Digital Margins

Understanding How To Live A Godly Life In The Digital Age

Tim Lundy
Feb 16, 2020    50m
Digital technology impacts our lack of margin more than anything else. As Christians though, we need to learn how to live a Godly life in the digital age. God sent us to live in the world but not of it. In the final message of this series, we will explore how to measure the impact of digital margin in our lives and how to put in place boundaries around digital margin. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy (00:00):
Well, it's good to see you here today. It's good to be together. I don't know about you. When I walked on campus, it was good to walk on a campus with open restrooms. You know, we're always updating things here at Venture. We now have indoor plumbing. So, you know, it's a nice new feature at church now that we're in the 21st century with that. A number of things launched. You know, this last Thursday we launched Better Man. And I'd encourage, guys, love to see you there. A great opportunity. In fact, I put the first session online. Just go on the website, Venture website, and you can see the first session. Catch up if you want to or just engage with it. But we'll be back again Thursday morning at 6:00 AM. Or if you want to do the night group, 7:00 PM on Wednesday night. They're a week behind us so you could jump in with that.

Tim Lundy (00:47):
And the way this whole semester is designed, you can come in at any time. You're not behind at any point in that. And so love for you to engage with us. It really isn't just the material that's delivered. The most important thing we do is we gather as men. Just being with other guys, sharing life, doing life together, it makes a difference in that. I also want to encourage you and just be real straightforward with you. Some of the needs that we've presented, there's opportunities to serve. If you're a part of the Venture family and you're not plugging in and serving in some way, you're really not engaging church completely. And so there's all different things from worship team, tech team in it. But I want to speak specifically because we've kind of been in the season with what we've gone through with the school and what we're looking at in all our ministries of how we both protect our kids, how we invest in our kids, how we disciple the next generation well.

Tim Lundy (01:41):
And we have some critical needs in our children's ministry, middle-school ministry on Tuesday night in particular. High school's been stronger with that, but, you know, we're looking at everything from even Hume trip this summer of doubling up what we put in every cabin. We went two adults in every cabin. That means we need double adults that would sign up to go to Hume and be a part of that. Because we just think it's so important that we've looked in every area. And I would say, even in Sunday mornings, we got last week, I think there was one class. They had like 22 kids and two adults. Those aren't good ratios. They're really not especially if you're trying to disciple kids and be involved in it. I think they hit their limit at some point. And so I want to encourage you, I don't know where you're serving. Out of any place that I could tell you that you give your life away and serve that you want to make an investment, it's investing in the next generation. Of just signing up, serving on a Sunday morning, being in a class, coming on a Tuesday night, leading a small group, middle school, high school students with that.

Tim Lundy (02:50):
You know, it's interesting. All of us, we have this anxiety almost about how do we make sure the kids raised in the church don't walk away from their faith. You see all the numbers. If you track with it, the young adults who are walking and have a resilient faith, you know the number one factor they would say made the difference? It's another adult invested in me while I was coming up. Someone showed me what it's like to be a Christian. They spoke about their faith. They invested in my life. You know what they're describing? Discipleship. That's really all it is. It's just discipleship. And so I would encourage you, maybe you're discipling many people right now. But if you are not involved in actively discipling someone, guys, it's the core command Jesus left us with.

Tim Lundy (03:35):
And there's no greater group to do it with than young people. Now I wish I could tell you, oh, it's easy. It won't cost anything. It'll be so simple. You'll have to probably come to two services if you want to plug in in children's ministry. You'll have to give up a Tuesday night if you want to really get involved. You'll have to track them and pray for them and be involved with them. It does cost something. It's supposed to. But I'm going to tell you the people that do it bar none, they will say, man, my church experience, my growth experience has been raised exponentially because I'm giving my life away. If you're here today and you go, yeah, you know, at least we need to find out about it more.

Tim Lundy (04:15):
We're trying to simplify everything. So if you're here and any of that, serving in any capacity, right after service, meet me in front of the baptism well. We'll connect with you. We'll give you some information. Now you got to go through a process, especially if you're going to serve with our kids in any way. We do background checks. There's a process with that. I'll go ahead and tell you that. But if you want to get in the chain and at least find out about it, if you're sitting here today and you feel a little bit of that kind of Holy Spirit kicked in the butt which is one of His ministries. It's right there in 3 Timothy. It says it. I may have written that one. So it's not inspired, but it says it. If you're feeling that at all, meet me right down here. Amy Taddie will be there. She's the queen of all people that are serving and getting you involved in it. There is no reason for a church like this who've committed to discipleship, that we wouldn't have adults who stepped forward and said yeah, I want to do that. I want to invest in them. So I'll see you right down there after the service.

