Fail

June 27, 2015

Thousands of years after the Roman Empire fell, people are still speculating about how such a powerful empire became too feeble to defend itself. Did it become corrupt? Was its taxes too high? Was it widespread lead poisoning? The refusal to break up tribes it assimilated? Was it the loss of traditional values? Did it over-expand?
There are all sorts of theories, but nobody really knows.

However, if American falls, historians won’t have to speculate because the problems that are destroying our country are right there for anyone to see. You want to know how to break the greatest nation the world has ever seen over the course of a few short decades? Just look at what we’re actually doing because future generations will point to it when they’re trying to figure out where we went wrong.
1) Unsustainable Debt: By 2020, projections indicate that we’d need 20% of the GDP of the ENTIRE PLANET just to finance our debt, which will continue to increase at a rapid pace. Despite the fact that it would require a miracle bigger than what Joan of Arc accomplished in order for Social Security and Medicare to function for another 20 years without enormous tax increases, we just added another costly entitlement program (Obamacare) and politicians are incessantly clamoring for new spending. Simply put, that is unsustainable over the long haul and without almost revolutionary changes that are currently politically unimaginable, our country will either go bankrupt or our money will be inflated so much that we’ll need wheelbarrows full of greenbacks to buy a loaf of bread.
2) Enormous Centralized Government: The bigger the tick, the less blood there is for the dog and there is no larger collection of blood suckers on Planet Earth than our own federal government. Our government has become so massive that lawmakers don’t even read the bills they pass any more, trivial changes to regulations made by unelected bureaucrats can drive productive businesses into bankruptcy and perhaps worst of all, 49% of the public gets benefits. That has not only bled the private sector and made our economy less dynamic, it has led to massive corruption. As P.J. O’Rourke said, “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”
3) An Overly-Progressive Income Tax Code: There are a lot of ramifications to almost half of all Americans paying no income taxes and few of them are good. There are few brakes on high income taxes because half the country isn’t impacted at all. Moreover, the progressive nature of the tax code stifles movement between economic classes. It’s a lot harder to go from “rags to riches” when the government starts looting you like a Somali pirate the moment you make any real income. Additionally, if half of Americans aren’t paying “their fair share,” then the other half has to overpay to make up for it. That reduces investment and production from the people in the best position to create jobs, thus slowing economic output even further. What happens when the tax code gets so skewed that the “takers” outnumber the “makers” in the United States? We’re getting very close to that tipping point and it’s doubtful that we’ll like the answer when we find out.

4) Moral Decay: It’s highly ironic that Americans have pushed Christianity to the side and embraced an, “If it feels good, not only is it okay to do it, but other people should celebrate you for it,” mentality at the very moment America is being decimated by a profound moral crisis. It’s no coincidence that America has the largest prison population in the world, drug use is rampant, 41% of births are out-of-wedlock and mass murders have become all too common in a Christian nation that has turned its back on God. As our nation becomes increasingly decadent, we’re learning what John Adams meant when he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
5) Backward Immigration Policies: When America is still considered the most desirable place to live on the planet, immigration should be a huge boon to the country. At times in our nation’s past it certainly was, but today this incredibly potential source of strength is a wash at best and a drag on the country at worst.
For example, did you know that, “in 2010, 36 percent of immigrant-headed households receive benefits from at least one welfare program, compared to just 23 percent of households headed by U.S. natives. Among households with children, immigrant welfare households outnumbered non-immigrants by a similarly wide margin: 57 percent to 40 percent.”
The percentage of immigrants on welfare should be zero. After all, why would we want to bring someone into our country who’s going to end up on the dole?
Instead of selecting the cream of the crop, the rich, the geniuses, the skilled, and people who can add to our tax base, we take pretty much anybody who has a relative here or who claims that he’d be in danger in his home country (and let’s face it, the vast majority of them are lying). Do we get SOME great Americans this way? Sure, but why not spend all our time searching out those people instead of getting a few of them, lots of welfare cases and a handful of Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs in the process?
This is even truer for illegal immigrants who are overwhelmingly poor, uneducated, minimally skilled and by definition, are not law-abiding people. In a world where an education and a high level of skill are becoming ever more necessary to get most jobs worth having, why import massive numbers of people who will never fit that definition to undercut poor American workers who are already struggling to climb the ladder?
On top of all this, instead of encouraging immigrants to adapt to this most successful culture in recorded human history, they’re encouraged to nurse grievances, despise their own adopted home country and cling to the cultures of the failed nations from which they’ve come. Instead of a source of strength, immigration is handled so poorly that we’d be better off stopping it entirely until our laws can be rewritten from top to bottom rather than continuing on with a system that’s completely broken.

