Just a short search reveals that there are a plethora of articles written about the pros and cons of social media. And there’s no lack of commentators on the concept that social media and mobile living have negative consequences. The purpose of this writing is not to revisit these issues nor is it to actually add to the conversation, but to look at the use of social media, text messages, and non-personal communication as un-biblical and most applications.  What I mean by that is this, that the word of God regulates all that we do as Christians, and because of this the word of God must regulate our use, our language, and our communication when using technology. Without such thinking the Christian community finds itself much like the world when it comes to the use of Facebook or twitter and even the use of text messaging. As a pastor of the local church, I’m finding more and more conflict and sin arising from the fleshly assumptions that are inferred from the non-communicative use of these platforms. After all, if we are to do all things for the glory of God into the honor of his name, and we are to at all times be considering how we are to spur one another on toward  love and good deeds, then we must be very critical and discerning on how we speak, what we share, and how we look to the outside world and to each other when laying our words into public view. The church of Jesus Christ is the light of the world, that means that we reflect his nature, his heart, his words, and the fullness of the glory of God in reflection as his body. Therefore to say and do something that is contrary to the heart and nature of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the God who created all things and to his holy and above all, is to bring shame and reproach upon the name of Jesus. There is much I would like to say, but I feel it vital to stick to the matter of most importance.

Anonymity in Consequences reveal the Truth of the Heart (Matt 15:18)

In reality, the heart of man is revealed in his words above many things. Those words are a product of his true nature, and if the words on social platforms are not reflective of Christ, then they are devoid of Christ. This goes from the type of things we “like”, “share” or discuss and most importantly, it moves into our conversations and engagements. If our interaction with people is small bits of online trivia or even spiritual memes or bible verses then who are we really talking to? The ‘one’ or the whole? And when we speak on the web, why is it that we are able to say things in such a manner that seems to provide no shame or restraint? This happens because there is really no consequences for our words online. No frowns, no harsh looks, and no real empathy of having to see someone else who is hurt by what we say and how we say it. Now there is a point where sometimes people just read wrongly what we mean but even in that, we ought to consider the fact that we may cause someone else to stumble due to our “freedom” of expression.  It is better to remain quiet and “seem” wise than to speak and be shown an idiot. (Proverbs 17:28… look it up.) So, I believe that the church ought to employ policies that incorporate social platforms and text messages because it is our words and it is our hearts. So, if I offend you in person or online, it is a matter of gospel proportions to which the word of God commands reconciliation. Imagine being brought under public discipline in the church because of your facebook page. Remember out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks – or types.

Mission of Social Voice conflicts with Message of the Savior (Mark 16:15)

While it is true that Christian should be concerned with issues related to justice, social problems, economics etc.; we should relate to these things as they are presented in scripture: temporal and certain. And at times we should cry out when injustice prevails and wickedness reigns so that we are lights pointing to and shining out of darkness. We are not to be so dominated by these matters that our light just becomes darkness. We are not to mis-engage the culture with culture but we are to confront the culture with the gospel. There is NO HOPE in government but there is MUCH HOPE in Jesus Christ. So, when we spend all of our waking hours promoting our views, our desires, our opinions or even our platforms we have missed the boat and left the gospel out. There is not to even be balance on these matters because we should be known for the gospel so that when we speak of other things, it shocks people into listening. “Wow, he said something about _______, all he ever talks about is Christ, we better see what has taken his time from Jesus and pay attention.”  Just a thought…

Communication is Thought Flowing not Sound Bites (Col 4:6)

When we communicate, there are many ways to do so and much of communication is non-verbal. So when words are heard the hearer must judge what is being said in the context of SYNTAX and COUNTENANCE.  So, a small bite of information on a page, phone or computer is not communication worth considering. Who can explain a theological position in 140 characters? Who can expose all the points of view on an issue with a “share” or “like”? What text message is not going to be read from the emotional state of the recipient? See the point? We are called to communicate truth and engage the world with truth while we engage each other with truth. When our life consists of continued sound bites, that’s all we are; a pundit talking head with no meaning. So, when using sound bite technology, it must ALWAYS point people to a real relationship that is going to suffer and grow as it matures.

