Social Media Musings

I have been thinking a lot about social media such as twitter and Facebook. I have now gone more than a year without being on Facebook and not even having an active account. I am often asked about this and what my thoughts are relating to it and to be honest I have said a number of things. Though I would say I do not believe that Facebook is evil or wrong, I would say that I believe it has the potential to be destructive. Now of course we know that there are many things that can be destructive but are not inherently evil, such as alcohol, sex, money, etc. Yet we still use those things. I think the more important question in relation to what we use is why we use it. The thing for me is that if I am going to use something I want to know that I have a clear “why” to it. Facebook for instance seems to me that the reason many people use it is because everyone else is using it. This is justified by statements like, “that is where my friends are” or “that is how we keep in touch” even as far as “we are closer with Facebook than anywhere else, cause people will share more personally on Facebook than they would face to face”. I am just not sure that those are legitimate reasons or that they are even entirely true (nor that this is an exhaustive list). Recently I attended the Simpson lectures at Acadia Divinity College. The research that was presented related in part to social media and it was discovered that people in the focus groups over and over stated that they believed they had closer relationships because of social media. I followed up by asking if this was even true, as we know saying we feel something is true and it actually being true are not the same thing. The answer was uncertain as the quantitative research relating to that question was not completed. Call me a skeptic but I am not certain that it is actually true.

This has all come out of a lot of conversation that Beckie and I have been having lately regarding intentionality in what we do. We don’t want to do something because it is popular, we want to do it because we see that there is clear intention and reason behind it. This relates to Facebook in the way that it can be something that sucks time away, but instead is used in a way that genuinely reflects the heart and truth of our family. That is why we exist, primarily for the Glory of Christ. If this is not the chief driving force behind why we engage in social media then it is a purposeless endeavour. Let me clarify though that I know it is fine to speak of things and mention things that we enjoy and think are humorous and the like it is important to remember that even those things reflect what we believe about God. I appreciated a book by Shane Hipps, though I do not agree with everything that he says in all places, I believe what he shared in The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture in regards to the famous statement attributed to Marshal McLuhan “The Medium is the message”. By this alone there is a distinct way in which we immediately say something about who Jesus is by saying that social media is a necessity even for the sake of the Gospel. Many times people say “we preach the same message just in a different vehicle”, however there is always a way in which the medium places things on the message and therefore in order to proclaim the same message we need to try and interpret what else the medium could be adding to the message so that we can indeed do the best we can to be faithful to the Gospel that we proclaim. It is the most important thing in existence so we should spend some time thinking through the implications of how the medium affects the Gospel.

Now before I am labeled someone who is anti social media and technology let’s be clear about a few things. I am writing this on a computer, it will in some form be posted on a blog, and anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of technology and its use. Even to the point where my physical handwriting has no doubt suffered because I write anything that I possibly can on the computer because my ability to remember where all my papers and notebooks are is sorely lacking. I also do maintain a twitter account currently and am in fact considering getting back on Facebook. I just want to be someone who intentionally asks questions of what we are doing and why we use what we do. I don’t want to be someone who uses something simply because it is available or because everyone else is on it. I want to be someone who carefully posits my motives and comes to the conclusion that I use it because it is a purposeful way to express the truth of the Gospel through proclamation in life and in voice (or type).

I have found myself even censoring myself when I consider who may or may not read something and thinking about my desire not to offend someone. Yet though I indeed want to approach things with as much Grace as possible I need to also profess truth, in love of course, but truth none the less. Faith seeking to understand is probably where I find myself at this point in my life. And that is not a typo I do not mean faith seeking understanding (though I do believe that) I mean faith seeking to understand. I want to seek first to understand things and speak with wisdom, dignity, and grace into those things. An article I read recently has made a massive impression on me huffingtonpost.com/shane-l-windme… It, I believe, shows people with differing views come to a place where they disagree with dignity and grace and still show a genuine care and compassion for each other. I think grace and understanding is being sought here. What amazes me most is that in the church we don’t even do this that well. We argue and accuse and wound over secondary issues that don’t have to do with the primary essentials of the Gospel rather than seek to disagree over those issues in love and reflect Christ well in our disagreement.

I don’t know that I have made any real conclusions on anything except to say that I am asking the questions, I am seeking to understand, I am seeking to honour Christ and put any fear of man aside in light of fearing Christ and placing Him first. So I end with the verse that has been a staple here in our home for the coming year. “that in everything Christ might be preeminent” Colossians 1:18b

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Resurgence Conference 2012

This week we are going away to Moncton so I thought, “if I were to write one blog what would it be?” Well, this one is a doozie! Chris and I are SO excited to see our dreams come true…

This October we will be flying to Irvine, California to the RESURGENCE 2012 Conference. We will hear from speakers like Craig Groeschel, Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, Greg Laurie and others (you can check out the whole line up here) and we will be worshiping with artists like Dustin Kensrue, Citizens, Kings Kaleidoscope, and Ghost Ship. PLUS we’ve signed up for the extra Mars Hill Day led by Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill senior leaders. We will spend the day listening to their teaching on how to build a unified message from the pulpit through your small groups, counseling, kids and youth ministries, understand church growth and size, and manage growth and multiple sites.

