> @StickyJesus 1) you: born for such a time as this

wavesIn celebration of Internet Evangelism Month, this is the fourth in a 15-part blog project discussing the book, @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online.

I go to the beach every day and marvel at God’s creation. Here’s the funny thing. I don’t live near the beach.  Not only that, but I can listen to a sermon from a pastor in Atlanta or Nashville or Los Angeles, whenever I want. What’s even better is that I am able to share these things with my friends and family, and, if you can believe it, followers! Who am I to have followers?

In my work life, I am a jack of all trades with technology and multimedia for training.  Somewhere along the way, I noticed there were Christian bloggers tweeting. I started to follow. And I started to wonder, what kind of impact could this have locally for my church. One weekend, I uploaded a website, opened a Facebook and Twitter account for our church. Then I saw @StickyJesus on one of my Twitter feeds. The digital dialogue I had created merely as an information dump for the congregation had the potential for community development and outreach.

you are my light

Chapter 1′s sub-title is the land is shiny, but you are my light. Who doesn’t like shiny, new things? I am an admitted geek. But it’s not the technology, but the light that drives the technology.  And here’s the real news, we are that light! And we can be powered up by the Holy Spirit to open a conversation with the world about Jesus in ways that are personal and compelling.

We have instantaneous access to information on any topic. I have the Bible on my phone! And people are searching. Google is the tool of choice for answers to life’s questions instead of God.  God is the One who has set us on this quest.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (Today’s NIV ©2005)

And so the desperate search rages on, but the answers the world provides does not give comfort or lasting results. But as Christians, we have the access to the answers and can reach a larger audience than ever before.

People are hungering for human connection, and that is why social networks are exploding.  And that is why Jesus needs to be on Facebook and Twitter. He has the answers. He has given us the answers and now we are to go out into the wide open mission fields and harvest.

Discussion

The final paragraph in Chapter 1 of @StickyJesus asks some important questions.

  1. How do you follow Jesus in a web-based world and lead others to do the same?
  2. How do you deliver the only message that matters?

We are mandated by Jesus to be a light and spread the gospel. I can do that on my porch or my living room to reach people across the street and across the world. What an exciting time to be alive!

@StickyJesus project –> @StickyJesus 2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told" rel="bookmark" href="http://blog.ourchurch.com/2011/05/06/stickyjesus-2-jesus-the-stickiest-story-ever-told/">2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told

A wife, mother and geek looking to share Jesus with my corner of the world! On Twitter as @wls1961, Facebook administrator for WhitehouseFMC and web administrator for whitehouse-fmc.org.

33 Responses to “> @StickyJesus 1) you: born for such a time as this”

  1. Wanda, I love how God gently revealed to you the possibilities there are as a believer in this time and space. He leads us to the places He wants us to be and then gives us the power and the boldness to connect where a connection needs to be made. I stepped into the stream with a publisher's mindset, trying to understand how this new 'platform' would impact the future of the industry I served. Once I did, God almost immediately stirred my heart and mind about the future He had planned here. You are absolutely right – What an exciting time to be alive.

    Regardless of where we are or what we're doing, it's our choice to accept His mandate and our assignment. When we show up faithfully with deliberate intention, He empowers us with discernment and the ability to redirect the topic of countless conversations. Every time we log on, we disrupt the flow of the world by guiding people to the places where Christ is acknowledged and glorified. We have The Message and online is another place to make it known!

    Thanks for being part of this project and among the Christ followers committed to mobilizing other believers online – all we do – we do for Him.

    • Wanda Simpson / May 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Tami. God has blessed me with the ability to learn technology quickly. As Christians, we need to be part of the conversation, not just pushing information on people without any connection or feeling. There are so many ways to share online, and I believe this is only the beginning.

  2. Great questions Wanda, I love your statement in the beginning…"who am I to have followers". Every time I get a notice that someone is following me on Twitter I think how cool is that.

    I follow Jesus in a web based world by following others who follow Jesus. I follow Jesus also by following others who don't follow Jesus, and looking for ways to pray for them or offer up an encouraging note.

    I did learn a lot from this chapter and the introduction, and one way I learned that I can deliver "the only message that matters" is to remember that my voice online is "wholly (and holy) indispensable!" (page 2) Amen.

    • Wanda Simpson / May 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

      I find it funny that people debate whether Jesus would use Facebook or Twitter. As pointed out in Chap. 1 of @StickyJesus, He said to Peter and Andrew, Follow me, and they did. We need to be leaders and followers in this world!

    • PaulSteinbrueck May 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      "I follow Jesus also by following others who don't follow Jesus" <~~ Love that!