Judgment is Made from a Part instead of Knowing the Fullness in Wisdom (Prov 1:5 & Jas 3:13)

Recently I responded publicly to a private request to review some material on a very controversial subject. I did so because I typed the word “done” in the comment section instead of the reply section to the private post. In doing so I was bombarded by people from all across the nation accusing me of things that they “assumed” the word “done” meant. Then they began to pass judgment on my character, my faith and my purpose. While I first took these things personally, I realized how quickly such things can devour the church, so I have decided to do no more comments other than personal engagement in a public way. (Like, “Great job son….”) While there may be exceptions, for the most part when we speak personally online or via text, it is misunderstood because there is no context. We need to stop this stupidity and learn to talk on the phone so we can explain ourselves as the LORD commands us to. Oh yeah, it does BEHOOVE each of us in Christ to answer biblical rebuke to our character. Anyone who thinks otherwise should be warned. The Bible is in authority over us. (that’s a period)

Breeding of Trivial and Temporal Mindsets oppose Making Disciples of all Nations (Matt 28:19-20)

I guess breeding may be a poor choice of words but it’s how I view it. One places text for view and then another reads it and at the end of the day we know our personality type, our favorite food, have seen three people set themselves on fire and read 100 memes about how God is so good. So what? It’s silly and worthless and has no eternal value at all making it a huge waste of time. It would be different if it wasn’t a continual factory of nonsense, but it’s constant. Let’s be intentional in our disciple making. Leave a legacy not a laughing stock.

Pride of Opinion defuncts Precious Gospel-Powered Affection (1 Cor 13:7)

This one speaks for itself. The ultimate sin of such things is that we lose sight of Christ and our love for each other because the wickedness of our world consumes us and for some strange reason we feel that it is worth divorce.

Idolatry of gods vs the Incredible God of Truth (1 John 5:21)

Time is spent somewhere… and boy it surprises me sometimes when I log onto the web in the evenings to see people who have shared everything under the sun starting at 9PM and continuing until 2AM. Where would these people be if they prayed that much? Where would the nation and the church be if the people of God spent more time praying than spraying silliness across the “interwebs”? Let us repent of such idolatry. If it isn’t time then maybe it is ZEAL. That’s right… I see people walking around with their phones never to have a moment without it open. I learned years ago that I hated technology in my face when I don’t want it there. So, I leave my phone at home or else I would be subject to the same aggravation. It’s time that Christians get out of touch because honestly, we are not in touch in ANY good way. And even if we are, the side views and other things that catch our eye to see the good far outweigh the worth of the good. Maybe it’s time we just go back to connecting with no public profiles at all, no smart phones and no wasted lives.  We must put Christ at the center of our lives if He is indeed our Savior. If He cannot be the center, then He isn’t the center and our profession of faith is a lie and we do not practice the truth. So, utilize social media as if Christ is seeing it, because He is, because He is the Lord of Facebook, Twitter, Texts, Youtube and all!

There is a place for things. I just don’t think it is what it should be for holy people. I will be posting my own journey on this road and the steps I am taking to secure not just my witness but intimacy with my family and friends for the sake of growing in grace instead of growing without a face.

Seriously Engaged by the Grace of God for your Good.

Pastor James

Although there is much that will be said and speculated.  The call of the church is for her to petition the Lord of all things for His sovereign grace in these matters with Pastor Mahaney as well as with all of us.

Mahaney’s board has stated:

“The charges against C.J. are serious, but his response has been one of self-examination and, when possible, specific confession to those sinned against.  However, given the numerous events, people, and perspectives involved, the work of an independent panel will be vital to fully examining these charges and arriving at an objective conclusion, especially on those charges with which the board does not agree.”

Mahaney issued his own lengthy statement here.

“These charges are not related to any immorality or financial impropriety, but this doesn’t minimize their serious nature, which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy.”

“I believe God is kindly disciplining me through this. I believe I have by the grace of God perceived a degree of my sin, and I have been grieved by my sin and its effects on others.  I have had the opportunity to confess my sin to some of those affected in various ways by my sin.”

In light of this, let us pray for our brother, his ministry and greatly for the glory of God to be revealed through His grace.  Let us also reflect continually on our own hearts, our own pride, our own wickedness and sin and resolve to tremble before the mighty hand of God who gives grace by His own desire, not of human decision or merit.

1 Peter 2:18-25 (ESV)
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.
19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.
20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.
23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

An article detailing this can be read here: http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2011/07/08/serious-charges-vs-popular-pastor-author-mahaney/

Brothers and sisters, this is a good video, please find a few minutes to watch. Created by a brother in Christ “Identity313” on YouTube.

Related Media

This is a wonderfully short message to pastors at the SBC’s Aspire Conference this week. You can find some good notes on this message HERE at Ben Terry’s blog. Thanks Ben!

ASPIRE Msg: John Piper from Hope Baptist Church, Las Vegas on Vimeo.

As we can now see, nothing happened. Why? Because God has never and will never reveal His judgment day to the world. It is not for the church to count the days and preach such things but the church has a call to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ!

