The Use of Technology
January 26, 2014
Our world of technology leads to some phenomenal results. Some of the greatest advancements of our time have happened because of it. But there are also some dangerous pitfalls that come with technology.
In the final message of the series, Pastor Ed Young unpacks how we can experience balance in an often unbalanced world of technology. And we discover how to use technology to connect with the life God has for us rather than allowing it to use us.
Jimmy Kimmel: Celebrities in particular get a lot of abuse on the internet, especially on Twitter because you have this direct connection. And some people are just inherently cruel. Some people write very harsh things to famous people without even thinking about the fact that they are people. So tonight I want to give you a chance to think about it. What you don’t see when you send a nasty Tweet is that it can actually cause pain. Over the last few months we’ve been asking some of our celebrities guests to read some actual Tweets directed at them. And here they are for your amusement and, hopefully, reflection.
Jessica Alba: I just saw Jessica Alba. If this was 2007 I’d be really excited.
Dean Norris: Hank, from Breaking Bad is just a fat Bruce Willis.
Justin Bieber: Dear God, Give us back 2pac and we’ll give you Justin Bieber.
Kelly Ripa: Kelly Ripa is kind of amazing when you think about how hard it must be to balance that huge head on a tiny body.
Andy Samberg: Whenever someone tells me that I look like Andy Samberg they’re basically saying: “Guess how big your nose is… very big.”
Pharrell Williams: Pharrell looks like a sewer rat.
Chris O’Donnell: Chris O’Donnell has a potato face. he does. #potatoface
Larry King: I saw Larry King at dinner! But it might have been just a run of the mill goblin.
2 Chainz: 2chainz looks like Whoopi Goldberg
Shaq: you in that buick commercial. You know u dont fit in that buick
_____??____ : This doesn’t bother me.
Well, I thought I would read some mean Tweets about me:
“Ed Young, in your case 140 characters is about 137 too many.” Wow!
“Ed Young has a fake head.” I know my head is a hamburger head, no doubt. It’s giant, but, that’s kinda sensitive. My father has a big head. My grandfather had a big head. My great-great-grandfather had a giant bucket head. I mean, why would someone say that?
Here’s another one. “Oh brother, more Ed Young kookiness. I guess this is better than sex sermons.” I think they’re referring to The Sexperiment, the book that Lisa and I wrote.
Why do we say mean things? Why do we say things online that we would never say to someone’s face? Why do we make comments about restaurants or hotels or athletes or coaches or teachers or classmates or teammates or friends? Why do we say things? Why do I say things online that I would never say to someone’s face?
Technology is everywhere. The ubiquitous iPhone, the iPad. Seems like we’re always wired in or online in some way, shape, form, or fashion. I would argue… you know, we talk about theology for example. Theology, we know that God is omniscient. That means he knows everything. He’s omnipresent. That means he’s everywhere. He’s omnipotent. That means he’s all powerful. That’s theology. Technology would sort of follow in the same line. Not to the extent of God, yet a lot of us treat it god-like. Technology, is it omnipresent? You better believe it. Can you go anywhere, can you travel anywhere in the world without seeing some form of social media? There aren’t very many places you can. Omnipotent. Whoa! It’s powerful. Knowledge is power, power is knowledge. There’s so much out there to learn going online. It’s omniscient, it’s omnipotent, it’s omnipresent.
You’ve heard of the Lord’s Prayer, haven’t you? They asked Jesus, “Hey Jesus, how do you pray? What’s the model prayer?” and here’s what he said, and you can say it with me. “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Well, one time I was praying the Lord’s Prayer at a church where my father pastors. It was on television. Thousands were packed in. And right in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer, I had the Lord’s Prayer written down, I forgot the prayer! I just totally lost it. Can you blank out up here? No doubt about it, and I did. So I said,
“Our Father, who art in Heaven.” Thousands of people were repeating it after me. (Our Father who art in Heaven. I said, “hallowed be thy name.” (hallowed be thy name). “Thy kingdom come,” (thy kingdom come), and I just blanked out. Then I said, “Forever and ever, amen!” And when I walked and sat down on the front row, I felt about that big, I happened to sit by my mother, of all people. Only a mother would say this. She leaned over to me and she goes, “Honey, your voice sounded good!” Thanks a lot, Mom.
