of things with this. Thousands, literally thousands of things with this. You could have it direct you to the right place with a GPS. It's a you know, travel device. You could listen to music, obviously entertainment. You can check your heart, you can do all kinds of studies on your body. You literally can do thousands of things. When they decided to put a computer in a phone it changed everything. Hundreds of thousands of people in the world, hundreds of millions of people in the world own a computer. But billions own one of these and that's their computer and it's the access to everything. Now when this came out and it's only been a very short time, less than a decade that it really changed everything. Daily life and daily habits radically were altered. You don't live the same way you did before this came out.
You know, before the smartphone people actually listened to a phone. Now we look at a phone. By the way I'm taking a picture of you right now, there you go. I'll put that on Facebook, you'll all be rockstars. Everybody looks at the phone instead of simply listening to it. That's a major change in your behavior. In fact, we look constantly at our phones. Let me show you some images. We look at our phones while we're waiting. You ever seen a picture like, you ever seen that happen? It's everywhere, everybody's got their head down today. They're all looking down while they're waiting. We look at our phone when we're going to work, look at this okay.
Now let me, there's an interesting. I put that picture up there 'cause an interesting story behind it. I got this out of a Boston newspaper. These guys were going to work on a train, elevated train or I don't know what it was, subway and a guy walked in, pulled out a gun and nobody noticed. He put it back in his pocket, few minutes later he pulls it out again and nobody pays attention. He puts it back in his pocket. Few minutes later he pulls it out a third time, nobody's paying attention. He put it back in his pocket, gave up and walked out. Because they were so distracted by one of these. We now look at these while we're eating. Here's a typical family meal. Family of four, they're all looking at four screens. Right there, that's family fellowship in the 21st Century. Everybody's looking at their phone. We, we constantly look at our phones while we're walking. Have you ever seen this?
You know it's kind of interesting, now because of this one invite, we are more familiar with the heads of people, the top of their head than we are their face 'cause people are walking around like this all the time so you recognize the top of their head rather than their face. Of course we use these in the bathroom, you don't get a picture of that. But you know what I'm talking about all right. We even look at this screen while we're watching other screens. Here's a family watching TV. And they've all got you know, because you can't be bored during the commercials so we're all looking at our screens while we're actually on the sofa watching TV and then of course even take them into the bedroom and we watch in bed. Now this couple should be doing something else. But they are, they're looking at their screens.
Now the latest statistic, this is the most recent statistic is that people check their phone every 12 minutes on average. Every 12 minutes. That means you look at this little screen 80 times a day if you're an average person. 80 times a day. And that, all that change has just happened in about a decade. We have to talk about the implications and the power, both the upside and the downside of this in your life. Now because everybody looks at their phone on an average 80 times a day, even famous ad personalities wanna get involved. Here's the Corona Man, I don't always look at my phone but when I do it's because everybody else does and that's the most mysterious man in the world if you know who I'm talking about.
Now the other good news is that if you're painfully shy, you're one of the people who's always worried about everybody might be looking at you and you're worried, is everybody looking at me right now? Relax, nobody's looking at you. Nobody's looking at, do you remember years ago there was a song that came out says, you should dance like nobody's watching. Do you remember that song? Dance like nobody's watching. Well here's the truth. Dance like no one's watching because everyone is on their phone is no one is watching you. So you can act like a total goofball, nobody's gonna pay attention. A guy could pull a gun out and you won't even notice. What is amazing as I said, is that all this change happened in literally just a few years. In just a decade. I had to share this with you. This was on the internet. My kids asked what it was like growing up in the 80s, so I took away their phone and turned off the internet. That's it, that's the 80s folks. All right, that's the 80s. This church was started January 1980, that's the 80s. No phone, no internet. That's how different it is.
Now if you're gonna spend that much time looking at this the rest of your life, we need to deal with it as a spiritual issue too. So I want us this weekend to look at being a disciple in the digital age. How can I use this for good and how can I minimize the negative parts of it okay? And I really wanna do a couple things. First, I want us to understand some of the downsides. I don't have time to go into all the downsides. Some of the downsides in this technological power that you hold and you actually carry it with you all the time. So, you actually carry with you a new source for old temptations. The temptations have been around forever and ever and ever. New source for old temptations, but you carry it with you in your purse or your pocket and then I want to look at five ways to use your smartphone for the glory of God.
So I want us to begin by looking at the spiritual hazards of digital tools. We all know what the upside is, this is an amazing tool. It gives you access to the entire world, to the body of knowledge that's out there and it's just, it's hard to explain how powerful this tool is. But there are spiritual downsides and so let's look at the spiritual hazards of digital tools. I'm talking about iPhones, iPods, smartphones, laptops, any device that connects you online to the internet all right. By the way what is a hazard? Well if you're a golfer, you know what a hazard is. But a hazard is a potential dangerous trap. If you're walking through a minefield where they've buried mines in the ground, that's a hazardous field and if you step on a mine it'll blow you up.
By the way, I like to keep you guys up to date. So as your pastor, if you're a golfer, the word hazard is no longer acceptable. After 150 years at the golf course, you probably don't know this but I do. I'm gonna tell ya, in January 1, 19, 2019, all of the powers that be in golf, the PGA, LPGA and all of the other golf associations that govern golf took the word hazard out of the official manual. After 150 years, so they're no longer called hazards. Now in golf there are two kinds of hazards. There's water hazards and there's sand trap hazards but now sand trap hazards are simply called bunkers, everybody knows what that is, a bunker and but, water hazards are now gonna be called penalty areas. I'm not making this up, I just didn't want you to be embarrassed the next time you play golf. Don't use that word because it's now out of date according to the official rulebook of golf. Some of you that's all you needed to hear, go home okay. Now I said that you carry a new source of old temptation in your pocket or in your purse all day long.
