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Balance and Boundaries

We live in a culture more connected than ever, yet more disconnected at the same time. We have hundreds of “friends” on social media but very few friends face-to-face. We wind up focusing more on conversations with people online than with people in the room. We pay more attention to someone we knew in college than those closest to us now.

Our phones buzz, beep, and ring reminding us (and others) how important we are that people would try to contact us at all hours. The incessant chimes interrupt vacations, family moments, and even taking a walk.

Don’t get me wrong. There are upsides to on-demand communication. I love being able to stay in touch with friends and family who live thousands of miles away. I love being able to communicate with pastors all over the world via Zoom or Skype. And that “Find Friends” app has definitely given me a lot of peace when I wonder where my kids are (and no I’m not spying on them).

But I never really stopped to count the number of things I use my cell phone for… until now. Did you know that:

  • Most people can’t survive one day without their cell phones.
  • People often take their phones everywhere, even to the bathroom.
  • Most people will check their phones without reason.
  • An average person checks their phone 110 times a day.
  • 95% of people have stated that they text or browse social media in the hour before falling asleep.
  • 1 in 4 people will not put their phones on silent before going to bed.
  • Cell phone addiction ruins relationships.
  • Many car accidents are due to cell phones.
  • 7% of individuals state that excessive cell phone use caused them to lose their job.
  • Treatment is now being offered for cell phone addiction.
  • Phone addiction makes people live their life through their phones.
  • Most people are not even aware they are smartphone addicts.

Did any ring true for you? Read more at http://www.addictiontips.net/phone-addiction/phone-addiction-facts/.

What we need are balance and boundaries. We need to live a balanced life where technology does not become an addiction and where we should never sacrifice relationships with people we can hug, touch or see face to face.

My oldest son, Will, showed me how he and his wife use a screen time app on their phones to help them discipline their social networking and app usage. They actually lock their phones after 8:00 pm so that they have no interruptions for their time together. Balance and boundaries. Pretty good words for many life applications, including those on your smartphone.

As we enter the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and have more opportunities to be together with family and friends, let’s intentionally put our cell phones aside. Better yet, leave them at home altogether. Purposefully look someone in the eye and have a healthy conversation. Learn to ask questions and listen. Isolation is possible even in a public place. As Carey Nieuwhof reminds us, “Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is not—it’s a tool of the Enemy” (Didn’t See It Coming, 65).

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends” (Jesus, John 15:15).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

We Don’t Live in a Culture of Honor

Thank you to all members of our military, in all branches, past and present. It's with honor and gratitude that we remember those who have served our country. "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10

We're in the middle of a sermon series called 'Forgotten Virtues.' When was the last time you sat down with a friend and talked about virtues? In case you need a quick refresher, Paul gives us a good list of what virtues are in Philippians 4:8 where he wrote “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

If you have had a recent conversation about virtues, I’m guessing it was more about the lack of virtues in our culture and how bad things are all around us. In the sermon series, the focus is not on how our culture has forgotten about virtues, but how WE have forgotten these virtues. We’re not pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye while we’ve got a plank in our own eye.

We don’t live in a culture of honor. How many of us have made decisions and done things that were less than honorable, pure, loyal, lacked integrity and gratitude? That’s right…ALL of us. And where has that gotten you? I’ll tell you where it’s gotten me—in those times when I’ve blown it—it takes me to a dark place. I get depressed. I feel ashamed. I know I’m not right with God. I know I’m not being the man God has called me to be. And I...don't…like…it!

There is a better way! Starting with living a life of honor. It’s about developing a heart of respect. If you forget the special value of your marriage, if it just becomes common and ordinary to you, you begin to dishonor your spouse. If you forget the incredible value of Jesus, and you make your faith all about tradition and religion and not about Jesus, you are making your faith common and ordinary, and you are dishonoring Jesus.

To honor someone is a choice made by the giver, not the receiver. Honor is a gift you either give or withhold. If you withhold honor, you withhold a blessing. Without honor, the very fabric of core relationships begins to unravel. And the Bible is very specific about those we are to honor: 

  • We are to honor our parents—Exodus 20:12
  • We are to honor those in authority—Romans 13:7
  • We are to honor our church leaders—1 Timothy 5:17
  • We are to honor one another—Romans 12:10

That last one, Romans 12:10, says, “Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10, ESV). It doesn’t give any qualifiers like, “Honor those whom you like. Honor those who are like you. Honor those who are on the same side as you politically.” It just says, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Why? Because we are all created in the image of God.

Here’s the key—we are first and foremost called to honor God—Psalm 22:23. If we don’t do this one thing, we will never be very good at honoring others, because all other forms of honor flow out of this one. You are valuable because Jesus made you valuable. You are a child of the King! We are valuable because we have Jesus’ name on our hearts. If we treated each other as valuable, because Jesus made us valuable, it would radically transform our lives, our marriages, our families, our church! And it begins by honoring the One who died and who rose again to give us life.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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