  3. PaulSteinbrueck May 4, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Tami and Toni have posted an excerpt from chapter 1 and a really good video that brings to life the concept of "the land of shiny things." Take a look at:
    http://stickyjesus.com/2011/05/a-look-inside-this

  4. The greatest difficulty about sharing the message that matters online is that people tend to become characters in online forums. Something a person wouldn't necessarily say out loud they can say online because it seems less real for some reason. Christians have the opportunity to look like we have it together with no one really being able to say otherwise. I personally share the message by being as genuine as possible for all that some days it's a whole heck of a lot more difficult than others.

    • My approach as well….But being genuine can be risky you know. But that's EXACTLY how I believe Jesus would be online. He wasn't one to "puff up" or placate the condition of the world or "sell" the people around Him. He also identified with suffering and pain readily. I think we endanger the message of salvation 10-fold when we act like we have it all together as Christias. We never need to appear perfect or think that God's message of Salvation and winning others to "our side" is about crafting the perfect image. Jesus came to save the messed up ones—not the pristine. People will bounce off of our perfection if we fail to find common ground in our shared frailty.

      The Word is powerful and the Holy Spirit is chasing down hearts as we speak—with or without our help (or appearances).

      Keeping it real in our online communities is critical. Great comment, and great post today! :)

  5. Wanda Simpson / May 4, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for the comment! People indeed can create an online personna, good or bad, as is the case with most things in life. What God can and will use for good, others will use to inflict harm. The message is crucial and I tend to be very careful and simple with my words, because online, they have an eternal life of their own. I stress this all the time, especially to people who are leaders in the church. It can destroy your ministry if your online life doesn't match your Christian testimony.

  6. Thank you for your post Wanda. I liked the description “the land of shiny things”. It is a good indication of how many distractions can be incurred online. I have also enjoyed reading the comments.

    In response to your questions I believe that following Jesus in a web-based world requires each of us to make a choice. As a believer I need to choose to be true to my faith, be real even in a virtual world, use discernment and be transparent with what I share. Jesus led by example which to me is the best example.

  7. PaulSteinbrueck May 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Wanda, thanks for writing today's post and leading the discussion.

    I think "the land of shiny things" amplifies a lot of the challenges and opportunities of modern life. There are so many temptations for distration, narcisism, putting up a false front, and self-promotion. Yet becaue the Internet is so "shiny," if those of us who follow Jesus demonstrate genuine humility, authenticity, and love we will stand out and have opportunities to connect with others, build relationships, and make a real difference in people's lives.

    • Wanda Simpson / May 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

      Paul, relationship is the key to building connection to people and that is what I believe Jesus wants from us and for each other. Relationships. People are searching and commenting and we have to be able to fill their longings with the hope that Jesus offers.

  8. fireball3316 May 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    i so love this quote from the book: “you stand here as a Christ follower in a definitive moment in time you are an ordinary person called to usher a holy Kingdom into a n increasingly fragmented world. its the perfect scenario for God to move in big ways just as He always has. Just as god called Esther, Joseph and Paul to go before the world’s kings at appointed times to alter history, He now calls you to log on and upload what’s critical to today’s conversation. while everything changes at warp speed, the holy mandate remains to communicate the gospel in the most relevant channels available, here, there and everywhere!”

    i love what you've written wanda! – i esp love "And we can be powered up by the Holy Spirit to open a conversation with the world about Jesus in ways that are personal and compelling." and i agree re the question "who am i to have followers?" i sometimes wonder if its very much a "follow me because i follow christ" with a different context now. i love how we can connect with people and esp christian leaders in such a personal real way now, esp for me as i live in New Zealand which sometimes does seem like the ends of the earth!

    i've updated/rewritten a post from the first readalong i was involved in with more thoughts about this chapter… http://onepassiononedevotion.wordpress.com/2011/0

    • Wanda Simpson / May 5, 2011 at 7:42 am

      This is the truly amazing part of this first chapter. We have been given an opportunity to go to the ends of the earth to spread the Word of Jesus without leaving home. As technology becomes accessible in the darkest corners, every nation will be able to hear Jesus preached in their own language in their own homes! I am grateful to be able to do a little thing and see big things happen. Thanks for comment.

  9. Hi Wanda,
    Great post! I've read it a couple of times today (I'm a process thinker and I chew on things), and it was this statement that stuck with me today:
    "And so the desperate search rages on, but the answers the world provides does not give comfort or lasting results. But as Christians, we have the access to the answers and can reach a larger audience than ever before."
    It is so true; there is a desperate search for answers. I find if you listen carefully to what a person says, you can hear their heart. This seems to be true online too; only online, the heart speaks through a FB status or a tweet.

