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People of the Book in the Age of the App

Scott Ritsema


It goes without saying - media use is out of control and may be the single biggest stumbling block in spiritual, social and family life today. Which begs the question: what does the latest research say about the stranglehold of 'big tech' upon our lives and how to break free? What are the essential biblical principles for establishing a balanced use of technological tools? And how can we truly restore spirituality and relationships in the digital age?


Scott Ritsema

Founder and Speaker for Belt of Truth Ministries


  • January 2, 2020
    12:00 PM
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This message was presented at the g.. By many or by few in Louisville Kentucky for other resources like visitors on. Dot org. We'll begin with prayer and do this session people of the book in the age of the what's our heads for prayer. Father in heaven we thank you so much for for life and life more abundantly as it is in Jesus as we're thinking through all of these media issues father we just asked for wisdom from on high we ask for clarity we ask for your will to be known to be made known to us and to be done in our lives as we submit and surrender to your leading and we pray these things in Jesus' name amen. There is no other book so potent to elevate the thoughts to give vigor to the faculties as the broad ennobling truths of the Bible if God's word were studied as it should be and then would have a breath of mind and nobility of character and stability of purpose that is rarely seen in these times have you ever heard that quote before is a good one isn't it we are people of the book aren't we we're going to talk in this session about the book with a capital b. we're also talking to a lot about literacy and book reading in general and in the age of the app what does that mean for us as digital citizens of this online culture what is that on the screen right there do you know this is the printing press the invention that changed the course of human history dramatically and I would argue for the better the printing press brought literacy to the common people which brought forth movements and reforms like the world had never seen and rapid pace we're talking about enlightenment in the Protestant Reformation but even things that brought civic reforms and individual freedom you wouldn't have the foundation of the American republic definitely you wouldn't have Martin Luther's tracks in the German Bible and indels English bible going out to the common people the printing press changed things dramatically in the Western world in social arenas in medical arenas in economic and how about the advent movement the printing press and the advent of review and Advent Herald 2nd Advent review now the 7th arrow this thing was to go as streams of light round the world so we are blessed to be people of the book people who receive the truth of the Word of God in written form. The meaning behind the title of this session and the meaning of the title of this whole seminar reclaiming the human soul in the digital dark age I'm thinking about if a legitimate fear that the very civilization that came to be in the last 500 years since the printing press was invented is in danger because if we are in a digital information age awash in information is it possible that we've confused information with knowledge and wisdom and that of a digital dark ages upon us where real literacy is under fire that sounded crazy right here in the intro but as we move forward whoa it could be true let's start with this Dr Marion Wolfe cognitive neuroscientist is perhaps the foremost expert in the world on reading and the reading brain and the title suggests in her book reader come home that we have got to recapture the art and the act and the skill of reading she lays out in her book an amazing list of the benefits of reading that made me go wow I feel like I've read this somewhere like in the Bible benefits of reading books you ready for if you're a book reader a person who has literacy at the forefront of your life and you're a reader you will be more critically thinking. Come let us reason together say at the Lord let us not be mere reflectors of other men's thoughts but let us be thinkers education I don't know the page number look it up as our look at up on your app by the way if you missed the balancing statements from earlier today I would like media like it's pretty awesome that I can bring up the e.g. w 2 app I'm here and I have my books app and I can listen to the audios and I can search the audios when I'm on airplanes and I'm flying place and doing media on the brain seminars at churches I can't be taking like a hand truck full of you know the spirit of prophecy books with me that would cost a lot on the airlines to get the additional baggage I've got a right here in my palm of my hand that's great right so that aside reading physical paper books being a reader of books leads to critical thinking leads to creativity we've been given a power akin to that of the Creator the power to think and to do that's also in the book education personal reflection she calls it I call it from 2nd to 2nd Corinthians 135 Examine yourselves to see if you be in the faith personal reflection looking at our own soul in the mirror and when you read a book when you read about the lives of people like Martin Luther and Tyndale who I mentioned or anybody throughout history real stories and histories in the the Protestant Reformation the advent movement and even things in other realms of life and great great people who accomplish great things you start to look as the at that as a mirror into your own heart and your own life and so personal reflection takes place 3rd 4th of all empathy empathy That's love right that's feeling somebody else's feelings thinking about somebody else's just walking in their shoes increases when we are book readers so when when the Bible says Love your neighbor as yourself. Of is saying care about them be willing to sacrifice self to uplift and benefit another that's the biblical definition of love right there also by the way Stanford University found that when you're reading stories about people there is actual mirror neuron activity happening in your brain you're identifying with their experience when you're reading carefully when you're reading deliberately if your speed reading is just getting the gist of it then what happens is actually you're not having as much mirror neuron activity so when you're reading counsels to parents teachers and students that when when we are reading just fiction for the superficial reading of the story for entertainment value in my words entertainment value is a superficial reading of fiction types of books it's as not to do that right in the Spirit of Prophecy Well now we know it's going to reduce empathy also there's another statement that says if the appetites for our reading wasn't spoiled with the reading of those types of books of fiction types of books then the young people would pronounce the Bible the most interesting book they have ever read if their appetites weren't worth spoiled by the reading of the the popular types of reading So what she's talking about here is serious reading empathy will increase Stanford University showed that when you're reading deliberately you're going to have more mirror neuron activity going on in the brain which is what God wants for us right personal reflection critical thinking creativity all of it now the reading circuit of the brain really doesn't really exist I mean we there isn't like a dedicated circuit in area of the brain like that's the reading area we pieced together a lot of different areas in the brain when we learn to read and we develop a reading circuit it's an amazing thing what our brains were created for you know God made Adam and Eve and there wasn't there wasn't books at the time right they could spot talk with the God the Jesus who walked with them in the cool of the day right there and so we developed this you know millennia later and humanists. 