12 Social Media (G+) Proverbs

These dozen proverbs are written as advice on how to live well in the digital world of Google + and other social media networks.  They are inspired by The Book of Proverbs chapter 18.   Enjoy!

  1. Any friend/follower/circle dude who is interested only in themselves is basically a ball of spit

Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good. 18:1

  1. If you can’t listen, think and respond, you are basically just slobbering on your keyboard (tablet/phone)

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. 18:2

  1. There are bucket-loads of crap posts but a few finely crafted gems

Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs. 18:4

  1. A dumbass post starts pointess fights, HIT MUTE

The words of a fool start fights; do him a favor and gag him. 18:6

  1. In all seriousness, what you post changes who you are

Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words. 18:7

  1. Don’t learn to hit the mute button?  You will end up with a bellyache

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly? 18:8

  1. Social media is a co-operative canvas, bad habits and lazy posts are ugly graffiti on top of inspired sketches

Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism. 18:9

  1. You look stupid and rude when you comment without reading the post

 Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. 18:13

  1. Read carefully, if you are wise, the daily insight will stick

Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights. 18:15

  1. Be generous with your comments, people will notice

A gift gets attention; it buys the attention of eminent people. 18:16

  1. Kind, friendly comments are as good as fresh fruit on a hot day

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. 18:20

  1. When it comes down to it, life is really about people, wives and husbands, friends and family, boyfriends and girlfriends, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mums and dads, and all those other people you should be loving right now, including those on the other end of the internet connection.

Find a good spouse, you find a good life— and even more: the favor of God!…… Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. 18:22&24

The Centre

Proverbs chapter 18 is practical wisdom for living life well.  It covers many subjects, marriage, friendship, work and much more.

Tucked away in the middle of this collection of pragmatic guidelines is a real odd ball. It’s simply out of place.  Or is it perfectly placed?  Here is 18:10

God’s name is a place of protection— good people can run there and be safe.

At the centre of life is the name and nature of God; All powerful, all knowing God who is home

Featured Image:  Some rights reserved by andrewrennie
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10 ways to stop being a donkey

“Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.”
God-defiers are always in trouble; God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around.
Celebrate God. Sing together—everyone! All you honest hearts, raise the roof!  Ps 32:9-11 MSG

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  1. Don’t conspire to get your own way
  2. Stay on track because you love loving God and others
  3. Be generous in your attitudes not requiring correction
  4. Don’t believe you made it this far by yourself
  5. Look intently for God in your life and be thankful
  6. Enjoy the truth that you are loved, deeply loved by God
  7. Be happy about what God has done for you
  8. Get together with people who are loud mouthed about how amazing God is
  9. Don’t leave people out.  Invite them in
  10. Be whole-hearted it will blow the roof off.

W5-Who trumps what-where-when and why

In Belfast we have a wonderful science and discovery centre called W5, WhoWhatWhereWhenWhy – visit W5.  My sons aged 7 and 4 absolutely love it and we visit a few times each year.

What?

What should I do?  What do you want me to do?  What did you do?

What is the best approach to this project?  What hope do I have of making that work?

What should I spend money on? What should I eat? What type of x y and z should I have?

What subjects? What career? What company?

What is it made of? What does it need in order to work?

What am I going to do with you?

What have I done?  What have you done with my Son?

Where?

Where should we live? Where should we go to church?

Where should we holiday? Where can I find one?

Where is the best place to find peace and quiet?

Where did I lose that ticket?

Where can we go from His presence?

When?

When will that delivery arrive?

When can I go out to play?

When will I feel better?  When will things get better?

When will I learn?

When will you learn?

When will I earn enough money?

When will people realise how talented I am?

When will God answer?

Why?

Why me?

Why do I need to do that?

Why did that happen to you?

Why should I?

Why not?

Why, just stinkin’ why?

Why would anyone do that for me?

Why don’t we? Why wouldn’t we?

Why does it matter?

 Who?

Who said that?

Who knows best?

Who’s the daddy?

Who needs this most?

Who should I listen to?

Who can I help?

Who can I turn to for help?

Who can I depend on?  Who can depend on me?

Who is there?

Who loves ya baby?

Who’s left?

“Who do people say that I am?”   Who do I say that He is?

Who is a God like you?

You forgive those who are guilty of sin; you don’t look at the sins of your people who are left alive.

You will not stay angry forever, because you enjoy being kind.   Micah 7:18

You should read this great post on Coffee with Noelle for more on this verse.

Image  Some rights reserved by jonny goldstein

A final message from the pastor

Augustus_Edwin_Mulready_Uncared_for_1871In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

I find this combination of text and painting almost overwhelming. Perhaps it is the similarity between this young boy and my own son Harrison that stopped me in my tracks.  The skin tone, hair colour even the physical size and presence are striking to me.