    So, I had to ask myself, am I sharing with people in my social network the answer? Yes, I believe that I am. However, there is such a fine line between sharing the answer and being perceived as someone who has it all together; and I so do NOT! I appreciated Seiji and Toni's exchange about being genuine. This WALK has valley experiences and mountain top experiences. It can be a turnoff and even difficult to relate to ppl who only share the mountain top experiences. Sometimes I wonder if I could be more transparent?

    Thank you Wanda and everyone. I enjoyed reading the posts! :-)

    • Wanda Simpson / May 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

      Kawanzaa, you are right. We can appear to be perfect online because we can craft and edit our posts until they are perfect. If we can show our brokeness to the world, we are more real and approachable. I want to be able to cry with people who are crying and laugh with people who are laughing. That is what Jesus did and I think that we can do that online as well.

  10. There is a world desperate for answers and desperate to feel like they belong! My little corner of the internet brings broken, hurting women into the light of Jesus. I hope :) God told me to write, so I do. What He does with it is up to Him but I'll do what He asks until He closes the door. People want to feel like they are not the only one, that we're not perfect either. Seeing your friends at church on Sunday, when we all put on our plastic mask can leave some feeling like they'll never measure up. We need to be real, honest, and transparent with our stories and lives while glorifying God. It can be done!

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    • Wanda Simpson / May 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

      I see this desparation at home, at work and at church and that's why Ecclesiates 3:11 speaks so loudly to me. God has put this desparation, this longing for relationship with Him in our hearts, but the world tries to distract with the shiny things to fill that longing. And it is never enough. We each have a responsibility to bring hope to our corner of the world. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Mel,
      You made it :-)
      I love that you have claimed your territory: "My little corner of the internet." Watch out, that corner can grow into city blocks, a state, a continent! It's limitless!
      When you talk about the need to be real, hones,t and transparent, I hear, RELATIONSHIPS. In chapter 2 of the book, the authors talk about connecting vs relationships: Connection is about joining and fastening things together. Relationships is about creating a sense of belonging.
      I agree,it can be done, and you are doing it! I stopped by your website ;-)

      Hope you to hear from you again.
      Blessings!

  11. Christie Weatherby May 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Great post, Wanda. I love that you go to the beach every day. I have coffee with my friends every morning. About three hundred of them. I have been doing this most mornings for about five months now. Some of us politely acknowledge each other, some of us completely ignore each other, but we're all ok with that. Some of us have wonderful conversations. We fill each other in on our work, families, vacations, hobbies, and drama. Some of us have silly conversations. Teasing each other about typos, making plans of how we are going to celebrate Star Wars Day, or sharing links to happy songs and fun videos to make each other smile. For about five months now, I have been building relationships with these people I have never actually met. Silly conversations have changed into calls to prayer and questions about my faith. It is really exciting that through something as easy 3,000 tweets, I just might have shown someone Jesus. Oh! Look! SHHHHHIIINYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!………………..

    • Wanda Simpson / May 5, 2011 at 7:55 am

      3,000 tweets! It's amazing what resources we have to be able to reach out to people and I believe this is only the beginning. Technology gets more affordable and accessible, video and audio will make the connection even more personal. God provides man with the ability to create things and it is up to us to use these things to glorify Him and grow His church.

    • I love it Chrisite! I'll have to drop by and share a cup of joe w/ ya. I'm a French Vanilla gal myself :-) Well said.

  12. Mark McIntyre May 5, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Thanks for the post, it is encouraging.

    I've been thinking about how this mission can be subverted by distraction with the numbers. It is easy for me to loose sight of the fact that we are called to be witnesses, not attract large followings. I think that if we are shining with God's light, many will be drawn to it, but it is too easy to be focused on results and not focused on God.

    • Wanda Simpson / May 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

      Mark, I agree. To some, it is all about the numbers. Number of followers, number of comments, number of likes. It should always be the message, not the messenger and we should always check ourselves against our role model, Jesus. That's why I laugh at having followers. I can't imagine anyone would care about what I have to say, but if the message is God-inspired it will resonate with those who need the message most. It is always good to check yourself and remember that we are the clay.

  13. It just boggles my mind that we have been brought to the land of the lost–the Land of Shiny Things–for such a time as this.

    I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up. In my mind, that involved moving to a faraway place. I never imagined that I could go to those faraway places in real time and connect with real people from within my walls.

    No shots required.

    Nor could I imagine what an impact many of these would have on my everyday life and relationships.

    Or that I could ultimately meet them face-to-face.

    Unless I'm connected to Him, hit my knees before I hit the keys, I'll only be another noisy gong in the land instead of a "holy whisper." It's the only way I can reflect His light.

    And I pray that any followers follow not me, but the Him in me.

    • I hear ya Snadra. But should you decide to plan that missions trip, please let me know; I'm ready.
      Oh, and I just want to let you know that I must borrow this "Hit my knees before I hit the keys" :-)

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