Monday, January 27, 2014

Life without a smart phone

Yes, I am one of the rare software engineers in the world that does not have a smart phone. But I just had a thought. What is the single most common place where wifi internet access is not generally available to me? In other words, where would I use the mobile broadband capabilities of a smart phone that I'm too cheap to pay for? I have wifi at home and wifi at work. But not in between. It's in my car, which if you think about it is really a big part of why we all got cell phones in the first place. At least those of us who weren't begging to be able to call our buddies and chat at any second of the day - we wanted to be able to make a phone call if our car broke down or we got lost or crashed or something. For many of us, the demand for a cell phone was primarily driven by a desire for safety. And yet, studies are now showing that the use of phones, especially smart phones, in vehicles has the exact opposite effect. They actually add distraction and reduce safety. So here's my logic:

1. I originally got a phone for car-related safety reasons.
2. Smart phones are (at least potentially) detrimental to car-related safety.
3. The car is the primary place I would need to use a smart phone.
Conclusion: Even if smart phones were free, they would still have a potentially detrimental effect on my safety in the primary place I would use them. So why would I get one?

I can see the argument for people who travel a lot to get a smart phone. But I don't. My primary travel is to work and then to home. And I can live without internet access for an hour a day.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sermon by CJ Mahaney on Mark 3:20-35

Finding Hope in an Unexpected Place

The unpardonable sin. This is a frightening warning, but also a source of hope.

Two stories of opposition:
1. His family (v20-21, 31ff)
Jesus was healing all kinds of people, and claiming to be God. His family thought he was crazy.

2. Teachers of the law (v22ff)
He is casting out demons by the power of Satan.
Jesus: Your accusation is absurd. Why would Satan self-destruct? I am stronger than Satan.

What is the unpardonable sin? Ascribing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. These are informed, educated, religious leaders. Jesus wasn't talking to just anyone. This warning was directed to the scribes who would eventually kill Jesus. If you are concerned at all that you have committed the unpardonable sin, then you have not - because you have concern! This sin would deaden the conscience completely (Spurgeon).

Back to His family - Even Mary did not anticipate what was happening and this was very painful for her. They were clueless, just like we are clueless without the Spirit. They are seeking Him to intervene.

Jesus takes this teaching opportunity and redefines "family." While he always honored his father and mother perfectly, on this occasion He announces the new family He is creating. This is a major transition. His disciples and all Christians are part of His family.

What do we learn about Jesus from this passage?
- He is Lord over the demonic. Only God would be stronger than Satan. So Jesus is God. (v27)
- He is the gracious Savior who forgives sin! (v28) This is a sweeping and striking declaration.
- Forgiven sinners become part of His family, forever.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sermon by Rich Richardson on John 17 - set apart for God

We are invited to hear the prayer of Jesus, which is God addressing God - a holy moment.

1. Glory! What is it?
Hard to define. Weight, importance, fame. Sends people to the ground face-down. (Ezekiel 1:28, 2 Chronicles 7)
The definition of God is Jesus (Colossians 1, Hebrews 1). He glorifies Himself.
Jesus' "hour" that "has not come" throughout John is finally here in chapter 17. The hour for Him to glorify God. Jesus asks for the Father to give Him glory, so that He can give it right back to Him.

2. Glory! New Life
The means by which Jesus would reflect the glory of God back to God was delivering life to the dead.
The love of God is secured for us by the work of Christ on the cross. The whole purpose of the eternal life He gives us is for us to glorify Him.

3. Glory! Old Plan
The plan - giving eternal life to all whom God had given Christ - was the plan all along. God is sovereign, and He is always working for the good of His people.

Counseling tip: Don't just say "God is sovereign." When someone is hurting, say something like "I will pray for you knowing that God is all powerful and you are not meant to carry this burden alone."

Because of the glory of the gospel, we are empowered to pray boldly and expectantly. God crushed Jesus so that we would not be crushed (Isaiah 53). How will this make us live differently this year?

Revelation 1:5-6 (ESV)
"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."