It’s Only Facebook

facebookA curious thing happens when someone mentions Facebook to someone else who isn’t inclined that way. Their facial muscles tighten. The corners of their mouths turn down. An emotion passes over their eyes. An unidentifiable anger lurks.

I’m not sure why I encounter people dead set against Facebook though they have never used it. It’s like those people who have never read Harry Potter, but hate the book series. Facebook is a tool. Every tool has a dark side (anyone who has watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre could tell you that).

And it’s only Facebook. Any other social network is unscathed.

As I have learned with Harry Potter, before you can be dead set against something, you need to understand how it works and what other ministries are doing with it. Hating something because its popular or not something you are used to is not a good reason to be set against it.

Personally, I like it better than Google+ because I can organize ministry with groups segmented away from regular conversation. It’s the top social network in the world. Most of Africa is on it. The best advice I can give to people set against Facebook is: learn to use it first. Then, critique it.

Or choose another social network more to your liking.

I finally read some of and watched Harry Potter. I absolutely adore the series now. It wasn’t nearly as bad as people said. Maybe you’ll use Facebook and discover it’s not nearly as negative as you thought?

What About Christian Basics?

51aPh-rr-0L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Part of my requirements as an appointee was to read each chapter of Wayne Grudem’s, Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know and relate it back to someone else.

Many thanks to Pastor Dave Droste of Solid Rock Christian Fellowship for volunteering to talk over each chapter with me. I enjoyed the back and forth conversations, and even got a course correction in my own theology. It’s so easy to think you understand something in the Bible and realize you’ve misunderstood its meaning for years.

Maybe that’s why, besides free or affordable education, I have started a database of logging full scholarship opportunities I find as I seek to find affordable options to getting a degree in Biblical Studies. Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know simplified the Christian belief system for me.

I bought the paper version so I can mark it up and dog-ear it for future reference. In conversations online, you have the generosity of time. Online conversations don’t have to be replied to right away like face-to-face conversations. I can have a browser open to research questions I lack answers to, and even this book next to me to refer to my highlights and notes. Because online is about community, what Christian Beliefs said on page 91 resonated with me:

“Not all gospel calls are effective. The job of believers is to explain the gospel message; it is God’s job to make that message call effective.”

Grudem uses Acts 16:14 to explain:

“The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”

Acts 16:14 was talking about Lydia, the seller of purple:

“A seller of purple – Purple was a most valuable color, obtained usually from shellfish. It was chiefly worn by princes and by the rich, and the traffic in it might be very profitable. Compare the Isaiah 1:18 note; Luke 16:19 note. (from here)

This section was a reminder to me to make prayer a priority in my life. Without prayer, I discovered the gospel call is empty. It can so easily become about us as the savior instead of Jesus as the Savior. In Perspectives, I learned God prepares the people’s hearts for the missionaries to come and harvest by putting into place bridges in that people’s culture and history for God’s people to point out and draw them to Himself. It reminds me daily I have no power, but Jesus.

In this ministry of online work, I get to disciple people, and for me to do so effectively, I must continually educate myself in the Bible, make prayer a priority, and honor a “flexible Sabbath.”

My vision is to mobilize the church to get online for discipleship and prayer and to bring the community online into a fellowship of faith through community and service. I believe social media is a positive force if used well, and a balance between the online world and the face-to-face world is important for our development as humans.

Conversation with an Angry Man

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People are shorter on patience and quicker to resentment and anger to the point of retaliation. The post on a public Facebook group was just that: an angry man who resented someone for parking crookedly and wanted to zip tie a shopping cart to their door.

He compared it to causes such as women’s rights or civil rights. It wasn’t a joke. His language and overall attitude were serious. Most people would have ignored the post (or reported him to the police), but I used social media to try to bridge the gap and find out what was really wrong. Instead of using social media to be negative, I tried to be compassionate. This is what social networking should resemble.

Businesses, non-profits, and even churches use social networking mostly as a way to market their brand or vision. As a writer, I (and others) recognized how short-sighted Christians were in this field. When our focus is only on the brand, we forget the people.

In a business article recently, I read about how customers want a relationship with the business through social networking. The catch phrase is, relationship. As Christians, we have a large presence online, but its overall impression is that each church or non-profit is separate and competing rather than an impression of unity in Christ.

I know what goes on behind the scenes. There’s more unity than most people understand. People believe impressions. That’s why reputations online are shredded in minutes when a video goes viral that doesn’t tell the whole story. Or when people bad mouth their church, it joins with other voices bad mouthing church, creating another impression.

How we respond online makes a difference, but not everyone will be satisfied. Even if you are polite and kind, non-believers still think Christians are “yes” people. Love means something different to the secular group. If we don’t give in to everything, we aren’t “loving” enough.

