Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I'm so much cooler online

Part of my summer schedule involves working at our neighborhood pool while the boys swim off some energy. I sit under the covered porch and use the free wi-fi. It's not a bad place to work, actually. 

Yesterday, while trying to focus on some sermon prep, I overheard two women have a conversation about Facebook and specifically, why they were quitting Facebook.

Basically, they described three reasons for their Facebook abandonment: Everyone seems/looks perfect (perfect body, perfect family, perfect life) online; too much drama (emotions); too much controversy.

And you know what? They really are right about so much of what's posted online.

It reminded me of something I've been thinking about lately. I think those of us who are Christians need to come up with some kind of standard of social media use that contains some form of the following question:

Would someone be able to tell I'm a follower of Jesus, and in-turn want to become a follower of Jesus, by reading my posts online?


That's a convicting question.

I love social media. It helps me stay connected with people. I feel like I know what's going on in people's lives. I've been able to find out what's happening with folks that I haven't seen in years.

But as a follower of Jesus, I want my online life to bring glory to God just like I want my off-line life to bring glory to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Whatever you do includes what you post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Maybe, if we did this, God might just use something as silly as social media to let the world see, experience and come to know Jesus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Posture of Humility

There's a video floating around the Internet of a gentleman taking some Mormon missionary kids to task for what they believe. I thought about posting it to give this context, but I'm so disturbed by it that I don't want to give it more airtime than it's already getting. But here's a synopsis:

Basically some Mormon missionaries approach a man in a parking lot hoping to have a conversation where they tell him all about Mormonism and get him to convert. It's what they do. You've seen them riding around our community on their bikes. Well, much to their dismay, this guy is a Christian who knows the Bible, and simply put, he reams them out, leaving them feeling humiliated and looking stupid, while he himself feels awesome for rebuking their false teaching.

What sickened me about the video is the amount of pride, arrogance, hubris and disrespect this gentleman showed in speaking with, and really at, these pour Mormon college kids.

It got me pondering something that I've been thinking about for a while. I think we, and by we I mean Christians in America, have a pride problem. 

So often, by so many people who are the very people we are trying to reach, we are perceived as arrogant. And we all know that even though it shouldn't be this way, perception is reality. When people think of Christians they think we're arrogant.

What leads people to perceive us as arrogant is our tone when talking to people. It's our need to let everyone know that our way is the right way. It's our lack of respect towards people who think and act and believe differently from us. It's how we communicate the truth by shoving it down people's throats or forcing it on them uninvited.

Pride and arrogance are everywhere.

Here's a crazy thought: You can be right but you don't have to tell everyone. Jesus was right, but he didn't go around telling everyone that he was right and they were wrong. He never did that. But we (Christians in America) do. And that's pride. That's arrogance.

And I am convinced that if our posture of arrogance doesn't change to a posture of humility that there is absolutely no hope for the church in America. And the reason I know this is not just speculation, but fact is because both Peter and James tell us that God opposes the proud. 

But God gives grace to the humble.

Think about it: Who would you rather hang out with, someone who is proud or arrogant, or someone who is humble? All of us would choose the humble person. 

Since those are the kind of people we want to hang out with doesn't it make sense that we become that kind of person? 

Here's another thought: I believe that a posture of humility is a more powerful witness than a life of purity. Now don't hear what I'm not saying. I think we should live a life of purity. All of Scripture makes that clear. But what makes us approachable and likable isn't our purity. It's our humility. In other words, approachability and likability cannot be separated from a posture of humility.

Sometimes we use boldness and courage as excuses for pride and arrogance. But we all know that we can be bold and speak with courage and do it with humility. We can even stand for truth and speak the truth in a posture of humility. 

The scary thought is that I know I'm just as guilty of pride and arrogance as the rest of my brothers and sisters. But I don't want to be that way. I want to have a posture of humility.

There is so much more we could say on this topic, but I'll end with a question: What's your posture? God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. May we have the posture of humility.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Indications a Church is Making Disciples

I came across a good article today and wanted to pass it along. It's by Ron Edmondson. His writing is very practical. Here you go:

I’ve often heard people say you can’t measure discipleship. I don’t know if that’s true.
It is true that you can’t necessarily put a number or percentage on discipleship growth, but you can tell — over time — if it has happened or is happening.

Here are 10 indications a church is making disciples:

Those who have been in the church the longest complain the least. - Do everything without complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:14
The leaders of the church are most likely to give up “their” seats, park further from the building, or do whatever is necessary to help the Body. – The greatest among you must be a servant.Matthew 23:11
The church celebrates most when those far from faith come to faith. In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7
Members care that others needs are met more than their own. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4
The church is willing to make sacrifices to attract the lost – And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Acts 15:19
There is joy even during suffering – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2
The teaching is a balance of truth and grace. Jesus came full of grace and truth. John 1:17
The financial needs of the church are funded, with people willingly sacrificing. No one begs for money. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
There are no petty disputes and grudges among the people of the church. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
The church takes care of each other well. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. Acts 4:34
Let’s keep this going. These are a few that come to my mind. There are others. Prayer. Forgiveness. I’d love to post again — maybe “21 Indications a Church is Making Disciples”. Add one of your own in the comments. (And, give your Bible reference.) I may choose yours for my next post.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Miracle of Multiplication

One thing I do to keep spiritually fed is listen to other people's sermons. I usually do this while working out at my local Anytime Fitness.

This morning I knew I needed to listen to a sermon, so I started to scroll through National Community Church's past sermons. There was one that caught my eye. It's by Christine Caine, from May 25 of this year, and it's titled Miracle of Multiplication. 

You need to take 37 minutes and listen to what Christine has to say. It was what I needed to hear. I think many of you need to hear it too. You can watch or listen online here.