February 2024 Devotional: Let’s Unplug

By Captain Amelia Mott
Olympia, WA Corps
Northwest Division

“If my phone dies, I die.”

“I was lost this week without my phone, I am not sure how I survived.”

“I bet my phone has exploded with all the texts I missed while away at camp.”

“I wonder if my phone missed me?”

“The first thing I am going to do when I get home is turn on my phone and see what I missed.”

All of those quotes are from campers heading to and from camp this past year, as campers are not allowed to bring their phones to summer camp. The goal is to allow them to spend time with each other, in nature and have fun, and not be glued to their phones, texting, scrolling and watching videos 24/7. As we read those quotes, it might at first glance seem like these campers are being very dramatic and we might brush it off, as kids being kids. But if we paused to reflect, could we as women, as adults be away from our phones for a week? A day? An hour? Would we be able to unplug? Would we be able to relax our minds and enjoy a week without cell service or Wi-Fi? And the answer to this for many of us, that it might be difficult to truly unplug.

John Mark Comer, in his book the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, states, “the average iPhone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times a day.” And from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun reminds us that we live “in a world where people use the Internet an average of thirty hours a week and keep the TV or radio on 7.9 hours a day, we need to get unplugged from virtual reality and address our addiction to technology and the toxins it brings into our lives.” And all these distractions can keep us from carving out time to spend with God, in quiet and in solitude with no distractions around us.

Again, in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook helps us remember that “unplugging recognizes that personal beings are created for personal interaction by a personal God. We need to be touched. We need non verbal signals. We need uninterrupted spaces in our lives for the presence of God and the presence of others.” So where do we go from here? Well, we go back to the basics, as Psalm 46: 10a: “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

First, we are made to spend time with God, and when we are still he provides peace, comfort, love, wisdom and support. He supplies everything we could ever need. Technology can make us feel isolated at times, but we have access to God 24/7 and He will always be there for us.

And even Jesus, went away and spent time with God when he was here on earth to be refreshed and renewed. Jesus knew that time with the Father is priceless, and nothing can take its place. Sometimes we can be tricked into thinking a form of technology can provide that for us, but only God can.

This coming week, the challenge is to carve out more time with God and less time on our phones, tablets etc. Guaranteed, you will notice the difference.

Second, take time to spend time in fellowship with others. The Passion translation of Proverbs 27:9 states, “Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like anointing oil, that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.” We were built to be in community and friendship with others and when we do that our souls are refreshed and renewed. A hug from a friend can make a big difference. There is nothing like the sound of laughter filling a room that can turn our day around. And technology can’t replace that.

The second challenge for this week is to spend time in friendship and community with others, filling living rooms and coffee shops with joy and laughter. Spend time listening and praying with one another and leaning on each other for support.

Let’s carve out time carving out time for God and others, forgetting about our phones and tablets and be refreshed and renewed. Let’s unplug!

February 2024 Bible Study: Unplugging

By Lt. Makda Rodriguera
Seattle White Center, WA Corps
Northwest Division

I remember jokingly saying to someone that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without my phone. Even though I was joking, it had truth to it. I don’t remember a day when I went without using my phone or computer.

The average person spends 3 hours on their phone. This doesn’t include other electronics like computers, iPads, and gaming stations. Most of us are dependent on our phones and computers to do our jobs, schoolwork, social interactions, and entertainment. So much so, we opt out of real personal relationships for virtual ones. We’d rather scroll through our social media to see how everyone is doing, comment on their post here and there, and feel like we are connected. Are we really connected though? Or is it just superficial relationships?

As human beings, we are created for interpersonal relationships. We thrive in community and friendships. Friendships with Jesus and with fellow men/women. To do this, we have to unplug from the virtual world and be present in the real world.

We can see Jesus’s example and how He unplugged to be connected to the Father and His close friends. Luke 5:16 reads, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Of course, Jesus was not in our era and didn’t have to unplug from his emails, social media, or entertainment, but He did unplug from work and everything else that demanded His attention to connect with the Father and His close friends.

He created space for interpersonal relationships. He spent time with His friends and disciples (John 3:33). He shared meals and fellowshipped with those whom He was close to (John 12:1-3). Jesus living as a perfect man shows us the importance of connection with God and others around us. In-person, uninterrupted connection with our friends and family is one of the most important spiritual disciplines we can practice. Especially in this day and age, as we have to fight to make this time.

King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest.” Working is not bad, but working with anxious striving to get our identity from it will leave us with grief and pain. We live in a time when everyone is too busy to do anything. When you ask any given person (including myself), “How are you doing?” the answer more times than not is “I’m good but so busy.” But how busy are we if we spend on average 3 hours a day and 21 hours a week just on our phones?

We can continue to work, even after work hours, we can use our time to scroll through social media or entertain ourselves, or we can choose to follow Jesus’s example and unplug from the virtual world and be connected to those around us, and Jesus.

Reflection Questions (Adel Calhoun Spiritual Disciplines Handbook page, 97):

  • How has technology influenced your relationships? Do friends and family complain about the amount of time you spend online? What is their real concern?
  • Are you online for both work and pleasure? What do you like about being online? What don’t you like about it?
  • What sort of temptations does cyberspace hold for you? How do you address these temptations?
  • Where are you using technology to avoid face-to-face encounters?
  • Have you ever been “yelled at” via email? What was it like for you?

