Episode 7
15 November 2022

Winning At Home | Glowing Rectangles

Hours upon hours we stare at our devices. Are we using them for good or are we a slave to our screens?

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foreign 242. Brighton Monroe Saginaw so glad to be
with you guys this morning I learned something about myself recently um I am getting older and here's how I
knew here's how I know I I use the phrase with my kids back when I was your age
anybody use that one man as soon as it comes out of your mouth you just know you just know you're
old or at least you sound that way right at least I haven't gotten to the point yet where I told my kids that I walked
to school in the snow uphill both ways we haven't gotten to that point it's been right here though like I've wanted
to so badly uh the reality is like as I as I think about parenting and I think about the way that I grew up like we just live in
a very different world um I think about my parents and how what the things that they had to go through
and parenting me and and my upbringing and the things that I'm walking my kids through and I realize it's very
different so when I make comments like oh like back when I was a kid it's it's it's actually a drastic difference in fact I
want to illustrate it for you so if you're of the younger persuasion some of this might be confusing to you you might
look at this here in a second be like what in the world is this guy talking about but those of you who grew up in the 80s you know exactly what a tech
starter kit looked like like this was it man this was this was the top of the line technology for us if
you want to play video games you had a Nintendo not a Super Nintendo or a Playstation or Xbox you played Mario
Brothers and duck hunt with controllers that were connected to the device and cartridges you had to you had to blow in
to make them work remember this and sometimes you had to take a second cartridge and jam it in there so they would function properly this was like
you would have have uh play dates you would go to your friend's house and spend all kinds of time on on the
Nintendo trying to beat Mario World now that was that was gaming computers this is the computer I grew up on
like I remember learning in school how to use a computer on a device just like this they had things like floppy disks
right your mouse was actually connected to the computer your computer wasn't mobile if you wanted to log onto the internet
at home it made this like loud tornado siren kind of noise in your house and it tied up your phone line you couldn't
talk on the phone and now you're like like young people are like what do you mean talk on the phone because we had phones like this
that were plugged into the wall and you had a cord on it so if you want to talk to your girlfriend good luck
getting away from your brother when you wanted to do that you had to get a long cord you had to hide around the corner
and try to be quiet and all that good stuff and when I got a phone in my bedroom a wired phone in my bedroom I
thought I've made it like I've I finally reached the point that the technology is
is my domain how many of you had a Walkman a Walkman is a cassette player that you
literally carried on your hip like I'm not kidding you it was on your belt and you had a wire that went to a pair of
janky headphones like that one and you walked around I promise you if you had one of these you walked around like you
were cool right you listen to your music and you did your thing and and you were awesome if you had a TV friends look TV used to
be furniture I don't know if you remember this console televisions were the huge wooden
structures with the TV embedded in it where young people listen to me how easy you guys have it we had to get
up and walk to the TV and change our Channel and if it was Fuzzy your dad would yell
at you to adjust the rabbit ears the antenna that stuck out from the bottom you remember remember this like this was this was life and but if you grew up in
the 80s and you had this stuff you're like man this is awesome I got all the technology in the world and I started thinking about my parents trying to
raise me in this environment and they're trying to protect us from from dangerous things
inappropriate things and honestly it was kind of easy
it's easy when we compare it to the tech starter kit for today
the glowing rectangle now for many of you like my kids this is all they've known all this other stuff I
remember we were on Mackinac Island we were riding our bicycles around the island if you've ever been there before you get to the the midpoint they have uh
basically it's a rest stop right it's a restroom and a picnic area and there was a pay phone I assume it's still there
was like four years ago there was a pay phone there and I remember coming out of the restroom my kids were sitting there
looking at like what is this I said what do you mean what is this it's a pay phone wait I mean like you
had to pay for it I was like yeah so then you walk them through like you put money in it to call people if you don't have money you call 1-800 collect and
when they ask you what your name is you're like Dad it's me pick me up and so they don't have to take the charges right it blew their minds it actually
blew their mind because this is all they've known in their life like I'm part of an interesting
generation because my generation understands and knows what it's like to grow up with both like we walk through the technological
changes that got us to where we are we knew what it was like to not have internet in our homes we knew what it
was like to not have a computer and have to use dial up internet like but we also understand modern day to a certain
extent but but we begin to look at how do I raise my kids in this environment well let's be honest friends on this
single device on this thing called a cell phone you can not only talk to people
you can text people the entire internet is at your fingertips all those dangerous things that my
parents tried to protect me from are now at the fingertips of my kids
so if you're a parent this is actually a little bit terrifying now don't get me wrong there's a lot of
amazing blessings in this like on my phone alone the other day like you're able to do so many awesome
things and just so you know if you have my cell phone number it is on airplane mode so you can't call me in the middle of my message right now
I did things like I looked at up to the day election results one day like real-time results and I looked at sports
scores the same day and found out like how my team was doing what the schedule was doing what kind of injury reports we
had and then the very same day I learned how many toilet seats you can break with your head in one minute
it's 46 by the way it's a real number I don't know how you do that but 46.
