Flashback: “Some Posting Motivation”

Flashback

Yes, Facebook can be redemptive! But only if our motivation is heaven-bent.

Please enjoy yet some more poeticality from AMBrewster as he redeems the social post in “Some Posting Motivation.”

Some Posting Motivation

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What Your Friend’s Snarky Facebook Post Says About You

Snarky Facebook

Pretend you’re scrolling down your newsfeed.

Don’t actually do it! I’ll lose you for the next three hours.

Just pretend.

So, you’re scrolling along and you see “that friend” has posted yet another snarky comment. You read the post (despite your better judgement), and you’re as annoyed as you knew you would be. They’re so arrogant/annoying/asinine/audacious!

Then comes the well-known internal debate as to whether or not you should take the time to respond. Oh, how you wish Facebook had a “Dislike” button.

However, what happens next is not the subject of this article.

Let’s rewind.

Continue reading “What Your Friend’s Snarky Facebook Post Says About You”

#TBTB #TBT – 11/27/14

ThrowBack Thursday TBT

Check out Mr. Brewster’s unique connection with Thanksgiving and join our campaign to fill Twitter with #ThankfulForMoreThanTheFood Click To Tweet

A Personal Note about Thanksgiving

 

Parents, Kids, and Tech-tation

Tech-tation

I am sooooooooo thankful we didn’t have smartphones when I was in high school!!!!!!!

I don’t want to imagine the tangible trail of turgid travesties I would have traipsed across the internet!

Thankfully, that wasn’t a temptation I had to avoid (I had enough trouble avoiding plenty of others).

Not the First

Listen, I know I’m not the first to sound a siren call about young people and the threat technology represents. But I hope you’ll be patient with me for just a few moments as I share some insights I’ve gleaned from counseling teenagers addicted to sexual sin.

  1. Lust doesn’t need technology to flourish. Job tells us that he had to make a promise with his eyes not to lust after girls. Job is a book written about a family that predates Abraham! Lust exists in the heart of man, and sexual lust in particular needs only two things – a mind and an object. Please do not think that your children are safe from the temptation we’re discussing here simply because they don’t have a device.
  2. Technology is to sexual sin what airplanes are to world travel. They don’t make it possible, they make it easier. While driving down the road traveling about 45 miles an hour, I’ve often marveled at the amazing speeds we travel compared to the transportation of the past. Horse and buggy have nothing on today’s worst cars. As we’ve already seen, lust doesn’t need technology, but technology sure makes it easier to access it. When before a young man would have to sneak a copy of a dirty magazine, today he can anonymously view whatever forms of vile filth he wants from the comforts of his own bedroom.
  3. Too many parents are ignorant to what temptation technology affords. Did you know that the most grotesque scenes of human sexuality were available to anyone with an internet connection? Did you know your child can send and receive texts you will never know about? Did you know someone could send your child a nude picture of themselves, and you’d never be billed for it?
  4. Too many parents trust their children with technology. We don’t trust toddlers around ovens, scissors, and pools because of the inherent risk each poses. In addition, the proportionate immaturity of the child to the enhanced danger of the object increases our prohibitions. Yet we hand pre-pubescent, hormone-ridden, spiritually-immature young people a device capable of beaming wicked images into their brains, and we somehow justify this decision because our culture condemns us for not trusting our kids!
  5. When sin is finally found out (generally after much disaster has been wrought), parents cut the wrong cords. I’ve seen plenty of parents remove the child’s devices and cut all digital communication with the outside world. But the cord of lust is too often left untouched.

These are the problems I encounter nearly every time I counsel a young person engaged in sexual sins. But let’s not stop with the observations.

I think it’s fair to say I disdain criticism that provides no viable solutions just as much as you do. So please humor me a moment more while I address the very simple ways we as parents can help our children battle tech-tation.

