Fueling a Passion

May 25, 2012

It is arguable that the most interesting people in the world are passionate people. Have you ever see someone who is passionate about playing a guitar play? Or a passionate singer sing? Or what about a passionate evangelist? Maybe that example is a little more rare.

As this article on Evangelism from ChurchLeader.com pointed out, we often think that evangelism is better left to someone in the church. But Jesus didn’t think so. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus didn’t choose the most scholarly theologically astute men. Instead, the first of his disciples were fishermen. He chose the common, regular, ordinary people to be his closest friends and the first evangelists.

The wonderful thing about the internet is that it is open to the common man. Everyone can minister online- you only need a passion for God. If you are interested in turning your passion for God into ministry, join us June 2 to find out how! We will be talking about everything from what it means to be an online missionary to how to have a powerful prayer life.  You don’t need to be an expert. You don’t have to have it all figured out or even having a seminary degree. You just need to have a willing heart. Just like the disciples of old, Jesus is wanting to use you.

It’s a celebration!

We are talking about Internet Evangelism Day, of course! Oh? You aren’t familiar with it? Please, allow us to share.

This year on April 29th, Global Media Outreach will be joining together (virtually) for Internet Evangelism Day. This will be a celebrations of online missions. The “event,” so to speak, is put on by The Internet Evangelism Day Coalition. These wonderful people have put together a FREE campaign solely to promote evangelism on the web.  We are excited to join with everyone to promote God using online resources to spread the gospel. We at GMO have a LOT to celebrate this year on April 29th. For example,

  • In 2011 alone 19 million people indicated a decision for Christ
  • We have 7,900 AWESOME online missionaries working with us to respond to our emails
  • AND we have proven fiscal responsibility which allows us to be accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

And we don’t want to just stop there! We want everyone to hear. We would love to have you join us, and all the others as we get the word out about Internet Evangelism. What are you celebrating in online missions? Let us know! We would love to give you a shout out. How are you celebrating? Who can you invite to celebrate this Internet Evangelism Day? The more the merrier.

Let the virtual conga line begin!

Online Survival Guide

April 20, 2012

There is nothing that shows our human fallen nature faster than reading comments on YouTube video. People can express their unsolicited options in the harshest of terms.  Anytime you express yourself or share something you believe in on social media, from fashion to faith, you run the risk of getting some painfully nasty comments. Here are six ways to survive engaging hostile people online:

Image from Fallout Wiki

  1. Prayer: Praying isn’t the “easy way out.” Rather prayer will invite God into the conversation. Ask him to focus you on who/what is really important. (Hint: it isn’t the angry post).  Pray for wisdom and for a response (or non response) that will be pleasing to him.
  2. Do Not Respond: It is so tempting to respond to a person posting the raging ranting, bashing, or degrading comment.  Such comments push our “internal justice button” and we want to tell them all the reasons they are wrong and mean! Usually nothing good comes of responding. As it says in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you will be like him yourself.”  Most times these comments really aren’t personal, so do not view them that way. Instead, if the comment is really ugly, delete it, pray (!) and move on.
  3. Respond: This may seem like a contradiction to the above statement, yet, there will be times when an angry comment is made because the person has been misinformed. In this case, take some time to think about how to respond. Good responses can take some time to formulate so that your tone doesn’t come across as harsh or condescending. Also consider what source or links you might want to provide. Remember you are working to correct the misunderstanding, not to correct the person.
  4. Reserve the Right to Block the Offender- Some people practice a random hatter commenting, and others will persist in their attacks. If you have a person who strongly opposes your online evangelism efforts, you can always block them. Their negative comments don’t only affect you but have the potential to hurt others as well.
  5. Be Honest with Other Christians: Sometimes, even when we try not to take comments personally, one will still get to us. Be open in sharing this with a Christian friend- offline. Let them know what hurt you, and ask for prayer.
  6. Prayer: Again. Seriously. Pray for the person who offended you. It is hard to hold onto anger when you pray for them.

Here are six simple ways to survive a harsh comment online. What else have you found?

