Tag Archives: Twitter

Do I Care What Others Think?

When it comes to corporate worship we can’t escape the fact that we are in the presence of others.  Wherever we sit or stand, we are surrounded by other worshipers. (And non-worshipers) In a world where image is everything, do we concern ourselves too much with what others think, when we should be focusing on God?

“What if they see me crying?”

“If I raise my hands, they will judge me.”

“Remember to turn the offering envelope upside down, so no one sees what I give.”

“Nobody complimented my shoes!”

“If I put the envelope in slowly, everyone can see how much I give.”

With the popularity of social media formats such as facebook, twitter and pintrest, etc… we are more concerned than ever before about maintaining an acceptable image.  Haven’t we taken this image conscious mindset to an unhealthy level?  Social media can be a great place to interact with friends, but in our humanness, we tend to only put forth the image we want others to see and we hide our real selves. I’m sure this isn’t true all of the time, but it’s true enough of the time.

Does this same tendency toward image influence our corporate worship?  Scripture teaches that God is the audience of our worship, not others.  When we make God alone our audience, we will care less about maintaining our image in front of others.  The next time you participate in corporate worship set aside the image you want others to see and lay your life open before God.

When we drop the image facade, our worship can be a testimony.  Let us be Spirit and Truth worshipers who enter His presence without our masks and worship the Savior without pretense.

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Be Careful Little Thumbs What You Tweet!

Remember the song you sang as a child?  Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.  That was the first verse.  The others were: Be careful little mouth what you say/feet where you go/ears what you hear/hands what you do… that’s all I can remember.  May I submit an updated verse to this song that has shaped the character of many young children? (That may have been an exaggeration)  “Oh, be careful little thumbs what you tweet.”

We live in the social media age.  Many of you tweet or blog or at least facebook.  These can all be very positive ways of communicating.  They can also be ways of spreading bad ideas or bankrupt theology.  Be careful little thumbs what you tweet.

First, the trend was emails.  Someone you new would forward an email that included a catchy little story or clever poem that sounded good.  It would be about God (after you scroll past the email addresses of  a thousand people you didn’t recognize.)  It would pose a thought or an idea that just wasn’t biblical ex. “now that johnny has gone, he is my guardian angel.”  Then it would conclude with the assault on your relationship with Jesus – “If you love Jesus, then forward this to everyone you know. If you are ashamed of Jesus click delete.” Where was the third option; If this is bad theology, click delete ALL and every copy will be deleted from every email account in the webniverse?

Can I get a witness?

In addition to my blog, I try to keep up with twitter and facebook.  I also monitor my kids facebook accounts to make sure they are safe and that their online witness remains untarnished.  It takes a lot of time to do all these things.  But I am confident that they have value.  We, as believers have the opportunity to shine the light of Christ with our presence on social media.  We are also accountable to God that we present Him in truth and do not misrepresent his character.

The church in Thessaloniki was wary when prophecy was spoken to them.  So much so, that it seems they were rejecting all prophetic word.  Paul encouraged them to be open to the prophecy, but to test it all in accordance with God’s word.

Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 ESV)

We would be wise to apply this to what we read and repost on social media.  Test everything; retweet what is good.  When you come across a spiritual tweet or facebook post and it sounds good, test it.  See if it stands up to a biblical foundation.  Does it agree with the character of God as He has revealed Himself to us in scripture.  Does it present Jesus glorified or cheapen His work of salvation?  Is it loving? Does it offer biblical encouragement toward others within the family of faith or does it merely attempt to make  the reader feel good with a clever but unbiblical cliché?

Paul gives a list of instructions to the Thessalonians at the end of his first letter.  These would make a good checklist for us as we contemplate our Christian presence on social media.

  1. Admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak – be patient with them all.
  2. Rejoice always
  3. Pray without ceasing
  4. Give thanks in all circumstances
  5. Do not quench the spirit
  6. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good
  7. Abstain from every form of evil

Social media is playing a larger role in shaping disciples.  You and I follow pastors and bible teachers and fellow believers through social media. And by our own tweets and facebook posts we sometimes influence the way others understand or misunderstand the Bible. We are called to Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

So, the next time you read a post that sounds good, but something seems a little off – test is.  If it declares an unbiblical view of God or applies scripture out of context – Do not pass go, do not collect $200 and absolutely do not retweet it! Be careful little thumbs what you tweet.

Father, we are your servants.  You have told us that we are salt and light to a world living in darkness. Help us as we try to live our lives as a testament to the greatness of Jesus.  May the light of Jesus, who lives in us and through us, shine whenever and wherever we interact with others.  May our presence on social media build up and encourage everyone, especially those in the family of faith. (Gal 6:10) Help us to hold one another accountable for the way we represent Christ through social media interaction. May your name be glorified in every thing we do, every word we say, and every phrase we tweet.               – Amen


The Relevant Ways Of Us

We learned from Joe last Sunday that there is a need for us to use relevant ways to communicate the love of Jesus to our world.  If you missed it, you can listen to it here.  As Joe pointed out, Paul demonstrated the value of being relevant in Acts 17, when he spoke of Jesus to the Athenians.  The points Joe brought out on Sunday were great and have caused me to continue to marinade on the Acts 17 passage he shared.  And a couple of additional thoughts came to mind.

In verse 16 it says that Paul was “greatly distressed” or “deeply troubled” when he saw the city was full of idols.  Reading this, I notice that it does NOT say that he was angry at the people for worshiping idols.  But he WAS “deeply troubled” by it.

