Category: Selfie-Centred

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 7

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 7

#Challenges of Idols: Discovering True Worship

Sunday, March 12, 2017

 

#seduced by idols

Ancient idols: things made of human hands; gold, silver, stones, wood, etc.

 

Deuteronomy 4:16-19, p. 128

“You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed (seduced-NLT) into bowing down to them and worshipping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” 

 

Israel faced the dangerous temptation of being lured into worshipping the Canaanite gods that were golden calves, cedar poles, statues, and the moon and sun.

 

Modern idols

“An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’” 

—Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods

 

Modern idols could be people I know, places I go, possessions I hold, prestige I store, and the power I implore.

 

#social media magnifies my idol(s)

  • Old success augmented by new success
  • We have tended to get our self-value from the “success” of our “accomplishments and accumulated” stuff
  • The accomplishments and accumulated stuff is augmented by our social “likes” and “followers,” etc.

 

#selfie idol

Approximately 80% of what people do on social media relates to themselves.

 

Pastor Craig Groeschel researched in his church:  a couple dozen of young adult committed church attenders, servers, and known for being Christ followers admitted their addiction to social media; every person self-identified their unhealthy addiction and felt they had “lost passion for God because they are distracted by their passion for social media and technology.”

 

“…Our news feeds can be full, but our hearts and souls empty.  Anytime we allow our souls to be consumed with anything other than God, we will never be satisfied.”

 

Exodus 20:3-5, p. 54

“You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” 

 

Jesus asks us, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?”

 

How much are we distracted by our “likes,” “comments,” “Pinterest pins,” “uploads,” etc., which can rob us of our focus and passion for God?  God desires to be first, not second, in our lives.

 

Be careful that your soul is not “seduced,” “distracted,” and “polluted” by this world which can poison the purity of God’s presence in your life.

 

#rich young man example:  Mark 10

He was seduced by his status and wealth and walked away sad.

 

What is your idol(s)? 

 

Did or would it go to the cross for you?

 

Your real true God went to the cross, became sin for you, died in your place and rose again to give you life.

 

Will you acknowledge, confess, repent of your sin and accept God’s gift of Salvation and put Jesus first in your life?

 

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 6

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 6

#Challenges of Constant Criticism: Discovering Encouragement

Sunday, March 5, 2017

 

#constant evaluation

Our social media culture adds to an atmosphere of constant evaluation.

 

#characteristics that create chronic critical behaviour

Anonymity: saying (typing) things one would never state in person.

 

Jesus says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

(Matthew 18:15, p. 695)

 

  • The right to face one’s accusers.

 

Impersonal: no personal relationship; can lead to being cold, heartless, mean, etc.

 

Apostle Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.   And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:29-32, p. 829)

 

Consumeristic: it’s all about me the consumer, my comfort and my convenience.

 

Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”  (Luke 9:23-24, p. 733)

 

Apostle Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  (Galatians 2:20, p. 824)

 

Popularity: worrying about what people think and say about me.

  • Likes, dislikes, tweets, retweets, viral, followers, subscribers, etc.

 

 

Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” 

(John 15:18-19, p. 764)

 

Apostle Paul says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  (Galatians 1:10, p. 823)

 

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”  (Proverbs 29:25, p. 470)

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 5

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 5

#Challenges of Secret Impurity: Discovering Integrity

Sunday,February 26, 2017

 

#social media pitfalls

Social media can be a great tool to connect friends and family together, quick direct communication to targeted people and other convenient uses, but there can be “pitfalls” that we can fall into. 

 

These “pitfalls” can end up poisoning our lives; pitfalls such as gossip and slander, bullying, and various online addictions such as gambling and pornography. 

 

#easy access to pornography

  • 70% of men (18-24 yrs.) visit porn sites monthly
  • 3 out of 4 regularly consume the constant destructive and dehumanizing images
  • 1 out of 3 porn users are women and quickly catching up to the male users
  • 34% of church attending women admits to visiting online porn sites
  • Highest percentage of porn consumers are children 12 to 17 years
  • More than 1 in 5 teenage girls admit to have posted nude or seminude images of themselves online

 

(Source: Pam Spaulding, “Christian Woman Increasingly Suffering from Sexual Addiction” 2007, Craig Groeschel)

 

#crack hit addiction

“Porn addiction similar to heroin or crack cocaine addiction in the brain.”

— Dr. Lasha Darkmoon, Columbia University

 

#marital infidelity

The pitfall of connecting or reconnecting with new friends or old flames through social media is a major source of temptation for a large number of users.

 

University of Texas survey: Previous studies support the conclusion that there’s a connection between social networking and marital problems…32% of heavy social media users say they’ve thought seriously about leaving their spouse, compared with 16% of people who don’t use social networks.

