Facebook… The New Memorial

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Some people say they would like to “visit” their memorial service to hear what people have to say about them. What would people say? What are the emotions like in the room? Who would come, and who would skip it?

Never before have we lived in an age of connectedness to one another. Social Media has ruled and reigned the last decade. No matter your poison… MySpace, Facebook, Instagram, insert your favorite social media option here, these platforms have opened up new ways to socially connect and interact with one another.

I’m learning that in death it’s no different… I’ve lost a few friends during this span of being so connected by social media, I’ve even lost a child… and I’m most fascinated and comforted by something that I’m calling Social Media Memorials.

We have all seen the outpouring of love from all over the globe upon the deaths of people like Nelson Mandela, Robin Williams, and Michael Jackson on our social media news feeds. These men had a profound affect on people’s lives, and the world turned to their Social Media outlets to speak the words they never could say to these men or at their memorial service even after their were gone from this life.

Only a select few people get to speak at memorial services, the rest of us can write notes or tell stories of the person who has passed away, but how will those stories or notes find themselves in the hands of others who might benefit from the information?

These days, because of our social media connectedness more people know about us (or at least the us we willingly share on said social media outlets) and therefore have more access to information that really matters. This is why the social media as the ultimate “memorializer” (I just made that word up!) is such a great thing. Even if you don’t like social media for any number of qualified reasons, you have to respect the fact that anyone in your circle of friends can share how they knew you and how your life has impacted theirs upon your death. This joy is no longer reserved for the few people standing up at your memorial service, Facebook has become the new memorial… In fact for weeks and even years after you are gone, people can visit your pages on random days, birthdays, and holidays and offer love, grief, and virtual flowers as if they were standing at your grave talking to everyone gathered together to celebrate your life… It’s beautiful if you ask me : )

In the case of my friend Paula Glenn, people are able to visit her Facebook page and share with the watching world the kind of impact she has had on her life while she was still with us. Reading her Facebook Memorial on a daily basis has made it abundantly clear to me and anyone reading it that her life has been impacting countless people for the Kingdom of God. Her Facebook has become a beautiful reminder of the great things God can do, and will do through the people who are willing to follow Him and desire to make His name known in all the earth.  Paula Glenn’s life is a shining example of what living, loving, and following Jesus is all about, and we can thank The Social Media Memorial on her Facebook page for a small glimpse into the impact her life has had on The Kingdom of God.

May her life continue to impact people all over the world, and may her death remind us all to live life on purpose and above all else choose love!

Peace

https://www.facebook.com/paula.m.glenn

You’re As Cold As #icebucketchallenge

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All of our social media feeds are crawling with person after person pouring buckets of ice cold water on their heads. Celebrities, normal folks, and even kids are getting in on the gag. It’s the Ice Bucket Challenge deemed to help raised money and awareness for the ALS Foundation. Like you I don’t know a ton about the disease, but one thing has become clear… it’s a life taker. Not just a life killer (that eventually happens) but it’s a stealer of the very life the people who are diagnosed with this disease once knew. Slowly but surely their lives are deteriorating. Limbs eventually become useless and soon the body stops being able to do ANYTHING for itself. Therefore, the life of the person diagnosed is not the only one lost… often family members are forced to take care of their loved ones full time, and this changes everything for many families faced with this disease. Worst than that… it’s heredity!

I’ve seen people complaining about their news feeds being full of this ice bucket madness… why are they upset exactly? If your life is so wrapped up in your own little world and the 3 hours you spend on social media a day is ruined because everyone and their brother is doing this silly little publicity stunt… I say so what and it’s about time you get a little wake up call…

Others are pointing out that ALS foundation uses embryonic stem cells for its research and therefore they become supporters of abortion and we should stop sending them money. I respect that view, but I disagree with their premise. Abortions originally started and continues to this day to be a Eugenic toward minorities and those deemed by the powers that be to be less than worthy… not as a way to collect stem cells. I would even argue as long as abortions are going to remain legal in this country (which I completely disagree with) at least use this tragedy for something good like research that HAS saved people’s lives. In other words, if the last thing we were waiting on in this country to make abortions illegal were the strong pharmaceutical companies wanting stem cell research to continue from the cells of aborted babies, I would then suggest donating to ALS is not such a great idea… but we are light years away from stem cells becoming the reason abortions are still legal in this country. Late term abortions are still legal for crying out loud and that has nothing to do with stem cells. It’s about Eugenics!

If you are sick of the ice bucket challenge, pour some cold water on your own head and take a social media break and get over yourself. The ALS organization has raised 42 Million dollars since the challenge has been given which is only 40 Million MORE than they raised in the same time period last year. WOW, 40 Million will not cure this disease, but the awareness  has been raised (for now) and money is going to a good cause that has been seriously under resourced since the disease has been on the medical communities radar.

Thank you for doing the challenge, donating, or not whining about those who are doing it and killing your news feed with self serving videos of their family having a little fun in the name of raising funds for a good cause.

