Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Tweetable Prayers

In Life and Culture on December 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

Social Media Logotype Background

We have all been there. In fact it is probably happening right now. You are perusing Facebook and Twitter and then it happens. Someone needs prayer. On my own timeline in the last day or so there were many needs for prayer.

  • A child is sick.
  • A mom has cancer.
  • A dad is having surgery.
  • Kids are having tests.
  • There is a need for moisture/no more frozen moisture.
  • A disaster just happened.

The typical response is “praying”. I have typed it just like you. But do we? Are we really? I have not always and neither have you most likely. Do we just put that because of social media peer pressure? What if you don’t put it and someone asks you about it? Do you not care? Do you not understand the need? So we put it out there. However, are we putting out false hope by typing “praying” but not actually engaging God? Certainly some of you do pray. I just wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just type a prayer…a tweetable prayer. What if there were 160 character prayers that could be helpful? Never fear, here you go.

Sickness – “God please bring your healing hand to this situation. Give wisdom and ability to the Drs and nurses. Give us assurance of your Spirit. Amen.”

Cancer – “God bring pain relief. Give a desire to fight and to eat. Give patience to the family and healing in the body. Build our faith in you. Amen.”

Surgery – “As this surgery approaches, steady the hands and strengthen the mind of the Drs. Give your assurance, presence and peace to the family. Amen”

Weather – “You made the stars and sky. You hold the world in Your hands. As it turns Your breath is the wind.  See our need and meet it please. Amen.”

General – “May the Lord bless and protect you. May He smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. Amen”

Instead of typing “praying”, let us pray!

Do As I Say AND As I Do

In Chrisian Life on September 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

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The moment when my children began to imitate the things I did and say the things I said was fascinating.  On the one hand, it was flattering to see the little monkeys imitate.  On the other hand, hearing some phrases took on a different spin coming out of toddler’s mouths!  I am not a vulgar person, nor do I use coarse language.  However, I do have those phrases such as Tim Hawkins uses in this video.

Most parents use the phrase as some point “Do as I say, not as I do.”  We use this to cover up our shame over our behavior.  The problem is that children quickly follow the approach of Andrew Carnegie in the quote above very early in life.  In fact, it is widely held that each generation is more likely to follow our behavior than our words!  In essence, it has less to do with what I tell them and more to do with what I show them.  Jesus did this.  He certainly told us to do a lot.  However, he backed it up with what He did.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not  prophesy in your name, and cast out demons  in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I  never knew you;  depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Jesus is not as interested in what you say as what you do.  In fact, what you do is suspect at times too.  These people regularly put His quotes on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.  These people regularly wore their Christians shirts (under the robes of course!) and wristbands.  These people regularly attended church (Temple).  These people would help others and everyone knew it.  Certainly, people who do all that are doing the Will of God, right?

Jesus said that all of those public deeds done were useless outside of the will of God.

The Will of God does not begin with right actions or right religion.  The Will of God begins with a right relationship.  Once established, we develop that relationship and go where God takes us.

 

Squeeze Play

In Community, Life and Culture on August 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

squeezeplay

In baseball, the squeeze play is a maneuver consisting of a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score. The larger picture is that the team wants to score a run. If the batter is concerned only for himself then this will fail. If the batter is more concerned about the larger perspective then the chance of success rises dramatically.  When there is a problem between you and another person we have the choice of looking at ourselves and continue the anger/hatred/feud or looking at the larger picture of God’s view and try to solve the problem. Proper management of conflict is not the current political perspective of damage control. The biblical perspective is to win back a relationship not ruin it through damage control and reputation repair. Jesus taught that a correct relationship with others comes before correct ritual and religion.  He also spoke on the process of managing conflict .

How does that work in our culture? When the rumors fly on Facebook and the hatred spews in 140 characters, how can we handle the issues that arise between us? When others politic behind the scenes how can we maintain the mind of Christ?

Discovery

  • Ask God if it is real or personal – sometimes we get our feelings hurt over insignificant matters of pride and ego.  Check your feelings in with God to see if this is an issue worth pursuing or just your bad mood taking over.
  • Ask God to fill you with His love and desire to redeem.  Our love is limited while God’s is not.  Our desire is selfish but God is selfless.  Asking for help from God is a no-brainer.
  • Ask the person to clarify the actual issue privately.  Before you go to Facebook and Twitter with this issue, go to the person one-on-one.  Keeping it private reduces the players involved in this drama.

Discuss

  • Love that person – we must see them as a creation of God. Though twisted up by sin, as we are too, God loves them. We must enter this discussion with God’s love coming through us.
  • Listen to that person – while there are many ways to listen (ignore, selective, anticipatory), the best way is to engage your heart and mind in what they are saying. Do not think ahead or get defensive. Listen to them.
  • Learn from that person – it is possible you will learn something here. You might learn about their triggers. You might unearth one of your faults. Be open to learning from this conversation.