Final words from the pastor

These are the final words of Paul to the elders of the Ephesian Church before he sets sail, knowing he will never see them again.  After saying this they knelt and prayed before embracing each other with tears.

If you were asked to write a speech for Paul to the leaders of his church what would you write?  As their pastor what could Paul say that would have the most benefit in their walk with Jesus.

Paul’s message was ‘follow my example, I have not sought to be blessed by you but to bless you.  I have not sought to gain riches from you but to bring you riches.’  Paul instructed them that they MUST help the weak and as a result they themselves will be blessed.

Rewind to Micah

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?    Micah 6:8

The word translated ‘to love kindness’ (hesed) is also often translated ‘loving kindness’ or ‘steadfast love’.  This word appears 250 times in the Bible, mostly used to describe God, but 25% of the time it describes how we should respond to others.

Paul’s enduring message is that the church should be the source of enduring love

Our kindness must be steadfast and loyal.  Paul leaves no choice in whether or not we should be living sacrificially in order to show this kindness.

This instruction is possibly the perfect definition of Win/Win.  Living sacrificially in order to help we are blessed more than if we were receiving help. If you have ever been on the receiving end of help you will understand just how great this ‘greater blessing’ must be.

You can get a hi-res copy of the Augustus Edwin Mulready painting ‘Uncared for’ here

How long?

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?  Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice?  Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?  Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.  Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.  The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.  Habakkuk 1

The old man sits uncomfortable.  As far as he can see it the town is going to hell in a hand cart.  Justice long forgotten.  Truth a tale from a forgotten time.  The man who wants,simply takes. End of story.

He remembers stories of a  sheriff, a marshall who stood for right and wrong.  A man above men who accepted consequences but would not accept violence to an innocent.  This man wrote the book on justice.  He apprehended the wrongdoer, he rescued the abused.

But in this time, in this place he remains a memory, an echo of truth.

Someone believed this man to be in a nearby town.  Somewhere within reach.  A message could be sent.  A plea for help, he will come, yes he will surely come. He will come with perfect timing to free us from our oppressors.  His arrival will reveal our enemies as the thieves we know them to be.

The message sent “RAPE!”, they have taken what did not belong to them.  They have laid us out, bound our wrists, we have no choice.  We are hemmed in.

Message dispatched, today we wait, perhaps we can avert our eyes from the injustice for a while. Nightfall, no answer.

Perhaps the answer is delayed, today we wait again.  If it really is him in the next town an answer will come.  He will hear our cry.

The days have been worse.  Brother rises against brother, no man can trust his friend.  Truth is, there are none who stand.  No man lifts another before himself.  There is a chance the message did not reach him.  He would listen.  His ear would not be deaf to our cries.  Worse, he would not hear and then ignore us.  He would not leave us without help.  He would not.  Perhaps it was not him.

 

Image rights reserved by ccampbell10

God’s ways are not your ways

still small voice

I regularly have to remind myself the Christian life is not a project to accomplish or a skill to practice.

This is increasingly important as today we are surrounded by headlines like:

Five steps to become an awesome Christian

7 mistakes the unsaved make when cutting grass

12 people who need to like you before you will achieve your God given purpose

Sometime I wonder if we have become like the Pharisees aiming for perfection, creating ‘rules’ to help us along the way.

TAKE ACTION – plan – don’t stop moving – people need to hear your voice today or they will forget you

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.  Galatians 1:15-17

I am inspired by the fact that one of my heroes, Paul, when called by God did not run to the nearest successful ministry, nor did he seek out a 10 step plan for church planting, he didn’t even head to where he could learn from the experts.

He stopped, he listened, he was prepared for the slow revelation of Jesus Christ.  Prepared also for the possible obscurity that may follow.

The revelation of Jesus Christ is never hurried.  Even in His own teaching Jesus chose parables, stories thrown down before people that worked into their spirit.  I wonder today whether Jesus’ teaching would follow the ‘self-help’ industry standards of today or would he still be asking questions of us, breathing answers to those prepared to sit in the soil long enough to take root.

 

For some reason comments are not working on this post.  If you’d like to comment or just say hi, why not come over and say hi on G+ here

 

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega
Have you ever tried writing a story?

If you have, you’ll know that it’s important to set out the beginning, the middle and the end.  Lose one of the three, and your story will suck.

Without a beginning a story has no explanation; people you don’t know are doing things you don’t understand in an unclear location and with no context whatsoever.  Without an end a story is pointless!  Characters may be introduced, relationships develop and the plot might thicken, but there’ll be no resolution, no closure, just dissatisfaction.