Home Advice

June 26, 2015

My husband and I purchased our first home when we were 23 years old. With no kids in the picture, we weren’t looking for anything fancy; we were thrilled to have a house that came with a refrigerator and central air conditioning!

It was small, and we figured that we would live here for no more five years. Once we had kids, it would be time to move on to something bigger and better. Fast forward seven years and almost three kids later, and we are unexpectedly still here.

Well-meaning friends and family often ask us when we will be moving… and they are usually surprised to hear that we don’t currently have any plans to move.

Here are a few reasons why we have decided to stick with our starter home for the time being:

We Recognized Our Needs vs. Wants

Our home is about 1300 square feet. It’s not tiny, but the layout is awkward and boxy. The three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms are pocket-sized.

I will be honest and say that I dream of a larger kitchen, an open floor plan, a finished basement, and two spacious full bathrooms. But when I step back to reevaluate, those are just wants at this point, not needs.

Our Priorities Don’t Allow for an Upgrade

A priority for our family is for me to stay home with our kids. Living in a small house and not having a large monthly mortgage payment allows us to retain this priority.

Our Smaller Home is Low Maintenance

I do not enjoy decorating, cleaning, or organizing… so I am thankful that my small house makes these tasks seem more manageable.
We have also been able to complete some major renovations on our home (including a new roof and a bathroom remodel) thanks to the fact that the spaces were so small and fairly inexpensive!

Love Grows Even in Little Houses

I want my family to be tight-knit. My big kids are cheerful and content in their shared bedroom, and I appreciate the nearness that our small house affords us even though we are cramped at times!

I Don’t Want My House to Own Me

On the contrary, I want to own my house, completely. Over the years, we periodically threw extra cash at our mortgage and celebrated our 30th birthdays last year by using extra money in our savings to pay the remainder of the balance!
Some people advised us against this decision by saying that we would be better off investing the money or using it for a down payment on an upgrade. But I will attest that it was one of the best decisions that we have ever made.

We feel such greater financial freedom, and the increased cash flow is awesome! Also, since we know the sweet taste of being completely debt free, we are not in a hurry to acquire another mortgage.

So What’s Next For Us?
As our kids and family grow, we recognize that a larger home may soon become a need rather than a want. We hope to use the next few years to save money for a larger home — our ultimate goal would be to pay for our next home in cash, or to have a very tiny mortgage.

We are looking forward to working towards that goal!