Decision

  • Be forgiving and/or forgivable.  Depending on the situation, you might need to act in such a way t hat someone would forgive you for your wrong.  Jesus wants us to take initiative both ways – hurt or hurtful.
  • Be merciful.  Treat them as you would want to be treated.
  • Be creative.  Searching for a solution that allows both parties to walk away with a win is important.  The runner gets the score, but the batter gets a statistic also as of 1954.

God wants right relationships.  He wants one with you.  He wants you to be right with others.  You’re up to bat.  Will you go for the glory or for the good of the team?

Best Weekend Ever

In Decisions on August 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

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I like the routine of the school year. Being a parent to two elementary kids, I enjoy the Summer fun but prefer the routine of the school year. However, by Friday I do enjoy going out to dinner or a football game or something else. Being on Facebook and Twitter, I am aware of so many who also enjoy getting out on the weekends. The possibilities are endless and sometimes life-altering. Before you stop reading, please be aware that adults as well as youth deal with many of these issues.

  • The party that was stopped by police.
  • The drink that put you over the edge and you wrecked your car.
  • That Xanax to help you feel better only caused you more pain.
  • The condom that broke and now your pregnant.
  • The abortion you thought would fix everything still haunts you today.
  • The fight with your parents that you regret.
  • The cutting scars you still see.
  • The throat problems because of throwing up dinner for a certain weight/skinny jean size.
  • The mouth cancer you will get from dipping.

All of these things are possible outcomes to desiring a “get-a-way” on the weekends or even everyday habits because of the desire to be noticed or fit-in. Here are a few thoughts to help you make it the best weekend ever!

Check your feelings with God.   James writes, “14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” If we do not stop and think before acting we are going to end up in a place we don’t want and feel we cannot escape. Stop and think before acting. Check in with God.

Stay out of vulnerable situations. I worked the drive-thru window and as I handed out the food, I was invited to a certain party. The thought went through my mind that I could go but would not drink. I could act as the designated driver. I said, “Not this time.” Why? Because I knew it would be better to stay away than put myself in a vulnerable situation. I knew this one girl’s reputation and I was feeling it. I thought about all the fun we could have if we went out. I went to youth group instead not because it was so much fun, but because I needed to stay out of vulnerable situation. If you can’t afford the food or shoes do not go in. If you can’t just look then don’t look at all. If you can’t afford the payment don’t go on the car lot. It is better to stay above reproach and out of vulnerable situations.

There are no quick fixes. Bad habits do not go down easily. It will take time, effort, and hard work. Choosing to go against what your mind and body have grown accustomed to is not easy. Calling it a bad habit is just the nice way of saying you have an addiction. You have to want to quit. No matter the pleasure you have in the habit, if it causes you pain it must stop. The pain may not be as bad as the pleasure is good, so you will need to make hard choices. It will take a series of short goals to get to a permanent one.

 Keep a long view approach. This is so important to remember. Do you have a life goal? As kids we talked about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Often we forget about those long-term goals because of short-term desires. Countless people have sacrificed their long-term goal on the altar of passion and desire. They got pregnant, incarcerated, or wrecked because of losing sight of the long-term goals.  Consider today what you want people to say about you at your funeral.  Start working now toward being that person. Every decision counts.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Psalm 37:3

 

Killer Meetings

In Leadership on August 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

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Have you ever left a meeting and wondered what just happened? Have you ever left a meeting needing to check your blood pressure? Have you ever found yourself texting, checking email, or playing Words with Friends during the meeting? Maybe you began posting rants about the meeting on Facebook or Twitter. If you are really sneaky you might have taken pics and posted them too.

I call these Killer Meetings. We get so bored or frustrated because we do not feel anything is being accomplished. We all have so much to do that we only have a certain amount of time. We don’t want our time wasted unless it was our choice. A new form of meeting that is emerging is called the Email Meeting. I appreciate what is being attempted and sometimes it works best with busy schedules. However, there is a creative confluence that happens when we get together that is missed in email. I read in Proverbs the other day that toil brings profit and talking brings poverty. Let’s apply that to the meetings we lead or attend. Here are 4 basic things to remember to move from killer meetings to killing it meetings.

1. Movement. The best way to keep a meeting moving is to have a definite finish moment. This reminds me of counseling sessions that have a timer. You have seen movies and shows that portray the couple in the middle of an emotional moment when the alarm sounds. The counselor interrupts and tells them the session is over and calendars the next session. The point is to keep the couple focused and working hard. Starting and ending on time may feel awkward but creates a respect for the time provided. Reminding people that another meeting will be scheduled if the agenda is not accomplished tends to drive home the need for focus and good flow of information and ideas.  There are times when another meeting is required and some information should not be rushed.  However, many decisions are neglected because we did not move through the discussion in an appropriate fashion.

