Embattled and Healing

“Good stewards need to adapt to changing circumstances, but that’s not all. They must also be on the alert for outside threats that could undermine their work. External challenges can come in the form of outright attack, as the Israelites feared in Nehemiah 4, or they can be spiritual in nature like demonic attack or despair.” Pg. 585, Exploring Stewardship, The NIV Stewardship Bible

embattled

Embattled, I woke this morning to the sound of rain pattering against the windows and a pain free morning. A week long battle with Diverticulitis is finally easing. With renewed focus, I began to get caught up on work after rescheduling my appointments for next week.

First order of business was time with God. This morning I read this devotion (quoted above). My assigned reading was Nehemiah 5:6-19. A lot of Nehemiah, read in light of today, is relevant. According to the commentary on page 586, many Jewish families had to mortgage their properties to pay for food, farming had slowed because of reconstruction of the wall, greedy Jewish creditors seized properties and enslaved children, and taxes were extremely high. With exception of enslaving children, do you see how we can call relate? Many people in my community struggle economically and we are no different as outlined by what happened on Tuesday.

I had to make a tough decision Tuesday. Do I go to the emergency room or weather through the excruciating pain? It’s a gamble. We couldn’t afford more medical bills with a colonoscopy bill that just came in the mail. I didn’t want to cause my husband more stress. By evening, I had no choice.

It was a good decision. I am gaining strength and getting better. My head is clear. So many people prayed for me. They sent me messages on Facebook. I was so encouraged. This week’s battle with illness and other things taught me about adapting to changing circumstances.

Facebook: Reconsider What You Post Online

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A year ago, a person posted about her struggles in church to a Facebook group of at least over 100 strangers. The online community gives us a false sense of security even in a group. We don’t know those 100 people so nothing is guaranteed confidential. That aside, we also don’t know the struggles of those 100 people.

  • Are they the ones Barna talks about all the time who are leaving church?
  • Do they go to church?
  • Is our speech encouraging them to a community of faith or to become a lone wolf Christian?
  • Is our speech encouraging forgiveness? 

When I mentioned my concerns, the person lashed out. I tried to be kind, affirming her concerns and hurt, but my words weren’t welcome. In another situation, a woman in a public group was upset because someone reposted her prayer request on another account. She had said it was confidential, but the group itself has thousands of people in it and the group was listed as public. Again, we lapse into a false sense of security.

An alternative would be to the first situation to talk to a small group of people via private message, email, or in person; someone he or she knows to rely on them for encouragement, sympathy, and support as they heal in their situations, or speak in vague terms to the public group.

On the second situation, post vague or “unspoken” requests. Confidentiality is to a select few in more private forums. Understanding social media privacy settings is also key.

For instance, a Facebook group set at public or private, will show up in your friend’s newsfeeds, and when people in that group comment or like, that also shows up in their newsfeeds for their friends to see. “Secret” is a Facebook group setting that doesn’t show up in your newsfeeds and also doesn’t show up in public searches.  That is the best setting. If you don’t want your private details to be on someone else’s Facebook, only add people to a group that you have gotten to know or know face-to-face to keep your requests confidential. 

Meanwhile, I am starting to post a new graphic series called, “Why I Go to Church,” on my social media feeds. When we air our differences about church, a great disservice is done to those who have labored in love for us. Church is a dysfunctional family, but we need each other. It’s not a building, but a body. Church can look like a small group, a house church, or a traditional building provided it bases its teachings on the Bible.

If you need to talk to someone, you can speak to me through private message on social media. I’ll be happy to listen and pray for you.

 

What Have You Seen on Facebook or Any Social Media Account?

Getting Into Their Hearts and Heads

“In the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment spread across Europe…the skeptics of the Enlightenment questioned every aspect of thought and practice in life, including philosophy and religion. (10%, Kindle)”

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When considering the mission field (i.e. online ministry), it’s important to get into the head and heart of the unbeliever.

The Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity by Alex McFarland briefly goes over the ten most common objections, like Jesus’ resurrection. What struck me was how many theories existed to disprove Jesus’ empty tomb. In order not to believe, people really stretched their imaginations.

Once again, I am convinced the reason to not believe is buried beneath pride or the scar tissue of the battered heart. A great book to read whether you are a believer or not.