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Happy 2023! A Year of Hope

Welcome to the first episode of 2023! This podcast is called Gospel Tech because we parent in a tech world, from the hope of the Gospel. Today we walk that out!

Today we’ll talk about hope, and how the Gospel gives us a reason for today and a purpose for tomorrow. In today’s episode we discuss how the Gospel changes how we parents our kids with tech, how we look at ourselves, and the way we handle tough circumstances that may even be out of our control.

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Hello everyone and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland, and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. Today, we are starting off with our. First episode of 2023. I’m so excited to still be able to do this. To be having this conversation with you about how can we love God? How can we use our technology? How can we raise kids in this world who will love God and use tech? And really my goal in doing this is threefold. I want every parent to be able to talk about healthy tech with their kids. I want you to understand the language. I want you to have a solid platform with which to have these conversations. Not to win fights, but to fight for your kids. Not just with them about technology. And then I want you to understand and communicate the gospel clearly. And that’s really the gonna be the foundation of today’s conversation cuz it is the bedrock of everything we do. It’s our standard for how we understand if tech is healthy or not.

It’s our standard for understanding where tech needs to go, what God is calling us to, and what our place in this digital world is. And that leads us to the last piece, which is to connect the hope of the gospel, and connect it to our everyday tech lives, which is what we’re doing today. We’re specifically talking about living out this year as a year of hope.

Last year I had been praying and the Lord had really just laid on my heart for me personally, that my journey needed to be about being humble, kind, and curious. And that very much defined this last year. I, a whole talk series came out of it, both the podcast wise and then a public school talk all about hope.

And that was based on humble, kind, and curious. And really hope is what I am praying into for this year. By that I mean when I pray, I’m asking the Lord to open my eyes to see hope in areas where I don’t see it, either in myself or for others or for this planet we live in. And also to understand the concept of hope. What does biblical and gospel focused hope look like? Not just a positive feeling, not just a positive mantra, not just wishing that things were better or turning a blind eye to things that stink, but how in light of things that are really hard. They can’t even just be justified things that are broken and bad.

Things like death, things like sickness, things like like all the things we’re seeing wrong with the world that are done sometimes even on purpose. What do we do in light of that? How do we have hope? I can’t just explain it away. I can’t just go God’s good and kinda laissez faire this thing and figure like it’ll work itself out. It doesn’t really bother me, but like when it bothers me, how do I have hope? And that’s where we’re taking today’s conversation cuz that’s what I want you to parent from. So, my hope in talking about Hope is to point our eyes back to Christ and to talk about the three ways that does impact us. So, thank you for joining me for this conversation. Thanks for being a part of it. And with no further. Let’s get this conversation started.

Welcome to the Gospel Tech Podcast, a resource for parents who feel overwhelmed and outpaced as they raise healthy youth in a tech world. As an educator, parent and tech user, I want to equip parents with the tools, resources, and confidence they need to raise kids who love God and use tech.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this podcast possible. And I’m just, again, I’m so pumped for our first podcast of 2023, I do wanna do a brief recap because this year has been crazy. Anna’s not on this episode to verify what I’m going to be saying, but we’ve mentioned it multiple times. But I just wanna praise the Lord for this. January of last year, 2022, we sat down with our board. Anna and I sat in our kitchen with our board members and basically had a conversation. It was like, Hey, we’ve, we don’t know what to do. We have been doing this work. We’ve been doing it faithfully. It’s hard. We don’t know why it’s hard. We don’t know if we’re doing the wrong thing or if we’re doing the right thing in the wrong way. Or if it’s just hard , but we don’t feel released. We have prayed for release. We’ve asked God to let us put this work down, and he’s basically said no. And the only reason we knew that is in praying. Just a heavy conviction that this work’s important, that empowering and equipping parents matters and that we need to be a part of that, in this season at least. And we didn’t feel comfort with that . We didn’t feel peace and we brought that before the board. And it was not like a fun go getting high five meeting. It was pretty heavy. And I only tell you that because the faithfulness of the Lord’s goodness did not just dissipate after that. His heaviness of conviction didn’t leave, but we were struggling. Anne and I, in communication just with one another. When you’re frustrated with your job and yet you feel called to that job and you both are on the same page with that, it wasn’t just me telling Anna, Hey, I need to do this. Come with me. Like we, we understood that this work was in a season we were called to be in it, for however long. We didn’t know if it was days, weeks, months, or years . But what we’ve been able to see in this last year is that the work has not gotten any easier. But the Lord has lifted a little bit of the darkness . We can see in front of us enough of how this is impacting some families, and how this is helping real life parents parent from the hope they have in the gospel. Not how they can fix their kids in the world of technology, not how we can start some kind of battle against video games or smartphones or even pornography. Things that are definitely evil, specifically pornography. Smartphones aren’t definitely evil. They can be really distracting, but in the area of pornography, like we are against that, but that’s not actually what we’re called to be against. We’re called to be for something. We’re for the gospel, and because of that we’ve become against things like pornography cuz those are distortions and lies of God’s plans and God’s truth.