Let me just give you six hazards you need to be aware of. Okay, write these down. We'll go through them pretty quickly. Number one is it can waste my time. I can waste time on my cellphone. Everybody agree with that? Yeah, of course. Time is your most precious commodity. You only have a limited amount of time. If you are an average human being you will live 27,375 days. 27,375 days, that's the average number of days a human being lives on earth. If you're over 27 years of age you've already passed 10,000 days are behind you and the problem is you're not getting those back. Time is your most precious resource because you can't get it back, you can't get any more of it. You can always get more money, you can always get more energy. There are a lot of things you can get more of, you could create. But you can't create more time, you have a certain number of days in your life and that's it and when you've spent it, it's gone. So life management is really time management. If you learn to manage your time then you'll learn to manage your life.
Now here's what the Bible says, Ephesians chapter five verse 15 to 16. Be careful how you live. Don't live foolishly, instead live as wise people, making every minute count because these are evil times. Now notice it says be careful how you live, circle that word careful. We don't use the word careful like they did in Bible times. Today careful has an implication of you're worried about something, be careful. Watch out, don't fall off, be careful as you walk down that area. It has a, this is not what it's saying here. The opposite of careful is careless, careless. He's saying don't be careless with your life, be careful and that means be intentional. Around here we call it being purpose-driven with your time. That you're intentional, you're deliberate, you know where you're going, you're not wasting your time. You're not careless with your time, you're careful with your time.
Now the latest stat on these smartphones is that in America you spent, since you look at it 80 times a day, 3.4 hours a day looking at your screen, at your phone. 3.4 hours a day, that adds up to 24 total hours a week you're looking at this thing. Now what that means is if you're an average person and you live to an average age, you will eventually spend 11 solid years of your life looking at this. 11 solid years looking at this screen. Now that means we need to talk because I'm interested in you not wasting 11 hours or 11 years of your life and by the way that doesn't include watching TV, that's another screen and that doesn't include video games that you play that aren't online. That's just being online through your phone.
The Bible says this, up here on the screen, 1 Corinthians. Chapter 10 verse 23, now you may say I'm allowed to do anything but not everything is helpful or beneficial. A thing may be permissible but not everything is constructive and encourages growth. This is a Bible principle we need to apply here. What is it saying? It's saying some things aren't necessarily wrong. They're just not necessary. They're not necessarily wrong they're just not necessary. It's not a sin for you to spend five hours watching cute kitty commercials on you know, on YouTube. But it might not be the best use of your time, it's not a sin. It's not evil, wicked, mean, bad, nasty, it's just like some things aren't necessarily wrong they're just not necessary. You need to say is this worth me giving my life for, I just gave my life scrolling through a bunch of clickbait.
How many of you I wonder have, when you were dead tired, instead of going to bed you're sitting here scrolling through with your thumb, you're barely awake and you're going click click click click oh yeah, yeah that was funny, no that wasn't. Yeah that was funny, no that wasn't. You know, if evolution were true in 100 years everybody's gonna have giant thumbs okay 'cause they're exercise. Giant thumbs, big butts, little feet 'cause we don't walk anywhere anymore okay and they're just scrolling on. We'll look very, very different okay but how many times have you needed to go to bed and you've wasted it on, looking at stupid stuff on the internet when really what you needed was sleep? And then you paid for it the next day because you spent a lot of time looking at stuff that didn't matter. The Bible says this on the screen, Proverbs 12 verse 11. Only a fool idles away his time. So we know, I don't have to teach on this. When we all know it's easy to waste time on the internet. Okay let me give you a couple of others.
Number two a second hazard is I can be seduced by the world's values. I can be seduced by what the world values. The world's value system. Because the internet and particularly social media amplify stuff that is not important and make it seem like it's really, really, really important. And it's not. The world and all the advertisers in it are constantly telling you how to think, what to buy, how to feel, what's cool, what's not cool, what's hip, what's not hip, the world is constantly shouting at you through the internet and you're carrying it with you all day in your pocket.
Now that's not a temptation previous generations of followers of Christ had to deal with 'cause they weren't carrying it with them but you've got, you're carrying advertising with you everywhere you go. And the world's value system of passion, possession and position. Or sex, salary and status, that's what the world's after and if you listen to it long enough you start thinking well that must be right and that must be okay. And you carry that voice with you. Whatever gets you gets your attention. And if you look at something long enough you know what's gonna happen? You're gonna start copying it. And you're gonna dress like that. You're gonna act like that, you're gonna think like that, you're gonna feel like that. Whatever you look at all the time you're eventually gonna copy.
That's why the Bible says this in Romans 12:2. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Okay he says don't copy the world's value system. What are the world's value system? Look up here on the screen. 1 John 2:15-17 says this. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. Now hang on here just a minute, let me stop. The guy who wrote this, John in 1 John 2:16 he says if anybody loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, he's the same guy who wrote John 3:16 in another book. Which says God so loved the world. Okay, which is it? I mean come on, in John 3:16 John says God so loved the world and in 1 John 2:16 he says don't love the world. Well what am I supposed to do? Looks like a contradiction. The answer is in the definition of the word world.
