Way back in the late 1990’s, before android devices, I was working for a delivery company, and would sometimes find myself in someone’s office waiting for them to get a package ready. To kill time I would play a little game on my cell phone. I remember thinking to myself, If they can put a game on these phones, they can put the Bible on here, and that would be a better use of my time.
In 2008 I got my first android phone. My vision became reality when the first app I downloaded was a Bible app. It was so cool having the Bible on my phone and so handy wherever I went. Sure I kept a hard copy Bible with me all the time before, but this was much easier and sleeker. Of course I also have the Ellen White Writings app. I have an entire library in my pocket!
One night I was hanging out with a friend at one of our favorite restaurants, when I got a text from a teen from the school where I teach. She was trying to give her friend a study on the Sabbath but could not find the verses she needed. I went to my In Light of the Cross Website and copied and pasted the Bible study into the text, and suddenly she was able to give her friend a complete Bible study at her finger tips.
Just a few weeks ago I saw an elderly lady in the hospital, when she lamented that she did not have her Sabbath School quarterly with her. I told her I had the Sabbath School lesson app on my phone, and she was very pleased when I studied that day’s lesson with her.
Having the Bible, Spirit of Prophecy writings, and Sabbath School lesson on my phone is way cool. A while back I even started using my cell phone to preach, and give devotional talks at school, in an effort to encourage young people to use their Bible apps.
For a long time I was really enjoying modern technology and my new way of studying the Bible and preparing sermons, as well as blogging and sharing inspirational thought on the SSNET Facebook page. Modern technology had sure put me in touch with the rest of the world. But was I closer to God? Spiritual information was at my fingertips, but was it really making me more intimate with God?
In the mornings I would start to read my Bible. I would run across a verse and an idea would come to me, and I would think to myself, Oh I have to share this with the world right now. I would go onto Facebook and post what I had just learned. Well, what could be wrong with that? What was wrong was that it started interfering with my intimacy with God! We weren’t alone any more. It was God, me and the Facebook world. I would be reading and “Bing” I had a text message or Facebook notification. It became distracting.
A while back I was eating at Taco Bell when I heard a little girl’s voice say, “Is this how you are spending more time with me? By texting on your cell phone?” I looked over and at the next table saw a young girl looking sorrowfully into her daddy’s eyes. The father put his cell phone away. One morning in my personal Bible study time, I felt the hurt in my heavenly Father’s eyes, when a “Bing” from my cell phone distracted me from my prayer while in mid sentence.
Yes, modern technology was helping me write Christian blog posts, and share Scriptures with people around the world. But when I caught myself distracted by my cell phone during personal prayer and Bible study time, that little girl and her daddy at Taco Bell reminded me of something.
God’s primary reason for creating me was not to have me preach sermons and write blogs. God’s primary reason for creating me was so we could be intimate with each other!
Friday nights I have a Bible study group with eight to eleven unchurched people. I was very pleased with myself when I helped them download Youversion onto their cell phones and tablets. The other night I was surprised when a lady, who is a wife and mother in our group suddenly made a rule for our group. She banned cell phones! She insisted we use hard copy Bibles1 instead of phones and tablets. Why? She said because her kids were being distracted from the Bible by their other apps, like Facebook and Instagram. I knew what she was talking about, because I had the same distractions myself in my personal studies. So we all got “real” Bibles.2 No, not the scrolls but the real Bibles that came after the scrolls in hard copy books.
Today, I turn off my cell phone and pick up my hard copy Bible and you know what I feel? Intimacy! No distracting apps just me and my God! Alone! Everything else is disconnected so I can connect with God. With my hard copy Bible God has me all to Himself. No body else can call or text me on my Bible except God. This is our time. It is what I was created for. To be one with my God with nobody or anything in-between us.
Sure, after my alone time with God, I will share some things on social media and public sermons that happened during our alone time. Not everything though. Some things are just between Him and me. After all, God did not create me just so I could teach and preach. He created me for intimacy with Him!
Modern technology is wonderful and it has its place in my life. But intimacy with God is far more wonderful, and I won’t let modern technology take that away.