3 And what's pretty cool is when you're reading your piecing together circuits from 2 Hamis fears in the brain 4 lobes per hemisphere and 5 layers of the brain and it fires off in a millisecond when you identify the meaning of those characters and put it together in the words I mean when you're a little kid and you're learning to read it's not a millisecond it's hard but it happens when you learn that skill and it's an empower full thing that you know how you have more connections in one cubic centimeter of your brain than all the stars in the galaxy that's just one little tiny piece of the brain we are fearfully and wonderfully made it's amazing that we can do this so when it says in the Bible the ultimate command love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and what mind and strength being thinkers being readers being intelligent I'm worried that the media is dumbing us down and we are losing some of that as we'll get into I have to make a slide out of this or I forget to do it there's a yellow note book you guys already got that one started awesome it's an e-mail sign in sheet to be in touch with us please send me your e-mails you'll be in touch with me when you get on that as well Scott writes I'm a g. mail dot com if you just want to send me an email I'm always available. Neil Postman wrote in 1985 in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death he showed from recent research at that time that the more television you watch the less intelligent you become so television was dumbing us down with that type of media at that time well what about with the advent of the Internet and other types of media by 2003. King's College London University of London found that in studies kids were already performing to entire grade levels below where they were in the 1970 s. So one generation later to grade level drop by 2003 the Internet smartphones everything digital now is a whole nother generation removed from 2003 how are we doing now well since the advent of the smartphone and social media as a tease scores particularly in language and reading have dropped 13 points each in just 10 years how did that happen so quickly and so dramatically Well we'll get into it but right there by the way I used to be a teacher that's my background I was a teacher in history in government and economics and then went into teaching Bible at the end of my teaching career when I was coming into the truth and getting into the advent of schools and I loved it and I guess I'm still teaching here that's what I do to churches of every weekend and here at g y c and other events and I think I look at that not because I think we are like saved by our intellect but as 13 forced per point drop in reading and language. In language and reading skills there on the s.a.t. is going to have major implications for our thinking skills in general not just standardized tests but they found these young people 9 to 10 year olds who were doing just 2 hours of screen time per day only had significant drops in thinking skills and language skills this was a $300000000.00 study by the way it's continuing on for the next 10 years and they found thinking in language skills dropping among these young people ages 9 to 10 years old so we can sum that all up with the media mind is definitely becoming dumbed down but the mind of Christ intelligent intelligent in the things of God and thinkers not mere reflectors of other men's thoughts. Now lest we get a little imbalanced on the idea of the intellect and being thinkers and smarts remember in the desire of ages where it talked about the fairest seas and it they were the guys who knew everything right they were the know it all and it says in desire of ages and what they needed was not more intellectual attainments what they needed was spiritual renovation. Humility sacrifice obedience all of those things Faith justice and mercy right that's what the ultimate aim of our walk with Jesus Christ is one aspect of our loving God and being committed to him is loving Him with all of our mind so we don't want to discount the mind we don't want to just embrace ignorance no no we've got to get the right balance there but also don't feel that we are saved by our intellect language skills though and thinking skills will have tremendous spiritual implications thinking skills are you thinking about the deceptions coming in the last days are we able to discern how about language skills did you know that all learning and all thinking is forms the basis in the foundation of language that we learn early in life or that we develop as readers as we get older so our thinking abilities will be based upon language skills and of course thinking skills themselves now what about educational technology you might say Ok I get it we're doing so much entertainment media so much videogames so much just mind numbing stuff in popular music it's like no kidding we're being dumbed down but one of the big controversies in educational circles has been educational media so-called educational technology there's 2 divergent paths that it seems are forming here what you see this this headline the no tech school where screens are off limits even at home and this is one that was done to try to get back to the basics like the tech executives and engineers in Silicon Valley I told you about in the 1st session the most sought after private school in Silicon Valley is a Waldorf style school where they have 0 electronic media educational media technology it's back to the basics type of things but this one u.s. classrooms are starting to resemble arcades we're going to game of fi the learning process everything's going to be on screens because we've got to get motivation going and so we're going to make it as I said game of hide meaning rewards in online types of things that make it make make motivation happen the case against screens and so. Rules by Dr Nicholas Carr Doris points out psychologist and author of failure to connect how computers affect our children's minds Jane Hayley spent years researching computer use in schools while she expected to find that computers in the schools would be beneficial Hayley now feels that time on the computer might interfere with development of everything from the young child's motor skills to his or her ability just to distinguish reality from fantasy Whoa that's a strong statement there isn't it so how's it working for you well students who use computers frequently as school do worse Market Watch headlines reports on the study of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development where they had 15 year