And out of that we have a lot of hope. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it means we’re starting 2023 with a clear reminder of the work God is doing in us. Yes, but well outside of us. A lot of the angst, I feel is man, I should be out there doing that other thing because man, that’s a need too. I need to be reaching those kids. I need to be speaking these truths. I need to be given this other talk, and that’s all stuff I’m passionate about, but I’m not pursuing my passion in this. I’m trying to prayerfully and intentionally pursue God’s will. God’s good, perfect and pleasing will. And what I want to make sure I’m doing in that is that I’m putting my ideas and tensions and excitement aside my very AD personality. And instead, prayerfully asking, God what do you want me to be doing? How can I be faithful in this season? Is this still being faithful? I know it’s good, but is it what you have for me right now? And understanding Ephesians 2:1-10, we talked about this a lot, but the idea is that Sinners starting off. We’re saved by grace and that isn’t just for our salvation. Instead, it’s also for the good works. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we’re called to do. And those good works are gonna have to do with the great commission.

It’s gonna have to do with making disciples. It’s gonna have to do with telling all nations, and it’s gonna start with whatever garden God has planted us in. That image that Jesus gives of being a mustard seed, the kingdom of God. It’s a mustard seed cast into a garden and it becomes the biggest plant. That idea that we are cast into these gardens where you live.

So, I’m gonna say your family, if you were… it’s your spouse. If you have kids, it’s your kids. These are the first-person people you need to love by serving and love by repenting to. And then it’s your coworkers and it’s the people in your church community. And it’s the people that live next door. These are the people God has put you around. Wherever you live on the planet, these are the ones that you get to be salt and light to. And then sure, you get to be in your city and in your school district. These are things you get to serve in and you get to show the gospel in action. Yes. Doctrine, that’s great. But remember that the Bible exists because it’s already true.

Like before the Bible existed, before it was written, before it was canon, God was still God, and all these things were still true. Before Abraham met God, God was still true, and people were still called and he was still revealing himself through sunrises and sunsets and rainy seasons and idolatry was still wrong.

Like all these things were still true. And the reason I cover any of that is because when we talk about our hope today, we’re not talking about once we get certain things right. We really need to get one thing right. And that’s where are we setting our hope? And when I talk about hope, a reason for today and a purpose for tomorrow, I’m talking about what got you outta bed today? And what are you looking forward to tomorrow? It’s great to have anticipation, but there comes a time in my own life, I’ll give examples. I was talking to about my this today with my boys… we get excited like in Christmas, right? We look forward to the celebration or the food or the games or the presents, right? The time off, the sleep, whatever it is that we’re excited for, that’s great. And then as soon as that thing happens, we usually set the next thing out there. And actually, you’ll watch Ted Talks and stuff where people are excited to give you the advice of, just make sure you always have a next thing to look forward to.

Just make sure your calendar always has that next trip, that next time when you get your time, your next hobby, your next… whatever your thing is, just make sure you got it out there, so you always have that next thing you’re looking forward to. And I’m here to remind you and me that is not the hope of the gospel.

The hope of the gospel isn’t just distract yourself enough with things and stuff and achievements and goals that eventually you won’t feel the emptiness. Instead, let’s peel back the emptiness. Let’s soak in it and recognize that we don’t have hope on our own. That our strivings one day will cease, and it’ll all come to not, except those things that have been established by God and that this is important even when beyond the point of salvation. We’re talking works that have been established by God that we can then partake in and be blessed by, being able to see God work in ways that we are way too small to be able to see happen.

