Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
The Ministry of Presence
When we post to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, we choose what we want to reveal and we leave out what we don’t in order to project the image we want people to have of us, whether it’s funny, authoritative, spiritual, wise, high-class, connected, or whatever.His point is that social media is a lot of things - but intimate is not among them becasue that requires genuine self-revelation. I agree.
In fact we not only choose what we reveal, but we choose how we reveal it by the words, tone, and symbols we use.
First, it’s been said that in a conversation only 7% of the communication is the actual words used, the other 93% is tone of voice, gestures, and body language. When we communicate through social media we’re only communicating the 7%. And even if you’re a prolific Facebooker or Twitter, you’re likely to communicate a few hundred words a day via social media compared to the thousands of words we speak each day. In the end, only a very small percentage of what we communicate makes it through our internal filters onto social media. That makes our social media communication much more likely to be controlled and thus self-presentation.
And here is what is important - we need to learn intimacy in our personal relationships so that we can have intimacy with God. And lest you think intimacy is not that important, consider the Trinity - how intimate is that.
I've written about this at length before. Sometimes it's good to revisit old stuff.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Waiting v Lazy
One of them is “being lazy for the Lord,” a phenomenon you can see expressed in statements like this:I think we are all guilty of that at some point in our lives, related to some issue.
“I’m not going to send out any resumes. I’m just going to pray and trust God to find me a job.”
“I want to be married, but I’m not going to try to meet a spouse or get involved in the singles group at church. I’m going to pray God will bring that person into my life.”
“Our finances are a mess, but I’m not going to take a class in financial responsibility or make amends. I’m going to pray God will rescue us from this pit.”
Acuff finishes his post with an admonishment based on reading Nehemiah:
He wasn’t lazy for the Lord."Purpose;" however, is a key question. I know to many people that have gotten busy without a clear idea what they were supposed to be busy doing, or worse, got busy doing something they thought God intended, but it was really their own desire talking. There is a time to wait and there is a time to act - telling them apart is the hard question.
He realized that it’s OK to mix prayer with purpose, acceptance with action, surrender with sweat.
If you’re being lazy for the Lord, my hope is that you’ll remember it’s OK to have your hands full. It’s OK to clasp them in prayer even as you clasp them around a weapon.
Today, grab a hammer and a sword.
Today, quit being lazy for the Lord.
That is, of course, unless what you are busy at is trying to become a disciple - genuine, transformed, remade. If our primary effort is to align our will with His, then we can have a high level of confidence that the actions we feel prodded towards are in fact the actions that Christ expects of us.
So, I answer the hard question this way - if I can point to things in my life that say my discipleship walk is good (and this is something one can NEVER ascertain on their own) then I will proceed, but if there is a hitch of some sort in that get-along, then I'm gonna wait.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
As Wrong As It Gets
The pictures at left are are shared purely to confirm my bona fides on weight loss. This is a travesty! Lets set aside just for a moment the blatant hypocrisy of the current administration which is the real point of the video, and let's set aside for a moment the sheer abrogation of personal freedom involved in this and look at one issue - the prescribing of medications TO CHILDREN for weight control. These are not meds to be trifled with - these are dangerous meds with many side effects and prone to abuse.
Not to mention they are only minimally effective. If there were weight loss meds that really worked, why would we need gastric bypass surgery? You catch my drift? These are mood altering drugs! Giving such drugs to children that do not have a gross problem, a problem that cannot be addressed with behavioral modification, is to permanently stunt a child, emotionally and likely physically - it is to create in them a life long dependency.
Is there an obesity problem in this nation? Hell yes, but this is no way to deal with it. Freedom means the freedom to make mistakes as well as do things right. I made a mistake once - I allowed myself to become morbidly obese. But I also fixed the mistake, and I did it without dependency on drugs pouring forth from the government teat. My mind is clear and my soul is my own.
And God bless anybody else that wants the same thing.
Missing from most prosperity preaching is the fact that the New Testament emphasizes the necessity of suffering far more than it does the notion of material prosperity.Jon Bloom:
The difference is that the Buddha wants to be desire-less and completely absorbed into the impersonal cosmos. Jesus wants us to deeply desire and be completely enthralled with the Person in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).Let's connect some dots here. Is it possible that the suffering we are called to is experienced becasue of what we substitute as the object of our desire?
Piper is right - being a good Christian generally involves a lot of suffering, but it is a means to the end and not the end itself, which is something we seem to forget, and something we neglect to point out when we discuss suffering. We are indeed told in scripture to embrace our suffering, but not for its own sake - because it leads to what we most desire, even if we do not know it.
Most really rich people are rich because they took a large risk. I think the same thing is true about our walk with Christ. The more we risk in terms of suffering endured and selflessness, the more reward we reap. But most people that build wealth do not focus on the loss, they focus on the reward.
That I think is the key to being a content Christian. When you suffer, do not focus on the suffering, but on what the suffering helps us to build.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
What Tempts You?
Spiritual pride is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of Christianity.Quoting further:
Spiritual pride tends to speak of other persons’ sins with bitterness or with laughter and levity and an air of contempt. But pure Christian humility rather tends either to be silent about these problems or to speak of them with grief and pity.Two things cross my mind when I read that. For one, I am not sure there have ever been more convicting words written about the world of Godblogging.
Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others, but a humble Christian is most guarded about himself.
He is as suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart.
But secondly it gives me great insight into Edwards himself - because I know that the reason I write about humility so much is because it is where I struggle the most.
How suspicious are you of your own heart?
Monday, September 06, 2010
What Are You Afraid Of?
Take evangelism, for instance. I think the reason evangelism in this country has practically gone extinct is that many people are scared to death to look incompetent while sharing Christ in any way that borders on apologetics. The reasons for this would probably fill a month’s full of posts here, but needless to say, I think fear is a major reason why American Christians avoid evangelism like the plague.I agree - for many a Christian, fear is what keeps us from experiencing the truly abundant life that is promised in Christ.
I think the homogenization that has swept over our churches is largely due to fear. While the Bible equates Christians to sheep, we too often seek out bland flocks, as if the lack of anything distinguishing will somehow allow us to tick a mark off our spirituality checklist while avoiding being too contrarian or countercultural. I mean, the wolves go looking for the oddballs, don’t they?
I have written much about the times we live in. I think they are scary times, not only because we cannot see what each of us will walk through in the coming days, but also because our leaders (political, intellectual, and spiritual) are increasingly failing us. Too much of the world appears to be coming apart at the seams, and who are we to halt the seam-ripping?
I confess that I am fearful that I will not be able to juggle all the demands that keep hitting my household. One needs almost to be a genius to navigate the twists and turns of the countless little bureaucracies that grip us, and the number of people waiting to jump at us with “Gotcha!” seems infinite. (Honestly, I fear the mailman; he never seems to bring good news, and each letter opens to reveal another “Gotcha!”)
One thing I know is very helpful to me is to count blessings. I recently had a day where I spent the whole day waiting for "the other shoe to drop." The fact of the matter was, no shoe had dropped for my wife and I. I had a couple of clients in serious regulatory straights, but it was their problem, not ours. I was letting my natural empathy get the better of my self-confidence.
I did an inventory of where we were and the results could only be taken as "Blessed." Yes, there were problems and difficulties, pains and sorrows - but when placed on the balance sheet of life it we were in a very good place.
I have found that to be the case so many times in my life. I am afraid, I am anxious - yes something might happen. But today, this minute, God has me in His hand and is taking very good care.
More importanly, when I review my life and see the difficulties and problems of the past, and how the overwhelming has become the barely noticeable - How can I respond with anything other than "God will get me through."