Tim Lundy (05:19):
Today, we're finishing out this series we've been doing it on margin. We've been talking about every area of margin. This one, just go ahead and hold onto your hat. We got a lot of information because we're talking about digital margin. And when I say digital margin, I'm talking about online. Screens, phones, all the ways that digital life is a part of our world. And if we're honest, we're not handling this very well. I mean it's impacting us more than we like to admit. In fact, I saw a humorous video that just kind of shows the impact of even our phones on our daily life. Let's watch this one together.

Tim Lundy (06:45):
All right. Honestly, was any of those people you? Come on, you can confess here. How many times do we get so engaged in it? Whether it's our phones and not just walking. In our homes, in our life. At work, we can get sucked into it all the time and productivity can go down with it. I mean the reality is we live in a digital world. I remember in the 80s, Madonna's hit song, We Are Living in a Material World. It was kind of description of the 80s. Everything was about materialism and excess and money. If you remade it today, it's we are living in a digital world where everything today is about this digital life. If you look in your notes, I would say digital technology impacts our lack of margin more than anything else. More than anything else. You can have margin in all your life.

Tim Lundy (07:43):
But if you've allowed all the margin to be invaded with digital technology all the time, it robs and it steals if we let it. As you look at it, just some of the numbers, a typical cell phone user touches their phone. Just think in your mind real quick. How many times in a day do you think a typical cell phone user touches their phone? Just pick your number. You don't have to say it out loud. The typical user touches their phone 2,617 times a day. Yeah, I bet your number was lower, wasn't it? That's the typical. The high end users are around 5,400 times a day. Typical 15 to 23 year old has about 2,700 hours of screen time a year. The church going 15 to 23 year old has about 270-280 hours of spiritual input in their life in a year. Just do the math on that of input alone with it.

Tim Lundy (08:58):
Number one parenting concern that's listed today. How do I raise my kids in a digital world? How do I raise my kids with these screens? How do I deal with this? And I feel for parents today. You know, I've got grandchildren now and you look at it, man, my kids are having to raise kids in a world I didn't raise kids in. Some of you, even with little kids. My youngest now is 13. Some of you with preschoolers and that, you're raising a world, it's changed in the 13 years since then, the decade. It's changed so quickly. If you're here today maybe as a grandparent and you look at it and you go, man, we need to come alongside and partner with parents and kids because they are having to raise kids and do life in such a fast changing world with it. There's always been technology.

Tim Lundy (09:46):
It's just it changes so quickly. And that doesn't even count all the ways that we see it invading and the destructive part of it where the technology is twisted, whether it's pornography, when 35% of all downloads from the internet are pornographic. The billions of dollars in the industry and I won't go through all the stats of it because we're well aware of that impact as well. Now, as we look at that, I would say digital technology in one sense is neutral, but it's also very powerful. And this is debated between philosophers, theologians. When the technology is so pervasive, could you really say it's neutral? Others would go, no, it's a tool. It's neutral in that. But you always have to hold those to intention. That yes, I don't want to blame it for everything. And I want you to hear me. We can very quickly go, we're living in a digital world and it's just horrible. All these bad things that come with it.

Tim Lundy (10:50):
Stop for a minute. Before you go there, the power of these tools and how they've impacted our lives. The medical breakthroughs that have come through it. The connection in it. Some of you as grandparents, you have more connection, you know more what's going on in your grandchildren's lives than any generation before because you have tools now that you can see and you can engage and be involved with it. The information that we're able to access to prepare for a sermon like this. The tools that are disposal with that. What it's allowed us to do in so many ways. So before we just go to oh, technology, bad, we need to recognize no, we're thankful for the gifts that have come from it and how it can be used. But recognize as well. It's very powerful. It's life shaping. It's thought shaping. It's shaping how we learn. It's shaping how our brains work with that. And as a church at times, we haven't always handled when new technology comes, how do you process that together? I think one of the most world changing technologies that came that the church initially was against was the printing press.

Tim Lundy (12:08):
Movable type printing press. Even when Gutenberg printed his Bibles, the church officially said, we do not want Bibles printed and we certainly don't want them translated in the common language. Now you go, why? That's crazy. Why would they not want that? Because the thinking was you put the Bible in common language and then people can start interpreting it any way they want. And you'll have crazy interpretations. You'll have cults. You'll have all these different groups. And you know what? It actually happened. You have all that. But then you step back and you go, the power of actually having the Bible in common language, to be able to have your own Bible, to be able to study it. And part of it, the church was against it because church had a philosophy that we're the priest and everything should come through us. And part of the Protestant revolution, churches like ours, we go, no, we're all priests and the Holy Spirit's within us. And I can read and engage the Bible. You look at that technology though, and it changed the world.

