BOAST

proclaiming

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”–2 Corinthians 10:17

Here’s a little word study for you.  In the NIV Bible, 2nd Corinthians mentions “Church” 10 times.  It speaks of “Grace” 11 times.  “Love” is mentioned 12 times.

And the word “Boast” shows up 22 times.

Paul uses that word in all his letters, but in 2 Corinthians, it’s a major theme.  He boasts about one church or another.  He boasts about God’s power.  He even boasts about what has come about from his own suffering.

If it can point to God, he boasts about it.

That’s the point of his boasting.  Not to lift himself up or make himself look good, but to highlight the work of the Lord.  Worldly boasting is bad.  Heavenly boasting?  Very good.

So, how are you doing, boasting wise?  Have you done your share of bragging for Jesus this week?  Are you part of a church that is making a difference, reaching your neighbors, and serving those in need?  Who are you telling about it?

I think my main avenue for boasting is Facebook.  I have 1,309 friends on Facebook.  High School classmates.  Current and former church members.  Colleagues.  College friends.  Family and a lot of people I probably don’t really know.

Maybe 50% of my FB Friends are church-goers.  Another 30%, I would guess, are lapsed or disillusioned Christians.  10% are agnostics, and some atheists, and the last 10% are somehow outside these categories.

I believe I have a responsibility to those 1,309 friends (even though we don’t always see each other’s posts).  My responsibility is to boast.  Here’s why:

  • The Catholic Church’s ongoing abuse scandal “proves” to so many how dangerous religion is. (And indeed, sometimes it is)
  • Stories about hypocritical Christians who look down their noses at those who are different get a lot more traction than “healthy” Christian stories.
  • Accounts of Pastors greedily asking for money, or bookkeepers skimming off the top reinforce a negative view of the Church’s relationship with money.
  • Denominational fights over issues such as abortion and homosexuality present the Church as an anxious and contentious place where other vital ministry takes a backseat.

And so on.  There is very little above to boast about.  In fact, I’d guess the Church’s PR factor is as low as its ever been.  If that’s the public image the Church offers the world, it’s no wonder our congregations are shrinking.

So here’s what I do.  I take pictures of everything exciting, vital, or worthy that my church is doing.  Special events and services, mission opportunities, partnerships in the community, and so on.  And after every event, I post the pictures to Facebook.

(Oh, and by the way, if you TAG people in your FB photos, all of THEIR friends have a chance to see your photos.  That boosts the boast!)

I want all those Christians, disillusioned Christians, atheists, agnostics, etc. to see what the Holy Spirit is doing through my church.  I want as many people as possible to see The Church alive and thriving, living out its vision (although never perfectly), and changing lives, including our own. God forbid I ever run out of reasons to take pictures.

This is me BOASTING!  Now some folks may think I’m boasting for myself, lifting up my church or myself for bragging rights.  Others may think I’m oversharing.  I suppose that’s the risk.  I suppose that’s part of why Paul brings up boasting so many times in 2 Corinthians.  He wants them to understand his true motivations.  I try to convey that as best I can.

Facebook may not be your thing.  Instagram is an excellent alternative, and reaches a younger crowd.  And if social media is not your preferred method of boasting, feel free to share your enthusiasm with the crew that meets for coffee at the McDonalds, or the folks in your Pilates class, or in your office.

Sharing the excitement of your church reaching out and touching God’s Kingdom is nothing to be silent about.  It’s the way things ought to be.  The more we boast, the more the true nature of the Church can be revealed to the world.

By the way–I’ve got room for more friends!  Friend me at https://www.facebook.com/toddmit!

If you do friend me, be sure to check out pictures from this last Sunday. We had so much cool stuff going on…

Paul could have written a whole book about it.

 

Have a great week,

Mitch

IMG_1189

 

H(illary)(tr)UMP DAY

28736470374_f9fbe46dfe_b

It was the worst of times, it was the even worster of times.

Nice grammar, huh?  But that’s kind of how I feel about the 2016 Presidential Election.

It was a time that seemed to bring out the worst in everybody.  Finger-pointing, nit-picking, lies, and immorality.

And that was just Facebook.

Debates that seemed to unfold like boxing matches.  Media feeding Americans’ insatiable desire for more dirt, more drama.

Everyone was drawn in the fray.  This election became personal for women and men, well-educated and less-educated, Latinos, African Americans, veterans, the working class, and so on.

Over the past month I’ll admit I became obsessed.  Every hour on the hour I found myself checking various news sites to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

But I did miss, quite a lot.

I missed civility.  I missed unity.  I missed a constructive exchange of ideas.

I missed out on several good night’s sleep.

I missed verifiable truth.  I missed the America I love.

I wonder…will it ever be the same, here?  Have we burned ourselves too badly with all the nastiness?

I hope not. I hope…for something more.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   –Jeremiah 29:11-13

This is how we get over the HUMP of H(illary) + (tr)UMP

By focusing our attention where it should never stray.  On The Lord, the one true source of our Hope.

