Posts Tagged With: Facebook

Taking Back America: One Chicken Sandwich at a Time…

On August 1, 2012, Christians and same-sex marriage opponents took the streets and made there way to the nearest Chick-fil-A restaurant. While going to a fast-food restaurant usually means that you are just simply hungry, this day was to become symbolic for the day Americans across the nation decided it was now time to start taking America back. Whether they waited in the drive-thru traffic jam or stood in snaking lines leading up to the counter, each person enthusiastically awaited their turn to show their support for a company not willing to cower to political correctness.

“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” as it was dubbed, was the idea of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The concept was simple. Since the CEO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy said in an interview that he was a firm backer of traditional marriage, gay rights activists condemned him and asked for their supporters to boycott the fast-food chain. To counter these boycotts, Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page, “Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.” The result, people flooded Chick-fil-A locations across the country and used their wallets to vote showing where they stood on the same-sex marriage debate; a move that Chick-fil-A representatives now claim to be their highest grossing sales day of all time.

In a day and age where it seems that social issues are now more valued than moralistic principles, the events of this day speaks volumes to where we really are as a country. From Internet media to print newspapers, polls have been construed in an effort to mislead the facts. Readers have been deceived by polls stating “65% of Americans support gay marriage,” or even more misleading are the onslaught of Hollywood media (television, movies, etc.) shoving the gay agenda down our throats. As they try to allude to, it seems like there is this big glass of “Gay Kool-Aid” being passed around and everyone is turning gay. But what are the facts? As GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) states on their own website, “The Williams Institute released new research this week, estimating that around three and a half percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Source: http://www.glaad.org/2011/04/08/ap-quotes-anti-gay-activist-in-lgbt-population-story. So through their own admission, GLADD affirms that only a little over 3% of Americans are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. But that’s not how the media tries to convey it… now is it?

So what’s my point? Before I continue, yes, there are many rabbit-holes that this topic can lead down. And let me also state that if you are gay, lesbian, or transgendered I love you as God calls me to. But, just like a murderer, thief, adulterer etc. I do not condone your sinning ways. And no matter how you want to twist scripture to try and condone your lifestyle, the Bible is infallible. God would never declare something specifically as an abomination to Him in one book, yet mislead you to believe that an unspecific scripture can be used to wipe out the other. And just as I would say to the aforementioned people, “Then neither do I condemn you,” as Jesus declared, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).

The reason I entitled this article, “Taking Back America: One Chicken Sandwich at a Time…” is because I think that many Americans have come to the point that they feel like the future of this country is bleak. But if you are reading this, I want to encourage you. In biblical history, there is a great story of hope. In the days of the prophet Jonah, a revival broke out when he began preaching in Nineveh. At first, the revival started small with only the people. When it was all said and done, the king himself was eventually affected and joined in. No matter where you are politically, electing a new president or passing a new law will not bring a sense of revival to our great nation. Revival needs to start with us, God’s people. And what occurred at Chick-fil-A restaurants all over America on August 1st was a wake up call to what it means to be real followers of Jesus Christ. And how America has the capability to harness a revival in these days ahead. Essentially, with just their delicious chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A has led the way for the next chapter to begin in America. Where we take back the values that we have slowly forgotten over the years.

But let’s not get confused. We can’t make a revival “just happen.” Revival is a work of the Holy Spirit; that’s God’s responsibility. That’s why Christ called us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We are responsible for evangelism. And preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is our responsibility. Therefore in these days ahead, we should be praying for an awakening in our country where America turns back to God. Not the “God loves me no matter what I do” type of God that man has created, but the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the true God that we find in the pages of the Bible.The God that cared so much for us that He was willing to send His Son Jesus Christ to die a horrible death, and rise again from the dead three days later.

America… it’s not too late to turn back to the Lord! As evidence of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” shows, Americans still care for the moral well being of this country. A country founded upon Christian values and the covering of a flag that proudly waves under the motto, “In God we trust.” It is time for a spiritual awakening, and this needs to continue to be our prayer. But we need to take action and be deliberate about the work that God has given to us to do. While we may not be able to make a revival happen, we can however light the fire of evangelism; igniting the flames in our lives, in our workplace, in our schools, and in our homes. We can start asking those door-opening questions and share the love of Christ; even with those that feel we are nothing but a bunch of bigots with an archaic mindset.

