Twitter

Don’t Waste Your Social Media

social-media-jesus

Anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time has heard the “Great Commission”. Even if you aren’t a Christian, chances are you probably know what I’m talking about when I refer to the “Great Commission”. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says these words: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”

As I contemplate these words of Jesus, I am both encouraged AND discouraged, let me explain.

First of all, I am encouraged as a believer, because God has placed me in a time and in a society in which it is easier than ever for me to reach the masses with His Word. Now, we could list any number of things to make this case – things like air travel, radio and television, or even print media – and these are all wonderful things. What I have in mind though is social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter.

I can hear some of you chuckling right now. Many of us don’t take social media seriously. Many of us think of our social media time as simply a way to connect to friends or to share cat videos and photos of our dinner. Others think of social media as a complete waste of time. I want us to think about this, however: In what other forum do you have dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands of people listening to hear what you have to say? In terms of Gospel impact, what other forum do you have in which you can post a Bible verse or an inspirational quote or thought, and that same verse or quote get seen and shared by people on the other side of the world? All with the simple click of a button. All of us have a circle of friends and a sphere of influence. Social media allows us to multiply that exponentially.

Again, some of us think of social media as a giant waste of time. A lot of us value a physical visit or a phone call more than a message on Facebook or a comment on a status. I get it. In a world that is increasingly becoming more digitized, and folks are communicating by text and email, the sound of someone’s voice or the sight of a friendly face at your door is often refreshing. I don’t think social media can ever replace that, nor should it. BUT, this shouldn’t be a reason to ignore such a powerful tool that God can use for His glory and to spread His message.

As a pastor, I share a lot of Scripture on social media. I often post inspirational quotes or even thoughts that come to my mind throughout the day. I post links to blogs that I find helpful or even blogs that I myself write. Some people would see all of this as a giant waste of time. You would be amazed though at how often people who would never step foot in a church send me a message and ask me questions about spiritual matters. You would be amazed at the number of people, and the types of people that interact with the things that I post. Again, people from all walks of life, with a variety of beliefs, and worldviews. I hear often, “well I never thought of that” or, “I’ve never had anyone explain things like that before.”

I don’t say this to puff myself up, but to say that all of us can reach people via social media that perhaps we would never be able to reach otherwise. I think we would be silly to ignore such a powerful tool. Do we really believe if Paul or Jesus had access to the internet that they wouldn’t take full advantage of it? Absolutely they would, and so should we.

The power of social media and its potential to be used for Great Commission impact is very encouraging to me. As I said though, I am also a bit discouraged, and here is why. With such a powerful tool that we have been given as Christians to make such a powerful impact for the Kingdom of God, I see so many of us wasting this opportunity…and not just because we aren’t using it, but because we are using it so unwisely.

In our charged political climate, as opposed to us seeking to make an impact for Jesus, we would rather use our time online to spout off about our political ideas and philosophies. Instead of us taking advantage of the opportunity to share about the love of Jesus, we use that time to tell everyone how angry we are about this politician, or this group of people, who we believe are ruining our country.

But it isn’t just politics. So many times I see Christians sharing posts with language or images that certainly do not honor the Lord we say that we worship. I see Christians themselves using language or writing posts that are unbefitting of one who calls himself a child of God. I’m no prude, and I can enjoy a good joke, but it is hard for people to take you seriously as a Christian if you share Scripture in one post, then in the very next post go on a profanity-laced rant about the guy who cut you off in traffic.

Social media, like anything else, can and should be used for the glory of God, and I believe this is the reason for which God has given it to us. That being said, Satan will do everything in his power to use it for evil and distract us from using it for its intended purposes. For some, he will simply try to convince us that there is very little value in it. For others of us, he will try to tell us that it’s really just a big waste of time…and if we aren’t using it as a means to glorify God, then he is right.