but there's so many amazing blessings here but but if you're a parent you also know there's a lot of dangers here too
all the things that my parents tried to protect me from or are right in the fingertips of my kids
and here's here's the deal if you're struggling with this and wrestling with this the idea that that bullying in in pornography
inappropriate language and behaviors unhealthy things are right here you're
not alone like parents all across the world are trying to figure out how in the world do we parent our kids through something we
haven't experienced because your struggle is not with your kid your struggle's not even with technology
your struggles with the fact that you did not grow up in the same environment that they're growing up in
that the world has drastically changed and we have to begin to understand and wrap our minds around the fact that the
old practice is the old ways of parenting won't work Jesus kind of talks about this in the gospel of Matthew
he says no one sows a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment for the past will pull away from the Garment making
the terror worse neither do people pour new wine into old
wineskins if they do the Skins will burst the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined no they pour new wine into new
wine skins and both are preserved and I think if we extrapolate this and begin to apply this to technology and
our parenting and how we deal with the Next Generation the reality is maybe just maybe with all the changes that
have happened in technology the practices of our parents won't necessarily work for us
so if you're anything like me you wrestle with this like how do I how do I raise my kids in this environment in this world
if you have your Bibles Ephesians chapter 5. we're going to look at some uh what I think are Timeless truths of
God that we can apply um to our use and of Technology not just
our use but how we actually raise up our kids in the Next Generation now it's easy for us to begin to check out and
say hey I don't have kids this is still for you because my guess is you still have one
of these and the same dangers that are there for your kids are there for you
I mean the same Temptations are right here on this glowing rectangle for you that they are for them and the truths
we're going to look into here in Ephesians 5 are going to begin to paint a picture for us of of how we can navigate this in a healthy way uh before
we jump into that would you pray with me Lord I Thank you for uh
thank you for today thank you for the breath in our lungs and the opportunity to just be in in
Community with others God I pray that our day um
is just filled with amazing pictures of Who You Are that we experience you in so many
different ways but maybe right now Lord I just pray that in this very moment your holy spirit is present
as we begin to discover how we how do we navigate this world in a way that glorifies and honors you
it's in Christ's name we pray amen The Book of Proverbs
tells us Above All Else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it so
it's like the number one rule right guard your heart I mean this is what your parents hopefully tried to do for you
this is why the computer was probably set up in a comment area so when you go on the internet everyone heard it happen but it was really hard to get into stuff
you probably shouldn't be into this is what your parents wanted to do
for you and at the end of the day this is what we want to do for our kids and what we want to do for ourselves
but even though technology has changed the heart hasn't right like if you're a teenager or if you're a young adult a
child whatever you want to term yourself like your parents desire is to protect your heart
my parents adults you know what it was like to be a kid and and you had rules and restrictions and boundaries in your life and you're like you may have hated
them at the time but the reason your parents had them is because they were protecting your heart that's why we have them as adults and as
parents now is we want to protect the hearts of our kids so how do we do that
let's begin to look at Ephesians 5. the author begins he says follow God's
example therefore it's dearly loved children to walk in the way of love just as Christ
loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God
so I think the most important thing to understand here is follow God's example
so I think this is like this is like the fundamental truth that we're going to build upon that Paul's going to build
upon like he knew look he knew you can't navigate this life by yourself like you're not just gonna wake up one
day and suddenly be the perfect person right so he tells you we the example we have to follow is God's example but it's
not just like follow some random God's example this is following the one who gave
himself up for us he gives you the foundation of why we are to live this life he reminds us of
that Jesus offered his life up for you they gave up his life
so that you may be forgiven so you may be set free so you can be redeemed
he sacrificed himself for you and what Paul says is because of that
like we should follow the example of God like our lives should look different
this should be some sort of transformation and we know this takes intentionality it takes focus it takes
discipline to be able to do this like we're actually going to follow God's example friends it takes effort
so Paul reminds us the foundation is to remember what Jesus did for us and we have to stop here to remember
this because everything we want to talk about throughout this passage in chapter five is build upon this
like this is our starting point follow God's example why because he gave up his
life for you and because of that he also gives you a list of things that
we're not supposed to do he says but among you there must not even be a hint of let's let's highlight
these sexual immorality any kind of impurity or of greed because these are improper
for God's holy people okay we're going to go on here in a second but these are the three things in this verse that he mentions sexual immorality impurity and
greed or not to be a part of your life but he's not done he continues nor should there be any obscenity or foolish
talk or of course joking which are out of place but rather
