Monday, February 16, 2015

When What is on the Outside Reveals What is on the Inside…

Over the course of the past weeks I have been thinking about social media and its benefits and its drawbacks. I use social media… I have a facebook and I even tweet occasionally, I even have an Instagram account that I have used once. Social media is a window into our souls. That is an interesting thought that social media, an outward expression and attempt to make ourselves look friendly, interesting and, may I say, appealing actually reveals the thing we are trying to hide, our souls!

In 1 Samuel 16 we have the account of God’s prophet-priest, Samuel searching for Israel’s next king. The first king, Saul, was a failed experiment. Saul looked the part, he acted like a leader but he was not king material. God directed Samuel to the home of Jesse, where Samuel met his sons, several of whom looked like “king material”. Samuel has to be reminded by God that God looks at the heart and it is what in a person’s heart that really matters. In verse 7 God says that man looks at and values the exterior of a person – things like looks, intelligence, perfect facebook posts or pasted on spirituality all appeal to us as we look at one another. God looks beyond all the fa├žade to look at the heart of a person. This should make us all shake and cause us to evaluate our profiles on social media.

1.  Social Media can be used to make us appear to be something we are not… Social media is a small window into someone’s life. It is a window that can be manipulated much like a window display for a department store. We can put out the words, the ideas that we wish to sell about ourselves.

2. Social Media often is used to make us appear like we wish we were on the inside. We often post things that we hope will be true in our lives. Sadly, making a facebook post is not the same as having character or the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts.

3. Social Media, just like spoken words, will reveal our hearts. Jesus said in Luke 6:45 that the words we speak come from the overflow of our heart. I am amazed at how “transparent” some will be on their social media accounts. We would all be wise to reflect on a post before hitting “send”.

If we spent as much time doing “soulwork” on our hearts as we put into working on our exteriors with social media posts, shared sermons, articles, pithy thoughts and memes, we would be far better off. You see, our facebook friends and twitter followers may be impressed by our exterior efforts, but our God looks at our hearts. Don’t close your social media accounts, but don’t give in the temptation to use them as “sales displays” either. Let’s use the gift of words for sake of the Kingdom of Heaven and for redemptive purposes.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blogging 2.0

Blogging 2.0

I started this blog once, quite a while ago, for all the wrong reasons. Blogging was what the “cool” pastors were doing. Blogging was the window into the tech generation’s soul. Blogging was a means to relevance. It seemed that my attempts at blogging were like my attempts to keep the law – futile and frustrating. Blogging, for me, began like a 4th of July firecracker, a big boom and very little substance after the flash…

I would like to begin to blog again, but with a different motivation and goal. Words are a gift and stewardship from God. Words can make a difference, words can heal, words can bring enjoyment, words can touch us deeply… Words can be used to share, to highlight, to celebrate the grace and goodness of God. God is good and gracious in a plethora of ways – some that we might not think are very “spiritual” or “pastoral”. I want to use this blog as a commentary on the life God has given to me, but I want to comment as I view it through the lens of God’s grace.

This blog may be theological at times, it may be related to my pastoral ministry, it may be very personal and, at times, just plain goofy like its author…  but, hopefully it will ooze the grace of God that still confounds and amazes me. You will hear about my love of family, of ministry, of God’s Word, of Ohio State athletics (see the comment above about “spiritual” and “pastoral”), Mountain Dew and other of life’s great joys. You will hear about what fires me up, what brings me down, and gives me joy – but, hopefully, it will always come through a pen that is dripping with God’s grace. At times, I hope to share what I am reading and how it stimulating me to think. I will be opinionated – but hopefully, always influenced by grace. (Sensing a theme yet???!)

Thanks for joining me on this journey of grace. I welcome your interaction and invite your dialogue…