One last note… I wasn’t sure about doing the challenge myself because I wondered what the ALS community especially those who have it thought about the whole publicity stunt on social media and people doing it just to get their face on Social media sites and not donating the $100… then I read a few blogs and saw this video which helped me understand that raising awareness of something so destructive can NEVER be a bad thing.

Check out this story to see what a family with ALS thinks and struggles with on a day to day basis

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/for-anthony-with-love/133001

Peace

 

Do Something… Thoughts on the Crisis In The Middle East

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The situation in Iraq and Syria led by the militant group ISIS is terrible, tragic, unthinkable, unfathomable, inhuman even… you get the point. Militants killing people because of their faith in Christ, families being tortured, and children losing their heads as parents refuse to deny Jesus as their Messiah and the One true God! Still hard to believe that it’s really happening!

If you’re like me you want Justice.

If you’re like me you realize, you can do NOTHING to bring justice so you do the only thing you can do… PRAY!

Please pray, ask God to intervene… ask Him to bring this evil situation to an end, comfort those who mourn, ask Him to carry the burden of all that are involved in this ongoing situation, and pray that people all around the world are drawn to Jesus Christ because of the sacrifice these Christians are making for His name sake Jesus.

But then do something!

Do something in your community to bring justice to a broken world. Don’t let the feeling you have for justice fade because you can’t physically do something… you can! People may not become martyrs in your community today, but there are plenty of people who are in the middle of their own injustice and those nightmares are their reality and that reality is more than they can bare alone!

I went to visit someone in jail yesterday… and I realized I can do more to help those who are broken.

Do something

Join a church or a non-profit in your community in their endeavors to bring love and justice to a broken world… even if you don’t believe the same as they do… certainly you can believe in their desire for justice!

Do something

Don’t just say that it’s awful and thank God you live in America… please don’t just enjoy America’s freedom.

Do something

I’m motivated now more thane ever that my role as a pastor is meant for more than preaching on Sunday’s and raising up leaders in our church… our world needs love, and they need justice, and many in our communities are not walking in the doors of our churches anytime soon, so we must be the hands and feet of Jesus and bring them this love and justice instead of hoping our bait gets them “in the doors”.

Do Something this week, next week… find something that God is already doing and join the party.

Micah 6:8 (AMP)

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God”

Do Something

Do Justly

Be Love

Be Mercy

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The Sound of Silence

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The Sound of Silence… Everyone needs it, but few find it.

In a culture that increasingly finds ways to scream at us… most of us struggle to balance the screams with the necessary silence. In my college days I was privileged to go on a 3 day and a 7 day silent retreat. I know that sounds a little weird… who would choose to be silent for that long!

Actually, it’s not a put some tape over your mouth kind of retreat, so it’s not 100% silent. The idea is to spend as much time as you can in silence, listening, and praying for the sake of hearing God. There are brief moments of talking at meals, and at scheduled times of discussion for the faint at heart.

Last week I went on my first personal silent retreat… two days at the Huntsville, Utah Trappist Monastery. It was good to be quiet and alone, but I must confess…

I suck at being silent and alone!

I was bored at times, too tired at times, and scrambled for things to do because after all who can pray and listen all day!

But, it was in those moments of struggle that I was reminded how much I need to set aside more time to be quite, listen, and pray. The silent moments did my mind, body, and soul some serious good!

So I’ve decided (at the prompting of some good friends) to have a silent retreat August 29-31, and open it up to men who want to join me in a little silence. The monastery is limited in it’s capacity, but I figure if we have a great response we can figure out an alternative.

What a great problem this would be!

So, it’s simple… as many men that want to head up to Huntsville on Friday the 29th will go and get silent for a few days and we will head back on Sunday morning August 31st for our OCC Serve Our City Sunday.

Hit me up if you are interested so I can reserve your spot. We will have a lot of down time, quiet time, and a few times of discussion and dialogue to foster the ultimate dialogue between you and God.

In the meantime, may we all get better at sitting in the sound of silence.

Peace

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Eyes Wide Open

eyeswideopenMost of us live life on the run. Jumping from one job to another, one meeting to another, one practice to another, school, activities, etc… and many of us have all of these things going on in ONE life!

Have you ever said you will get to something (working out, eating right, spending more time with a loved one, etc) when life finally slows down?

How’s that going for you?

Life rarely slows down on it’s own, in fact most of life and all organisms drift toward complexity. I don’t know about you, but simplicity does not come easy for me… I have to be intentional about it.

Intentionally slowing down to make room for what matters!

Take some time this week to bring simplicity into your life. Slow down, take a breadth and enjoy the people around you. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers… whoever you find yourself around this week take in the God moments and see if maybe just maybe God wants to join you in the workings of your daily life.

I’m willing to bet if you intentionally take the time to SEE whats going on around you, HEAR what others are REALLY saying, FEEL what others are feeling you will find some moments to join in what God is already actively doing around you.

Peace

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