So, when we’re talking about today, that was our update to recap, cuz woo, I got excited. To recap, 2022 was hard and we can see God’s faithfulness. And in that faithfulness, I can see hope. This idea that there’s a reason for today and a purpose for tomorrow. And it comes from the gospel that we are called from sin to life. And in that life called two good works. This is for you and me and everyone who will bend their knee and repent. That is what we have to do, is we have to trust and follow Jesus. So, when we talk about hope today, there’s three things. First, I wanna remind us that God loves our kids, so we can parent from hope in a tech world, not for hope. We’re parenting from it. It’s really important. That’s why this is gospel tech. The second is that God loves you and me. That is the foundation point of the gospel. And the third is that then, because of those two things being true, our hope isn’t because things are going well. It’s even there when things are going badly.

So, first, let’s remember that God loves our kiddos. Can feel intense anxiety about my kids and whether I’m doing a good enough job, am I raising them up in the way they should go? Am I handling the scriptural part of their upbringing? Are they kind enough to strangers? Are they only kind because I’m being so harsh, that they’re just pretending really well?

Like how do I know their heart is actually soft and they’re not just putting on a show for dad? I can see this sometimes, right? Where they’ll be mean. So, one sibling might shout at another sibling cuz they got frustrated with them, and then they’ll realize that they’re inside, and then I’m probably in the other room and it’ll be like a long pause and then a subtle correction.

A, sorry. But it’s definitely not heartfelt. Like you can tell the calculus was done and they’d better throw out a, sorry, before dad walks in the room, right? That was the, not that I will, but you can tell the math is going on and that hurts my heart. And then I start to feel anxious. But man, do my kids… Am I doing enough right? All of us have this. Some of us know for a fact that we’ve done enough and it’s still not working. We, our kids aren’t repentant. They’re not loving God. They’re not operating in God’s will, and that can make us feel anxious. So, I want to tell you right now that God loves your kiddos even more than you, and I love our kiddos.

There are three things that I want us to do from hope, because we understand that this is true. We understand that’s factual. We can find the verses where that we can support that. I really wanna encourage you in three ways. First, I wanna encourage you to pray for your kids. And I wanna pray for my kids this year out of this hope. And I’m not just praying that they’ll be safe, because there’s so much more for them in this life than just being safe and happy. I want them to be in God’s will. And by that I’m gonna, I’m gonna go ahead and grab Matthew 6:9-15, this is what we like to call the Lord’s Prayer, and specifically point out that Jesus says when as he’s praying, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

This idea that God’s will is not always done. Yes, God is sovereign over time in history means God’s already won. He won, because of his perfect plan that he promised in Genesis three 15 and has carried out in Christ that we talked about this in the three advents, but the Promised Messiah has come, the Holy Spirit has arrived because of that victory, and there’s only one advent waiting to happen, which is the full restoration of creation. So, that’s beautiful. God’s will be done. And right now, it’s not always done. We pray for God’s will to be done in our kids’ hearts and our lives and our parenting. Lord would your will be done even through our brokenness? We can pray that. And we can pray that from hope. Knowing not begging God, would you please do something here.

That’s not what we’re doing. We’re recognizing the promises of God and we’re praying into them that God has promised that his will eventually will be perfectly done. And he has said that when we ask, which I’ll get on here in a little bit, but when we ask, like that’s something he likes to do is answer righteous prayers. So, we need to a, pray for our kiddos more than just safe and happy. Let’s pray for our kids to be in God’s will and to do God’s will.

The second is for our kids specifically to have soft hearts. I love Proverbs one and Psalm one in this. This idea that there’s a path to walk, and it doesn’t come down to our righteousness. And so, when you read Psalm one, it says, blessed is the one who walks not in the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night. He’s like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit and its season, and its leaf does not wither. And all that he does, he prospers.

When we think about that, and then it goes on with verse five says, the Lord knows the way of the righteous. And this is a theme throughout Proverbs and Psalms is the way, the path the walking with the Lord and following his footsteps, whether he’s a shepherd walking the path and where the sheep, or he’s guiding us down paths of righteousness.

We need to have this as something we can pray for our kids. Lord, would my kids want to walk that path? Lord, would you press on them that your holiness and their need? That’s not something I can explain to them. That’s not something I can show them. That’s your Holy Spirit working. So, Lord be gracious and show it to ’em.

