“This Is How Jesus Would Use Social Media!”

The above title is one of the leading statements for the marketing page for something called The Digital Missionary Academy. I found out about it this morning while scanning Facebook. I probably received it because I often respond to Christian FB posts, and because of a FB algorithm.

Please understand that I am not ‘bashing’ this particular online institution, nor am I averse to sharing Christ online. I am merely making a few ‘old guy’ observations that will probably reveal how I feel about the ‘Academy’ and like ventures. It goes with territory.

Having said that, I’ll share some of the text from the FB advertisement and share ‘old guy’ observations (in italics).   Please note that some of these observations are in the first person singular.

Trying to figure out how you’re going to spend the next 14 days stuck at home? Why not learn how to become a Digital Missionary?

Social media is the next frontier of effective evangelism… unfortunately very few Christians have the knowledge and skills to take advantage of it.

Effective evangelism, meaning that lost sinners are truly saved, depends on God, not me. My part is faithfully sharing the gospel that Christ that died for the sins of men I am ‘effective’. It is God who opens hearts to pay attention to the message. My part doesn’t change, whether it’s face to face, over the phone, via the internet, or handing someone a gospel tract to read. 

It’s not a lack of desire…

It’s a lack of training!

When you join Digital Missionary Academy, you’ll learn how to be active in your faith and lead others to Christ using the latest digital evangelism techniques…

So we are lead to believe that we need special training to be a ‘digital missionary” I suppose that means knowledge of, and training in the use of ‘digital’ devices. After all, the elements of the gospel message itself never change. The Apostle Paul was a ‘digital’ missionary and wrote

You can finally stop making excuses for not sharing your faith and learn how to live out the Great Commission, making disciples of all nations, even if your life is crazy busy!

WOW! You don’t have to share face-to-face and risk losing a friend who didn’t want to hear it! Less personal risk!

It only takes 20 minutes a week, and you’ll start to see results almost immediately.

Join Digital Missionary Academy today for FREE and see what you’ve been missing out on!

When you visit the site, you find out that what that actually means is that you can get a 30 day free trial and then pay $20.00 a month (a huge discount!) for the materials that will turn you into an effective evangelist and disciple maker. Here’s what you’ll get as a Digital Missionary Academy’ member:

  • Exclusive trainings with simple practicals so you can finally start bearing spiritual fruit and stop feeling guilty about not doing enough to share your faith ($197 Value)
  • Monthly challenges so you can instantly identify which of your friends are open and looking for God which means you can avoid that awkward feeling when you invite someone to church and they’re not even remotely interested ($47 Value)
  • Exclusive interviews so you can learn the tools, strategies, and success habits of top performing digital missionaries which means you can stop wondering if God only works through “super spiritual Christians” ($97 Value)
  • Proven “copy and paste” social media templates so you can instantly share high-performing church invitations without having to agonize over what to say or how to say it ($47 Value)
  • Online Courses like “Facebook Evangelism” so you can become a hyper-effective disciple-maker without spending four years and thousands of dollars to go to Bible college ($197 Value)
  • Instant access to the Digital Missionaries private Facebook group so you can learn from like-minded believers who are all encouraging each other to fight the good fight so you’ll never have to feel like you’re on your own (Priceless)

That’s a Total Value of $585 in training every month for only $20!

So if Jesus had social media, this is how he would have used it? I have a lot more on my mind about this, but I ‘ll not share it at the moment. This could be a Fox News moment………… I report, you decide.

Sharing Christ in a Hostile Culture, Pt 3– Our Duty, Our Great Privilege, and Our Highest Calling

In Part 1 of this series of articles, Be Available, we shared real examples of how doors seem to just ‘open up’ for sharing the message of the gospel, and what can happen when there’s a willing and available gospel messenger ‘on location’.

In Part 2, Situational Awareness, we compared our ‘Situation’ as believers in Christ – our status, and true citizenship, with our condition (situation) before repenting of sin and believing Christ.

This article focuses on understanding the nature of the believer’s role in sharing Christ with the world around us. Bear in mind that God, being GOD, is able to save lost sinners in any way He chooses to do so, with, or without our involvement. At the same time, it’s important to remember that God has not only provided for the salvation of His people (through Christ); he has chosen the means by which he saves lost sinners. – the preaching of the gospel (sharing Christ). This means that fur you and me (and all believers) sharing Christ with a lost world is at least three things; Our Duty, Our Great Privilege, and Our Highest Calling!