-Andrea

Quote of the Day

June 23, 2015

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

-Jim Elliot

Stop Grumbling

June 22, 2015

Last week, in preparation to preach from Philippians, I began tracking how often I grumble. How often do I complain either out loud, under my breath, or in my mind? I’m ashamed to say it was far more than I would have suspected.
Paul says we should do all things without grumbling or disputing (Phil. 2:14). He then goes on to describe four characteristics of what we will become when we do so: blameless, innocent, children of God, and above reproach. He’s not talking about salvation with these terms; that was accomplished by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. He’s instead talking about how others will perceive us. He’s talking about an outward revelation of an inward reality. 
I’m a little surprised by Paul’s description of this outward revelation. Why not focus on bigger issues? Wouldn’t our salvation be better evidenced by things refraining from lying or stealing or murdering our neighbor? Actually, no. Societal pressures can limit all of these things, even in non-believers. But what comes out of my mouth when things don’t go my way indicates whose kingdom I serve.
In the context of that chapter, Paul has been talking about Jesus’s self-sacrifice and willingness to put others first. Paul encourages us to model this example with a humble mindset and unselfish behavior. But selflessness can be a rather abstract idea, and our loophole mentality can cause us to weasel out of considering the importance of others. So Paul offers us a practical, though nearly impossible, task: Don’t grumble. About anything.
Why We Must Stop Grumbling
Don’t grumble about anything? Even traffic? Even the long line at the DMV? Even the weather? Even politicians? Even that annoying church member? Yes, even those things. By not grumbling we shine light in the world for a crooked and perverse generation.
Is Paul really saying that if I quit grumbling about things, I will appear as a light in a dark world? I admit I was a bit skeptical. But I really do think that’s what he meant, since for me to stop grumbling several things have to happen.
First, I need to humble myself to realize that my small grumblings really are sinful and offensive to God. This kind of humility chips away at my pride.
Second, I need to get to the bottom of the issue. I need to ask God to graciously show me where and why I grumble. During my weeklong experiment, in every instance I grumbled because things weren’t going my way. Grumbling usually blames someone or something else: an inefficient worker, an unjust system, an inconvenient incident. But the thought occurred to me this week: Why do I deserve this line to go faster or that person to act a certain way or my day to have a certain type of weather? I don’t.
Awareness of my grumbling showed me where I desire my kingdom, rather than God’s kingdom, to flourish. That is always the issue. When I grumble in response to circumstances, I am stating that the values of my kingdom matter more than the values of God’s kingdom. I am stating that people should work better for my sake, that systems should function in certain ways for my benefit, and that the weather should conform to my particular desires. I am the focus of my life.
Grumbling Hinders Humility
Third, I need to recognize that tendency to focus on myself and, instead, look to Jesus. He is the perfect example of what to do when kingdoms conflict. He was God’s kingdom on earth—and the kingdom of the world constantly clashed with him. Yet he didn’t “consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself . . . he humbled himself becoming obedient.” 
Paul knew that to conquer the grumbles, you have to submit to God’s kingdom, to die to self. And when you submit to God’s kingdom, this attitude will pervade not only your words but also your actions. Conquering the grumbles may seem like a small part of building God’s kingdom, but because of what it requires, it’s a foundational building block. When in humility we seek to stop grumbling, we necessarily start building God’s kingdom instead of our own. Then his light shines through us in a dark world, allowing others to see God more clearly. 
At a local fast-food restaurant I visit there is an employee who always smiles as he cleans the tables and picks the trash off the floor. Instead of complaining or rolling his eyes at the mess that some people make, he sings about Jesus, quietly, almost inaudibly. He is a light, often receiving smiles in return from customers as he passes on to another mess. By refusing to grumble he is showing what it means to live in God’s kingdom. May his tribe increase and our grumbles decrease.

-Michael Herrington

Flee Calvinism?

June 15, 2015

escape_from_dog1. You’ll have more time to enjoy life because you’ll be less busy policing the theology of others.

Seriously– I’ve never seen anyone police theology like a Calvinist; it’s almost as if rebuking everyone you come into contact with is part of the job description. Once you leave that behind you’ll realize you have a boat load of time on your hands and happen to live in a world where there are lots of fun things to go do. Even if this doesn’t actually free up real time, it will certainly lighten your burden in life when you realize you’re free to follow Jesus without being the theology police to the rest of the Christian world.

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 2. You’ll begin to appreciate the diversity that exists in the body of Christ.