old students across $34.00 countries studied and they found students who use computers very frequently at school do much worse even after accounting for social background in student demographics so they control all the variables and the only variable is tech use and they say how I frequent c. of the use of the Educational Technology is producing much worse results for those 15 year olds there was a anecdotal or it was it was a study a small population here at West Point Academy where they had an economics course that was taught by the same professors same demographic of students randomly selected into these 3 different sections he taught of the same course and 11 section he made it so that they could use laptops and that the laptops were permitted to come into the class and be used for class purposes and you know how many of them are going to actually use of her class purposes maybe they'll get a little distracted well then they have the 2nd group and they had they had. What do you call the tablets tablets and not laptops but the tablets were only permitted for last. And then the 3rd group was no screens at all so you got the 3 groups you got laptops kind of do what you want on their tablets with only class material and and no technology pen and paper type of thing and surprisingly the students who were allowed to use laptops in the 1st section 80 percent of them did scored worse on the final exam because they probably spent a significant amount there is I'm on social media and other things right what's interesting is that the smartest students seem to be harmed most. And the tablet only section did just as poorly as a lot of friendly section even though students were not allowed to check e-mail or play games on the tablets the technology still seem to interfere with their learning so there's something about the technology itself that is interfering with the learning process which is why a metal analysis at Durham University looked at $48.00 studies on tech based interventions we're going to help the children develop in their skills and we're going to use you know media technological. Educational Technology they found traditional methods of interventions were high having higher rates of success than the than the screen based interventions that's why Nicholas Carr Doris came out with this great headline in Time magazine screens in schools are a $60000000000.00 hoax he's correct after decades and decades of research now of technology in the classroom there is 0 solid evidence at all that this stuff is helping with the learning in early childhood middle high school on up into the college so when we think from the earliest ages What is it that lays that groundwork it's the language skills language development when you have that toddler on the lap and you're reading the book right there they call the shared attention and it's a very positive social bond as well as a literacy development when you're reading to them when you're reading books to children whether toddlers are older than your tend to you'd be using words that you would maybe otherwise use. In your lexicon and sentence structure and verbiage and so on that's that's expanding and extending their their literacy and maybe your enunciating a little better you're reading a little more deliberately than you would in common conversation and so you can actually predict very accurately how good a child will be able to read as he grows up and gets older based upon how much he's read to at an early age and how he can thus distinguish the fun it's sounding at age 5 so you pinpoint age 5 how how well is the literacy in the language developed at that point and you can predict where they're going to be reading beyond that now learning to read at age 5 no benefit actually you'd end up a better reader if you learn to read at age 7 than if you learn to read at age 5 like all who knew oh wait that was written in spirit of prophecy wasn't like us not for so much education on unready and on receptive mind and it says the mother could be the teacher until age 8 or 10 right so the Lord knew and showed that to us but the research is starting to catch up what Dr Christakis says is toddlers need lapse not apps I love that phrase but what if all of us are key Our kids are using text on a screen that's the exact same text that's in the book and then maybe it's books versus like in hand e-books you know an e-book with additional and hence Smiths you know little pop ups and things that will add to the reading experience while what they found is in studies comprehension reading comprehension is better in the physical paper book versus the enhanced e-book and they were studying this all the way back with that device I remember when I was invented in my neighbor said Scott we got a new computer I had a 10 d. 1000 and i.b.m. there was no such thing is that that thing right there with a cord he goes it's an apple hole and like what do you mean it's an apple I'm imagining an apple you know it's a computer called an apple. It as a mouse an apple and a mouse What are you talking about I go over and he's moving this little thing with the cord and it moves this little air on the screen I'm like whoa whoa this is amazing so they invented hyperlinks and you can click on the link and they're going this is going to enhance the reading process $989.00 they were already doing studies on this and they found text with hyperlinks in it is distracting the reader and lowers reading comprehension versus reading that same text in a book so we know this for 30 years it's amazing now what if it's just no bells and whistles no enhancements no ear readers with additional things that the kids are pinging on and getting little icons and notifications but if it's just simple screen based text with no links Ok Well what they've studied this unit are Dartmouth University and they found that the quality of reading is deeper and the comprehension is better when reading the physical paper book than reading the exact same thing and it's just a screen is just a p.d.f. it's just an e Reader Wow now we are better on screens at being fact chasers skimming and identifying facts we're better at that so screens have an advantage their books have an advantage in the other areas in study in Norway they had subjects read identical story on a Kindle versus a book and they found Peter people were better at reconstructing and retelling the story narrative if they had read it in a book than if they had read it on a Kindle pretty interesting 2012 Israeli study of engineering students who grew up in the world of screens looked at their comprehension while reading the same text on screen and in print while under time pressure to complete the task the students believe they did better on the screen write a screen based everything is better than the non virtual alternative isn't it well they were wrong they didn't do better on the screen. Their comprehension and learning was better on paper so then they sum this up with a $33.00 study medicine Allison and found across the board in all the studies you're looking at reading comprehension better in books remembering more and learning more than reading those same things on the screen or matter what the type of screen is so we can sum that up with what happens when you're in an enhanced e-book and such you're more scattered and distracted links