We know we’re saved by grace, and there was an in working and every one of us our rebellion didn’t seem like a good decision anymore. We recognize need open our kids’ eyes, so they recognize that. We can pray that out of hope, not out a despair, but looking towards that hope they have.

And the third thing we can do is pray for our kids for protection. This is good. But doing his will protection to do his will. Keep in mind that 11 of the 12 apostles died violent and terrible deaths. One of them tried to die of violent and terrible death. He just lived through it and got sent to Patmos. So, this isn’t talking Lord, would you let them stay safe and covered? Specifically, that’s not a bad prayer. I think praying for safety is delightful. As long as it’s done with the heart of, because I need this blessing so that I can feel happy. I often can get there. We’re like, Lord, if I don’t know what I would do without my kids. I don’t know what I’d do without my spouse. And yet, I need to pray as an act of faith and listen and hope. Lord, I know that you love my kiddos. I know that you have good plans for them, and I pray that they would be protected for the full number of days. Would you guide their steps so that you could have much glory and they could have much blessing from being a part of watching you work well beyond their means?

So, these are three things we can pray. That by the way, is coming from John 17. Through 17, this idea of protect when Jesus is praying for his disciples, protect them from the evil one and sanctify them are the two things he prays, and I love those for our kids. Let’s protect them from the evil one Lord, that their hearts wouldn’t be warped and twisted, that they wouldn’t find pleasure in this world, and set them apart, make them holy.

Set them not for their own good, but for your good Lord, which we know has their good in mind. And so, those are three things we can pray for our kids to do. God’s will to have soft hearts. So, they want God’s will and to have protection in doing God’s will. That they, their time would not be cut short. They’d have the fullness of whatever days God’s got for ’em. Knowing that this life is but a brief introduction to the eternity we have with Christ. And when we’re talking that we can know that God is a good father who gives gifts, and this is what I’d referenced earlier, Matthew 7:7-11.

So, let’s just remember that Jesus in talking about, Hey you love your kids. And if they ask you for an egg, you’re not gonna give ’em a stone. And if they ask for a fish, you’re not gonna give ’em a snake. Let’s remember that God’s a good father and that when you ask things of him, he gives ’em to you.

Jesus says that we need to ask, seek and knock this repetitive, intentional seeking of the Lord. Not because he’s deaf, not cuz he is heart of hearing, but cuz our hearts are hard. And we are then reminded later in Philippians 4:6-7, that we can ask for things in prayer and then James actually goes so far as to remind us that when we don’t get what we want, it’s because we’re asking for it selfishly, or to use it wrongly. That our hearts aren’t in the right spot and God’s going to graciously disallow such blessings to make sure that we’re not hampering or hindering our ability to serve and love God.

So, in this, that Philippians 4:6-7 saying, in whatever we pray, whatever you’re asking for your kids, in light of the gospel, this idea that God already loves us. We need to recognize that we can prayer, or pray, excuse me, in Thanksgiving. We give thanks to God for what he’s already done. And we put our supplications before him and say, and Lord, this is a need. Would you provide for it? Would you be bigger than this situation? Or even I know that you are bigger than it. This is, oh my goodness, Jackie Hill Perry said it. And not even praying, God, would you be present in this cuz we know that he is. It’s just like a bad habit. It’s like asking God to bless this food to our bodies.

That’s what food does. It blesses your body. So, I get it. It’s a habit. I do it all the time. Jackie Hill Perry’s challenge was instead of praying, Lord, would you be present in this? It’s would you make yourself known in this? Would you help me see you in this? Because really, it’s a me issue. You’re already here and I get it. That’s why I’m praying. What I’m asking, Lord, is would you show yourself as real in this situation, so that my faith would grow because I’m weak in it?

Which brings me to the second point is, we recognize that God loves, or excuse me, our kiddos, but we also need to recognize that God loves us. That this is a big deal when we talk about gospel and using technology well, we’re not gonna use it outta fear because we’re not running away from our problems because we have hope in Christ, but we’re also not using it to constrict our children. Where we’re just trying to crush them and make sure they never make a mistake so that they’ll be holy by our effort. Instead, in hope, we’re bringing the feet of Christ and we’re praying and we’re repenting, and we’re reminding ourselves of what is already true in Christ. And part of that is recognizing that God loves you and me. It’s used on, I don’t know if it’s ever used enough. It’s certainly become something that is habitual for me.

