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Monthly Archives: May 2013

“Thou Shalt Use Facebook?”

 

    facebook    In March of 2013 a study was released with many different statistics, and breakdowns concerning Facebook. The one that really caught my attention was the number of monthly active users Facebook has—1.11 Billion. How many of you reading this have “friends” on Facebook, but you never see them post anything? I know I have several, these friends would not be counted in this number. It is absolutely astounding how many people have Facebook accounts.

 

Twitter is also wildly popular. There are nearly 555 million active twitter users. These users send out an average of 59 million tweets a day. We could make this blog a mile long talking about all forms of social media. We could talk about the number of users for things such Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and many others. The point is, social media (for better, or for worse) is taking over our society. This leaves us a few questions to answer.

 

1.  Should Christians be on social media?

Nowhere in scripture will you find a command to use any of our social media platforms. However, I would submit that it is a VERY wise thing for Christians to be part of. I say this for many reasons, allow me to share just one at this time.

We are commanded to evangelize the world. Not a suggestion, or a good idea, commanded (Matthew 28:18-20.) As we have already looked at above, the world… is on social media. There are thousands of new accounts created every single day. Many check Facebook and Twitter straight from their phone multiple times a day. What are those people looking at if they don’t have Christian friends? Better question, wouldn’t you like it if your friends saw scripture when they first woke up, and before going to bed?

Just a couple of days ago a terrible thunderstorm came to town and knocked out my electricity right in the middle of me cooking dinner for the family. It was dark outside, even darker inside. Because I have 2 small children my wife and I began scrambling for flashlights and candles, we wanted our children to feel safe. We found what we needed and the power was back on shortly.

I tell you this story to make this point, if we would have known that the flashlights were in the drawer, but we never got them out of the drawer, our house would still be dark.

Matthew 5:13-16- 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven

Matthew 5 is very clear about our light. We must let it shine “before men.” We must live in such a way that we “cannot be hidden.” I wonder a lot of times if we are hiding. Not that we are always cowardly or shrinking back in fear, rather maybe we “hide” by avoiding going where “the world” is. I know that there are many people today mainly older generations that have no desire to learn the intricacies of social media. However, please consider this humble thought, “If Christians are not spreading their light in social media, how dark will it become for those of the world?”

2.  What are benefits of Christians being on social media?

 

There are so many benefits to being on social media. Allow me to share a few.

  • Stay in touch with friends and family from long distances.
  • Keep in contact with your closest friends, and how their day is going.
  • Instant access to a large group of people for requesting prayers.
  • Sharing photos/stories about your family.

There are more, but I really want to focus on one. By being on social media you can lead a lost soul to Jesus. There are some that I know who would mock this idea. They would argue that nothing good comes from anything on the internet. They would say that friends will simply “unfriend” you when they see your posts about the Bible. While those cases I’m sure exist, they are not the norm.

I do not consider myself to be an expert, or a model for social media usage. However, it is my practice to offer prayers and support for those I know are hurting on Facebook, share stories, and photo’s from my family, post scripture, post devotional thoughts and spiritual reflections. I also make a point to avoid negativity.

 

Posts such as:

 “I hate my life.”

 “I just wish this day was over!”  

 “You would not believe what happened to me at work!”

 

These, and many others are so frustrating to hear. Our world is full of negativity. Our world is longing for positive thoughts. Make sure they get them, make sure they are centered on the Word of God.

Just like the boy in the locker room who refuses to curse, tell or listen to dirty jokes, and make up stories about his girlfriend, Christians acting like Christians on social media, stand out from the world. Just like the business man who refuses to get more money if it required him to spend less time with his family, Christians acting like Christians on social media, stand out from the world. Just like the parents who refuse to let their children have a “normal life” but instead provide for them a Godly life, Christians acting like Christians on social media, stand out from the world. The list could go on, but the fact of the matter is, when Christians post scripture, positive thoughts, and offer prayers and hope, they stand out!

Two years ago I decided to start my twitter account (@troyrogers156). I did very little with it for a while. Then I downloaded an app called “hootsuite” with this app I was able to schedule my tweets ahead of time. I would spend about 10 minutes in the morning scheduling scriptures to be posted and quotes that I liked. The people that followed me probably assumed I was on twitter too much, in fact I was on 10 minutes every morning that was it. I ended up gaining a lot of followers. Then, something happened.

One morning I received a message from a stranger. This stranger lived about 10 miles from me. This person began reading my tweets, thinking about the questions I posed, and read the scriptures I listed. This individual began coming to worship where I was preaching, attended activities of the congregation, and agreed to have one on one Bible study with me. The point? The point is social media is NOT a worthless tool for Christians. Sure, it can become that if used improperly. However, it can also become the largest platform that we have to get the good news out! Unfortunately, it can also be our largest platform for showing hypocrisy. We can use it to post inappropriate pictures, status’ that are heavy on cursing and light on blessing. We could choose to do that. However, as children of The King, we won’t.

 

One final thought: Jesus used 12 men to turn the world upside down. They were passionate, zealous, and on their way to heaven. Imagine with me, what might be different, if every Christian used their social platforms to let their passion for Christ shine.

 

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

“Un-Worthy”

unworthy

A great hero of mine was a man by the name of Bill Hearn. Many of you reading this have never heard of this man, but he was a “giant in the faith” in my book. When I began my work in Wynnewood Bill took me to lunch the first day I was there. He took me to his favorite BBQ place in Davis, Ok. He told me he loved to go here to “buffet his body.”

