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4/2/19

Teens and Tech: Resources for navigating today's technological world

The following blog post is a summary of the information presented at "Teens and Tech," the Family Discipleship Training offered at Faith Community Church on Mar. 24, 2019.

Presenters

Dan Buckle  | Hudson Middle School Counselor

Jake Pierson  | Director of MS Discipleship

Ben McMullen  | Director of HS Discipleship

What’s our goal?

We admit this should be at least a weekend seminar. There’s an incredible amount of information we could talk about, but we want to keep it simple and hopefully helpful. Our goal is to open up a conversation in our church family, that will continue in your homes, families, missional communities, friendship, and with coworkers. We are not experts in the trends of technology, but we do work with teenagers and parents and we want to be partners with you in discipling your child, specifically in the area of technology.

Most important, we want to help each other to have a better vision for our families. It’s easy to settle or to get lost completely. We need to remind ourselves how to respond with the good news of Jesus while fighting the natural temptation to fear. May the Gospel encourage us today as we may face the reality that we’ve failed in our personal lives, our marriages, and our parenting. There is hope in moving forward because Jesus is with us.

Note: throughout the presentation when referring to technology we were usually addressing smartphones, social media, the internet - although the principles taught can still be applied to other areas of technology use.

Three Objectives

  1. The Parent’s Role
  2. The Heart
  3. The Stakes

(1) The Parent’s Role

CLICK HERE FOR PRESENTATION SLIDES

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(2) The Heart

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👆CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

Unbelief and the Heart

At the bottom of all of our problems lies the desires of our hearts.  Those desires very pointedly, and sometimes painfully, expose our unbelief.  We ALL struggle with unbelief.  Even the most pious among us have issues of unbelief with God and what He says is true.

The “Root to Fruit” diagram is a diagnostic tool that shines a light into the darkest parts of our hearts.  It gives us a starting point of where in our hearts we need to seek repentance with God and then gives us the opportunity to take action steps toward greater obedience to Jesus and enjoyment of God.

Do this FIRST for yourself, and then apply this with your family.

STEPS:

  1. Identify the “bad fruit” - undesirable actions, sinful behavior, patterns, or attitudes. WRITE these down.  Change happens in the specifics!
  2. Work backward
  • What am I believing about myself?  Who am I?
  • Example: I am NOT in control, but I believe that I MUST BE
  • What am I believing about what God is doing?
  • E.g. God doesn’t care about my sanity! Why is allowing this to happen?  God should give me the peace I deserve.
  • Who is God?
  • E.g. God is unloving.  God is not just. God is uninvolved and untrustworthy.
  1. Replace each statement above with Biblical truth, answering these 4 questions:
  • Who is God?  God’s character
  • What has He done for me in Jesus?
  • Who am I, according to the Bible? Identity in Christ
  • How should I now live? Fruits of the Spirit

Be SPECIFIC!  In what ways is God calling you to be obedient?

  • What do you need to DO?
  • What do you need to SAY to others?
  • What false beliefs am I living out of that I need to REPENT of?

Other helpful tips    

  1. Find a Biblical story or parable that illustrates the struggle you are having, or the unbelief you are battling.
  2. Choose one or more verses to memorize to help fight against unbelief.

(3) The Stakes - Worship

Like most things in life, our heart is always prone to find ultimate joy in God’s creation while forgetting the Creator. Technology use that is lacking in wisdom, self-control, and purpose will rob us of the JOY God has created us for. We will be distracted, disappointed, lonely, depressed if we allow our devices to control us instead of putting them in their proper place.

What is ultimately at stake with this issue is our heart’s ability to worship God. To truly connect with God - to genuinely love and serve others - to focus and get genuinely good and creative work done. What we are seeing in our current culture is nothing new, but markedly different. We have always tempted to replace God with something created, but it looks so different now because of how rapidly our technological world is evolving. To reiterate, technology is not necessarily evil (though there is much out there that is evil in the digital world) - but it isn’t difficult for us to see the ways in which we are twisting the goodness of God’s creation.

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition (and endless hours lost to Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
- C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

A few diagnostic questions

Take some time to work through these questions.

  1. Do my (my child’s) smartphone/technology behaviors move me towards greater joy in God or greater joy in something else?
  2. Do my (my child’s) smartphone behaviors edify me and others, or do they build nothing of lasting value? (Tony Reinke)
  3. Are my (my child’s) smartphone behaviors moving our family closer together or pulling us apart?  