Well we have another prayer that a lot of us pray. It’s called the Prayer of Technology. It’s sort of like the Lord’s Prayer. You’re like, what? Yeah! We pray this to the god (lower-case g) of technology. Let’s repeat it together. 1-2-3, “Our technology, who art online, iPhone be thy name. Thy comments come, my will be done, on Facebook as it is on Instagram. Give us this post our daily boast and forgive us our Tweets as we bash those who Tweet against us. Lead our thumbs into textation and deliver us to me-ville, for Vine I the kingdom and followers the power and likes the glory forever and ever. #Amen!
I love me some technology. It’s secretive. I’m behind the glowing screen and I can say whatever I want. Not only is it secretive, it’s simple. Even an idiot like me, a techno-igmo like me, I can even use it. It’s secretive. It’s simple. It’s seductive. With one tap on the glass, with one finger swipe, I’ve got glowing screens and it appeals to my senses and… but here’s what’s so ironic about it. It’s secretive, yet who we are when no one’s looking is who we are. Eventually it will come out. It’s seductive. We can be under its control if we’re not careful. Yeah, we say it’s simple but talk to someone about technology and they’ll go, oh man.
Our relationship is complex. They almost talk about technology, we almost talk about technology, like it’s someone that we’re married to. Technology. What the hecknology? It’s so fascinating and so stunning to see. Technology is great. We need to face it and embrace it. However, we need to understand that there is a dark side. It is a ginormous mirror that reflects not only the exterior but the interior of your heart and mine. Just follow someone. Just friend someone. And basically going online is legalized stalking. We’re voyeuristic. We love to see what other people are doing. And granted, we can learn from other people, we can connect with other people, we can ask questions to other people, like we’ve never done in the history of the world. However, we’ve got to watch it.
Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell, two researchers in this field, write, “Understanding the narcissism epidemic is important because its long-term consequences are destructive to society. American culture’s focus on self-admiration has caused a flight from reality to the land of grandiose fantasy. Permissive parenting, celebrity culture, and the internet are among the causes of the emerging narcissism epidemic.”
Sigmund Freud tagged narcissism, narcissism. It’s from the Greek mythological figure, who was one day walking by a body of water, saw his reflection. He began to worship his reflection, narcissism. And old Siggy has all of these different things that psychologists and sociologists use when they label someone or someone’s behavior narcissistic. The millennials born after 1980, researchers say, are the most narcissistic ever born in the history, they say, of the world. Well we’ve gotta take our hat off to Sigmund Freud, that’s a whole ‘nother story, but Sigmund was simply saying what God’s been saying for thousands and thousands of years. That we’ve got a pride problem! I’ve got a pride problem. You’ve got a pride problem.
I’ve talked to a lot of people in my life and I’ve heard people tell me, Ed, I’ve got an anger problem. Ed, I’ve got a lust problem. Ed, I’ve got a greed problem. Ed, I’ve got a problem with envy. I’ve heard them confess to all sorts of things. I’ve yet to meet a person who’s told me, who’s looked into my eyes, and gone, “I’ve got a pride problem.” And the moment you say, “I don’t have a pride problem” is the first marker that you do. “I don’t have a pride problem!” Watch out. We’re prideful in our humility and humble in our pride. False pride, a perverted form of pride. Pride. We can’t get away from pride.
Some people say, “Well, I find it interesting you’re doing a series on technology.” I hope you realize this is not a series on technology. This is a series on sinology. Technology is just a reflector of who we are and what we’re about. Pride, I can’t get away from pride. Pride, it’s the forerunner of all sin. People say, well, I’m not really lustful I’m just a red-blooded American. Pride. I’m not really greedy I just like nice things. Pride. I’m not really envious, I just want what you got. I’m competitive. Pride. See, pride infiltrates and dominates every area of our life. Pride. Pride.
Can you imagine Jesus taking a selfie? I’ve got to say at least about 99% of all selfies have a form of pride in them. Don’t be acting like they don’t, they do! Here I am, healing a blind person. Here I am feeding 5,000 but I’m gonna make the crowd look like it’s 45,000! Selfie. I’ve taken selfies before. I’ve posted them for you to see. I’ve been somewhere speaking here in America, somewhere even internationally. “Oh, get a picture of me! Take a picture of me! Show the size of the crowds! I’m important.” Could I stand on this stage and tell you that everything I’ve done as senior pastor of Fellowship Church has been because of my humility? No way. Could you say that? Pride.
