4 Ways to Use Social Media to Minister to Others

Despite pleas for positivity, our culture seems to reward negativity. This can be especially true on social media. While social media affords us the privilege of connecting and make the world seem like a smaller place, it tends to give courage to people who would never say to your face what they dare to type in the comment section.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. There are actually a lot of good stories on the world-wide web. Many people strive to contribute to the conversation rather than taking a big step backward for mankind. Yet, the negative voices resound more loudly.

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

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So how can you, as a Christian, cultivate a voice of hope, especially on social media? It’s a question I ask myself a lot, particularly when I’ve just read through the comment section of a viral post or trending tweet.

  1. Share stories about how you have witnessed God at work. The anti-God crowd is tenacious when it comes to spreading their “God is Dead” or “There is no God” mantras. Truth is, there are numerous stories about God at work in our midst. We just need to be courageous and intentional about sharing them.
  2. Strive to be a unifying force on social media. It’s easy to be divisive; especially from a distance. Be a peacemaker. Unite believers. Bring people together. Be a source of healing rather than hurtfulness and hate.
  3. Start an online prayer circle. People need prayer now more than ever. The world is hurting. People are writhing in pain. Suffering is everywhere. It can be easy to lose sight of God in the midst of the storm. Prayer offers comfort and serves as a reminder that in spite of what things might look like, there is a God who loves us.
  4. Point people to Christ. Avoid pushing people away. Pray about your response. Pray about whether or not you should even respond. If you respond, be gentle. Be kind. Be encouraging. But also, be truthful.

God calls us to be the salt and the light. Jesus urges us to let our light shine. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, praying on our behalf and working through us. Social Media is still a new and growing tool that the church can use to share the Gospel and invite others to join us in advancing the Kingdom. Social Media, in and of itself, is not good or bad. It depends heavily on the user. It’s up to us, as believers, to use social media effectively to communicate with a world that is watching and listening. Of course, we can choose not to engage in the conversation. Somehow, I don’t believe that’s what Jesus would have us do. Do you?

Please let me know how I can pray for you by emailing me your prayer request.

Blessings.

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My Monday Morning Cup: Life is Better When You Laugh

Good news doesn’t get as much attention as bad. We’re more apt to gawk at a car wreck than notice the planes successfully navigating the blue skies above. People doing bad things dominate the headlines, burying the good works of many. Good news is thrown in like a bonus, as if to say “Hey look, life ain’t all bad.”  Even then, it’s usually a story about someone doing something good amid an otherwise tough situation.

The old saying “Misery loves company” remains alive and well in our world today, despite our protestations of love and equality for all mankind. I get it. Bad things happen to good people. Living ain’t for sugar cookies.

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Back in the late 1970s, humorist Erma Bombeck wrote a bestseller entitled “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries What Am I Doing in the Pits?”  The book is a collection of humorous anecdotes about family life back in those days. People reading Bombeck’s tales were often caught laughing out loud, even in public.

My late niece, Natalie, used to say “Life is better when you laugh.” She was right.

It’s far too easy to get mired in the murky swamps of darkness and lose sight of the many points of light. We enjoy the freedom to choose where we focus our eyes. We can stare at the gloom and doom around us, crying “Woe is me!” or we can choose to look at the thousand lights of love and laughter surrounding us.

It’s Monday. Which will you choose?

I encourage you to run toward the light, remembering to laugh along the way.

Blessings.

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Psalm Saturday: Prayers in Psalms

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The past few Saturdays we’ve looked at a couple of my favorite psalms. Since getting back home from looking after Mom as she recovered from her fall last summer, my mind has focused a lot on prayer. I’ve seen the results of people praying, especially this past year. At every turn, the Lord reveals His desire for me to focus on prayer. I’m currently working on a book project centered around prayer. Recently, I was asked to design a social media campaign focusing on prayer. I’ve watched and listened as people turn to prayer in the midst of crisis, including natural disasters and mass shootings. My heart aches for those who feel like prayer is an insufficient response. May God help heal their unbelief. While I agree, we need to roll up our sleeves and physically help our neighbors in need, I am also a fierce proponent of prayer. Like I said earlier, I’ve seen God work through prayer. The Book of Psalms is chock-full of prayers. In the Saturdays ahead, starting this morning, I want to take a journey exploring these heartfelt prayers.

Psalm 3 (NET)

A psalm of David, written when he fled from his son Absalom.

1 Lord, how numerous are my enemies!

Many attack me.

2 Many say about me,

“God will not deliver him.” (Selah)

3 But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me;

you are my glory and the one who restores me.

4 To the Lord I cried out,

and he answered me from his holy hill. (Selah)

5 I rested and slept;

I awoke, for the Lord protects me.

6 I am not afraid of the multitude of people

who attack me from all directions.

7 Rise up, Lord!

Deliver me, my God!

Yes, you will strike all my enemies on the jaw;

you will break the teeth of the wicked.

8 The Lord delivers;

you show favor to your people. (Selah)

 

What does Selah mean?

“Selah” comes from the Hebrew word salah and means “to lift up” or “to elevate or raise”. The word “Selah,” occurs 71 times in the psalms and is believed to be a musical notation that Israel’s leaders may have added sometime after they incorporated the psalms into public worship. Evidently “Selah” cued worshippers to lift up their voices and raise their hands.

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In verses 1-7a, we find the prayer of the psalmist (David) as he laments his situation during his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 15-18). This is the first of many of David’s prayers recorded in Psalms. Drowning amidst the evil schemes of his enemies, David voices his confidence that God will protect him since he was the Lord’s chosen king.

David begins by lamenting his present situation. He is surrounded by enemies. He feels like everyone is against him. Absalom had garnered the favor of many Israelites. David cries out for physical deliverance from the real enemies seeking to do him harm. David is confident that the Lord will rescue him since he is the one God has chosen to lead the people of Israel. David is not timid in his prayer. He asks God for His divine protection, expecting the Lord to come through for him and protect him from the evil plans of his enemies. Notice that David is so confident of the Lord’s response that he refers to the enemy as if they had already been defeated. David believed that God delivers those He has called to fulfill His purpose.

Pray without Ceasing

Through David’s example, we learn that we can take our physical concerns to God in prayer. We can ask Him to deliver us from our physical ailments and from difficult circumstances that we are facing. Like David, we can be confident that the Lord hears us. As believers, you and I can be encouraged by this tremendous prayer. God works for the good of those who love Him and does not permit victory for those who work against His will. Ultimately, those of us who have repented and placed our faith and trust in Jesus, will be delivered from the difficulties we face in this world. Our troubles will not be victorious over us because in the end, our victory is found in Jesus. In God, we find love. Through God, we have hope.

Blessings.