Saturday, November 22, 2008

Youth Conference

I was in Nashville this wknd for the Youth Specialties conference and some camper recruitment. The extra large conference for youth workers was somewhat a diappointment. The theme was Seriously Ridiculous...meaning that God does some seriously ridiculous things to bring us closer to Him. In some ways I agree, but I was not impressed this year by the speakers and seminars offered. The youth staff and college folks that I attended with felt the same. One noted that the theme should have been: Be Good for Goodness Sake. Appropriate seeing that many of the speakers explained how to not fall into consumerism... seems to be an ongoing theme these days... and to do good for others and for God. No mention of Christ. Hmm.

David Crowder Band and Shane and Shane played for worship during two of the 4 General Sessions. They were awesome. Shane and Shane are true worship leaders.

Again, I was not impressed with the conference but I was happy to hang with friends and to get to know them better. One friend, Slim, and I rode to Nashville together and discussed various things the entire trip. Marriage, kids, ministry, family were among the topics during the 5 hour drive. It was awesome to get to know Slim better. Plus, we shared a queen sized bed during the wknd (with 4 of us in one room)...he snores...loudly...but i still like him. We also talked over bfast and coffee each morning before everyone woke. It was a nice time shared among friends.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven

Ain't it tha this band and song. Speaks to me, ya know?

Thinking Biblically About Facebook

This is an interesting blgo about FaceBook and personal relationships. Give it a read...

UPDATE: Many of you have asked for the audio of this message and for information on accessing the complete Ten Topics study guide. Though we record my Sunday sermons, for a variety of reasons I don't record my Thursday night messages. Perhaps I'll revisit this in the future. I have now, however, posted my teaching notes at the bottom of this post (note: I don't teach from anywhere near a full manuscript, but there's enough there to give you the big ideas). As for ordering copies of the study guide, please contact my admin at cpeckham[AT]

Continuing the Ten Topics series I'm teaching this fall, tomorrow night I'm delivering a message titled, Facebook: Technology and Relationships. This message explores technology's impact on how we do relationships and how followers of Jesus ought to engage technology.

Because of its extreme popularity (especially where I live), I'm focusing the discussion on Facebook.

In preparation for tomorrow night, earlier this week I took a tour of Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, a 15 minute drive from my front door. My friend/fellow church member/Facebook employee showed me around 3 of Facebook's buildings in downtown Palo Alto. They run a slick operation.

Just like the Google campus, Facebook headquarters serves up tasty free meals to all employees and nearly every floor is set up with kitchenettes housing all the snacks and drinks you could want. They even had my favorite smoothie flavor in stock: strawberry-bannana.

More impressive than the food was the dry cleaning. Facebook offers a free dry cleaning service to all employees. And, more striking still--not a single Facebook employee has an office. All employees sit in rows or clusters of desks. Entry level administrators have desks next to high-level managers. When I walked past Facebook Founder/CEO Mark Zuckerburg, he was sitting at his little desk working away on his computer smack in a sea of other desks and employees.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to talking about the intersection of Scripture and Facebook tomorrow night.

If you're interested, here's the "homework" people are doing in preparation for tomorrow night:

Facebook: Technology and Relationships. 11/13/08

The Technology Lens

Technology (most, not all) is neutral and can be used for good or ill
Cave paintings
• Art or war plans

The Wheel
• Drive to church or drive-by shooting

• Dispense truth or porn

Approach technology with this lens: neutral, good or ill
We’ve grown up in an age of unprecedented technological development

The 2-3 generations before us experienced significant technological change, but not to the same degree as what we’re experiencing.
The technologies that have taken off during our lifetime have radically changed how we do life, relationships, family, community, work.
How many of you could do your job without a computer?
How many of your lives and relationships would radically change if you didn’t have a cell phone, email, and access to the internet?
How many of you go to public places and are fully present with the people you’re with and the place you’re at, never distracted by your cell phone, ipod, etc.?