Many people where misled 4-years ago by slogans we heard like, “Yes We can” or “Change We Can Believe In.” But as time has proven, these have been nothing more than empty promises and an assault on the values that this great nation was founded upon. We as followers of Christ know that we serve “The” Commander and Chief, and His promises declare, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). So in the days ahead, let’s pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Begin to fervently pray for God to do a great work of revival in our great country. And take back this nation by turning away from the dishonoring spirit that America has adopted, and refocus our eyes upon the Lord. For with Him, we know that “Yes We Can” overcome, and He offers real “Change We Can Believe In.”

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: National Headlines | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Would Jesus use an iPhone?

“Just Do it!” (Nike). “Have it your Way!” (Burger King). “There’s an App for that” (iPhone). Today, we are constantly bombarded by product messaging that wants to tell us how we should eat, live, love, and even speak. Unfortunately, this constant assault extends beyond just television. Radio, telemarketers, billboards, junk-mail, email, door-to-door salesman, and even those pesky internet banner ads are all-vying for your and my attention. It seems that no matter what great invention immerges, the big conglomerates immediately snatch it up, tweak it, and then repackage it so it can be resold back to the American public in its “new and improved” version. All this quick and easy living has brought America to the point where we feel almost “entitled” to have things our way.

Today, our need for self-indulgence has become so bad that it seems to infiltrate every aspect of our lives. Let me prove it… Ask yourself this; what is my primary means of communication today? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m that techno-nerd that stands in line at 3 AM for the latest version of the iPhone. I’m just as guilty as the next guy who finds it much easier to communicate with electronic devices than with man himself. This having been said, it should come as no surprise that people today use text messaging and email as their primary means of communication over verbalized speech. Thus, our ever-growing need to do things easier and faster seems to be gradually deteriorating our knowledge of how to verbally communicate with one another. Which brings one to ask, “If Jesus was ministering on earth today, would He use an iPhone?”

As we look back at the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Gospels details many ways Jesus chose to communicate. Yet, what’s interesting is that while blogs, email, and Facebook did not exist due to lack of technology, Jesus still managed to reach the masses while communicating His message of hope. As we read in John 8, Jesus kneels down and writes on the ground before a group of Scribes and Pharisees. So it’s clear Jesus had the ability to write and then have his message transcribed and passed amongst the regions. Yet, as most biblical accounts confirm, Jesus chose to communicate by using spoken words. In fact, the Gospels detail story after story of how Jesus approached people and spoke with them in one-on-one conversations. Jesus understood that the key to presenting the Gospel did not take place while hiding behind a computer screen as many of us do today. Jesus knew that the power of the voice held the key to how the Gospel was to be received. In fact, it’s worth noting that some of the most profound messages that Jesus ever conveyed took place while he was engaged in one-on-one conversations. Take for example the scripture that every new believer in Christ to the most esteemed pastoral leader loves to quote, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This quote occurred during a one-on-one conversation between Jesus and a religious man known as Nicodemus.

Have you ever noticed that many times when we hear someone sharing his or her faith it almost seems like a canned response? They repeat the same testimony; the same scriptures to everyone like an automated telephone answering system. Therefore, is it any wonder that we begin to see that same glazed look in the eyes of the person they’re speaking with? The person who once looked for guidance has now completely disconnected from the person speaking and all they’re doing now is trying to quickly come up with an excuse to get away from this newly perceived “religious nut.” Is this the example Jesus gave to us? While it may sound like a bit of a cliché, one of the best ways to determine how we as Christians should communicate today is by asking ourselves “W.W.J.D.?” Or, simply put, how would Jesus communicate His Gospel?

Not only is Jesus our Savior, our provider, and our deliverer; but He is also the perfect example of how we should communicate with others. If there is one thing we can learn from Jesus when it comes to communication, it’s that He took His time with people. He didn’t just stand there with His Starbucks latte in hand, and iPhone spilling out the latest trendy sermon of the day. No, Jesus took the time to adapt His conversations depending on each person’s needs and the situations unfolding in their lives. Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, we are able to see that whenever anyone needed healing or support, Jesus spoke. He knew that for a person to be healed or comforted was completely dependent on hearing His voice. Likewise, the scriptures declare, for within us holds the same healing and comforting powers as Christ. Jesus gave us the right and privilege to use His authority when we communicate. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18).

