The Christian & Social Media

Social Media Apps

We spend more time on social media than we want to admit. Because of that, it’s worth asking, “How does my faith in Christ influence what I post online?”

First, let me be clear: not everything in social media needs to be serious. Have fun. Post silly pictures. Share funny stories. But in the midst of the silliness, shouldn’t we still be thoughtful about how we are reflecting Christ online?

The following is a short set a questions that has been helpful for me based off Micah 6:8, which says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Does it promote justice and kindness?

  • Is this post honest about life, or is it an edited version that I want to show people in an effort to look awesome? Is this post reflecting the “American Dream” or the life of Christ?
  • Does this post reflect God’s Word and what He has said about mercy, justice, love and godliness? Or does this reflect false expectations about how the world talks about those things?
  • Am I genuinely seeking to make people aware of injustice, or am I hopping on the latest bandwagon? Is this a real case on injustice, or has someone simply been offended? There’s a difference between being offended and suffering injustice.
  • Is this post written in a way that is thoughtful and will not cause unnecessary offense? Sometimes in our efforts to raise awareness or add commentary, the way in which we say things is so thoughtless our actual point gets overshadowed.

Does it reflect humility?

  • Am I being self-promoting right now? As a blogger this one is tricky, because I want people to read what I write, but I need to be writing it in order to help people (not in order to make a name for myself).
  • Am I only thinking about people who are like me, or am I posting this with those who are different from me in mind? If someone voices disagreement (even if it’s over an issue I care deeply about), will I immediately get defensive or aggressive, or will I honestly consider their viewpoint?
  • If I’m posting something that may be offensive to some, am I sharing this because it is truly worth the possible offense or backlash?
  • Can you experience something great or something terrible without posting about it? If your first though is, “I need to share this,” then you may need to dig deeper into Christ-exalting humility.

Does it help people walk faithfully with God?

  • Does your post direct people towards the good news of Jesus Christ? If our lives should point to Christ, then shouldn’t our online profiles?
  • Is your social media filled with complaints, gripes, and rants? Or is it full of posts that highlight everything amazing about your life? Both of these extremes drive people away from worship (because either God is faithless to his children, or your life is so amazing you simply don’t need him). There is glorious hope in the daily grind of living for Christ.
  • Are you posting so frequently about controversial topics that you’ve become a “social justice warrior” rather than an evangelist? If you constantly blast people with certain political/justice issues then they will not listen when you speak about Jesus… you will be tuned out.
  • If someone scanned through your social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), would they see someone whose life reflects Christ? This doesn’t mean you only and always share Christian-themed posts, but it does mean your profiles display the joys and trials (and the normalcy) of someone who is following Christ.

Again, don’t allow these questions to lead you to think social media needs to be all serious. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t be. And yet, I hope these three main questions help you evaluate whether or not your social media platforms need to be recalibrated.

If there are other guidelines you frequently use to determine whether or not to share something online, please leave them in the comments below. 

Five Reasons Christians Don’t Evangelize

Christians overwhelmingly agree they have a personal responsibility to evangelize: to announce the good news that sinners can be forgiven and adopted as children of God because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. LifeWay Research conducted a study regarding evangelism and reported,

“The study conducted by LifeWay Research found 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.”
LifeWay Research

This got me to ask the question: “Whynot? What is it that keeps us from sharing the gospel with nonChristians?” I could’ve come up with my own reasons, but I wondered if they would match up with the reasons your typical church-going Christian would give. So I asked my Facebook friends for their input and discovered some really great insights that I wouldn’t have considered on my own.

Here are a few of the general themes that emerged from their responses:

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Was Paul a Ministry Hypocrite?

I love getting questions from readers. Here’s the latest question I’ve received (you can submit your questions HERE
question mark on sticky noteThere are many times in Scripture where Paul specifically seems to give conflicting advice. One that always gets me:
  • 1 Corinthians 9:22 – “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”
  • In Acts 21:17-26, Paul goes and joins the four men in their purification rites, so people can see his still observes the old Jewish customs, even though he doesn’t think they’re necessary. This is kind of all the same strain.
  • Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If I’m allowed to re-ask the question, I’d put it this way: Is Paul a ministry hypocrite who tells one group one thing and then another group another thing? Let’s look at these individually and then tie them together…

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What’s Wrong With the World?

Acts of violence and hatred have become so common we’ve become numb. Whether it’s another act of terrorism, a school shooting, or an incident of domestic violence, it has become far too easy to read the story and then move on with our lives.

I doubt anyone can look around and think, “Yeah, this is the way things should be.” No. Instead, we hear people giving their solutions to fix the problem: More education, Better laws, Tolerance of differences. We need to understand the problem before we can offer any helpful solutions.

