6 Ways To Break (From) Your Cell Phone(Or Other Devices)

break phone

We are all attached, aren’t we? Let’s be honest, there are times when the phone/tablet dominates who we are and all of our time regardless of where we are or the people we are with. From buzzes and dings to ringtones and alerts, the never ending wonder/fascination/addiction to technology consumes much of our thoughts and lives. May I offer 6 ways to break from your phone to keep your sanity and be present with the physical world?

1.Pay full attention to the present people. When real people are present ready to engage in conversation, silence your phone. Give the phone a break when you have the chance to talk to people face-to-face and engage in meaningful expression. Turn it upside-down so you are not distracted by the screen lighting up.

2. Pay full attention to meals and company. When it’s meal time, leave the phone somewhere away from the table. Don’t trade a status update for a real date in front of you. Enjoy the time you have around the table catching up on events of the day and life happenings in real time with those in your family and circle of influence.

3. Get a full night’s sleep. Turn off your phone. Use a regular alarm clock. Studies have shown how sleeping habits have changed in students because of their incessant phone use. Students on average lose about 45 minutes a night because of their cell phone use. Sleep is vitally important for performing well in school, jobs or life. And I can almost promise that if you turn off your phone at least once a day, it will last longer too.

4. Full-proof a room. No-Tech Zone. Set up an area where no technology is allowed. When traveling or visiting people perhaps a time/space location that technology will not be allowed by anyone for any reason. Setting up a physical boundary is good to help combat the pervasive “wi-fi” signal.

5. Pay full attention to the road. No texting and driving. It’s the law in most places. Demonstrate restraint and respect for the law and life by waiting until you can text or use technology safely.

6. Take a full day off. No work. Sabbath. Most of us use technology and are engaged in some form of work almost all week long. God has given a standard of 6 days for work and one day for rest. Turn your phone off for one day and see how it affects you. A study was done of 82 students who agreed to give up their phones for 48 hours. Only 12 were able to make it the full amount of time!  God isn’t asking for two days…just one!

Hope this helps you become more engaged and attuned to your own soul and if nothing else, from really breaking your phone from overuse! Please submit any thoughts or comments. We’d love to hear from you.

George Profile

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Creative Arts and Mission Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

Prayer Guide: 11 Roots to Establish in Prayer

6 Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught,overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6

The whole idea of discipleship is to help people be rooted, built up and established in their faith-walk with Christ. One of the ways that my own “roots” are weak is in the area of prayer. I don’t know if it’s just the idea of having lists or my own need for a paradigm shift that causes me to stumble along? I am seeking to become more rooted, built up and established in prayer as I move into new areas of life and certainly as I move into the summer, which is filled with busyness and travel.

For years I have used many different “forms” of prayer from A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) to a simple rambling, conversational format. As I prepare for a deeper more meaningful prayer life, this is a new format I am going to employ as I journey forward. I hope it will benefit and inspire you and your prayer life as you become rooted, built up and established in your faith.

The idea behind this format is to provide directional guidelines that will ensure your prayers are not simply selfish or ill-motivated. Even though the words are “alliterated”,  the concepts are of what real prayer consists. Obviously this “form” is not for everyone and your prayer time may be sufficient already. But if you are struggling for direction with how to pray or keeping track of your prayers, this could provide an easier way to do that.

Focus. 

Focus on God first. (Matthew 6:33)  Although prayer is a conversation and conversations can bounce from topic to topic, seek to root your desires, will and attention toward God’s glory and His Kingdom. Focus on the person of Christ and the God who has made you and the plan He has for you. Fix your eyes on Jesus and meditate on His power, ability and presence with you right now. Don’t be distracted by noise, feelings or thoughts. Consider to whom you are speaking and seeking and suddenly things will become more clear and in the right perspective.  In establishing a prayer journal , write out words and thoughts that will help you focus your attention on Christ. Consider words of praise and of God’s character as you focus your heart and mind. Bring yourself before Him and allow Him to invade your thoughts.  (Luke 11:2, James 4:8 Romans 8:26-27).

