Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Virtual Following

Bill Gates, yes the real Bill Gates, joined Twitter January 19.

Are you interested to know what Bill thinks or what Bill is doing throughout the day? If so you’re not alone. On the first day of Bill tweeting he was picking up 1,000 followers a minute!

Though the pace cooled off later to 100 new followers a minute it certainly can be called a watershed moment in microblogging.

After several imposters appearing in the blogosphere in recent years now the real @billgates can be followed.

All of this “following” makes me a bit nervous. Following is being redefined right before our eyes.

Virtual following is really a type of voyeurism. By that I’m meaning the definition of “an obsessive observer of sensational subjects.”

I’m on twitter and facebook and some other social networks and enjoy some of the interaction so I’m not trying to kill everyone’s fun.

The point is that when Jesus says to a potential disciple, “Follow Me”, He’s not inviting you to merely observe or watch. Jesus invites us to “do life” with Him.

You don’t watch Jesus go to dangerous places and engage in risky relationships. You go and do likewise, with Him.

You don’t watch Jesus care for the needy or oppressed. You give care also.

Following Jesus involves more than reading a few lines or tapping a few keystrokes. Following Jesus is a plunge of your whole life, not your screen life or username, into ventures that literally hurt and damage your life. Like Jesus, you become “poor” so that others know His “riches”.

Are you a follower of Jesus?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Night Musings

It’s Sunday night and as usual I’m reflecting on the events and conversations from the morning. After an inspiring baptism of a friend who is already having an exciting faith adventure with Christ, I had the opportunity to pray for a young family who exemplify faith regarding their newborn and multiple heart surgeries to come.

Then there was the sermon. For those who have never delivered a sermon, it is a remarkable experience. After 35 years of preaching I still marvel that God lets me do it. The process of praying and studying continues to change my life. And, the actual time of speaking is almost always a dynamic time of God stirring and editing in my mind and heart.

So, how did it go today? I never really know but I did come across a helpful list that gives a clue when the sermon is in trouble.

7. The worship band begins playing you off the stage
6. The congregation is filling in the blanks of your outline before you get there.
5. When you pause for dramatic effect several people giggle.
4. Your cell phone starts ringing and you answer it.
3. When the children are dismissed to junior church, most of the parents go too.
2. Desperate mothers are pinching their babies.
1. The ushers are handing out refunds.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Brit Hume: A lesson in Perseverance

Some of my readers predicted that more would be made of Brit Hume making a comment about the advisability of Tiger Woods following the Christian faith than would be made of the truthfulness of the comment. Right you were.

In the embedded video Bill O’Reilly interviews Brit Hume about the controversy that erupted in the 24 hours following his comments (if you’re viewing this through a reader you may want to click through to my site in order to see the video).

Though some of the backlash has been hot and personal Hume has not backed down from his assertion that the Christian faith has a lot to offer when it comes to forgiveness of sin and redemption. There is something to be learned from Hume’s example of perseverance.

Note that Hume did not get defensive in response to being attacked. Neither was Hume apologetic for making remarks based upon his convictions. He clarified that he was not denigrating Buddhism. Hume did not soften or withdraw his opinion but merely reiterated by way of his personal experience how powerful the Christian faith had worked in his own life.

In a free society that also values tolerance it seems to me that Brit Hume was a glowing example of how to give free expression of faith without being obnoxious, denigrating or disrespectful.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Brit Hume: A lesson in Authenticity

(If viewing this through a reader you may need to click through to my site to see video)
Imagine being on national television with millions watching. Imagine sitting on a panel with national journalists discussing various items of national interest and importance. I’m already intimidated, what about you?

Now imagine that the topic of conversation turns to Tiger Woods. How can Tiger ever recover from the disclosure of his sins? He’s lost his family. He’s lost his reputation. It remains to be seen if he can recover his golf game and compete at a high level again.

To this Brit Hume says, “Tiger’s recovery is dependent upon his faith. He claims to be a Buddhist which I don’t think offers him the forgiveness and redemption that the Christian faith offers. My advice would be that he turn to the Christian faith.”

As a Christ follower I am in complete agreement with Hume but the thing that struck me is how authentic Hume was in offering the opinion and advice. In a day when most are very careful in what they say and how they say it Hume clearly articulated what he saw to be Tiger’s best hope for recovery.

This week we may not be in settings that feature national commentators and large audiences but we will be with those that just as desperately need the forgiveness and redemption that Tiger needs. Will we be able to say so and be authentic?