by Toni Birdsong
With images of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 fresh in our minds, we must never forget that Satan is still the world’s #1 terrorist at large. Evil wasn’t killed by U.S. Navy Seals in a secret compound in Pakistan. He is feasting on our fear and planning his next strike against our souls and the souls of those we love. Now more than ever, the Church is called to a digital awareness, to get a plan, and to get in the game.
Here are 7 cultural realities of technology we can’t ignore:
- Satan is a terrorist. He understands the power of social networks as channels of unprecedented influence. So he logs on each day to destroy and divide with words, images, threats, perversions, and bizarre ideologies that get shared globally. He goes where hearts congregate. Will you stand up like David with a sling and a stone and tell Goliath you’ve come to take back the land in the name of the Lord? (1 Sam. 17:1-50)
- This generation is commanded to lead the next [online]. Christians who are Digital Immigrants (those over 30) are called to biblically “raise up” the next generation of Christians who are Christian Digital Natives (those born with iPods in their hands). Technology minus a firm commitment to godly discipleship is sure disaster for the future of the church and a forfeit of Kingdom influence and mission here on earth. (Deut. 6:1-2, 2 Thess. 2:14-15)
- Culture is winning. Look around. The voice of the Lord (His Church) has become a mere whisper on television, radio, publishing and the web. Values of family, relationship, life, marriage, purity, service, and community are being aggressively pursued—for extinction. Will you be part of God’s commandment to influence culture for His eternal Kingdom or will you throw up your hands and let culture influence (and silence) you? (Rom. 12:2, Rom. 1:26, Rom. 2:1)
- Digital access is answered prayer. For generations the Church (and missionaries) have prayed for
insight, access, and conversation opportunities with the lost. For the first time in history, millions are pulling back the curtain on their hearts and inviting us in to openly dialogue . . . about most anything. Our higher call as Christ followers in this generation is to wisdom and clarity on what we believe and how best to communicate it. To the saints who came before us and suffered to share the gospel—and to those who still faithfully navigate cultures in foreign lands today—these days of digital access might well go down as the ‘glory days’ of evangelism. Our biggest hazard as Christians today is tripping over low hanging fruit.
- Digital outreach is biblical. In John 14:12 Jesus told his disciples they would do greater things than he did in His ministry. And in Acts 1:8 He commanded them to go “to the ends of the earth” with His message of salvation. Today, with technology and the amplification power of social networks, we can do just that. Still, the Church (in general, not all) still slumbers on this topic and wary of exactly how and even why they should be engaging on silly little time zaps such as Facebook and Twitter. Seriously, it’s time for pastors everywhere to get a plan and get in the game. A great place to start: the field guide @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online. Remember this every time you log on: God has created all things (including the web) for Himself and His glory. Don’t be deceived or distracted from your mission by a havoc-raising liar. You (we) are smarter than that. The pressing need is to mobilize the Body and battle havoc and lies with Truth and Love. (1 John 4:4, Colossians 1:16)
- Unbelievers around you will perish—eternally—apart from God. Let’s not sugar coat what the gospel lays straight out. (Matt. 25:46, John 3:16, Rom. 2:6-8). For Christians to log online and look, walk, talk, and respond like the rest of the world is explicit irreverence. Luke tells us in Acts that Paul didn’t assimilate to culture but rather, was appalled by it. Acts 17:16 says while in the idol-saturated city of Athens, Paul’s spirit was ‘provoked.’ In the Greek provoked is paroxuno, which conveys outrage and indignation. To refresh, read Acts 17:1-18. We’ve been saved by God’s grace; we’ve been ransomed and literally rescued. From what? From hell. To treat that gift like yesterday’s news, or something less than a miracle, is asking Jesus to climb the cross all over again.
- People long to know Jesus. As humans we are created to know our maker. Your ache is the same as your neighbor’s ache. Only your ache has been remedied by the cross. Don’t be fooled by appearances, confidence, or by passionately self-constructed, hodgepodge theologies. Suicide, depression, and isolation are on the rise across all age groups and living in a digital world isn’t helping. People need Jesus. You, as a Christian in the 21st century, are no different than Paul who in Acts 17:24-34 laid it out the entire gospel succinctly to Athens as they worshipped at altars chiseled to “An Unknown God.” He told them without apology that the Lord did not live in temples made by human hands; that He wanted His beloved creation to know Him. He called the idol worshippers Christ’s “offspring.” Then, without doublespeak or apology, he told them to repent and worship the one true God through Jesus Christ.
So what happened when Paul shared the Truth? Some sneered and turned away. Others, said: “We want to hear you again on this subject.” Here’s the upshot: “a number of others,” left their lives of idol worship and followed Paul that day.
The incredible thing: Those “others” that heard and responded to Paul that day now reside in heaven.
The message of salvation pulsates in you. You are God’s love letter to the world. He’s poured into you Truth, wisdom, and a storehouse of intimate encounters with Him to remind you of His work in your life. That’s more than enough to get the job done (Rev. 12:11). Your tools are the same tools Paul, Silas, and Timothy had when they individually made the choice to strike out and proclaim salvation in unknown lands. They chose to fully engage with individual hearts and they changed the world. So can you.
Do you understand the hour? What are your biggest fears? What keeps you from living out your faith online? Be honest—let’s do this together!
Tweet/post this today:
Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light. ~ Eph. 5:14 #LiveSticky
If you liked this post, you’ll love the book. Order your copy of @stickyJesus TODAY! Learn how to be “sticky” like Jesus & make a Kingdom impact in your social networks!
Related posts we like:
- Why we don’t need to rebrand Christianity or reimagine church (lifeandbuilding.wordpress.com)
- Exploring and restoring the kingdom message II (franschhoekimpact.wordpress.com)
- Contextualization: communicating the gospel in contemporary language (christopherlazo.com)