4 Ways Harriet Tubman Inspired Me

A Commentary on Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton

“’The Lord told me to do this. I said, ‘Oh Lord, I can’t—don’t ask me—take somebody else.’ But Tubman also reported that God spoke directly to her: ‘It’s you I want, Harriet Tubman.’” (pg. 82)

Harriet Tubman was a missionary, and not your typical missionary. Harriet was a fugitive slave with the Underground Railroad who later served as a spy with the Union Army. She didn’t choose to become a “missionary”, rather she was chosen. In fact, many who knew her would say God chose her for that role. Through her lifetime, she encountered many of the same issues and situations missionaries face when answering a calling.

Harriet Tubman oftentimes raised her own funding. Even in her later years, William Seward (United States Secretary of State, 1861-1869) was visited by Harriet many times for donations to her various projects. Harriet was generous to a fault so much so that William Seward said, “You have worked for others long enough…If you ask for a donation for yourself I will give it to you, but I will not help you to rob yourself for others.” During her time as an Abductor for the Underground Railroad, she often spent the summers working at a resort to save up money for her trips into slave territory to bring more slaves to freedom. Between this and her later years of championing the causes of women and the elderly, four things occurred to me:

  • Our support is dependent upon churches and individuals. We raise up capital to serve in the role we feel God has chosen for us. Like Harriet, our roles may involve public speaking or other influential people advocating for our cause to get more funding. Perhaps, we may even publish books or writings to build up awareness of our causes with this act helping us to raise further funds.
  • False narrative was a problem back then, too. In some of the accounts in the book, enthusiastic abolitionists wanted to showcase what was happening in a way that would emotionally tug at people’s souls, causing them to give more. Near the end of Harriet’s life, when she needed more money, an author wrote a biography of her which was an exaggerated work. It sold and provided some extra cash for Harriet.
  • Other lessons from Harriet’s life, such as her adoration of John Brown, remind me to stay obedient to the Lord. John Brown was an extreme and charismatic abolitionist. He even made his own manifesto to create his own country and planned a battle in which he died. Harriet wanted to join him in that battle, but she reported that God didn’t want to her to go. Harriet’s work might have been compromised and her life prematurely ended had she joined John Brown in that battle.  
  • When Harriet discovered John Tubman’s remarriage, the rage became a more practical anger. John refused to see her. “She did not give way to rage or grief, but collected a party of fugitives and brought them safely to Philadelphia.” (pgs. 82-83). Right now, we live in an age of rage. Instead, we ought to look at practical ways to process our emotions during this time of history. Harriet didn’t spend her time complaining about John or wallowing in self-pity. She did something whether through service or donation.

As Supported Staff with WorldVenture in Digital Disciple-Making, I’m finding ministry a practical outlet for the uncomfortable time we are living through. I can’t change the circumstances we are living in (social unrest, worldwide shut downs, etc), but I can change how I act, how I serve, and instead process that grief and discomfort through helping and encouraging others online. Even my financial partners have taught me about generosity in that I hope to live a generous life myself no matter the circumstances.

Thank you, Harriet Tubman, for living a courageous, selfless life and for loving others well.

How Books and Movies Inspire Me

Everyone is talking about 2020—what books they will read, what 2019 did (or didn’t) do, and making resolutions they will break by January 31. We’re all seeking meaning and purpose. Books help us find it.

I read books from authors I may not 100% agree with and books of authors that I can trust and count on. Everyone should read books that help us become better thinkers.

My books and Movies from 2019:

My Life by Sevasti Kyrias Dako: An autobiography of a woman who pioneered female education in Albania. She fought hard to retain the Albanian language. She believed in her work and suffered for it. As I read her words, I wondered,

  • What am I willing to suffer to see this vision come to fruition? How far am I willing to go? When you get into missionary work, you think raising support would come easy. For pioneering work, it is the true act of trailblazing. When I think of trailblazing, I think of brambles with thorns, fighting through the wilderness, and wild animals. For Sevasti, female education was a lifelong passion and work.
  • Sevasti was helped by wise people to see her potential and direct her passions. I am grateful that God is providing those wise people around me.

Visioneering by Andy Stanley: I stumbled upon this book when my husband was reading it for his group. Some of the quotes snagged my interest and I am reading it again. What I learned,

  • Nehemiah is a great book in the Bible when you are building something. It is still very relevant today.
  • Persist in the vision and sift through criticism. Take what is helpful and discard what is not helpful.

Kon Tiki: A man discovers new research about how Polynesians didn’t come from Asia but came from Peru. He builds a raft and takes a group of men to drift in the currents to Polynesia to prove his theory correct.

  • Missionaries, especially trailblazers, face a steep climb to 100% funding. Watching this movie and reading this book, showed persistence to get the funding he needed to build the raft.
  • The lingering glance in the movie of the gap between the cement pier and the raft with the water in between showed second thoughts. As the tug boat started to bring the raft out to sea, I saw his courage as he faced his fears and the uncertainty of dangers and of being wrong.
  • People said it couldn’t be done. He proved them wrong by showing up. We don’t have to prove anything as Christian leaders. We just need to show up when God calls and participate. He does the work. We just need to have faith in the journey and pray.
  • The joy of feet on dry land, of proving his theory, was evident. His actions inspired his crew and others in generations to come to trailblaze new theories and try new things. I know I trailblaze a path for people to come behind me. Therefore, my story will be God’s story. He will get the glory.

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

Pipeline: A Review

At times, Pipeline: Engaging the Church in Missionary Mobilization felt like a morning devotional rich in Scripture. Other moments, the book became a how-to manual on how to engage your church in the Great Commission, ending in pages of written essays from representatives of different missionary agencies. If you are indecisive where to sign up, this book is quite helpful.

Of course, I knew where I wanted to sign up.

It wasn’t because a church mentored me into missions. God called me to WorldVenture to serve in an area very few recognized as a mission field—social media. It’s important to invite me to a committee to answer questions as most people get it wrong when they try to present what I do. Some think I mentor other missionaries. Others think I play online. Why should I support someone to play on social media, right?

Marketers understand. They’ve used social media for years to manipulate us to buy cereals we shouldn’t eat, cars we can’t afford, and books we end up not reading again. An unknown number of books exist online on how to use story, algorithms, and bots to get our product or services in front of people using social media. Churches also use these tools to market their church. Even your favorite speakers have a social media communicator on staff which is how you find their publications online.  

In Pipeline: Engaging the Church in Missionary Mobilization, they suggested the church mentor a future generation of missionaries through training, prayer, and coaching. What they left out was social media. We can use all the same tools as a marketer to get God’s story of missions into our church, through meaningful and authentic interaction, videos that come alive (like Movingworks.org), and help foster emotional involvement. Social Media allows missionaries to talk to their partners, to the people they serve in their areas, and to church congregations. For the first time, we don’t have to wait for a missionary to mail a letter. Social media can be used to coach others and build relationships through online connections.

Some notable quotes from the book include,

  • “The call to minister cross-culturally is a call to suffer for the sake of a message and the glory of Jesus’ name.” (Pg. 11)
  • “Was I going to allow God to interrupt my life with his purpose and push mine aside? Or was I going to cling to the life I had always wanted?” (Pg. 13)
  • “The warning here is that the institutional church, just like the humans who inhabit it, will always take the path of least resistance unless its leaders fully surrender to the hard work of obedience to the call of God and the Great Commission.” (Pg. 62)

After spending almost 11-years as a church secretary, I knew we needed to tell a better story of what God is doing in the world so the congregation not only gets emotionally involved, but is on fire in their own communities to share the Gospel (on and offline) with the unchurched, the unloved, and the unreached even at great sacrifice and much discomfort. Pipeline gives a thorough understanding of missionary mobilization from the perspectives of missionaries, churches, and mission organizations.

And even better, the work God has called me into involves mobilization. Social media touches nearly every ministry in WorldVenture. My work will be multi-faceted because we use social media to make disciples.

Review of a Church Book

Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom S. Rainer is a 100-page easy read to help leaders evaluate their own church. Here are some suggestions based on my reading of this book and because of my social media background:

  • Keep your website updated. Make sure your social media points to your webpage and vice-versa. If you have blank pages, empty promises of content that never appears, or outdated information, purge it from your site. People judge your church by your social media and website presence. Thom Rainer, a church expert, says people visit that first.
  • Don’t Swarm. You are not a hive of bees. If a young family walks into your older church, having every person beat a path to them sort of freaks families out. It freaked us out when we visited a small church.
  • #MeToo Movement. Many pastors and religious leaders are being taken out by accusations of sexual abuse. Thom Rainer suggests putting a child protection policy on your website to reassure families that where their kids hang out while they are in service is safe.
  • Holy Huddles. The book asks each person to honestly look at their church. We all say our church is friendly but is it really? Obviously, if a pastor from the pulpit has to tell the congregation to say hi to someone they don’t know, the leadership sees what we don’t see–our holy huddles. Do we go out to lunch with the same people every week? Do we make time in our busy schedules to transform our communities by getting involved? Are we making good, online conversations or saying “Amen” and reacting rather than conversing? This Sunday, watch your pastor. What is he doing? He is making the rounds to say hello to people.