In John 3:16 which says God so loved the world, he's talking about the people of the world. We are to love the people of the world 'cause they were created in the image of God, they have dignity, we are to love every person. In 1 John 2:15-17 he's saying don't love the value system of the world. So the Bible says we are to love the people in the world but we are to hate the world's value system because it's anti-God. Love the people, hate the value system. The problem is we do the exact opposite. We hate the people and we love the values system. We are as materialistic as everybody else, we're as interested in sex and pleasure and living for fun and living you know, making that the highest goal of life. We're as interested in status and salary and sex and popularity and possessions and power as everybody else is. We get it backwards.
Now look at that verse again. Don't love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For what the world values and the world has three big values. The lust for constant pleasure, that's called hedonism. The greed for more things, that's called materialism and the prideful positioning to appear important, that's called secularism or humanism which says I am God, I'll be my own God, I don't need God, I'm more important. He says of these three things, none of these things come from your Father. The world and what it values is going to pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
So you've gotta choose. Am I gonna go with God's value system or am I gonna go with the world's value system of you know, the temptation to have more, the temptation to feel more, the temptation to be more, all of these kind of things that happen. He says if you're hearing people shout at you all the time, that you have gotta be popular and you've gotta be beautiful, and you've gotta be successful, and you gotta be rich for you to have any value that's a lie. It's a lie, it's the world's value system that only the wealthiest matter, only the most beautiful matter, only those who are having the most fun matter. That means you don't matter 'cause you're not in any of those categories but that's what the world is constantly teaching. You gotta be thin and beautiful and sexy and rich otherwise your life sucks. That's the world's value system. They are wrong but you're hearing it all the time and you're carrying it with you in your pocket and you're reading it on social media and things like that.
If I see it enough I start thinking, well it must be okay. What this does is this desensitizes me to sin. It desensitizes me to sin. All I mean is well if everybody's doing it, it must be okay. It must be all right. James 4:4 in the Bible says this. Don't you know that to be a friend of the world is to be hostile to God? If your aim is to be popular with the world, you make yourself God's enemy. I didn't say that, God does. You've gotta choose. Do you wanna be a people pleaser? Or do you wanna be a God pleaser? I highly recommend that you decide from this day forward you're not gonna be a people pleaser anymore. You're gonna be a God pleaser 'cause if you're a God pleaser it will always be the right thing to do and actually, there will be some good people who like that. But if you be a people pleaser you're gonna be stressed out and insecure your entire life trying to please the world and its value system. It just doesn't work.
All right, let me give you a third, third hazard. I can be drawn into unproductive arguments. Oh baby, this is very very easy. Particularly in social media. Have you ever heard somebody say something really outrageous and you got offended really quickly by it and you go well I need to tell them off. I need to set them straight. I need to respond and you want, every bone in your body wants to just obliterate them because what they just said. Like you don't know what I'm talking about. Okay, you've read stuff online and you go, that is so wrong, that's just not right. And they attack somebody I like or love or whatever, and it's an easy way to get drawn into an argument. I understand how you feel, but don't. Don't respond when those arguments start up on the internet.
Here's what the Bible says, Titus chapter three verse nine. Never and that means never, never get involved in foolish controversies, useless arguments, disputes about your personal pedigree. That means you know, issues about your family history, your ethnic background, your genealogy, that kind of stuff. Don't get in an argument over that. Or fights over interpreting God's law. How you interpret a particular, all of these God says are useless and do not help anyone. Says pretty clearly, don't get involved in fights and arguments. And that would apply to the internet too, not just at the office. The fact is there are people who live to hook you. There are trolls out there who love, their adrenaline goes up when they hook somebody for a fight. They don't even care what you believe, they just like to fight and they like to argue and you think well I'll set them straight but they're using motivated reasoning which means no matter what you say it's not gonna work.
And finally you're gonna, after about how many times you respond to them back and forth. You finally, this is, this is worthless, it's not going anywhere. They're not gonna change, you're not going to change them. They just like to fight. And if they throw something out that's very you know, threatening or provocative and they throw that out and then you respond to it, they go ha I hooked a live one. I'm gonna reel 'em in now and now they've got somebody to fight with because they don't really feel alive unless they're mad. It's a problem, it's a mental problem. They don't feel alive unless they're mad and they're gonna just roll and hook you in.
Now here, let me show some verses about this on the screen. Proverbs 26:21, just as charcoal and wood keep a fire going, a troublemaker keeps an argument going. They're not gonna let ya off the hook, they're gonna keep on arguing until you give up. They're not gonna give up. So he says don't do that. What does God say to do with those kind of people? Here's what he says on the screen. Proverbs 26:4, don't answer their foolish arguments or you will become as foolish as they are. You're gonna look as dumb as they do. Just don't get hooked. Now I highly recommend that instead of worrying about what other people think, whether they think it about you, what they think about you is none of your business. What people think about me is none of my business. It doesn't have any degree of influence on my happiness. Don't be worrying about what other people think. Instead here's what you should be worrying about.
Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, "You can be sure that on the Judgment Day you will have to give an account to God of every careless word you have ever spoken". Uh-oh, that includes one written in social media and on the internet. One day you're gonna give an account of every foolish, useless, mean, and what other words that you use on the internet or anywhere else, you're gonna give an account to God. Now that oughta be enough to muzzle my mouth and zip my lip. But not only that, now you know this. Whatever you say on the internet is permanent, global and searchable. It's never going away. Which is why you need to teach your kids don't do that, don't say stuff on the internet thinking it's no big deal because when you're in the ninth grade or 10th grade you think well I can say that and I'm just mad at so and so and then 50 years later they're gonna pull it out at your Senate hearing. It will come back and any employer can look up anything you've ever said on the internet.
So it's not only gonna be, not only is God keeping a record, so is the internet. And it's permanent, it's global and searchable so zip the lip. What causes us to get hooked into those kind of arguments? Well in a word, it's ego. It's ego. When Kay and I got married many moons ago, the first Bible verse we memorized together, we've memorized a lot of Scripture together, I would highly recommend you do that with your spouse. Well the first verse we memorized, we memorized it on our honeymoon 'cause we needed it on our honeymoon. We were having conflict on our honeymoon and Proverbs 13:10 says this. Pride always causes conflict. Pride always causes conflict. Anywhere you find conflict, it's because ego's involved. I want what I want, you want what you want. Neither of us wanna back down. When my pride hits your pride, that's what's causing the conflict. A good dose of humility is what you really need to do before you go online and you pick up that phone.
All right, number four let me give you another one. Another hazard of a smartphone is I can be tempted to compete and show off. I can be tempted to compete and show off. Now we always wanna put ourselves in the best light, we want everybody to think our lives are perfect. We want everybody to think we've got it all together and what happens is this new entity called social media is a place to show off. That's what it is. And when I go on social media, whether it's Instagram or you know Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or any of the ones that are out there. LinkedIn or whatever's out there. I always wanna put my best foot forward. You never post a picture of yourself when you just got out of bed okay and there's drool coming down your you know, cheek here and you can smell the body odor on you and, and you know there's laundry over in the corner. No, no, no. It's my so-called perfect life. Instagram reported that over half of the pictures posted on Instagram are Photoshopped. They're not reality, they are, I want everybody to look good.
And so I want everybody to see how cool I am, I want everybody to see how smart I am. I want everybody to see how rich I am. I wanna see how happy, how fun I am. How perfect my marriage is, how brilliant my children are and people are actually showing off through their kids and grandkids. Boy it got quiet. And look how loved we are, look how loved I am. That's just showing off and, and because of that the worst kind of showing off, you know what it is? God hates this more than any other kind, spiritual showing off. When you're trying to appear spiritual in front of others. It's called self-righteousness. It's the sin that Jesus hated in the Pharisees. He said this about the Pharisees, the religious. "Everything they do is for show". They pray for show. They sing for show. They give their offerings to show off. He said everything they do is for public consumption and God hated that, he said they're hypocrites.
And so what happens today is people are using social media to show off their spirituality, stop it. I mean if you go and let's just say I go and I say I'm gonna take a picture of me having a quiet time and I'm gonna spend time alone with God and here I am you know trying to focus on God and. You know, and look at the Scripture I'm covering. I'm in Habakkuk, I bet you've never read Habakkuk okay. And I've underlined this verse that I've, I got my little latte here and it's a beautiful sunset and my Bible and I'm looking so spiritual, click. You can't do that. Okay that's just showing off. All right, I want you to write something down. Would you write this sentence down? I can't be in the moment trying to capture the moment. I can't be in the moment while I'm trying to capture a moment.
Please, as your pastor I'm begging you to never take another shot of your quiet time. That's just showing off and Jesus hates it. You oughta have a quiet time with God every day but it oughta between you and God. You will never see a quiet time of me anywhere. Why, because if I'm focusing. If all of a sudden my quiet time, I'm taking a picture of it, I'm staging it for production. It's not real, it's not authentic. I'm not focusing on God, I'm focusing on, I wonder if everybody's gonna like this on Instagram. And all a sudden I've taken the wrong motivation for this. I can't be in the moment while trying to capture a moment. I wanna show you a picture up here. Tell me which of these people is really enjoying the moment. It's all these pictures of, everybody's got their phone out trying to take a shot and then there's this little old lady here with no camera just smiling, enjoying, she's the one who's enjoying the moment. Everybody else is trying to capture the moment and so she's the one who's fully there.
This is one of my problems today is that now, wedding photographers have taken over the weddings. And the whole thing's so staged its all about now please stand here, please do this, please stand here. I understand the need for nice pictures. But we can't even have a moment because it's all about the picture. And who's actually enjoying the moment because it's all being staged for somebody and something else. In Matthew chapter six verse one, this is in the Sermon on the Mount. "Be careful," there's that word again. Don't be careless, be careful. "Be careful, don't do your acts of righteousness publicly to be admired by others. If you do you will lose your reward from your Father in heaven". Wow, was that, if I take what I've just done as a good thing and I post it on the internet, that's all the reward I'm getting because I just lost it. If I did it in secret.
In my lifetime I've probably prayed with almost every President in my lifetime. You will never ever see a picture of me praying with somebody. Or at least somebody important, famous like that. Because what does that do? If I wanna do, I could post almost every day a picture of me and a celebrity. What does that do? Does that draw us closer, no. It's like who do you think you are, well goody for you. When you show off it builds barriers. It doesn't build fellowship, it doesn't draw you closer to anybody. It's like well how come your life's so perfect and mine's not and you get to do exciting things and I don't? No no, if you wanna draw people close to you, do the opposite, share the problems that Jesus is helping you with. When people go oh, well if God's helping Rick with that problem then maybe he could help me too. It's the exact opposite of what the world values and what's being posted on there right now.