distracting you the meat the mind of Christ focused right we looked at the word heat in the King James pay attention executive function enhanced more when reading the physical book even more than something on a screen and as I thought about that by the way I want to make a case for getting the physical paper Bible out for devotions because when we think about this thing of distress scattered instructed you know I use this I mentioned they're right it's not like us is sin issue an evil and that's what's going to be the best and most effective way for me to have my time with the Lord and when I reopen the physical paper Bible you know what happens you know what never happens a pop up a notification. There's never in the margin over here another I care another app that I'm tempted to click on when I'm really meaning to go for my bible app I want to ask you to show your hands how many of you have got on your phone to do your devotions and another thing grab your attention you were on that 1st like I was going to do this quick and there's this wrapping our time with the Lord isn't it and it's not even like use it right search it do your little Nero Bible app and all that I don't know actually is a bible app I like the physical paper Bible I do like that e.g. white app because again the handcart but the physical paper version is going to get us deeper into thought and into contemplation about the things of God and meditating upon His Law Day and night I'm going to take those words back by the. Contemplating the Word of God meditating upon His Law Day and night not going to let the New Agers have all the good language we're not doing contemplate of whom they are not doing a new age meditation we are truly contemplating something truly thinking ponder these things the Bible says think about such things so the mind of Christ focus the media mind more scattered and distracted we're being removed as a culture from the waves that human beings have fought for hundreds of years been able to think critically as intelligent and educated people we've developed our minds through real literacy that brings metaphors abstract concepts logical narratives conceptual framework so that would be like the media mind is the mind of Christ is it's a consists of framework to think about a concept within right a conceptual framework long attention spans who Boy do we need to go back to the morning session the 1st one for deep analysis critical thought that's what reading develops and we're now losing those abilities to conceive of and communicate nuanced ideas big deep wide vast ideas and be doers and thinkers and small sea creators because it's the culture of the instant frozen moment the world of the here and now the impression I get in this moment on the social media post just the sound bite just the frozen moment of the instant everything the instant culture is upon us is and it's nothing as long term consequences for this generation we don't think about the cause to affect reasoning that as such the basis of human thought the beneath the surface level takes time and attention span and intelligence to probe and consider the insta culture doesn't permit that in 280 characters you got to sum it up don't you actually the average tweet is only. 34 characters did you know that they could do an 80 characters what can you say and that I was in pain last night trying to come up with something to say and 30 seconds in the little promo piece that they give to the seminar speakers I can't imagine doing it in 34 characters you're inundated with social media with an enormous volume of messages right and the expected velocity or speed of those message to go back and forth at rapid pace is with lots of eye the things being bounced back and forth it's like Ping-Pong in the brain and we're not having that moment it doesn't allow us to really go deep to study to pray to engage to have time together so what happens will our exchange of ideas will correspondingly become more shallow and that's not to say we can't do anything deep on social media but largely not as much depth is happening on social media because of the nature of the medium the media mind becomes more shallow but the mind of Christ deep here you go Google it mentality leaves school leavers that's what they call them in England graduates unprepared for University study finds this study found that university admissions officers say that today's crop of students are quote unable to remember facts. Because we have a Google it mentality unable to think 90 percent of them agreed with that statement unable to think that's a strong statement 90 percent of them said that unable to manage their workloads unable to manage their time and they just have a general Google it mentality it's like this graphic that appears ad nauseum in our day and in our brain I don't know Google it I don't know Google it I don't know Google it I don't what do I need a memory for why would I need to recall facts I have outsourced my memory to the external drive of my brain this is an external memory collecting fact holding thing I don't need I don't need to think any more c.e.o. of Google said he had mid we are all Turing cognition and affecting deeper thinking I love how you use very neutral passive terms there altering it affecting It's not that it's it's not we're damaging thinking we're it's not we're reducing cognition it's just being altered maybe it's being altered for the better affecting deeper thinking for the better well not only is Google storing our facts for us but they're going to start thinking doing our thinking for us and already have actually near having your smartphone nearby takes a toll on your thinking this was amazing to me they had people set their phone face down on the table not to be used and they did a series of cognitive tasks a 2nd group was to place their phone in their pocket and use it and do a series of cognitive tasks a 3rd group was to leave it in the other room and go and do the series of cognitive tasks same demographics all variables controlled same questions people were asked. You're like there's no way they're not even using their phone it's just sitting there you have the phone sitting there group performed the worst the phone in the pocket group where it wasn't in visualize it but its presence was still there performed 2nd were 2nd 2nd best and then the group were left of on the other and performed the best just not having it sitting there actually made these people recall and rely on their memory and their thinking more even though the group with it sitting there wasn't allowed to use it just the sitting there of the phone but affected their performance as the presence of our devices can affect our cognition and our thinking and our performance on intellectual tasks Lloyd's insurance group looked at the memory span of the average person because they were noticing an increased number of pots boiling over and back tubs left running and lost keys and they're like Ok they and insurance companies analyze everything right they have algorithms and they have data on everything so they can set their rates accordingly and adjust their And there's sure it's methods they found that the average human memory span has dropped 12 minutes from 12 minutes to 5 minutes so more than 50 percent drop in just 10 years time that's over 50 percent drop in just 10 