A greater vision for your family

  1. We have so little time on this earth, and even less time with our kids. What has God called us to do in these short 18 years that God has given us with our children? Do you have a vision for your family? What are your goals? (Godly men and women, Get them graduated and out of the house, Just survive).
  2. What does Psalm 78:1-8 have to say about how the vision for our family should look?  
“We are meant to build this kind of life together: the kind of life that, at the end, is completely dependent upon one another; the kind of life that ultimately transcends, and does not need, the easy solutions of technology because it is caught up in something more true and more lasting than any alchemy our technological world can invent. We are meant to be family - not just marriages bound by vows and the children that come from them, but a wider family that invites others into our lives and even the threshold of our very last breath, to experience vulnerability and grace, sorrow and hope, singing our way homeward. We are meant not just for thin, virtual connections but for visceral, real connection to one another in this fleeting, temporary, and infinitely beautiful and worthwhile life. We are meant to die in one another's arms, surrounded by prayer and song, knowing beyond  knowing that we are loved.
We are meant for so much more than technology can ever give us - above all, for wisdom and courage that it will never give us. We are meant to spur one another along the way to a better life, the life that really is life. Why not begin living that life, together, now?”
- Andy Crouch, Tech-Wise Family

Helpful Resources

[Highly Recommend!]
“The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place” by Andy Crouch.

“Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology's distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.”

TECH-WISE FAMILY FORUM [VIDEO]

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[Highly Recommend!]
“12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You” by Tony Reinke

“Drawing from the insights of numerous thinkers, published studies, and his own research, writer Tony Reinke identifies twelve potent ways our smartphones have changed us—for good and bad. Reinke calls us to cultivate wise thinking and healthy habits in the digital age, encouraging us to maximize the many blessings, to avoid the various pitfalls, and to wisely wield the most powerful gadget of human connection ever unleashed.”

Covenant Eyes

If your child has a phone, computer, iPad or other internet-connected device they should not be allowed to have free unmonitored access on the device. This a great product that helps you as the parent monitor what your child is accessing on their device.

Porn thrives on shame and secrets. Our Screen Accountability™ service is designed to help you overcome porn by monitoring your screen activity and sending a report to a trusted friend who holds you accountable for your online choices.

https://www.covenanteyes.com
 

Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert

If you have struggled personally against the powerful draw of pornography, or if you have ever tried to help someone fighting this battle, you know how hard it is to break free. But real freedom isn’t found by trying harder to change. Nor is it found in a particular method or program. Only Jesus Christ has the power to free people from the enslaving power of pornography.

Axis Group | “Culture. Conversation. Connection.

"We are here to help you to navigate today’s culture and connect with your teen through meaningful conversation that last a lifetime.”

Culture Translator

Weekly email: TEEN CULTURE, DEMYSTIFIED.

Know your teens’ world in order to have deeper conversations about the things that matter.

Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney

Gathering together for worship is an indispensable part of your family’s spiritual life. It is a means for God to reveal himself to you and your loved ones in a powerful way.

This practical guide by Donald S. Whitney will prove invaluable to families―with or without children in the home―as they practice God-glorifying, Christ-exalting worship through Bible reading, prayer, and singing. Includes a discussion guide in the back for small groups.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day "digital declutter" process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

"Digital Minimalism isn’t distinctly Christian, but it’s an insightful and well-argued strategy for flourishing in a cultural moment saturated with minutiae and starved of meaning. This is an extremely helpful book and framework for anyone who senses their own need for peace, rest, and spiritual discipline in a distracted, dislocated, and dissatisfied time."
- Samuel D. James, Gospel Coalition

Connected [Documentary] (Watch the trailer and order a copy of the video.)


In a social media-centered world, the smart phone has become a cultural rite of passage for kids. But is that rite all wrong?

How can this generation of parents blaze a new trail to equip their kids to thrive in an ever-changing digital environment while steering clear of the dangers that lurk nearby?

With six teens, Kirk Cameron fully understands this dilemma. So he went to the experts and what he learned will enlighten, challenge, and encourage parents. And best of all: it can help strengthen your family!

Join Kirk on this important journey of discovery and practical next steps in his brand-new documentary, CONNECT. If you’re committed to raising kids who will make an impact in this world, get your copy of CONNECT and find real help for parenting kids in a social media world.

Serving with you,

Jake Pierson & Ben McMullen
Directors for Student Ministry

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