Let me show you a few more verses. 1 Corinthians 4:7. Who says you're better than others? What do you have that was not given to you? In other words, by God. And if it was given to you by God, why do you brag as if you did not receive it as a gift? Really I can't brag about anything because any good that's been happening in my life is because God did it in me, for me, through me, to me or used somebody else to do it with me, or to me or for me or through me. It's really all God. The breath I'm breathing right now is a gift of God. The heart that I have is a gift of God. The brain that I have is a gift of God. The talent that I've used to do something with my life is a gift of God. I had nothing to do with it. It was just put in me by God so why in the world can I be proud about it, 'cause it's just a gift. And the same thing is true for you, the same thing is true for you.
So why, we have no real reason to brag except on the goodness of God. The Bible says this on the screen, Galatians 6:3. If you think you're better than others when you really aren't, you're just deceiving yourself. And one more verse, the Bible says 1 Peter 5:6. So be content with who you are and don't put on airs. What does that mean? Don't show off on the internet. Don't put on airs, don't pretend you're somebody you're not. Be content with who you are, don't put on airs, just be the real you. God's strong hand is on you and he'll promote you at the right time.
Now see that word promote? A lot of people are using internet, particularly social media to promote themselves. See how cool I am? See how smart I am? See how attractive I am? See my pretty new clothes. And they're using themselves to promote themselves thinking that they have to promote themselves. Friends, you don't have to know the key men if you know the man who holds the keys. And if you are a child of God you're a son of God or a daughter of God it says he'll promote you at the right time when he knows you're ready. And he can put you at the front of the line any moment. Far more than 10 years of self promotion on the internet. So stop it. God says you can choose. Either you can promote yourself or let me do it. Who do you think will do a better job? I'm inviting you to change the way you look at social media.
Let me give you two more. Number five, the fifth hazard is I can get addicted to the approval of others. I can get addicted to the approval of others. Now what is it that makes social media so addicting? I have to go back and check, I have to go back and check, I have to go back and check. This 80 times a day thing of looking at your phone, 80 people aren't phoning you every day, so what are you doing looking at your phone 80 times a day? Well if it's social media, here's the science behind why it's so addicting. Everybody wants the approval of others. We desperately need and desperately want the approval of others, we all wanna be liked. So when you post something on the internet, then you're anxiously waiting, is anybody gonna like it? Is anybody gonna like? And so you're waiting with bated breath, is anybody gonna like this? And all of a sudden you get a ding and you get a like, you go woo I got a like, I got a like and what happens is in your brain it releases dopamine.
And then a few minutes later you get another ding. Oh I got another like, ding ding, I got two more. I got four likes, they like me, they like me, they really like me. Ding ding ding ding ding, and dopamine is going off in your brain. It's the exact same thing that when they give a rat cocaine it'll keep going back, going back, going back for another hit, another hit. It's a scientific, biological fact that when you get a like it releases dopamine in your brain and that can become addicting. And all of a sudden you go whoa, whoa, look at, nine people like me. No, they don't know you, they're, they maybe not even speak your language, they may be a bot but you got nine likes right there and you then feel good about yourself. And that creates, and here's the problem with this.
When we do this, we get more interested in the opinions of people we don't know than the people around us and we ignore the people around us while we're busy looking at the screen. Let me show you a couple of cartoons. Here's a woman with her, I guess her husband or boyfriend and she says, "Do you mind if I strap your phone to my forehead so I can pretend you're looking at me when I talk"? Ouch, ouch. Yeah okay and here's another one. Cellphones bring you closer to a person far from you but it takes you away from the ones sitting next to you. That's a profound spiritual truth. Cellphones bring you closer to a person far from you. But it takes you away from the ones sitting next to you and you can be sitting at a table with everybody in your family and you're more interested in what a visitor or a stranger is thinking and saying than the people who are around you, that's a problem and if you're gonna spend 11 years of your life doing that that's not gonna be very good on your relationships.
All right, let me show you some Scriptures. Galatians 1:10, Paul says am I trying to win the approval of people or the approval of God? Am I trying to be a popular people-pleaser? No, if I were still trying to please people I would not be the servant of Christ. I just talked about this. You gotta choose, am I gonna be a God pleaser or a people pleaser? Couple of other Scriptures. James 2:1, dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. They don't have anything to do with your faith so don't let public opinion decide what you believe. Don't let public opinion decide how you act. Don't let public opinion decide how you feel because they're headed in the wrong direction anyway.
One more, Ecclesiastes 7:21. Don't pay attention to everything people say. Oh time out, we need to tattoo that on our arms. Right down there, if you hold your phone like this tattoo it here on the inside. Don't pay attention to what everybody says. Okay, the Bible says this. Put, don't pay attention to everything people say. That means you can't pay attention to everything on social media or anything else. Or, you may hear someone insulting you for you know that you've insulted others many times. And he says you know what you give out you're gonna give back. What you sow you're gonna reap, then he goes you know at some point, you're gonna say you've said stuff and so somebody's gonna say something about you and then it's gonna ruin your day. Don't pay attention to everything people say. God says that. God says that and if I'm constantly looking oh what are people saying about me? That's a problem, that's a real problem.