This video is a good response to Camping’s prophesies. Let us pray for revival through the power of God and HIS gospel!

Yes, I know that I have “mispelled” [sic] shepherds as “sheepherds” because I want to make a point about the role of a pastor/shepherd among the church.  Often I talk with fellow pastors who continually tell me that they cannot meet the demands of the congregation.  When I ask what they mean, they reply with, “I am unable to meet the emotional needs of individuals in the church.”  To this I reply, “if you keep trying, you are unfit for the ministry.”  There seems to be a severely misaligned view of what a pastor is or should be and how his ministry should look.

Although there is much to be said about how to measure successful pastoral ministry, let me boil it down to one word: faithfulness!  A man of God is called to feed, tend and care for the sheep of which he is a part.  Pastors are not the SHEPHERD but an undershepherd or “sheepherd” that should be pointing the flock to trust and rely on the True Chief Shepherd who is Christ.  When any one person feels that a pastor is their “personal” pastoral counselor and chaplain, they have placed themselves above the church of Jesus Christ and in turn, placed their pastor in a place of perpetual failure.

Pastors main role is to POINT and provide opportunity for the sheep to grow to MATURITY, not be their savior.  The main problem is that tradition has clouded the reality of God’s word when it comes to the purpose of the church and the role of the pastor.  Although some pastors are gifted in certain areas and called to different ministries while they shepherd, the primary and foundational role of a pastor is the point to Christ through the faithful prayer, study and teaching of the word of God so that through the word of God, lives are brought to faith and equipped and strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus so that God receives glory.

Just a little thought for the day…

James Tippins

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-5:4 ESV)

Tonight I have found myself in a superb discussion on prayer with several people in two places. As we have dialoged, I have searched for succinct thoughts by reputable teachers of the Word and found Dr. DA Carson talking on the matter. Hope you enjoy.

If you have any questions that you would like to pose for our first 2011 Q&A, please let us know by posting it to the blog, tweeting us or pinging us on Facebook.

We are looking forward to our monthly sessions being live online very soon.  Stay tuned.

Thinking back on Thanksgiving day is sometimes a somber time.  It reminds me of the reality of even the poorest of poor have so much in God’s providence, especially in America.  It reminds me of all that God allows us to have, dream of and establish in our lives and at the same time, it is a conviction of these things.

I was considering my short life thus far this morning and this thought came to my head, “When my life is over, whenever that may be, I want those who knew me to surely grasp where my absolute affections laid.” As this thought mulled over in my mind for about twenty minutes, I begin to sort through affections and places I give my attention in life to see what others might say.

Sadly, I have been shown the real and present need of God’s grace in that I have too many affections that divide my time for the glory of God.  I guess that is why Paul speaks so bold in regards to giving “glory to Christ” in all things and why Jesus speaks of “seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven” so that our lustful hearts will continually strive in His power to love Him above all things.

This kind of thinking requires, for me, a listing of things that often times get in the way of my ultimate treasure who is Christ and can easily be mistaken as my absolute affections, especially if I am not here to defend against them.  So for the record and for my own worship, I wanted to expose a few of them that maybe someone else might glean for themselves some idols.  I am also aware that many who read this will say, “this guy is crazy, these are not “wrong” to love”.  And you might be correct, but be warned that if you love them above Christ, they are your treasure and HE IS NOT.  God’s mercy abounds in our unbelief and ignorance – praise be to God!

My short list of affections that sometimes take first chair can easily be seen in my children and my bride.  Although I am to love them as Christ loves the church and lead my children in the ways of the Lord, my family is not Christ and I do not want to be known for loving my family above all things, but second to Christ.  This is a problem with many Christian families in that they put themselves and their relative homes in front of the gospel of Christ and in turn become worshipers of the idol of family.  Something interesting to note is that the children in our care are given to us by God that they might grow up and “leave” the parents and “cleave” to another thereby displaying a miniature picture of the gospel.  Then our marriages and theirs, are to reflect the eternal nature of the gospel of Christ and will one day cease.  This tells me that even our families are dying things and our affections for them above Christ is a dying affection placed on perishable things.  Something to consider.

With this being said, our entire purpose on this world is to give glory to Christ and long for the day when we see Him face-to-face.  That day when all that we have done is over and what we have left to do is worship His majesty.  This is the legacy of a true child of God, to leave behind an unmistakable reality that their affections were for Christ above all things and my prayer is that my dying day would usher in that thought into all who morn by departure.

I read through 2 Corinthians as I finish this post and resign with these words:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ESV)

For His Eternal Glory

James H. Tippins