Every Christian is a theologian. We are always engaged in the activity of learning about the things of God. We are not all theologians in the professional sense, academic sense, but theologians we are, for better or worse. The ‘for worse’ is no small matter. Second Peter warns that heresies are destructive to the people of God and are blasphemies committed against God. They are destructive because theology touches every dimension of our lives. The Bible declares that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…Those ideas that do grasp us in our innermost parts, are the ideas that shape our lives. We are what we think. When our thoughts are corrupted, our lives follow suit. All know that people can recite the creeds flawlessly and make A’s in theology courses while living godless lives. We can affirm a sound theology and live an unsound life. Sound theology is not enough to live a godly life. But it is still a requisite for godly living. How can we do the truth without first understanding what the truth is? No Christian can avoid theology. Every one has a theology. The issue, then, is not, do we want to have a theology? That’s a given. The real issue is, do we have a sound theology? Do we embrace true or false doctrine?

RC Sproul

Apps that limit my child’s time on the iPad.

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Yesterday I talked about the need to limit time on devices for kids. While these devices are life-giving for kids and a game changer for kids with autism, most kids are on them too much. Limit time on these devices is difficult. So I thought some practical advice would help.  Below is a free suggestion via The iTeach hub

So how do you limit the length of a user’s session on an iPad?
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One easy way that this can be achieved is with the Clock app. It is an Apple app that should be already on your iDevice. Follow these simple steps below to use the Clock app to set the duration of a user’s session:

  • Launch the Clock app and select Timer.
  • Set the timer to the amount of time that you would like your child to have access to the device for (in hours and minutes). Also check that in Sounds (iPad) that Stop Playing is selected. If it is not select that option.

If you are using an iPhone or iPod the When Timer Ends display shows this information. Make sure it displays Stop Playing.

  • Press Start and give the device to the user. After the timer runs out the device will bring up the Lock screen.
  • If a Passcode Lock is set then the user will not be able to get access to the device without entering it.

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The Clock app could also be used to transition students with special needs. When in the clock app this can be done by selecting Sounds at the top-left of the screen (When Timer Ends in iPhone/iPod). Select an option for a sound you want your child/students to hear as the timer finishes. This sound will be played every time the timer is activated but the device will not lock when a sound option is selected. If you use this feature as a sharing timer. You will need to activate the timer again for the next session. Simple.

Steve Jobs didn’t let his kids use iPad’s. Why do we?

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Recently my wife and I have had conversations about the dominance and the proper role technology should have in our lives and in the life of our kids. I then came across a 2010 interview with Steve Jobs. I was shocked to say the least.

When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he was known to call journalists to either pat them on the back for a recent article or, more often than not, explain how they got it wrong. I was on the receiving end of a few of those calls. But nothing shocked me more than something Mr. Jobs said to me in late 2010 after he had finished chewing me out for something I had written about an iPad shortcoming.

“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

I’m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow.

Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.

Nick Bilton of the Times goes on to say this is common among America’s High Tech elite. Here is the link for the whole article.

As a parent it is very easy to allow screens to raise our kids. What gave me pause is that if anyone could see the benefits of technology Jobs could. He was so persuasive in the benefits of his devices that I’m sure Bill Gates owned a few iPads. What is concerning to me is that someone who knows what is possible with an iPad chose to keep his kids on a very short technology leash.

The article go on to describe how a typical dinner at the Jobs house was around a table with discussion around history, philosophy and literature rather than apps, games and music. Our job as parents is to help nurture our kids sense of possibility. To tap into what could be that comes from seeing what has been and what is. Technology is amazing but must have a limited hold our our kid’s imagination. You can not create something new if you are consumed by things as they are.

How do you limit your kids time on digital devices?

1. Set a timer.

2. Allow your kids to earn time. – It the summer our kids can only play on screens for the same length of time they have spent time reading.

3. Make sure your kids are in a common place when on mobile devices so you can monitor their activity.

4. Actively provide other things for your kids to do that engage them in creative production rather than simply passive consumption.

Why reading blogs, books and tweets may be bad for you.

When it comes to blogging or anything else in life for that matter there is a delicate balance that must be maintained in order for you to be effective. I call it the production vs. consumption dilemma. Catchy I know. Here is the problem. We live in a time where more content is being generated than ever before in our history. Check out this info graphic on how much content is created in one minute on the web. The numbers are staggering.

web content infographic

What has happened has been a seismic shift in content creation. The internet has removed all the previous gateways that filtered content. For example you want to write a book you can anyone can. There are literally hundreds of sites that will help you get your content out there. Years ago the publishing companies where the gatekeepers of books. If your book wasn’t good or what the publishing companies thought people wanted your content didn’t see the light of day. This was a good thing and a bad thing. It was good because it acted as a filter and mostly worked. It was bad because it kept us from finding new voices and hearing new ideas. This is just publishing the internet has broken down so many walls when it comes to content creation it’s almost overwhelming.

My Children’s Pastor is Irrelevant

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One of the things I have noticed over the past few years in the kids ministry community, is kids and youth pastors seem to move around a lot. I always found this to be quite curious. I moved around many times as a kid. So I always chalked up my awareness of how often kids and youth pastors move because of my personal experience growing up. Last year I went to Australia and I found that they don’t have the same ministry culture there. To be fair there are some pioneers in kids ministry in Australia but the whole of kids ministry in Australia is largely done by volunteers and part-time kids and youth pastors who were raised in the church they are serving.

I think the problem in the American church is not a problem of relevance at all. I think many kids and youth pastors leave their churches prematurely. The reason is they misinterpret their feelings of frustration. I remember feeling antsy around 4 years in and I also remember God say you haven’t finished what I have for you to do. So I stayed. 10 years in I had accomplished all I knew that I was to do. I started to ask God if I was done or just in the wrong place. I felt that he was saying neither. I was confused. I then felt in my heart that God was calling me to spend the rest of my time releasing and training others to do what I do.

I think Lead Pastors and Kids pastors get it wrong at exactly the same time.