The magnitude of changes in our world are impressive. I used to look forward to the thick yellow phone book that AT&T published every year. Now, its a worthless shadow of its former self and I threw mine away in the garbage the same day it came.
For those of us who grew up with the legacy stores of Kmart, Sears, JCPenney and such, its hard to believe they exist only in a handful of locations. Will Walmart go the same way someday? Amazon is now the first shopping choice of increasing millions. People used to go to the library to check out books and do research. Encyclopedias were sold from door to door. Today, when people need information, they get on the Internet. If they are "old school," that means a laptop or desktop, for the rest its a quick "google" from their cell phone!
Your car is computer operated. Tire pressure, engine operation, transmission shift points and a host of other parameters are either monitored or actively manipulated by the computer. Most of you don't even have a throttle cable! When you press on the accelerator pedal, a signal is sent to a computer, which controls the fuel injected engine under your hood.
The military is taking computer tech and communications to a whole new level of warfare. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's for short) started out merely as surveillance tools. Soon they built dedicated weapon platforms that had "look down, shoot down" capability that could not only watch for enemies, but then attack them with precision guided munitions. The pilots of those UAV's are probably sitting in an air-conditioned building in Nevada, if the weapons are Air Force. Their early Predator drones were so successful at rapid response that they were replaced with a far more capable version. Today, the "Reaper" is flying Air Force missions with deadly results to the enemies on the ground.
The Army's secretive Echo Unit, from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, is flying their own "Gray Eagles" UAV's in Syria and Afghanistan. These UAV's are piloted remotely by Army personnel who are in theater. The cameras can read a car license plate from an altitude of 15,000 feet and then deliver a Hellfire missile into the back seat in a matter of seconds. All while being never heard, never seen and never putting the Army pilot at any risk. According to an Army write-up of the effectiveness of the Echo Company, they state that "well over 340 enemy killed in action" were credited to Echo Company's efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq- Syria between August 2014 and July 2015 alone. And that is what is unclassified. The real number is probably bigger. The current grounding of the Boeing 737 Max airplanes is evidence of the "growing pains" as technology continues to change our world.
And make no mistake, the world is changing. Is there any good news here? Sure! From anywhere in the world people can get on a website and study the Bible. We have nearly instant updates to our members for important information. Our worship services and Bible classes are streamed live over the internet, allowing members stuck at home for sickness, or in a motel in a city where there is no church, to participate. Many of you have profited from this service. Part of all the fanfare about improving our church website is to bring a greater use and value to our live-feed, articles, videos and other information. Folks, the world is changing and its not going back. While the morals of God's people need to remain firm, the methods of God's people are going to have to adapt to a changing world. As the brethren of Acts 15 discovered, facing a changing world is a challenging thing to navigate.
- Tim Orbison