Some Spiritual Solutions

  1. Understand lust. Smell its presence on your children’s breath. See its shadow on their bedroom floor. Watch how they interact with their peers. Do they touch each other? Where are their eyes resting? Understand the biblical root of lust, the consequences of lust, and the cure for lust. Did you know that sexual sins scar a person in different ways than others sins? Did you realize that last statement was Bible-truth (Proverbs 6)?
  2. Come to grips with the fact that when you hand your child a mobile device, you’re not merely making it easier to contact them. Understand the inherent dangers of the device. You would baby-proof a home; teenage-proof the phone.
  3. Research! There are a plethora of up-to-date articles like this one that are written specifically for parents to know how to protect their children, and what to protect them from.
  4. Stop trusting babies around the oven! Nowhere in Scripture is it mandated that a parent trust their child simply because they’re a teenager. Trust is a facet of love, but trust is never unwise in its trusting. You teach your children to use a knife before letting them wield their own. You teach them to drive before handing them the keys. Teach them about the device, teach them about lust. Let them mature, and the bless them with trust equal to their worthiness.
  5. Children need accountability. They need to be taught to live a Christ-honoring life in the middle of this corrupt world. Joseph didn’t need to be taken out of Egypt, he needed to worship God in Egypt. The device isn’t the real issue; the heart is. It may be necessary to cut the cordless device, but don’t ignore the deeper, more significant issue. Get counseling. Root out the lust and help the child desire what is right and good.

And just for making it this far, here’re two bonus points!

Bonus Points

    1. Friend, follow, like, digg, and pin your kids. No, that wasn’t an admonishment to psycho-babble, espionage, digging graves, or voodoo dolls. You need to hang out where your kids hang out. Know who they know. Read what they read. Listen to what they listen to. How else do you hope to lead them through the mine field that is this life? Every single time I’ve encountered a young person feeding the flesh on social media, I’ve found a young person whose parents don’t know what Snap Chat or Instagram is. “I don’t use Facebook.” is not a legitimate excuse that somehow gets you off the hook! Is your child on Facebook? Then that’s reason enough for you to have an account . . . or at least to share a login with your child.

I know a set of parents who never would have known a boy in their daughter’s school was soliciting sexual favors from her had all of her incoming texts not also gone to their phones. Is that a scary proposition for you? Good.

  1. “Friend” your child in real-life too. Once again, no psycho-babble is intended here. What I mean is make these steps in their sanctification a you-and-them-together experience, not a you-against-them confrontation. Love them. Disciple them. Be on their side for God’s glory.

What’s at stake in this conversation is the spiritual life and Christ-honoring relationships of your children. Do not naively allow them to undergo the painful temptation technology brings to bear on their lust? Help them know what lust is and how to defeat it in their life with the truth of God’s Word. And then equip them with the spiritual weapons necessary to fight tech-tation.

For Your Consideration

"he txtd me"

He txtd me
and said that I was cut3!
Then he asked me for a pic;
I clicked a selfy.
Y not?

He txtd me
and said that I was "hott"
and told me how he feels
when he c's me at skool.
I told him he was weird.

He txtd me
and asked to see me in
my new swimsuit.
The bois at the pool will see.
Y not?

He txtd me
and said the picture "trnd me on."
He said my body was gr8.
He asked for another.
w.e.

He txtd me
and cmplimentd me a lot
and I felt btfl.
He said he wanted to kiss me.
Y not?

He txtd me
and wanted to see me nude.
o_o
lol
K

He txtd me
and said he thought it might be fun . . . .
I felt kinda weird.
But it might be fun.
Should I?

Daddy.
What happened?
How did I get here?
I never wanted this. I wish
he never txtd me.

-AMBrewster-

he txtd me

“Some Posting Motivation”

Some Posting Motivation

“Some Posting Motivation”

People type completely inane
And frivolous and biting and plain
Observations.
You would think that with the most
Amazing ways to communicate and post,
Some might favor reconciliation
To driving bitter wedges.
Others might lift us from the dredges
With timely edification.
Consider the benefit of quoting
A passage designed for removing
Trepidation!
If we simply decided in all things to glorify,
Perhaps our posts might start to amplify
Sanctification
In the hearts and minds of men and women
Whom God has given the redemptive mission
Of Christ-honoring inspiration.
-AMBrewster-

Written for “Can Facebook be Redemptive?”