Calvinism may appreciate a version of God who creates the vast majority of humanity for the sole purpose of smiting and torturing them, but what it doesn’t appreciate is the existence of Christians who see things differently. Once you let go of the Calvinistic lifestyle, you’ll be free to view the vast landscape of Christian thought and see there are many beautiful Christ-followers who all see things slightly differently than the other. You won’t always agree with them, but you’ll grow to see that we’re more because of Christian diversity- not less.

3. You’ll instantly make the gospel more attractive to nonbelievers.

You know how Paul told that one guy to “make the Gospel attractive by how you live?” Well, abandoning the message of “God may have created you simply to be an object of his wrath, and you have no choice in that” is a great first start. The Gospel is good news but Calvinism is horrible news– when you abandon the later in favor of the former, what you’re selling will be far more attractive to nonbelievers since a good product sells itself. I grieve to imagine how many people reject Christianity because Calvinism is the first thing they come into contact with, and mistakenly believe the whole faith is built upon the premise that God is a third grade dodge ball captain who only picks the cool kids.
4. The cross will appear more beautiful.

Let me ask you, which is more beautiful:

For God so loved the word, or for God so loved a handful of people?

Jesus died for the sins of the world, or Jesus died for the sins of a handful of people?
On the cross Jesus was drawing all humanity to himself, or on the cross Jesus was drawing a handful of people to himself?

On the cross Jesus was reconciling all things, or on the cross Jesus was reconciling a few things?

I don’t know about you, but the cross of Calvinism is a diminished version of the cross I see in the New Testament. When we look at the cross we should see the fullness of God’s beauty- not a diminished version of it.

And, it’s not only the cross that will appear more beautiful– people will be more beautiful too, once you let go of seeing some of them as elected and some of them as reprobate objects of destruction.
5. You’ll get to go back to enjoying NOOMA videos.

And who doesn’t enjoy a classic NOOMA video? People who haven’t left Calvinism yet, that’s who. Remember that giddy feeling you once had when you popped one of those bad boys into the DVD player at small group and huddled around for some good conversation after? Well, the good news is you can get all that back. In fact, with less time reading Institutes you might discover a bunch of other thinkers you may enjoy, all who have come along since the NOOMA days. None of us will judge you for it.

Okay, well– maybe NOOMA videos went out a long time ago. Point is however, there’s a lot great stuff to read, see, and experience related to Christian thought outside of the reformed boundaries. I’m sure there’s something currently off limits that you’d like to read. Whatever that may be, I’m sure we have a copy to lend you.

It’s a beautiful world out here folks, but you’ve gotta climb over the walls of Calvinism to see it. The good news is most of us will readily welcome you… even though so many of you were not willing to welcome us.

It was just another busy Saturday in our house. Although I try to keep my weekends as clear as possible of work and spend time with my family, I always have my phone with me. This means that it can be hard to avoid seeing work emails on the weekend.
And this particular Saturday morning I was just checking an email which had come through and thinking about how to respond when I became aware of one of my sons repeatedly asking me about something.
Email completed, I quickly checked Facebook. He asked again and in response I mumbled something like ‘Err, yes, won’t be long’.
I had probably (but can’t exactly remember) been sucked into twitter when he asked again, this time more insistently. ‘Dad, can you answer me?’ This time I snapped back: ‘Look, can’t you see I am busy? Let me just finish this’.
He was quiet – and then replied evenly:
‘Dad, you’re a nicer person without your iPhone.’
He wasn’t lashing out in anger and he wasn’t even particularly upset. He was just giving his opinion based on what he has observed over time.
But it was a killer line. And when I thought about it, I realised he was right.
Being fully present
I used to have a standard mobile phone, then I switched to a BlackBerry and now I have an iPhone. Each upgrade of hardware has expanded my connectivity with a wider range of people. And particularly with twitter, there is a never-ending flow of issues to be drawn into, arguments to join in and stories to read.
But widening your range of contacts and expanding your input of data often runs counter to deepening genuine human relationships. We cannot be in two places at once – technology cannot multiply our humanity. And there is no way you can be fully present with those around you when you are trying to email, facebook or tweet others at the same time.
In pubs, restaurants, meetings (and even church services) it is becoming normal to see people who are only half there whilst another half is somewhere out in cyberspace. And in train carriages or buses, a huge number of people are immersed in their virtual own world that their smart phone gives them.
And whilst we are communicating ever more busily with our own network, we are in danger of being less and less present in the real world, less aware of what is happening around us and less open to encounters with real people who are around us. (For one example of this see this previous post about one such experience on the tube When good people do nothing.)
Blunt and honest
Whilst this might be a new cultural norm, my son’s comment gave me blunt feedback about he thought of this in our family context. Like the little boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes, his comment spoke truth I needed to hear.
And it is a reminder to me of listening to the right voices. Adults can easily assume that children don’t really have much to say to us – this is why children get patronised and fobbed off with distracted answers. But I need to remember that anything my son is saying to me is always more important than anything I can read on twitter.
Limiting screen-time
Like many parents, we limit ‘screen-time’ for our children because we want them doing a range of things away from the TV and computer. We think it’s good for their brains, for their creativity and their development not to be ‘glued to a screen’ for too long.
Well, if this is true for children then it’s all the more true for adults too. Perhaps we could all do with limiting our screen-time, turning off the devices to ensure we are more fully present in the places where we actually are.
You never know, it could be virtually liberating.

Power Corrupts

June 10, 2015

(Before It’s News)
By Brooks Agnew
I couldn’t believe it at first, either. How could any sitting president hope to sidestep the 22th Amendment placing term limits on the office of the presidency? Adopted on February 27th, 1951, this Amendment says:
 
“No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”
 
When George Washington was elected for his second term, it was clear that the people of America wanted him to stay there for life. He refused, voluntarily limiting himself to two terms to save America from the tyranny of living under a king. Most of the founding fathers escaped the British Empire and successfully rebelled against the royal family to form America. Their greatest fear was that a charismatic man would be elected to the office of president and never step down.
Every successive president followed that solemn tradition until Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Although he was nearly an invalid at the end of his second term, the Soviet power brokers that had thoroughly infiltrated the administration, and most of the bureaucracies, wanted to retain their power and continue to hold Eastern Europe as long as possible. The frail but crafty Harry Hopkins sent American military secrets, including the atomic bomb, to the Soviets. Roosevelt was kept alive through his third term and managed to win a fourth term, whereupon he died on April 12th, 1945. While convalescing at his “little white house” in Warm Springs, Georgia, he had a sudden cerebral hemorrhage and was dead within minutes.
Almost two years later on March 21st, 1947, the 22nd Amendment was passed by Congress to prevent any other president from serving more than two terms. 
Now, it goes without saying that our news cycle moves fast. Our world moves so fast, that you can get behind by taking a three month vacation from research. People elected to Congress have to begin campaigning as soon as they are elected, because two years comes so fast that even a week without fundraising can cost you the election. 
The power of the Washington D.C. crime syndicate is like being asked to work for two years in a gold mine. You can work all day, and then you are allowed to take home all you can carry in one hand. An elected official can arrive in Washington nearly penniless, and within one or two short terms can be worth millions. The legal insider trading alone is worth never leaving office.
In 1933, another government was formed inside Washington. Using the cataclysmic conditions of the Stock Market crash of 1929 as the main selling point, it was welcomed like cold milk to people eating dry chocolate cookies. History shows us that World War I was actually paused while bankers and industrialists swept enormous profits from the table during this period of global capital extraction. It resumed in 1939, under World War Part II, when Hitler’s funding by top world banks and U.S. investors was in position. 
The soviets wanted Eastern Europe out of the deal and by invading Washington they were able to supply a prefabricated government capable of buying votes by the millions. It was run by presidential ministers known as secretaries, who were called cabinet members by the president. They were not elected, but rather hand chosen by the president and passed off by the Senate during a process called advice and consent. This is a mutual hand washing ceremony where the Party in power grants approval to the president’s choices for federal judges and ministers.
Within three years, this new government had Americans hooked. Within 70 years, the careful process of engineered litigation and enforcement gave the president the power to usurp the constitution and force the Patriot Act into place, dissolving the separation of powers. Still, the system needed a special president. It needed someone who would tell the world what it wanted to hear, while grinding human liberty into gravel to be trodden under foot by armies of presidential enforcers.
Barack Hussein Obama is that president. He has ruled by law and executive orders, fundamentally changing America publically into the oligarchy it has been for decades behind the scenes. Global corporations staff and rule the departments, bureaus, administrations, and agencies that collect and spend all the money you have earned, that of your children, and that of your grandchildren. In January of 2013, Jose Serrano reintroduced a bill to abolish the 22nd amendment. It has been introduced each year since, to keep it current on the books. Outrageous, you say? Impossible? I used to think so as well.
But that was before Obama stood before the cameras of the world and tore the Constitution into pieces strip by strip to rousing applause. Just this week, he again ostentatiously ignored the separation of powers between the Supreme Court and the Presidency. There is only one thing standing in his way of accomplishing his goal. Hillary.
The Obama master strategist, Valerie Jarrett, does not like Hillary. She knows everything about Benghazi, about the investments in the Clinton Foundation, and where all the bodies are buried. She has all the files that were once on Hillary’s server, which I am sure sits at the bottom of the Hudson River by now. When the time is right, and too late for the Democrats to put together another candidate, they will release this information and destroy Hillary. 
Then the president will issue an executive order rescinding the 22nd Amendment in order to provide continuity and to protect the American people and Mexican people from losing the transformation he alone was successful in making into law. Obamacare must be saved from being changed back to Hillarycare. Like Roosevelt before him, the people will award him with the unlimited extension of his presidency. 
Who would stop him? Congress? Surely you jest. The ten Republican senators that consistently vote with Obama will never betray him, which emasculates the majority Americans think they have in Congress. They have a lower approval rating than hemorrhoids. Obama has opened our borders, given away our military secrets, polarized black people against white people, rich against poor, and worked harder than anyone to dissolve marriage from American society. He commands the IRS to systematically destroy every single Tea Party congressman and senator. He orders the EPA to destroy the coal industry and to protect global corporations that are his largest contributors. He orders the DOT to stop competitors against Government Motors. He hands out trillions to his supporters and starves and litigates his enemies. Any Supreme Court decision will be used to stoke the furnace prepared to incinerate our Constitution by popular demand developed by an expert propaganda machine in Washington. 
How about the military? Forget about that. Obama has removed more than 300 flag officers from their positions and replaced them with sycophants. He has armed and funded the nation’s first domestic standing army that answers to no one but him. Look around. Jade Helm 2015 is moving thousands of armored vehicles and foreign troops into strategic areas around the country as we speak. This includes thousands of tons of razor wire. Who do you think is going to go back and remove all that razor wire after this temporary training exercise is over? No one, because it will never be over. I understand that the code HELM means Homeland Eradication of Local Militia.
The world’s most powerful government writes law, taxes, fines, confiscates our possessions, and will kill or incarcerate anyone it wants anywhere it wants without due process of law. The shocker is that the American people have no representation in that government, and it answers to no one but the president. That is the pure definition of tyranny. I would say that the presidency is his for the taking, wouldn’t you?. 
Vladimir Putin and Valerie Jarrett have taught Mr. Obama well the first rule of power. When you get the power in your hands, never let it go.

