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JOMO should be the new FOMO

Laura and I had a weekend getaway recently where we walked around an idyllic town (“Little” Nashville), perused antique shops and ate in quaint restaurants. As we were trying to “enter in” to those moments of beauty and grace, I was amazed at how many people all around us were missing out. How so? They had their faces buried in their phones.

It seems, that people don’t talk to each other anymore, at least face-to-face. They don’t engage in the moment, because they’re losing themselves in videos of cute kitties and cuddly babies experienced by others (but not by them). The average teenager spends around six hours a day refreshing their social media feeds and the average adult spends about an hour. We are a society that fears missing out (FOMO) on knowing about what others are doing.

Without question, technology has made the simple tasks of life easier. Every time I order a book on Amazon and get next-day shipping, I say a little prayer of gratitude. Every time I use my phone’s GPS, I’m grateful that I don’t have to write down directions in order to find an address. Every time I pay bills by the push of a button instead of writing out multiple checks, I’m grateful for these revolutionary conveniences. And I haven’t even mentioned the improvements of health care, research, and communications.

The truth is, technology has made our tasks easier, but has it made our lives easier? Technology cannot replace genuine relationships, the beauty of a sunset, the joy of new life, or answers to life’s deepest questions such as, “Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? Is this world all there is?”

Os Guinness writes, “The trouble is that, as modern people, we have too much to live with and too little to live for” (The Call, 4). In the midst of material plenty, we have spiritual poverty. The longing of the human heart is as vacuous today as it was in the days of Solomon when he wrote, “ Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NIV).

Believe me, I’m not anti-technology. I’m writing these words on a MacBook Pro! But technology is not our master; Jesus is. Technology can be a means to a greater end of God’s purposes being fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven. When technology becomes the end, however, we fall prey to our human inclinations to put self above others and entertainment above relationships, and we anesthetize ourselves against true beauty and joy. Like a drug addict longing for his next fix, we are consumed with our quest for more news, more entertainment, or more pleasure.

Laura is reading a book right now called, How to Break Up with Your Phone. It speaks to our addiction of not wanting to miss anything. So the last thing we check before going to bed is our phone, and it’s the first thing we look at when we get up. In our addiction of not wanting to miss anything, we miss a lot, especially those closest to us.

I challenge you this week to take a “phone fast” for a day or an evening and try spending that time doing something really radical . . . like talking with the person sitting right in front of you. You may just discover JOMO (joy of missing out)!

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Reality - loathe it, love it, or learn from it

A couple of months ago, Luke (my youngest son) was home from college, and he had some friends over for a little get-together. Laura and I were upstairs, and he and his friends were down in the basement, from where he texted me, “Dad, come downstairs as soon as you can.”

I didn’t want to go downstairs, so I texted him back, “Why?” Luke said, “Because I want to show you some technology that will change your life forever.” Needless to say, I went downstairs.

When I got to the basement, Luke gave me a headset to put on over my eyes and some half-gloves to slip on over my fingers. As I did so, I stepped into another world. That’s right. Virtual Reality (VR). I was standing in the middle of a dirt road in a medieval village holding a lightsaber. (I’m not making this up.) I could see my hands in front of me, my feet and legs beneath me, and shops and homes all around me.

And then the bad guys and girls appeared, and I was supposed to kill them . . . with my lightsaber.

I had never experienced VR before, and I can attest to the fact that it was, well, amazingly, virtually real. Did it change my life forever? No, but it definitely got me thinking. As I reflected on my “game-changing experience,” I began to wonder: How much of my time do I spend wishing I was in some other reality? Let’s face it. We all have those moments where we wish we were living another life, or had another job, or made more money, or didn’t have our current problems, issues or challenges. The grass looks greener, at least virtually, in someone else’s reality. But we are where we are, and we can loathe it, love it, or learn from it. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we can learn to be content in our current circumstances, whatever they may be, through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:11-13).

If developers came up with a Virtual Reality game for pastors, I bet it would be a big hit. Put on the headset, and you are morphed into a virtual reality of a bigger church with people who never complain, never say your sermons don’t have enough meat, and where the worship wars have ended in peace. I’m sure you could come up with your own VR game to fit your life’s situation.

But here’s the hard truth. God uses our current reality to prepare us for the heavenly reality, and there’s no detour. We can’t go around it, over it, or underneath it. We have to go through it in order to grow from it and be prepared for the reality God will one day reveal.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains” (The Great Divorce). Let’s embrace our current reality and throw off the temptation of a virtual reality in order to prepare for the heavenly reality. That is how “we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17, ESV).

That, my friends, is a reality that will definitely change your life forever.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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