You know this thing about addiction that's really funny, this week Josh my son sent me an article from Wired Magazine, he knew I was teaching on this and it was an article defending the internet and online and all these different things. Gaming and social media stuff saying none of these things are really addicting. I'm going, what universe are you on? The guys say none of these things are really addicting, do you know anything about dopamine? None of these things are really addicting and then I looked at the bottom and who wrote it? And I said I know that name. Where do I know that name from? I think he wrote a book, I think I read it about five years ago and I went back and I went in my library and I found a book by the guy who said none of these things are addicting and he wrote this book five years ago, "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" and we're going busted. Busted, he had written a book on how do you build, believe me night and day advertisers are trying to figure out how to get you hooked. So you'll keep coming back, so you keep seeing their ads, you keep seeing their ads.
Let me give you one more, one more hazard. I can be distracted from what's most important. If I spend 11 years of my life looking at a screen, a phone screen, a smart screen, I can be distracted, oh excuse me just a minute. Hello, no, no, no I'm sorry. I'm preaching right now. Yeah, yeah okay. Yes I will bring the milk and bread, bye bye. Now you will pick up a phone any time, anywhere and if you allow this little thing to interrupt anything else in your life this has become your God. If you allow this to interrupt anything, you will pick it up. Well I won't say all the things you could pick it up doing, but you could pick it up it means, I really value this more than I value anything else in my life because nothing will keep me from picking up the phone. It's become my God. Who owns the phone? Do you own the phone or does it own you? Who's the master and who's the slave? Which is the tool and which is the owner, the master.
If this can interrupt you anytime, then this thing is running your life, it's running your life. I can allow things to distract me from what's most important. There's an interesting story in the Bible, Jesus had a friend named Lazarus and Lazarus had two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived together in a home in Bethany. Bethany is a small town near Jerusalem in Israel. Jesus was in Jerusalem. I've been to both these cities of course and you can walk from Jerusalem to Bethany in half a day, it's just not that far. You can get there. Lazarus got very sick, deathly sick. In fact he was almost dead and word was sent to Jesus. Lord come to our house in Bethany because they thought if Jesus gets here, he can heal Lazarus. We know he's healed people before and Jesus was in Jerusalem. Instead of getting there in half a day, it took him three days to get there.
What was he doing? He's walking around, he's talking to other people, he's ministering to people, something like that. Jesus didn't wanna get there to heal Lazarus, he wanted to get there to raise Lazarus from the dead. He wanted to do a bigger miracle so he waited until Lazarus had died. So finally after Lazarus dies he shows up at Mary and Martha's house in Bethany and as he walks into the house Mary sits down at the feet of Jesus and just starts listening to him talk. Martha goes, we oughta have a meal and she gets up and she starts preparing everything and she's all busy and all messed up and very flustered and worried.
And here's how the story goes in the Bible. Luke chapter 10 verse 40 to 42. Mary sat quietly at Jesus' feet listening to everything he said. Friends, you need to do that every day of your life. You need to sit at Jesus' feet, listening to everything he says. That's called a quiet time. You sit quietly with this book and you pray and you read and you pray and you read and you do it every day and you say God, is there anything you wanna tell me today? And you let God speak to you. Check in with the commander in chief on a daily basis. Mary sat quietly at Jesus' feet, that's quiet time, listening to everything he said. But Martha was distracted, you might circle that word, she was distracted by all she had to do. She said, "Lord don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me". Martha's having a pity party and Jesus, I think Jesus says it like this. Martha, Martha. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and you're too distracted by many things. But really Martha, there's only one thing that is truly important and Mary chose it".
If you have an opportunity to look at your phone and your social media or spend time sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus, what are you gonna choose? If an average American is spending 3.4 hours a day looking at this, how much time are you spending alone with Jesus? Something's out of whack here. Why do you spend more time with stuff you don't believe than with someone and something you do believe? There might need to be a realignment in your life of how much input am I getting from the truth that sets me free and how much input am I getting from lies that make me stressed out? 3.4 hours here, I don't know anybody who spends 3.4 hours with Jesus Christ every day. Well that's, that shows in our lifestyle. It shows in how we're doing. I can be distracted from what's most important. Now that's the negative side. I wanna give you five ways to use the phone for the glory of God.
So based on what Pastor Rick's been teaching us, do we need to take a sledgehammer to our cellphones? No, no, how do I use it for good? How can I use my smartphone for God's glory? I'm gonna share the first few of these and then Pastor Rick's gonna come back and end this message. If you've been around Saddleback for any time you know that God has given us five purposes to live for. Not eight, not two, the Bible clearly reveals five specific purposes. So my cellphone, my smartphone, how can I use it to fulfill those purposes? This is purpose driven smartphones, purpose driven technology all right?
Five things, number one we're gonna go through these quickly. Number one, you use it to express my worship. I use the technology that God's put in my hands to express my worship. God has not told us where we have to worship, he's told us that we have to worship and he's also told us the heart we need in worship. Look at what Jesus said about this up on the screen. Jesus taught us that true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. So that's something I need to take into my life, all of my life. Not just once a week when I come to worship but true worship is in spirit and in truth all through the day, all through my life. Look at this next verse, Proverbs 25 says all day long. I put my hope and trust in you.
