disCONNECTED from Reality

September 25, 2011

David Sorn

We have become so engrossed with technology in our culture that we are losing touch with reality and our God.

disCONNECTED from Reality

September 25, 2011

David Sorn

We have become so engrossed with technology in our culture that we are losing touch with reality and our God.


Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Finishing our disCONNECTED series this morning.

Talking about being disCONNECTED from reality

I got inspired to talk about this topic about 3 months ago, at a very inspiring place, Northtown mall

Was there returning a tux from a wedding I was in, and I walked around for a bit, and I was just weirded out

I literally, I’m not lying, passed 10 people in a row that we’re walking and looking at their phone. TEN. In a ROW!

Obviously this is not a new thing, but that was the first time where I really took a step back and asked, “Seriously, what’s happening to us??”

It’s like we can’t stop.

Have you seen the YouTube video where the girl falls into the mall fountain while texting. Awesome.


We are living in a society where our obsession with technology is exponential.

We live in a society where people eat dinner with the TV on, while texting and watching YouTube on their phones, and they sometimes remember to chew their food.

We live in a society where our teenagers struggle to personally engage with other kids in person unless it’s through texting or facebook chat or through a video game.

And technology is starting to not only grip our lives but put the death grip on our lives.

I have a borderline idolatrous love affair with statistics, and this morning’s message shall further prove that. J

If I can, I want to paint you a picture, through the wonderful art of stats, of what’s happening in our culture.

And how we are beginning to be so engrossed in technology that we are in actuality, disconnecting ourselves from reality

And this isN’T going to be a “Oh you youngin’s and your the facebooky thing and your Atari playing”

I’m 29 years old, and in many cases will be preaching to myself this morning…but this is becoming a growing issue…..

Let’s start with Facebook.

How many people in this room have a facebook account??

Some recent stats on Facebook:

Around 125 million Americans now have facebook

35 million people update their statuses everyday.

55 million statuses are written every day

The average facebook user spends 15 minutes a day on facebook, if you count games you can play and other activities on facebook, the avg user spends 55 min a day on facebook!

Worldwide, facebook is used for 8.3 billion hours each month

And some people can’t stop. It’s becoming more and more common for a growing number of people to log into facebook 25-50 times a day.

Checking. Checking. Maybe I’ve got a notification…. Maybe a message? Maybe someone new’s on? Maybe another one of my friends made a dumb complaint about the new fb changes

It’s like a compulsion.

A disconnection from reality into a half-reality.

And yet…we can’t stop drifting toward it

And none of these things I’m talking about or am going to talk about are inherently evil.

Every once a while the media prints some story about some pastor saying facebook or TV or video games are evil

And it’s just like, shut up. Stop being ridiculous for the sake of getting attention.

They are not inherently evil, but the problem is we are slowly letting them suck us in to the point that our relationships with God and others are slowly dying…

And it’s slow enough that no one’s noticing, but serious enough that we’re gonna be in significant trouble pretty soon


I went back to my Alma Matter, St. John’s University last spring, and was weird to see every student walking around w/ a cell phone

When I started there in the year 2000, I don’t think I had a friend w/ a cell phone yet

And yet now, they control so much of our lives…especially w/ the smart phone craze.

Again, there are good things, the Holy Bible App is one of the greatest inventions ever.

But they are starting to consume us.

More and more when I go out to eat, I see a parent out with their children, and as the kids sit in the booth across from them, the parent sits on their phone. Most of the time.

Most people use their phone for about 500 minutes a month…but if teenagers are any indication of the future, which they are.

They are on their cell phone for texting, the internet, apps, etc. for 2-3 more times they are for calling

And you can access almost everything…just right in your pocket.

My mom is been a librarian most of her adult life. When I was growing up, she was the reference librarian in Cambridge.

People could call her and say, “Hey, could you look up for me, when World War II started in Poland?” Or “Can you look up for me what Denzel Washington’s first movie was?”

How many people do you think call for the reference librarian nowadays?

No one. It’s all at fingertips. Information carried around in our pocket or purse. At all times.

And some of us can’t stop. It’s addiction. We’re addicted to the stimulation of information.

& it’s taking us away from the REAL PEOPLE around us


Video games are another great example of technology sucking the life out of the segment of our population.

When I was a kid, video games were just starting to take off with the invention of the first Nintendo.

But, the graphics and gameplay of super Mario bros and duck hunt were only engaging for so long…

But today…it’s unreal…no in fact, it’s unbelievably real. And the path to video game addiction is that much more real.

Experts believe that 10-15 percent of people who play video games have an actual addiction to them.

They can’t walk away. It’s hurting their families. It’s stealing their time.