John 3:16 where I start to almost forget what it says, as far as what it means. That God so loved the world that he gave his only son. And in fact, if we go half first in front, it says and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, So that so the son of man will be lifted up. That whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. And it goes on to say God did not send his son to condemn the world, but that he might be it might be saved through him. This being said. God loves you wherever you’re at. You may not be a follower of Jesus. God still loves you. Jesus already died so that you can know God and be indwelled by him. But it doesn’t happen against your will. And that’s really important because God is instrumental in bending your knee and in changing your heart. But as we saw with Judas, as we see with Pharaoh, as we saw with Pilot, as we’ve seen repeatedly throughout history, people have the opportunity to to refuse.

And we don’t exactly know what that looks like on a spiritual level. I’m not going into that rabbit trail. What I want you to know is that we are told repeatedly, continually, thoroughly, throughout the gospels and throughout scripture, old and New Testament, that God loves the world, and is long suffering and slow to anger and rich in mercy, and that whoever repents and believes will be saved.

That this is a loving promise to you. believer or pre-believer, that you are called into this relationship and offered it. And I can’t promise you how long that will be, and I can’t promise you that when you say no, that you’ll get another yes. So, I want to offer this to you in hope, not in fear, because my hope for you is that those chains will be broken off of you, of anxiety and fear and trepidation of concern, both about eternity and concern about your children and your wellbeing.

But instead, you’d recognize that your purpose has been met in Christ, and that now your opportunity is to live from that. That in Christ, romans five eight tells us that while we were yet sin, God showed his love by sending his son and Christ died for us. So, he already loves you. Wherever you’re at. The work has already been done. Now it’s do you receive this hope, or do you demand to find hope on your own energy and effort? Because if you do, that’s a hard road to hoe. And it’s really hard in talking technology to set our kids straight. If you see your kids starting to go off the rails and going, son, daughter, , that app, that game, those people that you’re following, that influencer, that music, it doesn’t speak life into you. Instead, it’s telling you lies. It’s telling you’ll only matter if you become this thing or do that thing or earn this thing or have that many of whatever. And those are lies. You matter right now. And I see it as your parent. I know you matter. And your kid looks at you and goes, yeah, but why? Like I, if I’m just some kind of cosmic accident, the none of what you’re telling me is true. Like I have to make my own destiny. I have to determine if I matter or not, and it’s a ton of weight for a young person to bear., and they’re asking these questions. As a parent, in light of the gospel, you can say, yes, son or daughter, I love you though because you’re my son and daughter. Just like God loves you because you’re his. And that is what we want to be able to tell our kids and pray for our kids, even we don’t have the words in our own quiet space to ask the Holy Spirit to remind us what that even looks like. To parent from that, and to know that we have to love others like we, as we love ourselves, love our neighbors as we love ourselves, which means we have to understand the love God has for us before we can extend it.

So, when we love, it’s because we were loved first. We gotta understand God’s love for us. So, that’s the second part about hope today, is we have to be living from a place of understanding we are already loved. If you feel like your sin is defining you that your mistakes are not just describing your journey, but they are the definition of who you are. That you are somehow damaged goods or spoiled. And the not too much taken care of, but in the way that you’re no longer beneficial, that you missed your prime, that the boat has sailed, that something that your purpose has been missed, because you just didn’t do something right. That’s a lie because God says otherwise.

God says, in fact, he’ll take whatever days you’ve got left, and he will use ’em for his glory, but they have to be given to him. You can’t keep running with this thing and asking God to just simply join your team or join your mission or join your vision. In fact, you may have to backtrack because that whole concept of Proverbs and Psalms where you’re walking the path… You don’t get to just run off into the woods beside the path and ask for God to make a new path. Like God has a path. That’s his sovereign will piece. Your choice is simply, will you follow it, by his wisdom, not yours. And so, the first piece, we’re gonna love our kiddos cuz God loves our kids even more than we do. But we are God’s kids too. And he loves us, and we need to parent from that hope. So, my prayer and my hope in saying this today is that if you have a hard time believing that you’ll take a moment today, maybe pause the podcast right now and simply pray. Lord, help me see your love for me. Lord, thank you for loving me. I repent of running on my own will and my own effort and I’m tired of it. God, can I live for your will and your purpose?

