Yes and no. I'm sure most of my readers, who are those who don't get all the "tech talk", have heard of a carbon footprint. It was (and still is) a big deal in the world - well a digital footprint is about the same thing. The simple definition of a digital footprint is your impact on the internet. netlingo.com defines digital footprint as:
An expression that refers to the way technology now pervades everyone's lives, your "digital footprint" specifically describes the trail you leave in cyberspace and on any form of digital communication.
That's a pretty good definition from where I sit. What you're not reading is that unlike a paper trail you can't get rid of the digital footprint. However, like your carbon footprint you can lessen your digital footprint. I'm not sure you can do this with a carbon footprint, but you can, affect your digital footprint. Take social media for example - what you put on Facebook, twitter, or YouTube colors how people perceive you. Those are just a few of the major social networking sites. What about sites/mobile apps like Pintrest, Instagram, Vine, or pheed (just to name a few)? Those allow unfiltered access to your everyday life. Does that raise some red flags? It does for me - maybe it should for you too. I'm not suggesting that we censor the internet - 'cause that would be crazy. But, we need to be careful about what we put out on the internet. Especially those who are younger - it has an impact on your employment. I guarantee that if I interview you for a job, I will Google your name when you leave my office! What do you think? Can we have an impact on our digital footprint?
Has anyone else noticed that mainline denominations are dying? I have and it scares me, so I started doing some research and I found something disturbing. Most churches are years behind the technology age. By years behind I mean at least ten years if not more! As of the writing of this post it is 2013 so if the church is ten years behind then their websites look like they are from 1993….there wasn’t really the internet in 1993. In the mid nineties churches started getting into the digital world – but here’s the thing – that’s all they did.
Check out this infographic - courtesy of our friends over at churchmag.Did you notice this trend?Businesses use social media everyday to promote their product – why should the church not use social media to share Jesus?Don’t just see this as an opportunity to put more butts in the seats!See it for the tool that it is!It’s a way for us to share Jesus in new ways!
But, the internet is an evil thing!Look at all the bad stuff that happens on the internet!We shouldn’t associate ourselves with that!
“Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.” – Romans12:2, Common English Bible
Some older translations say “…be in the world but not of the world…” how are we going to reach those people who don’t know Christ if we are not found where they are?The simple answer is you can’t.It’s impossible.
Look at Martin Luther – did you know he used a typeset printing press to publish the first Bible written in the language of the people (for him and his people that was German)?The printing press is technology.The apostles and their contemporaries took oral tradition and wrote it down on papyrus.Ink and paper – that’s technology.Jesus took Jewish religious law and the sacrificial system and crucified it on the cross.The cross, although a gruesome example, is technology.
We don’t have anything to fear from technology.Do you believe “…God works all things together for good…” (CEB, Rom 8.28)?I do.And, if you believe Romans 8:28, then I would think you would also believe that God – can use – and will use – the internet for his glory!
Changing the way we think is revolutionary.That’s the base for all revolutions any way, right?A change in the way it has always been done isn’t an easy thing to do but it’s what God has called us to do.Jesus was revolutionary, the apostles were revolutionary, the church fathers – revolutionaries…
Okay friends....I'm sure that most of you are wondering why I haven't posted hardly anything during Lent.
It's because I'm reworking my blog....be on the lookout for the newly revamped revolution - coming in April.
This year for Lent I gave up being quiet. That manifested itself in a way that I had not intended (but then again...when does God ever speak how we intended?) I'm not changing everything about the blog - I'm still going to be talking about how we love God - but how we look at it and the way that I'm going to talk about it is going to change. See....I'm a tech guy - in fact - I LOVE social media and we are missing out on this mission field!
The mainline denominational churches are usually behind popular culture - that means that we need to step it up and realize the importance of this growing subculture. A lot of churches have the 90's website design and attempt to do ministry with zero technology budget...we can't do that...we're missing out!
God! My God! It’s you— I search for you! My whole being thirsts for you! My body desires you in a dry and tired land, no water anywhere.– Ps. 63:1, CEB
Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face? My tears have been my food both day and night, as people constantly questioned me, “Where’s your God now?”- Ps. 42:1-3, CEB
Today is Ash Wednesday – the 40 day journey of Lent begins today.On this day we are to be reminded of our sin and be called to repentance.