Today, kids come home from school, and they don’t go over to their friends house to play the Legend of Zelda together, they each go to their own home, put on their head set, close the door, turn on their Xbox 360, and play online with their “Friends”

And the crazy part is, it’s not just kids…The amount of men that still play video games is mind-blowing.

I think we all thought that these men who grew up on games like NHL 96 and Sonic the Hedgehog would eventually just grow up and have a family

But yet, we increasingly see them avoiding their families and waiting in line at midnight for the new release of Call of Duty

It’s like they can’t stop.

It’s like an escape.

And for more and more people the escape from reality is real.

Sure, there are games like the SIMS where you create your own reality

But, there are now things like “Second Life” where you go online, and create an alter-ego with your Avatar, and basically create a second life, with a new job, new family (w/ another person on second life).

You can even spend real money, go to bars, go wherever, all on this game.

Over 23 million people have now tried this out


What are we doing? What are we running from? What are we avoiding? Why do we keep slipping into this more and more??


In the 80’s and early 90’s all we could ever talk about in this area was TV

And TV watching is still super high.

The avg American watches just over 4 hours a day

Which adds up to 12.5 years of your life

We live in a world where, well, that’s just what you do.

Other day, I had a door to door salesguy come to my house and he was selling phone/internet/cableTV packages.

I was telling him that I just had the internet and a cell phone, and didn’t have a landline and cable

And he just couldn’t believe me…”Wait, you a young guy, you DON’T have cable?”


REALLY?!?? No, I don’t.

Nothing morally against it…well, I guess some of it, but I just don’t need it.

I don’t need 2 hours of House Hunters, and 3 hours of deadliest catch, what’s the point of keeping up w/ the Kardashians, why should I care about Jersey shore, I live in MN

But we get distracted. Is there gonna be a celebrity quiz in heaven? But we can’t help ourselves…we lose focus

And while TV viewership is down in the last 5 years, it’s actually up.

Because now we just watch it on our computers, or on our ipods, or smartphones.

Now you can watch Hoarders on your smartphone in the bathroom! Great!

Check out these crazy stats for today’s kids:

When you we add all entertainment media together (TV, computers, phones, video games, etc.)

8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

Even crazier: The amount of time spent with media increased by an hour and seventeen minutes a day over the past five years, from 6:21 7:38 today.

What are we teaching our children? How are we preparing them?

I read an article that said today’s graduating engineering students aren’t even a fraction as good as the engineering students of 50 yrs ago

50 yrs ago, this kids stood outside and played w/ a box for 5 hrs

And our kids today do this (BLANK STARE)


And it’s like we just can’t stop…. We check our phones while we brush our teeth, we sit down to a snack, and we can’t just eat it, better turn the phone on at the same time, we work on homework, can’t do it in silence, turn some music on, and meanwhile we yell, “God, where are you?”

And as we slowly let more and more of our lives be consumed by technology, we’re losing our ability to connect with something Greater than ourselves.

SOME ONE greater than ourselves.

This is why one of the greatest verses of the Psalms is

(Psalm 46:10) - NIV

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

See, if we can just put down the technology for just a while, we’ll be able to create space for things we actually need to connect with.

Things like…our God.

Time for prayer, Time for silence. Time for Him to speak.

Having daily space in your life where you can encounter Him is essential to your growth as a Christian. Essential.

When we did our God’s Gym series, we spent whole message just talking about “how do we get away…in silence…solitude…and give Him space to talk.”

Cuz Jesus does that. He’s always leaving the crowd and going on a mountainside to pray…ALONE…in the quiet.

Because right now, these things in our lives, they’re just stealing our time.

(2 Timothy 2:3-4) - NIV

3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

Don’t get involved in civilian affairs

Meaning…your role, your duty, your focus is to live for God…and entertainment, even if it’s sometimes not evil, it’s distracting us from our duty.

As many Christian leaders have often conjectured, why does the devil need to really show himself in the West when he’s already got us fully distracted in the first place.

The American church is quickly falling apart, but nobody notices because they can’t take their eyes of dancing with the stars and their twitter feed.

It’s crazy!

We’ve gotten too involved w/ Civilian Affairs

People talk so often about how “busy” we are in this country. “I can’t do this, I’m busy. Can’t do this. Busy.”

Nobody has time to volunteer in their community, but we have 4 hours of TV to watch every day. Crazy huh.

And don’t just feel bad about it, do something about it.

What can you change?

What can you do less of? What can you do more of?

And have someone help you with this.

By the time sign-ups are done today, around 125 of you are going to be in a House Group this week

35-40 of you for the very first time

And this gives you an opportunity to be held accountable in some of this stuff. Where are you letting these things start to suck some of the life out of you?


Because these things aren’t just stealing your time. They’re stealing your life. IN a bunch of ways. Let me list a few and explain.

It’s almost as if there’s a vortex that just slowly sucks the life out of us

SO slowly that we barely even notice.