 

Can Facebook be Redemptive?

facebook

My analytics tell me that if you’re reading this blog, you likely linked to it from Facebook. Thank you, by the way, for clicking!

Therefore, I’m going to begin with the a priori assumption that you have a Facebook account (or some other social media account). Therefore I can assume that you generally find value in the medium (minus the stupid videos “everyone else” posts). I’ve found that the degree to which people find value in Facebook is directly related to the quality of everyone else’s posts.

Still, you have one, and you probably don’t think it’s a tool of Satan. But have you considered whether or not it can (or should) be used for intentionally redemptive purposes?

What is Facebook?

Simply put, Facebook is a medium of communication.

Before social media, communication was limited to conversations, printed materials, letter writing, and smoke signals. But as technology has blossomed, we’ve created a hybrid form of communication that synthesizes real time talk with publishing.

What is Communication?

Merriam-Webster defines communication as,

“The act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”

Thank you, Webster.

But for those of us interested in reclaiming biblical truth for everyday life, we must ask the next necessary question . . .

What is God’s Purpose for Communication?

All of the verses in the Bible that deal with our communication center around one glorious motive . . . to glorify God. But what brings Him glory in communication? I believe the answer is simpler than we realize.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

The greatest goal for any of our communication is to communicate God’s truth for the purpose of redemption. The unbeliever is “bought back” from sin and death in justification; the believer is “made better” through the power of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.

All of our communication needs to bring God glory, and though that doesn’t mean we always have to be quoting verses, it does mean we can’t glorify Him if we never acknowledge His truth in our communication. And I would argue that the more we reprove, rebuke, exhort, admonish, remind, encourage, bless, and edify using God’s truth . . . the more He will be glorified.

So, what about Facebook?

How Can my Facebook be Redemptive?

This linked article is a sad one indeed. A teacher chose to leave her substitute teaching job of 35 years because she refused to “unfriend” her students on Facebook. Being an educator, I’ve studied this trend a lot. As a counselor, I’m intimately aware of the pit-falls associated with “more-than-friending” students on Facebook. But what I want to point out in this article is what one of her former students said:

One of Thebarge’s former students told WMUR that if she didn’t have ‘Ms. T’ in her life, and as a friend on Facebook, she wouldn’t have graduated high school last year. ‘Facebook is a great way to communicate with people when you’re going through stuff at home.'”

I don’t know if Mrs. Thebarge is a Christian, but I know that she used Facebook in an encouraging way.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again with more than just my students. Facebook is digital meeting place where people interact in many of the same ways they would at the mall. And when Christians talk, redemption can happen. What’s interesting about social media is that some people actually feel freer to say and ask things online they wouldn’t normally say to your face. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s an insightful observation.

Our Facebook pages will become redemptive only when our daily communication becomes redemptive. We need to start there. When God’s glory becomes our chief goal, it will bleed over into every facet of our lives from physical to digital.

In the meantime, as we strive to become more like God in all we say and do, here’re some helpful tips for making Face-time, growth-time. We’ll be using the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and Paul David Tripp’s 10 communication questions from War of Words for guidance.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

