This is probably not the article that my wife wanted me to read this morning.
However, it has a fascinating take on how to how to change stress from debilitating to enhancing by changing the way we view it.The researchers from Yale and Harvard start by demonstrating how most books and presentations on stress and the damage it does actually increases stress levels. You end up not only stressed, but stressed about how stressed you are. To stress is added distress.
There is an alternative approach which we found to be much more successful. Crum and I showed different three-minute videos to two groups of UBS managers. The first group watched a video detailing all the findings about how stress is debilitating. The second group watched a video that talked about scientific findings that stress enhances the human brain and body. The latter information is less well known, but equally true. Stress can cause the human brain to use more of its capabilities, improve memory and intelligence, increase productivity, and even speed recovery from things like knee surgery. Research indicates that stress, even at high levels, creates greater mental toughness, deeper relationships, heightened awareness, new perspectives, a sense of mastery, a greater appreciation for life, a heightened sense of meaning, and strengthened priorities.
And the result? When someone viewed stress as enhancing rather than debilitating, they were able to use it to their advantage with higher levels of physical health, productivity, and life satisfaction.
The authors are careful to point out that they are not saying that stress is fundamentally enhancing, nor that it can have seriously damaging effects, nor that should we seek it out. However, I think their insight is helpful when moderate levels of stress begin to worry us into a worse state of mind. As they say: “When stress happens, thinking of it as enhancing rather than debilitating can lessen the risk to your health and materially improve your productivity and performance.”
How much do you think it would cost to get an iPhone App developed for your Church?
Thousands of dollars, I’m afraid. Mega-church territory. Or $99! Local church territory!Have a look at this great offer from SermonAudio. Anyone who knows Steven Lee, CEO of SermonAudio, knows his passion for supporting evangelism through the local church. And this affordable iPhone App for local churches is just the latest in a long line of innovative services that Steven has brought to us throughout the years (see this new blog service as well).Steven says, “This App is just one more way we’re trying to service the local church and reach more people. If people in the local church can get excited about their church’s sermons and ministry, it might be a good way for them to introduce friends to their church, as it not only supports the regular archive of sermons, videos, and live webcasts, but also photos of church events, blogs, twitter, and more. I wanted to make it as close to a ‘one-stop’ app for the church as possible.”
“The other thing was that I noticed that only the rather large ministries were able to afford to have their own apps, and I felt if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for the ‘little guy’ as well. And we’re all about the little guy on SermonAudio. So, I wanted to achieve a price that was ‘game-changing’ affordable for any-sized church.”“I talked with one pastor at Steve Lawson’s conference and they said they looked into getting an iphone app developed, but it was several thousand dollars – impossible for a small church.So, that’s another reason why i felt the need to do this.Plus, it was simply *possible* for us to do it. We already had a SermonAudio app and so the tools were in place for us to make the church app. We had to streamline the process to make our work as efficient as possible. So that took a bit of work. But the hard part is done – the churches can enjoy the fruits of our labor!”Here’s a sample to check out.
Download here. Over many years I’ve been blessed by the writing and broadcast ministry of R C Sproul and Ligonier ministries. Over the last year I’ve been privileged to get to know some of the great folks that work at Ligonier’s Florida HQ, including Chris Larson, Ligonier’s Executive VP. Chris models a wonderful combination of warm Christ-centered spirituality and effective servant-leadership. He’s also been a great encouragement and valued friend to me and my small team at Head Heart Hand Media. I was therefore delighted when Chris agreed to be interviewed about his life and service, especially his leadership at Ligonier ministries. As you listen, I hope that you too will be encouraged by Ligonier’s and Chris’s example to strive for God-glorifying excellence in all that you do.
As a pastor, I’ve come across many different parental approaches to the jungle of digital technology.