Until it’s too late, or until we completely remove ourselves from the context

I used to love to take high school students on retreats. Especially ones w/o their phones.

And just watch them come alive.

Because these things…they weigh us down. It’s like putting weights on a bird. It can’t fly.

And to see these kids stripped of these things…they come alive. To real life.

But when we get disconnected from reality and lifelessly connect ourselves to just entertainment…

We lose some things…

Empathy is one.

They’re have been endless studies on how people who lose themselves in video games, TV, etc, slowly start to lose real-life empathy.

And for some of us, if we were deeply, deeply honest, these things just allow us to stimulate our flesh in ways you never would otherwise.

I heard a theologian once call it, “Armchair Rebellion.”

We wouldn’t really cheat on our spouse, or murder somebody, but people do it in their hearts all the time when we watch it.

And Jesus says in the Gospel, when we do it in our hearts…we’ve already sinned.

And it saps our relationships….

Families don’t talk. Spouses don’t catch up. Parents don’t have meaningful conversations w/ their kids.

But we watch 4 hours of TV together.

Crazy. Shut it off.

I’m trying to sound a little bit nuts up here, because otherwise, how are we ever going to wake up to this?

How have we made it okay to watch 4 hours of TV, 1 hour on our phones, 55 minutes on facebook, and 5.5 minutes of meaningful conversation w/ our children


We’re not connected to reality…. We’re just drifting into a world of auto pilot

How many of you have seen the movie Wall-E??

Set in the future where they have left earth, and live in glorious technology where everything does stuff for them and is at their fingertips, and this is their future


Now, that’s hopefully a characterization… but that is the path on which we walk towards

And why go that way? And what will you miss? What are you missing out on? Where could God be using you?

How are you missing out on your Godly potential?

The more I think about that Wall-E clip, the more I like it

See, they had a mission. They were supposed to eventually get back to earth, but they were so distracted that they forgot their mission.

And we do the same…we’re so zoned out and distracted that we are forgetting our main mission

And it hasn’t helped that many of our churches have just fully embraced the culture, and made church just another part of the entertainment buzz and zone out hour (ooooo….strobe lights…witty jokes…and 4 points that start w/ C….ooooo)

Which is another thing I love about House Groups because it forces us to go…oh…what does this actually mean for my life…

But God is calling us to “WAKE UP” and remember that our MISSION here on earth is to seek and save the lost…Like Jesus…says so in Luke 19:10

And, I would ask you, how is God going to use you, YES YOU, to do great things for Him if your butt is glued to the couch?

How can we say that we are living in reality if no part of our lives are reflecting what our real mission on earth is?

Don’t get distracted:

(Philippians 3:17-20) – NIV

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Just before this verse, Paul writes this in verse 14:

(Philippians 3:14) – NIV

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

But for us, our minds get set on the things of this world, we don’t actually run the race for which has called us heavenward very well

We end up being like an “ADD” 7th grader at track meeting running the 100 M….

The gun goes off, we start sprinting, and go, “OOOOO….the concession stand!”

And that’s exactly where the devil wants you.


(Colossians 3:1-2) – NIV

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Set your mind on Him.

And some of you probably need to take some steps this week.

Make it okay for your spouse to say, “Put the phone away”

Make a plan to put your phone in a diff room once you get home

Make a plan to check facebook “twice a day”

Eat dinner w/o the TV this week

Take time to read your Bible this week (and by the way, if you need one in an easy to read translation, take the one under chair), but read that this week instead of just zoning out

Or, if you play 2 hours a video games a day, could you start by reading the Bible first for 10 minutes and playing 1 hour and 50 minutes? I think you can! Start somewhere.

But don’t just stop doing some of these things. Don’t just disconnect the cord.

Reconnect it to what it’s made for. For Jesus. For other people.

And then, ask yourselves some tough questions this week.

Why do we walk this path anyway? Why do we do engage in so much tech?

What are we escaping from anyway? Why are we trying to connect with a machine and not each other? And not our creator? Not the one who died on the cross for us?

What is it that you’re trying to zone out from? What hole are you trying to fill? What are you trying to avoid?

I think for a lot of us, we’re just hurting.

Life’s hard, and it hurts. And so we try and heal the pain, right?

And, let me say for the 4th time, Entertainment is not evil

All things in moderation, right?

Well, not all things, don’t try cocaine in moderation but you get the point.

And you can do it in moderation…but entertainment is not your God.

It might dull the pain for 30 minutes, but it won’t fix it. It won’t heal it.

It won’t love you in the midst of it.

But He can. And He will. And He wants to.

God wants to walk right into your life in the midst of your pain.

And tell you He loves you…and that it’ll be okay…and He’s got a plan.

And He will do that. And He can do that.

“Just create space to let Him do that.

Let’s pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN