Thursday, September 24, 2015

Facebook for Christians

The Christian’s Definitive Guide to Being a Good Facebook Friend

Never thought this would be the title of my first book, but I think it needs to be written. If you’re on Facebook you probably know why. 

It’s a work in progress at this point. Let me rephrase that: I’m making it up as I go. But at least I have a few ideas on the subject. Let’s see if some of these make sense. 

Chapter 1 – “Some people shouldn’t be on Facebook at all” 

Should you? If you’re not already, there’s probably a good reason for that. If you don’t normally get along with people, you shouldn’t be on Facebook. If you struggle with time management or are easily addicted to games, you shouldn’t be on Facebook. If you are so insecure that you need people to like you in order to feel good about yourself, you shouldn’t be on Facebook. If you’re a bully or a jerk or an egotist, you shouldn’t be on Facebook. If you’re on the lam or in the witness protection program, you shouldn’t be on Facebook. There’s more, but you’ll have to wait until the book comes out. 

Chapter 2 – “There are some good reasons to be on Facebook” 

Paul (from the Bible) would have been on Facebook. He would have used this as an avenue to reach more people for the gospel. He would have prayed for the people who posted a prayer request to their status. He would have looked for ways to build up those who needed a word of encouragement. He would have kept in contact with his churches. He would have smiled at your daughter’s dance recital video, sent you a birthday greeting, and tried that recipe you posted for the cheesy potato casserole. I’m sure of it. 

Chapter 3 – “Think, brother, think before you post” 

You do realize, I hope, that everything you say, everything you like, every comment you make is “out there” for the world to see. Your boss (and other potential employers after you get fired for badmouthing your boss), your husband or wife, your children, your child’s teacher, your pastor, your friends, your enemies, our government, the Chinese government, the Russians…you post it, it’s out there. Undeletable. Forever. Think, think, think before you post. 

Chapter 4 – “Not everything you think you should post should be posted” 

People are going to unfriend me after reading this chapter. You shouldn’t post it if it comes across sounding arrogant and boastful. You shouldn’t post it if it comes across sounding angry and judgmental. You shouldn’t post it if it’s not 100%, verifiably true. And, of course, not everything that is true needs to be posted! You shouldn’t post it if it even hints of anything sexually immoral, impure, crude, foolish or questionable. You shouldn’t post it if you’re complaining, whining or grumbling. You shouldn’t post it if it has the potential to slander or tear someone down, or could be considered gossip. Much more could be said in this chapter. Just wait until the book hits the shelves! 

Chapter 5 – “Purposeful Posting” 

Here’s the chapter where what’s good about Facebook can be used to purposefully impact people’s lives for the Kingdom of God. Post words of encouragement and testimonies of God’s love. Post truth in love that points people to Jesus. Post sincere requests for prayer. Post pics of your family for out of town friends (as long as it’s not always, “Look at how wonderfully talented and perfect my children are.”). Post Scripture verses that mean something special to you, and explain why. Post with humility and thanksgiving, with love, compassion and kindness. Post on purpose to elevate Jesus, encourage one another, and engage the world with the gospel. 

Additional chapters/appendices include: 

"What's a #Hashtag?"
"Creative #Hashtagging"
"Why is my newsfeed loaded with nothing but junk mail?"
"How can I make money off of Facebook?"
"Help! Somebody added me to a group that I don't want to be in!"
"How should I lovingly tell my Christian friend that he/she is being a rotten witness for Christ on Facebook?"
"Has anyone's opinion ever been changed by arguing about an issue on Facebook?"
"So, if I type 'Amen' in the comments field for those money-will-come-to-you posts, how much should I expect to get?"

That’s all I’ve got so far. What suggestions would you add for the book? Friend me on Facebook and let me know!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Standing for the faith - my take on the Kim Davis story

Note: I'm a little late in posting this article. The news moves on. But for what it's still worth...

I guess I’m a sucker for controversy. Honestly, I intentionally try to not write about a lot of things I could write about because (1) I think you probably tire of hearing it, (2) I get sick of it myself, and (3) really there are other good things to discuss.

But neither can I stick my head in the sand and pretend like the vultures circling overhead doesn’t mean something’s dying here. And since you can’t count on the mainstream media to tell it straight, I feel like occasionally I need to expose some of the bosh. At least for the both of my readers who might be interested. 

So, you’ve heard about the county clerk in Kentucky who was actually sent to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. To some she’s a hero. To others she’s a criminal. Whatever your opinion about whether she was right or wrong, the fact that she was sent to jail over this ought to be very troubling. 

