Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What Christians Call Themselves on Twitter

Here's an interesting article on what Christians call themselves on Twitter. Apparently the term "Christian" is not-too-frequently used on the profiles of, well, Christians. The author observes, "But here’s what struck me. Very few used the word Christian, and no one used the word Evangelical- not a single profile in my wanderings."

The author of the article also lists some interesting profile descriptions he found with his snarky commentary in parentheses below...

"Jesus Adventurer (…and the Temple of Doom)
Undershephard of Jesus Christ (Looks great on a church business card)
Happy clappy Jesus lover (Mission strategy- balloon animals)
JesusFreak (The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland)
Advancer of the Kingdom (and Knight of the Communion Table)
Saint and sinner whose only hope is Jesus Christ (In other words, I’m still a jerk)
Jesus loves me (Maybe, but I’m his favorite)
Servant to the Son of Man (Award for most insider lingo in just six words)
Loved, redeemed (and understated)
Navigating the narrow path by God’s grace (But wide is the path that leads to cliches)
I don’t care where you bury me. I’ll be home, and I’ll be free. (And so will we)
Jesus took my wheel (but the NRA has my back)
Child of the King (King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia does have over 35 children you know)
Χριστιανός (English is so unsanctified)"

For what it's worth, I describe myself as an "Already, but not yet, resurrected fallen mann..." I guess I'm not as clever as I thought!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why We're Moving to La Verne

My wife Kelley and I have lived in the same apartment for our 3+ years of wedded bliss. It ain't too classy, but, you know, nice. It also happens to be located in the city I grew up in (CHINO!). We like our apartment, rent is cheap, it's close to my parents (more free meals), relatively close to work, and pretty safe and quiet. Yet, tomorrow, we move to a town called La Verne ~8 miles away. (My wife is actually in the other room packing while I sit on the computer. Hmmm...) And if you're reading this, you're likely to be close enough to me to wonder, "Why the heck are they moving?"

As you may know, we serve the high schoolers and junior highers at our church. We love them, and attempt to teach them God's word, with our hope and desire being that they start to live passionately for Jesus as a teenager, and never lose that love and passion for the rest of their lives. One of my favorite verses on ministry comes from Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. He writes, "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us."

How does this relate to our move? It's pretty simple. We aren't crazy far from church, but we're far enough away that it hinders and limits the relationships and fellowship we can have with our teens (and the other "old people" in our church too!) It also limits the effect they can and will have on us. In this verse, Paul writes that he loved those he ministered to so much, that he didn't just want to teach and share the gospel with them; he wanted to share "our own selves"! Paul teaches here that, to have an effective ministry, you can't merely be a teacher that students listen to once a week; you must be a friend and confidant that they connect with day in and day out.  Weekly, we teach Bible studies and "share the gospel of God" with our students. But God has guided us in a way where we believe living 1 mile away will lead to us sharing "our own selves" with them in a way that living 8 miles away would not. We believe that for God to shape us, mold us, teach us, and use us, this was a wise step in the right direction.

So Chino, I'll miss you. I'll miss the cow smell, and especially the proximity of Flo's (and her biscuits and gravy). But, church family (and specifically teenager), give us the blessing of not just sharing studies and lessons, but sharing life together.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

David didn't get paid to write the Psalms

I have shelves (and boxes) full of great books. Many of them have been encouraging in times of need, pointing me to God, and his gracious character. However, I have turned to none of them in times of spiritual, emotional, and physical needs as frequently as I have returned to the beloved Psalms. They encourage, inspire, comfort, and edify more consistently and powerfully than any other words I have read.

Recently, during another foray through the Psalms, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of David (author of ~50% of the Psalms). Where was he while he was writing? What was he looking at? Was it day? Was it night? How long did it take him to write? Did he edit or rewrite any of the Psalms? How old was he during these various Psalms? Somewhere in that train of thought, I realized that David, a shepherd first, and then later a King, put hours and hours into writing the Psalms...and never got paid a dime for it! His profession was a shepherd over his family's flocks, and later a King and military leader of Israel. The Psalms that we read and love are entirely a product of passion, something done in David's downtime on the job or in his free-time at home. And I wonder if he knew the impact his words would have on millions?

Now, this is not a condemnation of those who write as their profession. Many books to me have been worth their weight in gold. But David's example convicts me in this way. What am I pouring myself into wholeheartedly, simply out of passion and love for God? What do I do in my free-time that ministers to others powerfully? Do I pour myself into my personal prayer life via songs, poems, journals, blogs, tweets with the same fervor David did?

When we think about it, David had a lot in common with you and me. He had a job (that likely was more physically taxing and smelly), he had responsibilities in his family, and he likely was fatigued as a result. Yet imagine if David had spent his free-time on himself rather than pouring himself passionately into the Psalms. The loss would be tremendous. Let's use our free time in prayer, ministry, and love for God and others as intently as David did.