So because I've got my phone with me all day long, it can help me all day long to put my hope and trust in Jesus Christ. There's a lot of different ways that you can do that. You can use songs, you can listen to songs all throughout the day. You can in your car, listen to the favorite song you have. Turn it up really loud and sing along with it. When I do that I really think I can sing, I can't sing but if I put it up really loud, I feel like I can sing and you should do that. You can find new songs, you can share songs that you're hearing with other people. You can go on Spotify and go on Saddleback Worship on Spotify and sing during the week all the songs that we sing on the weekend, just bring them into your life. You use it to express my worship. Worship is singing but worship is a lot of other things. Worship is giving. I don't know if you knew that you can actually commit to give, to tithe on your cellphone through our Saddleback site. Is it any greater a commitment if you make it here or you make it on your cellphone? No, it's about your spirit, it's about your heart. It's not where, it's what's God's doing in your life.
So yeah use it to express my worship. Number two, I use it to encourage fellowship, to encourage connection with other people. The very thing that can sometimes break connection are smartphones, we can use it to enhance, to encourage connection. And Romans 12:10 says love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Any time you honor someone you are, you're taking delight in something that God takes delight in and you're encouraging, you're enhancing fellowship. You're strengthening fellowship.
Social media is not a place to show off as Rick has been telling us. It's a place to show up in other people's lives. And it's a place to show up, especially with encouragement 'cause we all need encouragement every day. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, encourage each other and give each other strength. So instead of looking to social media as a place where you can get encouragement, that dose of encouragement that you need. Look to it as a place where you can give encouragement to other people. When you feel discouraged throughout the day, let me tell you, let me give you just a prescription. The best thing you can do is look for somebody to encourage. Immediately, grab your phone and encourage somebody else and watch how God multiples what God wants to do through the fellowship in your life.
Third thing you can do is you use it to enhance my spiritual growth. Express my worship, encourage fellowship and number three, I use it to enhance my spiritual growth. I use it so that I can get closer to Christ on a daily basis because I have this with me on a daily basis. Grow, 2 Peter 3:18 says grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And there are so many ways to do this with the technology that God has given to us. So many, hundreds of apps, probably thousands upon thousands of apps and websites that you can go to, places where you can do Bible studies, places where you can value God's word in your life. Proverbs tells us that it's better to, much better to have wisdom and a knowledge than to have gold or silver and when you value God's word in your life you're valuing spiritual growth in your life.
I've talked to a lot of people over the years, they struggle with spiritual growth, I think all of us do and one of the reasons we struggle is we try to grow spiritually based on one day a week. I just come one day a week, I learn it all and then I'm gonna grow spiritually and it's not gonna work. It's like trying to have a meal one day a week, great big meal on the weekend, I starve the rest of the week and I think I'm gonna be physically healthy. With the tools God has given us you can bring them into your life every day. Things like Daily Hope that Pastor Rick has done or Drivetime Devotions that I do that takes you through the Bible 10 minutes a day. Some tools that can help you to grow spiritually. Bible says in Psalm 119:37, keep me from looking at worthless things and let me live by your word. So it's just this choice. Is what I'm looking at now, is it worthless or is it worthwhile?
Is it worthwhile for my spiritual growth and then number four, fourth purpose of life is ministry so I use it to expand my ministry. I use it to expand my ministry. I start to think of social media as a place where I can serve others. Jesus said I didn't come to be served but to serve others, so social media is not a place for you to be served. It's a place for you to serve other people. Psalm 116:12 says what can I give back to God for all the blessings that he's poured out to me? So what can I give back to others for God's blessings through social media? If I learn something, how can I share it with somebody else? If I read an article that helps me grow how can I share it with somebody else? Rick talked earlier about people who wanna argue with you, how can you minister to them? I'll tell you how, you can pray for them. When they wanna argue with you, you pray for them. Now don't tell them you're praying for them 'cause they'll wanna argue with you about that. I just, I'll promise ya, they will. But you just choose to pray for them and you are ministering to them as you do that.
And then the fifth thing you can do and Rick's gonna come and talk to us about this. Write this in with me. Is I use it to extend my witness.
I use it to extend my witness. You know Saddleback has always been an early adopter of every technology. When we started using, when fax machines first came out in like 1980, I think there were like four fax machines in the world I started a thing called The Fax of Life and it was a daily devotional for business leader. We would fax it out 24 hours a day. We, Saddleback was the first church on the internet. 1992, it was long before Internet Explorer or Netscape or anything like that. We were using FTP and Gopher and Mosaic, those of you guys who knew that. We were the first church on the internet but I have to admit that I was a late adapter to social media because it sounded so self centered.
One of my staff who was the director of technology at the time for Saddleback Church, pastor here, brilliant guy, he wrote the Microsoft certification test and he was on staff at Saddleback Church. The test that everybody at Microsoft has to take. And he came to me, he said, "Rick there's this new thing coming out called Twitter". And he goes, "It's gonna be a big deal, big platform. You should get on it, you could influence a lot of people". And I said, "What does it do"? He said, "Well in a few sentences you just tell people what you're doing at that point in your life". I said "Are you kidding me"? I said, "That sounds like the most narcissistic thing I could ever think of". I just ate a burrito and farted okay. First, why should I tell you and second, why should you care okay? All that does is feed the celebrity status kind of stuff that I so despise. I said, you know, "I don't want people knowing everything I do. They shouldn't care what I do. They should be thinking about their own lives". And so I didn't go on it for many years.
