Some years back I was in Sunday school and we were reading Scripture. A friend I had known for years got out his phone! I was blown away! This man teaches Sunday school sometimes. He certainly knows better than to have his phone out. I think having phones out during conversations, dinners, meetings, etc. is rude. Those things can wait. The next Sunday he did the same thing again! I am sure I missed some of the Word because I was worried about someone else being on their phone! You probably know where this is going. He had a Bible app on his phone, and he was reading along with the others. I was the one not paying attention!
There are times that I really appreciate technology but there are often times I remember a simpler life! Most people will agree that life continues to get busier and crazier! We have information at our fingertips - more information than we can process. We have news, tweets, blogs, commercials, apps, programs, ads, games and music. And most of us have more than one electronic device with which to do these things!
I remember when I was a little girl and Billy Graham’s crusades were on television. He conducted 417 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. Our family would sit and watch him on TV. Look at all of the people he reached! There are lots of good things that come with these technological innovations like keeping in contact with friends and family who live far away. Sadly, sometimes, we are so busy that technology is how we keep in touch with own neighbors and community! We can send out prayer requests, let people know we are praying for them, bank online, order flowers, order pizza, book a vacation, and even chat with a doctor instead of going into the office! And yes, we can even read the Bible on our phone!
I spoke with Kathy who had raised her three kids as a member of our Pastor Tim Reaves’ former church in Bladen County. Her kids are now grown and spread out with her daughter and granddaughter being in New Zealand. She starts out telling me how thankful she is for technology. Even though her granddaughter is in New Zealand, she is able to see and talk with her! She said another reason she is grateful for technology is that she is able to watch the Pine Valley United Methodist Church service online.
She was raised feeling like she would get struck down if she did something wrong. Her son became a quadriplegic at 16 years old in 1995. That July she moved to Bladen County. Their family continued to experience much devastation. Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” In 1997 Pastor Tim came to their church. She said Pastor Tim was the common thread in the spiritual life of her and her three kids.
While Pastor Tim had earned the love and respect of his congregation, Kathy tells me, numerous times, that she is not a “Pastor Tim follower” but a “Jesus follower”. He was never in your face but there if you needed him. Pastor Tim facilitated her relationship with God through his genuineness and his sermons. Isaiah 32:8, “But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” He continues to touch her family in many ways. It started out when she wanted them to watch a specific sermon and now she has everyone watching weekly. Hebrews 2:12, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” Kathy says her son in Florida, her sister in Maryland, her brother in Pittsburg, another brother in New Jersey and, of course, her daughter in New Zealand, all are watching PVUMC online! She loves how technology can bring people together!
I mentioned to her that the first time I came here I felt the power of the Holy Spirit when I walked in the gym door. I asked her what made her feel connected to PVUMC? She said even though she is not physically here, she feels the power of the Holy Spirit reaching through the technology of the computer to her! 1 Corinthians 12:7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” This service keeps her grounded spiritually. She said people want what she has and that is joy! God is using PVUMC in a mighty way to connect hearts to Christ and one another - over many miles! Mark 16:15, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”