‘Greatest threat to faith: distraction’

There is much wrong with this article in particulars, but its main point is powerful. Also, excuse the two adapted paintings.

“If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation. Christian leaders seem to think that they need more distraction to counter the distraction. Their services have degenerated into emotional spasms, their spaces drowned with light and noise and locked shut throughout the day, when their darkness and silence might actually draw those whose minds and souls have grown web-weary.”

Andrew Sullivan: My Distraction Sickness — and Yours
http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/09/andrew-sullivan-technology-almost-killed-me.html

#busy, #distraction, #focus, #technology

What should our focus be?

target-focus

Our focus should be on loving and serving God. Our aim should be that of going to heaven when we die.

Many are focused on material things. Even in religion the focus is on entertainment, show and fun; instead of on God the Bible, truth and service. Continue reading

#focus, #jesus-christ

Have a Good Day

Each person probably has their own definition or standard for what a good day is. Some might think being able to watch football all day would be great. Some might think that spending the whole day with family would be the best day ever. There are as many different ways to have a good day as there are people. Continue reading

#days, #focus, #good, #relationships

THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY!

This past Sunday I asked our morning Bible study class: “When it comes to the changing things of life (a) which encourage us? (b) which make us uncomfortable? (c) which are distressing? Though class members noted quite a number of things for each of these three categories, I had begun each with the same word: “technology.” For me “technology” rests in all three areas. I love what the computer and internet connections around the world have opened the door for me to do. However, getting accustomed to using such technology is not always comfortable to me because upgrades change the way I have done things for so long and I then fear messing things up. Technology also has added a great deal of stress to my life at times when I have begun to depend on it so much and then it stops functioning properly. Therein — associated with computer technology — is “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly!” I guess you could say I almost have a love/hate relationship with technology.

Over the past several months, with issues over the “teEn-MAIL” website and then my computer hard drive crashing (resulting in the loss of addresses for some of the over 1400 subscribers) and being replaced only to then have the motherboard go out several months later, I was getting frustrated enough to wonder if it was time to stop trying to keep “teEn-MAIL” going out. After all, it has been a part of my ministry since 1998 and Facebook has provided another means for some to read, so maybe it was time. I want to thank those who e-mailed to let me know it was being missed and have encouraged me to continue. God Willing, it shall.

Thinking of all the changes that take place in this world, I am so thankful for what is CONSTANT and UNCHANGING of which we can anchor our life and our hope. Sunday’s class discussion was focusing on the words of the Hebrew writer where we read. . .

 “(8) JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME YESTERDAY AND TODAY AND FOREVER.” (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

Amidst all the changes in this life — “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly!” — that is the BEST REMINDER we can have for focusing and keeping life grounded in what matters most. To know in a changing world we have an UNCHANGING SAVIOR, our hope can remain in the blessed eternity yet to come.

Have a great day LEAVING LIFE ANCHORED IN THE UNCHANGING CHRIST!

– Carl Hanson

(“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Port Townsend Church of Christ located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368 USA. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

#focus, #frustrations, #jesus, #technology-in-ministry

Hugh’s News & Views (Focus)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

KEEPING OUR SPIRITUAL FOCUS

Cleon Lyles was one of the great pulpiteers in churches of Christ in the mid-twentieth century. Frequently, brother Lyles would begin a sermon by saying, “Now let’s think about some things before we think about some other things.” This was his way of saying that before we can understand some things there are some other things on which we need to gain some clarity.

As Christians, we know what we need to think about most in life: 1) God, His greatness, goodness, power, love, mercy, grace, care and protection; 2) Christ, His life, teaching, death for our sins, burial, resurrection, ascension, coronation, reign, intercession, and second coming; 3) the church, the privilege of membership in it and our involvement, service, spiritual growth, and worship experienced therein. These are the things that we want to think about and give priority to in our lives. I believe that the vast majority of Christians are sincere in their faith and really do want to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Continue reading

#focus, #hughfulford, #important-things, #priorities

Who’s the one getting the praise again?

On page 3 (and continued on page 12) of this month’s Christian Chronicle there’s a story that praises a congregation’s “western themed cowboy church Sunday” out on an old movie ranch. Well yee-haw! I didn’t realize that it should take any theme other than God and Jesus’ sacrifice to get a person’s schedule centered back around worship, Bible study, fellowship and good works. But something else got my attention too while I was reading about the congregation’s get-together.

Included with the story is a sizeable picture of an audience sitting in the middle-ground with trays for communion in the foreground and a “praise team” in the background. Contrary to the picture though, I believe the order of the arrangements were completely the opposite. And by that I mean that the “praise team” was front and center with the communion trays sitting nicely in the backseat.

I never have understood the name “praise team” when it comes to the churches of Christ who are looking to spice up the worship services by adding a little more “spirituality” and “good emotions” to the mix. If you’re going to have “praise teams” then have them. But at least be honest enough with yourself and with others to call them what they are. They’re choirs without the robes! The rest of the religious world has no problem with calling their “praise teams” by the proper name. The only thing that I can figure is that they don’t want to look like or sound like the rest of the religious world too much. Too late! If it walks and quacks like a duck, then odds are it’s a duck!

And all duck references aside, please know that I didn’t grow up attending the worship services of the churches of Christ, so I’m more than just a little familiar with what I say. And I know that some won’t like what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyways.

“Praise teams” take the attention off of worshipping God as a congregation in song by putting the emphasis on certain singers above the others. Try to spin it however you want – that’s the truth! I’ve seen the “applications” for those “praise teams” before. You have to be considered worthy to join. They’re not interested in making a “joyful noise” unto the Lord – they’re interested in people-pleasing notes and lyrics. “Praise teams” are exclusionary by their very nature and that’s why I am 100% against them. They take an act that’s meant to lift up God and they turn it into an act that lifts them up. And it doesn’t matter if it’s people up on the stage or “miked-up” voices in the pews; the goal is the same – a “better sounding” version of the song to the ears of people when the goal should be God centered worship.

“Praise teams” and their promoters need to remember who’s meant to get the praise during the church’s worship of God and start forgetting about what sounds “good” to their own ears.

#focus, #god, #praise-teams, #singing, #worship

A Thought Worth Sharing

by Brittany Davis www.virtuousmagazine.com

When my husband and I were dating we had many “disagreements” and one time in particular he told me I couldn’t see the forest for the trees; he was right. I was so caught up in the details and slight nuances I perceived as major obstacles that I was putting a strain on our relationship. Sometimes we have to take a step back and really look at what we have and be thankful. Instead of noticing all of the minute ways it could be improved.

In Esther 5 Haman had a severe case of this same issue. Esther 5:9-13 says,

“So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king. Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

Someone looking at Haman from the outside would have said that guy has it all. But all Haman could see was one man refusing to tremble before him. His refusal to look the other way cost him his place in the king’s court, his riches, his family and ultimately his life.

Is there something in your life that is vexing your spirit that could be overlooked or completely ignored? Maybe like me it was something in a relationship, perhaps like Haman it’s someone who just gets under your skin or maybe it’s a task you have to accomplish.

Consider whatever it is and decide if all of the good things in your life outweigh the burden of this thing. Don’t be like Haman and close your eyes to all that God has blessed you with and only open your eyes to the one thing or person that bothers you.

Proverbs 11:16-17 says, “A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches. The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”

Be gracious and merciful and don’t trouble your own flesh by focusing on things you’re better off ignoring. Instead focus on the good then let go and let God.

In Christ, Steve Preston

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#focus, #gratitude, #one-thing, #vexation