Monthly Archives: January 2016

Social Media – What Does It Reveal About You?

Have you ever wondered what your social media habits say about what you value and worship? What is the object of your social media song?

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CS Lewis rightly claimed: “We delight to praise what we enjoy.” It is an inescapable reality that we are proclaiming and praising creatures. Everyone ultimately values someone or something. We all are worshiping creatures. And what we say and defend through post and tweet is likely an accurate indicator of what we truly value and worship.

It is true that not all of us are consistent social media contributors by way of sharing. For some of us the worship indicator might be who we follow, what we click on and read, and how often we check  our wall or feed.

So let your social media trail be a spiritual litmus test. Go back and review your posts and evaluate your viewing habits, and then ask: “What do I value, and what does social media say about me?”

If you are brave enough to take this social media challenge, you might find yourself saying: “If only I loved and valued Jesus and His Kingdom as much as…”

  • My politics
  • The 2nd Amendment and my right to bear arms and self-defense
  • My children and their activities
  • Entertainment
  • My world travels
  • My animal(s)
  • Killing animals (hunting)
  • My wittiness
  • My personal ministry kingdom
  • Getting “like(s)” and self-promotion
  • Sports
  • Weather
  • Winning arguments
  • Having to know what everyone is doing/saying
  • Having to let everyone know everything I do and say
  • My selfie fetish
  • My favorite recipe/food

Please understand what I don’t mean. This isn’t a polemic against social media itself. Social media is amoral, and can actually be redeemed and used to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). But frankly, it is deeply troubling that more Christians don’t maximize social media in an eternal and redeeming way.

If we can find the time to post a Vine about the look Leonardo DiCaprio gave Lady Gaga at the Golden Globe Awards (It was an awkwardly funny moment, BTW), then surely we can proclaim Jesus and/or advocate for the life of the unborn, or post something that reflects a deep and burning desire for His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Are you maximizing social media for God’s glory, the good of others and your lasting joy?

So post your family pictures, your witty thoughts, the clever memes with Steve Harvey giving false hope, that incredible sports moment, or whatever else you deem worthy – and I will continue to join you. But ask yourself: What does my social media consumption and contribution say about me and the Christ who saved me? Does that which I proclaim show that I truly value and enjoy Jesus above all else?

Is Jesus your treasure? Your social media habits may likely tell you so.

My Preaching Freak-Out Moment

Within the first minute of the sermon on Sunday, I was freaking out between my ears. Outwardly everything was normal, but on the inside I was in full panic mode – at least for a moment.

Why?

Our time of singing together was coming to an end, so I bent over to pick  up my Bible off the chair next to me. Our worship leader began to pray, which was my cue to get ready to preach. While she was praying I slowly walked up to the podium, just as I do most every Sunday, and opened my Bible to organize my Bible, notes and bulletin/information guide.

But something was wrong. I observed that I had both pages of the sermon, but something was missing. Or were things just out of order? Nope, this was a real preacher’s crisis: I could not find my introduction:

Take your Bible and turn to Acts 14 and get ready to turn to Matthew 18

  • My name is Brent, I am one of the pastors of this local church
  • We are glad you are here and you are welcome to be here, no matter who you are and what you have done
  • At the end of this preaching time, we will have a response time – meet us in the back.
    • May God’s word move you to embrace God’s people as you surrender to Him, because He surrendered His life for us.

The intro is practically the same every week. It reminds me to introduce myself by name to our guests. It’s how I start every sermon, but it wasn’t there and the worship leader was about to say, “Amen.” What has happened and what am I going to do?

And then I realized what I had done, I had taken a duplicate copy of page two of my notes. In the process of fine-tuning and transferring notes I had two pages of the same notes. I had thrown my introduction away!

Truly, I was having a moment of preaching-panic.

What do I do? Should I just be honest and call timeout and tell everyone what has happened and I need to go to the recycle bin to get my first page of notes? Sometimes people need to know us preachers are human. I could ask them to pray – to pray I find my notes. And by the way, I worked really hard on that introduction. Do I just jump to the notes I do have, surprising everyone with a short sermon?

I have to make a decision. I have to say something. What do I do?

I have already preached this sermon three times to an empty room as a part of preparation, so I could try to preach the first page by memory. I am about to find out if my preparation has been adequate. I decide to go for it.

Here is the link to the sermon audio (A Defense of Church Membership and A Plea for Committed Community) and here is a copy of the first page of my notes:

sermon

Take a listen and look to see how I did. I left off a few things and mis-remembered a few references, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad.

What would you have done?

I have been regularly preaching for seven years and this is the first time that has happened and I hope it never happens again.

And by the way, pray for your pastor. He sometimes loses his notes.