Today we live in a technologically advanced society. Mass media and Internet resources make it much easier to essentially cast out the proverbial net and reach millions of people at the same time. Like Jesus who once stood atop a rock in an effort to amplify His voice to those seeking His truth; Christians have a plethora of electronic tools and websites available to cast out their nets. Yet, the one thing we need take away from this message is that Jesus understood people. He understood that there was a much greater difference than preaching at someone than there is when ministering to someone with a personal touch.

So to answer the question, “If Jesus was ministering on earth today, would He use an iPhone?” I believe that the answer would be, YES! There is no doubt that technology has enabled us to achieve widespread communication with people who we would never meet face-to-face. Yet, with every technological advance carries the curse of technology. The curse that keeps us from having personal interaction and true fulfilled relationships with those we share our daily lives, and unfortunately sometimes even in our own homes. The difference is that unlike most of us, I believe that Jesus would quickly come to understand the advantage of the on/off button. We as a society must come to understand that there needs to be a balance. We need to learn how to disconnect from technology. In closing, the words of the Gospel are strong on their own; but when delivered by ones voice they are magnified. Jesus would no doubt use every available tool to spread His message of hope, faith, and love; yet He would never forget that the true power of the Gospel lies within person-to-person contact and the relationships we take time in developing with one another.

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living, Jesus Christ, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do People Know You’re a Christian?

What do Tim Tebow, Kirk Cameron, and Amy Grant have in common? What about Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and Charlie Sheen? The answer… all of these people claim to be followers of Christ. I’m pretty sure the first three people came as no surprise since they have all been outspoken about their Christian faith. However, the last three people probably caught most of you off-guard since it seems like we hear more about the scandals and controversies they are involved in rather than how they strive to live a spirit-filled life.

In my circle of friends, often when a celebrity dies we find ourselves asking, “Were they a Christian?” In fact, just a few months ago with Dick Clark’s passing I personally found myself Googling his information. As I sat there reading Dick’s biography (the answer is yes by the way), I was taken back that I actually had to look it up. What I came to realize is this. If how we live our lives is not evidence enough about our walk with Christ, what does this say about us who call ourselves Christians?

The Bible is pretty clear on this subject. Being a Christian is not about blending in with the crowd or striving for the trappings of this world. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that although we have to live in the world, being a Christ follower, “Is not of the world” (John 15:19). For we are called to live set apart lives, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:15). Unfortunately today, there are many people that claim to be a Christian, yet it’s hard to find any distinction between them or the other unbeliever on the street; they simply blend in with the rest of the crowd. I believe this is the primary reason that so many people scoff at Christianity today. If we are called to be “set apart,” then why are we more concerned with blending in with the crowd?

If we truly believe what Paul tells us in Ephesians, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works” (Ephesians 2:8-9), then why are we not accomplishing the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do? As true Christ followers, we should not be worried about obtaining that new car or the great new promotion our neighbor just received. Do you actually believe that gets God’s attention? No! What gets God’s attention is being such a witness for Jesus Christ that people stop and take notice. Not because we’re standing on a street corner wearing a neon sign while yelling, “Jesus loves you!” but because we actually “walk the walk.” We not only say we’re Christians, but we live what we preach and preach what we live. All of this adds up to a life-style that is distinctly different from that of our non-believing secular neighbor’s. As I close let me leave you with this thought. If you have friends or co-workers that would be shocked to find out that you are a Christian, maybe its time you quit putting on a fake look. Think about it, isn’t there a problem when people only know you’re a Christian based upon what you post on Facebook?

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Being Distracted by Facebook?

As a “Techie-Guy” by nature, I love my iPhone, my Xbox-360 and any of the numerous devices that have come on the scene to keep us entertained and informed in this hustle and bustle world. Along with these devices have come websites that seem to make us feel like we wouldn’t know what to do if they never existed. Case in point… Facebook. A handy little website that enables us to keep in contact with our loved ones and reclaim our long lost friendships of yesteryear. While we’ve been provided the gift of staying in touch and knowing what Suzy and Tommy from grade school are doing now, along with that comes those annoying posts that people feel they have to let everyone know about. Like I really want to know that your cat has an ongoing digestive problem or that you currently hold the high score on Farmville. After graduating from college, one of my first acts as a new pastor was to prioritize my life. That means God, family, ministry. Recently, when we decided to take a family vacation, my wife and I decided to disconnect from all social sources; email, news, and yes… Facebook. While Facebook can be a good tool, what we discovered was that if you are truly honest with yourself as we were, I think you’ll agree that it really has become sort of a distraction. Answer this… Do you spend more time on Facebook or in HIS book? Do you feel the need to check Facebook everyday… several times? Do you sublimely just tap on the Facebook App on your smart phone? Gotcha… you’re being distracted!

