By Tami Heim
It’s Catalyst week in Atlanta and over 13,000 pastors, ministry leaders, and their staff have assembled to be challenged, stretched, encouraged, and inspired. The Catalyst team excels at creating a world-class experience. The theme for 2011 is “BE PRESENT” and I can’t think of a stickier state-of-being than this one.
Catalyst President and CEO @BradLomenick sums it up this way,
“BE PRESENT” is one of the most convicting and challenging topics we’ve ever tackled. In today’s consumer-driven culture, we all find ourselves distracted and overwhelmed by the myriad of diversions life throws at us on a daily basis. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. But how will we recognize that place if we are living in a constant state of distraction?”
Challenging topic? No doubt. Particularly true for an arena loaded with highly connected, tech savvy, social media maniacs (BTW – that love Jesus, too.) If you happen to be on twitter, you can search for the hashtag #CAT11. That stream immediately connects you to the Catalyst conversation and experience. Those present in- real-life at the conference virtually enable you to be present, too. You can follow the flow as each session helps you embrace what God has right in front of you, right where you are.
Defender of the Faith: quick to listen - slow to speak - slow to anger
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19 – 23, NIV
By Tami Heim
Every generation experiences debate and conflict when it comes to unpacking the intricacies of faith. As new Internet platforms emerge, believers garner easy access to delivery systems that give voice to their religious convictions and biblical interpretations. This generation’s public square is dynamic, emotional, and digitally documented for the whole world to observe, search, and reference.
The online network stream exposes all sorts of faith-based controversies. When you see them surface listen carefully, be slow to engage, and don’t get worked up or angry. Instead hold fast to the truth and then you won’t be overwhelmed by the tensions. It’s imperative you not let the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel be convoluted and lost in a vortex of theological argument.
Remain centered on the pure and holy intention of God’s vision,
and the charge of the great commission.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
– I Peter 3:15, NIV
Will you share your story?
By Tami Heim
When you decide to surrender your life and follow Jesus, the combination of His love and grace activates a massive transformation. When God’s story becomes your story, change begins on the inside and then moves outside where others can’t help but notice it. New replaces old and life is never the same again.
The Holy Spirit works in and around you. Whether someone’s known you most of your life or meets you for the first time – it’s quite clear – You are different.
As you daily live out your faith, God uses this difference in you to draw others to Him. Job #1 mandates you to be ready at all times to give the reason for the hope that’s within you. Now you no longer need to wait to be asked.
Inspired by Max Lucado and his new book, God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours, a movement and site called His Is Mine launches today. With its release comes the opportunity for you to share your story throughout all your social media networks. Join with other believers and be a global witness in such a time as this.
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)
Praise Him for His surpassing greatness!
by Tami Heim
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
– Acts 16:25-26, NIV
When you profess to be a Christ follower, people take note. They pay attention to how you react and respond as life comes at you fast. When you live out your faith online, friends and followers crowd the cyber sidelines with added curiosity. No one suspects the digital wave of glory that exists at your fingertips.
They read your posts, follow conversations, and scrutinize your patterns of engagement. Some among your fascinated circle may not interact with you directly, but make no mistake this networked community notices the God-thing in your life.
The trials in life come, as they always do. People know you are going through the tough stuff. Perseverance becomes your personal trainer and works you over with a custom P90X program for the soul. (There’s a reason why your faith story is called a test-imony.) God has you on the ordained development plan for completeness and maturity.
Your character and countenance are widely observed. People wait to see if your God makes a difference and how long you’ll hang on until He does. Just like Paul and Silas, you deliver the completely unexplainable response and it radically alters the spiritual condition of the whole audience.
Be courageous and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.
By Tami Heim
But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. Acts 4:4, NIV
Peter and John knew well the walls of captivity, but it never slowed them down. For them every situation was an opportunity to share Jesus with a new audience. When they spoke, people were saved and lives changed. The Holy Spirit perfected the sequence of their words and they courageously delivered it.
- Assert the name of Jesus.
- Share the message of salvation.
- Extend the invitation.
- Step back and watch the Holy Spirit complete the work.
God used ordinary men to move with extraordinary confidence and courage. For them, nothing else mattered – nothing. That same power and courage are waiting to be released in you.
Will you share the book of your heart?
God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes. ~ Psalm 18:24, The Message
By Tami Heim
It’s amazing to live in a time when your faith story can transmit digitally and be received globally. In our book @stickyJesus, and on this site, we’re passionate about what’s possible when you share and live out your faith online. Imagine what God would do if the body united digitally to make Him known.
Are you be willing to make that happen?
Everyone has a story to share
King David knew how desperately he needed God to cleanse his heart and rewrite the text of his life. Imagine if David hadn’t shared his story? Think about how his experiences bring us joy, comfort, and assurance in moments of great need. We see his checkered life and what God can do even in times of great weakness. We connect with his exuberant triumphs and agonizing failures. In his story we relate, find hope, and understand the consequences of sin.
Isn’t it possible that your story could do the same for someone else?
By grace, through faith you are saved.
By Tami Heim
Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above,not earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:1-3
In that transforming moment on the Damascus road, Paul gets God’s plan and immediately begins to live out the paramount truth of it. He endures many trials and relentlessly presses through all of them to make the Gospel known.
Knowing the truth, Paul can’t help himself. There’s no other option.
Unending Love - Amazing Grace
By Tami Heim
I love weddings.
Regardless of the grandeur or simplicity of the ceremony, I find weddings breathtaking, sacred, and bursting with promise. And so it was when my daughter, Zoë, married Matthew Perry Henry Malone in the summer of 2009. The wedding theme was “Grace and Love” and their first dance was to a Kutless song of the same title.
Sweetly overwhelmed by the grace and love of the One that redeemed them, Zoë and Matt wanted their wedding celebration to be an outpouring of God’s presence in their lives. Undeniably inspired by this special day and their passionate vows to relentlessly pursue God, I’m drawn to quotes about grace.
This week I felt a gentle nudge to share some of my favorites with you. My prayer is that each one reminds you how preciously you’ve been wrapped in His unending love and amazing grace. I’m also praying that if you find a favorite quote here, you will take a moment to copy, paste, and post it so others can be encouraged, too.