What’s so-so about social media

You know me. I’m always trying to stay on top of the latest gadgets and gizmos. I love things that beep and buzz and supposedly make my life better. Okay, I’m over that last one, but I do my best to stay up with what is going on—although I must admit that staying up with technology is now a full time job. Things change so fast you really don’t have time to do your work and keep up with it all.

But as successful as some of this technology is, I have begun to grieve certain losses these advances have caused. I use Twitter. I blog. I am on the cutting edge of social media, but to tell you the truth, I’m beginning to wonder just how “social” social media really is.

You have to understand: I love people. I find people fascinating and their stories intriguing.

For all of its claims, I think social media builds more barriers than it knocks down. Yeah, I know social media can cover a lot of distance; you can talk to people all over the world with a few clicks of a keyboard. But just because you exchange emails doesn’t mean you know the person. People are far too complicated to be summed up in 140 characters.

Conversations are more than words. They are body language, vocal inflections, facial changes—all of this makes up how the message is offered and received. I need to see your eyes to know if you are telling me the truth. I need to see your face to know you are okay. I want to see your smile. Those are the moments that, well, make us human.

I know texts are faster. I know email is easier. But they leave too much out. Call me old school, but I would rather talk with you than network with you. I want to get to know you and frankly, you can’t do that through email or blogs.

So the next time you see me, introduce yourself. Stop me. Talk to me—not gadget to gadget, but person to person.

Who in your life has been lost in cyber world? Call ‘em up. Get together. It’s the only way to get to know the whole story…to know the whole person.

The Myth of Multitasking

As I was coming into work this morning, I got stuck behind a car that sat through a green light.  That’s right. Light turns green and they don’t move.  The guy in front of me was talking on the phone while rummaging through some papers on his front seat.  (I’m glad I was coming to church. I needed it after that.)

What I wish I could have told the guy was, “Listen, you can only do one thing at a time. Multitasking is a myth.”  That’s right. Multitasking is a myth. You can’t drive and talk on the phone. Distracted driving now causes almost as many accidents as driving under the influence.  You can’t write email and talk to your co- workers; your attention will be on one or the other.  You can’t text and drive. We are designed to do one thing at a time, and then move on.

Jesus knew this a long time ago.  He commanded us to love God and love God alone.  How can you do that?  You can when every aspect of the believer’s life is done to the Lord (Colossians 3:17). When I love my wife, I love God. When I do my work, I am loving God. He is the center that holds everything in its orbit.  We can only do one thing, and loving God, however many ways we express it, is the only thing we must do.

So, here’s the question: How many things is your heart trying to do right now?

A Call for Kindness

The recent economic crisis has only added to the stress felt by families. What used to be handled by simply writing a check now has to be handled by other means. And what are those other means? Well, someone in the family now has to do it, or it doesn’t get done.

This leads to a second point of pressure—time. In order for those extra things to get done, someone has to adjust their schedule to find the extra time. The truth is, however, we have less time than we have money.

Certainly, the recession has caused us to rethink our lives; many of us have found some measure of liberation in cutting out unnecessary things. But you can only cut so much before you begin to inflict some serious injury.

This is where the church should be at its best. Paul teaches we should bear each other’s burdens and in times like these, small efforts make big differences. We always think “burden-bearing” is some great duty, but most of the time, it’s the simplest of gestures.

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, the mark of a genuine Christian. And the real difference is this—an inauthentic Christian will “feel” something, but do nothing. A real Christian “feels” their neighbor’s pain and then does the next available thing to help, however big or small. Faith must be seen in action. Do something, no matter how small it may seem to you. After all, our God does some big stuff with the smallest of offerings.

Are You Listening?

I love preaching. I love talking about preaching. I am grateful to be on a staff where I have several associates who love to preach. So, as you can imagine, when we find ourselves together, we talk about preaching.

There is more to preaching than just trying to find the meaning in a passage of Scripture. Of course, that is vital, but there is more to it.

Great preachers understand their congregations. They study their people with the same intensity they use in studying the Bible. They understand how their people will react to their teaching. They are intentional about understanding how the truth of God’s Word needs to be structured so it can best be communicated and received.

Most of us think evangelism is about talking. We concentrate on the words we will use in telling someone about Jesus. We practice our technique. All of this is valuable, but don’t forget the primacy of listening.

A lot of conversations that end up being evangelistic don’t start that way. They begin with questions about favorite music groups, about conversations, about children—the everyday stuff of life. And in this casual conversation, the Spirit will open the door.

Listening, when you think about it, is an act of great love. Our full attention is one of the greatest gifts we can give our friends. Listening is more than just waiting to talk. It’s getting to know the other person. In knowing their story we will come to love them—learn to love them in the love Christ has for them and us.

Our most important evangelistic effort may not be when we are talking, but when we are listening.

So, who are you paying attention to? Who does Christ want to know through you?