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Over the last few years it has become increasingly necessary for churches to post request to turn off cell phones and electronic devices during the preaching services. Even young people are texting during church time. Yet, it has been disappointing to see pastors and preachers, themselves, constantly using cell phones, blackberrys, and other devices while in public, funerals, hospitals, conferences, at fellowships, and even in small groups when individuals are trying to have a conversation with that preacher, but he is obviously distracted. Is this appropriate and Christian consideration? Or possibly, this is just plain rude? To be talking with someone, but your attention is on a little glowing screen, is certainly not respectful or considerate of the other individual.
Since I have been working with young people, I have noticed that there is a growing trend.  More and more of them are spending vast amounts of time in gaming.  Gone are the days of playing Mario Brothers, Frogger or other such type Nintendo or Atari games; today the types of games that teenagers are playing are World of Warcraft, Halo, or Call of Duty (all of which are first person shooter type games).  World of Warcraft, Halo, and Call of Duty are classified as a Massively Multiplayer game.  These games require online play with or against other “gamers.”  This entertainment is always accessible to the player if he has a connection to the internet, which allows one to play 24/7.  Because of the nature of these games, it is difficult for children to distinguish reality from fiction.  Some players refer to these games as a “part time job.”  This statement can very easily be true, if the player does not watch the amount of time that they spend playing.  Some players may spend up to 60 hours a week playing with their “online friends.”  World of Warcraft, Halo, and Call of Duty—all reached over 4 million players in their first week.  This does not leave out the people who are involved in Facebook and the amount of time that they use to play their assortment of games.  Most of these games are not the shoot-em-up, fast paced games, but the slow games that do not take a lot of thinking.  Here are some of the reasons given for playing games on Facebook:
1) They are friendly. In most social games, it is (literally) impossible to lose. There is no failure state. Players can do nothing but advance, with their city / farm /restaurant growing bigger and bigger.
2) They are good for downtime. Although people can and certainly do play for hours, it is easy to pop into a social game for 10 minutes during a break from work, click around and have some fun, and then exit.
3) Their friends are playing them. If you see your sibling or best friend playing a social game via their Facebook postings, that sort of social endorsement is very powerful. It then makes you much more likely to check the app out.
4) They are accessible and simple. This is related to point 2. Many traditional games, even on the Wii, have lengthy tutorials, complex controls, etc. Most social games are dead simple. There is no barrier to entry. A player is in the game having fun within seconds.  (
Recently, I blogged about Time Management ( January 6th posting).  Here is the major question for Christians—What are we doing with our time?  Are we busy spending our time working for Christ or playing games?  I recently heard a sad story about a pastor, youth pastor and deacons of a church who stayed up till 1 AM playing online games together.  The pastor did not have enough time in his busy schedule to study God’s Word and prepare for his sermons; however, he had enough time to play an online game.  Christian, where is your passion for the lost?  Where is the passion to grow closer to Christ?  Where is the passion for serving Him who saved you?  Preacher, please turn it off!  Let us “lay aside every weight” and forge ahead for Christ.