years the media mind is forgetful but the mind of Christ retentive retentive minds serious reading takes a hit from on line scanning and skimming researchers say Ok what is they what do they mean by serious reading versus on line reading well to cognitive neuroscientists this experience is the subject of great fascination and growing alarm humans they warn seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information on line this alternative way of reading important phrase they're not the same kind. Of reading opening a book to read reading on line is not the same kind of reading this it's a new drain scared a Brit brain a circuit that's being formed they called it a digital brain the alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry that I mentioned before that we've been using for so many hundreds of years so there's a digital quote reading style that many people have adopted and then there's the literary reading style you might say Scott that's redundant Why do you need to say literary reading style as the reading readings dial Well this so-called reading needs some modification now as we describe because when people get on line typically they dart around in the shape of an f. they will read it toward the top across and then they will come down and read over maybe a little less and then the kind of skim down the side more or less and it's after our honestly as a teacher that is quite fitting as a grade in class but anyway it's it's not continuous sustained concentrated reading as much as it is in a book it's chopped up into bursts it's also more entertainment oriented where you're barely skimming the surface of things and you're not going deep into the cognitive capabilities that God has given to us we're not going into edification and love God with all your mind and all the deep things the media mind is just literally a better not say literally the media mind is is illiterate the mind of Christ is literate that is not hyperbole illiterate in the normal way of reading in books reading is not just fun acts and being able to with sound out words reading is the comprehension that takes place and if we're only doing the digital reading and we don't we were as a culture we're losing that ability to literally literally becoming illiterate. It's a terrible terrible sounding statement but it has has the meaning intended Internet brain in just 5 days Dr Gary Smalls research at u.c.l.a. found the. Internet users brains function differently than nonusers brains how long does it take one hour a day for 5 days you're jumping around on line and you've rewrite your brain for that digital on line experience so our environment has changed dramatically in the last 20 years right and so if it's changed dramatically want to stop and ask Is this what we want for our brains or are we positing to question reflect on how much of that we want as forming the circuits of our brain and are we just leaping headlong into every new thing and where big tech might be taking us row row row your boat gently down the stream and who knows what's next if you were at the last session you heard a quote from a top Facebook and executive saying you don't realize it but you are being programmed I won't repeat all of the things that was said there but there were said there but media theorists for many decades have talked about how the entertainment media and the news media the big traditional media have always been taking the culture on a unconscious current unconscious current like in a river where we're not aware we're just going along for the ride I want to say Stop wait choosey this day whom ye shall serve and choosey this day whom you shall be what our brains are is who we are and that's not to take away from use of digital technologies but if I'm giving way to the digital reading style at the expense of illiteracy real literal literary reading style I wonder if it is a digital dark age remember the dark ages or you know remember them when a lot of them is from your history. In the Dark Ages people didn't have books they didn't have literacy they were not educated they were kept in the dark they were kept ignorant kept ignorant of the Word of God that was the method that was used by the papal powers of that time to keep the stranglehold upon the minds of the masses in Europe and so with people on able to think and study and read the Bible for themselves they were easily deceived because it was a dark age. Age of much illiteracy I said a dark age we usually call the Dark Age or the dark ages but are we coming upon a final dark age a digital dark age because you don't you do know in prophecy that the persecutions that were then will be repeated right and the deceptions that were then will be well nigh universal again and you're like how do we get there and a lot of it is the moral fall the decline in the family there's a lot of aspects to it that lead to that but as much of it may have to do with this issue of people not reading studying the Bible for themselves and knowing the truth for themselves because we are entering upon this now digital dark age this is what Maggie Jackson a secular writer on this says she says a Dark Age is a cultural collapse that leads to an abyss of forgetfulness we have nothing to fear lest we forget how God let us in our past history knowing a little bit about it is there a lot better hopefully about the reformation of reading the great controversy is a prerequisite to understanding who we are today and where we are going prophecy is future history is past but we've got the insta culture what did those matter all that matters is the impression and feeling I get when I hop on line and check my feed or whatever the situation is are we heading into some dramatic implications for the soul when the digital dark age encroaches upon our own lives so what is the goal then Scott what I would suggest goalie eliminating the I mean these tools are awesome right we're using them powerfully I've got a lot of info in this seminar of screenshots as you've noticed so totally eliminate No no no no not totally eliminating I mean maybe some people need to fast or maybe some people do need to totally eliminate it but the goal of the general goal for the vast majority of us in the digital reading age would be I borrow this phrase from Mary and Wolf. A bi literate brain so we're it's Ok to read our line right and we do it differently we're better fact chasers on there if anybody saw my my laptop with my 3 different web browsers each one with like you know for 20 to 40 tabs open at a time like yeah you do a bit of that too don't you yeah I love gathering information on line but I had to discipline myself personally. With kids and you're busy and it's like there's devotion time but are you doing more reading and study ever touch a book other than that you know and I found myself doing getting imbalance in that so the by literate brain would be retaining real reading abilities by getting the physical part humans out with the ink in the black on the white paper you remember that stuff I see some of your writing paper notes that's kind of neat retaining and retraining retaining real reading abilities and retraining our brains for how we read on screens so it's not just so chopped up in despair as moderate bursts of nothingness where we where we really slow down and we're on line when we're