Monday, December 23, 2013


Ever heard of a skeuomorph? You see them every single day, and probably don't even think about it.

Skeuomorphs are design elements from earlier models that are added to newer models for the purpose of making people feel comfortable. I am typing this on a computer. In many computer programs when you save something a little picture of a floppy disk shows up to let you know your file is being saved. Here's the thing, who still uses floppy disks (beside my pile downstairs)? It's a symbol we've become familiar with so it's kept to help us feel comfortable. On a DVD and Blu-ray player the play button sometimes is a triangle or arrow pointed right. That's because in the good old VHS days, the tape actually played to the right. So why do we still use an outdated symbol on this new technology? It's familiar and comfortable.

The sad part is we've actually become dependent on skeuomorphs. Almost every single sound your car makes is unnecessary and added just for you. Think about it, do you really think in the 21st century we can't make a turn signal that doesn't click? So why is the click there? How many people do you see driving with the turn signal on? Now imagine how many more it would be if there were no sound. The "click" you hear when you buckle a safety belt is louder than it really needs to be simply because we feel safer when we hear that sound. For some cars the sound of the engine is amplified or even created and played with speakers (like in electric cars) because people kept thinking their car wasn't started because they couldn't hear it, and people didn't see cars coming because they weren't looking and they needed the sound to alert them.

Here's my question, what skeuomorphs are in your spiritual life that you are holding on to, maybe even depending on because it's easier to have them than learn to operate without them? Tomorrow billions of people are going to attend Christmas Eve services. What things have we told ourselves are necessary for worship? What if they don't sing "that Christmas carol they sing every year" or light the candles we like or ____________? Is that thing really necessary to celebrate Christ's birth or are we so dependent on it we rely on it when we shouldn't (like the car engine, people should look both ways before crossing the street without hearing an engine, but they don't)? When we gather to worship on Sunday morning, what is necessary other than Jesus showing up?

It's challenging, but try it. Look for skueomorphs this week. A page turning on a digital book isn't necessary, but it looks pretty and we depend on it. What else can you find? Even harder, what spiritual skeuomorphs have you made? Something to think about.

Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 16, 2013

"I Need"

In the spirit of Christmas, this statement bugs the snot out of me.

I challenge you to a little social experiment. While you are out and about some day, listen to how many times you hear this statement at stores, restaurants, etc. It always bugs me. We have convinced ourselves that something petty and small has become a need, something we cannot live without.

"I need an Xbox One" - No, it would be nice to have that game system, you would like it.
"I need extra fries with that" - No, trust me, you don't.
"I need it delivered by tomorrow" - No, no one will die if they don't get that card you should have sent out last week.

For most of the people I know, really, there are very little that we still need. Water is piped straight to our houses and clean enough to consume, the amount of food available in ten miles from my house is obscene, to order or groceries, most people have so many clothes they actually complain about washing and folding them, the living rooms of some houses in my town are bigger than an entire family's house in another part of the world. Because we have our needs met, and met so extravagantly, we have tricked ourselves into believing that some minor wants are now needs.

It still dumbfounds me to hear someone in a restaurant say "I need tomatoes on that." You're in a place that is cooking your food for you, food that is deemed safe by the FDA and prepared by professionals, food that is paid for from jobs that give us enough money to pay others to prepare our food, food that is so diverse that many people in the world would not eat this many different types of food in their lifetime, let alone one meal. But I need tomatoes on it? No, I would like. It would be nice. It would be tasty. But it's not a need.

God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others. ~ II Corinthians 9:8 (LB)

As you shop and are out and about, think about what you really need...


Monday, December 09, 2013

Monday, December 02, 2013

There Is Nothing More Deceptive Than An Obvious Fact

I saw this statement a while ago and it got me thinking. How many things are there in my life that are glaringly obvious, especially to others, but to me they seem hidden? And why? When it comes to faith it really makes me wonder if we feel the same way.

-We go to church every Sunday, but do we see the person sitting in corner waiting for someone to be friendly to them? Or do we see them every week and just keep "seeing" them?
-We say faith is about grace, but what about the person who hurt me?
-We know a great way to learn about God is to read His Word, but when was the last time we did that?
-Another great way to learn about God and His children is in a small group or Bible Study, but who has the time?
-God is love and loves us completely, and we believe that for others, but what about ______?
-We know prayer can move mountains, but do we pray like it?
-People in our lives need to know there is a God who loves them, so what are we waiting for?

-Insert your own obvious fact here.

There are a lot of things about God and living for Him that are obvious, very obvious. So why do they seem so hidden and hard?