Like most BBQ joints this one was packed! Bill was well into his 80’s and the idea of standing and eating wasn’t going to fly with him. He asked a couple who had a table if they would mind sharing with us. They said they didn’t mind so we sat down with them (all the while I am feeling uncomfortable for invading on their space.) Bill then asked if they would mind if he paused to thank God for such a fine meal. They assured him that would be fine, so he led us all in prayer. He began talking to these strangers as if he had known them for years. He was truly a great man.

When Bill passed he had been preaching the Gospel for 66 years. He spent much time in Salt Lake City, Utah planting churches (which are still there today.) He was a great man who impacted me greatly. I will never forget two encounters with Bill.
The first: I had just finished preaching a sermon over John chapter 4 on Sunday morning, and Bill approached me. He put his calloused hand on my neck and said “Troy, I have series of lessons I have preached over that chapter for longer than you have ben alive..” in my head I am panicking wondering what in the world I had done/said wrong. Nothing good could come of this. Then he said “You have brought out some lessons from this great text that I have never even thought of, thank you.” Needless to say, I was soaring the rest of the day. That may have been the single greatest compliment anyone had ever given me.
The second: Bill was preparing a sermon that he wanted to preach for our congregation, and he came to my office and sat on my couch and said “Troy, I would really like your input on this sermon.” –WAIT- WHAT?!? I began looking in the eyes of this man who had preached the Gospel for nearly 66 years (I had been at it for 4) and he looked at me and asked me for MY input! I do not ever remember a feeling of being so un-worthy at any other point in my life.

In Luke chapter 5 we see an example of a man who felt completely un-worthy. Peter had been fishing all night long and hadn’t caught anything. Then Jesus instructed him to go out to the deep water and cast his net again. Peter told the Lord that he had been trying all night with no luck. Then Peter said “But at your word, I will let down my nets.” When he did the nets were so full from the catch that they started to break. They had to signal another boat to come and help them haul in the catch. There were so many fish that both boats began to sink.

Then we see these words from Peter: Luke 5:8- 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

How often do we truly feel un-worthy to be called disciples of Christ? How often do we share the feeling that Isaiah had in chapter 6 “I am a man of unclean lips I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” It is my prayer that as we think about our savior, we think of how un-worthy we are to be called “Christians.”

Let us allow our “un-worthy-ness” to ignite our fire. The closer we draw to God the smaller we feel. The smaller we feel the harder we work. The harder we work, the more we accomplish. The more we accomplish, the more glory He receives.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

“How much time do you have?”

time

Last week on Wednesday night, I was doing one of my favorite things on this earth (delivering a devotional lesson.) Everything was going along just fine until I began developing a little bit of a lisp. I started having trouble thinking clearly, I offered the invitation quickly. Walking out to the car I began seeing spots and not being able to walk very well. I asked my wife to drive. We just started going down the road and I saw my Bible fly off the top of the car from where I had left it, (I have never even put my Bible on top of the car before.) I then started shaking uncontrollably, had a piercing headache, and couldn’t speak well.

My wife thought maybe I was having a blood sugar issue. Even though I had never had one before I thought it was worth a shot. I drank a milkshake and ate some proteins, I began feeling slightly better. When I laid down at home my bed started spinning so fast (or so it seemed) that I had to clutch the sheets to keep from flying off of it. I stood up to get Meagan’s help, and collapsed onto the floor.

Since it was late and we have small children Meagan stayed home with them and made arrangements for a dear friend to take me to the ER. Upon arriving my blood pressure was 165/90 (I’ve never had blood pressure problems before.) 10 minutes later it had fallen to 100/50. It went up and down, for more than 4 hours. The highest was 206/133, the lowest was 90/46. Needless to say I (along with the Dr.) was concerned. He ordered a cat scan and said “I think something “unwanted” is going on upstairs, and I’m scared to mess around with it.” I was terrified.

When the results came back, I was relieved. I had developed a rare infection in the base of my sinus cavity that had gotten so bad it was causing the brain tissue to swell. Once the swelling occurred, I saw the side effects. After a week of steroids and antibiotics, the infection seems to be gone, blood pressure returned to normal, the swelling disappearing, and life returning to normal.

The point in me sharing this is because of the thoughts/fears that developed in my mind when the Dr expressed his sincere concerns. I became deeply worried about my family. I began asking myself questions that I never wanted to ask myself. How would my family get along without me if something terrible happened? Have I prepared them (wife and kids) the best that I can at the stage that they are at? Would my children remember their daddy? When I asked myself that last one I wanted to slap myself because I knew it was too early to think of those things (thankfully I was right.) I looked at the friend who had taken me to the hospital and could tell he wasn’t buying my “im fine” statements. It SEEMED as if all were crashing in around me.

However, even though what was wrong turned out to not be nearly as serious as what we were thinking at the time, was it really too early to ask those questions?

James 4:14- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We have no idea what will come of our life. We have no idea how long we have. We have no idea when Christ will return. Are we living like we have “all the time in the world?” Or, are we living like we must build relationships with our God and our family today?

“O God, thank you for your mercy. You continually amaze us with all you have blessed us with. You are our shelter, and our comfort in times of trial. Father, thank you for blessing us with our families and our friends. I pray that you will give us the strength we need to lay aside anything that keeps us from living for you. Help us to love you, love our families, love our neighbors. In Jesus name, Amen.”

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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