We have been saving our pennies like crazy and God has shown his blessings along the way. We are able to serve as volunteers and, in doing so, we receive 1/2 off our registration. Plus all of my earnings through Stella & Dot Have been set aside to pay for flights.

We are both ecstatic about the opportunity! Not only are we going to see some of our favourite pastors preach but we will be able to have 5 days (alone!) together to talk about us and our ministry as a family.

If you would like to join us in California we would love to see you there! You can also support us by purchasing from my Stella & Dot Online Boutique

 

Piggy-Backing

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14

“Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11

I was a piggy-backer for many years in our marriage. I don’t mean I rode around on Chris’ back all the time – at least not physically. I was a “spiritual piggy-backer”. I don’t think this is a real word but my definition of spiritual piggy backing is a person who relies on others to gain knowledge of the Bible and a relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately faith doesn’t work that way. If I were to spend my time talking with Chris about his closest friend but never meet him in person he will never become my friend. Why do we think we can do the same with Jesus? Listening to sermons online and talking with others about their faith are not bad things but if this is all you do you will never have an intimate relationship with Jesus and be able to experience his personal blessings in your life.

I have learned, so far, that when I rely on my husbands faith and things get tough – which they do, and often – I have no foundation to keep me strong – I am tossed back and forth by the waves. I need to be studying scripture for myself and talking with God to be able to live in the Spirit and understand God’s call for MY life (not my husbands). This is how we all can put on the armour of God daily. Do you set aside daily “quiet time” to focus on your relationship with Jesus? Does this consistency help you when life gets tough?

Monday Morning Commentary

I love Easter time! I always forget when Palm Sunday and Easter fall – it’s hard to keep track because it changes every year – however this year I’m semi-prepared.

This week was not my husbands turn to preach. He will be preaching Good Friday. I am alway glad to listen to Pastor Don (our Senior Pastor) share from God’s word. This week he used the traditional Palm Sunday passage from Matthew 21. Pastor Don took the perspective of three peoples who underestimated who Jesus was and how we can do the same.

1. The Romans underestimated Jesus because he was just a poor man riding a donkey. They saw a “peasant parade” and thought it was nothing. Their pride blinded them from seeing Jesus, God’s son.

2. The Jewish Religious Leaders hated Jesus because he took their “fame”. Because of their jealousy they called him a blasphemer rather than looking to the scriptures and seeing the Son of man. “Envy sees through jaundiced eyes” was a quote Pastor Don used.

3. The Masses were excited by the miracles Jesus preformed and the teachings he gave. Many of them enjoyed this for a day but they didn’t take time each day to apply Jesus’ teachings and develop a heart relationship. They were too busy for Jesus.

Pastor Don challenged us to look at these three peoples and see where we fall; prideful, living in sin or too busy. We all need to examine our hearts, repent and see Jesus for who he really is. God’s son sent to earth to die for our sins and give us eternal life.

I hope that you have a wonderful Easter week. Remember your redeemer and enjoy your family!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord

Aside

This last week we haven’t been updating our blog much. Let’s call it our “March break”. I don’t see many updates in the near future either.

This weekend has been one of great emotions. On Saturday I remember sitting at the table finishing my breakfast and watching the kids playing and watching cartoons. I mentioned to Chris that it was the most heart-filling vision to see and I was excited that next year we would be adding another baby to our family. The next day, Sunday during church I noticed that I had quite a bit of bleeding. I went immediately to the hospital and Chris followed after he made arrangements for the kids.

After some tests and an ultrasound the doctor told us that there was no heartbeat. They sent us home and said that I would “pass” the baby in the next 24-48 hours and to come back in the morning to do some more tests. Little did I know what “pass” actually meant. The hours to follow were excruciatingly painful – physically and emotionally. I think the hardest part was seeing Chris, that he was unable to do anything to help – other than watch the kids – and I was not able to relieve him so he could grieve. We were thankful to put the kids to bed that night and spend time embracing each other and what the days ahead would bring.

Today we spent most of the day in the hospital…waiting. Waiting for an ultrasound, bloodwork and to go in for a D&C. The day seemed to pass fairly quickly for me but I think it was hard for Chris. All of this has been harder on Chris. He has been the one to support me, find care for the kids and care for the kids when it was just us home. I don’t think he has had much time to process it all.

We are so thankful to Pastor Don and his wife Laurie and our friends Ann and Sandra and her daughter Jordan for helping with the kids while we were at the hospital. I am amazed and blessed by the church family we have here in Summerside.

Please know that we are completely comfortable with questions. Our belief is that we share the pregnancy early so that if something like this were to happen we would have the support around us. You may get the same answer, “I am doing well, today” but it is genuine.