The ostrich parent sticks his head in the sand and hopes that the next time he pulls his head out, computers, cell phones, the Internet, and all the problems they cause will somehow have been vaporized. Ignorance is bliss.The snake Dad slinks around the house creeping up on his teenage son at his iPad, hoping to catch him red-handed and red-faced. Snake Mom sneaks through her daughter’s Facebook pages, using an alias, hoping to find deadly evidence of a secret boyfriend.Dad the lion roars in fury at the slightest infraction of cell phone usage limits, sometimes ripping it from its owner and smashing it against a wall.The donkeys stubbornly refuse to move with the times. No matter how hard their children pull, they will not budge. They never had cell phones when they were young and they turned out all right!The sheep family (yes, there are sheep in this jungle) just do what everyone else is doing, because that must be OK, mustn’t it?The giraffes look down on everyone else with an air of superiority. After all, their children would never stoop so low as to even think about looking at porn. Would they?The cheetah family is always out in front, moving as fast as the times, if not faster. They love Macs especially. Their one rule is, “Always be first.”Pastor, Parent, and Sinner But I’m not just a pastor; I’m a parent too. I have two teenage boys and two younger girls. Although my wife and I have tried to encourage year-round outdoor play, the boys’ educational needs and growing interest in videography was putting increasing pressure on me to provide them with some access to the Internet. But how could I do that safely?And I’m not just a pastor and a parent, I’m a sinner; and I am temptable. In fact, maybe I am more susceptible than most. I am often working on my own in a study or office, using the Internet for sermon preparation, lecture research, e-mail, and news services. As a preacher of Christ, I am probably more of a target for the devil. And as someone who has always loved technology and its potential for ministry, I am constantly thinking about new ways of using these tools. Up until now, by God’s grace, I have never succumbed. But there have been opportunities, and there will be more. How do I care for and protect my own purity? And—a more subtle temptation—how do I prevent my love of technology from becoming an addiction?All these questions were swirling in my own mind, when I was asked, a year ago, to prepare an address on “A Christian Response to the Digital Revolution.” I found some good books, but not much at a popular level. Many of them also lacked practical solutions for concerned parents. They flagged the problems, and gave some very general guidelines, but little by way of very concrete specifics. I also felt that few of the books approached the problem with a biblical framework.Disciplined Discernment Over a few weeks I pieced together an address that began with some biblical principles; principles that I then used to examine the different parental responses to the Internet, etc. Having shown the error of enthusiastic embrace (accepting everything without question) and strict separation (the Internet is of the devil and we’ll have nothing to do with it), I presented a case for disciplined discernment – a phrase I “nicked” (with permission) from my friend Tim Challies’ great book – The Discipline of Discernment.Discernment refers to the ability to distinguish between true and false, right and wrong, good and bad. Disciplined discernment indicates that this is an ability that can be learned, and should be practiced daily. If we develop this discipline, we will be able to discern the good in technology and separate it from the bad and the harmful.But how does that work itself out in our daily lives? What does disciplined discernment look like? How do I learn it, and how do I train my children to do it? That’s what I really wanted to help parents with. So, I developed a graduated seven-step training program to guide the training of children in disciplined discernment. That included a recommendation of filter and accountability software. Having looked at what was available, and having experimented with a number of different products, Covenant Eyes became my number one recommendation. The three things I really liked about Covenant Eyes were:
The emphasis on building relationships via accountability
The readability of their weekly reports
The effectiveness (but not over-sensitivity) of their filter system
God’s Technology When I gave the address, I ran out of time. That meant I left out the last section of my address on how to apply these seven steps to Facebook. Afterward, many parents came up to me and thanked me for the practical nature of my address, and urged me to make the Facebook section available on the Internet, as that was the biggest area of conflict in their families.
Quite soon I began to get more invitations to speak on the subject, more than I could handle. So, I thought, why not make a film that will include the Facebook section as well, and then I can send the film instead of myself!And that’s what we did. With the help of a gifted young film guy, Derek Naves, we put together a video called God’s Technology. We’ve also made a study guide available online to help families, churches, schools and other groups to think about these issues further. In the coming year, we plan to make a second film, this one geared specifically to teenagers. We hope both films, together with the great work being done by Covenant Eyes, will help more and more families use God’s technology for God’s glory.This post first appeared on the Covenant Eyes blog, where Luke Gilkerson does a great job helping parents and teacher shepherd young people (and not so young people) safely through the digital jungle. I strongly recommend subscribing to the Covenant Eyes blog or Twitter feed. In the interests of full disclosure, I have no commercial relationship with Covenant Eyes. I simply believe that they offer a great product.
1. Ethics 2. Commitment 3. The power of doing 4. Values 5. The power of listening 6. The power of creativityLet’s hope that in our use of social media we can add a seventh: The power of the Gospel of Christ.Read the article here.