Forgiveness.

Establishing a heart of forgiveness and humility is essential for every disciple. Even though you have failed and sinned against others or God, forgiveness is available to all who ask. You have to deal with sin and shortcomings honestly and openly in prayer. When you pray, ask God to revel hidden areas that you can confess along with the commonly known blunders of your life. Daily confession keeps the communication open between you, God and others (1 John 1:9, Mark 11:25, Hebrews 12:15).

Furthermore deal with any root of un-forgiveness and bitterness that may be present. Uproot those things and deepen your roots in forgiveness. The more you confess your sin, the more you will be forgiven. The one whom much is forgiven loves the most. (Luke 7:47-48).

Family.

Pray for your family and people you love. Lifting them up to the Father and praying God’s blessing on their lives is part of our role as a family member. Pray for the unity of your family and for God to use you all collectively in His plan and purpose. Celebrate one another and encourage one another.

Family roots are deep and what a blessing when they are deepened in spiritual ways!

Build each other up with verses, texts, emails, and notes. Pray for your family with a motto or family verse. (1 Samuel 1:26-28, 2 Timothy 1:2-4, 1 Peter 3:7)

“Frenemies”.

Friends don’t let friends or even their enemies go to Hell.

Pray for your friends and ask God to be working in their lives. Through prayer you can impact the whole world and no one can stop you. You can literally change the world through prayer and make an impact in eternity if you will lift up your friends and pray God’s blessings in their lives. Also pray for your enemies and the people you don’t like or the people who have hurt you. Pray God’s blessing on their lives and for strength to love and forgive. Seek ways to reconciled with those whom you do not get along. Pray for peace and pray that you can be a peacemaker.

It is impossible to dislike people that you continually pray for.

God will change your heart if you will begin to pray for them. (Psalm 35:12-14, 1 Timothy 2:1-3, Matthew 5:44)

Physical.

Pray for the health and welfare of those who are sick and needy. Pray for your own health and growth physically. Take care of your “temple” and ask God to show you things you need to work on physically as well as spiritually. Go for a prayer walk, or jog. Don’t let your prayers be simple words, put feet to those prayers and watch what God will do! Exercise being still and exercise being active in your faith.

God will bless you physically when you actively worship

(Psalm 86:1, Psalm 102:1-11, James 5:13-16, 3 John 1:1-3).

Financial.

Be prayerful about your own financial status. God will call some people to suffer while others will be given much responsibility over thousands or even millions of dollars. God chooses whom he blesses with what.Regardless of what we make, this money is meant to be used for His purposes and for our good and the good of others. When you pray for your finances consider do you want more to simply have more or so you can give more?

There’s nothing wrong with being rich but God wants to use your financial blessings to bring blessings to others.

It takes money and lots of it to live, serve and build the Kingdom of God. So as you pray for your own financial needs, keep in mind that what God gives you He desires for you to honor Him with. Pray for ways you can contribute to His work. Pray for people you can invest in with your cash. Pray that God would allow you to be someone who can funnel His blessings to others. (Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9)

Faith.

As you pray, ask God to increase your faith. God may do this by answering a prayer positively or negatively. The issue will be that your faith grows.

Someone once said: “A faith that can’t be tested, can’t be trusted”.

God may allow hardships and difficult times to arise so that your faith will deepen! Pray that your mustard seed of faith will grow and deepen in the rich soil of God. Pray that you will have more and more faith and understand that the way faith is grown is through trials, tests, and tribulation. A deep and established faith will be secure in God and not swayed by life’s circumstances.Pray that your roots go deep. Keep a record of tests and trials that come and lessons of God’s faithfulness to deliver you through them. (Mark 9:24, James 1:2-3,1 John 5:13-15, Luke 22:32)

Followership.