At the end of last week, we posted our first three tips on how to respond as a Christian online. Here are the rest:

4. Be Gospel Focused.

One wonderful aspect of God is that he is big and often does things outside of how societies and cultures think he “should.”  His word, is clear on the importance of the gospel. Remember to stay focused on the Christ instead of what divides us. If we take a look at Galatians 5 and we see how Paul stresses how the gospel is central to our faith.

5. Don’t Blast the Negative.

We understand that the beauty of social networks is that they allow us to express ourselves. They give us opportunities to post publicly what we are thinking or feeling. There is a trend, however, in which people tend to blast another person’s thoughts or actions in status updates or tweets.  As Christians, we should think about how can build up the body of Christ, not tear it down. Realize that if someone does or posts something that bothers us, it is much better to virtually follow the advice given in Matthew 18:15 which says “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens, and confesses it, you have won your brother over.” (NIV)

6. Be Encouraging.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 (NASB)

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 (NASB)

If Jesus wanted it to happen for his church in person, he would also want it to happen online. Let’s be focused on building one another up in each interaction we have with one another.

7. Check Your Heart.

Ask yourself and God to reveal why you feel the need to respond? What will responding do for the situation or discussion? Can I be loving in my response?  From my own experience, I notice when I take those extra few moments in an space where my fingers can’t reach a keyboard I find it is often my own PRIDE that wants me to respond. It isn’t because I want to be loving.  Sometimes it is because I want to be seen as better, more spiritual, kinder, wiser, or whateverer than the other person. This isn’t a reason to respond. When I give the space for God to either give me the words or to convict my heart, I am left open to do what he wants of me. Sometimes it means not responding at all. Othertimes it is confessing, and allowing HIM to give me the words I should say.

There you have it, seven tips on how to respond as a Christian online. What are some other things that you have found to be helpful when responding as a Christian online?

With more and more of our communication happening over technology rather than face to face, it is easy to sometimes forget that there is a real person on the receiving end of our communication.  There seems to be a trend to blast people over text, tweets, or a Facebook status. Message board discussions can quickly turn to nasty debates. While it is perfectly reasonable to express your thoughts and opinions, Christians are often left wondering how Jesus would have them respond online. We have a two part blog on 7 ways to respond as a Christian online. Here are the first three:

1. Pray.

Yes, yes. This may seem like the most obvious one. But how many of us actually do it?  In the heat of the moment when we see an opinion that is clearly “wrong,” it is easy to not even think “oh, I got this,” and respond. But taking an extra moment to pray and ask God “how would YOU respond to this” helps to sift of focus from what we feel to what is truly important.

2. Walk away.

It has happened to all of us. We are on our merry way, not in a bad mood, not looking for a disagreement, and suddenly, we see something that makes our blood boil. It is so tempting to want to jump into a discussion right then, especially if others are. But before we say type something, take a moment. Literally walk away from your computer or cell phone. Cool down. Get a drink of water.  Walk down the hall, do ANYTHING but respond in kind online. Psalm 37:8 says “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it only leads to evildoing.”

3. Avoid debate.

Proverbs 26:4-5 says “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes.”  It is important to remember that many statement online are nothing more than folly. Everyone can spout off some very stupid things just because they can (Yes, everyone). So, avoid getting into foolish debates. Foolish debates wont change a person’s heart, and both parties in a foolish debate look, well, foolish. You can’t help others “see the light” if they are being foolish. That said, if you feel your silence will confirm a person’s foolish actions, do speak up. You only need to say it once. You don’t need to debate.  Also remember, it is easy to mistake what and how a person is trying to communicate over technology. Because there are no nonverbal cues, people might take what you say wrong, even if you are tying to be friendly and helpful.

Stay tunes for our next 4 tips on how to respond as a Christian online…

Evangelism Rebranded

February 7, 2012

Greg Stier, from Dare 2 Share ministries, in an article on ChurchLeaders.org presented 5 reasons why evangelism needs to be rebranded. Naturally, my thoughts turned to internet evangelism. Although we have made some gigantic steps forward, internet evangelism can still have several misconceptions about it. So, here are 5 reasons why internet evangelism needs to be “rebranded.”