  1. Your Facebook should lead to biblical problem solving. Stop complaining and offer solutions. When someone else complains, offer them solutions.
  2. Your posts should have a “stand together” instead of a “me against him/her/them” posture. The world is to know that we’re followers of Christ because of our love. During the high priestly prayer, Jesus prays that His followers would be united as Jesus and the Father were one! It’s completely acceptable to stand against sin, but too often we drive a wedge where God has commanded us to be linked.
  3. Your online demeanor should encourage others to be open and honest about their thoughts and feelings. Are you harsh and critical? Who would want to talk about their problems to someone like that?
  4. Your updates should show that you are approachable and teachable instead of defensive and self-protective. When your friend private messaged you and admonished you about that inappropriate movie quote or meme, how did you respond? Do you think they’re likely to keep you accountable in the future based off of the response you gave them?
  5. Your online relationships should all be as equally healthy: parents/children, husband/wife, extended family, siblings, employer/employee, friend/friend, body of Christ. Do you avoid posting things because you’re “friends” with your boss? Are your posts to peers nice, but your interactions with people younger than you are condescending?
  6. Your comments should encourage faith and personal spiritual growth. You don’t have to post a verse a day, but I cannot recount how many times a friend has shared a verse on Facebook, and God used it to meet a specific need in my life. God’s Word is the only Facebook post that carries the divine promise to never return void. Talk about a viral post!
  7. Your private messages should develop relationships, instead of only communicating with someone to cause or solve problems. So one of your students posted something inappropriate. Is this the first time you’re going to connect with them online? That just makes you come off like the Facebook police. But, if you build a relationship of love and understanding, they will accept your admonishment that much better.
  8. Your Facebook updates should be humble and honest. Stop exaggerating. Stop bragging. Period.
  9. Your posts should reflect a willingness to serve others, instead of demanding that everyone serve you. And all of a sudden the complaints about the weather, the government, and the news suddenly disappear!
  10. Your comments should show a recognition of the gospel in salvation and sanctification. Do you communicate biblical truth? You can use Facebook to disciple, encourage, evangelize, and rebuke just as easily as a phone call or a chat over hot chocolate.

Conclusion

You better believe Facebook (Twitter/Instagram/etc.) can be redemptive! But whether or not you “[Facebook] to the glory of God” is up to you.

Imagine a social network where just logging-in built up your relationship with God.

Start by sharing this post with your friends. Just click the Facebook icon below. The more of us who choose to use social media as a tool for good, the faster we’ll make an impact.

#EvermindRedemptivePosts

And while you’re browsing, check out these other Facebook-related articles by AMBrewster:

5 Reasons Christians Must Engage in Facebook Debates

What Your Friend’s Snarky Facebook Post Says About You


 

For Your Consideration:

“Some Posting Motivation”

People type completely inane
And frivolous and biting and plain
Observations.
You would think that with the most
Amazing ways to communicate and post,
Some might favor reconciliation
To driving bitter wedges.
Others might lift us from the dredges
With timely edification.
Consider the benefit of quoting
A passage designed for removing
Trepidation!
If we simply decided in all things to glorify,
Perhaps our posts might start to amplify
Sanctification
In the hearts and minds of men and women
Whom God has given the redemptive mission
Of Christ-honoring inspiration.
-AMBrewster-

 

Is God a Jerk? (Part 1)

Is God a Jerk

A few days ago I shared that someone tweeted that God must be a complete jerk if He would send “good” people to hell just because those people don’t believe in Him. Other’s have made the same statements concerning the presence of evil and pain in this world.

Is that true? Is God a jerk? Is He selfish, is He jealous? Is @Atheist_Deity right to question the thought,

“so you live a good life, look after your fellow man & never act in an evil manner but don’t believe, god will send you to hell?”

kill everyoneI’d like to look at this question from a bibliological perspective. I want to do this because someone who reads this but does not believe in God will not take anything the Bible has to say as truth. But they do hold their own reasoning skills in very high regard. This, of course, make sense if absolute truth doesn’t exist.

So we will evermind the biblical data concerning God’s supremacy, rule, and reign of the universe, and then we will use logic and human reasoning to see if His truth makes sense given what He’s disclosed and how He’s acted (if at all) in this world.

Please note: While I encourage conversation and debate, I would ask that it be done in a spirit of mutual-respect. This does not mean that we have to agree, it simply means that we do not stoop to name-calling.

Who Does God Say He Is?

I believe this is an incredibly important first step because if we’re going to judge God, we should do it by two things: 1. What He says about Himself, & 2. What He does as compared to what He said He’d do. At this point, it really doesn’t matter what other people say about Him.

