Something wonderful happened in church today. The projector bulb burned out - on both projectors.

20070225PMCCWeb.jpg

This meant we could not read the sermon notes on the screen.

We survived.

The pastor took it in stride and preached his sermon from the Bible and his notes.

No slides,

No PowerPoint.

Just clarity and focus on the message.

The message was great (Ephesians 6:10-24) but that's not what this blog topic is about. (Perhaps, another time.)

I want to talk about the power of  focus and how for some of us, myself included, we sometimes allow technology to distract us from our purpose.

You see, if the projector had worked this morning, I would have stared at the study notes on the screen, along with everyone else. I might have seen the tool but I might have missed the message. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against technology or projectors in church - I have two in my office that I use often. I just realized today, however, that I could easily allow the technology, wonderful as it is, to distract me from something bigger. Let me give you an analogy: If a craftsman spent too much time staring at his tools, he wouldn't get anything done. Yet, sometimes, we do that in our work and in our lives. We spend so much time setting up or using the tools that we allow the tools, in this case the technology, to blur our vision - the things we say represent what's most important to us.

With the projectors out of order, there was no point in keeping the projection screen down, so a button was pressed and the screen retracted revealing the windows of the church in the shape of a cross.

It was a beautiful sight.

Through the window I could see the sky and the snow-capped mountains in the background and the pine trees in the foreground. Truly magnificent. (After church, I quickly ran home to return with my camera to capture the scene above. My poor photo skills don't do the scene justice.)

You see, for the Romans, the cross represented the ultimate torture device. For Christians, however, the cross has come to represent much more, it remind us that God loved us - you and me - so much that he would offer His Son, freely, that we might be reconciled to him and have eternal and abundant life. Yet, this powerful symbol of vision and focus had been hidden... behind a projection screen.

I wonder how many times this happens in our daily lives... when something obscures our focus on what we say is most important to us?

How will this affect the rest of my day?


For starters, as soon as I publish this blog entry, I'm pulling the ethernet cable from my laptop. The only reason I'm not shutting of the computer altogether is that I'm going to take the next several hours to review our family mission statement and refocus on my vision, (which I do using mind mapping tools). I realized this morning that I've been so busy lately that I've been distracted from my vision. Life has been so full of opportunities that I've had to focus on technology and strategy just to keep up. For a time, at least, these had taken the place of vision.  

Perhaps you've experienced this too?

This past week, Michael Hyatt blogged about why vision is more important than strategy. Michael shares from his own experience how he learned that having a clear vision helped him attract the right strategy. Michael offers some tips on how to get clear on your vision. I had already decided to take some time off to do this. This morning strengthened my resolve. My next post will be about my experience with this process.

Looking at the subject of this blog, I realize that I wandered a bit. I guess the point I really wanted to make was about the importance - emotionally, professionally, and spiritually - of having a sound vision and not allowing things to distract you from it, certainly not technology. For a "technologist," like me, that's an easy trap to fall into.

Discussion/Comments (7):

Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

Hi Eric- several years ago my colleagues and I wrote a book called Emotionally Intelligent Parenting, and one of our tools for parents was to sit down and have the family right down their family mission statement. When I read that in your blog it resonated with me.

Posted at 2/25/2007 4:22:30 PM by Brian S. Friedlander


Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

Good post - made me stop and consider what we do in ministry. I entitled my thoughts (based on yours) "When Technology Hides the Cross". The tragedy is to get so enamored with technology that it hinders or obscures the message.

Posted at 2/26/2007 8:43:26 AM by djp


Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

I agree w/ djp - good post (I especially like the title of his notes: "When Technology Hides the Cross;" sounds to me like a message in the making). I'm sitting here with my lapslab surfing the net while watching Fox News. I'm gonna' unplug the computer, turn of the tv, and spend a little quality time with my wife.

And don't apologize for the picture - it's great!

Posted at 2/26/2007 6:53:28 PM by Art Forrest


re: Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

Thanks, Brian. The family mission statement and other statements I've written have helped me greatly. I'm glad you found the blog inspiring.

Eric

Posted at 2/27/2007 2:12:39 PM by Eric Mack


re: Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

Djp/Art, I agree. In fact, I think that one of the issues/dangers with churches is how easily it is possible for a variety of things, including technology to get in the way of their purpose. Eric

Posted at 2/27/2007 2:13:47 PM by Eric Mack


Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You

Micky

Posted at 5/15/2007 4:09:21 AM by Micky


re: Don’t let what you see distract you from your vision

Thank you for sharing, Micky.

God is good.

Grace to you,

Eric

Posted at 5/16/2007 8:17:49 PM by Eric Mack



Discussion for this entry is now closed.