Does Easter have to be Happy for Friday to be Good?

A reflection on Good Friday

Yesterday was Good Friday.  I  had a chance to hear some good speaking and music.  I had some good fellowship with friends and family.  I even had a few moments to myself!

As I was browsing through various social media sites, I saw many different posts featuring scripture and various comments.  There was an overwhelming majority in the posts.  Basically, most people said, “Today is Good Friday, but Sunday is coming!”  I even saw an online greeting card with that sentiment.

I get it.  We love Easter Sunday!  We love the idea of Christ being resurrected.  We love the pageantry and the songs.  My personal Lord and Savior is risen from the dead, and “He is Lord!”

But, what about Good Friday?  Does Easter have to be Happy for Friday to be Good?  While the two events are connected, they do not eclipse each other.  They represent two different events that have changed my life.  I understand what people mean.  The very thought that my best friend, my savior, was buried in a tomb for three days by people like me is disgusting and heartbreaking.  I do not want Christ to spend one more minute buried in that tomb.

I may not want it, but I need Him to be there.  My friend, Garrett, said this Friday, it is “an awful tradition in our Christian heritage to skip ahead to Easter.”  What Jesus did on Good Friday is as important as what he did on Easter Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Does Easter have to be Happy for Friday to be Good?

A reflection on Good Friday

Yesterday was Good Friday.  I  had a chance to hear some good speaking and music.  I had some good fellowship with friends and family.  I even had a few moments to myself!

As I was browsing through various social media sites, I saw many different posts featuring scripture and various comments.  There was an overwhelming majority in the posts.  Basically, most people said, “Today is Good Friday, but Sunday is coming!”  I even saw an online greeting card with that sentiment.

I get it.  We love Easter Sunday!  We love the idea of Christ being resurrected.  We love the pageantry and the songs.  My personal Lord and Savior is risen from the dead, and “He is Lord!”

But, what about Good Friday?  Does Easter have to be Happy for Friday to be Good?  While the two events are connected, they do not eclipse each other.  They represent two different events that have changed my life.  I understand what people mean.  The very thought that my best friend, my savior, was buried in a tomb for three days by people like me is disgusting and heartbreaking.  I do not want Christ to spend one more minute buried in that tomb.

I may not want it, but I need Him to be there.  My friend, Garrett, said this Friday, it is “an awful tradition in our Christian heritage to skip ahead to Easter.”  What Jesus did on Good Friday is as important as what he did on Easter Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria!

White Water Rafting

One of the few outdoor activities in which I try and participate as often as possible is white-water rafting.  It is fast-paced and exciting.  Fortunately for me, you do not have to be in top physical shape to participate in it.  One summer, while rafting, my boat “encountered” a sunken tree.  What I mean by encountered was smashing sideways into it.  During this moment, my body decided that it would be safer in the water than in the boat.

So, I found myself drifting along in the current trying to find a handhold.  While drifting along, I attempted to grab onto the branches of the tree.  Every time I reached out, some thing under the water would push me back away.  I realized that only a small part of the tree was above the water.

Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I think about how I live my life like that tree.  I only let a small part of who I am show.  I hide so much more of me “below the water”.  You can make casual contact with people.  You can live shallow relationships.  What is “below the water” may be what is pushing us away.  Verse 15 tells us asks what’s the point of lighting a lamp if we are going to hide it.  As a Christian, I need to be letting my light shine.  I need to be everything that God wants me to be.  We should not hide the beauty that God has put in each one of us.

Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Shine your light wherever you are.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Top 5 ways to attract more followers on social networking

Social Networking 101: Top 5 ways to attract more followers on social networking outlets – KansasCity.com.

The above article was come across the other day and I immediately saw some advantages for ministries, churches, group, and the like.  I am reviewing it here with a spin towards those groups.

  1. Make sure your social ministry contacts are where people can see them.  All of your landing pages should point to other places where more can be found out about you.  Don’t just share your personal places, but share the places where your group gathers, Facebook, websites, Flickr, etc.
  2. Whether it is Lotus Notes, emails, newsletters, even publications, share your social ministry locations.  Also, quick reminder: you friend people on Facebook and follow people on Twitter.
  3. Mix and match your social ministry outlets.  Tell people to follow you on Twitter and remind your fellow tweeters about your Facebook pages.
  4. Just because it is in print, it does not mean you cannot share social ministry locations.  Showing web addresses and using QR codes is a good way to link the physical with the virtual.
  5. Make your content valuable and followable and shareable.  Whether it is devotional thoughts, program ideas, pastoral tips, visitation experiences, write about what is true, but what is interesting to others.  A blogger who blogs without anyone reading it is writing an electronic diary!

I hope these tips can help you develop the online presence of your group.