I’ll keep that in mind as I watch election results tonight.  This is an important moment in our country, but there is never a day — not even Election Day — when God is not at work in us and through us, and even through people who don’t vote like us.

So rejoice, friends!

Today is election Tuesday.

Thank God tomorrow is over-the-HUMP day.

Have a great week,

Mitch

maxresdefault-1

Liking, following, reblogging, pinning, and sharing.

images (4)

There are 1.01 BILLION people on Facebook.  Tumblr (a blogging site) cranks out 55 million new posts every day.

But only about 20% of U.S. citizens go to church on Sunday.

How do we get the word out to people who won’t come and listen to a sermon?

By liking, following, reblogging, pinning, and sharing.

You know those inspirational or  thought provoking posts you come across every day online?  Think of them as tiny little mini-sermons.  Not enough space to present the whole gospel, just enough to make an impression in the 2 seconds it takes to scroll down the page.

What if those little mini-messages amount to more than warm fuzzies? What if this is how the Gospel gets spread to people nowadays?

That’s what I’ve been wondering, so a month ago I started creating little one-panel quotes like this one:

20130112-103342

I posted them to Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and WordPress.  (Those are all different social networking sites, in case you aren’t familiar), and tagged them all with the name of my blog site:  AdventureChristianity.com.

I can only estimate, but in that amount of time, I figure thousands of people have seen some of these short messages.  Maybe more.

Have you ever stopped to think about what happens when you “share” something, on Facebook, for instance?  When you share an article, a cartoon, or a quote like the one above, everybody on your friends list sees it in their feed.

So when you share something inspirational, you’re actually practicing e-vangelism.  And then your friends have the possibility to like or share it for their friends.  That’s how some posts spread like wildfire across the web.

That’s fun on Facebook, connecting with your friends, but can be even more fun on a site like Tumblr where people search for tags you attach to a post, like #Christianity or #Change.  These are people you’ve never met, connecting with your Good News. Here’s a case in point:

Last week, Jan and I were driving in Kansas City and she said, “The World’s Not Falling Apart.  It’s just changing.”  I thought that was a great quote so I made this:

20130119-162059

I posted this to all the sites to see what would happen.  Within half an hour 3 people on Tumblr had reblogged the post for themselves.  One was a teenager girl, a Christian.  One was a teenage boy, recovering from cutting himself.  The third was a 30 year old gay man struggling to be accepted.

Wow.  In half an hour, not only were these 3 people comforted by Jan’s hopeful quote, but now that post exists on four people’s blogs.  And everyone who visits their pages gets to see it. And so on, and so on. Isn’t that cool?

Maybe you’re not an online person, if so this may sound like I’m speaking a foreign language. Sorry!

But if you are one of the vast majority who connect with others online, take this to heart:  You don’t have to create your own artwork or post your own quotes, although it’s fun and easy to do.  Just pass on to others the things that resonante with your faith.  And there’s no need to overshare, just a couple things a day will deliver the message.

If you surf the internet as an e-vangelist, you might find yourself passing on Good News to people you know, and people you don’t.

Again, the messages are shorter than any sermon you’ve ever listened to, but they can still be a glimpse of the Kingdom for someone who needs to see it.

Liking, following, reblogging, pinning, and sharing.

This is how Christians in the 21st Century

help Jesus go viral.

Have a great week,

Mitch

20130102-225549

http://AdventureChristianity.com

SPAM

Some People Are Mean.

Some Politicians Are Meddling.

Some Products Are Misleading.

No matter how you add it up, it’s all SPAM to me.

I get too much SPAM.

I’m not just talking about unwanted email messages. I’m talking about unwanted info. Too much input.

Junk mail in my mailbox. Pop-up ads on my computer. Pseudo-reality on the TV. Annoying posts on Facebook.

And don’t even get me started on Twitter.

Everywhere I turn I get another opinion, another blog, another political commentary. Everywhere I look I see another link to click, another coupon to redeem, another group to join.

Can you hear it? The babble? It seems like it’s everywhere these days. A constant cacophony of gossip and rhetoric and sarcastic remarks, all punctuated by cute pictures of kittens in roller-skates or somebody’s spectacular wedding disaster.

I think it’s getting louder! The you-know-what is getting deeper! The SPAM is taking over!

Sometimes I just want to yell

STOP!!!

Sometimes I pray for God to knock over this tower of babel and send us scurrying. But then I think…

A tower? With all this noise and confusion, how could any of us accomplish anything so grand? No, we have created a tower of SPAM, and something has to give.

Hmm. Maybe if I’m a little less vocal, and you’re a little less vocal, we’ll find some peace and quiet.

I don’t know. It seems like alone, we’ll never make it. It would take a miracle to calm this storm.

But God came in a still small voice.

And Jesus calmed the raging seas.

And the Spirit finds the quiet center.

So… Predict A Miracle.

Faith In Love Trumps Every Racket.

Have a good week,

Mitch