Tim Lundy (13:06):
Good and bad. I mean the spread of things that could now be printed, the dissemination of false information, the printing of a book like Mein Kamp where Hitler can advocate genocide in it. That's bad. So in all of that, you look how do I balance that together between this good and bad? I think one of the ways I look at it and there's not, I wish there was one Bible verse you could turn to. We're going to look at some biblical principles, one verse where Jesus says, let me tell you how to handle cell phones. It's not there. You do see principles in Scripture though, how do you handle something that is neutral in and of itself but powerful? Alcohol would be one. You read through Scripture. The Bible talks about positive things. There's not a prohibition against drinking. Now there's a clear prohibition against drunkenness. I mean it's all through Scripture. And then as I say that, trust me, I know the devastating effects of alcohol. I buried a brother at the age of 42 from alcoholism. But as I look at that and I read the Scripture, what does it tell us is clear warnings of man, this can destroy you if... What's the if? If it's too much. If you've allowed yourself to cross that line of drunkenness. This is always wrong. It's always wrong. There's a Scripture put some clear parameters around that.

Tim Lundy (14:39):
I've wondered if we looked at our digital intake in the same way that we would look at alcohol intake, how many of us would qualify as digital-holics? Probably more than we'd like to admit. Let me give you a couple of test lines. Let's just test yourself. If the first light you see each day and the last light you see is from a screen. So first thing in the morning, last thing at night, you see a screen. You might be a digital-holic. If you have food smudges on your phone because you can't go through a meal without checking it, you might be a digital-holic. If it's your restroom companion, just saying, you might be a digital-holic. If you come to a stop light and you're glad it turned red so you can catch up on email, you might be a digital-holic. If you feel anxiety when you're away from your phone. In fact, to help us focus for the rest of the message, I've asked the ushers to come. They're going to pass the offering bags. Everybody put your phone in it. Okay?

Tim Lundy (16:01):
Is that real laughter or nervous laughter? Did you feel that? Why, I'm hiding it right now. You might be a digital-holic. There's a healthy place of just stepping back and going, okay, have I lost some moderation here? Because it is so powerful. So how do we approach it? The rest of this message, a couple of things. One, we're going to look at some biblical basics of just how we approach anything like this and put some foundation in place. And then the last part of it, I'll do a pretty quick blitz of just some practical advice in this. Practical ways. Different things I've read. Some of them me, some of them I've read and others I'll give you a couple of resources out of it. Let's look at the biblical basics first. First thing, just embrace God sent us to live in the world though we're not of the world.

Tim Lundy (16:53):
We've been sent and this is for every generation. You've been sent into the world, but we don't get caught up and live like everybody else in the world. This is the challenge for us. It's also the great opportunity for the church. What a great opportunity to stand out in a time period when it's changing so fast and the rest of the world is not doing well with it by the way. And people are getting eat up with it. If we step back and go, okay, how do we do this in a way that we can be both in it and a witness to it? Look at John 17. It's a great passage and I love in it because Jesus is praying for His disciples. It's His last night with them. And the prayer is about what they're going to face, the persecution, the hard things in it.

Tim Lundy (17:37):
But He says, I'm not only praying it for them. I'm praying it for all my disciples for all time, all people that follow Jesus for all time. So He prayed this for us. Look what He prays for us. He tells God, He says, I'm coming back to you. These things I speak in the world, that they, us, may have their joy fulfilled in themselves. So here's the first marker you see. Man, I'm praying this because my people are supposed to be joyful people. They're supposed to be the most joyful people. Now you read the rest of the prayer and you go, man, that doesn't feel joyful. And He goes, yeah, that's why I'm praying it. So they get the right perspective on this. He says, I've given them your word and the world's hated them because they're not of the world just as I am not of the world.

Tim Lundy (18:22):
So He says, man, I'm giving them objective truth. I'm giving them truth straight from God. And the world doesn't like the truth. The world reject him over it. But hey, they did the same thing with me. He continues on. I do not ask that you take them out of the world. I'm not asking you to create these Holy huddle, God. I'm not asking them that they get behind their kind of in their church and that and then we can just wish the world would go away. He says, no, I'm not asking that for them. But that you would keep them from the evil one because he likes to take every part of the world and twist it for wrong and use it for evil. It's a reality. It's a technological reality. It's a life reality. It's a relationship reality. So He said, man, they need to be aware there is an evil one. Not taking them out, but be prepared.