2. Management. People have a tendency to get off task. Discussions and conversations ensue on a variety of topics. Countless meetings have gone on for hours only to leave everyone worn out and wondering what happened. Many leaders and committee heads have started printing agendas and passing them out. The problem is they are not always used. The leader must keep the group on task. One way to accomplish this is to send out the agenda before the meeting. This way everyone knows what to expect and can formulate their thoughts that aid in movement.  When the group begins to stray the leader needs to guide them back to the topic at hand.  Managing a meeting requires a focus and attention to the task at hand.  If the leader simply lets the conversation prattle on indefinitely then hours pass and no decision is made.

3. Making Decisions. I am constantly battling this issue. Often I sit through meetings where there has been grand discussion without any decisions. An agenda that does not drive toward a decision is not useful. Meetings that stay on time and are managed well but do not make decisions leaves the people tired and possibly deciding it was not worth it. I have seen groups dwindle because nothing is happening. A skilled group leader will design the agenda that demands a decision before the end. Certainly we are to discuss. However, some people like to talk about something without conclusions. These types will kill a meeting, a ministry, or any group. They can hijack the group and drive to derision and not decisions. I am not saying that rash decisions should be made with discussion and debate. Excessive talk and off-topic discussion must be squelched in order for the greater good of the group to be experienced.

4. Maintenance. When the alarm sounds, so to speak, the clean up begins. Have all the items been completed? Is another meeting needed? After the meeting the leader or secretary sends a report to the group reminding them what happened. Also, a report needs to be sent up the leadership ladder for accountability. Without this work, we all forget what happened. The decisions made at this meeting might affect other groups in the organization. If these are not shared there could be overlapping resource needs which leads to difficulties.

Adjusting from killer meetings to meetings that kill it takes courage and consistency.  This change does not happen in the first meeting of a group that has a history of babbling without anything beneficial.  Allow for some flexibility and over time your group will start killing it!

 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23 ESV)

We’ll See

In Chrisian Life, Commitment, Faith on July 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

He came in quickly asking about the latest movie that all his friends had seen.  “Can we see it?”, he anxiously asked.  His eyes had that look of desperation.  You could tell that this was something that had been discussed among everyone.  The pleading and begging started.  Dad answered, “We’ll see.”

She had just run in from a girl’s night and asked if she could get her belly button pierced.  The thought crossed her Mom’s mind that at least that wasn’t a nose ring or something worse and responded, “We’ll see.”

I find myself using that statement often these days!  With two kids, I am getting a lot of questions that get answered in the same way!  Though they might not believe it that statement does not always mean “No.”  Sometimes it does.  However, many times it depends on the attitude received and actions seen over the next few hours that determines the final outcome.  My wife and I have taken the position on extra-curricular activities that we wait to see if the topic is brought up more than once.  Our kids come home with notes nearly everyday.  Sifting through it all and examining the calendar gets difficult.  Each will run in and desire to do whatever the note is presenting.  Often we never hear of it again.  Our answer tends to be, “We’ll see.”  The more it comes up in conversation the more consideration it receives.  The final decision is not made because of nagging but what is in the best interest of them and fits within the scope and plan of our raising children in a culture set against Christ.

I am currently facing a particular challenge and am waiting on God.  I have done all that I can on my end but the answer has not come.  I have prayed.  I have cried.  I have begged.  I have pleaded.  There is no resolution yet.  It is as if God has said, “We’ll see.”

Has God ever given you that answer?

He believed in God, who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. 19 He considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and also considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb, without weakening in the faith. 20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Every day, every month, every year, Abraham would go to God and ask if it was time for the promise to be fulfilled.  God would say, “We’ll see.”  God knew when it would be the right time.  God had a plan and would not waver from that plan.  Abraham had to settle with waiting.

Are you waiting on God?  Have you begged for help? Or healing? Or a child?  Do you feel God has responded with “We’ll see.”?

Believe in God.  It all starts here.  Do we believe in the provision and power of Christ?  Do we believe that God can do all that He has promised?  Belief is not an automatic action.  We must choose to believe and often in the face of extreme challenges.  Abraham was getting old and Sarah was barren.  Your predicament is a calamity.  Your grief is deep.  Your unemployment is imminent.  Will you believe that God’s plan is best?  Will you believe that God’s power is certain?  Will you believe?

Do not waver.  The imagery Scripture gives here is like tall grass.  When grass is short it does not blow in the wind.  As time passes, the grass gets taller and will begin to blow with the wind.  As time passes on the needs of our lives it becomes easier to be like that tall grass.  We can blow with the winds of impatience, infidelity, and faulty instruction.  In these moments we must stand firm in the Word of God.  Stay focused on Scripture more than societal trends.  Talk to the Father more than Facebook.