And that, that’s the beginning. There’s no one perfect prayer. That’s not a salvation prayer. It’s a prayer of repentance and asking for the wisdom to believe. And when you do that, God shows up, Which is awesome and will help you take the next steps daily because that’s what this is for the days you’re allotted, for the ones you’ve been gifted, that you can’t extend by any amount of effort you can prayerfully use to God’s glory and understand that you’re living from the love he already has for you. Cause of that then we’re not just gonna have that hope, that reason for today and that purpose for tomorrow when things are going well. When things are easy, or we avoid trouble. That’s all great. We love those seasons and peace. Right now, Anna and I are in an amazing season. And by right now, in the last six months, we I guess we have two out of the three… we haven’t had health. We’ve been sick for eight straight weeks, which is gnarly, but. That being said, I mentioned that kind of veil being lifted for a little bit, where we can see some light. That God is doing work and that we’re not making this up, and we’re not just running blindly. We’ve been able to see God provide in ways that just we can’t provide, whether it’s financially, which is great.

We’re like, That’s awesome, Lord. We don’t have to sell our house to keep doing this work cuz we don’t feel this lifted, so we gotta keep doing it some way. So, that’s been cool. But way more importantly is just the relationships, the people praying for us. The people who come out and say, Hey, this is how God used this thing that you’re not nearly smart enough to do, and it’s blessed us in this way that you had no idea was even a circumstance. An example being, pair of parents coming and saying, we have been working with a young person, or one of our children, and the skills that you are giving us with these conversations have empowered us to parent this child lovingly. And we have seen heart change because of that. That’s not because Nathan is smart enough, or Anna had all the words. We’re simply prayerfully speaking what God has laid on our hearts and we’re praying that God will use that to challenge and encourage others. In that, with that, in mind, we’re not just gonna have hope when things are going right. When our health is well, that’s great, but that’s not what gives us hope.

Our hope, our reason for today and our purpose for tomorrow isn’t, I have a purpose as long as I’m healthy. I have a purpose as long as things are going well for me, or as long as I hit certain marks and numbers. Instead, we set our hope on a who, not a what. And this is a beautiful Tim Keller illustration that our, that what matters when it comes to hope and to faith specifically, is the object of our faith, not the amount of faith we have. The example being if I’m gonna go stand on a tree limb and walk my way out, it doesn’t matter. Being on the tree limb is all the faith I need. I don’t have to start jumping or doing back flips. Like standing on the tree limb is the faith. What matters now is how strong the branch is or walking out onto a frozen lake. Walking out is the faith. It doesn’t, any more faith, complete confidence that this could never go wrong doesn’t matter. At this point, it’s up to the ice on whether or not I break through, and that’s very true. When we talk about our faith in raising our children, the hope that we have, we set it on the unbreakable heavenly Father in the the creator God, then we can trust that our faith is not ill placed. And that our energies are not wasted because the object of our faith is worth all of the faith we can give him.

So, when I say this, we look to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, and we can now parent from that hope, knowing that he is strong enough to handle our mistakes, our errors, our lack of self-control. If I am someone who struggles, like you guys know my history with gaming. Gaming’s not necessarily the problem. My sons have actually both played video games in the last two months. They both played for the first time. It turns out Hadley might be the one who gets her brain absorbed by video games. In that I don’t simply have to live out of fear of oh, no video games are gonna ruin my sons. I go no, I can’t participate because I don’t have an off switch or a dial. Excuse me. I can’t just turn my interest in video games from a 10 outta 10 down to a two out of 10 and just cool my jets. I’m all on or all off. So, the switch has to stay off for me. So, I recognize in hope then that there’s nothing morally wrong with this thing. That I love my children. I only wanna give them good gifts. And I’m gonna have that conversation in my head of going, all right, is this helping you become more of who God’s made you to be and who I can see you being? Or is this distracting you? And in love, then I’m gonna intervene. That’s the hope, because now I have understanding that God loves my kids, knowing the hope of the gospel, and recognizing that tech is gonna extend from that hope of the gospel.