reading something to ponder it you don't need to click on something immediately after having the impression in the moment just pause and hang out there for and think through that or go deep and actually read an entire thing and say Ok I'm going to spend some time to read that but a 3rd of teens haven't read a single book in the past year either in print or in form or on their phone or anything a 3rd of the haven't read a single book and you're like aren't they in school yeah that's why it's really scary is t l d r for too long didn't read it's the acronym that defines a generation the generation that didn't read let it not be in the fifty's I was asking my mom about this I said how I got data from 1976 I don't have data from the fifty's when you grew up tell me. How many teens would you say read a book or a periodical most days of the week and this is 12 graders that they looked at this data 1976 and then again in 2016 she said you're talking about 12 graders who are in school. I said yeah how many of the Gators in school were reading a book or a periodical most days a week she will all of them we had to pass our class so not necessarily 100 percent but whatever the data might find it's well up there in the ninety's percent by 1976 you have a generation raised on television it was down to 60 percent of 12th graders were reading a book or a periodical most days of the week by 2016 only 15 percent of 12th graders are reading something and that includes the readers that includes the readers. How are we are we getting by and by the way it's not just teens it's adults too it's even professional authors I read a very interesting article by a famous Christian author and he's easy is known as being a scholar in everything he's written so many books and he writes in this in this article in The Washington Post about how he's got a massive vast library of 5000 books in his home 1000 books and he's read them all and they're marked up and pages are turned over and they're highlighted and he's like I've been a person of the mind in literacy in reading and he says I find that I don't even read books like I used to because of all the on line things that are happening and grabbing my attention he says I'll even go online this is an elderly man now I'll go online and I'll try to digest a single article and there's this little thing that grabs my attention it's like 30 Amish secrets that will make your skin crawl it is like and I find myself clicking on that and clicking on celebrity wardrobe malfunctions and I'm like whoa Ok so. If you even have guys like that admitting this in another professional author is a secular guy Nicholas Carr he wrote the book The Shallows he says I used to be an academic and intellectual diving deep into the realm of words and thoughts and ideas I was a scuba diver was the analogy he says and now I find I'm like a jet skier just skimming the surface so what's going on well let me tell you something a lot of people is I don't have time I don't have time. Ok Bill Gates busy guy he reads 50 books a year Warren Buffett busy guy big top investor $500.00 pages per day Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg reads one book every 2 weeks at least Iran Musk grew up reading 2 books a day there can be and temperance in all things here by the way Mark Cuban reads for more than 3 hours every day Famous famous guy Arthur Blank co-founder of Home Depot reads for 2 hours a day read notes only rooted OTOH Macare open a book I read I don't have any time Ok let's take a look at these numbers if we as a society across the board just remove t.v. and social media and we have let's let's hypothetically just say 0 social media time and 0 t.v. time you would in that time if you applied all of that to reading only not that we would do that but just then as a thought exercise at the average length of book The average words per page the average page numbers in the average speed of a reader for the average person would read a 1000 books in a year a 1000 books in a year if you just remove t.v. and social media so. Ok so let's just cut it in half Let's say you cut t.v. and social media in half that's $500.00 books in a year you just cut it 10 percent you've got $100.00 books read in a year so you know we have time by the way putting down your phone may help you live longer stress a huge issue your cortisol levels are elevated when your phone is insight or nearby or when you hear it or even think you hear it. This is a professor of clinical psychiatry that pointed this out he says it's a stress response and chronically elevated cortisol levels have been tied to an increased risk of serious health problems including depression anxiety better balik syndrome type 2 diabetes fertility issues high blood pressure heart attack dimensions stroke Whoa that's a lot yes stress we've got to manage our stress and so much phone use and on line and on and off and paying that you know it's extracts full in our lives makes me want to take a deep breath every chronic disease we know of is exacerbated by stress says Dr Robert Lustig America's professor and pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California San Francisco and author of the hacking of the American mind he says and our phones are absolutely contributing to stress simply reading books reduces your chances of death over a 212 year period of time 17 percent how does sitting in a chair and reading a book reduce my chance of that as I'm just sitting this must be exercising right well all things here are all good things in moderation you're reducing stress by sitting and reading a book because you're not on line you're not all the time quality called Book reading is neurochemically energizing to the brain actually the media mind is depleted divider for vital force when you're going online it's it's it's depleting neurochemical energy of your brain for from your brain but it's depleting vital force that's a phrase from ministry of healing great great phrase the mind of Christ that was energized one child commented books slow me down and make me think the Internet speeds me up this rely on a child to say the most profound thing I love that quote It's awesome out of the miles of babes he ever read about a thoughtful hour in the contemplation of the life of Christ thoughtful our 2 operative words not that we need to be legal is about as exactly 60 minutes it's a period of time now or would be awesome actually does say an hour. If we could be minimum we could go longer. Thoughtful thoughtful hour and if you're like that's so out of my league start with 20 minutes build up to it you're going to gain a lot of benefits sitting quietly reading a physical paper book for 20 minutes and being thoughtful about it it is energizing to the brain neurochemically increases lifespan and how about your be holding Christ and eternal salvation is at your fingertips these books are under stimulating on purpose movement spirit of prophecy such long sentences paragraphs go our way longer than one line and news articles that's it that's called a paragraph these days the reason it's so rewarding to read books like desire of ages in Christ object lessons in such is because it's so under stimulating you have to invest yourself into it you go deeply you pour over it you pause you pray you encounter the living God And it's not entertainment but it is