What does pride do? Pride elevates. Think about Lucifer. He elevated himself, he tried to elevate himself above God. The half-brother of Jesus, who wrote the book of James, said this about pride. In James chapter 4, verse 6, “God is opposed (see that means he doesn’t like it – he doesn’t dig it), he’s opposed (he hates it) to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” When I’m prideful, here’s the definition, it’s basically power out of control. Say it with me. Power out of control. Whenever I am prideful, whenever it’s about me, whenever I elevate myself above you (and to do that I’ve gotta do that above God as well), it is pride out of control. It’s like Justin Bieber’s out of control yellow Lamborghini. That’s a microcosm of pride. Power out of control. We must pray for Justin. We must believe the best for Justin. But you’ve got to look at someone like that, who has squillions of dollars, anything he wants with the snap of a finger. Yet his life, it appears, seems to be spinning out of control. So if pride really worked, if pride got you and me to where we really want to be, the most prideful people would have everything together. They would be in control. But I would argue the prideful man or the prideful woman, the prideful student, is out of control! You look around and go, why are people crazy? Why is there such insanity? Pride is the forerunner of all that! I can run my own life. It’s about me. That’s the problem with social me-dia. I have a hard time getting past the me in media! Yet, when I understand it’s not about me, it’s about Thee, that’s when things begin to change. Pride. Lucifer started it. Adam and Eve tried to elevate themselves, and we see this time and time again. Someone will say something to you. I traveled to this destination. You’ll go, “That’s nice, but I went there.” Well I have this new car. “Well, that car’s nice. I’ve got a ___.” Always one-upping. We’re always looking to improve our lie. Pride.] So pride elevates ourselves. It’s power out of control.
But notice something else. Pride not only elevates ourselves, it also humiliates others. Here’s what I do. You might not do it. I will cut people down to build myself up. Am I the only one? I’ll scroll through my Twitter feed, Instagram, whatever and I will look at this, look at that. Read that and go, “Oh I would never say that. I would never post that. Can you believe that guy? Can you believe that girl?” I’m putting them down, may times, to exalt myself. Pride. The moment you say you don’t have it is the moment you have it. I would argue maybe the most modest person here could be the most prideful person here. Pride. I want to point the finger at you. See, I want to say, “Oh, you’re prideful, you’re prideful.” and I want to go, “You’re prideful and I’ll make that post anonymous.” When I point the finger, though, at you I’ve got three pointing back at me. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, right? I’ve got enough to worry about. I’m a full time job! And you are as well.
Simon Peter who knew a lot about humble pie. Simon Peter was the guy that looked Jesus in the eye and said, “Jesus, I will never dis you. I will never turn my back on you. I’m the man of the hour, too sweet to be sour, the tower of humble power!” and Jesus said,
“You will turn your back on me. You’ll become one of my haters over the next several days.” This Simon Peter. Saint Peter! And you know what he did. He betrayed Jesus, yet Jesus reinstated him. He discovered what humility was all about. What’s humility? OK, pride is power out of control. What is humility? Power under control. Say it with me. Power under control. I get under those things God has put over me, so I can get over those things God has put under me. Oh, I think I’m powerful if I elevate myself. No, you’re weak. True power comes when I admit my weakness, when I humble myself under God’s might hand, then I’m in the right position for true power.
So here’s how Simon Peter unpacks this, 1st Peter, chapter 5, verses 6-7. He says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under (under, get under it – to go up you’ve gotta get under) under God’s might hand that he may lift you up in due time.” It’s God’s time. You run in your lane. It’s God’s time. You listen to God’s voice, it’s Gods’ time. You don’t point your finger at others, it’s God’s time. You don’t judge others, it’s God’s time. You don’t compare yourself to others, it’s God’s time. In due time, then it says, “Cast… (notice here God obviously loves fishing) all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” If you’re humble, if I’m humble, I’m gonna be a teachable person. I’m gonna be flexible. I’m gonna be grateful. I’m gonna be vulnerable.