Additionally, someone joked how the church is a century behind the rest of the world and it has a long history of looking upon suspicion of every new thing that becomes available from guitars to social media. The best days are ahead of us, not behind us. Don’t exclude technology from your belt of tools for sharing the Gospel.

Mimosa: A Commentary

Some books leave me in awe, like Mimosa by Amy Carmichael. The poetic language is peaceful, worshipful, and her story inspires patience. None of us can really imagine living the life Mimosa lived with a husband who didn’t love her nearly as much as she deserved, hardships that we won’t ever experience, and a caste that was unbending and cold.

As I flew back from Denver and reflected on Mimosa, I thought of my lack of funding. Mimosa reminded me to turn my focus on obedience. The way she put out her blanket when she lacked food and money, expecting, anticipating the Lord to provide (which He did) made me want to be more like her. Mimosa persevered though she couldn’t read. Because she couldn’t read, the Bible came to her only through verbal messages, and she drank it in, borrowing strength for another day.

The powerful words at the end of the chapter say, “For God has other Mimosas.” The other Mimosas are people of all beliefs and languages that God is pursuing. He doesn’t require our help, but eagerly, He invites us to join Him.

Other quotes hit me powerfully throughout the book like,

“Are there those for whom we have long prayed for, who seem beyond our reach now? Love will find a way. Are we discouraged because we do not see our expected signs, and the solid rocks seem to be sinking under shifting sands? It is not so. Love is mighty and must prevail. Terrible in judgments, marvelous in loving kindness, love will find a way.”

“And now she is back in her bigoted Hindu world, and she writes that some wonder, some scoff, and some are listening a little. Her husband, whom she has set her heart on winning, feels her a disgrace, but the amazing thing is that he still owns as his wife one who has so shamed his caste (which is not one of the more tolerant which allow a woman to remain within the fold even after baptism). Her life cannot be easy. But then, she has not asked for ease; she has asked for the shield of patience so that she may overcome.”

“Then with a warm glow of joy she knew what He had been to her all through the bitter years. ‘You know Him by learning,’ she later said to Star, ‘but I know Him by suffering.'”

“And gradually it returned, and his eyes became less darkened. ‘We had no help. No medicine did I know of, nor had I money to buy it. It was only our God’s healing.’ And she sent a thank offering to the Christian church which knew nothing of her.”

The second quote down, “…and now she is back in her bigoted Hindu world,” reminded me how we aren’t to flee our difficult situations. Examples like Paul remind us to walk towards difficulty, not away. It’s easier to hold a job, Monday through Friday, go to church twice a week or twice a month and not do the emotional labor of reaching out, but I am reminded of another quote from another book,

“We need to remind ourselves that the primary purpose of the church is evangelization, or in the broad sense, missions. Every other activity in the church–worship, preaching, education, music, fellowship–should result in making us better witnesses, better missionaries…The Great Commission is for all Christians, not just a few.” (Living Stones of the Himalayas by Thomas Hale).

Each day I am reminded of why God has me doing what I do for WorldVenture. So, you settle in, pray it out, and wait for God’s next move. Like Mimosa, I am putting out my blanket each day and praying, “God, you asked me to go this way. Please tell me how to get there.”

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This is Marketing: A Commentary

“The way we make things better is by caring enough about those we serve to imagine the story that they need to hear. We need to be generous enough to share that story, so they can take action that they’ll be proud of.” – Page 19, Seth Godin, This is Marketing

This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See by [Godin, Seth]

When I first became a writer, intending to build a reputation so I can sell books, the words, “self-promotion” made me and every Christian writer cringe. Our beliefs call us to serve others, and early on, I worked at using the online world in that manner. Now, I am a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture, and see marketing differently (which is why I was impressed with this book). This is Marketing by Seth Godin touches on the meaning of discipleship, even if his worldview isn’t like ours.