Thanksgiving so he's given us six like major things in her life and if we're a parent you're like yeah I don't really want those in my kid's life
like I would I would prefer my kid not engage in those things for of this you can be sure no in your
immoral impure or greedy person such a person is an idolater has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ
and of God so so Paul kind of like lines some things
out for us to not do right and he's given us it's not only this Foundation of of our relationship with Jesus of
what he did for us and we should emulate him but lines out these things that we're not supposed to do why because Jesus didn't do them Jesus wouldn't do
those things if Jesus wouldn't do those things we probably shouldn't either for trying
to trying to be like him if we're trying to be like Christ we should probably not engage in the things that he engaged in
says let no one deceive you with empty words for because of such things God's Wrath comes on those who are disobedient
therefore do not be partners with them partners with what disobedience
so Paul says look we've got all these things you're not supposed to do like let's let's not be partners with
these things let's not engage in these behaviors because Jesus wouldn't engage in those behaviors now if you're a
parent you would say yeah I don't want my kids to do those things guess where they are
every single one of those things that he mentioned are right at the fingertips of your kids and they're your fingertips too
sexual immorality greed obscenity foolish talk of course joking it's a
click away you see one of the great things about technology is it it gives us so much information and knowledge right at our
fingertips but also brings a lot of dangers with every step of technological advancement we take
all those things our parents try to protect us from get one step closer so let's let's talk about social media
for a moment in 2018 the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
found in a study that the less time you engage with social media the less depressed and lonely you feel
that there's a direct correlation with the amount of time you spend on social media apps and how depressed and lonely
you feel and my guess is some of you have felt it because you've sat on your couch let's be honest and you've scrolled through Facebook Instagram
Twitter whatever your social media of choice is and you've gotten done you've just felt kind of
blah like we noticed it in our kids the more time our kids spend on screens
the grumpier they become they just do and we point it they never believe us we
point it out but they'd never believe us but I think the same is true for us there's a direct correlation with the
time on social media and our depression and loneliness another study uh studied kids who took their phones to their
bedroom and kids who didn't and what they found was kids who took their phones to their bedroom get on average one hour of sleep a love less sleep a
night than kids who didn't take their phones they performed worse in school their attention span was worse and their
their had behavioral issues all because they took their phone to their bedroom
a study of 100 000 teens found that here with his friends one in four teens have received a sexually explicit text
message from someone in seven have sent sex messages
and more than one in ten have forwarded explicit content without consent that study was done five years ago
you can better believe those numbers are worse now and it's super easy for us to think well
not my kid my kid's not exposed to those things my kid my kid wouldn't do those things can we talk a moment about algorithms
like I want to be like algorithms are designed to gain your attention
algorithms are basically the the way that the uh social media feeds are are processed and created because they know
what you watch they know what you look at they know how long you look at stuff they know the things you search online I
think they even know what you talk about I mean do it test it go home and I want
you to start just look at a couple websites of companies you don't normally go to nothing inappropriate just go to those and then eventually your social
media ads those things are going to start hitting because they know what you're looking at and their intention look social media
companies make money through advertisers people pay money to get their stuff in
front of you you are the product social media is selling you to companies
so they're doing everything that they can to make sure you spend as much time as as possible in front of your screens
engaging with their content because the more you engage the more ads they sell the more ads they sell the more money
they make they're trying to monopolize your time and it's working because the algorithms
are set up to create a false world where you think everyone agrees with you
because they just keep feeding you the stuff that you look at more and more and more and more a few years ago uh I guess
about a few years ago during covid when I was a pastor in Fort Wayne we had a uh an individual from our church came to me
and said hey you need to you need to change your the church webpage or the church YouTube page they said what do
you mean you change the YouTube page at the time you know we were everything was online streaming everything and he says
every time I watch like the worship service or a video that you guys you guys post it's always like the
recommended videos afterwards are like really inappropriate so you mean they're inappropriate he says like scantily
Clive girls or is half naked they're doing inappropriate things and so here I am with a 60-some year old man
trying to communicate with him that the recommended videos after the YouTube video are not based on the church it's
based on your viewing habits that's a really hard conversation to
have with someone is it like look those recommendations are because you look at that stuff because they want to monopolize their
time they're like hey does he look at it yeah give him more of it so he'll look at it more so we can sell more ads to get more money you are the product in
social media your kids are the product of social media companies
they're selling your children now again I'm not saying that social
