Encouragement Through Discipline (New Year’s Resolutions)

Hebrews 12:4-13 

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Children need guidance (12:7-9)

The point of parenting is to teach our children how to make the best choices. Children need rules. They need limitations. They need boundaries. We love our children by not allowing them to hurt themselves. Verse 8 says that we are not legitimate if we have not undergone discipline. Verse 9 says that we learn to respect from discipline.

We need guidance (12:10-11)

We receive discipline and guidance because it is leading us to what is good.  We will receive a share in his holiness. Discipline is never meant to be easy or pleasant. The short term is not the goal. We are in this for the long haul. Verse 11 tells us that we can know righteousness and peace because we have been trained for it.

We become good examples for others (12:12-13)

We are being trained for a purpose. We should “strengthen” our arms and knees to support others. When you lift something up, you use your arms and knees. As we are lifted up, we should lift up others! We undergo training and discipline to strengthen us to be strong for others!

Graphic from the Ministry Toolkit and Lindsey Fleeman 

The First 10%

Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you. (Numbers 18:29 NLT)

I find myself thinking during the day, “Am I doing my best?”. With that last project, “did I give it my best effort?” With the last email I wrote, “was I polite enough, thorough enough?”

In Numbers, God directs Moses to tell the people that the first 10% of everything they do or have belongs to Him.

“However, you may not redeem the firstborn of cattle, sheep, or goats. They are holy and have been set apart for the Lord. Sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” (Numbers 18:17 NLT)

What is interesting is that God tells them to not even count that possession, they do not have to redeem it. It never belonged to them. It was never theirs in the first place, it belonged to God.

How many times do we grumble when we “have to” give to the Lord a portion of our “hard-earned money”? How many times do we complain about spending time in service to others from our “busy” schedule?

We forget that they were “gifts given” to us, and that they never belonged to us in the first place. They were the firstborn, the first 10%! I know I appreciate being able to keep the other 90%!

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 tips for using Twitter if you're new to it from @digitalchrist

10 tips for using Twitter if you’re new to it.

Here is a great post that was written for people new to Twitter, but also a nice refresher for those who have been using it awhile.

Take my advice when it comes to social media!  People follow people!  Pay attention to tip #7 about getting a good picture of yourself as your avatar.

If you are interested in getting deeper into social media for your ministry of group, you might want to check out developing a Gravatar.  A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar that “graphically” speaks out who you are.  It can be a cartoon you, you in a movie, you at work, you with someone famous, etc.  But, it needs to be you!  People will think your kids are cute, but they might never see the pictures if they have no idea whose avatar it is!  I also do not recommend changing your avatar/profile picture to support a cause.  Shout out, tweet up, post all about it!  But, once again, if someone has no idea who you are, they might not listen!

Listen up, my tweeps!  Rule #1 for social media is like the answer on how to get to Carnegie Hall.  Practice, practice, practice!  Try something new!  Post it a different way!  Catch people’s eye!

If I can use the inspiration of the Lord in the NDV (New Doug Version):

Repost online always. I will say it again: Repost! (found in SocialMinistry 4:4)

My “blasphemy” aside, be consistent!  Share yourself!  More importantly, share who Jesus is through you!

Can I get a “retweet”?  Holla!

10 tips for using Twitter if you’re new to it from @digitalchrist

10 tips for using Twitter if you’re new to it.

Here is a great post that was written for people new to Twitter, but also a nice refresher for those who have been using it awhile.

Take my advice when it comes to social media!  People follow people!  Pay attention to tip #7 about getting a good picture of yourself as your avatar.

If you are interested in getting deeper into social media for your ministry of group, you might want to check out developing a Gravatar.  A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar that “graphically” speaks out who you are.  It can be a cartoon you, you in a movie, you at work, you with someone famous, etc.  But, it needs to be you!  People will think your kids are cute, but they might never see the pictures if they have no idea whose avatar it is!  I also do not recommend changing your avatar/profile picture to support a cause.  Shout out, tweet up, post all about it!  But, once again, if someone has no idea who you are, they might not listen!

Listen up, my tweeps!  Rule #1 for social media is like the answer on how to get to Carnegie Hall.  Practice, practice, practice!  Try something new!  Post it a different way!  Catch people’s eye!