Skillfully, he uses the words we understand touching each sphere of need from non-profit to for profit. Marketing is about what the customer wants and what our product will do for them. “They want the way it will make them feel.” More than once, he hits on telling stories. “Stories that resonate and hold up over time. Stories that are true, because we made them true with our actions and our products and our services. We make connections. Humans are lonely, and they want to be seen and known. People want to be part of something. It’s safer that way, and often more fun. We create experiences.” An organization works for and with the marketer.

My take-ways:

  • Use your online life to influence others—make their lives better, listen to their stories, and help them find a different path through the visual story of your faith.
  • Think about the hopes and dreams of the people who follow you.
  • If you are a missionary raising funds, invite your people on your journey with you.
  • To influence, start small. Don’t aim too big. When one area is influenced, move on to another area, and another, and care.
  • People pay for interaction. Churches and missionary organizations should train their people to intentionally engage for free.
  • “The people you seek to serve—what do they believe? What do they want?”
  • Good stories connect us to our purpose and vision. Good stories help us celebrate our strengths as we recall where we came from and look ahead to where we are going.
  • What I am trying to say, Seth Godin said it better, “I see a better alternative; come with me.”
  • Emotional labor. Do it.
  • “Map and understand the worldview of the culture we seek to change.”
  • It talks about how to build trust.
  • Create tension in a respectful and generous way to usher in change.

This is not a Christian book (that will become apparent), but he brings the humanity into marketing.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10)

Let’s serve online.

Where Are The Good Followers? #SocialMedia #Christian

Image result for letters to the church francis chan

According to “Cairnway,” 1,246 paperback books with leadership in the title were published in 2017. “Counting all formats, Amazon offers 57,136 books with the word leadership in the title.” In a Google search, I found only a few articles or books on being good followers. Most of the time, leadership takes precedent. It’s what you hear in church. Based on a 4-day devotional from the Youversion app on Francis Chan’s “Letters to The Church,” I bought the book, hungry for being in awe of my position as a member of the Body of Christ. And this chapter set me down on my knees.

In fact, I posted on my Facebook, “I love this book, but I am not reading it from a spirit of trying to find someone else to blame; I am learning to be in awe of being a member of the body of Christ and to help bring about a spirit of unity by supporting, leading, and doing away with my own sense of ego, pride, and competition.” Too often, we hit the share button because we want someone else to see it. The lesson is for them, not for us. I want to learn Jesus’ version of leadership. (John 13:1-17).

Francis Chan says,

“Imagine how difficult it would be to coach a team where each player refuses to follow because he or she has a better plan than the coach. Welcome to the American Church in the twenty-first century. Let’s exercise some humility.”

My biggest struggle is getting rid of my sense of competition, especially when you are raising support to only have to work one full-time job. I’ve encountered people who believe they are the only ones doing it right. That attitude is in the name of their ministries, their words, and even in their defensiveness. To maintain a sense of unity, I seek to work with what is established and help others succeed in their ministry goals. In some situations, I become a leader; in others, I become a follower. Once upon a time, I hated how teachers would force me into group work. Now, I see value in collaboration, but don’t hold too tightly to your ideas as a leader. God is such a creative God. He dreams bigger than we do.

A good follower of Christ and a good leader is aware that people are always watching. With social media, this is acutely true. The more notoriety you get (like Francis Chan), the more critical and the more encouraging the comments. Chan struggled with so much criticism and flattery. As a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture, I can understand that pressure, but not to his level. On an individual level, a person must show their faith and life online and treat their social media as an extension of their face-to-face life. They should be one and the same. You can, with social media, be both a leader and a follower. The church needs good followers.

It became quickly clear to me in 2014 how social media will play a big role in missions, but only if we can mobilize the congregation to follow. Francis Chan pastored a megachurch before God took him out of the country. In this first chapter, he talked about wanting people to live holy lives. Too many people had no interest in applying the Bible to their lives at his megachurch. They would come to church every week and go home without appearing to show the fruit of belief in their lives. He wanted his church to become groups of people who challenged each other to action (and they did!).

In 2014, I saw more than half of the church on social media platforms like Facebook, and I asked God, “What if we trained those people to reach unbelievers, the unreached, and to learn another culture, even a language, to become digital workers? What if each church had a digital team that grew every year that supported the mission and vision of their church and likewise, supported missionary organizations? Missionary organizations that also help to provide training material to support a church’s mission goals and their own?” I also saw over-worked pastors and missionaries and communications staff that didn’t just do communications, but a hundred other jobs. Most churches and missionary organizations do not have the budget to support someone trained in communications. Sometimes, churches and missionary organizations only see their social media as a marketing tool, rather than a tool that can be used for digital discipleship. Francis Chan said, “Another issue we saw was how everything had grown to be very dependent on one person.”