Don’t fall for Satan’s trap. Take advantage of every opportunity to make much of Jesus. Take every opportunity you can to spread the message of the Gospel. Use the power of social media to take the Word of God to all nations. You never know how much impact one click of a button might have.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Social Media: My Battle

I love social media. I really do. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people via Twitter and Facebook. In fact 2 of my best friends in the world I met through Twitter. I wouldn’t be Co-Pastor of the church in which I serve right now if it wasn’t for Twitter. I relish the connections I’ve made, the long lost friends I’m now in touch with because of technology…I love the glimpses I get into peoples personal lives…I love being able to share tidbits of beauty God shares with me throughout the day.

All of that being said, I still struggle with Social Media.

There are the usual things that I’ve heard many folks complain about. Petty complaints, self congratulation…the overall fakeness of people trying to put only their best face on for the world to see so that their lives seem so perfect…and yes, I know I have been, and probably will be guilty of this myself.

This of course isn’t just true of social media, it is true of life in general.

All of these things though, I don’t think are my biggest struggle.

My biggest struggle as I scroll through my stream on a daily basis is that there just seems to no longer be a sense of sacredness. Everything in our lives is up for public consumption. Certain situations and life experiences used to be ‘just for us’…Whether it be an intimate conversation/coffee with a friend…the baptism of our kids…a sound bite from a sermon that we feel we have to share right then…

What happened to just living in the moment…enjoying the moment…just for what it is? God’s grace shown to us…poured out on us…for us to enjoy. I suppose part of joy is wanting to share it with the world…Joy overflows…it’s supposed to. But as I view much of social media…I see no reverence for those things and those moments.

There are times in life where we are to be in awe of the Holy. There are times in life where we should be dropped to our knees and left speechless by God’s graces and mercy shown towards us in our lives. I don’t know that having the cell phone/tablet/lap top at our finger tips ready to record every instance of beauty illustrates this truth.

Beauty needs to be shared. No doubt. Part of human nature is wanting to share the beauty that we encounter. I think that is part of being created in the image of God. That is a part of us that is like God.

Sometimes though, I think beauty should knock you down and simply cause you to stare. Sometimes something is so beautiful that we aren’t able to find the words for it. Too often though, what I see, and what I do…is miss the beauty because I’m too busy trying to describe it. I lose part of the joy because I’m too busy trying to show others what I’m seeing…And the kicker is…often, the beauty get’s lost in translation.

Or maybe even worse, we grow numb…we place all things on the same level…there is no more sacred/non-sacred…there is no more extraordinary/ordinary. We lose our since of awe…our since of the holy.

Losing our awe of the holy is a dangerous thing…

Then again…maybe I’m wrong about all of this…

Maybe there is a sense/glimpse of the sacred and holy in all things. Maybe that is one of the benefits of social media…being able to show that…to point people to the beauty we are experiencing. To help people find that glimpse of beauty that they otherwise may not find…

Maybe there is a balance there that we have to find.

That is my battle…

What say you?

The Pipe-ster has done it again…

John Piper seems to stir up a bit of controversy every few weeks on Twitter. Oddly enough, it seems it usually has something to do with porn. A few days ago he did it again. Here is the “tweet” in question…

“Wives, if you watch movies with your(husband) him containing bare breasts and fondling, don’t complain when he does porn by himself.”

This statement has drawn criticism by many, mostly by folks saying that Piper is blaming wives, or holding them responsible for what their husbands are doing. I even heard one person saying that Piper is victimizing the victims in this scenario. I was on a friends Facebook page just a few minutes ago, and saw many comments and criticisms very similar to what I have already talked about. I made the following statement in relation to what was being said, would be curious to see what others are saying, or thinking as it relates to Piper’s tweet:

“I don’t think Piper is saying the wife is “responsible” or even to blame for her husband’s sin. I think what Piper is saying is that the wife is also in sin. It’s sort of like the, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” or “speck/log” argument. The wife is responsible for her sin, the man for his.Piper is just saying, if you are watching filth, and any movie with fondling and bare breasts in a movie, I would classify as filth. Could it lead to porn? Maybe, maybe not…It may arouse passions that otherwise may not have shown up..it may not. Either way, if the wife condones it while she is around, or in the open with her…should she be surprised, or even complain when he does it when she isn’t…Just my take”
So that is my take on the issue, what say you guys?