Imagine any trilogy you like without parts one and three. Pretty frustrating, right?  Well, that’s what life can sometimes feel like; we appear in the middle of a story and may very well die before it reaches a conclusion.  Death is more annoying than anything else, isn’t it?

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God. (Revelation 1:8a)

[Jesus said,] ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ (Revelation 22:13)

The Bible tells us clearly that just as Alpha and Omega begin and end the Ancient Greek alphabet, the beginning and end of our story is God himself. Without God we have no context or explanation for life; naturalistic science may be able to hint towards how things happen, but have no hope for telling us why. But in Christ we have a cause and a reason for living; we understand why we’re here.

Without God we have no certainty about the future; we only need to look at the credit crunch to see that every other foundation we build our lives on is flawed, inconsistent and unpredictable.  But in Christ our future is secure.  An eternity of infinite joy and peace is guaranteed.

What if we thought, and acted, as if it were all about Jesus?

 

I hope you have enjoyed this guest post by Sam Isaacson.  Sam describes himself as “a normal Christian, writing a blog for normal Christians. I’m not a church leader or a conference speaker or anything like that, I’m just a normal Christian getting on with my normal life, just like a lot of other Christians.” You can connect (and encourage) Sam on twitter, google+ and by visiting his blog

Image used with permsission by jayneandd

Brilliant Dreamers

“Don’t stop believing…. unless your dreams are stupid”

My favourite moment in this fantastic video that went viral this week.  You will find this Journey(ish) quote just after the minute mark.

Are you a dreamer?  I am!  I can lose hours daydreaming quite easily.    There is much truth in this video, however there is I believe, a hint of a great truth.  In the first world today the preeminent message we receive is don’t stop believing, hold onto your dreams, never let anyone tell you that can’t do it.

Unfortunately as Christians we are tempted to believe that this positive, life affirming message is actually the good news.  We act like God has called us to be achievers, to be successful at whatever we do.  This is not the truth, at least not the whole truth.

Here’s how Jude put it

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. Jude 1:8

We have dreams of preaching to 1000’s, writing a best selling book, leading 20,000 in worship or travelling to the four corners to share the good news.  These great dreams can become what we rely on, the inspiration for our service, the thought that raises our hope.

The Truth

Your dreams are not big enough!

When God invites us to be a player in His story, do we dream up a story of our own?  God has called us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.  He has called us to act as He would, to make disciples, to seek God.

I ask myself:

  • Do I choose brilliance before Christlikeness?
  • Is excellence or success my dream?
  • Do I choose humility and prayer over self promotion and ambition?
  • What do I believe will be the most significant thing I can do in serving Jesus?

In all this I find myself asking “What is my response to the gift of God in my life?”

My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace nor even blessing, but Himself my God     F Brook

A prayer of desire

When I wrote this post about St Ignatius of Loyola I wrote  the following prayer about desire.Flower

I want to be left alone.

I want to be left alone to seek God, to hear His voice and know His prescence.  I want to dwell, rest and dream in His house.  I want to worship in the truth of His worth with eyes opened by His Spirit.  I want to join in the dance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I want to move with grace and obedience in the will of the triune God.

I want to serve my family well.  To provide shelter, care and security, to teach and guide, to love and inspire.

I want to live truthfully without guile or contradiction.

I want to learn incarnation.  The gift of being here and now, present in space and time, not living towards or away from, but living HERE. Not disregarding today as unimportant.  Taking hold of today and not letting it go until God is glorified and I have received grace.

Prayers like these reveal our weakness as much as they reveal God’s strength.  Maybe just maybe, if we continue to pray, God will hear from heaven and answer.

I would love for you to comment below, share a prayer or desire that you have.  Maybe you haven’t even prayed it out loud.

Image by ravensong75 used under license

Hands up anyone?

Check out Proverbs 18:13

  • If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
  • It’s stupid and embarrassing to give an answer before you listen.
  • Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish
  • Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.

Hands Up Anyone?I read this Proverb a couple of weeks back and shared it with Harrison (6) over breakfast.  Harrison’s response?  “There are people like that in my class.  They have their hands up before the teacher even asks the question!”  (spoken with more than a hint of ‘how foolish is that’)

I have to hold my hands up and say “Yep that’s me” , I speak before listening.  It is my foolishness and shame to have answers for people long before I listen to them.  Harrison’s words made me think though.  There are sometimes when we really should have our hands up, but they remain at our side.

  • In confession – ‘Yep that was me’
  • In worship – You alone are worthy O Lord
  • In response – Here I am, send me
  • In celebration – Think of when your team scored that last-minute goal

106054-barcelonas-supporters-celebrate-a-goal-by-their-team-in-central-barcel1

Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!  The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.                                        Zephaniah 3: 14-17

Worth Celebrating?