As today appears to be shaping up to be a lovely day I thought I might grab a bit of help from the United Methodist Book of Worship to help set the mood:
“The visual environment should be solemn and stark.Purple is the traditional color throughout Lent; but on Ash Wednesday gray, with its suggestion of ashes, is especially appropriate.Dark earth colors or any somber hues are also appropriate.Rough, coarse textures such as burlap – sackcloth and ashes – suggest the character of the day and season.” – UM Book of Worship, 1992 p321
I hope that you take services today seriously but be reminded that this is also the start of the Christian New Year!Ash Wednesday begins our journey towards the empty tomb.
For more on Ash Wednesday - watch this video from our friend Chuck!
If I was going to subtitle this post it would be Shrove Tuesday - What I'm giving up for Lent. Today is Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday if you're a Mardi Gras fan...and technically today is not a day in Lent...but...it is often celebrated by many people as a way to "kickoff" the Lenten season - check out this video by Chuck to get a better understanding of Shrove Tuesday:
I am almost tempted to say that United Methodists should fast from doing things for God. Instead, we should relearn how to talk about what God has already done for us. We need to start by telling ourselves about Jesus, about what he has already done for us and which we cannot do for ourselves – practicing it until none of us are embarrassed or hesitant to say the name of Jesus. We need to state clearly that we are all desperate for God’s grace, that without it we are utterly and hopelessly lost. - What We Are FOR Isn’t Good Enough, Vital Piety
Why did this speak to me? Because this is the heart of what I'm trying to get at here and I realize that I haven't done it. Essentially the love of God is His grace - that free gift that we have been given and yet we/I have not spoken of it. I've been so concerned with the "content" of this blog that I haven't posted anything in fear that I might not give the appropriate response - but this is the response - this is what it should be. God loves us unconditionally! That's God's love and that's revolutionary - isn't it? How do we express that? Action - right? Sure - and I'm not suggesting that we give up being revolutionary in that way - but why are we doing it? Kevin says we (as United Methodists) need to be for conversion and holiness. I know some of you who read this aren't United Methodists and so you're probably thinking that I'm not talking to you - but I am! Let's try and take this outside of the UM circle for a second and see what we get.
We need to be for conversion. Think about it friends - what good are we doing if we don't do anything for the salvation of those we help? Isn't that the greatest gift we can give someone? Jesus Christ. That is a gift that indeed keeps on giving. Shouldn't we all be about loving others in a fashion that is indeed Christ.
Which is easier—to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? - Lk. 5:23, CEB
He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” - Matt. 22:37-40, CEB
Do you see that? Loving God and the forgiveness of sins is first! It is an integral part of loving as Christ loved!
We need to be for holiness. I know those of you who aren't UM are starting to shy away from this - but don't leave me now! We need to be for holiness - see if we don't express God's love in all that we do then we are no different from everyone else. We are indeed sinners saved by the grace of God and it is that gift of grace that makes us different! It is that gift of grace that we should be preaching! That is the love of God! I am not suggesting that we are unavoidably stuck in a grace trap - but instead we are simply entangled in a grace blanket. We are wrapped up in grace and it's a free gift that has been offered to us.
So what am I giving up for Lent this year? Silence. I'm giving up being quiet about grace. I'm giving up being quiet about Jesus' love for us. Why? Because that is his love for us - that is the revolution! It's free grace, it's a call to Christian Perfection. That being said - it's time to say it - if it offends you - I apologize and I love you but the call to Christan Perfection is a vital part of the Christian lifestyle.
If you don't know what I'm talking about I'd suggest you read some information on Christian Perfection from The Wesley Center and weigh it evenly. Ask yourself this question - does God not call us to love?
This year for Lent, I seriously considered a social media fast. I know, some of you are thinking - how is that fasting he hardly posts any way!
But then I realized that we are coming into the season of Lent this is the Christian New Year. We have an opportunity to start over - to reflect on our relationship with God and re-examineourselves. This should be a time of self - reflection and prayer - are you giving something up this year? If not, why? Have you ever given something up? Maybe you should - it might get you out of that spiritual rut you're in right now.
I am often meeting with people who question their purpose in life. Have you ever wanted to start over? Guess what? Today is that day - the day to take off our old self and put on the person of Christ. Lent is that time to repurpose ourselves. We are always looking for ways to change the lives of those we meet - start with yourself and let God do the rest.
This Lenten season we can draw closer to God and in doing so - we will change who we are.