The Internet’s great. What’s not to love?
It is chocked full of information. You can use it to diagnose a disease, get directions, access government services, file taxes, look at the world’s weather or research any subject.
It beats shopping malls. You can find a gift, sample a song or buy a car while comparing products, prices and other shopper’s reviews.
Wonder what people think? You can find anything from the mainstream press to bloggers to the outermost fringe group, all sharing their opinions.
Need entertainment? You can watch videos, replay a television program or listen to a wide range of music.
It is simply amazing.
Recently, I discovered these diverse sites:
• At OurDocumens.gov you can literally look at and magnify the actual documents of 100 critical documents in American history. Or see history in a unique way from a timeline generated by images found on the web at snipurl.com/TimelineinPictures.
• E-mail a cell phone instead of text messaging. Youu'll find out how here.
• Use Google Sky to map, not your neighborhood, but the heavens and look for life out there by participating in the SETI Project.
• Investigate your neighbors. Fundrace will tell you what campaigns they support, and city-data.com and bestplaces.net can be used to give an exhaustive amount of information about a city, including demographics and crime.
• Find a great place to live with AreaVibes.
• Eliminate the where-to-eat dilemma by inputting your zip code at Wheel of Lunch to have place picked for you, and an occasional reminder to invite along a friend.
• Translate a site with Google.
• Become your own virtual model to find out what clothes will really look like.
• Design your own postage stamp.
• Track a participant’s progress online in races like the Boston Marathon.
• Interact with people from over 115 countries at the Uniqlo Grid.
• Control devices in a Texas office, the color of a multi-story building in Tokyo (at one time), or the actions of either a cute puppy or a rather odd man in a chicken suit.
But there’s another amazing place, too – the church.
Last weekend, I experienced a little bit of heaven while worshipping. There were old friends and new, people with ties to my college and seminary days, and also ministries and projects in which I had participated. There were new worship experiences, music that made my heart soar and reminders of some wonderful memories.
Is the church that amazing to you? Think of (and compare) what it allows you to do:
• Find information about the Bible, a unique living document that exists in countless languages, and transform the word into relevant application through devotional times and Bible study.
• Contact the Creator of the universe who can dwell in your heart through prayer.
• Discover spiritual truth for yourself, and through the experiences, help and opinions of friends and leaders.
• Learn about people and their needs in your own community or in a far corner of the world – and interact with them through offerings and mission endeavors.
• Participate in the discussion of how and where your church can be directly involved with people and needs.
• Be equipped to exist as a virtual model of God’s love beyond the church walls.
I like the Internet a great deal and can lose hours at a time as I discover more about its possibilities. But I love the church and can gain a lifetime of experience as I am involved in its work, pray and give. I allow myself to be the hands and feet and voice of an infinite God, and discover my own possibilities and potential.
All in all, not much of a choice.