 

U.K. study: 1/3 of divorce filings in the U.K. contain the word Facebook in legal filings.

 

Facebook doesn’t force people to cheat, but many have the opportunities and access without the accountability.

 

#no big deal?

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe.”  —Craig Groeschel

  

Two thirds (67%) of young adult men and almost half (49%) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable according to a study by Daniel Weiss.

 

We are living in a morally declining culture where there “sin” is normalized.

 

Followers of Jesus Christ are called to live an authentic “clean” life, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”  (Ephesians 5:3, p. 829)

 

#setting boundaries

The Bible tells us that we are deceiving ourselves if we believe that we can flirt with lust and not have it affect our lives and souls.

 

Proverbs 5:8, p. 452

“Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…” 

 

No one has ever simply fallen into the beauty of purity or effortlessly been able to slide into being holy but we can quickly and easily fall into the poisonous pit of lust, shame, guilt, and addiction.

 

Remember:  boundaries are not to confine me but to protect me.

 

#setting boundaries

Step 1: Honesty and Evaluation

Before we set social boundaries for ourselves we need to be honest and ask ourselves:

Where am I weak?      

Where am I vulnerable?    

What type of pit am I most likely to fall into?

 

“You are only as strong as you are honest.” —Craig Groeschel

 

After you have discovered your most vulnerable areas you will need to erect boundaries.

 

Step 2: Strategy

Confess, Repent, Seek Help, and Be Accountable .

Again, no one falls into righteousness but we (sinful human nature) stumble into sin every day, so we must be deliberate, make prayerful choices as we walk an intentional path with God’s Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13, p. 811

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  

 

Step 3:  Commitment to Action

James 4:7-8, p. 856

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

Step 4:  Execute

Galatians 5:16-18, p. 826

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” 

 

 

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 4

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 4

#Challenges of Desensitization: Discovering Compassion

Sunday, February 19, 2017

 

#cause challenge

Recent major people causes: Thailand Tsunami, Missing Nigerian Girls, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

  • Evidence of a strong correlation between sharing popular ideas and the decline of compassion as a shared cultural value

 

#study  

University of Michigan:  comprehensive study of compassion attitudes of students during a 30-year period from 1979-2009.

Results:

  • 40% less caring attitude of today’s students verses students in the 1980’s
  • Decline was noticeable within the first few years but a sharp drop during the time
  • Social media began to take hold as a cultural phenomenon

 

#conclusion

Social media rises, empathy declines.

 

  • Researchers concluded that a rise in the use of technology likely caused a decline in empathy

 

#reasons

  1. Narcissism
  2. Short attention-span: abandoned popular causes
  3. Desensitized
  4. Remote Caring: non-direct personal interaction

 

#compassion is action:  Jesus + compassion + action.

 

Matthew 14:14, p. 692

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

 

Matthew 20:34, p. 697

“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” 

 

Compassion

  • Greek: splagchnizomi means “to be moved as to one’s bowels”
  • Passion from deep inside you
  • Ache for another person

 

#true compassion demands action

  • Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-20, p. 855)
  • The more I care about myself the less I care about others
  • The more I focus on Jesus and truly follow Him the less I care about myself the more I care about others

 

#compassion will cost

  • True compassion has a price; it costs (Luke 10, parable of the Good Samaritan, p. 735)
  • Clicking is clean; compassion is messy

 

#Jesus identifies with those who suffer

Matthew 25:31-46, p. 702; a warning for us.

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 3

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 3

#Challenges of Control: Discovering Authenticity

Sunday,February 12, 2017

 

#selfie-obsessed?

  • Selfie hashtag has expanded over 200% since 2013
  • iPhones, smart phones, etc., have high-tech cameras where you can fix all of your images to make sure you look your best at all times

 

Luke 18:9-14, p. 742

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

 

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

 

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  

 

#get real

The Pharisee represents our selfie-centered culture; unrealistic view of self and Holy God.

 

We try to “febreze” our stinking rotting sin:

 

Isaiah 64:6, p. 531

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;  we all shrivel up like a leaf,  and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

 

Isaiah 65:5, p. 531

Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.  (NLT)

 

Romans 3:10-20, p. 797

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.   All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

 

Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.

 

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 

Referring to people within our churches:

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

 

#get humble

  • “God, have mercy on me, a sinner”
  • Confess, repent, and receive God’s Grace and Mercy

 

#only Jesus

  • “…went home justified before God”
  • Instead of “febrezing” our decaying rotting sin allow Jesus Christ to remove all of our sin.
Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 2

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 2

#Challenges of Likes: Discovering Intimacy

Sunday,February 5, 2017

 

My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem.  But they don’t really know me.”