If you’re easily offended, you probably better stop reading now. It’s been fun being friends, but come back next week and we’ll talk about how the Bears are doing, or the weather, or something. Talking religion and politics at the dinner table doesn’t always lead to harmonious relationships. 

Here’s my take. I admire Kim Davis for standing firm for her faith. The woman was willing to go to jail before compromising her conscience. I believe her conscience is in the right. As a Christian, she simply could not give her recognition and approval for that which is an abomination to God, no matter what the court says. The Bible is clear. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman bound together in a lifetime covenant. Homosexuality is a sin. There are times when it is right to obey God rather than man. 

One could argue that Davis should have simply resigned her office, as a number of other county clerks throughout the U.S. have done since the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding same-sex marriage. That’s exactly what the liberals would love to see happen. If all Christian influence would disappear from the public sphere, if we’ll just keep our faith to ourselves and go away quietly, then the march to a godless culture, government tyranny and suppression of religious freedom can proceed unchecked. 

The directive is clear: If you don’t bow down to the golden statue of homosexual affirmation, then you’re going to be thrown into the fiery furnace. The day will come when writing this article or preaching the biblical view of marriage will land me in jail. The opposition to Jesus and His followers is mounting quickly, and the heat is rising. 

If I had the space I’d insert here a short digression concerning the “rule of law” comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. You know, the one where he said that “no public official is above the law.” I could only wish that the same principle applied evenly across the board. But I guess the President not following immigration laws doesn’t count, nor does Hillary’s disregard for classified information laws, nor the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups, etc., etc., etc. But a county clerk from Kentucky goes to jail when she refuses to serve the gods of this age. 

I’ll close with this. Jesus spoke very plainly concerning the cost of following Him. Hatred, persecution, and even death for His name are sure to come. But listen to this: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38). I’d rather lose my life here and save it for eternity than forfeit my soul and have Jesus be ashamed of me when He comes. 

Let us stand unashamed for the faith with faith, love and courage in Jesus’ name.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Let's go to the War Room

It’s time to go to war. Or more specifically, to the war room.

I say that having watched the movie “War Room” recently. It’s not often that I promote or endorse movies. In fact, most of the film that comes out of Hollywood would be better served lining the bottom of your birdcage. But when it comes out of Albany, Georgia, from the lens of the Kendrick brothers, you’re in for an inspiring treat.

Yes, it’s a faith story about the power of prayer. And not just a generic “saying prayers” kind of praying like you’re sort of floating thoughts up to the sky, but a passionate, purposeful crying out to our Father in heaven for help.

I also say it’s time to go to war knowing that when the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, he’s not playing games. He’s looking for someone to devour. Satan is the mastermind of destruction. He is the father of lies. He’s the thief whose desire is to kill, steal and destroy. He is the enemy of everything that’s good and right and true. He’s tearing up families, ripping lives apart and causing chaos all over this country. And multitudes from the White House to the town square and from urban ghettos to suburban mansions are blindly (or willfully?) falling for and following his perverse schemes.

It’s time for war. And I say that it’s time to go to war because even though the bombs are bursting all around us, we’re living like we’re on a cruise ship rather than a battleship. My fellow Christians soldiers, we’ve gone largely AWOL while our families and neighborhoods and communities and nation suffer relentless, merciless attack. 

We need to go to the war room. That’s where we seek the King for the battle plan. That’s where we receive the leadership and guidance of the One who is “the King of glory, the Lord, strong and mighty, the, Lord mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:8). That’s where we take comfort and confidence in our great, victorious Warrior, knowing with full assurance that the battle belongs to Him. 

Here’s the deal. It’s not a gun problem. It’s not racism. It’s not an income-inequality issue. It’s not about hate. It’s not the Confederate flag. It’s not mental illness. It’s not healthcare. It’s not a lack of education. It’s not Wall Street’s fault. It’s not about illegal immigration. It’s not drugs or alcohol. It’s not gay marriage. It’s more than Planned Parenthood. It’s not gambling, pornography, the right-wing or the liberals. 

What we are dealing with are spiritual forces of evil at work in the world all around us. And until we figure out who the real adversary is and how to stand strong in the strength of the Lord we’re going to lose the war. As Gen. Douglas MacArthur astutely said, “In war there is no substitute for victory.”

Christians, let’s go to the war room and fight the battle in prayer. Let us put on the full armor of God so that we can stand firm in these evil days. Let us “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…and keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…” (Ephesians 6:16-18). 

Let’s go to the war room. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). 

We need the divine power of the “Ruler of the kings of the earth” to fight this war for us. And fight He will, for our Defender is strong, and none can stand against Him. 

Let’s go to the war room.