Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spacebook, Myface, and Tweeter (Part 1)

Back to emergent generations for a day or so. I named the title these misnomers upon which our social networking sites are sometimes called to point something out quickly. Not every generation understands our new found way to connect to friends. Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter are closer to being social experiments than actual social interactions. Now comes the time to raise the more pertinent topics surrounding these.

The current church model for outreach is broken. Most churches believe if we send out items through the Postal Service, it has the best chance to reach someone. Some churches even believe that this and a marquee is as far as they should go. For other churches it is a huge step to send out a monthly newsletter by email. The church is resistant to embrace new technologies and has been skeptical like this for the two millenniums since Jesus ascended into heaven. The church as a whole has always been seeking to shut down technical advances that they don't immediately see a way to use for their good, or that may be used wrong.

Some people think that social networking sites are "of the devil" because they are only subject to bad publicity. NBC's show, To Catch a Predator, spends an hour showing four or five cases in which MySpace has been exploited to target younger children. Because of this, some people never see that the world is really a good thing, we just don't spend an hour talking about the millions of people that have a MySpace that this never happens too. Let's think back to 1439 when Johannes Gutenberg first used movable type printing. For history buffs, you know the first book printed with this was the Holy Bible. Looking at this it established a great way to print faster and more accurate than ever before. This meant that the Bible could have many more published and move out into people's world quicker than ever before.

What if the church would have shut Gutenberg down simply because it had the potential to one day be used to print PlayBoy. All of the sudden, this great invention that can be used to print thousands of bibles, would have never existed. The church needs to embrace the internet and use it to their advantage. Sure, the internet has evil uses, but it's not going anywhere no matter how much we imagine it's not there.

So, why doesn't every church go out right now and create a MySpace and a Facebook page. Have their ministers create Twitters so they can be kept up with. The church will then have this new in to a generation that is unlike any other. They will see some differences but can also keep up to date on what's happening and how people feel. It allows for the web 2.0 to let churches get feedback and interact with members and others outside the church like never before. I feel this will greatly impact church's missions to people in the emergent generation. That is what we need to do. We can't convince everyone to come in the church doors without first meeting them in the middle to find out more about what they like. So, lets go to them, through social networking sites.

I'll continue more on differences between our generation and others before and explain more on why social networking sites are truly going to be the way to reach others on Monday. I don't want to make you wait that long but I just set up the new format so I don't want to break it so early. But let's go and be out there, revamping the approach.

God bless,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Best Kept Secret

Today I am listening to my iPod in my truck. As it is randomly shuffling I suddenly have my idea for today's blog. The name of the song is Best Kept Secret and is off Skillet's album Invincible. This is before they went heavy, headbanging rock and when they were more techno. Here is the song and music video.

The first time I heard this was at the Xtreme Conference in Gatlinburg where Skillet played live. When I first heard it I was shocked and disgusted with the song. I thought that they were glorifying the fact that we are not spreading the gospel to people. I simply thought that bragging about Jesus being the best kept secret was silly and exactly opposite of what we should be doing. After the conference I just went back to normal and forgot completely about the song and its lack of appeal toward me.

A few weeks back I was stocking up on my Skillet collection after I purchased their newest album Awake. I found this song, but had a new appreciation for it. Here are the lyrics from the song.

Shrouded in proof, You're the mystery
You're the truth that lives within the world we see
You're the hand that holds destiny
And I can't pretend I don't know
And I can't leave it alone (yeah,yeah)

You're the best kept secret in my generation
The best kept secret of all time
You're the best kept secret in my generation
And I found you out

Your the hope over the centuries
You're the cosmic force that rules the galaxies
You're the evidence that demands our belief
And I can't live for myself
I can't keep this all to myself (yeh, yeah)

I began to realize that they were pointing out a tragic thing. We have Jesus and like to keep him a secret. However, he is so great that we need to let it out. They say "I can't keep this all to myself" and they believe it is too great to be held inside. We need to go out there and show Jesus off to the world. So, unlike I thought, they aren't glorifying it but they are actually trying to fix that.

So the thought this time is to fix this. Let's take Jesus from the best kept secret to the best thing widely known.