Most people wouldn’t do, out of love, what Jesus did for us. He knew when to turn the cheek and when to speak the truth. God help us as we navigate this world.

My only regret in the above mentioned conversation is that the post was quickly deleted. I had hoped the angry man would have seen my request for him to email me. Maybe we could have gone deeper into what was really wrong.

Social Media Tip: Look for a Facebook group for your town or city or neighborhood. Join it. It’s the modern version of neighborhood get-togethers.

Church: The Tour #PrayALong

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PRAY-A-LONG Phoenix
July 29

The purpose of this tour is to: 1) Pray for the churches I visit to reach the different people groups in their area. 2) Connect people who have no church with the different churches in the Phoenix area through social media interaction and sharing of visuals. 3) Pray the church or its individuals choose to financially partner with me.

The ministry I work cannot be done by one person, but through partnership with WorldVenture. The internet is the new mission field. We’ve always known it, but we’ve been slacking on doing something about it. Help me help others realize the vision!

This is a private event, but I am excited to say about ten people will be praying for every church I visit on July 29. 

Refresh: A Women’s Ministry

When a friend started sharing with me an idea about a women’s ministry that is impulsive and creative, I jumped in. Of course, I volunteered to help with communications. We set up a Slack account because it is secure. When I sat down with other women in the group, I was encouraged by their response to having an online community.

Slack is different than texting. When you send a group text, and a person responds, every person on that text gets continual notification for hours or as long as the conversation endures. It takes more time to open a new text and rewrite a response or to share the activity you shared with others on a new text. Slack cuts out all the work.

You can have it on your phone and treat it like a text, or you can use it on your desktop and get notifications there. This kind of community is what every busy woman needs so they can experience good fellowship even if they can’t make every activity.

So if you live in the quad-city area, email me. If you have questions with how this works, I would be happy to explain it (if your intentions were to start a similar kind of group in your town). It’s ideal as a para-church ministry.

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Volunteers Needed #Missions #Mentors #Writers

TRC Magazine:

You told her many times that you aren’t a writer. She heard your testimony many times and so have others. You can’t put two sentences together. TRC Magazine is looking for writers who will give a voice to the people God is working through that can’t write. We are looking for writers to show us all aspects of the Christian life. We are a very diverse crowd. Provided the story follows the usual statement of faith and won’t lead anyone astray, you are welcome to apply here.

Cataclysm Missions Intl LLC:

Many volunteer positions exist here. Can you mentor someone online? Can you help a church or ministry do online work better? Can you write once per month on the blog and help others evangelize online and face-to-face? Check out this ministry here.

Ideas That Percolate

The only sound is the ticking of the clock in the stretch of the long afternoon. My mind is busy, churning like it does, while I do these other tasks. Some ideas get written down for later when I am full time. Others are implemented now. It’s always a tug of war between balancing work, family, and ministry (not necessarily in that order).

Right now I am working on two new services for my websites. I am agonizing over catchy names, vision, and wording. Will people worry that I am taking on too much and invalidate the work I am doing? People always worry. The thing to remember in all of this is how God didn’t make a porcelain doll when He knit me in my mother’s womb.

He made a warrior.

I am an adult. I know how to say no and when to put something aside for later. Like my social media profile on RenRen; it takes far longer to operate than my other social media platforms. So it was put aside for when I am full time. I stepped down from my third job to make room for what God has set before me.

My mind races and it doesn’t see obstacles. It sees only possibilities. Today I have lots of small things to do, like letters to write, websites to update, and tomorrow I hope to get some of the even more tedious things, like updating spreadsheets, done. I can’t be creative all of the time. Every creative project always has the tedious, mundane things that are necessary.

Hopefully tonight I can get some research done.

David Platt and The Refugee Crisis

David Platt Challenges Us

Tony says, it’s because I am growing as a believer.

I am a different today than I was ten years ago. Different than the person who turned 30. My heart ached for the child laying face down in the wet sand with the ocean lapping around him. Syrians had a country. They had jobs. What started as a protest became a civil war. Don’t they deserve to know Jesus, too?

Sure, there are terrorists now being identified as hiding among them, but when, in the history of Christianity, was it ever safe to speak the name of Jesus? I agree with common sense security and we should clean up the red tape that exists for people wanting to come here legally. If you are called to serve the refugees, please look deeper into technology. Listen to the webinar by Mobile Ministry Forum here. Some are already in the United States. The harvest is in our backyard.

It’s a long video, but please, take the time to listen to David Platt. Feel free to share your thoughts, but remember to keep it discussional. I’m interested in solutions. The harvest is at hand.

Watch Here