Your prayer time should lead you to Christ, His cross and your own cross. Dietrich Bonhoffer said “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Our prayer time is meant to bring us to the place where our wants, hopes, dreams, desires, all align with God. When we pray we are to come in surrender to the Lord’s will and seek out how we can become better representatives and servants of God. Following Jesus means that He is the Leader. We do as He does, live as He lives within us. Apart from Him we can do nothing, so root yourself and in Him and stay connected to Him and His cross. (John 15:1-25, Ephesians 1:16-18, Luke 10:2) Write out commitments you are making. comment on thoughts and verses that seem to permeate your thoughts as you consider Christ who humbly followed His Father’s Will.

Future.

Pray for your future. Don’t neglect that fact that Christ does have a plan and future for you. He does have a mission. Pray about it. Seek Him about what His desires are for you. Pray for eyes to see the path He wants you to walk. Prayerfully consider goals, dreams and decisions as you move forward in life. Make choices that will reflect your faith and the way Christ has built you and rooted you in Him. Record verses that God uses to verify and confirm His call on your life. Don’t make decisions that are based on your feelings alone. Make them based on the promises, principles and in the presence of God. (Jeremiah 29:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:11)

Fears.

Bring all of your questions, doubts, fears, anxieties, and worries to Him. Christ invites us to bring our burdens to him and to leave them there. Pray about your difficulties and make note of them. Ask God to show you verses or to send encouragement through other people. Seek God in understanding where your fear is based. What root is causing this fear? Root yourself in the Truth of God’s word. As you pray, reflect upon the Truth of what God says and know that no weapon, power, or anything that comes against you is more powerful than your Father. Trust in Him. Rely on Him. Step out into His arms…He will catch you. (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7). Talk about your fears with others and allow God to establish and deepen His loving support through others.Be sensitive to others who may not be able to discuss their fears. Be open about your past and let God strengthen others through you. you could be an answer to someone’s prayers!

Filling.

In closing, ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. We have not because we ask not. Many of us are not filled with God’s Spirit, power or wisdom because we have not asked for it!  (James 1:5, James 4:1-3) Ask God to give you His heart for the nations, compassion for His people, and desires that match His. Be dependent on God and confident that He will invade your heart and lead you as you submit to Him. Remember that apart from Him you can do nothing but with Him anything is possible! (Ephesians 5:18, Colossians 1:9 Ephesians 3:14-21).Listen attentively for God’s voice who speaks to us in and through prayer. Move accordingly and let God establish, build up and deeply root you in full confidence of who He is and what He wants to do through you.

Let prayer move you deeper, wider, higher, longer than you ever imagined!

Be Rooted!

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as student minister at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA.

Finishing Strong: Retreat of Silence

Ever noticed that time just doesn’t stop or slow down? And so often, we don’t either. We move at break-neck speeds and before long, we can end up out of ministry, bitter, empty and jaded. One of the best practices I have found is scheduling regular time to stop, evaluate and reflect on my life. I called these times retreats of silence but you can call them whatever you like. These are “retreats” when I can talk with God over an extended period with intention and concerted focus. I don’t always “get away” somewhere but simply close my door, turn off the phone and computer and sit with the Lord. These retreats have proven invaluable. For people who want to finish strong, I cannot recommend anything more strongly than this practice to be scheduled into your normal rhythm of life.

If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!

Why is this so important? Because I found that I was living my life for so many things and it just felt like I wasn’t getting where I needed to be. I loved the Lord but just didn’t feel like I could do enough. Then I just forced myself to stop. It’s not the stuff we do for Him…it’s being with Him. I have begun to realize the greater and deeper importance of keeping and protecting time with Jesus so as to make sure my life counts. Many years ago a friend of mine said “God made us Human Beings…Not Human Doings”.  This requires being with Jesus. It means that I have to stop what I am doing from time-to-time and simply rest in Him, hearing his voice and basking in His love and holiness. My life will only count because of Jesus and apart from Him I can do nothing. Therefore spending time with the Lord is vital in finishing strong.