Tim Lundy (19:13):
Look how He continues. They're not in the world just as I'm not in the world. And so here's a key point. Sanctify them in the truth. They're going to need to be the people who most have the truth in their life. What is the truth? Well, He makes it clear. Your word's the truth. Especially if you live in an age with a flood of a bunch of information, boy, it probably is really important, am I making sure that I'm flooding my life with truth, with objective truth, with God's truth with that? As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them. Ooh, it's not just that He's leaving us in the world. He's actually sending us. We're actually people on mission. We actually have a purpose while we're here. And in every age, in every place, here's what you can embrace.

Tim Lundy (20:02):
You have been sent for that age for that people during that time. So we've been sent as God's representatives in the digital world. We've been sent for this ever-changing time. And so there's a part of it, man, that scares me a little bit. There's another part of it that I go, man, that excites me. How do I move into that world as sent people? He says for their sake, I consecrate myself that they also may be sanctified in truth. He said, I've lived my life in that truth and I'm sending them out in it as well. See, we are a sent people. We are people that know truth. We are people that called to do life in a different way. And the world that we live in desperately needs to see what this looks like. And so this isn't just a case of, okay, I better get my digital life together for my sake. We have to for the sake of the people that we've been sent to so that we can engage them in that, so that we can move into that place with it. In the world, but not of the world.

Tim Lundy (21:13):
Second principle with it, living a transformed life always begins in the mind. It always begins in the mind. That's why this is so important in this margin series that we really look at our minds and what's going into our minds. I've used this verse over and over. And I want us to just go back to it again. Romans 12:2. Because it's so key to this whole series. Do not be conformed to this world. Don't let the world shape you. Don't live like everybody else. Be transformed. This is an inside out change that God's going to do. How's he going to do it? By the renewal of your mind. Your mind's being constantly renewed. That by testing, you may discern what if the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. We have to have a mind renewal. We have to be willing to go, man, am I thinking about what's going on in my mind? Am I, the way he puts it in 2 Corinthians 10, he says we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.

Tim Lundy (22:12):
So there's always going to be something that's anti-God. There's always new arguments. There's always new opinions. If you read in the context here, this is fueled by the evil one. Satan is always looking for ways that he go, how can I take truth and twist it? How can I change how people define things? How can I change every category and find it and twist it and do? That's always happened. We live in an age now where he's got a lot of tools to be able to make that happen quickly and do it in different means. Look what Paul warns us to do. Now go back to the verse if we could real quick. Look what Paul warns us to do. Take every thought captive to obey Christ. See we have to then come along and go, okay, if all this is coming at me, all this information, wait, what's the thinking behind that? Does that match the truth? Does that match what I read in God's Word? Does that match what I know to be true? And the times, I don't know, I'll ask someone. That's why we do small groups together. That's why we do life together. That's why you need somebody speaking into young people. All these things that we constantly have created a place here as a church because we're the sent ones to reach this generation. We got to be the people that we're basing our life on truth because they don't have truth. And we got to be the people that we're constantly going, okay, how am I renewing my mind on truth?

Tim Lundy (23:26):
And here's the reality. It's not just, we always talk about the digital world and the bad stuff out there. There's a lot of bad stuff out there. There's a lot of useless stuff out there actually. And if I'm letting the constant stream of this squeeze out the truth of this in my life, I don't care who you are. At some point, you're not renewing. And so that's what's so critical in that. Have I put some boundaries in place? Have I thought through this? Have I thought through what I'm allowing my kids, not just keeping them from seeing bad stuff, but do we take every thought captive and evaluate what they're saying? Do we process that together as a family? And especially with little kids. You know, Andy Crouch wrote this book, The Tech-Wise Family. You can see it in your notes. This is a great book and he's pretty strong in play. He's stronger than I am in some things with it. One of the things they did in their home, their kids were not allowed to see screens until the age of 10. Like, whoa, that's a lot. Least not individually in that. Now I know it's hard. You have little kids. I mean especially in the world and life's busy and all that. This, the screen or the iPad, it's like crack for kids.

Tim Lundy (24:44):
It really is. And you're just like, man, the house is going crazy in that. Let me give them a little crack. Come on. Little crack. And they kind of veg out on it. Buys mom a little time in that. Hey, we did that? And so I'm not advocating Andy's is the only rule in it. Here's what I would ask though. At some point, do we just stop and look and maybe do some research yourself, maybe look at your household, look at your kids in different parts. And at the very least go, hey, do I know what's going in? Do we process that together? Am I helping them take those thoughts captive? Because man, that was a sweet movie, but it really was built on a lie. That's not how life works. And so where am I processing the right parts in that? The mind renewal is so critical.

