Tag Archives: worldly

An Open Garage Policy…And Giving God The Authority You Gave Your HOA

Homeowner Associations (HOA’s) can be annoying, but they are created to protect property values and to provide services for neighborhoods. If neighborhoods have no rules, things can go downhill fast. So, for the most part, we accept their rules. Sometimes, though, overly zealous HOA’s can go a little too far.

For example, recently, a California HOA discovered that a family had been housing another family in their garage. So the HOA took action. Their solution? They demanded that all houses must leave their garage doors open from 8am to 4pm!

Now, I’m pretty sure none of us would like that idea. Residents, of course, voiced security concerns. But they also didn’t want people staring at their stuff all day. After all, don’t we cram stuff in our garages to hide it?

Some homeowners say they will pay the fines and face the consequences. Most homeowners, though, are complying. You see, they signed over their rights. So, the best they can do is to ask the board to change their mind…and live with an open garage door in the meantime.

I wonder if most of us give our HOA power that we don’t even give to God. What I mean is this: What if God expected you to open your life to Him, leave your valuables vulnerable to Him, and to allow Him to peer into your life all day? Would you sign that authority over to Him?

Of course, God doesn’t need permission; he can see through garages and into our hearts and minds. But He wants willing participants. Sadly, most of us forfeit far more authority to human institutions than we give to the sovereign ruler of the universe.

“Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21). Invite God to rule your life, your home, and possessions. Open your spiritual garage door, not because you were forced by an HOA, but because, as the Psalmist says, “Search me, O God, and know my thoughts (Psalm 139:23).

Will you hand ALL of yourself to Him today?

Your Screen Time Might Say More Than You Think

As parents, we are concerned about the amount of time our kids are glued to electronic devices. Most parents share that concern. So we limit their “screen time” on computers, TV’s, tablets, and cell phones… or at least we try. And we feel like we are better parents for trying.

It turns out, though, that parents may need to start heeding their own advice better. According to a new study, most adults have more than 9 hours of screen time in their day!

Now, if that number seems high to you, you aren’t alone. Many participants and researchers were surprised by it. Is it possible that we have become so addicted to our screens that we don’t notice our hypocrisy? Of course the parents said, “but that includes my work time!” Actually, it doesn’t. For most adults, only about 1.5 hours of that screen time was at work.

That means that roughly 7 ½ hours were attributed to screen time on a TV, a cell phone, a tablet, etc. And yet, 80% of parents also thought they were being good role models of screen time. Perhaps it is time to reconsider.

Do you bring your cell phone to the dinner table? If the phone buzzes during family time, do you instantly check it anyway? How often do you feel the need to check your Facebook, Twitter, E-Mails, etc? (And, yes, I realize the irony that this article is posted on a screen!)

In the Bible, Jesus warned the people to “do and observe” all that the Pharisees had told them to do, as people in authority. But we should not do “according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them” (Matthew 23:3). Ouch. The Pharisees were in the position of authority like parents are in their houses today.

And it is right and good that kids should heed their parents’ instructions. But while they are doing what we say, they are observing what we do. And they will probably pick up more intently on our actions. Of course, this isn’t just for screen time.

Do I say I love God, but spend all my time and energy on worldly things? Do I say I love my fellow man but forget to help others? Do I dole out advice on how to live and never live it myself? Our kids are watching.

Hmmm. The preacher just went from preaching to meddling…so I’m turning off my screen! Time to go see what my kids are watching…