That is my bookshelf in my tiny church office. This used to be a badge of honor; all those books up there (many of which I haven’t read), but today I hardly notice them. It’s a rare moment that I even look at this with the intention of looking for particular book. Nowadays, I either consult my Kindle library or search Google. Part of me wonders why I even keep these books anymore.
When I attend conferences I will still browse the bookstore but rarely will I buy anything. If I find a book I like I search for the Kindle version on Amazon and then add it to my wishlist to buy later. If there is no Kindle version then I am force to discern how bad I really want/need the book. I remember not so long ago going to these conferences and coming home with tons of books, but no more.
And then there’s my Bible.
For the most part, I am reading my Bible through my YouVersion Bible app on my phone or my tablet. I do use my paper Bible in worship and in Bible study, but generally I go to the electronic version for my Bible reading, but sometimes I just need to hold a paper Bible and read. It’s not that it’s more holy or anything but in a weird sort of way I feel closer to the Word when I can actually touch the paper.
Is that strange?
And so I keep a paper Bible always close at hand. I am actually trying to recondition myself to use it more often and only use my Bible app if I absolutely need to or if I want to quickly share something on social media.
…I’m off I go to read;
touching the Word of God;
listening to the pages
and feeling a little “old fashioned” (but that’s OK).
Technology can greatly improve many things but it can never replace the paper Bible. I’m OK with ebooks and downsizing my former badge of honor in my tiny church office but I hope our world never gets to the point where paper Bibles are obsolete; found only in museums under glass.
The Pastor -|—
I am out of the stone age finally. A Star Trek wormhole appeared on Friday afternoon and I was instantly brought to the 21st century with the arrival of my Nexus 9. But unlike the fictional, but hope-to-be-true-soon TV show/movies, this wormhole looked a lot like a UPS truck.
And what a beautiful sight that was.
Now I know that God can use anything at my disposal for preaching His holy word. God can use paper manuscripts, tablets, smoke signals, sign language, interpretive dance (which I would never attempt unless the Holy Spirit took control of my body). God can communicate His holy word despite my sinfulness and shortcomings. And God will be glorified even when I do whine and complain about situations being “tough” (i.e. technology crashing).
The Holy Spirit can take my messed up words and attitude and use them to bring glory to God. The Holy Spirit can take a disastrous situation and use it for good (just ask Joseph as his brothers sold him into slavery but God used that to save millions and millions of people). God, through the Holy Spirit, can use any and all situations and people.
And God can use this whiny pastor as he complains about a piece of technology failing. God can even use this (near idolatrous) pastor as he gets googly…
(pun intended, get it? Google Nexus)…
…eyed over his new toy (I mean work tool). And praise be to God that the success of God’s kingdom advance is not dependent on me and me alone.
This world and everything it contains is fragile and thus are passing away; but not God and not His holy word. God’s word and promises are forever and will never fail or crash. And thank God for that.
Holy God, knock me down a peg or two (or more) when I get too whiny about situations. Humble me and help me see that it is Your Holy Spirit that gives power to Your words that proceed from my mouth. Knock me up across the head so I may not get too full of myself and depend on my so-called abilities. May You be glorified. In Jesus name, Amen.
The Pastor -|—
I’ve been a pastor for just over 10 1/2 years (plus a year of internship) and through that time I have preached a lot of sermons:
Community ecumenical services
And for the most part I have used a manuscript on multiple pieces of paper, until Aug 2013, when I bought a tablet. I then discovered the joy of preaching off my tablet and not fumbling with papers. It felt like I had left the stone age and entered modern times through a time machine or some kind of Star Trek wormhole.
Approximately one and a half years of preaching with technological bliss 🙂
That is the sound of my tablet up and dying on me. RIP 😦
And so I had to use paper in worship this past Sunday (oh the horror). And let me tell you, that was awkward. Amazing what one gets used to over time. In any case, I ordered a new tablet on Monday with a delivery date of TODAY 🙂
Yup…that’s right. I got sent the wrong one.
And now I have to suffer through another Sunday preaching in the stone age.
[Cue the weeping and gnashing of teeth]
My wife rolls her eyes at me but she just doesn’t understand the crisis I am in. I fear dropping pages off the pulpit and looking like a bumbling buffoon. Where is the wormhole when I need it. Hopefully Amazon can sense my pain and speed this delivery up, but I am not going to hold my breath. So in the mean time, I need to start stone age training again; getting my paper holding fingers back into shape.
It is in cases like this I am glad that the proclamation of the Word is not up to me; because in the words of Martin Luther, I would surely bring it all to ruin.
Oh well, wish me luck.
Come, Holy Spirit.
The Pastor -|—