Finishing strong means that I actually get to finish. Taking time to become what God wants me to be helps ensure that I do just that. It is easy to underestimate the value of spending a whole day or weekend in prayer or silence and study. With so many activities, events, services, people etc. that need my attention, it can be hard and even cause feelings of guilt by stepping away to be so “selfish”. However, I have found that I have nothing to give if I am not seriously focusing “me” time with the Lord. Christ expects us to serve Him and others out of an overflow…not scraping the bottom of the barrel! Far too many leaders are  running on near-empty, operating on mere fumes…it’s time to get some time with the Lord! It’s more important that you finish strong than to “burn-out” for Jesus!

How to have a Retreat of Silence

Determine when, where and how long. Notify people of your retreat and that you will be unavailable. Block off the time and don’t let anything interfere. With careful planning and deliberate intention, you can take the time and schedule things so that you won’t miss other meaningful events in your family’s life. Schedule your time to include prayer and Bible reading. Set aside time to sleep and rest well. Take walks and periods of time to sit and dream again. As you move through your retreat make sure you ask questions of God and yourself. Don’t push for answers but let the questions reveal your heart and lead you to God and what He may be asking of you.

Don’t rush anything especially prayer and reading scripture. The hardest thing to do is sit still, be quiet, and wait. I always want to try and find something that God is saying or make something “spiritual” happen. Just wait. Slowing ourselves is a great challenge and it may take a couple of hours to even a day for your mind to slow and become comfortable enough to listen. Allow yourself the time and space to hear from God. Read the WORD and pray…and don’t rush the conversation.

Do different things for worship. Try writing, reading, painting, photography, listening to some music as part of your worship experience. Basically, let God stretch you and speak to you in different ways than you would normally do at home or in ordinary life. Expand your worship expressions and seek to notice God in the simplicity around you that is missed while “working” and being busy. Join the rest of creation and authentically be the person God made you.

Document your discoveries. I’ve personally kept a journal for the last 26 years. They are invaluable to me!  They contain prayers and longings that I have carried deep within my soul. Using a journal to document the things God reveals to you can help you finish strong because you will have it in written form. We’re forgetful people and sometimes we just need to write it down for things to stick. Keeping a journal also helps in seeing how God answers prayers and can be a great tool in sharing testimonies and passing on legacies to those after you.

Routinely setting aside time to be still before the Lord and scheduling time for retreats of silence and reflection have been great practices for me. I have found them to be not only rewarding and full of discovery but great times of regaining strength, focus and motivation. I cannot recommend anything more highly for people who want to have longevity in ministry than to take deliberate time for retreats of silence. It’s one way to help ensure that you will finish strong!

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Youth Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

Soundtrack For Life: Fast Forward

 

 

Let me encourage you to spend some time this week fasting.Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is very important to those who are Christ-followers.It is a discipline that has been practiced by our spiritual ancestors for thousands of years.

There may be no harder time than this time at Christmas to fast, which is another great reason to consider doing it.

Fasting helps us gain spiritual wisdom and insight and helps us gain a better perspective on thankfulness and gratitude.

Tuesday: Fast from TV. What? Are you kidding me? No. Take a break from the tube. Any show that you would normally watch can be recorded or viewed online nowadays. So take a break. Fast from TV today.

Wednesday: Fast from food. It’s the usual way people fast. Perhaps just change your diet up by not eating meats today or some other variation. Deny yourself of some indulgence.

Thursday: Fast from music. This may be a lot harder for some of you who lived with an ipod attached to your ears all day. Let me encourage you to spend some time away from music and spend some time in the written word.

Friday: Fast from computer. I know some of you may find this impossible because of work. So choose another day. But if you can, when you can, take a break from the information highway and get some time developing the inner narrow road. (Most of our time online is for waste and not work anyway, right?)

Saturday: Fast from people. Spend some time in solitude today. Get away from the hustle and bustle. Sleep in, plan some family time, be with some individuals and not just lost in the crowds. Also make sure you get some alone time with God!

Sunday: Fast forward. Spend today praying about the future, not dwelling on the past. Take a break from reminiscing and move to dreaming.Break your fast with some kind of celebration as you move forward into a new week and a new you.