Holland Road Baptist Church

Menu

Magazine

Connected Church

The internet is an amazing tool. I remember in 1999 when we first got the internet as a family – I remember the dial-up noise, the anticipation, the excitement, and wondering if it was actually going to connect (it often took a few attempts).

As an 11 year old boy, I loved cars. And once I discovered Lycos (a search engine, like Google, but with an awesome black labrador as it’s logo) I realised I could download as many pictures of Aston Martins and Lotuses as I could fit on our 3 gigabyte hard drive. And back in those days, images appeared line by line over the space of several minutes.

It didn’t take long before I morphed into a grumpy teenage boy and pictures of cars became pictures of something else.

Explicit Content

When I was at school, porn wasn’t just something that was accepted, it was something that was expected. If you were a boy, and you weren’t looking at porn, then you were considered a bit strange. And that was 10 years ago. Most teenage boys will be looking at porn, and most men will have at some point, if they’re not now. If you’re reading this and you look at porn, you are far from alone!

Porn is everywhere. Porn is a problem for the Christian. Porn will affect your relationship with Jesus. If you don’t believe me, or you want to know what the Bible teaches about this subject, Mars Hill Church have published a very helpful short book that you can download for free.

Yes, I shamelessly stole the title of that book for this blog post. A wise man once said:

“There’s no copyright in the kingdom of God” – Now there’s a topic for a future blog post…

Parental Guidance

When I became a Christian three and a half years ago, God changed me. He changed my desires. I no longer wanted to participate in a pornography culture. Sadly, it’s not very easy to stop. It took a long time, with many failures along the way, but with God’s help I made it through.

One of the things that God providing to help with this was software. Software to block websites. Software to take away the possibility, and therefore part of the temptation, for me to look at porn.

You can use it for this, you can use it to protect your family, and I’d recommend using it even if you don’t think you have a issue. It just takes away even the possibility of stumbling into a problem with porn.

Free Help

If you’re facing this issue alone, don’t. Find someone to talk to, a friend, or come along on a Sunday and speak to an elder, or a member of the prayer team. Find someone who can walk with you; you’ll find it a lot easier.

I can recommend a free bit of software called K9. K9 will only protect your PC or Mac, so it leaves other devices (smartphones and tablets) unprotected, but we’ll cover that in a bit…

Another piece of software that people commonly use, and one I use with other people, is XXX Church. This sits in the background and monitors all websites you visit. It doesn’t block anything, but once a week it emails a friend that you’ve chosen to be accountable to a list of any questionable sites that you’ve visited (sometimes with hilarious false positives).

All major mobile phone networks block ‘adult’ content by default. But when smartphones and tablets are connected to wifi, they use your home broadband connection which is unprotected by default.

Recently, the government has been asking internet providers to give people an easy way  to block porn, and thankfully most major providers now offer a way to do this really easily. Below is a list of providers, and links to their instructions on how to turn this on:

Virgin

https://my.virginmedia.com/my-apps/websafe/overview.html

BT

http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/46970

Plusnet

http://www.plus.net/support/safeguard.shtml

Talktalk

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/security/homesafe-demo

EE

EE apparently do offer a way to do this without installing software, but do not provide instructions on how to do so. You’ll need to log in to your account and have a look around, or contact them directly and ask for the ‘Content Filter’ to be turned on.

Sky

http://help.sky.com/security/stay-safe-online/sky-broadband-shield-explained

Objections

As I’ve helped other men through this issue, the biggest complaints I’ve heard about any software or blocks are that they slow down your computer (the ones provided by ISPs don’t) or that it blocks things that shouldn’t be blocked. My response to that is pretty simple:

What do you care about more? Your relationship with Jesus and overcoming this problem, or a computer that goes a tiny bit faster and lets you access that one obscure site that you don’t really need anyway. Think about it!

Topics: Connected Church
Leave a comment / Permalink

Read Me

By Jason Fry

What if your Bible was small enough to carry around with you, and it reminded you to read it every day?

I’ve had a smart phone since about 2008. My first was the T-Mobile G1. It was massive, had a slide out keyboard, was really slow, and really not that great. To be honest, I much preferred my slightly smaller, but still quite chunky, Sony Ericsson k800i feature phone. I only really had the G1 to build apps on. By the time 2010 came around (the year of my ‘re-birth’,  the year I met with Jesus and began my journey with him), smart phones had moved on quite a lot. Now I had a much thinner, faster, lighter smart phone: the Nexus One.

With my new found faith and relationship with Jesus I did what any slightly geeky young man would do; I went to the app store and looked for a Bible app. I found a lot of rubbish. Sadly Christians these days aren’t really known for their design, artistic, or creative skills. Somehow, somewhere, after the world-leading likes of Leonardo da Vinci, we’ve found ourselves rolling in Comic Sans, cheesy fluorescent posters, and Papyrus. The Church has gone from being the leaders in arts, science and technology to generally trailing a long way behind. There was however, one rose amongst the thorns.

One group that is leading with technology is YouVersion, a ministry from the American group of churches LifeChurch.tv. Their vision is to “lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ” and “to demonstrate and teach people how God’s Word relates to everyone, no matter where they are in life”. They do this through technology, and most commonly though The Bible App.

At its most basic level, The Bible App gives you access to hundreds of different translations of the Bible to be read on pretty much anything that can access the internet. That on it’s own is amazing. But you also get videos that bring parts of the Bible to life, and the ability to share verses of the Bible with friends, amongst other things.

But the thing that I think can most change our lives (yes, I’m that serious) are the reading plans.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

There are hundreds to choose from, ranging from plans that focus on particular books of the Bible, to whole Bible plans, and even topical plans, often with notes to help you understand each day’s reading. Not only that, but you can even ask the The Bible App to remind you to read it at a certain time every day, which will help if you’re anything like me in the morning… (generally quite confused).

So to conclude, if you’re not already one of the 124 million people that have downloaded The Bible App head over to bible.com/download on your phone / tablet / computer /  washing machine.

If you have already downloaded the app, then start a reading plan! Dig into the Word of God, hear God speak to you and guide you as you read your Bible (app) regularly.

And for the good boys and girls who are already doing both, I leave you with a link to something much prettier than comic sans or papyrus, a beautiful infographic about The Bible App usage in 2013

Topics: Connected Church
1 Comment / Permalink