Right now, I am training a non-profit on social media and digital discipleship. A ministry is only as good as the heart and drive of its people. If all leadership has to do is provide relevant content and lead, the digital teams become a powerful tool to saturate the world with the Gospel. This alleviates the pressure of having to do everything. Lastly, Francis Chan says this,

“After giving a very strong rebuke to the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm, Jesus simply asked them to open the door. Before you get overwhelmed by all tht is wrong with the Church, rememeber that He is not placing an insurmountable burden on your shoulders. He is asking you to fellowship with Him and join Him in what He is doing. We should be filled with faith and anticipation…”

You are the church.

You are also online.

New Book: Digital Diasporas

Reading: Digital Diasporas by Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff

“Conventional wisdom holds that IT (information technologies), especially as it is applied transnationally, poses a threat to nation-states, sovereignty and capacity to govern. IT has “exposed the porosity of geographic and political borders and limited extent of any national jurisdiction” (Montgomery 2002, 26), Wilson’s (1998) literature review found a significant degree of agreement that state sovereignty–and, arguably, capacity–eroded by IT, as a result of state’s increasing inability to control information both within their borders, as well as at the supranational level. (pg. 5-6)” 

Social media is like its own nation-state, populated by multiple diasporas and cultures. The internet is a threat, but only because it is a free state allowing for the exchange of cultures and ideas. Depending upon how a person uses this tool, it can bring either peace or conflict. I pulled this quote from The Atlantic when I wrote “How Facebook’s Big Announcement Can Help Missions“:

“… [O]n a pure population count [Facebook is] bigger than many countries, including the U.S. (323.1 million people as of 2016) Also like a country… [M]any web-watchers do detect country-like features in Facebook. “[It] is a device that allows people to get together and control their own destiny, much like a nation-state,” says David Post, a law professor at Temple University. If that sounds like a flattering description of Facebook’s “groups” (often rallying people with whimsical fads and aversions), then it is worth recalling a classic definition of the modern nation-state. As Benedict Anderson, a political scientist, put it, such polities are “imagined communities” in which each person feels a bond with millions of anonymous fellow-citizens. In centuries past, people looked up to kings or bishops; but in an age of mass literacy and printing in vernacular languages, so Mr Anderson argued, horizontal ties matter more.” From Here

Likewise, we will need people who understand language demographics, provide training to local churches on cross-cultural communication, people in the church willing to use their social media to reach across social media borders, and technology people to help those that struggle with it to grasp simple concepts. This means it will take all of us to work together to accomplish the Great Commission from the church level to the mission organization level.

**Learn more about what I do with WorldVenture by clicking here**


Book Review: Hope of Nations

Hope of Nations by John S. Dickerson is a strong call to the church to awake from their bed of apathy and rise up with a newly focused call to missions. It describes the hostile land in which we live, the stark reality of our Post-Christian, Post-Truth society. The book also shares the hope we have for the future with a caveat that the responsibility for that future lies in how we move forward. Will we continue unchanged or move with the fervor and boldness of missionaries past?

Several points I have already blogged about here and here. Here are some more thoughts from my reading:

  • “Following World War II, some 93 percent of Americans identified as Christian—either Protestant or Catholic. That was only seven decades ago. On today’s trajectory, it is almost certain that fewer than half of Americans will identify as Christian by 2048 (that figure includes very nominal and casual Christians). In a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity compared to historical averages, one of the most Christianized nations in history has steadily turned away from its faith. (pg. 140)” Coincidentally, an increase in mental health diagnoses has occurred. Violence has increased. Addictions are on the rise. Suicides appear up. Mental health is a 203.6 billion dollar industry.
  • “Enjoying the fruits while neglecting the roots. (Pg. 161)” A lack of historical knowledge of our country’s Christian roots and institutions and a lack of knowledge of history, in general, is hurting our nation. Hope of Nations talks about Germany and how Nazism began. The book reminds us to care for the country our grandparents and ancestors worked to maintain so that we might enjoy its prosperity.
  • Hope of Nations goes over several probable endings for America. All are terrifying. One particular scenario will only continue this sense of apathy in the church while others may bring about revival as we lose the possessions and comforts we presently value over God’s desire for our obedience.
  • The growth of the unchurched. It is mostly the older generation that gives to missions and its causes. The unchurched didn’t grow up steeped in church tradition and may be unfamiliar with the Great Commission and how to exercise their faith. In fact, when a church begins a series on stewardship, I often hear people refer to it as the church asking for more money. Without a theological understanding of stewardship, America may not long enjoy having the richest churches around the globe.
  • Manifesto gives us guidelines on how to navigate this new world. Hope of Nations calls all of us to recognize that we need to learn from our missionaries how to act and share our faith in an increasingly hostile culture.