So, in closing, our hope is in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. This means three things, our children can’t be encumbranced, okay? They can’t be embarrassments to us because our failing with our kids is not a direct reflection on us. We might make mistakes. We repent of that, and we turn and trust in Jesus because there are times when you can perfectly parent and things will still go wrong.

So, just recognize our children can’t be our burden to care. They’re our, they’re our gift to steward. They’re our talent that God has given us and said, here’s a wonderful, beautiful gift you never could have earned. Please use it for my glory. And we go, what? How? I’m terrified of that. I wanna bury it and just make sure nothing bad happens to it, and we will be wicked and unfaithful servants.

We instead, we invest it. We invest the word inside it. We direct and correct. We lovingly serve. And we repent when we need to, and we point them back to the hope of the gospel where their true purpose and their true joy comes from. And we help prune and point them back to God every time they stray.

So, that’s the first thing we recognize. We understand that our sins can’t distance us. There’s not a gap yet. As long as there’s breath in our lungs, there’s not a void between us if we repent and put our faith in Christ for our righteousness, our hope. When we wake up, what gives us purpose? If that answer is Christ, then you’re good today,

Okay, then that’s what you are walking into, and he has you in that. You can’t be ripped away from him. What we need to recognize, however, is that we sometimes believe that our failure is the third one, that our failures define us. So, if the first is that our kids can’t embarrass, And hinder us in any way, our sins can’t distance us. The third is that our failures can’t define us. So, many times we say, yeah. You don’t know what I’ve done, Nathan. I am a hundred percent sure that if you knew what I’ve done, you would not like me or you would hate me or you would judge me. And I need to be very clear with you that might be true, because I don’t know what you’ve done.

And what’s beautiful about that is it doesn’t matter what Nathan thinks, because I am a broken human and I find myself judging people, I find myself going, yeah, they should have just done better. I’m a motivational speaker and I like get really shamey on people sometimes, and I have to pray into that, that my talks won’t just be moralistic, but we’ll just do better. Just don’t make mistakes and then things will be well with you. That’s not true. that’s not true. There certainly is a better way to live than not live, right? The truths of the Bible are the best way. It’s the way our hearts work. But that doesn’t bring salvation. Salvation is found through Christ. Through the renewal of our hard hearts, and he brings this life.

And so, our failures don’t define us. I’m not the sum of my errors. They describe me though. I certainly can choose a hard path, and that is true with us. So, our choices, when we think about hope, we need to recognize that today, we can trust and follow Jesus. I would simply ask that today, do you trust and follow Jesus with your time, with your efforts, with your tech and your search history, with your parenting and the way you serve and talk with your spouse?

And if you don’t, I don’t, I’m not saying you’re not saved. I’m saying repent and believe that God is better than your own effort. And in that repentance, seek the wisdom and counsel of others. Seek professional aid and care. Seek just the medicines for your mind and soul that are available, cuz of God’s gracious wisdom that He’s provided people, please go seek the help you need.

Do loving Christian Church setting with a family of believers around you. Please stop attending church on the internet in isolation. I know some of you are medically… What we say compromised. Where you can’t be in crowds right now. I get it. I understand that this isn’t for you. This is for people where convenience is trumping commitment and you have to join a believing church body.

