A Note from Kelly King: We can all become dependent on our technology and our connectivity. But, what happens when it is taken away? In today’s article, Rachel Lovingood shares her recent experience and how she learned to rely on the truth of God’s power, no matter what form you use to study it.
Recently I was preparing to speak at a large weekend event. I knew the theme, had titled the four different messages, and as I usually do, I had added a lot of thought about each message as the Lord brought things to my mind. My plan was to take the 10 days before the event to study and prayerfully flesh out the messages. And honestly, that usually works really well for me…until this time. My laptop had been acting funny and since I had a little more time than usual, I decided to get it fixed.
Then, of course, when I went to get it back after its “minor” repair, nothing worked. This started an ongoing saga that kept the bait of a “fixed and much faster laptop” hanging in front of me for the next few weeks. I kept thinking I was about to get it back and knew I needed to get those messages prepared. So what do you do when your fancy study apps and previously thought-out notes are unavailable? You pray.
So I prayed. I was feeling stressed that my notes weren’t accessible and my study program was out of reach, and I shared that frustration with the Lord. He, pretty much loudly and in a strong voice in my head, asked me, “What do you mean you have nothing to work with? Am I not still here? Do I not have the capability to give you whatever message I want you to teach without a laptop, study program, or anything else?
After I very humbly acknowledged the truth of His power, I got a blank notebook (you know the kind made out of paper), and pulled out my study Bible (the kind where you look up things in the back), and some reference books (the kind that sit on the shelf), and I prayed for God to show me where He wanted the messages to go. And I wrote—yes, wrote—out my notes for each session.
I discovered some things that I’ve known but sometimes tend to forget or overlook. As leaders, when we have the Word of God, we have the living, active power that can change lives. Whether we are accessing it online, on a tablet, or on paper, it is still the Word of God, and it still speaks to people and transforms. I noticed how easy it can be for us to become dependent on fancy things to impress, connect, or teach from. However, maybe it is wise for us to remember that unless we are relying on the unchanging Word of God first, we are missing the boat.
I am definitely not advocating that we should stay away from electronics and those things that can add to a teaching session or that can help people relate to a truth from Scripture, but our foundation should always be that His Word is enough and anything else is just extra. As leaders, we must continually point people to the truth in God’s Word and teach them to rely on Scripture over anything else.
We live in a culture obsessed with being entertained and impressed that often feeds a tendency to worship the person with the coolest special effects instead of the Savior. Maybe we need to keep throwing in those teaching times that could be considered “old school” so that it keeps people from relying on technology and helps them focus on truth and the fact that God’s Word is relevant to their everyday lives.
You have probably read many things about leaders who step away from their electronics and all their “stuff” in order to get still and hear from God, and I have had that privilege many times in my own life. This lesson was one that I hadn’t planned on; it popped up in the middle of my busiest season. But honestly, I wouldn’t trade those couple of weeks for anything because of how God reminded me of where my dependence lies.
I am always looking for more creative ways to teach biblical truths, and I’m going to keep on doing that because God gave us that creativity and wants us to use it for His glory. However, I am also going to remember the time when my laptop crashed and God spoke in powerful ways without anything that uses a charger.
Think about how you would manage if you lost all your power tools and had to teach a lesson or speak at an event. What are you relying on as you lead? How often are you more focused on your video, special effects, or illustrations than your Scripture passage?
If you struggle with finding balance in all these things, go back to an old saying: “Make the main thing the main thing.” That basically means you should know what you want the listener to walk away with from Scripture and make that the main thing. Then build around that main thought by always keeping the truth from God’s Word as the main thing. That way if the power goes out you will still have light to share that can transform lives.
Rachel is the Senior Associate Pastor’s wife and a women’s leader at First Baptist Church, Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as a LifeWay Women’s Trainer. She is co-author of a Bible study for ministers’ wives called, In Our Shoes: Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives, as well as Even More and Salvaging My Identity, both of which are 40-day experiences for teenage girls and young women. She uses her passion for Christ, her energetic style, and her sometimes crazy sense of humor to encourage and teach women to find the answers they need from the only true source of wisdom—the Bible. She is a wife, a mom of three fantastic kids, a friend, a writer, and a teacher. Her experiences working in youth ministry as well as women’s ministry in various churches across the country have developed in her a deep love for women and a mission to help enable them to live victoriously in spite of the struggles they face. She is the lead writer for Impact Resources, a company that produces strong, biblically based curriculum.