shhpicJust a quick thought:
 
I know it is well meaning for many of us to just post things about the Lord, the Scriptures, Jesus Christ, the Gospel and how God works, is, thinks, acts etc. One thing needs to run through our minds before we hit the “post” button.
  1. Is what I am saying true? If I think yes, then go to number 2.
  2. The proof of what I am saying is in the context of the bible and it is found in the book of _______ chapter ___ verses ___ through ___.
  3. If number two cannot be filled in, delete the post and move on.
 
Why should I delete it? Because God does not take his name lightly.
 
Isaiah 48:9-11 plus numerous other places and examples of His wrath and glory being upheld because people acted or spoke apart from His word.
 
For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
 
Why? Because God brings ruin to all those who defame Him and speak for him wrongly.
 
James 3:1; Eph 4:14-15;
 
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Rev 22:18-19
 
What if MY thoughts on God are different that the bible? Well, then you should surely be quiet. Because ANYTHING or ANYONE that speaks apart from Scripture, according to Scripture, are condemned and are NOT IN THE LIGHT.
 
Romans 16:17-20 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
 
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed
—1 Corinthians 16:22
 
So, be careful or be quiet. God has never promised any of the following in His word:
 
Prosperity in money or materialism.
Eternal Healing.
Power or prestige in this life.
Knowledge outside the written word.
Prophetic Authority apart from scripture.
Will power over circumstances.
A promise to avoid pain and suffering.
Bigger faith, bigger gifts.
Speaking ANYTHING into being.
A requirement to plant seeds of faith to receive anything.
 
What has God promised?
 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
 
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV)
Have a problem with this?  I would humbly accept an audience with you, in front of anyone as long as we can bring our bibles.
For His Glory by His Grace,
Pastor James

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

Brain Slave Facebook Sins“I have to fix the internet!”  This is a slapstick phrase I have heard many times in my own home and abroad when dealing with the idea that someone is wrong online and “I” or someone else, must make sure they know it and make it right.  While there is something innately heroic about such things, it really comes down to being an opinion police or worse, trying to be the God of the world.  Before I move on let me say that I use social media, I blog at times and I enjoy the occasional debate within my social sphere.  Through it all, we believers are bound by power to do all things for the glory of Christ and to be humble, concerned and affectionate toward all people, even those who disagree.

While I desire to make everything right (in contradiction to this very article) in many areas, I understand that I have to just place what is on my heart in simple and succinct ways and that if I ever desire to do a Ph.D. in “Corrective Rightness” then I may need to fully disclose every angle of possible issues, outcomes and arguments from these points, but today, let’s just think about a few things.

ADDICTION

For the most part, I think that at times we fail to see that we have an addiction to social things.  We love to “check” our email, get a text, see our Facebook posts, count the likes, the shares, the comments and the number of “friends” we have.  We enjoy seeing who cares, who sneers and who jeers at us along with the overwhelming desire to have our cronies back us up and begin to fight for us.  In the end, we need to realize just what kind of evil idolatry rests at the root of such desires.  We are selfish and want to be the center of things.  Even when we are in good intentions, sometimes we are elated when something “blows up” online.  We love it, we get up and go to bed with it on our minds and when this is true for us, we need to realize we have a true  addiction .

EGO

This one is easy to see.  We really think we have the answer and we really think that our thoughts and comments are what is going to set the record straight.  Well, remember “pride comes before the fall.”  So, before we jump into something that wasn’t even said to us or for us, let’s consider if we think more highly of ourselves than we should.

STEWARDSHIP

Money or course would come to mind with this word, but in this issue, I think it’s more of a time management issue.  Everyone I know is busy.  They don’t have time to meet, talk, pray, study, serve, share their faith, spend time with their kids, work on their marriage, get in shape, learn a new trade, help their neighbor or just get the right amount of sleep; but they ALL have ample HOURS to update, comment, post, ping, tweet, insta”slam” and everything else.  Who are we kidding?  We have plenty of time, we just love wasting it on so-called “important” issues.  Get real.  Nuff said.

GLORY

This is redundant from the “ego” area, but it has a more theological and spiritual implication.  We must guard ourselves against seeking glory as the “winner” or the “warrior” and realize that what Christ has given through the Spirit is a humble and quiet resolve.  A spirit of desiring truth without causing more problems.  This is seen mainly in the “multi-faceted” areas of expertise that everyone seems to hold online and in truth, none of us are actually thinking right when we seek glory.

OUTCOME

When it’s all said and done let’s ask ourselves, “What am I leaving behind?”  Will it be honoring to me, my family, my community, and my Lord?  Will the battle reveal the power of God or something else?  Am I spending my attention on things that are godless and counterproductive to my calling and my adoption as a child of God?  If things like this don’t stop, there could be catastrophic outcomes:

  1. Depression.  Yes, a continued desire to be the light of the internet world and shine on every problem from here to Helena will cause a deep emotional dissatisfaction that concludes in a depressed and broken mind and heart.  But that’s what happens when we put our lives away for the sake of darkness instead of light.
  2. Division.  How many “friends” are lost through silly and non-vital foolishness?  Taking things wrongly and assuming the worst is not the fruit of God, but the fruitless work of darkness.
  3. Darkness.  People will type things they would never say in public.  There is something really wicked about this and for many, it changes their temperament and in some cases, proves them to be unbelievers.
  4. Delusion.  Seeing what is not there to be seen and making one’s own mind dull because the gospel is not central and without glorious food, we all die.
  5. Death.  The wages of sin is death.  Sin and temptation is not just the sinful actions of debauchery, but the subtle attitudes of delight that we get when we engage to “correct” everything.

CAVEAT

OK, please do not hear what I am not saying.  There are times to correct, point out and make known darkness.  Paul teaches us this in several places (Eph 5, Titus etc.) but he also teaches that it is the work and guiding of those who are spiritual for the sake of the safety and sanctity of the body of Christ.  God is not in need of a defender and the purpose of these thoughts are for reflection, not aggravation.

NOW WHAT?

Now let’s settle our hearts and minds and follow some clear and practical things that will help us in our never-ending battle against the never-ending battle against the never-ending battle against …. you get the point.

  1. Pray that God will show us the way that is light and true and honorable.
  2. Be settled when something disagrees with us online and let it go.
  3. When we have to engage, be sure it is only because we know and love the person involved and we do it PRIVATELY.
  4. Block things and people who continue to cause division or derail our joy.
  5. Delete the medium that causes us sin; such as Facebook or Twitter.  We don’t need them anyway.

This scripture preaches itself, so I have no need to explain it.  Print it out, put it on your desk, make it your header, tattoo it on your hands and most surely your heart and you will have peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9 ESV)

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James H. Tippins