In His Steps … getting ready

You were called to this kind of endurance, because Christ suffered on your behalf. 
He left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps.   I Peter 2:21 CEB

I have a trophy of sorts that sits in my office.  I received it in 1983 at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp.  Scribed on the trophy base are the words “in His steps” and the scripture reference – I Peter 2:21.  On top of the base is a nice wooden cross.  I received the award for ‘best’ exemplifying the theme during that week of camp.  It still seems a bit strange to get a trophy for being like Jesus.

That trophy and the words “in His steps” have begun to take on a new meaning for me. And I am not sure what that new meaning will be.

You see, I leave tomorrow for a trip to walk in the land of Jesus.  I will be traveling with a group of Methodists from Indiana including our Bishop.  I am serving as a host on the trip for a group from my Church as well.
We will travel first in the region of Galilee and then to Jerusalem.  We will walk walk and travel the land that Jesus walked.  We will be on the Sea of Galilee.  We will see the little strip of water called the Jordan River.  We will walk the narrow streets of Jerusalem.
I still remember visiting Gettysburg for the first time and standing on the ground of Picket’s Charge.  I never thought of the Civil War the same – history became real!

A lot has changed in 2000 years.  Buildings built … ground eroded … actual locations lost to time … but to see the land … to no longer imagine the Sea of Galilee … to no longer rely on someone’s description … to walk in His steps.

to walk in His steps … I thought I knew what that meant … but now I am not sure.
What they will mean as the dust is stirred up and stories become reality?

I invite you to follow along.

I will share pictures, stories, and experiences as I walk the land that Jesus walked.

On the way to Sunday …

Check out this Video (Click on the word video)
Unfortunately this video depicts the all too normal activity played out in churches all over our country.

The common business practice – “fake it until you make it or Act like you know what you are doing until you do” – has also been accepted as normal in our lives of faith.

Craig Groeschel in his book Weird writes: If you have just enough Christ to satisfy you, but not to change you . . . then something is wrong.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either one or the other!
Revelation 3:15 NIV
Have we reached a point where we have filled our churches with people that go through the motions of looking like they know God. They don’t openly reject Christ, but they don’t live lives of faith either.

A recent comprehensive Pew Forum Survey demonstrated some surprising statistics:

** Absolutely Certain Belief in God: Mainline Protestants – 73 percent.
** Many religions can lead to Eternal life: Mainline Protestants – 83 percent.
** Belief in Heaven: Mainline Protestants – 77 percent.

How did we get here?  How did we lose certainty in the pews?

Certainly this is not what we set out to teach people.

How have we drifted this far?

What can we do to get back to living lives that are changed?

Social Media NEEDS Some Guidelines

I am appreciative of social media as an outlet, but I am also concerned by the disregard by which it can be used. I am grateful that our Indiana UMC Conference leadership has chosen to develop a policy for the use of social media based on the teaching of John Wesley and his 3 rules for holy living.

One of the benefits of social media is that it provides the opportunity to share views, thoughts, joys and concerns about all areas of life. Our social media contributions can be very effective tools for ministry if we are careful to apply caution before we post.

We will be careful that our posts are not “doing harm” by insulting or damaging the reputation of others. We will make sure our posts are respectful and in good taste. And we remember: Everything we post – status updates, comments, tweets, blogs – becomes public immediately after we click ”send” (even if we’re using a limited access setting). We can’t take it back once it’s out there, so we will use discernment with everything we post.

Rule #1 Do no Harm

Is the post “doing harm” to the reputation of the church, Christ or another person or organization? Can the post be interpreted as harmful, offensive, rude or distasteful? If using the post as an outlet to vent, is there a more productive, less public way to do so?

Social media is one of the most effective methods of church networking and communicating today. When used properly, it can have a significant encouraging influence on our readers and become a powerful tool for delivering the Gospel message to a large audience that extends beyond our contact list. It is a great tool for networking and providing the world with news about our church and ministry. It also is a very useful tool for obtaining feedback and ideas from our audience and can be used to gain insight for sermons, Bible study topics, worship times, needs of the community, etc. The “good” and positive uses of social media are endless.

Rule #2 Do Good

Can the post be described as “good”? Will it help the Kingdom and fellow believers? How will it be perceived by non-believers? How will the post be received by people with different cultural or faith backgrounds? Are we communicating effectively by asking questions in addition to providing information?

Rule #3 Stay in Love with God

Social media is a great way to find meaningful devotional materials, thought provoking blogs, inspiring worship videos and media resources, and current articles and tools for our ministry. Users have reported that their social media usage helps keep them informed and enthusiastic about their ministry on a daily basis. While it
can definitely help us “stay in love with God,” it also can be very distracting. We will make sure our use of social media does not occupy so much of our time that we are no longer participating in meaningful Bible study, devotional times, worship and conversations with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Social media can serve
as a tool to aid, promote and conduct discussions, studies and devotional times, but should not be our primary source of interaction with the world.

How is/can social media helping me to stay in love with God? How is it hindering me? How am I helping others stay in love with God by my social media contributions?

You can access the full document here.