Let me remind you of the stats cementing why it is important for churches and individuals to support what I am doing with WorldVenture:

  • 1 missionary for every 200,000 to 400,000 people (depending on whom you ask).
  • 1 pastor for an average 300-person church. Or a staff for a 4,000 person church that is often over-worked.

We expect a level of sacrifice from our missionaries and pastors, but not from ourselves. Hope of Nations reaffirms for me the importance of my calling in social media to mobilize the church and strategically design partnerships for a global revival. Hope of Nations prepares us for moving into a future as people with purpose and a hope. Let’s put to the cross our fears, our prejudices, our politics, and our offenses and realize that we are all image-bearers of God. Let’s share that gift of hope with others through good works, compassion, and truth.

**Book given by publisher to review**

In Light of Two Deaths

Anthony Bordain’s suicide came as a shock to me. My blogging friend, Lori expressed her dismay over Kate Spade’s death. Suicide appears to offer itself as the only solution. Both deaths reminded me of Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham struggled over the God question. In two books, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson and Lincoln’s Battle With God by Stephen Mansfield, you get a picture of Abraham’s life. Abraham was put on suicide watch a few times. His childhood wasn’t a picture of Sunday dinner on Blue Bloods. His father viewed his reading habits as lazy and was a harsh man. Lincoln struggled all his life. During the Civil War, he dealt with dysfunctional generals. His wife was into the occult.

I could meander further, but I encourage you to read both books. Here’s where my heart rests…

Posting the suicide phone numbers for various countries on social media are wonderful. Let’s take it a step further.

Get to know your followers.

  • Who are your friends or followers online?
  • What do they struggle with?
  • Are you weighing your words before you speak online?
  • Are you speaking truth compassionately in their lives, or have you earned that right yet?
  • How are you fostering good relationships online?

It’s not about being a “nice Christian” as some accuse. A person must trust us before we can speak frankly into their lives; before we can hold them accountable, to love and empower them to live their lives fully, even if some of them struggle with mental illness. You can’t take back saying the wrong words, and even saying the right words aren’t always welcome. Conflict is inevitable even in the best of relationships. To foster good relationships online, changing how we use social media is important.

Someone once said that Facebook is like a person’s own paparazzi. People honestly do act like that as if we are individual celebrities in our own lives. What if we put others as more important? What if we changed the inner narrative from playing online to serving online? When that inner narrative changes, our heart changes and pursues more godly desires. We begin to hold ourselves accountable to better standards. Because if the change doesn’t happen in our own hearts first, we cannot serve the world. Social media is a tool, but not the answer.

For some, social media doesn’t offer a relief to the loneliness they feel. For the majority of the time, it feels like Christians are really good at sharing things from other sites without adding a personal touch. It’s generational or fear-based. Maybe they are thinking, “If I keep them at a distance, they can’t hurt or disappoint me.”

In today’s culture, people need to hear our stories. Even the dirty laundry can be helpful if it is God’s lessons being applied and not with the intent to discredit, slander, or put down another person in a passive-aggressive way.  My home church has a mission: #TransformChino. You can’t transform Chino if you aren’t risking disappointment, hurt, or even your life. People are messy, even dangerous. But back to Abraham Lincoln…

Abraham Lincoln struggled with mental illness, was on suicide watch, and did not give up on the God question. Because he didn’t choose to end his life, he was part of changing our nation. Anthony Bordain and Kate Spade were famous, influential people. Each of us who have a social media presence is also influential. We can be a positive change in a person’s life if we focus on our own relationship with God first.

Today, risk a new friendship. Risk sharing your heart online. Let others walk with you through your difficulties. God will put together your shattered heart time and time again if you get hurt. Tears will flow, but you are not alone. Have faith in the Unseen.

And don’t forget to read your Bible this morning.