I like to win arguments. I like being right. I like showing people that I’m smart. I like using my knowledge and proving a point. It’s fun. I enjoy the rush it gives. And it may be one of the most destructive things I can do as a Christian.
The digital age is great, but has it taken over? In this blog, I discuss whether it’s a positive thing for the Church and Christian organisations to go digital.
So, I attended the Premier Digital Conference on Saturday 3rd November in London. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, it’s an event to help the Christian community take advantage of all the opportunities brought about by our digital age. Their aim is to ‘inspire with what is possible, equip with new ideas and skills and connect you with people and organisations that can help you achieve your aims’.
As you can imagine, as a virtual ministry assistant, this was an amazing event for me, and it proved to be just that…….
To me, this event really brought to question, whether Churches, and Christian businesses were now becoming in tune with the digital age.
Why do Christian organisations, more specifically, Churches, find it so difficult to move with the times and become more digital / virtual?
Is it because Christianity is all about community, communication, being present with one another?
In today’s age, we now have Church apps where you can download your Church sermon, or Church newsletter; Bible verses posted on Facebook or Instagram, view Church sermons from YouTube while on the go. We have so many online Churches. A lot of Churches aspire to get their Church online. So, do less people now physically attend Church now that there are so many online Churches? You could now literally have Church while cooking your Sunday roast! Will it eventually get to a point where there will be no physical Churches, and everyone will be at home in their families, or worse, on their own listening to their Church sermon online?
Of course, the flip side of this is that tens of thousands of people can easily hear the word of God. People who may not have usually attended Church can just tune in to hear what it’s all about. People who are house bound can experience Church in their homes.
As a virtual assistant, I’m all for the digital age. Most of my work and interactions with Churches, pastors, Church leaders are done digitally, and it works well. But it is very slow to catch on. In times of such great change, it is important to take the positives of the digital age. We can reach so many people in different cities, countries and even continents. We can work and bring together a vast amount of different ideas from different cultures and generations.
Nevertheless, we must not lose our human connections. We must not forget what Christianity is about. Loving your neighbour, helping and supporting each other and working together.
As a Christian community, we must be known to not only love Jesus Christ, but to also love one another, and to live in fellowship with one another. When the world sees this, our light will ‘shine before others, that they may see… our good deeds and glorify… our Father in heaven’. (Matthew 5:16)
We need to find a happy medium where we have an option to connect virtually and digitally, but also not loose touch of our human contact.
he nearing end of 2018, and in the coming day of Thanksgiving, we need to be thankful that everything this Christian Nation has built is not yet destroyed.
“Fear not . . .” Isaiah 43:1
“Fear not” — words that make us stand a little straighter and feel a little stronger. “Fear not,” (and words of a similar context) are found in the Bible more than a hundred times. We’re taught that fear and faith cannot coexist. A fearful saint is not a faithful saint. But if you — like me — find yourself in a tumultuous situation, that contrast between the two extremes is a very real and present tension. Like the father in Mark 9, we find ourselves pleading — “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (v. 24). Over and over I pray: “God, I know You’ve got this. I know you are faithful. I know You will never leave me nor forsake me. But I’m scared God. I don’t want to be. I’m trying not to be. But I am.” And He understands. He doesn’t chide or rebuke me — He just gives me reasons not to fear.
Fear not . . . for God has heard (Gen. 21:18)
Fear not for I am with you (Gen. 26:24) (My favorite)
Do not be afraid, the Lord will fight for you (Deut. 3:22)
Do not be afraid . . . for the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6)
Fear not; I will help you (Isa. 41:13)
Today, at the suggestion of my sister-in-love, I’ve been meditating in Isaiah 43 and found some incredible words of hope that fit my life perfectly:
“This is what the Lord says — He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters” (v. 16); “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (v. 19).
At this moment I am both drowning in the sea and wandering through a desert. Seems as odd as faith mingled with fear but let me explain. My emotions seem like an overflowing river, thoughts rushing this way and that, pulling me under and threatening to take my very breath. For a split second I come up for air — “I believe!” In the next the waves crash over my head again — “But I am afraid!” God promises to make a way — a path through the waters of fearful thoughts and discouragement that threaten to drown me. He promises dry ground to cross over to the other side.
Yet I am in the desert where nothing grows and all seems lost — walking through a season of drought. Health issues. Disability. Unemployment. Multiple applications with no nibbles. Interviews with “no thank you.” Watching the funds dwindle as the provisions dry up. The reality of what we’re facing beats down like the scorching sun as we wander looking for an oasis. God promises to make a way here too — to provide streams in this wasteland . Mind you not to drown us like the sea, but to refresh and restore us.
He meets our needs for rescue and refreshing. He gives us dry ground and cool springs. He never fails to notice us wherever we are — even when we’re in two places at once. Oh, my drowning, wandering friend — let me throw you a lifeline of hope. You don’t have to fear because God hears you, He is with you, He fights for you, He will never leave nor forsake you, and He promises to help you. He knows where you are right now, and He knows what you need right here. He will make a way.
 The NIV records some 110 references; other translations will have a slightly different word count. Despite how good is sounds, there are actually not 365 “Fear not” verses.
In my mind today, I’m pretty rattled. In all truth the past few weeks have been full of grief. A classmate and former student of mine started their new chapter in heaven. This earthly life is one of many questions and uncertainties. Keeping the faith is so hard when sadness is all around. My prayers lately are “God help me keep the faith. I know I’m but a wretched sinner myself and do not deserve all the good that you give me. Just use me as part of your plan and please forgive my mean words, thoughts, and actions.” Yes, we all have chinks in our character, me especially.
This morning I read about Peter and Paul. It helped to remind me that all is not lost. We all remember Peter’s big declarations, “Lord, I could never deny you!” Then the old cock crows and he is scared and his faith is shaken. In these tough times, I feel Peter’s pain. I know you do, too. Then after the resurrection he tells Peter to tend and feed his sheep. He understands our two big W’s: weakness and wretchedness.
Then we have the Persecutor Saul/Paul. He was super wretched. He was responsible for many deaths of early Christians. God took his sight so he could be able to see the real truth and meaning of life. He became one of the best vehicles for spreading truth and light into our muddled world. The letters of Paul never fail to ignite my heart.
I want to think that today our lives are the worst they’ve ever been. People dying of cancer too soon, brokenness of families, suffering children, and rampant addictions coupled with ignorance make me want to just give up. Toss it all away and just take care of my family and forget all of the nuts out there. My faith just wavers some days like it has the past few weeks. I want to be like Peter and run or roll away in my wheelchair. I make myself pick up my devotional, Bible, and spiritual reading and whisper prayers “God help me. God protect my loved ones. God help me. The world is getting to me. Please hear me. Let me be a light. Don’t let me give up. Help me understand that this life is not all that we have. Thank you for listening.” Your Wretched & Weary Gal Sal
I keep the faith. Why? It’s all we really have. The world has always been a mess and will continue to be so because humans are broken. Here’s the objective kids: In keeping the Faith, doing good deeds, and creating a culture of love, we win the race. We finish well. Each of our little lives matter in the big picture. I’m trying hard not to give up. Don’t ever give up and walk with me by Faith and not by sight.
Sal the Rolling by Faith Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Kelly Jo Blair Hicks
Teresa Hughes Milligan
Quote of the Day:
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”
“Our last earthly breath is the beginning of happily ever after.”
Sarah Anderson Alley