Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Quest Against Distractions (and cell phones in church)

Wherever you are, be all there.  ~ Jim Elliott

I have not preached in a worship service for the past two years without a cell phone interrupting worship, without seeing a child, a teen, or an adult texting while we were worshiping or while I was preaching.  I cannot remember the last time I was in a prayer meeting or a Bible study that was not interrupted by a phone call or text message notification.  I regularly visit the terminally ill, and I almost cannot have a conversation with a person who is about to enter eternity without God without being interrupted by the supposed bliss of instant communication.

I have them all - a smart phone, satellite TV, online Xbox 360, and wireless internet - but they have not caused my family to grow closer, my marriage to grow deeper, or my friendships to be more significant. . . nor, I wager, have they yours.

We can, however, turn all of these things off, and I wish that every adult would when they come to church, and that every parent would confiscate their child's cell phone when they walk in the doors. When I am going to have any kind of significant conversation with anyone, I try to close my laptop, leave my phone in the car, or just turn it off if it's with me.

We just cannot value the people we are with if we take every call or text that comes in. We cannot value God when we allow our worship of Him to be interrupted by what everyone outside of church thinks is urgent enough to call us about.

If fast food places have signs stating, "We don't take orders from people who are on their cell phones," why don't we turn them off when we are in a conversation with someone - especially when we are in worship.