Do you remember in the book of Esther there was a guy called Haman? I call him Hey-man! He was on a pride ride. He had no idea he was prideful. He was the right-hand person of the multi-squillionaire king of bling. There was another guy he didn’t like named Mordecai. Haman prideful, Mordecai humble. Haman lost it. You want to talk about power out of control? He looked at Mordecai, he focused on him, he tried to mess around with him, tried to kill him! And you read about him elevating himself above everybody, talking about, “Oh I got invited to this. I’m the king’s boy. Yeah, I’m the man! I’m this!” and they his wife and other friends said, “Hey, Haman! Why don’t you build some gallows and ultimately you can manipulate the king of bling to hang your arch enemy, this humble man of God, Mordecai on those gallows. So the Bible says that Haman built these gallows 75 feet high to hang Mordecai from them. Take a wild guess who was swinging from the gallows the next day. Haman. The ride of pride. Elevating himself above God, above others, self. Self.
Here’s some homework. Self. This is homework. Self, self, s-e-l-f. What a great prayer to pray when you wake up in the morning:
S – God, search me. Search me, God.
E – I Empty my life. All this junk, all of this funk, I empty my life.
L – Lead me today. In conversations, in situations, to glorify you.
F – Fill me, baptize me, immerse me in your Spirit.
You begin to do that when you open your eyes in the morning, you begin to do that right before you go to bed, and I’m telling you. I will bet you cash money you’ll understand what true humility is all about. Pride, power out of control. Humility, power under control.
Notice, too, not only does pride elevate and humiliate, it also suffocates the work of God in your life and in mine. It suffocates it. You show me someone who’s prideful and I will show you someone who’s not drawn to worship. Worship is everything we say, do, touch, and feel. That’s worship. It’s not just what happens here, we’re commanded to corporately worship God. Also, we’re to come to church as believers, worshipping and to leave worshipping. But reveal to me someone who’s struggling with pride and I’ll show you someone who does not have a heart for the church, who does not have a heart for worship.
Also, when I’m prideful, I have this inability to appreciate the workmanship of God. See, if I’m humble I’m like, oh man, I see God all over you. I see the gifts of God. I see what God has done in my life. I see what God has done everywhere. I’m so thankful, appreciative to the grace of God. Now, in Dallas/Fort Worth it’s so sexy to say, “I’m so blessed. I’m just blessed.” Celebrities say it. Politicians say it. Everybody says, “oh I’m just blessed.” Oh it’s one thing to say it, it’s quite another thing to live it.
So you say you’re blessed? Awesome! So am I. I’m blessed. Show me. I’d rather see a sermon than hear one. Show me. Show me your heart for worship. Show me your heart for the church. We have more spiritual pygmies in Dallas/Fort Worth than in any other area I’ve ever seen. You know why we have spiritual pygmies? People talk a good game here in Dallas but where’s the protein? Where’s the beef? Where’s the stuff? Where’s the humility? Where’s the generosity? Where’s the tithe?
One pastor told me recently about Dallas/Fort Worth he said, “You know, we have so many spiritual pygmies here.”
“How do you know,” I said.
“Because none of them tithe.”
Oh yeah, I’m blessed! Oh really? Good for you. Good for me. But am I really humble before God. Pride comes before a fall. Destruction and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test my thoughts…” so if I have a lack of interest in worshipping God, could have a pride problem. But if I really have this desire to worship God, that’s good. Lack of appreciation for the work of God? Or do I see it in others? OK that’s good. A lack of involvement in serving? Are you serving in the context of biblical community, the local church? Are you serving?
Several weeks ago I was with a family. And this family is good people, man. They’re nice people. But they’re not involved in church. And a friend of mine was talking about this family, and we were just talking about how great they are and all that. And he said,
“Man, what’s so crazy is going to church works!” I mean it works for students, it works for children. It works for families. It works for marriages. It works for those dealing with addictions. It work! We’re wired for it. It’s power under control. It just works! So the most important thing I can tell you when it comes to technology is just go to church! Go to church. We’re blessed to be a blessing.
