October 2023 Newsletter
by Pastor Mike Novotny
I wonder what the apostles would have thought if they could have seen their words on my phone.
“Matthew, check this out,” I would say as I opened my Bible App with a few taps of my index finger. “It’s everything you wrote about Jesus!” The ex-tax collector’s eyes would open wide as I scrolled through his detailed description of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.
“And, Peter,” I would add, “I got your letters too. With just a few clicks,” I would say as I clicked, “I can share your words with my friends who live anywhere on Earth.” For the first time in his life, I assume, Peter would not know what to say.
“And, John,” I would smile, “right here I have your gospel, your epistles, and the Revelation that the Spirit gave you.” The disciple whom Jesus loved would love it.
Perhaps the apostles would ask in unison, “How much did it cost you to obtain all our scrolls?”
“Nothing. Like the love of Jesus, it was free.”
There are times in our hyper-digital age that I get stuck on all the negatives of our new normal. I worry about AI being used to impersonate others for sinister purposes. I worry about my daughters feeling overwhelmed by the incessant posts on Snapchat. I worry about the frail attention spans of Christians who sit before me in church.
But before all the cons convert me into a horse-and-buggy lifestyle, I consider the pros. I think about the Time of Grace messages that often reach over 170 different nations in a given month via the Bible App. Or the stories of people who discovered Jesus through one of our social media platforms. Or the members of my church whose faith is stronger because of a podcast from Amber Albee Swenson, an insight from Pastor Jeremy, a Grace Moments devotion that showed up in their digital inboxes.
Passages like, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) are thrilling to consider given our technological advances.
I pray that you have the wisdom to see both the pros and the cons of the times in which we live. Don’t be naive about the negatives. Don’t be blind to the blessings.
That way, “by all possible means,” you and I might save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).
Every day your support means God’s messages of love and grace go out in various forms through Time of Grace. Podcasts, videos, and written resources reach people no matter where they are on their spiritual journeys, connecting them to Jesus. People like Jonathan and his family feed their faith with God’s Word together.
Our family of 6 has enjoyed [Time of Grace] for over two years now. We have “traveled” with Pastor Mike to Israel, “rest[ed] well tonight” as “friends” of Pastor Jeremy … Your commitment to preaching law and gospel is the #1 reason we tune in time and time again. THANK YOU for the months (and years!) of work to encourage, embolden, and equip an audience you don’t see. We remain thankful both to and for this ministry.
Thank you for your prayers and gifts of support that help make the mission of sharing Jesus with the world possible.
Get inspired for what God can do in your life!
God has a history of showing up in big ways just when his people need him most … and the same God who moved mightily in the past stands ready to move in your life today.
That’s the powerful promise you’ll uncover in Dr. Bruce Becker’s newest book, Supernatural: God at Work and on Your Side.
In this fascinating book, Dr. Becker takes you on a journey through the amazing ways God stepped in to bless, lead, heal, and deliver his people throughout Scripture.
As you witness God’s power through his supernatural actions, you’ll gain new confidence in his deep love for his children, his unfathomable wisdom at work in our lives, and his commitment to see his purposes for your life accomplished.
Supernatural: God at Work and on Your Side is our thanks for your gift to encourage more people with God’s Word through Time of Grace!
Bible Threads With Dr. Bruce Becker
If you’re interested in the book Supernatural, you’ll also enjoy Bruce Becker’s podcast—Bible Threads. Uncover the Bible’s interconnected threads that reveal God’s amazing love and promises for you as you listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts!
Use technology to connect with God each day
Try the YouVersion Bible App. On it you can find hundreds of videos and written devotions from Time of Grace along with a whole library of authors and topics.
Or connect with God’s Word by subscribing to our daily Bible-teaching emails. These emails are delivered right to your inbox each day and feature a video devotion, a written devotion, and links to relevant podcasts, books, or other pieces of encouragement. Sign up by going to timeofgrace.org/subscribe.
Coming up on Time of Grace
Watch Time of Grace in November for the popular series Choose Gratitude Over Grumbling. We live in a culture big on grumbling and small in gratitude. There is always something to lament on the news or vent about in our lives, a “thanks for nothing” spirit in our hearts. Yet in the midst of our imperfect world, God is showering us with blessings, from daily bread to eternal salvation. This series seeks to open our eyes to the eternal, spiritual, physical, and relational blessings that our generous Father gifts to us each day. Tune in to watch on TV or online!
The first episode of Choose Gratitude Over Grumbling is available to watch on November 12 with new episodes released each Sunday in November.
Q&A with Pastor Mike Novotny
How does your family manage screens for the good of your souls?
My phone is almost always on “do not disturb” so it doesn’t interrupt my conversations, prayers, or studies.
My wife chooses to set a screen time limit for herself, which protects her from mindless scrolling on Instagram.
My wife and I decided to wait until our eldest daughter was 15 to get her a phone (42% of kids have a phone by age 10). From everything I’ve read on teens and mental health, it is wise to hold out as long as you can. (Note: she survived middle school without one!)
Our family keeps screens out of bedrooms so we can rest our minds and relax our bodies.
And last but certainly not least … We remember that Jesus forgives sins of thoughts, words, and screens.
Let me share a few practical points as we consider the role of technology in our Christian lives. Yes, it can have harmful effects, but by God’s grace, it can also have a powerful impact for good.
Like any tool, it matters how you use it.
For example, I meet SO many people who are unaware of the YouVersion Bible App, a true spiritual treasure. It’s free, insanely popular, and incredibly helpful. It has Bible reading plans for everything—fear, anxiety, addiction, marriage, work, family—plus, hundreds of plans from Time of Grace.
This is a brilliant, creative use of a powerful tool for God’s glory and our good. So if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check it out today!
You can also use a simple “notes” file on your phone to keep track of prayer requests, people you meet, and questions you have about God. I encourage new Christians at our church to read their Bibles, write down their questions on their phones, and then bring those questions up when around other Christians. That’s how you grow in knowledge!
These are just two examples of how you can use technology in a way that honors God and deepens your faith. And that’s why Time of Grace uses every tool we can to connect people to God through his Word. Whether it’s a paper book or an email devotion, we love the promise that the Word of God will “achieve the purpose for which [God] sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Thanks for being a huge part of that purpose. Your support, whether it was sent in the mail or given through a few clicks, allows us to share the old story of Jesus in new ways so all people can know him and experience his love.
May God bless you with wisdom and grace in this interesting time in which he has placed us.