Morning and Night

June 7, 2015

Six Wrong Reasons to Check Your Phone in the MorningOur phones now go wherever we go — which is everywhere. And that means most of us sleep with our phones. In the bedroom, our phone wakes us up, tracks our sleep patterns, and makes us available in the event of an emergency.
All these benefits are wonderful. The problem comes when our phone is within arm’s reach and we grab it out of habit to check email and social media in our half-conscious state of sleep inertia — before our groggy eyes can even fully open.
In our survey of 8,000 readers of desiringGod.org, over half of you (54%) admit to checking your smartphone within minutes of waking up on a typical morning.
Then we asked, whether you are more likely to check email and social media before or after your spiritual disciplines on a typical morning, 73% of you said before. Here’s the breakdown by age and gender.
Survey Results of Checking Email and Social Media before Spiritual Disciplines
We don’t need charts to know we are quick to Facebook and slow to God, and this impulse is a problem if John Piper is right when he says, “I feel like I have to get saved every morning. I wake up and the devil is sitting on my face.”
That’s a startling way to talk about the daily challenge of the Christian life.
Put another way, whatever we focus our hearts on first in the morning will shape our entire day.
So why are we so quick to check email and social media in the morning, and so slow to spend intentional time with God in his word and prayer? And can we find a better way forward in the pages of Scripture?
I asked John Piper. What follows is an edited and abbreviated transcript of what he said (which will be part of an Ask Pastor John episode next month).
Why are we so prone to click on our phones before we do almost anything else? I thought of six possible reasons, which came out of analyzing my heart and temptations.
It seems to me that all of these six things are rooted in sin, rather than in the desire to serve others and savor God. And I put it like that because I do think the Great Commandment sets the agenda for our mornings and our midday and our evening.
We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength when we wake up in the morning. And we are to prepare ourselves to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37–40).
Very few of us wake up with our whole soul spring-loaded to love God and love people. This disposition takes some refocusing — to put it mildly — by means of the word of God and prayer.
So here are my six guesses for why so many of us are drawn almost addictively to consult with our phones when we wake up in the morning. The first three I call candy motives. The second three I call avoidance motives.
Reason 1: Novelty Candy
We simply love to hear what is new in the world and new among our friends. What happened since we last glanced at the world? Most of us like to be the first one to know something, and then we don’t have to assume the humble posture of being told something that smart and savvy and on-the-ball people already know.
Then maybe we can assume the role of being the informer, rather than the poor benighted people that need to be informed about what happened and if they were smart enough they would have been on their social media earlier.
Reason 2: Ego Candy
What have people said about us since the last time we checked? Who has taken note of us? Who has retweeted us? Who mentioned us or liked us or followed us? In our fallen, sinful condition, there is an inordinate enjoyment of the human ego being attended to. Some of us are weak enough, wounded enough, fragile enough, insecure enough, that any little mention of us feels good. It is like somebody kissed us.
Reason 3: Entertainment Candy
On the Internet, there is an endless stream of fascinating, weird, strange, wonderful, shocking, spell-binding, and cute pictures, quotes, videos, stories, and links. Many of us now are almost addicted to the need of something striking and bizarre and extraordinary and amazing.
So at least those three candy motives are at work in us as we wake up in the morning and have these cravings that we seek to satisfy with our phones.
Then there are three avoidance motives. In other words, these aren’t positive desires for something; these are facing things in life that we simply want to avoid for another five minutes.
Reason 4: Boredom Avoidance
We wake up in the morning and the day in front of us looks boring. There is nothing exciting coming in our day and little incentive to get out of bed. And of course, the human soul hates a vacuum. If there is nothing significant and positive and hopeful in front of us to fill the hope-shaped place in our souls, then we are going to use our phones to avoid stepping into that boredom.
Reason 5: Responsibility Avoidance
We each have a role: father, mother, boss, employee, whatever. There are burdens that are coming at us in the day that are weighty. The buck stops with us. Decisions have to be made about our children, the house, the car, the finances, and dozens of other things. Life is full of weighty responsibilities, we feel inadequate for them, and we are lying there in bed feeling fearful — maybe even resentful — that people put so much pressure on us. We are not attracted to this day, and we prefer to avoid it for another five or ten minutes. And there is the phone to help us postpone the day.
Reason 6: Hardship Avoidance
You may be in a season of life where what you meet when you get out of bed is not just boredom and not just responsibility, but mega relational conflict, or issues of disease or disability in the home, friends who are against you, or pain in your own body in your joints and you can barely get out of bed because it hurts so bad in the morning, and it is just easier to lie there a little longer. And the phone adds to the escape.
Thinking in the Other Direction
So those are my six guesses for why so many of us are drawn almost addictively to consult with our phones when we wake up in the morning — candy motives and avoidance motives.
But think about this. Suppose you open your phone immediately in the morning. What if you are the first one to horrible news? Or what if in your search for ego-candy, you find ego-acid, and people have hated you overnight? And what if you spend five minutes getting yourself happily entertained in the morning, rather than facing the responsibilities of the day immediately, and you find at the end of those five minutes that they have drug you down into a silly, demeaning, small-minded, hollow, immature frame of mind?
Was it worth it?
And what if you take five minutes to avoid the boredom and responsibility and hardship of the day only to find at the end of those five minutes of avoidance, you are spiritually, morally, and emotionally less able to cope with the reality of the day?
Was it worth it?
What we want in our morning routine is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We want something that gives us a zeal for the glory of Christ for the day’s work. We want to be strengthened to face whatever the day may bring. We want something that gives us joyful courage to resolve to count others better than ourselves and pursue true greatness, like Jesus said, by becoming the servant of all (Matthew 20:26–28). That is our real agenda in the morning.
We Need Our Mornings
Very few of us wake up strengthened to do all of those glorious things. So the new course for the morning, I think, is laid out in the Psalms.
    O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;