Give glory to God.  Worship is a vital part of sticking with the plan and purpose of God.  Corporate and private worship is like finding water in a desert.  Waiting creates a parched spirituality unless we give thanks and glory regularly.

Attitude makes all the difference.  Will everything work out?  Yes.  Will it happen just like you desire?  We’ll see.

Off the Hook

In Chrisian Life, Journey, Suffering on April 18, 2013 at 8:03 am

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I pulled out my phone the other day to make call.  I had a question and needed an answer pretty quick.  It rang and rang but no one answered.  I thought it odd so I hung up and tried back.  It rang and rang.  No one answered.  No voice mail picked up.  Nothing but an incessant ringing.

Was something wrong?
Were they injured?
Were the phone lines down?
Did I call the right number?
Had I done something wrong and they were refusing to answer?

It turned out to be nothing.  But when I needed an answer I felt all alone.  Anxiety for their well-being and stress over my problem both rose quickly.

Has that ever happened to you with God?  Have you ever felt like God was not listening?  Have you ever felt God did not care?  There are cherished moments when I felt such a strong bond with God.  There are also those moments when I felt like I had lost connection.  Why is that?  For me, the seasons of dissonance are a result of personal sin.  I feel distant, lonely, anxious, and scared.  A person really appreciates what they have usually only when they lose it.  The closeness of God, the joy of His presence, the peace that passes understanding are all easily taken for granted.

9 but as for me, I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving.   Jonah 2

Jonah had walked away from God.  He literally  went in the opposite direction!  He found himself in a big mess.  In the middle he made that statement above.  He was going to worship with thanksgiving even though his present circumstance were horrible.  Thanksgiving?  How could he give thanks?  He would because he realized that he could be dead.  Things could get worse.  He thanked God.  He realized that the mess he sat in was his own just like our is.  Paul wrote,

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 3:6

We have become awesome at taking needs to God!  We can throw up our prayer list, post it on Facebook, or Tweet it so all can know our problems.  We often engage in spiritual manipulation telling others they must pass it on for a blessing.  The reality is that my problems are my problems and not yours.  While Christian brotherhood would demand that we bear one another’s burdens, in the end they are still my problems.  Jonah had his.  I have mine.  You have yours.

The real question is what are you going to do about them?

Jonah cried out to God in worship with thanksgiving.  I tend to whine.  You?  Paul tells us to take our anxieties to God with thanksgiving.  I tend to stress out, take it out on others, and attempt to work it out on my own.  You?  Your situation, like mine, must be owned.  You must come before God and own up for whatever your part was.  Accept the situation as it is and worship God with thanksgiving.  Then you may claim the second half of Paul’s statement: and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.

Own Up.  Grow Up.  Send Up.  Watch the blessings come down.  Gotta go…phone’s ringing!

Carpe Diem

In Control, Leviticus, Trust on February 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

Dead Poets Society

Image via Wikipedia

Several years ago Dead Poets Society engaged many viewers.  Though not a new statement, “Carpe Diem” became popular again.  Every one of us went around using that on posters, in speeches, to the lunch ladies….  Seize the day!  Take advantage of every moment.  Why should we waste precious time trying to fix or change that which cannot: the past?  Why should we worry over things that are yet to be that we have not control over: the future?  Let us seize the day.

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. 3 So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. 4 You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. 5 If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18:1-5

Countless people lose sleep and years of life trying to get back to an earlier time of life when things were seemingly more serene and special.  You know them as “the good old days”.  We all have them.  For some it is the post-war abundance and joy.  For others it was the free love and Woodstock.  For me, the 80’s encompassed what is the good old days.  I think it has something to do with our teenage years.  Those years when all is wrong and yet everything is right;  when every bump is a mountain to climb and every mountain is the hill worth dying on the for principle of the matter.  We look back.  We yearn for the innocence when we did not understand bills and babies, and insurance and insufficient funds.  We wish to embrace the days of puppy love and passionate kisses.

Unfortunately, those days are gone.  The Lord expresses to us through this scripture that we are not to look back to Egypt and fall back into unhealthy patterns.  In addition, we are not to look forward to the Canaanites and engage in defiance and rebellion.  How man of us obsess over the weather?  The Weather Channel for tv, web, and app has created an obsession for me I never knew.  During a cold snap recently, I found myself looking at the weather often.  Who did I think I was?  Can I change the weather?  If I look one more time will it suddenly give me a portal into the cosmic weather station and allow adjustments?  Of course not.  However, that would be COOL! We cannot change anything about tomorrow.

We do have the ability and responsibility for today.  Carpe Diem.  Take hold of God today while you can.  We cannot change yesterday and God still loves you.  You cannot determine tomorrow so let God handle it.  Your effect comes right now.  Choose God.  Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus!

Carpe Diem!

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