media and technology is inherently bad but there are bad things involved with
it and at times we're just pulled in these directions that we don't actually want to go so Paul continues
in verse 8 he says for you were once Darkness but now you are light in the Lord
live as children of light for the fruit of the light consist in all goodness righteousness and Truth kind of the
contrast of the things he told us to stay away from and find out what pleases the Lord
have nothing to do with the fruitless Deeds of Darkness but rather look at this expose them
so I I think like this this light and dark is a good depiction for I think social media in our age right there's
some really good things and there's some really bad things and Paul's will say look at one point in time you were people of the darkness but
then you met Jesus and because you met Jesus now you're a Child of Light you should live as a child of light
and I think this word exposes really important for us when it comes to like social media because here's the truth
friends like it's easy for us to just ignore it it's easy look I'm be honest with it
it's easy for me to just let my daughter go to a room with her cell phone and not worry about it
but at some point in time I have to have real conversations with her at some point in time we have to
acknowledge the fact that this thing can actually be really dangerous like you can be really hurtful
it can really damage my daughter's life so I could easily say no just go go
ahead do your thing do whatever or I can actually spend some time exposing it like we can talk about it we can set up
parameters so she isn't engaged with those things so we see this contrast right we see
this this the way we're not supposed to live and the way we're supposed to live and I think Paul begins to go into to
kind of one of the the really important pieces here in verse 15. that I think this is kind of the the foundational
truth we need to carry with us in all things it says be very careful then how you live
not as unwise we'll Circle this one but is wise
making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil therefore do
not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is so don't be unwise be be wise people
he says make the most of every opportunity friends this is your key for today
make the most of every opportunity that you have in the next verse he talks
about about drinking he says do not get drunk on wine which leaves the debauchery instead be filled with the
Holy Spirit I think in today's age he could have he could have taken this out and he could have put Tech in here right
you could talk about technology just about the amount of time that we spend focusing on that and what we're
what we're filled with what we're what we're Guided by you know statistically speaking
some of your kids are wrestling with depression and they're wrestling with anxiety
self-harm low self-esteem explicit content Suicidal Thoughts even
and Studies have told us why it's because of this it's because these glowing rectangles
like we have conversations with our kids about alcohol but Studies have shown us time and time
again that technology can actually be much more damaging than a glass of beer now don't get it twisted
not saying your kids should drink alcohol I'm just saying if we're willing to have conversations with our kids about about
drinking we should we should probably have conversations with our kids about technology too
so I want to point your attention to our our website and our app if you go to either one of those
um if you go to our app you'll pull up in the bottom right hand corner there's going to be a winning home graphic click on that it's going to take you to all
the resources for the entire series if you haven't been there and there's a lot of resources specifically around technology how to have conversations
with your kids how you should set parameters it has companies and and apps you can place on their phone to actually
control their phone like my daughter has a set time limit on her phone and when she hits that time limit for the day her
phone just shuts off like she can't use her phone unless she comes to me and asks for more time
and that's always a fun conversation to have but if she's in her bedroom and she's on her phone it's like hey time for dinner
she's not coming down I can get on my phone right now and I can lock her out of her phone
why because we think it's important for us to have some sort of control over our kids exposure to technology
if you go on our app there's all kinds of information there all kinds of documents there to help you walk through that and figure out how to do that with
your kids one of the most important ones is a cell phone contract it's a contract that you sign with your
child about how they will behave and how we'll interact and how we'll engage with our cell phones and our technology
I think this is an important thing for us to wrap our minds around is that that you actually have some control over this
let me let me be really clear like technology is not a right it is a privilege like we tell our kids this all
the time you don't have a right to technology it is a privilege that's extended to you and if you can't handle
it appropriately we will take that privilege away as a parent you've got to step in and
set boundaries you've got to step in and going back to the first passage that we had is you've
got to protect their their hearts but it's not just about their hearts is it
it's about their time it's about what we're spending our time on if we go back to this previous
passage uh every opportunity make the most of every opportunity
it's about how we spend our time isn't it here's a scary statistic the average
person spends three hours and 15 minutes on their phone every day they check it 58 times a day
you know how many hours are in a day right I guess a lot of check on our phones I'm guilty like I I probably checked my
phone more than 58 times a day how we engage with our technology how we lean into it is important let me show
you why it's important imagine these are um jars of let's just
act like they're marbles that represent the time that you have with your kids if you uh have a child
you have 900 and 36 weeks with them until they
graduate that they're going to move out at some point I hope right so when they