Tim Lundy (25:37):
Third principle I would say in it as well. We have to move from a mindset of fear and shame to a mindset of sober assessment and honest confession. Because even as I teach on this, we immediately go to this place. One, fear. Man, the world's changing. All this stuff's coming. They're coming for my kids in it. It's all there. And we get real afraid. And sometimes our fear is generated by our own failure as parents. So we're so determined, I failed that way, my kids are not. And if I'm strong enough and if I control this enough and I can, and you create this fear-based home. Now is there bad stuff out there? Yes. Are we called to protect our kids? Yes I am not diminishing that. But I will say this. Satan loves fear-based homes. They're a seedbed for rebellion. Because sometimes we think we can control at a level and our fears drive us in ways.

Tim Lundy (26:32):
The other thing that we have to be careful in it is shame as another tool he loves. He loves shame. So maybe as I'm talking about some of these things, as I was reading through this, there's parts of it that I immediately go to that shame place, that you go, I am a lousy parent. We should have done better than that. And you can almost give up in places where you just go, oh, I'll never get on top of that. Or you have your own shame about what you're struggling with, what you're dealing with. And kind of in your own shame, you go, who am I to talk to my kids about? Who am I to ever get onto? How could I ever be open in this? Guys, that's not God. God convicts us. He doesn't shame us. There's such freedom in what He does. God warns us. God calls us to be vigilant. But I don't live my life afraid because He's greater than the one in the world. And as much as Satan's able to do things, God's the one that created the beauty to begin with. God's the one that created the good things. God's the one that gave us the ability to create these technological wonders because we were created His image.

Tim Lundy (27:47):
So I don't have to be afraid. Now I need some sober assessment. Let's get real honest. And I may need some real confession. I'd encourage you, one of the best books of the Bible, if you struggle with man, I live afraid in this or I live in shame or I don't know how to do this in my house, the little book of 1 John. It's at the end of the Bible. Not John, but 1 John. It's the letter he wrote. It's one of the most freeing practical books of how do I deal with this? You might want to just start reading it over and over again. Let that be renewal of your mind. A couple of verses that stand out in it. Look at 1 John 1:8. He says, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Man, come on, let's have some sober assessment here. You say you're not struggling in this. You say you failed in this. Come on. The truth is not in us. But then look what he says. If we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. All of it, all of it.

Tim Lundy (28:49):
I like how later in 1 John 4, he says as well, there's no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. And the one who fears is not perfected in love. He says, he's talking about around punishment. I don't have to be afraid of God. I don't have to be afraid to bring my stuff into the light. And I don't have to be afraid to be honest about it. And I would encourage you, as you engage, check your own heart. As you're trying to engage your kids, we're training them with it because there is stuff that you've got to talk about. Trust me. I've got a household right now with four teenage boys. You don't think we're dealing with this kind of stuff? And part of it is how do we have healthy conversations about it? Not after the fact, by the way. Not after wait, what did I find on your phone? But just sitting down and going, hey, can we talk real? I know for a fact, you've got friends. They're going to be showing you porn. I know for a fact that that you'll get curious. I know for a fact it's out there. I know for a fact even in the best of circumstances with the best of kids, this is a reality in our life. So let's talk about how do we deal with this? How do we deal with it in a healthy way? How do we have the kind of conversation that man, when you are struggling, man, I hope you're not ashamed that we can't talk.

Tim Lundy (30:04):
Now that's hard with every kid is different. Every one you would create a context. But are you engaging it that you move there before the fact, you lay a foundation every day, not after you find something but every day of we're not afraid of this stuff, guys and we don't live in shame because we actually serve a God of grace and man, He redeemed everything and He understands everything because He was tempted in every way. How's your household? How's your life? And again, I wish I had one passage you could turn to this and man, it'll tell you exactly what to do digitally. But I do believe these biblical foundations of embracing I'm a sent person to this time. Man, I got a message to share. Embracing I got to renew my mind though. Man, I can't let this squeeze out the truth of what I need. And I can live whether alone, in a family, no matter what I face and I don't have to live afraid every day. Perfect love casts out fear and I've got a God who is perfect love. And I don't have to live under the shame of failure because I have a God who forgives. In fact, He loves to do it over and over again.

Tim Lundy (31:26):
Now how do we then proactively, in the time we have remaining, I just want to kind of blitz through and you see it in your notes. Just 10 things of just some proactive, practical advice. Take it or leave it. Different parts of it. It's not based on Scripture. It is based on some truth around it though. And so with that, let's just walk down the line with it. One, increase awareness. Track with detail your digital intake and decide where you need to detox. If you don't know what's going on, you'll never be able to change anything. It's just like a diet. You know the number one way to diet? Track your calories. Track what you eat. It really does go back to that. I know there's crazy diets and different ways. Track it though is the simplest thing. You know the number one way to control your money? Track it. Create a budget off of it.

