11 Quotes From “Alone”

AloneAlone should be read and discussed by parents and teens to help find the right balance of technology usage in our lives. You can read my book review by clicking here. Below are some of the quotes that stood out to me from Alone.

“Maybe God created Adam to be needy. … Maybe Adam’s relationship with God was not built in fullness but contained a hole God created inside of humanity so we might recognize the importance of each other. It was (and is) brilliant.”

“Friendship has to be accompanied by experience. … The illusion of friendship is making everyone in the world think we’re perfect. … Instead of time spent experiencing life together, we’ve turned our world into a self-shaped, self-regulated, self-indulgent, me-centered life.”

“We are now a culture that wants to deal with relationships on our time. … Relationships are work. They’re inconvenient. They’re exciting and spontaneous. You can’t apply some formula for relationships and expect to walk out of the room with a load of friends.” 

“When you realize what role you have to play here on the planet, the most beautiful sense of belonging begins to awaken inside your soul. The world begins making sense. No matter what you’re doing, if God has gifted you in it, you’re going to have a high level of functioning.”

“Don’t get me wrong: Hard work and dedication are important factors as we help people understand significance, but in the end, our short lives are shaped by the relationships we make along our own journey. And if those relationships are filled with people who believe in us, the lonely factor fades away and we are recognized for the abilities we do have rather than the ones we don’t. Paul said it clearly: ‘I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands’ (2 Timothy 1:6). What can you do to fan someone else’s flame? Who in your life fans yours?”

“Maybe it’s because we’ve replaced the idea of risk and adventure with the idea of wealth and comfort. Loneliness begins to creep into a man’s life when adventure and risk are taken out of the equation, when men have to replace their God-given desires with something ‘more responsible.’ … Men need to sense that what they are doing in the world is courageous. They need to feel the sense of responsibility and freedom. They need to have opportunities to express their manhood.”

“There is no perfect girlfriend. There is no perfect employee. There is no perfect friend. There is no perfect body type or student or athlete. There’s no such thing as a perfect woman who finds the perfect role for her perfect situation. Those who continue to assign a high value to that mythical person who has it all together are driving themselves mad with the idea that they can achieve her. It’s from this feeling of failure, of never measuring up, that the loneliness sets in.” 

“The first step in understanding true joy is defining what joy actually is. It’s a feeling. It’s an emotion. It’s a state of mind. It’s the ability to know that the desires of your heart are being fulfilled. It’s not happiness. It’s not the constant state of euphoria. It’s not everything lining up perfectly. … In modern times, joy happens when we interact with each other. When we see a friend’s smile giving us validation that he or she is interested in being with us: joy. When we hear the words ‘How are you?’ in an honest tone, with honest body language behind it: joy. When we have an opportunity to rest in the fact that someone else wants us to be the person God created us to be: ultimate joy.”

“The quickest way to initiate friendship is to give people freedom to be themselves.”

“‘Oh, you did sooo well in your game,’ she said, walking past, rolling her eyes. Versus … ‘I can’t believe you! You’re the most awesome basketball player I’ve ever seen,’ she said, putting her arm around her friend in celebration. See the difference? Authentic versus agenda-driven. Caring for someone versus using someone. When a tribe is built … When experience glues relationships together … When you can rest in the joy that certain relationship gives you … Loneliness starts to fade away. But you can’t do that on Facebook.”

“If we can take the value of the social networking scene and combine it with real-time relationships, we might see this trend of loneliness take a positive direction. What would life look like if we could really experience life together? Community is important. To be able to contribute to the life of the community is even more fulfilling.” 

Alone (book review)

AloneIt’s weird to think this way in our highly-connected society, with the status symbol of getting as many friends, followers, and likes as possible, but more and more people feel disconnected and desperately alone. This is a serious subject that Andy Braner hits head-on in his book Alone.

Andy writes, “When people ask me, ‘What’s the biggest problem we can identify in the teenage nation today?’ it’s an easy answer: Teenagers are living all alone! … Even though Facebook gives us the ability to build a convenient corner of lives over the vast Web interface, the light of a computer screen isn’t bright enough to shine deep into our hearts and souls. We need real people. … Although this book is written for just the teen crowd, know that you’re not the only ones struggling.”

I love technology, and I’m very appreciative of the instant access to information and people. But I also know  the double-edged sword of too much technology means an increased connection to screens corresponding with a decreased connection with living human beings. There has got to be a healthy balance, and Andy makes some great suggestions for finding that balance.

I not only encourage teens to read this book, but parents of teens need to read it as well. Whether you read it together or not, find a way to discuss this content. Help your teenagers find healthy, fulfilling connections both through a screen and through face-to-face interactions.

I Am Doulos

I am doulosIn this era of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, we are so concerned about connections, friends, followers, and likes. We self-promote and pray for popularity.

Well, I don’t think anyone is actually brazen enough to pray, “God, make me popular.” But we often live as if popularity was the answer to a prayer. We gain our status by who we know, what we’ve done, what we are doing, the places we’ve worked, the number of “friends,” “followers” and “connections” we have accumulated.