that if occasion if you heard those 2 words contrasted and 13 meant verses edification I want to be edified not merely entertained I don't want to be a pleasure seeker I want to be a seeker for truth with a capital t. Jesus himself elevated cortisol levels impair the prefrontal cortex impairment of the prefrontal cortex decreases self-control we covered that in the 1st section with executive function an impulse can stroll control and my struggles with my emotions and self control 3 in 5 millennial say life is more stressful than ever before why are we so stressed a study out of the University of Queensland in Australia published in The Journal of Social Psychology found that taking a break from Facebook will just say social media even if it's for less than a week. Can actually lowers the levels of stress hormone cortisol in a person spotty loneliness drops depression drops stress drops this is a pretty good advertisement for everybody try it on a new set of lenses and maybe many of us getting off entirely or reducing a draft dramatically to a set time the media mind is stressed but the mind of Christ. Peaceful peaceful but 20 somethings today switch their media 20 times per hour check their phones $170.00 times per day 38 percent of college students cannot go 10 minutes without checking their phone their e-mail tablet or smartphone by the way I'm not judging anybody when people get on the phone or whatever but I've noticed in these seminars people's eyes are on me and that screen I just appreciate you guys and that is not a lot of distractions that's awesome that's just cool I'm unimpressed do not stop to read papers and books that take your eye says Child Guidance 124 papers and books that take our I How about every 10 minutes my phone is bringing in ding in buzzing and vibrating and ringing at me this used to be that the biggest distraction was papers and books in the household where it's like hey I've got a task I've got to complete here but I want to grab that pamphlet and read it or this periodical or this book can you imagine a day were a book was the danger for distraction picking up just like I need to get the kitchen clean but I just like that book about no alligators or whatever the thing might be just grabbed my attention I just found myself an hour reading that book Moyo it's a different time but the principle still applies doesn't it do not allow that smartphone the social media post that alert notification I need a new word for that notification sounds so nice and positive that's great marketing for the big tech industry but also I'll call it interruption I don't need a note of a Geisha I got notifications on for my wife and you know key people who need to get ahold of me whatever but not everybody I've ever known at any time of the day 24 hours a day and I'm up in the middle of the night with my phone sleeping with my phone in my hand if you miss that from the 1st session a lot of people are doing that 50 percent of teens are up in the middle of the night on their social media no wonder we're stressed sleep deprived and all of these problems the rest of the quote say to yourself No that's a word we got to learn again you know. Impose does not need to rule I can tell cells I can tell habit no by the power of Christ no in this case I just have so many minutes in which to do my work we could say no to more important even things than that I must accomplish my task in the given time I cannot get distracted I'm going to multitask though that's what I'm going to do say people who are call themselves multitask years I might be 7 hours of those here but Stanford University study looked at young young people young adults and 100 percent of the young people said if I'm allowed to multitask I will get more done. Well guess what 100 percent of them were wrong productivity reduced was reduced 40 percent accuracy was reduced significantly what's better is sequence in our tasking sequential tasking one at a time this is how we do life we focus on something in the move to the next the media mind is will just less productive but the mind of Christ is more productive and multitasking is the wrong word there is such a thing as literal multitasking when I am working with my hands and doing something you know that's mindless and I'm pruning my apple trees or whatever I'm always listening to something and you know you can call that multitasking but what they mean by this is trying to accomplish tasks that require focused attention you can walk and chew gum at the same time as they say you can walk and carry on a conversation is same time because the walking part doesn't require focused attention or maybe in our culture it does because people are walking into the street with our incoming traffic as we saw in the earlier session but the focused attention you can only focus your mind on one thing at a time so a better phrase for it is task switching so I'm going from this one back to this one and you're oscillating on focus from here to focus here and there is Lost there's attrition when you make that switch from focusing on one thing to another so the task switching is a better name for what people call multitasking there is real multitasking but Stanford was looking at this rodeo as multitasking and they found these these young people wrong they got 40 percent less done when they were trying to do multiple things that require focused attention Sherry Turkle explains that multitasking induces a neural chemical release that she calls a multitasking high it gives you a hit and the impression that you're accomplishing lots of things because you're going from one of the other like now I'm doing this now I'm doing this and that jumping around on tasks becomes addictive because we feel like we're being more productive even though. No not now I want to I want to cruise toward the end with this concept of knowledge I introduced it at the beginning you're thinking about people of the book literacy Yes we dealt with stress and multitasking but I want to hone in on people of the book in the age of the app Daniel Chapter 12 refers to a prophecy about the last days and says knowledge will increase now let me ask you a question they have a name for the age that we're in right now is it called the knowledge age it's called the Information Age It doesn't say information will increase in the last days it says knowledge will increase now when I've presented prophecy series before I've often applied that verse to you know digital you know storage of media and how it's exponentially growing and amount of information you can find on Google and I've applied its information and that's fine you can do that but but the root of the heart of that is a certain kind of knowledge do you know what Daniel's talking about here when he says knowledge shell increase in the last days men will run to and fro what is that talking about when John says that they're the angel told him to eat the book and the book taste sweet in the mouth of a bitter in the belly and when the Bible refers to the unsealing seal up the truth until the time of the end this knowledge is talking about the truth of prophecy that's the real core meaning of that and yes we can talk about how we run to and fro on you know fast airplanes and trains and stuff that's a fine application but the real the real heart of this is a depth of knowledge of