We must see our engagement with technology as a discipleship issue

Following Jesus means letting Jesus influence all of your life, everything about how you do life
The 2 wrong ways to react to technology: The Bear Hug & The Cold Shoulder
The Bear Hug: unthinking use of technology
“Everybody has an iphone, I must have one.”
Zero thinking about the impact this technology will have on you and others
The Cold Shoulder: ignoring, retreating from technology
“Technology is worldly, I won’t be corrupted by it, I’ll stay away from it.”
Escape to the hills! Amish mindset.
Problem with this line of thinking: you’re still using technology!
• The Washing Machine vs. The Washing Board (both are technological developments)

The 3rd way: The Side Hug--thoughtful engagement with technology
Matthew 22:36-40
Give a Side Hug to technology and ask it this question: How can I love God and love other people through this technology?
Christians are called to thoughtfully engage culture as a means of loving God and loving others.
The concept of Leveraging
Rather than look at dozens of technologies today and how they affect relationships and how we’re to engage with them as Christians, we’re singling out Facebook because of its present popularity.
We could do a whole message on the Microwave, Netflix, the Answering Machine, Hybrid vehicles, etc.
My Facebook History

My Facebook 30-day experiment
9 Potentially Negative Uses/Dangers of Facebook

1. The trend of using status updates to complain
You should be honest/authentic, but not a complainer
2. Measuring your worth/identity by number of Facebook friends/Facebook interactions
Facebook measurements are opposite of gospel measurements
3. Greater concern over forming Facebook (virtual) friends rather than real friends
4. Diminishment of face-to-face time with people/enjoying and working on real relationships
Disengaging from face-to-face time with people to check what's going on in your Facebook world
5. Dual identities
Being someone online who you’d never be in person
6. Hurting and excluding others (intentionally or unintentionally)
"Favorite friends" application
Not being invited somewhere
Without this technology you wouldn’t have known, or at least wouldn’t have known in the same way
“Is he talking about me?”
“She wrote on her wall, but never writes on mine…"
7. Facebook and online life can make you more distracted, changes how you think/attention span
Recent research
8. Can tempt you away from your calling/work
Your heart isn’t engaged in something great and big, but constantly distracted by silly little status updates ("I'm chewing gum") and Wall writings…
9. Thinking about yourself more than you already do
You weren't created to think about and focus on yourself. Facebook can tempt you to become a more self-focused person than you already are.
6 Facebook Opportunities: 6 Ways to Love God and Love Others Through Facebook (Leveraging)

1. Can get back in touch with old, far-away friends in an easy way, showing them how you’ve been changed by Jesus
My story: “You’re a pastor? What changed?”
2. Can use Facebook as an extension of face-to-face relationships/can be used to enhance time with people
Get to know people better/better love and care for people when you're with them because through Facebook you know more about who they are and what’s going on in their life
3. Can use Facebook to think about yourself less and others more
Facebook can be a tool for getting outside of yourself/your problems
4. Can use Facebook to sharpen/discipline what you do with your time
Status updates and built in accountability
5. Can use Facebook to quickly announce/make great things happen: events, face-to-face time
Instead of taking 45 min. to call 10 people to come over for a spontaneous evening of fun and fellowship, use Facebook
6. Can use Facebook to influence other people for Jesus. Create a new culture with your status updates: use to influence, love, encourage, teach, and challenge people towards greater love for God and other people.
Wife’s story…
This is the single greatest change I’d like to see us make.
Closing Application

Some of you are all jacked up (Bear Hug) and internet addicted and you just need to take a fast, or permanent break from Facebook
Some of you are a medium-bit jacked up and need to take some time to reflect, get alone with God, and ask him how to engage this technology for his glory, your good, and the good of others. Make changes.
Some of you are only a little-bit jacked up (Side Hug) and just need to get creative and come up with ideas for using Facebook to greater glorify God and love others.
A few of you are "Cold Shoulder" technology people that need to engage the 21st century here in Silicon Valley