—Garry Shandling

 

#unintended negative consequences

The more time and energy invested in social media the more we lose on real human intimacy.  We may be “connected” with many people through various social media links, but we are at the same time detaching from interpersonal relationships.

 

“We have to make sure technology is enhancing our relationships, not replacing them.”

—Craig Groeschel

 

#changing understanding of friendship

Definition of friendship: shared interests, common bonds, enjoy personal company, etc.

 

Social media understanding of friendship:  followers on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Family relationship changing (Stats Canada):

  • Workers are spending less time with family than they did 20 years ago.
  • In 1986, workers spent, on average, 4.2 hours, or 250 minutes, engaged in various activities with their spouse, their children or other family members. The nature of these activities varied, and could have included helping the children with their homework, watching television with their spouse and having dinner as a family. Nearly 20 years later, by 2005, this average number of hours had dropped to 3.4 hours, or 206 minutes, an average decline of about 45 minutes.
  • Time spent alone has been continually increasing for the last 20 years
  • (U.S. studies) average American has 338 Facebook friends but has only 2 close friends
  • 25% of Americans have 0 close friends; no one to call on for help

 

#immediate affirmation addiction (number of likes)

Losing the benefits of the motivation (from feeling alone) for developing real human friendship, real intimacy, with God and other people.

 

“We’re living for Likes, but we’re longing for love.”

—Craig Groeschel

 

#ability to control friendship on our terms

Social media allows us to control friendships as to the “who” and “how” from an online distance.

 

John 13:1-17, p. 763

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.

 

Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.  So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

 

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

 

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

 

“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

 

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

 

Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

 

Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

 

After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing?  You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.  I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.  Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

 

#put down the phone and pick up the towel

Get real; get close; get humble; demonstrate love.

 

John 13:34-35, p. 763

“A new command I give you; Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

Hebrews 10:24-25, p. 851

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.” 

 

“That’s how we will know if technology is in its proper place in our lives:  by how well we love one another.  It’s hard to wash someone’s feet with a phone in your hand.”

—Craig Groeschel

 

#power of presence

Philippians 2:5-8, p. 831

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

 

Matthew 18:20, p. 695

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” 

 

“God didn’t shout his love from heaven.  He showed his love on earth.”

—Craig Groeschel

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 1

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 1

#Challenges of Comparison: Discovering Contentment

Sunday, January 29, 2017

“My buddy Steve is the most competitive guy I know.  He not only has to one-up anything I say or do, but then he has to tweet about it.  And post a selfie with whatever award he won…or the cool place he just visited.

 

I used to feel really good about my life and what I’ve been able to achieve.  But I look at Steve and feel like I can never catch up.  I would never tell him-or anyone I know-this, but it makes me feel like a loser, like I’m no good at anything.”

—John K.

 

#Challenge of Social Media

The challenge of being discontent marks the social media generation.  We live in a world of abundance, comfort and convenience.  Social scientists recognize that technology plays a pivotal role in our constant unhappiness.  When we see the lives of others being more exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling than our own-we feel we are missing out.

 

We often don’t realize that the majority of people put “their best foot forward” only revealing what they only want others to see.

 

“We compare our behind-the-scenes with other people’s highlight reels.”

—Pastor and Author Steen Furtick

 

#Self-evaluation: 3 Areas of envy (discover which might be relevant to you)

Financial Envy: Do I get financial/material envy of others? 

Relational Envy: Do I get sad/disappointed at seeing others enjoying their relationships?

Circumstantial Envy: Do I get restless with my situation when seeing the ‘success’ of others?

 

Philippians 4:12-13, p. 832

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  

 

“Content” (Greek) autarkes means “self-sufficient.”

 

The Stoics (Greek Philosophy) used this word (only occurs here in the New Testament) to mean human self-reliance and perseverance, a calm acceptance of life’s pressures, but Paul uses this word to a “divinely” bestowed sufficiency—whatever the circumstances.

 

#Everything in this world fades

Things.  Places.  People (relationships): they will never bring complete contentment.

 

#Only Jesus Christ

Only Christ will fill the emptiness inside.

 

#Overcoming Comparing

2 Corinthians 10:12

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 

 

James 3:14-16

“But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” 

 

Overcome comparing (envy)

  1. Removing the stimulus/trigger

        If it is a particular facebook page stop viewing it

 

  1. Celebrating the other person’s success

        Taking our eyes off ourselves and onto others.

        “Celebration sends a kill shot right to the heart of envy.”  —Pastor Craig Groeschel

 

  1. Overcome comparing (envy) by cultivating gratitude

        Envy is resenting God’s goodness in other people’s lives and ignoring God’s goodness in your own life

 

Proverbs 15:15

“For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” 

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