God bless,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a Good Thing I Go To Church

Hey guys,
I'll jump right in with a little back story. I was at work and this lady was talking to me. She runs through the dictionary of four letter words and talks awful about somebody. Then she drops the line "It's a good thing I go to church, or else this would be bad." I was slightly appalled at this statement. I then soon realized this would make a great blog topic, even if it is a little shorter than the last few.

Why do we do this? I think it is because we have sunk into a checklist mentality. We sometimes feel that we can just fall into a simple routine of going to church on Sunday and all is good for this week. Some people will even say, "I feel bad, I didn't go to church today." It's really not about being the church person that shows up every Sunday.

Here is where we need to change. Let's focus on how we live our lives. We need to stop focusing on checking off whether we go to church, if we give our tithes, and if we can pray the longer, more elaborate prayer. We need to focus on the love and caring of people out there in the world. So, let us all take our checklist that we are told to live by in our societal church, and crumble it up and throw it in a trash can. Let us join together, Jesus is the way, lets show him in the way we leave. Being saved is not a get out of jail free card to do whatever we want. You should want to live different and be influenced by the Holy Spirit.

So, I pray that throughout your day tomorrow and days beyond that you show Jesus' love. Don't settle for just going to church and then living how you want too the rest of the time. Don't go "Booty, God, Booty" as Jon Acuff puts it in his Stuff Christians Like blog. So, let's stop capping our God time with worldly activities and live how we are supposed too, or at least try.

God bless,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Look Outside the Middle 102

Hey guys,
After week 1, I have learned a lot and decided a somewhat new idea to the format of this blog. I don't want to overwhelm people and try to remain flexible. As always, I am open to input and will be willing to add a 103 when I feel some changes might be needed. So let me know what you think and always feel free to comment and get involved on my blog.

Monday through Thursday - Daily Dose
These are just my common thoughts of what I feel being spoken to about. This will match the themes previously seen in the blogs. They will be more serious and contain the majority of the heavier subjects. This is where I will maintain my thoughts on more of the church today and interpretations and ideas.

Fridays - Fun Fridays
Everyone needs a break from serious. That is what these days are for. Fridays are just meant to be more fun and exciting. A lot more fun and satirically put rather than the seriousness of what most will be. There will still be a truth in there and a good part, just much more lighthearted.

Saturdays - Short Saturdays
Saturday will be more short day. Most likely a short thought followed by a question for you to answer. I am just opening this up as an easy day so if someone only reads on weekdays they can catch up easily. It also lets people that follow to get involved and join in on the blog. I might even open up questions like, "What themes would you like to see covered?"

Sundays - Scriptural Sundays
This will be my soapbox day. This is where I will bring in a scripture verse and explain or emphasize something in it. You can see that with my armor of God post. I am somewhat sad to just succumb to the societal, we need to be church people on Sunday, but I feel it may be the best day.

Out of this my prayer for everyone is to be open. Be open to suggestions and other people's ideas. If you need advice, ask for it. If something you do doesn't work, find out why. So I am open to any suggestions you guys might have.

God bless,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Armor of God

Hey guys,
It's been a rather long day so I'll keep it short but try to maintain the same level of content you're hopefully expecting. Tonight, at the homeless ministry at our church I gave a short talk on the armor of God and decided that it was a worthy topic for the blog of the day too. Today, as I will on most Sunday's I will attempt to take a scripture reference and use it. I'll kinda explain my ideas for formatting tomorrow.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

-Ephesians 6:10-18

I am just going to briefly hit on the armor in this verse.

  • Belt of Truth
The belt of truth seems to be the easiest for me to forget about in the armor. As Jesus is the Truth, we need to live our lives in truth. Without the belt of truth we are very vulnerable as we have shown dishonesty. We need to maintain our truth for us to be verifiable and be able to show others the Way. Without the belt of truth you are succumb to "low blows" or what is considered to be below the belt. People can lie about you and no one will know what to believe or what is true because you haven't protected yourself with the belt.