do move out you've got 936 weeks after they're born to live with your child that's a lot of time right and it's easy
for us to look and say oh my gosh we have all the time in the world if you're a parent of a baby let me tell you it is
not all the time in the world it will go by so stinking fast when they go into kindergarten
you have 676 weeks left with your kid before they move out of the house
when they go into High School they become a freshman
208 weeks left with your child before they leave the house
they start their senior year you've got 52 weeks left with your child
let me let me put this in in perspective because some of you we all we all think about numbers a little bit differently
percentage-wise when they go into kindergarten you only have 72 percent of your time
with them left a quarter of the time you have to invest in your kids before they leave the house
is gone when they get into High School 22 percent
freshman year down to five only five percent of your time left with your child
when they go into their senior year okay I think
I think the issue that we have with technology is really a bigger issue about how we spend our time
like how are we investing our time in our kids how are we investing our time in the Next Generation how are we investing our own personal time
I I'd be lying if I told you there weren't days that we sat at home and I was on a computer or working on
something on my phone and my wife was on hers shopping or for Christmas and this
maybe last night and uh and my kids were doing things on screens and then we
looked at the clock and it was time for bed and we realized we just missed an opportunity to do something productive
with our kids I think the question for us is how do we spend our time because as we've talked
about the screens and the cell phones and everything like like if you're a parent you're probably like awesome good I I can't wait I love the idea of my kid
not being on their phone anymore but if you thought about the fact that
maybe your kids waiting for you to get off of yours I think one of the things that convicts
me the most is how often I want my kids to get off of screens but then I realize
they're just modeling they're just doing we've modeled they've just followed our example
so we we always beg our kids to get off of their phones and I'm reminded of this passage in First
Corinthians says I have the right to do anything you say but not everything is beneficial
I have the right to do anything but not everything is constructive no one should seek their own good but
the good of others let's ask these questions is it constructive
and is it beneficial here's the reality here's the the Trap that I've fallen into many times kids
get off the phone get off the screen get off the computer do something else
maybe it's on me to actually give them an alternative that instead of just telling them to get
off of their screens we actually tell them to come play a game with me
let's go on a hike together let's spend some time together just you and me you see friends the goal of
getting your kids off the screens is actually give them an alternative something else to do with you
so here's the challenge we want to give you we believe that the technology isn't about the technology it's not about the
kids misbehavings it's about how we spend our time with our kids so if you're a parent here's the
challenge I have for you over the next month I want you to pick two days every week
and I want you to pick two hours every of those two evenings and do a screen
detox that means you and the kids like turn everything off no phones no computers no TVs play a game
go for a hike go outside and throw the ball around do something that actually
engages one one another that builds memories that makes you laugh enjoy one another because I can assure you this
10 years from you now your kids are not going to say hey Dad remember that time that we all sat around the living room
on our phones that was awesome
but they will tell you about the memories my my son to this to this day can still
tell me about the day I took him to the Indianapolis Indians baseball game and we sat in the Outfield in the lawn seats
we ate pizza he was three years old and he still remembers that day
friends your kids are going to remember the memories that you build with them not the time they spend on screens give
them an alternative give them an option to pick over sitting on their screens
is it beneficial is it constructive
this is the question that we have to ask not just how we handle our phones but but how we ask our kids to handle them
and friends if you're not a parent and you're just if you're single do your detox with a friend
like go out sit down and have a lunch across from each other without checking your phones I spend some time with one another
engage in relationships and maybe just maybe the cord between us
and our technology we'll get a little bit weaker
let me pray for us
oh God we um we are so thankful for innovation we're so thankful for technology and
just the ability it gives us to connect and engage with people
Lord we also know that there is inherent dangers with it all and for many of us in the room we're not
always sure how to navigate it in our own lives let alone if we're raising kids trying to help them figure out a
world where where this is the norm now
but here's God like as we all stumble through this here's what we know like like if we invest ourselves in our kids
if we invest ourselves in our friends if we invest ourselves in others then then God be uh
will experience the true blessings that you have for us because here's what we're committed to
we're committed to giving our kids healthy alternatives we're committed to to not just say hey
get off your phones but say hey why don't we go do this together and build memories and
connection God we thank you for the opportunity
to use what the world provides in a way that glorifies and honors you
it's a holy spirit would you just would you show us exactly what that means in our context
show us what that means in our lives in our parenting and our relationships
help us control technology rather than the other way around it's in Christ's name we pray amen

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