the Word of God What does that mean to know in the Bible to know if you ever read this is eternal life to know God and Jesus Christ in the ascent I've ever read about the marital relation and Adam knew his wife Eve its connection. It's intimacy it's love it's relational connectedness and so when we have knowledge of the truth of the Word of God We are loving Jesus the capital t. and the God who inspired this it's a relationship that counts and loving God with all of our mind is part of that so to know doesn't just mean information doesn't it as I think about this in the last let's just say 20 years we can say 50 years even has you as human kind developed a deeper experience with Jesus in the Bible then our forbearers had. In general in the culture No Ok so then what is Daniel talking about knowledge shell increase knowledge shell increase for a group of people who will receive it for the remnant those are the ones that will have the experience of the better book and all of that the Bible is referring to you to us collectively as the people of God in the last days because society at large is losing literacy it's losing a love for the Word of God How is knowledge increasing in the last states Well guess what this is one of those prophecies that you can fulfill in your daily choices. Does that feel you feel empowered by God like we can develop a knowledge of the truth by study of the Word of God and not just information not just Google it where is the knowledge we have lost in information ask the poet t.s. Eliot Where is the knowledge we have lost in information and where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge you see there is another step in addition to just knowing the truth Jesus said The truth shall set you free the wisdom to walk in the light that we are shown we can learn a lot at g y c Will we make life choices that requires wisdom and more than wisdom it requires conviction It requires courage it requires the strength of Christ because I can't make tough decisions in my own strength information is something a computer can do better than us do you remember when Watson the computer defeated the greatest Jeopardy champions at the game jeopardy Ok Ai artificial intelligence is already more intelligent than us by far isn't it that's information but how do we move beyond mere information how do we move beyond just facts into transformation into wisdom knowledge and walking with Jesus Well I've got 3 words on the screen right there and all of them are best done without digital platform relationships reflection and prayer relationships reflection and prayer the only way to translate information into knowledge the only way to translate knowledge into wisdom the only way to turn wisdom into faith hope and love and the greatest of these is love Remember we've seen a 40 percent drop in love in this generation empathy in the studies the love of most is waxing cold the digital darkeys perhaps is upon us but I want to give you some hope. As long as probation continues there will be opportunity for you ready for the very the the the evangelistic work that continues until the very end involves a very topic we're talking about right here the literature work the printing work the canvasser it calls it as long as probation continues there will be opportunity for the canvasser to work so we might be censored off all the social media platforms in the last days we might even have like you know no access to these things by the way do we have the physical paper Bible and are we hiding the Word of God in our heart or are we outsourcing all of our memory of the Word of God to Google because when I build knowledge even knowledge is built on the scaffolding a previous knowledge from outsourcing it all to Google and to the phone that I'm not building upon previous knowledge and big developing a base of understanding as long as probation continues this will not fail yes perhaps the digital dark ages upon the broader culture yes knowledge shell increase for a group who will allow it to and we will real to reach people with that canvassing work in the early 18 hundreds the advent of the daily newspaper took the world by storm and the prophets of doom said this is the end of books what need we have for books and reading when we have the daily the up to date this is what's going on right now and they said by the end of the century there will be no such a thing as a book and they were wrong and then the phonograph arrived Edison's phonograph and again we were told there will be no more books because all we need to do is listen to the book read by a professional reader and people in the future will no longer comment on the prose of the author they will merely analyze how the reader so captured that idea with his reading style books will disappear they were wrong as well. It's Alyan Futurist Filippo Thomaso Nettie said that in the 20th century libraries would pass away museums will be irrelevant churches will pass away mankind has no need to know anything about those who've gone before us all we have is an urgent need to know everything that our contemporaries around the world at the present moment are doing that was the 1st ever recorded mention of social media in history not literally wait a minute he predicted that everything was going to going to going to disappear too he was wrong too you got the quote as long as probation continues as long as probation continues we will continue with literacy if we will even in Heaven there is a book judgement was set and the books were opened people of the book and the age of the less power heads for prayer Father we thank you so much for your word we pray that you help us to find the right balance with our book reading and literacy on that on that physical object. For the capital Oh that cherished cherished book we've we've received by our forebears many people who who died and who were who were persecuted horrifically to bring this truth to us we thank you for that help us to find the balance and also to utilize the tools to to celebrate them to embrace them but not to be and not to be owned by them to be users of them not used by them the digital tools we love you we want to know you we want to love you with all our heart and soul and mind and strength so up as to apply these things in the right balance in our own unique way and life that you are leading us on and when it comes to the things of the world the media of this world help us to not balance that with your kingdom but to come apart and be separate from anything we might be doing on line that is of this world help us with that conviction and courage that we need to make tough decisions and help us to try something different Lord that that might draws closer to you in areas of our devotional study and how are using the digital devices may they be devices in your hands not devices of Satan to entrap us into distraction and addiction we want to break free and find victory through the name of Jesus Christ and His name we pray Amen. This message was recorded and did you I see conference by many or very few in Louisville Kentucky do I see a supporting Ministry of the 7th Day Adventist Church seeks to challenge and inspire young people to take a sacrificial initiative for Christ to download other resources like this visit us online.


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