SermonGeneral Out!!

Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 1

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Who Are You Walking With?

Play track 1 of “Majestic” entitled “Christ for the World.”  You can stream it live here.

You know the kind of afternoon I am talking about.  It warm with a breeze.  The sun is out, but it is not “out” to get you.  You are on a path surrounded by nature on all sides.  It is one of those moments that you just want to share with those that you are closest to.  You want to walk and share about old memories.  You can stroll along and make new memories.  You might glide along as you remember those who are no longer there.  Or, you can quickly hike along as you share new ideas that you are excited about.  Which ever way you see it, you are out and about with a friend or family member, just sharing the experience.

As the opening moments of “Christ for the World” are filling your ears, you get the sense of not one person marching towards you, but the sense of a group of people, an army.  When a voice emerges from the crowd, he does not sing about his own memories or his own accomplishments.  He does not tell about what he does not have or what he wants.  He is singing about OTHERS, and, not just any OTHERS, but the ones who are forgotten about.

 “The poor, despised and overborne,
The faint, the weak, and those who mourn,
The plagued and sin-sick, sorrow-worn”

He may be walking with those he knows.  They may be people with whom he has things in common.  They may be fellow laborers, but he is singing about OTHERS.

Zechariah 7:9-10 (New Living Translation)
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.  Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

These verses talk about another voice who is speaking out from a group, Heaven’s Armies.  Here, the Lord reminds us, the faithful, of where our concern should be.  We should care for “widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor.”  The song today also calls them, “the wandering, the wayward, and the lost.”

The most common and easily understood definition of the word, “holy”, is to be set apart.  We were not called as God’s people to be set apart for our benefit.  We were not set apart for our glory.  We were set apart for OTHERS.  We were set apart for His glory!

The song ends with the group singing as they did in the beginning.  Today, who are you walking with?  Are you walking with those who are making a difference for OTHERS?  Are you making a difference for OTHERS?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Walking in His "Majestic" Presence: Week 1

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Who Are You Walking With?

Play track 1 of “Majestic” entitled “Christ for the World.”  You can stream it live here.

You know the kind of afternoon I am talking about.  It warm with a breeze.  The sun is out, but it is not “out” to get you.  You are on a path surrounded by nature on all sides.  It is one of those moments that you just want to share with those that you are closest to.  You want to walk and share about old memories.  You can stroll along and make new memories.  You might glide along as you remember those who are no longer there.  Or, you can quickly hike along as you share new ideas that you are excited about.  Which ever way you see it, you are out and about with a friend or family member, just sharing the experience.

As the opening moments of “Christ for the World” are filling your ears, you get the sense of not one person marching towards you, but the sense of a group of people, an army.  When a voice emerges from the crowd, he does not sing about his own memories or his own accomplishments.  He does not tell about what he does not have or what he wants.  He is singing about OTHERS, and, not just any OTHERS, but the ones who are forgotten about.

 “The poor, despised and overborne,
The faint, the weak, and those who mourn,
The plagued and sin-sick, sorrow-worn”

He may be walking with those he knows.  They may be people with whom he has things in common.  They may be fellow laborers, but he is singing about OTHERS.

Zechariah 7:9-10 (New Living Translation)
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.  Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

These verses talk about another voice who is speaking out from a group, Heaven’s Armies.  Here, the Lord reminds us, the faithful, of where our concern should be.  We should care for “widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor.”  The song today also calls them, “the wandering, the wayward, and the lost.”

The most common and easily understood definition of the word, “holy”, is to be set apart.  We were not called as God’s people to be set apart for our benefit.  We were not set apart for our glory.  We were set apart for OTHERS.  We were set apart for His glory!

The song ends with the group singing as they did in the beginning.  Today, who are you walking with?  Are you walking with those who are making a difference for OTHERS?  Are you making a difference for OTHERS?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Presence Evangelism in Networking

If you have been involved with social networking for any length of time, you have probably come across one of these services.  The four services represent a myriad of GPS-enabled apps that can let people know where you are.

The most well-known is Facebook Places.  On the rise in many metro areas is Foursquare.  Lacking some of the social connection aspects, Google Places has been a market fixture for a while in many different forms.  My new favorite is Soundtracking.  Not only can you “post/tweet” where you are, but you can tell everyone what music you are listening to.

As you can tell, I am currently rocking a little Marty Mikles and transMission’s new album, “Majestic” (https://www.facebook.com/satransmission).

All of these apps give a user the opportunity to show where they are and what they may be doing within the confines and purposes of the app.  Foursquare even turns this process into a game.  Whomever is checked into a “place” becomes the Mayor.  Some retailers have started giving special discounts to the current “Mayors.”  I am still the Mayor of the Albany Salvation Army which does not get me any discounts,  Geesh!