Recently, I came a cross a national poll that states that the typical person spends an average of 6.5 combined hours each week on Facebook. Do the math, that’s over 1-day a month that Americans spend on a website! What could you be doing with this time? After my wife and I returned from our vacation of cutting out all social media from our lives, we discovered something very interesting. We were happier, less annoyed, and more dedicated to our family. Some people might say that this was “Just because you were on vacation.” I would say, “No, it’s because I didn’t have to listen to someone tell me “If you’re blah, blah, blah… Repost this on your wall!” Come on, let’s be truthful here. Has this what we’ve really led ourselves to become more concerned with? Yes, Facebook can be a good keep-in-touch tool, and even used greatly for ministry; but is it taking you away from the real world and God’s call on your life?

The Bible is clear; Satan has one goal in mind, “To steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). And guess what, at this point, he’s winning. Divorce is at an all time high, teenage pregnancy is off the charts, and our children can be subjected to pornography within seconds of most Google search results. He will stop at nothing to win. And distraction is just one of his tactics that he uses to avert our minds away from pursuing God’s purpose for our lives and furthering Christ’s ministry. I’m not saying that Facebook is the Devil and you should disconnect from it (well not in this post anyway); but I am saying that when you become more obsessed with checking Facebook than reading the Bible then there is a problem. When you go through your day what book do you access first; Facebook or HIS Book? This American distraction has taken our time away from reading and studying the Bible, spending quiet time with God, and spending time with family; in short we’ve lost our biblical worldview.

If you are one of the elite that spend more time with God than on Facebook, then I commend you. But I’ll bet if most of us (present company included prior to this media separation experience) are honest, we’ll find that Satan has done a pretty good job of keeping us distracted from God. Look, my point is not to write this with the view of condemning you, but to make you aware of what is going on in the world. Our attack is no different than Jesus Himself once faced. Satan once tried to distract Jesus while He was enduring His wilderness experience and at Capernaum while He was beginning His powerful ministry. If Satan tried to distract Jesus, suffice to say that he too will try and come up with another tactic to distract our time away from fulfilling God’s call on our lives and our own powerful ministries.

It is my hope from this blog that you really stop and think. Where is your time being spent? We must all reclaim a deliberate walk with Christ and place more emphasis on what we are called to do. Preach the Gospel and love on our families; and this begins by cutting the umbilical cord of social media. Think I’m aloof in my call to action? There are many prominent pastoral leaders today that not only agree with what I’m saying, but also call for their congregations to completely disconnect from Facebook all together. Why? Because they know all to well that if we as Christ followers want to truly take charge of your lives, then we have to start by getting rid of various distractions; and with Facebook claiming that they will have reached 1-billion Facebook accounts by end of 2012, clearly Facebook has become a very real distraction in modern society. I’m not calling for you to go and delete your Facebook account; however I am hoping that for the sake of your family and walk with Christ you place limits on this distraction so that you can get back on the right path toward taking purposeful action daily! When we reclaim the sanity from Mark Zuckerberg’s college experiment spiraling out of control; we will all be brought back to our wealthy place in God so that we can be a blessing to His kingdom here on earth.

In closing, forgive me if you can’t find me to friend on Facebook; I no longer have one. I finally decided enough was enough. I’m making my life about His Kingdom, and not a social media site that has a proven track record of creating division amongst families and the Body of Christ! Don’t believe me? A quick Google search will shock you! Hmm… A rise in divorce, a rise in adultery, pornography, child-trafficking arrests, pedophilia arrests, not to mention the constant abuse of your and my privacy; yep, what would we ever do without Facebook?

I am thankful that God has given me a new lease on life. I’m not spending one day taking that for granted. I would hope if you are reading this that it sparks you to take a real hard and close look at your life’s priorities. I’m going to end with a view that I like from my father-in-law (who coincidently also does not use Facebook). He states, “He likes to deal “face-to-face” without the Book.” And isn’t that what we’re called to do, have real relationships? Life is not measured by the number of friends you try and accumulate on your Facebook friends list; it begins by how it’s measured through the relationship you have when you make the decision to accept HIS friend request. Have a blessed day, and remember… “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Marriage and Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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