So how do we whittle this down? How do we knuckle down and do the real stuff? A couple of quick apps as we wrap this series up. #1… And before I get into it, it’s checknology before wrecknology. This is the ubiquitous iPhone, smart phone, it’s everywhere. It tells more about us than we really, really want to know.
#1 – Edit. Edit your posts. Edit your conversations as well. How many personal pronouns do you use? I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my. Try us, our. How about the selfies? Hey, I would argue, most selfies are in one way, shape, or form a little bit prideful. So think about those selfies. What are your posts saying? What is your Facebook advertising about your life? Power out of control or power under control?
Second app, remember technology is a tool. A lot of us have toolboxes. You use the tools, put them in the box. You use the tools, put them in the box. It can become the tail that wags the dog. Am I the only one who sees people on their phones while driving? Am I the only one that many times talks on the cell phone while his spouse and family are in the car? Am I the only one? Am I the only one sometimes that shares personal information in a public place because I’m talking loud? I’ve got a loud voice, maybe in the store or whatever and people can hear what I’m saying? It’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s a tool. It’s a great tool. Think about the tool of Fellowship Church. The tool of being able to take this message, this thing, around the world. Think about technology right now. In London, Miami, South Carolina, and different places here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Think about our children’s ministry in 5,000 churches worldwide. Technology. Think about social media. Technology. Think about our app. Technology. Think about right now we’re seen at Allaso Ranch, our camp. Technology. We love us some technology! Technology is good! Think about Fellowship of the Next Level, Next Level University! Technology. Go to the next level, technology. But we have to understand technology is a tool.
#3 – Identify your trigger points. What are the trigger points that cause pride? Now I would name some of the other sins but pride is the forerunner, the precursor of all sins. What are those trigger points? There are certain people I can’t follow because my engines of envy <rumbling sound effect> start rumbling. Yeah, I Tweet. I rarely read my feed on Twitter. I don’t read it. I can’t. It puts me in a bad place. I just Tweet – boom. That’s it. And yes I have a big head. See, that’s still worrying me. I’m kooky. That’s still messing me up.
See, a hurtful word, it takes like 15 positive comments to erase a hurtful word. Those people wouldn’t say that to me, to my face. No way. I wouldn’t say bad things that I would say online to your face. No. It’s secretive. It’s anonymous.
Also, spend time – this is a huge one – #4, spend time with people in front of your face! Haha-ha… I’m at the table with my family and I’m on the phone. Or they’re looking through whatever, you know. Or I’m in an important conversation. Excuse me… let me take this… yeah, well go ahead and put the dog out. OK, bye. So you’re saying I’m a dog. That your dog is… how sad! How pitiful! Moms and dads, we set the die and the tone! We’ve got to do this. We’ve got to model this. How about collect technology every day. Collecnology. Collecnology. See collect technology every day. Are you doing that with your kids? Eight o’clock, nine o’clock, boom! Collecnology! Here’s the basket. Bam! Put the phones in there. Put the technology, even the computers or whatever, turn them off. Off! You have a family meal. Try that three to four times a week together. Well, it could be at a restaurant. Have a basket in your house and drop the phones in the basket. Put them on silent before you eat. You’ll begin to talk to people in front of you face! I have a family. I’ve got brothers and sisters. I’ve got a spouse. I can’t believe this! This is really crazy!
Here’s what people do. “We eat at restaurants, what do we do then?” Mama always carries a big ole purse. Put them on silent, dump them in the purse. Dump ‘me in the purse! I’ve seen people while I’m preaching take a call in church! Talk for a minute. And sometimes I will just look at them while I’m speaking and watch them put the phone away. I’ve seen people phone, walk out, talk right back there, come right back in. Hilarious.
Do you know your kids’ passwords? Can you pick up their phone any time day or night and read what’s being…
“Well that’s their stuff! It’s their privacy! It’s their privacy!” Who’s paying for the house? Who bought the flippin’ phone? Be a parent! Be a leader! You try to pick up the phone of your spouse… “oh no, that’s my stuff…” What?!? That’s as crazy as people saying,
“Oh, that’s my account. That’s your account.” Hey, when you get married… so if you can’t show your spouse who you’re talking to, or they can’t pick your phone up any time, you need counseling. You’ve got some problems in your marriage.
So. Checknology before you wrecknology. Let’s pray.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]