James wrote a book of the Bible. As he opened the letter he introduced himself. He could have said:

  • I am the half-brother of Jesus
  • I am the leader of the Christian Church
  • I chaired the Jerusalem Council

Instead he simply said, James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Not even the servant, as if he were distinguished among others, but the indefinite article a servant. The Greek word here (doulos) means:

  • A slave
  • “One who gives himself up to another’s will for Christ to use his service to advance His cause among men” (Strong’s).
  • Devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.

Any connections, friends, followers, skills, talents, or opportunities I have are wholly God’s. He gave them to me so I could serve Him and serve others. I am merely a steward of what He’s given me—I AM DOULOS.

My desire for my eulogy and my tombstone: “He was a servant.”

I am living to hear my Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Likeminded

How many friends do you have? I don’t mean your “friend count” on Facebook, because you and I both know that some of your “friends” aren’t really those people with whom you would share confidential information.

No, I mean real friends.

There were few people as well-known in his day as the Apostle Paul. His missionary journeys took him all over the place. The stories he could tell about his adventures would keep an audience glued to their seats. He knew church leaders and governmental officials. He planted churches and trained pastors. If ever here was someone that would have had a full list of friends on Facebook, it would have been Paul.

Yet here’s what he writes to the church at Philippi:

I have no one else like Timothy, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:20, 21)

Among other things, Paul says Timothy is:

  • A servant (Phil. 1:1)
  • Trustworthy (2:19)
  • Faithful (2:20)
  • Christ-focused (2:21)
  • A hard worker (2:22)

Yet when Paul says. “I have no one like him,” he uses a Greek word only used once in all of Scripture. The King James Version translates this word likeminded. This word means equal in quality and quantity of soul.

In other words, in all of the people that would be considered a “friend” of Paul, only one, Timothy, did Paul call likeminded: someone Paul’s equal in soul.

If that type of friendship was rare for Paul, how much more so for you and me?

God may only bring one likeminded friend into your life (as He did with Paul). If you have that one likeminded friend, cherish that relationship and give God thanks for it! How blessed we are when we have a friend we can call likeminded!

Listen To This!

There are a lot of voices out there. A lot! Facebook, Twitter, email, texts, news reports, conversations with friends, opinions of experts, sermons from pastors.

Jesus said,

I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not accept Me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. (John 5:43)

How quickly I tune in to…

…that expert

…this esteemed pastor

…that doctor

…that teacher

…this specialist

…this author

…that friend

But all they can share is what he or she knows.

When Jesus speaks, it is with all the wisdom that is known, AND with all the wisdom that hasn’t even been discovered by man yet. He is all-knowing, all-wise, all loving. Jesus should always be my first and final authority.

Am I listening to His words? Or am I tuning in to someone else?

Are you?

Being Quiet

I love technology. But along with all of the technology comes a whole lot of noise. Not necessarily the noise that your ears pick up, but the noise in your mind.

  • We’ve got Facebook for the latest social updates.
  • Twitter and blogs for the latest news and commentary.
  • Flickr, Twitpic, and Intragram for the latest pictures.
  • LinedIn for the latest business interactions.
  • Cell phones for instant messaging.

And if we miss out on any of those things, we feel left behind.

Here’s the ironic thing about all of this social media. Trying to keep up with everything and everyone raises the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) in our bodies. And cortisol actually increases anti-social behavior.

Read the rest of this entry »

Appropriate Language

Just wondering…

If the Bible says this

Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

…does my texting, blogging, Facebooking and Tweeting line up?

Does yours?

Wow!

Geek Wedding

Yup, this is what social media is doing to traditional church services. Now it’s official on Facebook before it’s official in church!

Don’t believe me? Watch this —

Random

Betsy has no summer school today so we’re just chillin’ around the house. This is also one of the rare weekends that I’m not speaking anywhere. To celebrate the start of a long, lazy weekend, I thought I’d post some random thoughts about me.

Here goes…

  • My blog just surpassed 10,000 hits this morning… wow!
  • I’ve been using Twitter for the past three months, and I love it.
  • I don’t drink coffee.
  • I love tea… black, green, white, red, hot or cold.
  • Due to popular response (whatever that means) I’ve setup a “Top Ten List” page with my top posts.
  • My favorite author is C.S. Lewis.
  • My favorite book is the Bible.
  • A life-goal of mine is to read an autobiography or biography of every U.S. President.
  • I prefer Pepsi to Coke… especially Diet Pepsi… with fresh-squeezed lime.
  • But my all-time favorite drink is Enviga.
  • Facebook is fun!
  • My favorite Detroit team is the Tigers. My favorite players are Brandon Inge and Curtis Granderson… I love these guys that go all out all the time.
  • Betsy and I dated for 5 years, 8 months, and 2 days before we got married.
  • I still love going out on a date with Betsy!
  • My ideal vacation is sitting by a lake with a huge stack of books and a big glass of iced tea.
  • My ideal evening is playing kickball in the backyard with my kids (and all the neighborhood kids) and then snuggling with Betsy on the couch (after I shower!).
  • I don’t like to exercise just to exercise. However I love elevating my heartbeat by chasing a ball around the court/field.
  • I am more in love with Jesus today than I ever have been in my life!

There you go… a whole bunch of stuff you probably never knew or even cared to know! Have a great weekend!

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