1. People are seeking for THE good news.

According to a google eBook “Religion online,” religion is one of the most popular online topics. “Three million Americans turn to the internet each day for religious information and spiritual guidance.” Our experience with visitors to Global Media Outreach evangelistic sites is that this isn’t just an “american” interest. India, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries are some of our largest audiences. So, while the term “internet evangelism” may cause some people to cringe thinking it is nothing more than pushy online Jesus marketing, the reality is people are already online searching for spiritual truth and guidance for their lives. If we as christians are not there to answer their questions, and help them, what else might they find?

2. Every Christian can do it. 

We all know that not everyone is a good public speaker. Not everyone can teach on Sundays. Not everyone is outgoing enough to talk to someone on public transit. And for various reasons not everyone is mobile enough to get out of their house and talk to people.  Yet, the internet provides multiple opportunities for these same people to bring the presence of Jesus online. There are no special requirements or degrees needed to bring the message of Jesus to those we encounter online.

3. The internet can offer the largest church connection.

In my email today was a story of two of our online missionaries in two different parts of the world who worked together to help someone find a local church. How amazing is it that someone in the one part of the world was able to help a person in a completely different part of the world find a local church- a church that was ONE BLOCK away from him! Online we can talk to people from ANYWHERE and connect them with other believers. A man who is desperate for a life change in Prague can be given encouragement in Christ by s man in Brisbane. A mom in Nepal can be reminded in her identity in Christ by someone in Germany. Over the internet we can see the body of Christ working across geographic and cultural boundaries.

4. Real relationships are formed. 

Bloggers, Tweeters, Instagramers, and Message Boarders all know this: You can form connections and relationships online. While some people wonder how real these relationships can be, let us remember how powerful the written word can be. Communities don’t necessarily need to meet face to face in order for God to use the encouraging and honest words to build one another up.

5. There is something for everyone. 

Every believer carries the Holy Spirit. If believers are online, and those seeking are online, sharing the gospel is just one comment, post, tweet, video, email, pin, picture, away from being shared. For as many sharing or learning preference exist, there are that many options (and maybe more!) online.  If you are looking for a way to join in the movement of sharing your faith online, one way is to pray for people online. Hundreds of people a day visit the GodLife prayer wall. Take a moment, pray for someone, and see what God will do!

2012 Digital Goals

December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011. Although you are still with us, Our minds are mostly on 2012. We already are making plans and goals for oh twelve.

And to you, our wonderful readers, how are your goals shaping up for this coming year? We wanted to share with you some tips in making these goals a reality in 2012.

1. Write them down! A goal not written down, is just a dream. Also, it is helpful if you can find them again, so we suggest putting them in a place that is easy to find and access again! Perhaps in note on your phone? or evernote?

2. Make the most of your digital Calendar. We suggest writing reminders to yourself in advance, and setting your calendar settings to send you a reminder. This could be as simple as emailing yourself a prayer reminder, setting a quiet time alarm, or putting in when you will take a retreat. Speaking of which…

3. Unplug. As we mentioned in this blog, there are a great many spiritual benefits from simply taking a technology break, and spending that time with God.

4. Pray. Perhaps this should be number one. But, as Proverbs 16:9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Regardless of what we may have planned, it is God who guides us.

5. Assess the technology you are using. It is easy to read good bloggers, and to think, “wow, I should start a blog.” It is easy to read a clever tweet and think” I should tweet like this!”  Others might be amazing at keeping their online calender, and you think “I really should move from paper to digital this year.” You get the point, it is easy to feel like technology has become the run away snowball that somehow ran you over. So,  really take a look at the technology or social media you are using. Do you enjoy using it? Is it actually helpful? Does it feel too demanding. Does it help or hinder you from reaching your goals? If it does not help, ditch it. No point is trying to post some encouraging word to twitter if it becomes overwhelming and not spirit filled. Pray and see what else God has for you!

We hope these were helpful! We pray that you might grow in your relationship with God even more in 2012!

photo by Archie McPhee Seattle on Flickr

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