All of these GPS-enabled apps can help ministers and leaders by simply showing where that person is.  It is a concept that is becoming known as “Presence Evangelism.”

Presence evangelism is not so much verbal persuasion, but action persuasion through deeds, good works, sincere love and friendship.  To put it another way, it is the Church being Christ’s arms reaching out into the community. Christ’s love is shared through the examples of serving, caring and helping the community’s needs.

Presence evangelism goes beyond saying you are going to do something or go somewhere to actually doing something and going somewhere.  By utilizing effectively some of these apps, a minister/leader/guide can show people where they are and how they are making an impact in the community.  It shows where they are ministering at and with whom.  One of the things that Jesus did very well was being with His disciples.  He ate with them, laughed with them, partied with them, and traveled with them.

Would it hurt you to show people where you are today and how you are making a difference in your community and in the kingdom?

SAFETY NOTE: As with any programs, there are situations that are not always true all of the time.  I would discourage you from revealing too much about the location and activities in certain areas, ie. counseling people, your own home, who you are visiting in the hospital, etc.  Using your best judgment is often the best step you can take!

SermonGeneral Out!

anacrusis (god.notes)

Today, we are going to talk about what an anacrusis is and what it does.  Just in case you were wondering, anacrusis is not the name of a city in Southern California.

The pick-up note

An anacrusis is a pick-up note.  There are instances in music and poetry when, to complete or start a musical phrase, it is essential to begin before the downbeat.  Wikipedia also reminds us that “a piece of music beginning with an anacrusis will also end before the last beat of the last bar, in order to keep the number of bars in the entire piece at a whole number.”

Joshua 1:8 NLT says “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.”

God’s word says that we should start and end with His instruction every day, and all the times in between.  We should “pick-up” each day with the Father and also have Him to balance out the other side.  This is not just good advice, but a completely different way of living.  How many times do we wake up with our problems or go to sleep with out worries?  God wants us to make Him and His word our priority.

Some questions for you today:

  1. How do I “lead into” my day?
  2. What is or about whom am I thinking in the morning and evening?
  3. How does God create balance in my life?
  4. What do I need to get rid and  have God lead off my life?

Dear God, may you be my first thought and my last thought each and every day.  May you be the “pick-up” in my life that sets the tone for the rest of my day.  Amen

At the end of every god.notes is a handout that you can use to share this with OTHERS!

anacrusis (god.notes) handout

anacrusis teaching doc

6 Social Ministry Tips for Leaders and Others

http://mashable.com/2011/04/14/small-business-social-media-tips/

Mashable has provided us 6 effective strategies for small businesses.  I have done some translating and editing for church/ministry/youth group/etc. use for you, but the original link is at the top if you want to see it.

RE_MASHABLE: 6 Social Ministry Tips for Church & Small Groups

1. Your Members Know Best – Find out what social media networks your members are on and share there.  Most of our current group does not use email, but they are all on Facebook.  We share on Facebook, because that is where the majority of them are.

2. “Social Media Isn’t Necessarily Free” – While it does not cost much to start most social media networks, it does take time and creative energy to stay engaged with it.  If you think it is a priority for your ministry/small group, then go after it.  There are still many groups who do not have a presence online.

3. Don’t Measure Success by Member Counts – Just because another church or group or brand has more friends/followers, it does not mean that you are not doing a good job.  People might be “subscribed”, but they may not be plugging in.  Remain engaging and keep it fresh!

4. Put a Face to the Name – It cannot always be about your group or church.  Let people see the person or people behind the screen that is sharing.  Social Media guru, Jenily Silva (www.jenilysilva.com) recently shared with me that “I must become a brand.”  People want to see, not only what is going on, but also the people who are making it happen.

5. Learn from the Experts – Look at what other groups are doing and do that!  If it works, keep it.  If it doesn’t, find something else to try.  What works for big churches does not always work for little churches.

6. “Get Help Without Relinquishing Identity” – Find some other people in your group to help you keep it going!  You need to still maintain the focus, but you do not have to provide all of the content.  Find people who like to share and let them share.

Huge shout out to Mashable for the great ideas!  I would encourage you to read the original article.

I am the SermonGeneral and I am Doing the Most Good!

From Social SalArmy – Why Do You Need to Create a Twitter Schedule

http://socialsalarmy.posterous.com/why-do-you-need-to-create-a-twitter-schedule

Here is a great post from a site new to me about scheduling tweets.  This could come in handy for the busy corps officer/minister/lay leader to send out meeting reminders for program participants, send out news about upcoming events in your community, etc.

Enjoy!  Huge shout out to Social SalArmy for its’ ideas!

SermonGeneral Out!!