Our Duty

18And Jesus came and said to them (the disciples), “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mathew 28:18-20)

You might be thinking that there is no command for personal evangelism in the above passage of scripture, I beg to differ. Jesus’ command, to ‘make disciples’, by its very nature requires sharing the message of the gospel. Disciples are only produced from saved; blood bought sinners. Jesus disciples (followers) were commanded to make disciples of those were already believers and preach the message of the gospel to those still lost so that they could then be made into disciples.

Our Great Privilege

God not only provided the way of salvation of His people in the death and resurrection of His Son, He also decreed the means whereby men are saved.

13“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:13-15)

The above passage is crystal clear. Those who call on the Lord will be saved. Calling on the Lord means believing in Him. To believe they must first hear the good news (evangel). For them to hear, someone must preach Christ to them. Those who share the good news are ‘sent’ by God to do so.

Dear friends, WE ae among those who are sent to share the good news! The Great Commission was given specifically to Jesus’ immediate disciple, but it was meant for all believers for all time.

God has chosen to use flawed you and me to share His perfect message of salvation! How is that NOT the greatest privilege bestowed on God’s children?

Our Highest Calling

I recently read an article in a local newspaper about an F/A-18 Super Hornet weapons system officer who was actually the first female pilot to bomb ISIS from an F/A 18. Here is how she described ISIS and her role in the bombing:

“They are a horrible crop of humans, with an utter disregard for human life,” she said. “To witness that, day in and out, to witness mass murder, you have such an understanding. I’d trained for so long to protect innocent people on the ground, and when I saw that violated, and to finally use my skills to do that and use weapons, there is no higher calling.” (Emphasis mine)

With no disrespect to either a fine Naval officer or anyone who fights global terrorism, I have to confess that the immediate reaction of this old soldier was “But there IS a higher calling!” – to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world around us, and often hostile culture in which we live.

In many churches these days much is made of living our best lives now, discovering our special purpose for our time on planet Earth, and even achieving our ‘dream destinies’. Friends, I suggest to you that all of those things are merely temporary at best. I also suggest to you that our duty and great privilege to share the good news of Jesus Christ with a lost world, and the eternal consequences at stake (heaven and hell), define the great commission as the highest calling a blood bought child of God has received from heaven!

Be blessed!

The Holy Spirit in Evangelism and the Salvation of Sinners

Evangelism

In the above quotation from J.I. Packer’s book,Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. we can see the work of the Holy Spirit in at least there ways.

1.  The Holy Spirit Empowers the evangelist.  While it is true that the message of the Gospel can be presented as if it’s a matter of mere facts, or an intellectual exercise, the sharing of the Gospel message In the power of the Holy Spirit carries with it  certain Divine authority that is not lost on the hearer.

2.  The Holy Spirit opens the heart of the hearer to receive the Gospel message. While it is also true that the Gospel message can be heard by anyone at all, a God-opened heart guarantees that it will be taken to heart, received with gladness, and a lost soul saved for eternity. No better example can be found than the woman Lydia in the 16th Chapter of the book of Acts.

3.  The Holy Spirit no only empowers the evangelist and opens the heart of the sinner, He also empowers the new born believer to live for God and serve Him from that day forward.. It is the Holy Spirit that works in the Christian both to desire and to do what is pleasing to his Lord. (Phil 2:13).

Food for thought………….

Falsely Claiming Precious Promises

How many times have you seen or heard a promise from God spoken or inserted into a meme all by itself, without the surrounding context? I know I’m guilty. In this post I want to ask a question.

Why is it that we love to claim promises God made the people of Israel, as our own, without the Biblical context? I’ll let the reader consider it and perhaps offer an answer.

Perhaps two of the most cited examples are Jeremiah 29:11 and 2 Chronicles 7:14. We’ll put each one back into its Biblical context.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Here’s the context – Jeremiah 29:4 – 11:

4“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (emphasis mine)

In the above passages, we have God speaking to the exiles in Babylon. Through the true prophet Jeremiah, God is telling them how they should live while in captivity (vv.5 – 7), to stop listening to false prophets (vv. 8 – 11), and then promises to bring them out of captivity.

