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.

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Did you remember when the Charlie Brown Christmas special would come on TV? Did you now know there is a Charlie Brown Christmas app? It’s True!

I think the BEST part of that TV special was when Linus recited the story of Jesus birth. What a wonderful reminder of what Christmas actually is about is with the real Christmas story. Now, technology has changed, and Charlie Brown is in app form, but the message hasn’t changed. Jesus is still the reason for the season.

Have you also heard about the church who is doing a virtual christmas choir?

I remember a few years ago when a large church orchestrated a twitter play. Throughout two days they had different people tweet as if they were Biblical characters tweeting first hand experience of the birth of Jesus. Another fun way to give voice to the meaning of Christmas in the digital age.

Do you plan to use technology in sharing the Christmas story this month? If so, how?

Welcome into My Page

December 2, 2011

One of the favorite parts of my week is “(friends are) Family” dinner night. Once a week, one of my friends and I will venture to a third friend’s house to cook dinner and just Be. These times are full of laughter, questions, sometimes tears and frustrations and venting and prayer. We come in anything from work clothes to sweats.

In his article, The Cultural Need for Hospitality, Randall Neighbour, the President of TOUCH Outreach Ministries, points out that our world is in desperate NEED of hospitality. “…[H]ospitality, combined with the presence of Christ, is what turns a bunch of disconnected people into a church!”

The beauty of true hospitality is actually transformation. We invite others into our lives to be with us- not just the “together” part of us, but all of us. We invite them to see how we honestly  interact in  with God and with each other. As Jesus moves in us, it shows in the way we interact with people.

While I do not think that anything can replace the in person connection, I also am curious about how one can be hospitable happens online. How can we create a safe, open environment that invites people into our lives, and ultimately into the life of Christ?

Some of my favorite blogs “keep it real”  in regards to the content they post. It is almost like I know I could show up and be loved, even if I were in my virtual sweats. Others are wonderfully honest, with their questions, yet, they are still focused on Christ.  I am invited to linger there a moment to experience Jesus.

How about you? How do you show hospitality online to help others pause long enough to encounter Jesus?

Short.

November 21, 2011

News comes to us in short bursts.

Blogging has become something we share in short sentences. (Thanks Twitter).

A view of the gospel can be presented in less than 10 words.

Beauty. Fall. Sin. Waiting. Hurting. Jesus. Restoration. Glory.

How would you present the gospel in 10 words or less?

Stonewashed Bootcut Gospel?

November 14, 2011

There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t love the fit of an old pair of jeans. Let’s be honest, it isn’t just women who will search high and low for the perfect pair. Now according to an article in Tech Today, there is a body scanner that will tell you your exact size for a perfect fit. Once you have been scanned, you will be able to shop virtually knowing everything recommended to you is a guaranteed perfect fit. This is marketing at it’s finest. Meeting people right at their point of need.

What if we took this same approach to evangelism? No, we are not “selling Jesus.” But we DO want to meet people in their point of need. As Annie, our intern, pointed out this summer “God made everyone different … and He relates to us all differently. God is always and forever the same, but while consistent He’s also dynamic.” Her point was God is the same, but he relates to us each differently because we are different. He fits everyone like a perfect pair of jeans.  So, as online evangelists, we need to use the tools available to us to see what people need so that we can present the gospel in the most relatable way possible. When we really focus in of the  key terms we write into our blogs, the questions we ask on facebook, what trends we look to respond to in twitter we are being more effective at presenting a Jesus who is real to people.

Photo Jeans by Petr Kratochvil

Dream Generation

July 20, 2011

I love adventure.  I’m a Carolina girl spending my summer as an intern in California, I dream of moving to Europe after I graduate, and my career possibilities seem endless.  Most would say that I’m just young and naive about the real world, but I prefer using my mom’s saying that the world is “my oyster.”  I’m not alone in this “oyster” mindset.  My generation is full of big dreamers and adventurers; we are visionaries.  This could be attributed to pop culture or political changes, but I think that the truth behind the vision is technology.

My generation has grown up with the entire world at our fingertips through emerging technology.  Social media, search engines, and smart phones have equipped us to become world-changers.  This technology not only allows, but obligates, twenty-somethings to dream big.  New technology and the Internet are practically coded into our DNA. So what are we supposed to do with it?

In order to harness our potential, I believe that we need the help of older generations.  In the book of Acts, Barnabus encourages Paul and helps him to develop his ministry.  Barnabus enabled Paul to make an impact in the world for Christ by his example.  Barnabus and Paul traveled together, taught together, and lived out God’s purpose for their lives.  My generation needs people like Barnabus; people to guide the way and share their journey. We have a lot of dreams, but in order to bring them to fruition we need enablers.  We need teachers and mentors to show us the way.

If you look at your community, you will see the potential that these young adults hold.  My generation will soon become the world’s leaders, and you have the opportunity to make an impact.  Connect with them through new technologies and embrace the shift that they are creating in society.  The way people interact is being revolutionized through social media, and it is important that we know how it works.  Allow my generation to show you the future, and then share some of your wisdom in exchange.  If you are an online missionary with younger disciples, then don’t underestimate the power that your e-mail encouragement holds.  Become a Barnabus and enable the younger generation to make a difference in the world for Christ using the tools they have been given.  Encourage them to develop their vision and encourage them to utilize technology to pursue it.  Embrace the dreams of the dreamers.  Embrace the incredible knowledge they hold.  Embrace your opportunity to enable the world changers.

 

~Amber Marshall (SVSP Intern 2011)

The gospel…stylish?

July 11, 2011

Today, this is popular:

It’s not profound, it isn’t meaningful— it’s not even that clever. And yet, it still explodes on the internet. It has hundreds of thousands of views, clogs our news feeds, and it easily comes up in conversation.

This is just one example of the power of social media, and more specifically youth through social media. They are the ones who have the influence. They make random and pointless videos, pictures, and words go viral in a matter of hours—FOR NO REASON. They start the trends.

So what would happen if instead of watching Nigel Thornberry remixes, tweeting about double rainbows, and changing profile pictures to celebrity lookalikes, the youth started buzzing about…Jesus? What if we gave them a reason to stop taking that quiz to figure out which Disney princess they are, and instead spread the message of God’s love for everyone? Can you imagine what would happen if THAT caught on?

First, there would be the phenomenon that is the message of love. Over 1.5 million people have watched Rebecca Black’s music video “Friday.” The song includes lyrics like this one: “Fun, fun, think about fun, you know what it is.” If they were to be infused and inspired by the gospel, they could be listening to, and sharing lines like this instead: “God loves you, and wants to be close to you.” Now that would be a trend with lasting power.

So here’s the challenge: let’s see how fast God’s love can catch on! Let’s saturate the young people with Jesus’ love so they can spread it in exponential ways. It’s like when you have a cold, and you sneeze on a communal bowl of mints. There’s almost no limit to how far those germs can spread. Just in this case, Jesus is the only infectious REMEDY.

~Annie Josey (SVSP Intern, 2011)