It is amazing that a tiny life, that we’ve never met, has had such an impact on us the last 24 hours. Through all of this we are so thankful to have two healthy children. And we know that our little one is safe in Jesus’ hands until we are reunited again. In all of this we know that God has a plan. We don’t fully understand but we choose to glorify Him in all circumstances.

Through it all I have been comforted by several scriptures:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:1-3 (When I was in the Emergency waiting room I was desperately looking for a scripture and this is what I came across)

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2 (Given to me by my wonderful sister)

I hope that these passages can also encourage others going through hard times.

Theological Lessons from Horton the Elephant

I have recently come across a wonderful book and as the title would suggest it is about an elephant by the name of Horton. I had know about the book Horton Hears a Who, however I did not know about Horton Hatches the Egg. After a recent library trip that Beckie made with the kids they returned with a few books one of them being, Horton Hatches the Egg. Upon reading this to Natalee I realized just how profound a book it was.

The book talks about Horton being asked to sit on an egg because the mother bird was too lazy and wanted to go and play and do other things. Horton promises to do so no matter what. The line that rings though the entirety of the book is this “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, and an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent!”. Despite all that would provoke him to go he refused and endured ridicule and danger and storm just to hold true to his word. It got me thinking about Horton Hears a who as well where he defends what he knows is true despite the fact that no one believes him.

As Christians in our culture today it is amazing how often we are pushed to compromise or back down from teachings of the Bible or about giving up on things. Reading this book to Natalee made me think of Paul’s words through several of his letters calling us to persevere, to run the race, to finish strong. What an amazing opportunity to say to my own children that God calls us to do the same things in regards to our faith, to tell them that there are those who would ridicule and make fun of them because they do not believe the truth of scripture but that we are called to be faithful, to have integrity and to stand firm with Christ. How amazing would it be to have children that grow and say “though people will speak against me I will not back down God is my strength”? How amazing would it be for us as the Church of Christ to stand and say the same thing?

Maybe we need to take example from Horton and say “I said what i meant and I meant what I said I will stand with Christ who is faithful one hundred percent”.

Something to think about.

Monday Morning Commentary

A website that I frequent is the blog of Holly Furtick, wife of Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation church (you can check it out yourself at http://www.hollyfurtick.com). Every Monday morning she posts a commentary on her husbands sermon. Once a month my husband, Chris, has the privilege of preaching God’s word to our church family. Yesterday was his Sunday to preach. So, today I will do my own “Monday Morning Commentary” on my husbands sermon.

I love to hear my husband preach! He really has been gifted by God in this area. If you know my husband well you know that he is fairly mellow in personality but if you put him behind a pulpit all of his passion comes out. He is so passionate to share the word of God with others!

Chris is very intense with his study of God’s word and has a lot packed into a twenty minute sermon. That being said, if my notes don’t make sense you’ll just have to come out to Summerside Baptist Church when Chris is preaching (the last Sunday of every month) and take your own notes 🙂

The Title of Chris’ message was “For the Honour”, with his key scripture verse being Romans 13:7. Sometimes we, as Christians, forget what honour is. My husband posed the question, what does it mean to honour? Some of the words Chris shared to describe honour were, to esteem; respect; defer to; revere; worship; or adore.
– We looked at Mark 10:18 and Romans 1:21. These scriptures show us that we are not worthy of honour, even if we think we are good. ONLY God is good.
– However, we are given a place of honour because of Jesus (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8).
– We need to choose to honour God with our speech, actions and interactions with the world (through our marriages, work, sleep, money, time etc)
– God is passionate for His glory and our good
– All creation will recognize it’s creator if we don’t. We need to be at the forefront of giving honour to God. (Chris joked, “Don’t wait until the maple tree on your front lawn is clapping it’s hands and worshiping God.”)
– God seeks his honour – Isaiah 48:11 – because he alone is worthy of praise
– What you fail to honour will eventually leave your life. We need to remember to thank and honour God for our yesterdays to allow him to continue to work in our tomorrows.
– My husband shared the story of Moses and quoted Numbers 20:12. In this section of scripture God tells Moses he is not allowed to enter the Promised Land of the Israelites because he dishonoured God. Chris challenged us by asking, what opportunities has God placed in your life that may slip through your hands because we were dishonouring to God?
– Then my husband talked about obeying God’s commandments from the heart, using Isaiah 29:13 as his example scripture verse.
– My husband often uses the example that we tend to think of God like this, “I will obey SO THAT God will love me” rather we need to think; “God loves me! Because of this truth I choose to obey.”
– Chris finished the sermon by reading Malachi 1:6-2:2 (key verse being Mal 2:2) and challenged us by saying, “It is time that we claim who God is and give him the honour!”
– He closed with reading lyrics from the song “For the Honour” by the Elevation Worship band.

I want to encourage those that regularly attend church to bring along your Bible and a notebook. Being prepared to hear a word from God opens our hearts to receive a word from God!