Tim Lundy (32:17):
Do you track? Do you know what's going on with your digital? Before you think about kids, you need to think about yours. Part of the problem of trying to parent in it and that is the kids are looking at us going, you say I have a problem. You're the one that never puts it down. And there's a reality to that. There's some simple ways around it. You can get some tools. I mean there's some apps that can track it. Even if you've got an iPhone, you can just go to your battery on your iPhone. When was the last time you looked under settings, your battery? It'll tell you how much time you spent the last 24 hours or you can set it up for the last 10 days. And then the cool part is if you start drilling down, it'll tell you exactly which programs you were on. And you go, ooh.

Tim Lundy (33:00):
Do you track your usage? You know, I was thinking about it. How would you feel if Jesus grabbed your phone? Says, hey, let's look through it, how you're spending your life. Would that be a comfortable experience? Be interesting, wouldn't it? And He's like, whoa, that's a lot of hours there now. What's this Twitter? Oh, that sounds really profound. Little tweets. Yeah. Glad you're spending your time there. Some of you might go, hey, what's going on with Instagram? Do you really feel the need to document every event of your life? You have more documentation than I have in my life and there's four gospels. You might want to check that a little bit. What's this word game? Oh Jesus, it's great for your brain. It really is great for your brain. Oh, well good. You should be a genius at this point based on your usage. Hey, let's look through your pictures. Now there seems to be a lot of pictures of yourself. Yeah, those are called selfies. Really? Selfie, interesting name. You might want to die to selfie. How would you feel?

Tim Lundy (34:20):
And again, I don't say it to embarrass us. But having a healthy balance. And you'll never start if you don't have a clear picture of it. Now secondly, look at it as well. Create a list of the values that you want to mark your life or your home and then create a set of activities that you'll need to do to support them. You got to be proactive on this one. And this one is really key. We jump past this one. We immediately go to what we need to stop doing. Okay. We got to stop doing that. The kids aren't going to do that. We're not doing that in the house. And you start cutting back. Here's the reality. What did you cut back for? What do you want to fill it with?

Tim Lundy (35:02):
If you've got a household with kids, one of the easiest ways to do, go, okay, my kids are about to go off to college or my kids are leaving house. What are the memories I want them to take? You want your kids to sit around one day and they go, oh, I just, oh, I have such sweet memories. Remember how we used to all come home and go to our own rooms and get on our devices and watch our own thing? Oh, those were good times. Such good family time. You go, oh, I don't want that. But it happens quickly. And unless we step back and here's what I mean with values. This doesn't have to be, again, we try and make it more profound. But what are the things that you'd go, what's the four or five things that we go this should mark this household?

Tim Lundy (35:42):
Now we value conversation. So we value talking together as a family. We value fun. We like competing together. We value having faith in our household. So we not only go to church, but man, we talk about it from time to time or we engage with it. It's listing your values and then next to the value, you go, if I say I value this, if I say a value outdoor activity, if I say whatever it is, then what's the activity that actually says that we do this? And here's the key part. After you kind of list those things, then you have to go to the calendar and be proactive and go, we're going to go ahead and put those activities on the calendar first. We're going to say, hey, you know what? We have three longer dinners a week and we all engage and we all prepare it together and we sit around the table and we go a little bit longer in it. And so we've calendared that out. And trust me, when you have a household like we are with teenagers, it's three-level chess sometimes with the calendar.

Tim Lundy (36:43):
Here's all I know though. If I don't get ahead of it, it disappears. The time disappears. They disappear. And you don't have the very things that you say you value. It's like the old time management seminar. I don't know if you've seen where the guy, they'll bring a jar out. And then they fill the jar with these big rocks and they'll ask the group. So is the jar full? And everybody says, yes, the jar is full. And he goes, actually not. And then they take a bucket of pebbles and pour the pebbles in. It fills all the other space. And he goes, is the jar full? And they go, yes, the jar's full. Actually not. Then they take sand and they pour sand in and it fills the rest of the space. Is the jar full? And then ultimately you can put water in. So you realize how much space is there. Here's the interesting part though. If you take the exact same jar and you start with the water and then you put the sand in and then you put the pebbles in, it fills it, it keeps filling, it keeps filling it. And it ultimately reaches point you can't put any of the big rock sand because you've already filled it up with all the little stuff. See, I think this is what's happening to us. I think too often, we're filling our lives with digital grains of sand in our homes. And the big stuff that we say we even value, we just don't have the time to do.