2 Chronicles 7:14

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Here’s the context – 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 14:

11Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the LORD and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (emphasis mine)

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God spoke directly to Solomon after the completion of the building of the house of the LORD, telling the King that WHEN He, (God himself) stopped the rain, sent plagues of locusts, and pestilence (destructive plague) among his people, IF they would humble themselves and pray, He would bring healing.

Although there certainly are great lessons to be drawn from both of our oft-quoted (out of context) passages, God spoke to His covenant at particular moments in history.

I’m not debating whether or not today’s Christians are God’s covenant people (a frequently used explanation for claiming them for us in our time), or if the United States is God’s favored nation. That argument has been had throughout the centuries, and is still very much alive today. I’m just asking a question.

Why do we take verses out of their Biblical contexts and make them personally ours, without considering their Biblical contexts? With the above passages specifically, we have precious promises connected to some pretty ‘dire’ circumstances and warnings!

Please consider it, offer an answer, and above all “Be blessed!”.

What does the Bible say about sickness and pandemic disease?

At the time this article is being written (late March 2020), we are living in a world consumed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some of us are self-quarantined, working from home, and maybe even not working at all, due to so business or social gathering venues being closed. The long-term effects of the pandemic itself, along with the measures being taken by various levels of local and state governments could be devastating, both personally and economically (individual, state, & national).

Every form of media seems to be all coronavirus, all the time. There are conflicting reports from all directions. Self-proclaimed experts and armchair quarterbacks are legion. There are some whose political agendas take priority over the impact upon human beings and their families, which it frankly disgusting.

Through the years, various outbreaks of pandemic diseases, such as Ebola, SARS or the coronavirus, have prompted many to ask why God allows pandemic diseases. Some even ask if a loving God could be the cause such things. So rather than debate the issue, we ask the Bible!

A good look at both the Old Testament and the New Testament tells us that the same God seemed to deal with his children differently. In the Old Testament we see God bringing plagues and diseases on His people and on His enemies “to make you see my power” (Exodus 9:14, 16). He used plagues in Egypt to force Pharaoh to free the Israelites from bondage, while sparing His people from being affected by them (Exodus 12:13; 15:26), demonstrating His sovereign control over diseases and other afflictions.

In the New Testament, we have the story of Christ, who came to be a healer, both physically and spiritually. In fact, Jesus healed “every disease and every sickness,” as well as plagues in some of the places He visited (Matthew 9:35; 10:1; Mark 3:10). There is however a striking similarity between the Old and New Testaments. God’s power is on display in the sending of plagues and disease, as well as in the sending of His Son, who verified that he was God’s son by performing miracles and healing sickness and disease.

The New Testament also speaks of seeing sickness, disease, and pandemics as part of the end times. Jesus spoke of plagues (Luke 21:11). The two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have power “to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want” (Revelation 11:6). Seven angels will wield seven plagues in a series of final, severe judgments described in Revelation 16.

What should Christians learn from all of this?

First of all, we should realize that although sickness and disease are part of living in a fallen world, there can also be elements of God’s judgment at work. At the same time, it’s not our business to try and figure out exactly what’s what.

Second, we should be mindful that life is tenuous at best. We all die. Those who are not resting in the loving arms of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, face an eternity in hell. We believers should be energized into zealously and compassionately sharing the gospel of Christ to the lost masses among whom we live and breathe. Our business is the gospel.

Third, we should not panic, as so many have during the coronavirus outbreak, with major mass media outlets fueling that panic by turning natural apprehension into mass hysteria. We are safe in the arms of Christ.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we need to remember that God is complete control of all things, even the coronavirus. We take reasonable steps to avoid exposure to the disease and to protect and provide for our families, while sharing the gospel of Christ to those living in fear.

So that’s some of what the Bible tells us about sickness and pandemic diseases. We don’t need to add to it or omit the hard parts. Let others speculate. Our mission, now and until He returns, is sharing His gospel!

______________

P.S. One last thing. This is NOT an expression of my opinion, but an attempt to just look at what the Bible actually says.