        in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (Psalm 5:3)

Let the first thing out of your mouth in the morning, while you are still on the pillow, be a cry to God: “I love you, Lord. I need you, Lord. Help me, Lord.” That is the first cry out of my mouth in the morning. I need you again today. Then, prepare a sacrifice and watch. I think that sacrifice is my body and my attention devoted to him.
I watch for the Lord to show up and do what? What am I watching for?
    Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,

        for in you I trust.

    Make me know the way I should go,

        for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)

So I am on the lookout for the steadfast love of God. And I am on the lookout for it in his word.
    Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

        that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)

So we watch in God’s inspired word for revelations of his steadfast love and his guidance for our lives with a profound sense of satisfaction in our souls that he is beautiful and he cares for us.
    My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,

        that I may meditate on your promise. (Psalm 119:148)

    How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

        How vast is the sum of them!

    If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

        I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:17–18)

Before you go to bed tonight, make some choices and some plans to free yourself from the candy addictions and the habits of avoidance that have been ruining the strengthening potential of your mornings.
Piper: “I feel like I have to get saved every morning. I wake up and the devil is sitting on my face.” Tweet

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Full author tony reinke

Tony Reinke is a content strategist and staff writer for Desiring God and the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011) and John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015). He hosts the Ask Pastor John podcast, and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and their three children. He also blogs at tonyreinke.com.

Reactions to BJ

June 4, 2015

“I have news for them — changing the outside doesn’t change the inside,” he explained is his post. “No man-made modification can fix what’s wrong with the heart. Only God can fix the human heart.
“If we ask for His forgiveness and accept by faith His Son, Jesus Christ, He will wipe the slate clean. The Bible says, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).”
Franklin Graham
The left is challenging everything that is right and true. Truth has no meaning anymore. It is defined by whom? Who is to say what is right or wrong if I say I love my pet hamster and I want to marry it. The left says that marriage is defined not by a man and a woman but by love. 
Moreover, words have no meaning anymore. Words of courageous and heroic were once used to describe those men and women serving in the military, WWII vets, etc. But the left now will use it to describe a man who is delusional and desires to be a woman. 
We as Christians need to stand on the Rock and Redeemer and not to give excuses but call sin, sin. And trust that the Lord will either save those who repent and believe or will bring justice for those who deny Him.