Tim Lundy (38:03):
And so again, not shame. Sober assessment. We step back as an individual, as a couple, as a family and you go, hey, and you can make it a family exercise. What are the things we want to say mark our household? What are the things we want to do? And you proactively put it out there. Nobody's saying you have to become this family you've never been. Nobody's saying that to do this, you got to sit around and we're going to have poetry night and we turn off everything and we read poetry to each other. That's not you. Don't do that. Or we're going to go back to the 18th century. Hey kids, we're going to whittle tonight. Here's your stick. Here's your knife. We whittle together. It doesn't have to be that profound. You know, for us, we love movie night and engaging together. It can be TV.

Tim Lundy (38:49):
Here's what I would say on TV. No passive watching anymore. Don't turn it on just to have it on. Turn it on because we said, hey, we want to watch this. We're proactively around it. And you watch things even together. You go, TV, Tim. That's not, you know what? Just getting families together. I mean think about it. When I was growing up, most households only had one TV. Do you remember that? It was like a huge piece of furniture too. Back then, the bigger the furniture, the better the TV. It had kind of the box on it. And we only had three channels. You remember those days? Some of you kids today, you're going, what? Three channels? Well, there was PBS. But nobody watched PBS. At least we didn't watch PBS. Some of you are going, we watched PBS. And that's why you're a smart engineer and I'm a pastor. But we didn't watch PBS. But when it was on, you were all together because, you know, you're going to watch it and you usually didn't even change the channel because it was too hard. Someone had to get up and, you know, kind of clunk, clunk.

Tim Lundy (39:54):
And our knob broke at one time or maybe my mom took it off. I don't know. We had a pair of pliers. I don't know if anybody else had that. Pair of pliers on top of the TV. And we're like, chonk, chonk, you're fishing for channels. You're like, oh! PBS. Crud. All right. Keep going. You did it all together though. I mean it hit me the other day with our family on movie night. I just thought we keep trying to find the perfect movie. Everybody likes it. If half don't like it, then they go to their room or they go off and do something. So I just made the declaration. Hey, it's family movie night. The whole family right here. No devices, no anything else. We're watching the movie. Half of you hate it. I don't care. You get to vote on the next one. And again, why? Just so we have it together. We share life together. What about you in that?

Tim Lundy (40:50):
The third principle you see in it. Create device-free spaces in your house, common spaces where you choose to do life together and fill those spaces with activity you want. Some people have said no devices ever in the kitchen. Kitchen is a place of life and activity and fun and eating. So we never bring devices there. I've read others that they go, bedrooms are device-free. Bedrooms are never split. Do you let it just go in every area of your house? Or have you picked the areas that you go for this reason? Chick-fil-A has a thing right now. You can get a box. And they say put the box on your kitchen table so that you put your device in the box when you're having dinner. It's just simple ways of going, we're declaring that and taking that space. Look at the next principle with it. Structure your time and set device limits for yourself and your family. And again, this is again, just being proactive and go, what times are we going to do it? So Andy Crouch, this is what they do in their family. They say one hour a day, one day a week and one week a year, totally digital free.

Tim Lundy (41:49):
One hour every day, everybody's got to be digital free. One day a week on their Sabbath day, no devices. It's just they've declared that space. And then they go on a vacation together as family every year and no devices the whole time. That's theirs. Again, I'm not saying that's the only way to do it. But have you thought through what are your structures? Another way is a digital allowance, especially with kids. You think about their age, just like you give them a financial allowance, here's your hours a week of digital allowance. And it starts teaching them spend it the way you want. If you got six hours for this week, if you want to knock it out with a Fortnite tournament in one night, great. But once they're spent, they're spent. Or you dole them out with it. For us, even in your work, set rigid times in the day when you will do email, monitor social media, etc. You'd be amazed how much your productivity would go up if you just set times that you go, I don't do any email, I don't do anything from 8 to 10. I work. Then at 10 o'clock, I've given myself, hey, check email, return emails and stop. Sometimes you have to do it a couple of times during the day.

Tim Lundy (42:57):
You go, man, Tim, my company, there's constant communication on different parts. I'm not saying this works in every place. But if you don't structure some times where you are not constantly invaded, your work productivity will go down. I'd encourage you to turn your notifications off. I mean we have become Pavlov's dogs. Remember the Russian scientist Pavlov? He had the dogs and every time he would feed them, he'd ring a bell thing. And then they'd feed. Ding. And it got to the point, he could ring the bell and they would salivate whether there was food or not just from the bell. And we are just like that. We have all these notifications. Ding, ding, got to answer. Ding. It doesn't matter that I'm eating with a live person. For some reason, this person now became more important just because they reached out to me. Come on. Let's not live that way.

