Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Facebook - a good thing or a bad thing?

By JIM ARMSTRONG

The medium of social networking has taken the on-line community on a journey most would never have imagined. Twenty years ago, when we started to discover the Internet on our dial up connections, little did we know just how much could be done and accessed from a PC anywhere in the world.

Our reach and influence, as a result of applications like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc., is extensive. They are a window into what we think is important and what we spend our time on - a window which means our lives are on public display all the time.

So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Before I attempt to answer this question let me pick up on the dangers. There are two key risks. The first is a matter of personal testimony and its effectiveness and the second is about associations and the damage these can do.

Personal Testimony
There is nothing more damaging to Christianity than someone saying they are a follower of the Lord Jesus but their life and pursuits tell a very different story. Each of us has a great opportunity to witness for Christ every day by what we do and what we say. Unfortunately, if our hearts and minds are on other things we will be just like the salt that in Matthew chapter 5 had lost its saltinesss. If I am living for self, it is not my Facebook page that is the problem. If my ambitions are elsewhere my page will simply reflect this. Perhaps my page is more honest than the life I try to show when I attend meetings!

Associations
For any individuals seeking to live for Christ and using Facebook, this is a key area that needs constant attention. Anyone I have as a 'friend' has access to my home page. They could leave an unsavoury photograph or comment and this is there for others to see and read. Three things are important in relation to this :
i) I control who my friends are on my page
ii) I can delete anything that I do not agree with
iii) The privacy and control settings on Facebook allow me to restrict what can be done

If you are using Facebook make sure you are familiar with your page security and workings. Also check your page at least daily and remove anything that may damage your testimony.

So what are the good points about Facebook?
As you read this article you may be asking yourself this same question! Let me take you back to Matthew chapter 5 verse 16, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven'.

If there was ever a day where this world needs to see individuals allowing Christ to shine through their lives it is the day in which we live. If the lost and needy of this world see Jesus in my life, in my words, in my ambitions, in my Facebook page this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Over the last year or so I have used Facebook for personal witness and evangelism. It has allowed my to fulfill the following :
For meething we hold in our assembly, I can invite as many as 200 each time to the meeting. In some meetings where others have taken up the invite and passed them on, as many as 500 have been given a personal invite.
It has allowed me to make contact with past friends and witness to them using verses and personal invites to things. It also allows me to endorse my witness to colleagues at work as they read my page and see the things I am involved in.
It allows me to quote God's word on their page on a regular basis. If we believe that faith comes through the word, I can't think of anything more valuable.

Over the last year I know of scores of people who have attended my assembly as a direct result of invites to meetings through Facebook.

So let me go back to the question. Is Facebook/social networking a good thing of a bad thing? The answer will depend on your viewpoint. If you are leading a double life, I think it is a very bad thing - it allows you to further damage your testimony. If you are unsure of the technology and how social networking works you should probably avoid it. If you are comfortable with how Facebook works and you are seeking to witness where you can, it is a powerful medium that allows you to 'let your light shine before men'.

Reference : Armstrong, J., 2011. Facebook - a good thing or a bad thing?. Precious Seed International, 66 (1), p.22

Monday, March 7, 2011

We are chosen

Song(s) :
Praise to the Lord
Amazing Grace
Such love
You laid aside Your majesty

Passage(s) : Ephesians 1 : 3 - 11

Reading :
John 14 : 1 - 7

Not one of us is worthy to save ourselves, we are even worst than the prodigal son!

God is Holy, we are sinners. There is an enormous gap between us & God.

Eph 1 : 3 - 11
v4
- Even before the world was made, He has chosen us. He knows everything, nothing could surprise Him. He wants us. God doesn't want anyone to die without knowing Him but because man has freewill, it is our choice... We play no part in wanting God. We are chosen to be His.
- "that we should be holy and without fault"
-> Isn't it amazing that we who are sinners could be holy?
v5
- "Because of His love" - we are son and daughter. We are a family! Nothing is closer than a family. But it comes with a price and that is the death of Christ on the cross to complete His Father's plan.
- "His pleasure & purpose" from the acceptance of His gift
v3
- "every spiritual blessings" - Nothing is help back. Though we do not comprehend what it is like.
v6
- Our response to His blessing. "Praise Him for His glorious grace" It's a free gift to us... and undeserved. But it was worth it.
- John 14 : 6 "I am the way"
v7
- 'Confirms' what the price was. Blood is important to God. It enables God to forgive sin.
v8
- The grace of God - "Lavish on us", there is no holding back. He gives us the best!
v9
- "A secret plan" "The mystery of His will"
v10
- "When the time is right" bringing all of creation together. God knows when is the right timing. Everything will happen at the right time.
v13
- There is a guarantee on us that we will get what God gives us.
- "Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" A stamp of ownership. We are Sons through what Jesus has done through our Union with Christ.

Date : 6 September 2009
Speaker :

Friday, March 4, 2011

Be Heavenly Minded

Song(s) :
In heavenly love abiding
Will your anchor hold
Who can cheer the heart

Passage(s) : Hebrews 11 : 24 - 28

A believer shouldn't be a "man of the world"
- They can only love God or the world. Not both.
Things of the world are not wrong but it gets wrong when the things of the world become more important than God.
When we are "heavenly minded" then only we could be of use to the earthly world.
- We could bring the good news to man.

Heb 11 : 24 - 28 - What faith could do in our lives

Moses, a heavenly minded person who forsake the privilege of the world
> v24
- Abandon his status (Son of Pharoah's daughter)
- Turn his back on status / importance.
- Acts 7 : 25
> v25
- Surrendered pleasure, embracing affliction.
- Decided the pleasure for sin wasn't for him.
- The pleasure for sin last a season, the pleasure for God last forever.
- Suffering will come to us. It is part and parcel of a Christian life.
> v26
- Surrendered richness / wealth.
- Moses considered carefully and decided that the richness of Christ is worth more than the richness of Egypt.
- "esteeming" - consider carefully.
- prepared to embrace disgrace for the better choice.
- Heaven changes our view.
- eg. Climbing a mountain, we struggle to climb up but in the end, once we reach the peak, we receive our reward, the wonderful view of the surrounding.
> v27
- His trust in God removed his fear of the king / pharoah.
> v28
- By faith be prepared for judgement.
- He believed God will do what He said.
- Moses was concerned with others.

Moses, a man who look at the world from the heavenly point of view <- We should be like him

Date : 16 August 2009
Speaker : Neil Osborne

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jesus is for all

Song(s) :
Jesus is King
Jesus, the name high over all
As the deer
Because He lives

Passage(s) : Luke 14 : 15 - 24

Jesus is for everybody. Absolutely.

Matthew 1 : 1 - 17 - The genealogy of Jesus. There were only 5 women mentioned. They were not women with the best background.
1. Tamar (Genesis 38) - Slept with her father-in-law
2. Rahab - Prostitute
3. Ruth - A foreigner
4. Uriah's wife (Bathsheba) - Husband killed to marry David
5. Mary - Pregnant before marriage
It shows that God is not fussy.

Whatever our colour, culture, sinful state is Jesus is not fussy. He is open to everybody. He died for all.

Jesus loves me inspite of me.

Despite of whatever we have done / how we sinned against Him, God will still forgive & love us

Date : 5 January 2011
Speaker :