Technology. It’s an interesting thing. It’s something we have a love-hate relationship with recently. I wasn’t around during the era of radio broadcasting, but nearly every image I’ve ever seen regarding it includes families and crowds sitting or standing around one closely in anticipation of what might come over this thing called, radio.
Today, I can’t imagine what it must have been like when in 1938 Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds,” blasted across the airwaves. I did, however, listen to our local radio station every weeknight before falling asleep, with back-to-back episodes of “The Shadow” and “The Lone Ranger.” Only a year later in December 1939 a weekly program called, “The Back to God Hour,” invaded those same airwaves. The show’s first speaker was Calvin College professor, Henry Schultze.
The subject of ministry over the airwaves cannot be in any way complete without the work of perhaps the 20th century’s most famous Christian Apologist, C.S. Lewis.
In 1967 a pastor by the name of Dr. J. Vernon McGee hit the airwaves running with a program called, “Thru the Bible.” Today, Thru the Bible is aired around the world in hundreds if not thousands of different languages and is still going strong.
Now, the advent of television. Welcome the term, “Televangelists.” Recorded as fathers of televangelism were Jack Wyrtzen and Percy Crawford in the early 1950s with Rex Humbard breaking on to the scene in 1952.
Oral Roberts had taken over the television scene by 1957. Those such as Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell and others gave way in the 21st century to ministers such as Joel Olsteen, Joyce Meyers, and T.D. Jakes, and the like.
I share these bits of history with you to introduce this week’s topic of how God not only uses people, but technology, to reach not only His people, but to call those who have not yet responded to His call.
God most certainly has used and continues to use technology to reach people. And I see no sign of His work slowing down. This work calls to mind, television shows such as “Highway to Heaven,” and “Touched by an Angel,” and bringing us into the 21st century, “God Friended Me.”
We praise God for using people such as Michael Landon, Della Reese, Roma Downey, and our most recent, Brandon Micheal Hall and Joe Morton. I know I have left out myriad of other but am sharing some of the most prominent.
Nearly 3,000 years ago God used words to reach His people. Some heard those words and believed. Sadly, many did not. But the fact is “words” is a technology in an of itself. His crowning achievement? When the Word became Flesh.
We cannot underestimate the power of “words,” nor can we pretend that “words” were invented by man. Words preceded the creation of humankind. Words are what God used to “speak” us and our world into existence.
Can man be credited for inventing radio and television, cellphones, and the internet? Surely, as long as we don’t forget who created man. God, in creating us also created in us the ability to accomplish all that we have.
It was the technology of man that advanced the Word of God. First, diligent copying by the hand of scribes and monks to the reprinting of them on the printing press.
God has shown us that He will use any means available to reach us. Today, God has indeed infiltrated the far reaches of the internet and social media, virtual-reality churches and shows no signs of slowing.
From simple sites and pages offering daily devotions to weekly online sermons and even online churches, God is reaching His people. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
I believe God today is reaching out to His people as He reached out to them in Egypt, at Mt. Sinai, throughout the world. Today, among so many other media, God is touching the hearts of people through television.
And while the technology might change from generation to generation, the way in which God uses it is constant; in ways that real people can relate to. Everybody understands the need for love, for companionship, friendship. Everyone understands loss of some sort. Everyone understands pain.
These are all realities that I believe God uses to stretch His hand out. God has always proven that He will go to great lengths to reach His people. He will see to it that they are ministered to wherever they are whether in church, in nature, or on the sofa in their living room watching television. God will reach them.
I can’t even imagine what technologies will come our way in the next few decades. Will we even need them then? After all, we do not know God’s timing, (Mat. 24:36).
How have you been touched by God?