  • Breastplate of Righteousness
This piece of armor is very important. Without it you truly do leave your heart open for attack. It protects you by you doing the right thing. If God wouldn't want you to go somewhere and you go anyways, you would be opening yourself to attack. This is the easiest piece to discard to leave yourself open. It also seems to me to be the easiest to maintain with a little work. By simply living your life in accordance and trying to do the right thing, you can maintain the breastplate and leave your heart protected from outside influences.

  • Feet Fitted with the Readiness
This part is rather simple to me. It simply means that you must know the gospel of peace. This is so you can complete the Great Commission and "go." That is what we are called to do, and this is what the readiness wants you to be ready for.

  • Shield of Faith
You must maintain your faith in Jesus. This part refers to that. If you can keep your faith strong, you can block Satan's attacks. Trials and temptations will be more easily thwarted by you with your faith than without it. The flaming arrows are no match for the faith you have in Jesus and even if they do cause you to stumble, they will not take you down and out of the fight.

  • Sword of the Spirit
This is the Word. If you have a backing in the Bible, you can win any fight. You never enter battle without a weapon, and you should never e the world without a Bible. The world out there is vicious and just having the Sword will help you to defend your faith.

  • Helmet of Salvation
This is the most important. You must have the knowledge of Jesus to protect yourself here. This is when you become saved. Without being saved, the full armor is incomplete and short of being able to protect you completely.

So I pray that you will equip yourself with the armor. The world is a battlefield, and you are fighting the war for Christ. You need to always be suited with your armor to be safe and to prevent Satan's attacks from being tragic. I pray that we can all suit up in our armor and take this war to the streets. There are people out there that need Jesus that we can only reach if we have our full armor on and take chances. Please, put on your armor and get on the front lines. We need soldier's of Christ.

God bless,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Interactivity Time

Ok, in the spirit of keeping everything from getting to regular and not getting systematic I am trying yet another format. This one depends on your help and I will do this periodically and may even use what you say as an idea for a blog. So I will call this question time to gather your input.

Today's question is simple but still hard. There is no wrong answer but still requires thought. Now that I have built it up, today's question is "What is your favorite bible verse?"

I'd have to say I like alot of verses. However, my favorite is probably 1 John 5:12. It's just a great verse that sums everything up really quick. So what is yours and why?

God bless,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Power of Prayer

Now, in spirit of flexibility and not sinking into complacency, there is a little different format today. I forgot to mention some days we will mix it up and I may ask for your input and see what you think about something. I may respond to a comment. However, today, I saw a video that I think needs to be watched and viewed as a great thing. Here is the link, take 7 minutes and watch this video.

Click Here

Now just a short little commentary. This woman is amazing and is an example to all of us. She was in a dire situaion and turned to God. What happened though, was she had an oppurtunity to minister and pray with this man that was willing to shoot her just moments ago. She says she felt the spirit of God with her. Why did she do it? She wanted to save this man's life. She was worried that this young man was going to throw away his life and cared and loved for him. This is incredible and is truly what the church in America needs to see. She cared and loved for this man that had a gun in her face while its hard for us to pray with our neighbors that we have block parties with and see all the time.

I would also like to just point out that no one came in and that God moved in this place. They were there for 40 minutes with no one coming into the store or the phone ringing. Think about how God moved to bring them in. I think God used her to speak to this young man and now he knows someone cares about him. He also now has found his mom that he tells Angela that he doesn't know where she is. This man's armed robbery helped him to actually see God's love. This lady has truly showed that Christians have not shown enough of their love to people in need.

The other point from this video is that sometimes, even though you seem you are helping, you might be the one getting helped. She says that this moment brought back the religion she had lost and it had touched her. She not only saw God work in this man but God moved in her too. She, in the process of showing God's love, found God's love more. It's incredible how the Lord speaks to us. This video just truly showed and reinforced my inital thought to write about today, and that is that the Lord moves in mysterious ways.

I will end with some of Angela's thoughts. I am going to exerpt a few statements. She says "Maybe the Lord will use him in jail... It's pitiful these young men feel they have nothing... the Christians need to let people know and open their hearts..." So, I pray that you will see this and open your heart and love others how Christ has loved us. Her showing of Christian love has now opened doors to tell so many people and now she is able to go on national television to talk about God's love. I will end the same way Robin ends the interview."We just need to turn to the Lord."

God bless with Christ's love,