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Facebook and Jesus Part 1

By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted February 20, 2013
RELIGION – This morning I cut my hair. I have been cutting my hair for about the past 20 years of my life. It is not hard. I have a nice set of clippers, throw on a guard, and go to buzzing around my head. Well, I wanted to give myself a “fade” this morning. I wanted to cut my sides shorter than my top. This seemed simple enough. But I sort of messed it up. I cut my sides too short, my fade is fairly crooked, and my head does not look so hot. My wife’s first response was a grunted “oohh.” A nice older lady in my church told me I looked like “Obama.” I think that is a compliment. Anyways, in short my hair looks like it was cut by a blind man in a dark room.

My first response to this situation was to get a camera and put it on Facebook.  Then I thought you can just come to church Sunday and laugh in my face if you want. But why did I want to post that? Maybe to give people a laugh at my expense, or maybe my desire to blast my picture on the internet reveals something about me.

Why do you post what you do on Facebook? Why do we use Facebook and what does it reveal about us? We are going to be answering these questions over the next few weeks.  I read an awesome little book last week “Will you be my Facebook friend?” by Tim Chester. I will be doing almost an extended review of his book as our guide.

What are the befits of social media (ex . Facebook, twitter, etc..)? First off, we are created by God to be relational creatures. Part of our draw to Facebook is to see the lives of people. We see how they are feeling (or how they want us to think they are feeling), what they are doing, and a whole host of useful tidbits of their life.

Secondly, it makes communication easy. My friend is an English teacher in Korea, and my son Cason has a Korean pen pal that he writes. The letters take about two weeks to get to Korea. Then the pen pal writes, and another two weeks goes by, this is one communication. The same communication between me and my friends takes 20 seconds over Facebook. We can keep up with missionaries, easily plan events, check sports scores,and a whole host of wonderful things.

But these benefits do not come without dangers. Tim Challies writes that: ‘a technology wears its benefits on its sleeve – but the drawbacks are buried deep within.’ Technology is good. But it readily gets perverted by our sin, and used for selfish ends. The following are a few obvious dangers that we will look more deeply at later on. The first is that “more than half its users log on at least once every day. Nearly half of Facebook’s users between the ages of 18 and 34 check Facebook within minutes of first waking up in the morning. Over a quarter of them do so before they even get out of bed.” (Chester)

It is not just the time spent, but the interruptive power. Social media is a continual interruption. Alerts flash when you are mentioned in a post or someone “likes” your post. These are all distractions and kill the productive power of focus. I know this first hand. After first getting on Facebook, I found myself spending too much time on it. I would work a little, and then post a little, the quality of my work decreased and the time I spent trying to work increased. This is a bad combination. So I installed a neat little plug in for Firefox called Time Leach. It limits all interactivity directed to Facebook, Ebay, MMA Websites, and anything else that is diversional in nature to five minutes per hour. This still works out to 35 to 45 minutes a day wasted. Time that I will never get back! Time I could have been using differently.
Now maybe I am being too harsh, but answer the questions that Tim Chester asks in his book.
·    Do you spend more than twenty minutes a day on Facebook?
·    Do you check your Facebook page more than once or twice a day?’
·    Do you find it difficult to imagine a day without technology?
·    Have you ever read a text or gone online during a church gathering?
·    Have you stayed up beyond your normal bedtime because you were on Facebook or playing online games?
·    Do you use your mobile phone during meals or keep it in the bedroom?   

If were to judge who or what was your god based on the amount of time you spent with them or giving attention to them what would the hours of your week reveal? That you spend way more time on social media than you do Bible study or prayer?  Pray about priorities. What do they reveal about you? Are you willing to, as Titus asks us to in Titus 2:11-14,  “ For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  (12)  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,  (13)  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,  (14)  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Say no to things that draw you away from God. Be zealous towards good works, not checking Facebook. Be on your knees in prayer first thing out of bed, not scrolling through the lives of others.

Pastor Phillip

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