Posted tagged ‘Ministry’

My Smartphone Can Hurt Me Spiritually

December 2, 2011

Sometimes even good things turn bad. My smartphone is a wonderful tool for ministry. It goes with me everywhere. I can email, text and talk on the phone almost anywhere.

All those hours sitting in the hospital waiting room are still productive hours. Travel time can be filled with useful work. But, that constant connection to my inbox can steal family time, sleep and sabbatical rests. Nothing can ruin your day off like a message from the hyper critical fault-finder.

I’ve learned to turn off my phone for certain periods of the day. My daily prayer time and sermon prep time are two segments of my day where my phone is on silent. I know that my voicemail will work and texts will record for later when I am able to deal with them.

I quit reading email in bed. This helps avoid sleepless nights brooding over problems and news I can’t deal with until morning anyway. My wife appreciates me leaving work out of our family time.

I love twitter, texting and Facebook. They are great tools to share ministry information, keep in touch with people and news sites. But, they can rob time and attention from more important duties. I don’t check Facebook until lunch, twitter is not allowed to scroll or tweet freely on my phone or desktop computer.

I also use hootsuite to schedule most of my tweets and Facebook status updates. This way I only have to run them a few times per week. I try to automate posting of blog updates so that keeps me from having to visit FB, twitter, Google+ etc. several times per week. My ADD does not allow me to just read necessary posts I know I’ll chase cyber rabbits for 30 minutes for every perusal of Facebook or twitter read.

We need to learn to use our phones for God’s glory and not just work.

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Calls in the Night

April 5, 2010

Usually if the phone rings after 10 o’clock at night it brings a sense of dread for fear that something bad has happened.  It usually turns out not to be as bad as imagined but every ring of the phone Old Phoneshakes the heart a little bit.  It turns out that some of the greatest ministering takes place because of those late night phone calls.  If it is a death in a family, a domestic dispute, a run away child all of these horrible problems bring incredible opportunity to bring the Lord’s blessing into a chaotic situation.

I remember several years ago there was a man who would only call me when he had gone on a drinking binge.  Almost every time he called it was near three o’clock  in the morning.  This usually happened once every two or three months.  The man never told me his name or where he lived he just talked about how much he was hurting and how sad he was that his life was in such a mess.  Most of the time we would end up with a prayer asking God to strengthen his resolve to stop his alcohol abuse and to find a church home to help him get away from is drunken lifestyle.  The phone calls stopped for a long period of a few years and I began to wonder if this man had found his footing to get away from his addiction.  I wondered if he had fallen so deep into his bottle that he gave up looking for help.  Then out of the blue a call came.  It was the same voice on the phone but without the drunken stammer.  He told me of his new life as a student in a local community college.  He was getting a certification to help other people who were addicted to alcohol.  He spoke of his new family and his devotion to a baby boy born just a year or so earlier.

To this day I don’t know the man who called in the night.  But one thing I learned is that it is always best to answer the call.  It is always best to lend an ear, give Biblical counsel and pray for the person calling.  Somehow that act of listening and sharing God’s love can bloom and make a striking difference in someone’s life.  If a person is hurting enough to call they are in tremendous need of God’s grace.  We are His hands and His feet to bring His peace to a sin-sick, hurting world.