Month: August 2014

How Facebook and the Internet is Making us Dumber

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Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 2.52.56 PM“A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” – Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

The longer you stay on Facebook, the more ideologically and philosophically isolated you become.

Every time you click to “Like” something, when you click on a story, video, or link, you are telling FB what stories to place in your feed in the future, and most importantly what stories, videos, and links not to include in your feed.

In time, you will have a feed that is tailored to just what you already believe, what you already think, and what you already like.

This may be good fun, but this is highly dangerous for you will never be challenged to think beyond your current beliefs or ideologies. What is missing from our feeds are the things that we need to know even though they may be uncomfortable, particularly because they will stretch us, and because they will help us to grow.

It’s not only Facebook that’s doing this. Google, Yahoo, Huffington Post, New York Times, Flipboard, etc. are all monitoring and registering what we’re reading, seeing, and consuming.

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 2.53.25 PM“It will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.” – Eric Schmidt, Google

What the algorithms of FB, Google, Yahoo, etc. are effectively doing is making everyone of us more bigoted, more isolated, dumber, and more set in our ways.

All this is being done behind the scenes, without our knowing, without our permission.

Try an experiment: get five friends together and Google “Israel” or “Islam” and see what happens. See what the search engines return.

What you see on your screen has been perfectly tailored for you.

So what can you do?

  • Actively seek out other points of view.
  • Set your Facebook newsfeed setting to Most Recent Stories and not the default setting of “Top Stories.”
  • Be aware. This is happening. Listen not only to the people and ideologies you agree with, but be open to learn from differing points of view. Be intentional in seeking such views.

The internet is a powerful tool. It connects us with people in the world as few things have done before. But blindly using the internet is and will continue make us dumber and even more set in our current ways and beliefs.

Scarlett Johansson’s Movie “Lucy” and the Church

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Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 4.47.49 PMThat was just wrong!!! What a crock!

That was my sentiment walking out of the movie theater after watching Scarlett Johansson’s new movie “Lucy.”

All the trailers and commercials for the movie made it seem like it would be an action flick where Scarlett Johansson’s character kicks butt over bad guys. So when my wife and I went to the theater, that’s what we expected to see. That’s what we paid to see.

What we got, instead, is some new-age, badly spiritualized theory of evolution, sic-fi, psycho-babble.

They tricked us!

I wasn’t the only one. I heard others muttering similar sentiments as they were walking out of the theater.

False advertising. What a waste of my time…

As I have been thinking about this movie, I’ve been wondering about church.

The church is good at talking about how God changes everything…How much and what has the church really changed? How much impact has the church made in our world?

I can’t help but wonder if the church promises one thing and then when people show up they experience something totally different.

That’s just wrong! They tricked me! What a crock!

God, I don’t want to merely go through the motions of church. I want to experience the eternity changing, culture shaping, life altering, community impacting ministry of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to just read about all the great things you did in the past in some ancient book. I want to see the power of God lived out and lived through the church today!

God, I stand with the prophet Habakkuk who cried out, “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known” (Habakkuk 3:2).

LCOP Mission Brazil 2014

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Our friends, brothers, and sisters of Missional Presbyterian Church of Buritis

Bom dia!

Thank you for your prayers and support for LCOP’s mission to Brazil this summer.

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And we’re off to Brazil!!!

God used the trip to bless our team members (Kaitlin Kim, Amy Trevino, Gabby Trevino, Clare Whalen, David Pritchard, Tana Pritchard, and Pastor James). As with all mission trips, our team was blessed far more than we were able to be a blessing to Brazil.

I’ve been telling our team for months that the mission field is not Brazil. We will make almost no impact to Brazil in the two weeks that we’re there. There are still hungry people, there is still much violence, there is still a great disparity between the rich and the poor, there are still millions of people who do not know Jesus in Brazil.

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Some of our friends from the English Immersion Camp
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Amy leading a small group discussion

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Our presence in Brazil had almost no impact on Brazil. However, the two weeks in Brazil can, and has had, a tremendous impact on our team.

The mission field was never Brazil. The mission field was always about the hearts of our members.

Being a missionary has nothing to do with location. Being a missionary has everything to do with our hearts. If our hearts are selfish and inwardly focused, then we could be in Africa or Brazil and still never be missionaries. However, if our hearts are kingdom focused, then whether we are in Africa or Brazil or Lakewood, we are missionaries for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, regardless of our location.

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Had the privilege to preach with my dear friend Pastor Robinho interpreting
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Coach David and Tana leading our football camp
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Football Camp

God is always a very wise investor. God invested these two weeks in order to touch hearts so that what God gets in return is the rest of our lives for kingdom service. The average age of our team was around 25. If everyone lives to be 80, then for two weeks of investment, God just got back 385 years of Christian service! God is a wise investor!!!

In reality, the mission trip for our team members is just starting. The rest of our lives will tell whether God’s mission in our lives was a success or not.

We will be going back to Brazil in 2015. We’re looking for folks who will join us. If you’re interested, please let pastors James or Brad know.

Obrigado!

God Creates; Mothers Raise; We Kill

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God Creates

Mothers Raise

We Kill

That was the graffiti that greeted the team from my church when we were visiting one of the favelas (slums) of Belo Horizonte.

We were told not to wear jewelry, watches, carry money, cameras or other things of value while we were walking through the favela.

This is a place where violence is too common, life is cheap, and where the drug lords reign.

With no prospects for jobs and education, if you’re born in a favela, the likelihood is you will die in a favela.

God Creates…Mothers Raise…We Kill.

It’s dark. It’s evil. It’s reality in the favela.

As we were nearing our walking visit to the favela, another graffiti was pointed out to us that read:

Kindness generates more kindness.

What an amazing contrast to the earlier graffiti.

These two graffiti represent two ways of looking at life.

You don’t have to live in a favela to know which one leads to life and which one perpetuates death.

Particularly when death and darkness seem to be all around, that’s when the light of kindness shines most bright.

Choose kindness.

Choose life.