Christians turn to Scripture to understand the world, and we know this is not the way God created the world. Sin always brings death – not immediate physical death, but death of relationships, trust, intimacy, etc. Christians throughout history have called this event “the fall,” because sin made all creation fall from holiness and shalom/peace. Where there was unity and peace, now there is division and conflict. The opening chapters of Genesis unpack the multiple relationships that have lost shalom because of the curse of sin…

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How to Share Your Testimony

Talking

A gospel-centered testimony can be a powerful way to share the good news of Jesus Christ with your nonChristians friends (or with complete strangers, as opportunity arises). Over the last decade I’ve heard some people talk about testimony-sharing as “the key” to good evangelism while others decry testimonies as man-centered rather than God-centered.

What is a Testimony?
Your testimony isn’t your autobiography. It isn’t your life-story or an opportunity to talk about the details of your sinful life before Jesus in order to gain “street cred” with nonChristians.

The word “testimony” comes from the same root word as “martyr.” To be a martyr is to testify and tell about what God has done through Jesus Christ. It isn’t first about you, it is about God. When you share your testimony, you are talking about what God has done and what God has done for you. It is both objective (who God is and what He’s done) and subjective/personal (what he’s done for you). Unfortunately, I’ve heard many testimonies that only emphasize the subjective (what God has done for them).

A testimony that isn’t about Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and the freedom that comes through confession of sin and repentance isn’t a gospel-centered testimony.

How to Share Your Testimony
Here are a few things I have noticed about gospel-centered testimonies that put God front-and-center.  Continue reading

How Jesus Built the Church

Wooden Doors

When most of us think of Jesus, he is a meek and mild Savior who brings comfort and peace. That’s certainly true of him, but the Gospel of Mark highlight’s Jesus’ authority and power. This is a side of Jesus we easily overlook after years of familiarity with the Bible.

The opening verses (Mark 1:1-13) set the stage for Jesus to walk into the spotlight. Jesus is identified by John the Baptist as the Messiah, the long awaited “chosen one” who was foretold by prophets of centuries past. When Jesus is baptized, God himself speaks and identifies Jesus as “my beloved son.” Immediately after being baptized, Jesus endures temptation in the desert for forty days and nights. These present Jesus as the Messiah who is both God and human. These opening verses highlight that Jesus was always God’s “Plan A.”

Mark 1:15-19 is significant because Jesus’ first words are preserved for us (since Mark was the earliest-written Gospel in the Bible) are these: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” He identifies himself as the Messiah who has come to bring the kingdom of God, and he welcomes sinners to enter into it through repentance and faith in the gospel. This is Jesus’ mission… and immediately after his mission is announced, he starts to build his Church by recruiting the first disciples.

Mark 1:21-45 highlight Jesus’ authority over demons and sickness. When Jesus is teaching in the temple a demon-possessed man literally cried out for mercy. The crowds begin to flock to Jesus, seeking deliverance and healing. In v.38 the disciples say, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus responds, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” He could have stayed and built a huge ministry-platform, but he rejected the ministry opportunity in order to fulfill his mission. His time had not yet come to be recognized as the Messiah. While the Gospel of Mark was written in the generation after Jesus’ ascension, the gospel was spreading and Christians were being persecuted and Jesus’ authority was the foundation of their perseverance. These verses demonstrate the power and authority of Jesus, and encourage believers to live in faith rather than fear.

When we look in Mark 1 we see Jesus built his Church through two ministry priorities:

  1. Preaching the good news and inviting sinners to repent
  2. Training disciples

The Great Commission was not something Jesus thought of near the end of his ministry. It was the driving force behind everything he did… that all peoples of the earth would repent and believe in the gospel and become disciples who are “fishers of men.” He would not allow miracles and social ministry to distract him from these two priorities. Obviously, he healed many and performed miracles, but the miracles always led to preaching or proved his authority to say what he said.

Jesus is the savior of those who are desperate and weary from their labors. He also causes demons to shudder and beg for mercy. Jesus brought the kingdom of God, and sinners are invited to enter through repentance and faith in the gospel. Speak the gospel to people with confidence, not embarrasment. Remember the authority of Jesus Christ and confidently proclaim the kingdom of God and invite others to enter in as new disciples, because Jesus continues to build his church through the gospel.

The Proverbs 31 Woman is About Jesus

The description of the “wife of noble character” has always been a picture of biblical womanhood. She is a woman who provides for her family by fearing the Lord, shrewd business leadership, compassion, and tender care. On one hand, this woman is no push-over, and she isn’t a weak-willed subordinate. On the other hand, the “P31 woman” is not simply climbing a corporate ladder (note: this isn’t sexist, I also regularly caution men against ladder-climbing attitudes); she works hard for the sake of her husband and her children and she presses forward each day to provide for her family.

Proverbs 31:10-31 is King Lemuel’s advice to his son about what to look for in a godly wife. To be clear, this article is not written in an attempt to correct a perceived misunderstanding, but to fill out that she is noble and excellent because she is like Jesus. While it’s too far to say “Jesus is the Proverbs 31 woman,” it should be clear that we see Jesus through her description.

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