Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

For Tweets Sake, Message Me!


Social Media. It’s one of those terms that a few years ago only a small number of tech savvy nerds knew what it was, but now the use of it has a pivotal effect on our world., our politics, and our opinions. Over two billion people engage on some form of social media on a regular basis… and its influence is staggering!

 

Social media is the primary shaper of culture; it is how people connect to their friends, the news and their

world. Social Media is where millions of advertising and marketing dollars go each day that makes or breaks

the companies that form the foundation of our economic infrastructure. Through social media people find out where they need to be, when and who they need to be with. Social media find people jobs and are responsible for people losing them. It disgraces politicians and elects presidents. It organizes birthday parties and overthrows governments. It helps people find love and it invokes mention on hundreds of thousands of divorce papers. It unites people and separates people. It makes people and it destroys people. It is both good and bad.

 

And that’s the tension that Christians need to manage as we try and understand this social media driven world that we live in. Some believers curse it as a device from the devil; others embrace it as a gift from God. But like many things in life, the medium is neutrally neither good nor bad, it is the message that we put into it that defines it. That is especially true of social media where the consumers of it are also the creators of it.

 

Listed below are three suggestions as to how believers should understand and use social media so that we can play our part to leverage this foundational societal platform for good.

 

1    Use Social Media to connect with people! There are two common mistakes people make with Facebook. One is to overshare information (e.g. what you had for dinner) and the other is to under share (not say anything). Facebook is a great “middle level” way to let people into your life a little more. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about loving relationships and as Christians we are called to a relentless pursuit of relationships because they provide the context for people to come to know and grow in Jesus. Social media, when used properly, allow us to move acquaintances closer to becoming friends and tighten the bond between friends. Closer friendships advance the spread of the gospel.

 

2      Use Social Media to inspire, encourage and bless! As Christians, the Apostle Paul exhorts us “look not only to our own interests, but to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3). Unfortunately, much of social media is filled with narrow minded narcissism as people clammer over each other to show off what they have done, where they have been, who they have been with and why we should consider them to be an awesome person. Based on Paul’s encouragement a better use of social media would be to use it to brag not on ourselves, but on others. Who is doing something that you need to celebrate? Who can you honor? What are you grateful for? Who needs some appropriate encouragement and to be honored among their, and your, peers? Honor is to be given, not grabbed. Ultimately, we should all make sure that what we post brags on God’s goodness.

 

3      Use Social Media to promote God honoring values. Facebook and Twitter are the new social melting pots of our society. What we put into them is what comes out of them. It is essential for Christians to input good, Christ honoring – and non-judgmental – values. We do this by affirming values we believe in, sharing concern about what we don’t and thinking through what we press the “like” and “share” buttons on. This of course, challenges us to live with greater levels of integrity to the Holy Scriptures and faithfulness before God. The last thing that Facebook needs is more hypocritical pretenders. Social media has given everyone a voice and we have a responsibility to promote good, God honoring values. If we don’t do this, no one will. We are encouraged in Psalm 45:1 to let our “hearts overflow with a pleasing theme”. The question for many is, “Do our social media forums overflow with themes that are pleasing to God?”

 

Social media is the medium that shapes the message to the masses. We, as consumers of it, are also the creators of what that message is.  What message are you “sharing”?

 

Thoughts? …Tweet me J

Gas or Diesel

Putting the wrong kind of fuel into your car can cause big problems for your engine.

Putting the wrong kind of food into our bodies can do serious damage to our health.

Filling our soul with pleasures and activities that displease God can cause great harm to our spiritual growth.

Move to More

Following Jesus was never meant to be stagnant and if it is… there is a problem. If you are not pursuing life through the lens of faith something is wrong. When we sign up to follow Jesus we are committing to making the next right steps forward into the ‘more and more’ that God has for us.

 

"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more!...Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. " (1 Thess 4: 1,2,9 &10)

The Apostle Paul has a very special relationship with the Church in Thessalonica. While reading his letters to these Christians it is impossible not to note the tender affection with which Paul holds these people. But in the midst of his encouragement, he also offers exhortation.. an exhortation to keep moving

In 1 Thess. 4 the phrase “more and more” is mentioned twice. The first time is in relation to living in a way that is pleasing to God. Paul states, “You are pleasing God, but it’s time to step it up! Live in a way that pleases God more” (Vs1 – my translation). The context is that every day we should seek to please God more than we did the day before! What can I do today to bring more honor and esteem to the one who has honored and esteemed us way beyond what we deserve.

Then secondly, in verse 10, he is talking about the love that is extended to people within the region of Macedonia. Again he says… “You are doing this… but you can move to the next level in the way you love one another”. It’s as if Paul is asking us to figure out new, creative and more expressive ways to love.

Paul offers to us a ‘more and more’ challenge! As you seek to live your life in a way that pleases God, what does it look like for you to do this ‘more and more’? As you seek to love those you are in relationship with, what does it look like for you to love ‘more and more’?

None of us have arrived at where we need to be in terms of living life and loving people. Take another step forward today.

Move to More!

Being Responsible...


I was asked recently what one of the most frustrating things about serving and leading within God’s Church is. This really wasn't a hard question for me to answer as this frustration often keeps me awake at night, praying that God will work to resolve this struggle I sense. The frustration revolves around the concept of people struggling to take personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth and having difficulty desire to take responsibility for all that God has given to us. Jesus speaks specifically to this issue in Matthew 25:14-30. Take a moment right now to read through this scripture by clicking on the link attached to the aforementioned scripture address.

As I read this scripture the following points jump out and offer motivation and inspiration for us to take responsibility for our spiritual growth. Don’t just read through these points below, reflect and pray through them, asking God to help you better steward the responsibility that you have been given!

1) God has entrusted us with something so valuable! As people created in God’s image, God has invested in us something very significant. In this parable, Jesus gives three people a number of different 'talents'. A talent is equivalent to 20 years wages, so in our American culture that would equate to around $1,000,000! Imagine being given $1,000,000, or $5,000,000 … it is a significant, valuable trust! What our Master has given to you is something more valuable than these amounts – you have been given the keys to the kingdom, the ability and opportunity to shape where people spend their eternity, and the power of the Holy Spirit. These are sacred trusts!

2) God expects us to invest what he has given us! Two of the servants were faithful in doing this and were rewarded, one didn’t... and wasn’t. The investment we are to make with what God has given us is to be made in the only thing from this earth that can travel into eternity with us – people! The love, grace, power, and truth that God has given to us must be invested in the lives of others.

3) God wants us to have an accurate picture of him so that our response to him can be accurate. We see in verse 24 that the lazy servant has an inaccurate picture of his master. He says that he’s a “hard man” and therefore wanted to play it safe. His inaccurate picture of his master led to an inaccurate response. It is the same way with us and God. Unfortunately the view of God we have is often shaped by cultural and personal inaccuracies, rather than the revelation of God found in the Bible. In contrast, the faithful servants were more than willing to ask God to examine them and what they had given themselves to... because they had responded accurately to who they understood God to be.

4) God waits in heaven wanting to celebrate what we’ve done. Both faithful servants hear the incredibly humbling words from God himself, “Well done, good and faithful servant". I think Jesus loves to say those words! He loves to reward those who earn them with greater responsibility and he wants us to share his happiness. This scripture also tells us though that, reluctantly, God can’t always say these words about our behavior and faithfulness as our actions separate us from him. He always loves you, but he wants to celebrate you as well. Are you living in a such a way that he can?

I think that a big part of being responsible means understand the following statements and the implications of them. How are you doing in understanding and applying these statements?

Be Faithful.

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