When you look at the life your friends and family are living, are you “deeply troubled?”  Or do you find yourself angry with them?  I think there is a difference.  In Paul’s case, he must have seen the emptiness in their lives. In spite of their fervent efforts to worship many gods, Paul knew that those gods were not real and could bring their worshipers no fulfillment.  An idol could do nothing for their sin condition.  No idol could comfort them, or give them peace or hope.  Do you observe the emptiness and hopelessness in your Christ-less friends and family?  Or does it just make you mad that they act so irresponsibly?

Verse 23 “While I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD,’  therefore what you worship in ignorance, I proclaim to you.”  Paul was examining their idols?  Shouldn’t he have kept his distance?  What if someone saw him there and thought he was condoning idol worship?  To be clear; Paul did NOT participate in idol worship!  But we can observe that he made an effort to understand the people he was trying to reach.  I can’t help but wonder if Paul asked himself “How can I speak to these people in a way they can understand? Can I really identify with idol worshipers?”

When we read that Paul confessed to “passing through and examining the objects of your worship,” we see that Paul was intentional.  I don’t think that Paul’s mention of “AN UNKNOWN GOD” was spontaneous.  He was purposefully looking for a way to connect.  The altar inscribed “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” revealed to him that these people were actively ‘seeking’ to know God.  The only reason God remained unknown was because they had not been told.

You may have friends to whom God is still unknown.

So how can we be relevant to those friends.  I believe that we have opportunities in 2011 and beyond like never before.  And they are brought to us by multiple Social Media engines, and they’re FREE!  Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Blogs allow us to, at anytime and in almost anyplace, share the love of Jesus with anyone.  I don’t know what you do with your social media time, but let me encourage you to think about it in a new way.

Until about a year ago I used facebook as an alternative gaming platform.  Please don’t throw the first stone!  Those games gave me a chance to interact online with my family who live in another state.  Why the change?  A year ago I read this book “The Church of Facebook” by Jesse Rice.  If you’re a reader, you should buy this book.  I won’t summarize it for you, but Jerry’s words were largely responsible for refocusing my social media time.

Let me make a couple suggestions and feel free to criticize or embrace these.  Some Dos and Don’ts:

1. DON’T repost those “Gotcha, you sinner” types of tags and quips you read on others status updates.  You know the type I’m talking about – similar to the church marquee that says “If you think it’s hot here, just wait!” This “punchline witnessing” doesn’t allow you to speak Christ into someone’s life as a loving friend would. You’ll likely be unfriended and your witness left damaged.

2. DON’T tell someone “If you don’t repost this, you’re ashamed of Jesus.” In all honesty, they may love Jesus, but avoid reposting because they are ashamed of you.

3. DO be a personal and authentic witness when on social media.  Facebook and other social media platforms play up to our tendency to pretend we are something or someone we are not. Most of us have a certain and specific image we want to portray. And on facebook we think we can control the way we present ourselves.  Instead of that silliness, be yourself.  People will appreciate it when you “keep it real” even if that goes against the culture and the social media norm.

4. DO be intentional.  We have an opportunity here that is unique to our generation alone. Let’s not miss it.  Pray for the people in your friends list or circles or followers. Message someone just to tell them you are praying for them.

5. DO be encouraging. Post and tweet scripture. Inspire others with quotes from Christian writers and speakers.  Post something the Holy Spirit taught you that day.

6. DO follow other believers who can encourage and/or mentor you on social media.  I follow several on twitter who I look forward to checking everyday.

I’m sure many of you have already had similar thoughts and consider the social media universe a relevant means of making a difference in the lives of others.  Are you being a positive twitness on twitter?  Or do you put on your pious face for facebook?What do you intentionally do on social media to Make A Difference for Christ?  Do you agree with my ideas?  Do you have an idea to share with me? Please leave a comment.


A Theology of Technology (sort of)

https://i1.wp.com/inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2010/12/ipadcase-lead01.jpgBlogging from my iPad. I’m excited about new gear. Mostly because it is a tool to help me do ministry… And it’s cool. Okay, perhaps mostly because it’s cool! But I’m working on that motivation even as I blog from my iPad.

1 Corinthians 7:30-31 “those who weep or rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” NLT

So I’ll purposefully be excited in the ministry uses of my “tools” rather than the coolness factor. The Corinthians must have been dealing with iPads, iPhones or at least iPapyrus’ or iPapy’s as I’m sure they used to call them. (I bet the “scroll it” app was cool and everybody was addicted to the game “zombie gladiator”) okay I’m getting off track. But that must be why Paul wrote those words, because those 1st century words have incredible 21st century application!

I’m blogging, I’m on twitter, I’ll begin reading my chord charts from my iPad as well, but my desire is to minister the love of Christ using the language of the culture with the appropriate tools to do the job. However, I’m honestly tempted by the cool stuff available to us to do all this in 2011. Paul, how did you know I would have this temptation? I have no doubt that those words that seem to be about iPads, iPhones, facebook and twitter these days have spoken to all kinds of people and all kinds of possessions for every generation. I’ll heed those words and live my life for the future home which will never pass away.

At second glance I would be well served to look beyond iPads and iPhones as the full application of Pauls words of encouragement. He says those who weep or have joy should be absorbed in that weeping or joy. I wonder what I weep over in vain (a perennially loosing baseball team? the government? the presidents’ job performance? health care?) or what do I rejoice over in vain (a perennially winning baseball team? the government? the presidents’ job performance? health care?) All… ALL those things will pass away. Why do I spend so much of my time frustrated with or boasting in these and other temporal things? …God forgive me. Help me see and keep my eyes on the lasting joys and concerns of the world beyond.