After you reflect on the questions consider working on the following Spiritual Exercises (Adel Calhoun Spiritual Disciplines Handbook page, 97):

  • Technology assessment: Keep track of the amount of time you spend using digital and electronic communication each day. How much time does this amount to each week? Keep track of the uninterrupted time you spend in the presence of family and friends each day and week. Compare the times. Is God inviting you to prioritize anything based on this awareness? If you cut back the computer (Phone) one hour a week, how could you use this time to be in the presence of God or others?
  • Declare a digital-free time period in each day or week. Let people know when you are available and will get back to them.
  • What is it like for you to receive a handwritten letter from a friend? Write a non-electronic letter to a friend. What surfaces in you while you take the time to do this? What is gained and what is lost in electronic communication? What do you think of the trade-offs?
  • Which relationships in your life need face time? Plan face-to-face time with several people this week. Do not let this time be interrupted by anything electronic.

Recommended Resource: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, copyright 2015).

February 2024 Craft: Napkin Mod Podge Planter

By Captain Hilda Parks
Renton, WA Corps
Northwest Division

A great way to unplug is to craft. Here is an easy craft that you can make and enjoy during your “unplugged” times.

Decorative Napkins
Mod podge 
paint brush


  • Pick any small plant from your patio or buy a small one at any grocery store. 
  • Chose any mug and floral napkins that you like, preferable ones with flowers so you can cut the pattern.  
  • Once cut attach one by one to the mug, using the mod podge, then cover the mug entirely with your patterns in a thin layer of mod podge using a brush or even your fingers.
  • Once all covered add a full coat of mod podge.
  • Allow to dry 24 hours then enjoy with your favorite plant.

February 2024 Flourish Newsletter

According to a recent survey 84% of all cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their devices. Another study showed that mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes! We like our technology and apparently can’t live without it!

This month we are focusing on flourishing by being deeply rooted in the spiritual discipline of Unplugging. In her book Spiritual Disciplines: Practices That Transform Us, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun writes, “Unplugging calls us to leave the virtual world of technology (computers, email, cell phones, iPads, iPods, etc.) in order to become present to God and others.”

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

Inside you will find a devotional, conversation starters, a monthly Bible reading plan and other resources to help you incorporate the spiritual discipline of unplugging in your walk with Jesus.

Download this month’s issue:

Flourishing in the Discipline of Unplugging

By Colonel Genevera Vincent

When our two sons acquired their first cell phones, these devices came with some rules; one being that they were not permitted at the dinner table. We didn’t allow texting with friends during the dinner meal as this was our family time. It took a few reminders that texting with friends could wait as we ate together and talked about the events of the day. However, it didn’t take long for the message to get through and it really was not a problem for them. Even if it didn’t make sense to our sons at first, they eventually understood that we needed everyone to unplug for a few minutes before we were out the door again, on the way to band practice or some other activity. It was a lesson I’m glad we taught and a rule I’m glad we enforced.

In this age of instant messaging, unplugging from our devices is an extremely difficult thing to do. We send a text message and we want an instant answer. We write an email and, if we haven’t received an answer in the same day, we either feel ignored or we worry that our email didn’t get through. We debate the ills of always being constantly connected, but we fall prey to it repeatedly. When we talk about “unplugging” as a spiritual discipline, we are talking about more than unplugging from phone messages or emails, though they are a big part of it, I believe. If you Google the question, “What does it mean to unplug in life?”, someone shared,

“Unplugging is a disconnection from the chaos of life which comes in multiple forms – one being
an over-reliance on social media. It’s not the device’s fault, but the choice of the user who
feels somehow living plugged into someone else’s life gives them satisfaction.”

I personally look forward to opportunities to unplug and have moments to just breathe. I have never felt the need to let people know what I am doing every moment of the day. The only time I’m interested in what someone is having for dinner is when I’m invited! Apart from that, I don’t sense a real need to view on Facebook what other people are eating…it just makes me hungry!

In chapter 6 of Mark’s gospel, Jesus and his disciples were busy with the activities of ministry. Jesus had sent out his disciples two-by-two to preach the gospel of repentance. According to verse 12, they “drove out demons and anointed many who were sick.” In verse 30, the group has come back together and reported to Jesus all that they had been doing. Seeing that they were tired and hungry, Jesus recognized the need for his followers to “unplug”. He said to them in verse 31, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Now if you read this passage, you will notice that the people ran ahead of them, the chaos continued, and the feeding of the five thousand ensued. We often read this passage and it’s the feeding of the five thousand that we focus on. Let’s not forget Jesus’ invitation here. When we’re tired from all the “doing,” Jesus invites us to “unplug” and take time to rest and to be renewed.

When we’re tired from all the “doing,” Jesus invites us to “unplug” and take time to rest and to be renewed.

Colonel Genevera Vincent

On another occasion in Matthew 11;28-30, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Following the leading of Jesus, it’s important that we “unplug” and allow our souls to find rest.

Ministry is demanding and often difficult. Without taking moments to “unplug,” his yoke and his burden seem anything but easy and light! It’s amazing though how we can approach a difficult task, following moments of rest, and successfully “unplugging”. When we feel rejuvenated and rested, that difficult meeting or conversation somehow seems more manageable. The yoke and the burden seem a little easier and lighter. In simple terms, unplugging is a choice. If we don’t carve out time to “unplug” it will never happen. The business and busyness of our lives will constantly drive us to do more.

In this age of instant messaging, we need more than ever to heed the invitation of Jesus to go to a quiet place and get some rest. That will certainly look different for individual people. Taking a walk, reading a book, sitting quietly and breathing in the quietness, and listening to worship music are all ways we can “unplug” from the chaos of life and find rest. So, take the time and make the effort to incorporate moments to “unplug” into your life and you will not regret it. You will actually flourish!

So, will you please excuse me…I need a moment to “unplug” and finish my cup of tea.