The psalmist once asked, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?”  The answer, of course, is nowhere.  Unless you’re talking about Twitter or Facebook.  We all know that God isn’t on social media, which is why we use it to post whatever we want.  In cyber world we’re like ambassadors in a foreign country, moving among our friends and followers with diplomatic immunity.  What is it to Jesus or the church or to anyone else for that matter if we grumble, or rant, or flirt, or slander, or brag?  Once we’ve signed in, we have left the sphere of verbal and visual accountability.  We have entered a virtual God-free zone where we can “just be real” or “not really mean anything by it.”

The psalmist had no conception of social media as he pondered escaping God’s presence.  But his ancient conclusion is no less applicable to our modern situation: God is everywhere.  God is present in all reality, including virtual reality.  My dear Christian brother or sister, we must remember this.  Just as we would hope to honor Jesus in our personal interactions with others, we must seek to honor him in online interactions too.  We should never think of our discipleship as being temporarily suspended whenever we log on.  Our passwords may be secret, but what we post never is.

Dispelling the illusion of secrecy is a good place to start.  Last year Pastor Kevin DeYoung offered some good advice on this point:

Whether you are a tween, a teen, a pastor, a politician, a grandma, or a grad student, whether you blog, tweet, post, or pin, here is the one indispensable social media rule you must follow if you want to be wise, edifying, and save yourself a lot of anguish:  Assume that everyone, everywhere will read what you write and see what you post.

No matter your settings or how tight your circle is, you ought to figure that anyone in the world could come across your social media. All it takes is a link or a search or a bunch of friends you don’t know gathered around a phone that belongs to someone you do know. Anyone can see everything. Your pastor, your parishioners, your ex-whatever, your boss, your prospective employer, your spouse, your kids, your in-laws, your…fans, your constituents, your opponents, your enemies, your parole officer, the girl you like, the dude who freaks you out, the feds, the papers—assume everyone can read your rant and see your pics….

It’s amazing what some people post online. Do we forget that a thousand other folks are reading this intimate declaration of marital affection or this lambasting of all that their family holds dear? I wonder if people realize that what we post is who we are to hundreds or thousands of people. So no matter what we think we are like in real life, to most people who know of us, they only know us as that guy obsessed with Ron Paul or that girl obsessed with dieting or the pastor who seems to hate everyone or the cynical college kid or the older [person] checking out strange things through Socialcam.

(Read the whole article here.)

To DeYoung’s one indispensable rule for social media we can add several explicitly Christian points.  I offer these points in the form of diagnostic questions.  None of us will remember all of these questions, but they are the kinds of thoughts that should pass through our minds before we ever hit ‘Tweet’ or ‘Post’ or ‘Pin It’ or ’Upload.’  An honest, gospel-shaped answer will guide you well.

  • Is the content sinful (e.g., grumbling, slanderous, immodest, suggestive, etc.)?
  • When God opens my timeline history on the day of judgment, will I regret this?
  • Will this hinder or help my witness for Jesus?
  • Is this truly benign, or am I seeking to make much of myself?
  • Can I post this with faith and a clear conscience?
  • How am I seeking to honor God with this post?
  • How am I seeking to build up my neighbor with this post?

None of these questions are meant to imply that every tweet or post must be a Bible verse or a spiritual thought.  But let all of our posts have the hearty aim of serving Jesus and others rather than ourselves.  In short, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all your tweets and posts.

All the world belongs to God, including cyber world.  God is with us offline and online.  Post for his glory!

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“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” has never been one of my favorite Christmas carols.  I stumble over a couple of things in the song, one being the commonly sung tune.  Critiquing a tune is subjective, I know, so I don’t expect anyone to agree with me.  Let me just say that I don’t think a song about the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth should make me envision the congregation joining hands and whistling one of the verses.  And it certainly shouldn’t make me think of roller skating.  The other thing I struggle with is the idea of winged angels singing, when the Scripture says nothing about wings or singing.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying…. (Luke 2:13).

And then I heard Sara Groves’s version. Read the rest of this entry »

Like a multiple-car pile up on Turn 4, thoughts rattle and crash in one’s head while listening to this prayer. The internet was abuzz yesterday with Christians wondering whether Pastor Joe Nelms took the Lord’s name in vain, whether in seeking to be “all things to all people” he went too far, whether he feels that the laughter he elicted around the track that day was a good reward. These are worthy discussions, provided they lead not to hypocritical condemnation (as if none of us ever seeks our own glory in prayer, preaching, blogging, tweeting, etc.) but to more sincere ministry by us all.

Although many of us would agree that the prayer deserved the yellow flag if not the red flag, Read the rest of this entry »

It has been said that the best way to be a good father to your children is to be a good husband to their mother.  “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real gives us husbands an emotional kick in the right direction.  If chased with a double-shot of gospel comfort and gospel power, we’re in business.  May you have a truly happy Father’s Day.

(HT: Tim Challies, Tom Ascol, William Horton)

I loved the movie True Grit.  However, one thing about the movie made me curious: Was Mattie Ross motivated by revenge or justice? Or was her motive in seeking Tom Chaney’s death a conflicted mingling of both?  I read the book to see if I could get an answer.  Along the way, I came across some quotes that touched on matters of faith, especially Mattie’s faith.  I thought the quotes were too good not to pass along. Read the rest of this entry »