Are You a Social Media Mongol?

I can remember when I first heard of Facebook. One of my missionary friends talked me into signing up for it as a way to keep in touch. I thought it was weird, but I created a  profile on August 7, 2007.

My first post was on my oldest son’s wall: “Hi Garrett….I like facebook better than myspace…it doesn’t have all the scary stuff.”

I’m not sure what was scary about MySpace, but there ya go.

In the 10 years I’ve been active on Facebook, I developed a love-hate relationship with it.

I love the way I can connect with friends, family, and ministry contacts. I love the way I can pray for people right there in the comments. I love getting to say Happy Birthday to a friend I barely knew in second grade.

You have to admit it…birthdays are way better with Facebook!

I hate the way I get sucked into silly, time-wasting quizzes, games, and videos. I hate it when strange men send me “Your smile lights my world” messages. And I hate it when the social media mongols take over the FB feed.

What is a social media mongol, you ask? I’m not talking mongrel, which is a fancy name for a mutt dog. And I’m not talking about a mogul, which is a successful entrepreneur running things like a boss.

Let’s look at who the Mongols were.

“The Mongols had a mission concentrated in one word – destruction. Their take-no-prisoners mentality led them to conquer more of the world than any other empire in history. And it wasn’t just that they could ride horses. It was that they could snipe you through the heart with an arrow while riding their horses” (List25.com).

Social media mongols have a mission, too. To prove their point to the death. It’s not just that they can multi-task on their smartphones. It’s that they can slash folks through the heart with their words while multi-tasking on their smartphones.

Politics, social justice, religion, sports. There’s always something bringing out folks’ inner mongol.

I’m tired of it. Full-blown weary.

There’s a difference between a mongol post and an opinion post.

Opinion posts have a civil tone. Mongol posts are hostile.

Opinion posts promote healthy discussion. Mongol posts promote bickering.

Opinion posts inspire others to think. Mongol posts instigate outrage.

I have a wide variety of Facebook friends. Christians and non-Christians. Black and White. American and Abroad. Scholars and High School Dropouts. I love them all, and they love me.

Some of the most mongol-ish posts come from Christians. This should not be! There’s no excuse for a follower of Jesus Christ to resort to name-calling and out-of-control ranting.

I find the anonymity of social media gives us a level of bravado we wouldn’t have in person. If someone in our presence did something we didn’t like or didn’t agree with, I highly doubt we’d jump up and call them ingrates or idiots. Yet folks do it all the time on Facebook both in their original posts and in their responses to the posts of others.

We need to do better, Jesus people. The world is watching.

We can stand for God without stomping all over people.

We can state our opinions without slashing naysayers with renegade words.

We can surf social media without shipwrecking our reputations.

I don’t always get it right, but the best way I’ve found to keep my social media presence on the up-and-up is to invite Jesus into the equation.

If Jesus was sitting beside you, would you click “post?” Would you allow every hot-button issue to push your buttons? Would you share that angry post a friend of a friend worded “just right?” Would you look at Jesus and say, “They started it?”

I love how my friend Suzie Eller put it on Facebook today.

Right now it’s easy to get drawn into debate. It’s easy to jump from one argument to the next.

What did Jesus do? He kept going. He kept praying. He kept teaching. He kept encouraging. He didn’t place his energies or time into debates to nowhere, but intentionally continued to change the world around Him.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t have time to argue and debate each and every hot topic.

If that hot topic stirs something inside of you, then do what you hope others will do. Let it begin with you.

Love tangibly. Live truth wholly. Pray fervently. Give sacrificially. Open your door to others. Share the Gospel with someone seeking hope. Listen for His voice over the rumble of divisiveness.

Ask for anointing. Hold out your hands and heart for wisdom. Pray for direction. Then live that. Keep going.

I promise that when we stop debating, we’ll find there is purpose right in front of each of us that will change the world, or at least the corner God has shown us.

#livingfreetogether
#ComeWithMe

These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2 NLT).

We are God’s workers, and when we get sidetracked by arguments, we can’t be about His business. Time is short. We don’t have time to bicker, friends! We. Don’t. Have. Time.

Lord, help us. 

Help us resist the pull of proving every point. You are the point. 

May our social media posts point people to You.

May Your constant presence influence our social media presence.

May we slay our inner mongols and be people of peace and truth spoken in love.

In Jesus’s Name I pray, AMEN

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The Problem with Prayer Requests | Pray Without Ceasing Tip of the Week

I met with a full-blown ray of sunshine yesterday! As it turns out, the teacher I’m replacing at my new school is merely moving into the classroom next door to teach fourth grade. She graciously agreed to meet me for lunch so I could pick her brain and get a handle on how to organize and manage a multi-grade special needs class.

We’re both the friendly, talkative sort, so we probably could have sat there for hours and not run out of things to say. But it’s not nice to take a new friend hostage and expect her to chat all day.

We got to know each other a bit, but the main agenda was to talk shop. I learned so much from her, and I left our lunch date excited to put her words of advice into action.

That’s how I like to feel when I leave a Bible study class. Yes, I want to chew the fat a bit and get to know the people in the group, but my main objective is to “talk shop.” To dig into that big, beautiful Book of Truth and to learn from the teacher and the other class members’ insights. I want to walk away from the class with spiritual nuggets I can wrestle with and put into action. I want to leave the class excited about what I learned.

Here lies the problem with sharing prayer requests. If the class has more than a handful of people, the bulk of the class time can be taken up going around and sharing prayer requests leaving the teacher only a few minutes to facilitate the lesson. There has to be a better way.

Here are a few ideas that come to mind, and I’d love to hear how your Bible study group incorporates prayer into the schedule.

  • Pass a prayer request sheet around where class members can jot down requests. This cuts down on unnecessary back story and accidental gossip. The list can be prayed over at the end of class and distributed to the class for continued prayer during the week.
  • Spend the first few minutes in corporate prayer where each member with a prayer need can lift that need straight to God. One class member can act as a recorder and email the list to the class. Time that was spent talking about the need could be used actually praying for the need.
  • I love this one from Women’s Ministry Toolbox. Have a basket of note cards where members can grab a card and write down requests. Completed cards are gathered and members take one card to pray over all week.
  • Periodically scrap the Bible study lesson altogether and spend the entire time in fervent prayer.
  • Create a Facebook or GroupMe group where prayer requests can be shared during the week. One person can pass on the needs to the non-techy people in the group.
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit. If a member walks in with a heavy burden, drop everything and fight for them in prayer.

Prayer is an important way to get to know God and each other, but studying the Word of God is equally vital. Let’s ask God to help us use our limited time wisely.

Lord, help us be excellent stewards of our group Bible study times so we can walk out fired up and ready to apply Your truth. Show us how to balance fellowship, prayer and study. In Jesus’ name I ask, AMEN

How does your Bible study handle prayer requests? Share your ideas in the comments. I’ll choose a random commenter from the blog or Facebook page to win a prayer journal.

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