Of course, I  don’t desire to be exhaustive in answering the question “Who is God?” because the whole of nature and Scripture is a testament to His person. But I do want to highlight a few key attributes and passages that are relevant to this discussion. I’ve turned to Ryrie’s Basic Theology for concision.

  1. Holy – God is not only separate from all that is unclean and evil, but also that He is positively pure and thus distinct from all others (Leviticus 11:44; Joshua 24:19; Psalm 99:3, 5, 9; Isaiah 40:25; Habakkuk 1:12; John 17:11; I Peter 1:15; I John 1:5; Revelation 4:8).
  2. Immutable – God is unchangeable and thus unchanging (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). A Twitter acquaintance of mine brought up the common rebuttal that if God doesn’t change, why does the Bible say He “repents.” Ryrie explains, “Most understand these verse as employing anthropomorphism; i.e., interpreting what is not human in human terms. However, this can only be said to be so only from the human standpoint, for His eternal plan is unchanging.”
  3. Loving – God seeks the perfection of holiness and all that the concept implies for the object loved (I John 4:8).
  4. Omnipotent – God is all powerful and able to do anything consistent with His nature (Genesis 17:1; Exodus 6:3; II Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8 7 19:6).
  5. Omniscient – God knows everything, things actual and possible, effortlessly and equally well (Acts 15:18; Psalm 147:4; Matthew 11:21; Psalm 139:16).
  6. Righteous – God is just; there is no law, either within His own being or of His own making, that is violated by anything in His nature (Psalm 11:7, 19:9; Daniel 9:7; Acts 17:31).
  7. Sovereign – God is in complete control of all things, though He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural law He has ordained (Psalm 135:6; Proverbs 16:4; Acts 15:18; Ephesians 1:11, 1:14).

What Does God Say He’ll Do?

Again, this question is one that can only be fully answered by the completed cannon, but I believe these are the three most important considerations:

  1. He promises to provide everything we need for life and godliness in His Word (II Peter 1:3).
  2. He promises to do everything for our greatest good if we love Him and follow His Word (Romans 8:28).
  3. He promises to save us if we ask, and punish us if we don’t (Romans 10:13).

What Does It Look Like God is Doing?

Now isn’t this the stinger? It’s one thing for someone to tell us they love us, but if they don’t act like it . . . we won’t believe them. Why do so many people believe that God is a jerk? Here are a few reasons (I’m sure some of you could easily add to this list):

  1. He demands loyalty to Him alone.
  2. He’s anything but tolerant.
  3. He allows evil and wickedness to abound – especially to good people.
  4. He allows destruction, pain, sickness, and suffering (again, often ravaging the good of the world).

In partial conclusion, if God is to be judged, we must first understand what He claims to be, what He claims to do, and then we need to compare that to what He’s actually doing (or allowing to be done).

Tomorrow we will see what His claims necessitate, and we’ll discuss the logical and reasonable end of these attributes. Therefore, I ask of you two things:

  1. Be thinking about this today. Does what God says about Himself line up with our experiences in this world?
  2. Come back tomorrow as we continue to consider whether or not God is a jerk.

Continue to Part 2.

Is God a Jerk? (Preface)

Is God a Jerk

Today I was verbally attacked on Twitter about the fact that my God must be a complete jerk if He would send “good” people to hell just because they don’t believe in Him.

Is that true? Is God a jerk? Is He selfish, is He jealous? Is @Atheist_Deity right to question the thought,

“so you live a good life, look after your fellow man & never act in an evil manner but don’t believe, god will send you to hell?”

I want to sow this idea over a larger field, but for now let’s allow these questions to till up the soil of our minds to prepare the seeds of God’s Word to take root.

#EvermindGodsNature

Continue to Part 1.

P.S. I’ve included this comic because the ideas illustrated here are PREVALENT throughout the world. I encounter them on a daily basis. Do you know how to answer people like this (using God’s Word)?

Problem-of-suffering

 

Quick Note

You can now follow me on Twitter @AMBrewster. I pray I can be an encouragement to you!