Now he actually put my name in there and reserved account, when I years later went on Twitter I had 60,000 followers and I'd never Twittered anything. Tweeted anything, but I, what changed my mind about social media 'cause it just seemed you know, the opposite of it's not about you. 'Cause social media's so much, it's all about you. And I'm going, I'm not interested in that kind of channel but I went up and I was doing a funeral for a very well-known Christian leader and I was doing it up in Pasadena and the other pastor who was doing the funeral with me was a guy named John Piper. A very well-known pastor from the East Coast. John's one of the most humble guys I've ever known in my life. Certainly not on any kind of ego, self promotion idea and he leans over to me while we're on stage he goes, at the funeral he goes, "Rick I'm on Twitter". I looked at him and go, "You gotta be kidding me". 'Cause it didn't just fit his personality. I said, "What in the world are you doing there"? He says, "I use it to mentor people".
Ding, the light goes on and I go that I can do. You will never see me with a picture of a celebrity on Twitter. You will never see me posting my little latte and stuff like that. What I do is I use social media to encourage people. Like a recent tweet I did I said, sometimes God removes people from your life for your own protection, don't run after them. A lot of people needed that. A lot of people needed that. And that's the kind of thing you can do. Now the fifth thing you can do is he says, Tom said is this extends your witness. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, through Christ God has made peace between us and himself. And he gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with him. That's called witnessing, gave us the work of telling everybody else about the peace we can have with God. So, we have been sent out to speak for Christ. Look at the next verse, it's 1 Chronicles 16:24. Publish God's glorious deeds among every nation. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Now friends, you and I have an advantage over every other Christian who's lived for 2000 years. You and I have an advantage of every believer who's ever lived throughout history. We have a tool that literally can go all around the world. Jesus said go make disciples of every nation. Who was he talking to, you. Every single believer, if you're a believer you are to be a witness. You are to be an ambassador, you are to share what you know about your life with the whole world. Now for 2000 years to go to the whole world meant you had to get on a steam ship and go for six months to travel to another country to tell somebody. Or in recent years, get on a plane and travel around the world to tell somebody about the good news of the Lord. Today, you don't have to leave your home. You can sit at home in your bedroom, in your PJs and say a good word about the Lord and it goes to the entire globe. That is a benefit, a blessing and a responsibility we have, no other Christians have ever had in history. You can talk to the whole world, you can be a witness to the whole world through social media. Jesus said you will be my witness.
If you do it on Twitter, you will be my twitness. So God wants all of us to be twitnesses, to be witnesses of the whole world. And you can do this. You can do this. So this weekend, I'm starting a new ministry at Saddleback Church. And I don't have any fancy name for it, clever term yet so we're just gonna call it Rick's team. I want you on my team. And if you have a smartphone, and you know how to post to social media, or you don't, I could teach you how to do it. I want you to sign up for Rick's team for the next 90 days. And here's what we're gonna do. If you'll sign up, I will send you on my team, every day, something to send to the whole world. The good news of the whole, of the Gospel to the whole world and if 3000 people do it we're gonna drop a big rock into social media. I don't know that any church has ever done this intentionally before.
So we're gonna probably be the first to actually get 3000 people in a church to send the same thing out. Lives will be changed, people's lives will be permanently altered. Marriages will be saved, kids will get off drugs, all kinds of things will happen. You can do this, you can do this. You can do this. Now you don't have to, maybe you say I've never talked to anybody about the Lord, you talk on social media about everything. You can do this too. So what I want you to do, you can let me know that you're gonna join my team one of two ways. You can take out a card right now, they're in front of you and write Rick's Team on it. And drop it in, I'll get in touch with you, give me your email or give me your phone number, text. Or up here you can text.
If you got your phone right now. Text Rick's Team, R-I-C-K-S-T-E-A-M, Rick's Team to 99 000, text Rick's Team to 99,000 and I'm gonna have 3000 of you for the next 90 days, we are going to invade the internet with good news, not bad news. We're gonna enter, invade social media and we can do this together, are you with me on this? Let's do this, let's do this together all right. I wanna recommend a couple of books. This book, "12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You" by Tony Reinke, it's by Crossway Books. Terrific, unbelievably important book. And this book, "The Tech-Wise Family" by Andy Crouch, printed by Baker. How to prepare your family for technology. If I had taught what was in these two books, we'd be here a whole lot longer. But I didn't say anything in these books, so these are well worth reading. Let's bow our heads. Would you pray?
God I wanna be a disciple in the digital age. I don't wanna waste precious time. The time of my life. I don't wanna be seduced by the world's values. I wanna be a God pleaser, not a people pleaser. I don't wanna be drawn into unproductive arguments. Help me to not be tempted to compete and show off. I don't wanna be addicted to the approval of others. And I don't wanna be distracted from what's most important. So God, help me to use my phone to express my worship all day long. Help me to use my phone to encourage fellowship, to look for people to encourage and show love to and to honor others. Help me to use my phone to enhance my spiritual growth, to listen to good messages, to read good material, to buy good Christian solid books. To listen to Drivetime Devotions as we go through the Bible together as a church. Help me to use my phone to expand my ministry and when I'm discouraged, to look for other people to encourage. And to offer a helping hand to those who need comfort. And Lord, I want you to use me to extend my witness. I wanna publish the good news. And when I get to heaven I wanna hear you say well done good and faithful servant. You shared the good news with other people around the world. And so I commit to doing that today. In your name I pray.
If you're not a believer, if you haven't opened your life to Christ, say:
Jesus Christ come into my life today. I wanna know you, I wanna learn to trust you and love you. And I pray this in your name, amen.