Go somewhere that preaches the Bible, go somewhere that worships the Lord, go somewhere where they push you back to the feet of the cross, and in that setting, repent and belong and dig deep roots. I’m not saying you have to agree with all their secondary issues. I have lovely people in my life who have attended churches for decades where they, the church loves Jesus, but they’re secondary issues they disagree with and that’s okay. I’m not saying find the perfect church. It doesn’t exist. The perfect church won’t come back until Christ restores creation and then runs this as a beautiful and loving king. Okay? Until then, the church is broken people who need a savior that, that’s the definition of the church. It’s not a building. Today, do you trust and follow Jesus? is that who gives you hope and purpose? And from that hope, if he does, then we love our kids because from that hope we can talk about healthy tech because tech is no longer what defines us when our kid messes up, it doesn’t define me. It’s, it describes their heart condition, and I need to help them redirect it with some really intentional steps. There are ways to help our children have healthy hearts, right? Keeping hard or bad decisions, making them harder to make is a loving parental thing to do in light of the gospel. Then being able to communicate the gospel to myself, to my spouse, to my kids. That’s really important to know that I am loved despite my sin. That it doesn’t describe me. It defines… or it doesn’t define me, it describes me. That making a mistake doesn’t make me a mistake. And then knowing that in light of the gospel, I already have fullness in Christ, so I’m not gonna oh man, 10 years from now, once I’m finally a good believer, then things will matter. Nope, you’re saved for good works now. And some of those good works are loving your kids, loving your spouse, loving your coworkers and your neighbors in the garden that God’s planted you in. So, my hope in sharing all of this is that 2023 is gonna be a year for focusing ourselves on the hope of the gospel. Turning our eyes away from the crazy waves that are happening out there in the real world, not isolating ourselves. We’re not saved from the world; we are saved for it. Jesus even says in that prayer that I, where he prays for his disciples, where he says, Lord, would you protect them? He specifically says, don’t take them out of the world. Don’t… when people believe, don’t just draw them into heaven. We need them here as salt and light, and yet, Protect them from the evil one. Protect their hearts from getting cynical and hard and bitter and just wanting to win at all costs. Cuz we know in light of the gospel, Jesus has already won. That victory is not ours. That is Christ’s victory. We can live it out, we can walk it out, sometimes to our personal destruction and ruin.

Sometimes too beautiful peace and calm. If that’s the season we’re called to, which is awesome, but recognizing that peace and calm is not what we are called. That’s not this life. We’re praying that God’s will is done, so we can now love our kids because God loves them. We can recognize that we can love others cuz we’re already loved, and we can remember that we’re not defined by our journey. We’re described by it. And in Christ, we are already whole and so we will use our tech from that space connecting the hope of the gospel to our daily tech lives.

I hope this was encouraging to you. Let me set the vision then where we’re at. This next six weeks is what I currently have written down, I’m willing to change that if I get really excited. But six weeks, we’re gonna do a little thing just called start here. It’ll be start here. All caps, number one. And it’ll be a topic that parents want us to talk about. These are the most search, the most asked, the most requested content that we have. So, it’ll be starting with things like tech health. How do I know if my kid’s tech is healthy? Hopefully you go, oh man, I already know that. Cool. Then you’ve heard it enough. Pass it on to a friend. Not everybody knows this. We’re gonna talk about adopting new tech, how to build tech trust. We’re gonna talk about smartphones and social media, video games, pornography.

Those are our six weeks. Again, there’s a lot more we could cover. I’m gonna try to do it in 20 minutes, which means you have a friend, a coworker, someone at church, a neighbor someone you just overhear talking, which is what I hear people say sometimes. Like I heard someone complaining about their kid and ex tech, and so I stepped in and told them about your podcast. Super cool, but it’s really hard. I literally had this happen in the last couple weeks. Someone came and told me this, and they just said, yeah, I gave ’em your podcast, and told them to start at the beginning, which is awesome. I’m so blessed that someone told someone else that, but this is episode 154, I think, which is days and days and days and days of listening, if you just played ’em straight. So, I starting this month and continuing into February, we are gonna begin this, start here. 20 minutes, give them the, hey, start here on social media. Start here with smartphone, start here with, and it’s gonna basically be the condensed version of all this content, all this content that we’ve been covering so that you don’t have to remember the specific episode number, or go find them, that one 45-minute thing like this one.

Instead, you can get this really concise condensed, and that’s what we’re gonna start our year with. And I’ll be praying into what to do next. There is a, this is just side note, I have a little passion project on gaming that has turned into a bit of a thing. So, these might be like Thursday episodes, I don’t know how to release them, but a couple really cool interviews, a couple conversations with pros in the field and people doing the work and really just talking about what does it look like.

Specifically with video games. I think it’s because it’s such like a thing for me, that these conversations bubble up, but there’s six of them that will be coming. So, I don’t think it’ll be six straight weeks. I think it’ll be a mini serious thing. But just so you guys can know the vision, the direction we’re going that I am and Anna we, I guess are praying and intentionally planning for how to support. We’re doing those live talks and workshops. I guess that’d be the last thing. If this conversation about hope and the gospel in a world of technology is something you want for your church, your co-op, your private school at Christian School, please reach out to me, or go and click speaking. I guess I’ll end it there today, guys, thank you for being a part of this conversation. Thanks for sharing and listening, and would you please join us next week as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.

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