If I can use the inspiration of the Lord in the NDV (New Doug Version):

Repost online always. I will say it again: Repost! (found in SocialMinistry 4:4)

My “blasphemy” aside, be consistent!  Share yourself!  More importantly, share who Jesus is through you!

Can I get a “retweet”?  Holla!

Church Leaders Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Social Media

Original source article located here: http://dashhouse.com/2011/04/pastors-and-social-media/

Dashhouse.com released a post about pastors and social media.  In this post, the question is raised concerning interaction between pastors and church members online.

I think that avoidance of these virtual relationships is impossible and ill-advised.  I think that we ignore social media at our own risk!

In October of 2010, Mashable reported that the average teen texts 3,339 times a month.  Beyond teens, the average 18-24 year-old in the same report texts 1,630 times a month.  In January of 2010, Nielsen reported that the average person is on Facebook approximately 7 hours a month.  In January of 2011, Pew Research found that more Internet users than non-Internet users are inclined to belong to social groups and organizations.  So, the old story that people online are less likely to engage in outside social activities is not true.  So, based on these few reports alone, it seems that if the church universal wants to remain a driving force today then we must engage!

Joel Diaz, a youth minister, says that social media is very important in keeping in contact with his student members.  “And, you can quote me on that,” Joel added.

Bryan Haynes said, “social media is the most efficient and expedient means of external communication with our students.”

By the way, I got both of these comments from them through Twitter.

Dashhouse offers some good questions to consider concerning your online relationships.  I have included them here along with some of my own thoughts.

  • When interacting with members electronically am I using electronic communication and social media to enhance their life or to satisfy a personal need?  Good question.
  • What are my reasons for sharing this information with a congregant – are they professional or are they personal?
  • Is this picture or comment something I would be comfortable with my members, their parents/guardians, my supervisor, my family or the media seeing?
  • Would my peers or supervisors consider what I have posted as reasonable and professional?
  • Would I communicate this way in my community?
  • Are the photos, videos or audio recordings I am posting susceptible to misrepresentation or manipulation?  These days Photoshop manipulates all.  The most innocent pictures can be twisted.
  • Am I keeping current in my awareness and knowledge of social media technology developments to protect myself from misuse?  Here we go!  This is #1 in my book!

Based on these questions and some other work, I want to propose the following five steps to consider in online interactions.  And, then all start with “tr” for your mnemonic benefit!

  1. TRAINING – you need to know what is going on!  You need to know what the difference in cc and bcc, post and tweet, rss subscriptions vs. email subscriptions, viral (good) and virus (bad), which kind of cookies to eat, “what my lawyer means by DRM”, etc.  A good place to start is Tech Terms and NetLingo.
  2. TRUTH – just because someone types it, it doesn’t make it true!  When you find information online can it be cross-referenced in other studies and is it a reputable company.  In the earlier part of this post I quoted from Mashable, Nielsen, and Pew Research.  All three of these sources are well-known and are heavily used to authenticate.
  3. TRUST – or I should say things you can trust to happen!  If it is “out there” someone will find it.  There is no such thing as completely deletable.  Privacy settings are like locks on doors.  They are only for honest people!  Code-blocking, IP-masking, private browsers, DNS-redirects will keep out the honest people.  But, a good hacker can work through all of that!  A random Google search can bring many things to light!  If you do not trust any of these, trust this!  If you do not want everyone on the internet to see something, do not put it on the internet!
  4. TRANSPARENCY – does it matter who sees what you are posting?  People online need a huge dose of WWJP (What Would Jesus Post)!  Is this picture or comment something I would be comfortable with my members,  parents/guardians, my supervisor, my family or the media seeing?  Is it true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8 NLT)?  Notice here that Scripture says “and” and not “or”.  It needs to be all of those things, not just best 3 out of 6!
  5. TRIUMPH – the world needs “tweeters” for Jesus.  We need Facebook to love someone across the country who has lost a family member!  We need Scripture posted from here to eternity on every social media available.  Not used in condemnation, but in encouragement!  The Bible is the sword of the Spirit.  It is used against evil spirits not evil people!  Share your struggles, don’t post your criticisms!

The following video was published in 2009.  As of May 8, 2011, it has had 2,762,983 views.  Imagine what today’s numbers would reflect!

Here are some of my thoughts, comment with some of yours!

Soli Deo Gloria!