Are you looking for new motivation to get in shape as the new year begins? You might try racing with zombies. Google Glass is a head-mounted computer which displays images before your eyes as you walk or run. Race Yourself is software now available for the device—it includes game modes that pit you against a giant Indiana Jones-style boulder or even hordes of zombies.
This is just one of the amazing new inventions making news today as the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show continues in Las Vegas. You can buy curved televisions that are six feet tall and nearly nine feet wide. You'll be able to ask your refrigerator what groceries you need to buy. Your smart toothbrush will track your brushing habits. A full-body gaming suit will make video game consoles obsolete.
You can wear a sensor that uses 3D tracking to analyze your golf swing. A portable electric scooter will get you to work in style and fold into a corner when you arrive. The iRing will control your iPhone's music with a hand gesture. Self-driving cars are in our future. And there's now a bed loaded with technology that will monitor your sleep habits and even elevate your head to stop snoring.
What's your first reaction as you read all this? I confess to feeling a little overwhelmed. I always thought of myself as an early adopter of technology—I had one of the first personal computers, one of the first cell phones, and serve with a ministry built on a technology platform. And yet the thought of a toothbrush telling me to keep brushing or a car that drives me to the office is a bit much.
I remember how some people felt when we introduced electric guitars into worship services and put images on screens in the auditorium. They didn't want to get in the way of progress, but felt displaced—a little like an opera fan at a rock concert. The more society changes, the more I feel the same way.
Some changes, such as the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, must be resisted by those who believe Scripture. Others, such as zombie chasing software, can safely be ignored. Some, such as new ways to share the gospel with the billions who have never heard it, must be embraced.
Here's the good news: God chose you to live at this precise moment in history. He has a plan not just for where you live, but when. You are his missionary to this culture, with all its problems and innovations, its sins and successes. Like an exile in Babylon, you can count on God's "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants you to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf" (v. 7). He is looking for culture-changing Christians, believers who will "declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).
When the future is frightening and you're not sure your life can make a difference, remember your King's promise: "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). How close is your heart to God today?