The 2016 “Let’s Put an End to Facebook Christianity” Challenge

multitasking in handsLet’s talk honestly for a minute about the growing prevalence of “Facebook Christianity”—you know, those 101 ways we equate burying ourselves in social media with interacting with God. Just one example: those posts that claim that a Like = Amen, or that a Comment = a prayer—or, better yet, a Share = a hundred prayers.

It appears that all we have to do is bang on our keyboards for 30 seconds each morning to be transformed into prayer warriors. But please understand: liking a FB page does not equal prayer. There’s nothing even remotely similar about giving a thumbs-up to a social media post and communicating with our Creator. When the disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray,” He responded with a beautiful lesson in how to talk to the Father. He didn’t say, “Click a button or two, and we’ll call it even.”

Seriously, are we that lazy? Are we so pressed for time that we’ve replaced our morning God-time with the click of a Like button? Or is it that we’ve convinced ourselves that we can spend time with God without having to rip ourselves away from our devices?

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And how about those click-bait posts that test your “faith” according to whether or not you Like or Share? Every time I see a post like that, I’m stunned that any Christian would actually believe that Liking a post was somehow connected to their devotion for Jesus—or that scrolling past it would make them a child of Satan—and yet it happens. A lot.

And while we’re on this subject: sharing a post that promises money in return for an Amen or a Share (even when adding the disclaimer “just in case lol”) is no different than consulting a Ouija board to discover the future “just in case” a board game might know more than God. We either trust the God of the Bible or we don’t. We look to Him for provision, or we look to Mark Zuckerberg. We are Christians who live by faith, or we are superstitious twits. End of story.

Faith and superstition don’t mix. We can’t have it both ways. So please, if you care anything about lending credibility to what you believe, stop this ridiculous hocus-pocus. Let’s put an end to Facebook Christianity and repent that it ever got to this point in the first place.

Here’s to the new year—a brand new opportunity to experience the joy and contentment that come from genuine communication with the Father.

 

1 Tim. 4:1, Voice: “The Spirit very clearly tells us that in the last times some will abandon the true faith because of their devotion to spirits sent to deceive and sabotage, and mistakenly they will end up following the doctrine of demons.”

 

 

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Rationing Worship

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 10.11.44 AMWhen we ration our love for God, we set boundaries as to what we will and won’t do to express our devotion to him: “It’s okay to clap our hands in church—a little.” Or, “Lifting one’s hands is nice, but let’s not go too far.”

We’re afraid…
of what others might think… and of what God might do if given free rein. What if He brings us to tears, or prompts us to dance or sing a solo or lift our hands when no one else is lifting theirs? What if He causes us to look foolish?

We even use God’s own Word to justify our lack of passion: “Everything must be done decently and in order!” Meanwhile, we tolerate and even encourage those who are overcome with emotion in other situations. We smile as a lovesick friend sheds tears of joy while talking about her sweetheart; we yell and clap when our football team wins; we bounce like pogo sticks and dance like teenagers at a concert. But on Sunday, we stand like pillars of salt in the presence of GOD. What is wrong with this picture?

Happy Stick Girl RunningGod’s love knows no boundaries. He doesn’t ration His love for us. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son.” (John 3:16). How dare we draw boundaries with Him? What would happen if we determined that, when it came to loving God, we would always err on the side of excess? Granted, moderation is a virtue in regard to certain things, such as sugar and television and Facebook, but it has no place in your love life with God. Let’s top saying, “Lord, You can go this far, but no further. I give You this much, but no more.”

Christmas: a holiday for the wealthy… unless we do something about it

EiYk3R1449178178Let’s face it: the Americanized concept of Christmas is for the wealthy. There are many who look to this season with dread because they cannot keep up with the demands that we, as a society, have put upon ourselves. As Christians, we can pretend that Christmas is still centered around Jesus, but in reality we know the truth: ‘Tis the season of gluttony, shameless materialism, selfishness, and “load[ing] other people down with unbearable burdens” (see Lk. 11:46).

The tragedy is this: If Christmas excludes the poor, then it’s not part of the Kingdom of God, because the gospel is always good news to the poor.

What can we do? If we truly want to bring Christ back into Christmas, let’s make sure we’re not just offering lip service. We can bellow, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” until we’re hoarse, but unless we actively and deliberately stop participating in the shameful aspects of what Christmas has become, and instead open our hearts, homes, and pockets to those who suffer during the holidays, we are, at best, annoying—and, at worst, hypocritical.

IMG_3655If you’re among those who are blessed enough to make it through the holidays without having to choose between groceries or a new toy for your toddler, please consider “adopting” a family. Take the burdens off a parent or two by committing to purchase presents for the kids, and then throw in an extra blessing for Mom and Dad. And don’t stop there. Pay attention to everyone around you. Determine that no one will spend Christmas alone if you can help it. Don’t assume that everyone has somewhere to go; if in doubt, ask. Surely we can all fit a few more place settings at our tables.

We’re already into the first week of December, so act quickly! Find a family to adopt, and then let them know they need not worry about the expenses that come with Christmas. (If you choose to do this anonymously, ask a friend to be your messenger.) This season wasn’t meant to be a time of anguish, loneliness, and anxiety, but that’s what we, as American consumers, have made it. Let’s do what we can to reverse the damage by “shouldering each other’s burdens” (see Gal. 2:6).