Tim Lundy (43:52):
Next principle, your devices should go to bed earlier and sleep later than you do. Every day it's just a healthy break to go, it's time for them to go to bed. Pick their bedtime and let them go to bed. And then when you get up in the morning, they're not your first companion. I'd encourage you, I think it's one of the best times a day just to spend it with God without the device. No notifications, no alerts yet. Let them go to bed earlier and sleep later. And they also need to sleep in another room. And I can give you the studies on what the light even from your phone is doing to your sleep patterns. It's just good to have them away. Next principle you see in it, recapture dinner and car time for daily interaction with real people. These are two of the quickest places to recapture. You eat every day. You have meals every day. Let that be real people time, not device time. Just recapturing that alone. And car time's a great time with real people. Everybody put your device away. We're going to talk. I mean I realized with it, I've got two boys that I drive to school every day and we have that car time every day. And I realized that we don't really have great car time. You know what the problem was? Me. Dad.

Tim Lundy (45:17):
Because I was listening to sports radio. And I thought, this is the dumbest thing in the world. There's only so many ways you can dissect how the 49ers lost the Super Bowl. Seriously. And so, I mean I got in the car and I declared to them. I said, that will never be on with us. And part of it, I had to declare it because I didn't trust me if I didn't. I go, that's never on. I only get you guys for a short amount of time. I'm not wasting it. Not wasting our time together. So here's what I'm asking you. You can't have any devices. You can't do anything else. We're going to actually talk. You declare it. Declare those times. Declare dinnertime again. And I know, when you have kids with all different schedules, maybe it's not a seven day a week thing. Pick the ones that it is. And you proactively say, I'm bringing my game to this dinner. I'm bringing my good energy. I'm bringing some discussion. I'm bringing a topic I heard. We recapture that. Next principle and we'll move to the last of them here. Spouses have complete access to one another's devices and parents have complete access to kids' devices. Complete, complete. If you're married, God established it in the garden. What did it say? They were naked and unashamed. That's a principle of marriage that all of my life is open before you. And I'm not ashamed of that. That applies to your digital world too.

Tim Lundy (46:52):
And so at any time. Now does that mean every day I'm on it? I don't pick up Lea's phone often. But I got complete access to it. And every so often, I'll go, who are you talking to? What's going on? And there's no like defensiveness, you can't know about this, you shouldn't know. It's like this is my life, this is your life too. Sometimes I've counseled couples and they're going through harder times usually because one has made some really poor decisions. And it's always funny when this issue comes up and they go, yeah, they get so defensive about it. And the spouse will say something like I just don't like them looking. Don't you trust me? And as soon as they say it, I always look at them and go, well, now that you said it out loud, no. No. I don't know if he does or she does, but I don't. And if you actually want them to trust you, the quickest way to build trust is openness. So be open. And the same with your kids. And again, I'm not a fear-based parent so I'm not like, oh man, I'm going to, but you need to have access. You need to drop in. They need to feel open with that. There's tools that they want to hide. They can hide conversations with Snapchat and that. I believe in a God and the Holy Spirit who's good to parents that if you're engaged with it, He'll bring things to light so that I don't live afraid with that. But again, and I'll say to the kids, I trust you guys. I just don't trust the world. And I know they're coming for you. So it's just good and healthy that we interact and talk about this.

Tim Lundy (48:30):
Give you the last couple of them real quickly. Invest in good tools to monitor and protect your home. There's great tools whether it's Covenant Eyes, whether it's Custodio. There's different tools that you can find out what's going on. And again, that's just putting some safeguards in place with that. Also, you need to read good books. I put a couple of them here. This one's a great one for families. Andy Crouch I think does a great job with them. John Dyer does a good job of just analyzing technology and how you approach it with a little bit different in it. But both of these are good resources. And then the final thing you need to be prepared for is prepare for resistance. Prepare for resistance. It's hard but worth it. You're not going to walk home and make some changes and your kids look at you and go, oh, thank you, Mommy and Daddy, we love that you took that away. You're not going to like it. It's amazing how much self-control I have in a sermon or hearing a sermon. Like when I'm sitting in here, we're talking about it, it's like, oh yes, I'm going to do that. But then when I actually have to go live it and do it and start putting these in place, it gets harder. That's why we need each other, guys. That's why we need church. That's why we need to live in a non-fear-based, non-shame-based kind of environment. Because it is hard, but it's good. And we have a mission to a world who desperately needs not only this truth, but the Savior who does transform lives.

Tim Lundy (50:03):
Let's pray together. Father. I do thank you. I thank you for your goodness. I thank you for how you shape and change lives. I thank you for how you move in different ways. And so as we just look to you in this, I pray that you would give us just wisdom. I pray that you'd give us an openness and an honesty with each other. I pray that we'd know how to encourage each other but also, call each other up. Lord, we thank you for the tools that you've given us. We live in an amazing age. May we use them well because you've sent us as missionaries here. And we pray these things in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
Read More
Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032