SPEAKER PHONE CULTURE

(Pic from memesmonkey.com)

Annoying, isn’t it! Or is it just me? Whether it’s out shopping, eating, or just walking in a public place. They seem to be everywhere–even in waiting rooms. Excuse me, but neither myself nor the people around you are interested in your phone call. Well, maybe there are a couple of nosey people who want to know. Come to think of it, without a doubt there are some nosey people wanting to listen in–but I’ll save my snark and sarcasm for another blog.

This has become more than an everyday occurence–it’s reached an epidemic proportion. And quite frankly, no pharmaceutical company can find a cure nor vaccine to fight this horrid plague. Why? Why? Why? A lack of thinking through? A lack of common courtesy? A lack of common sense? Or could it be they are just take a sadistic pleasure in the annoyance? Probably all four, with a heavy leaning towards the last reason. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 1: “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” (The Message). And as we read that list, you won’t find an opportune time to use that speaker phone in public! OK, so Solomon didn’t know what a cell phone is, but if he did, trust me when I say that he wouldn’t have included the cursed speaker phone in that list.

But there’s another side to this issue that the Spirit has shown me this morning! It has nothing to do with cellularized contraptions. It has everything to do with how we are to live as citizens of the Kingdom. Some seem to think that it’s about looking good and holy on the outside. Can anyone say “Pharisee”? Others seem to think it’s an inward and personal thing to be kept inside. But…Why? Why? Why? Why does it have to be one or the other? It doesn’t.

Ever heard the saying “Actions speak louder than words?” But the opposite is also true–sometimes words speak louder than actions. Sometimes that’s a good thing–when we share the story of God’s Grace in our lives–provided our story is backed up by our actions. There will be moments we need to reveal our Grace Story with our words. But without the obvious actions that accompanies our Grace Story, our words are just as annoying as those poor, pitiful, and pathetic souls who use the speaker phone in public places. Yes, someone needs to hear my Grace Story–AND your Grace Story. Our Grace Story doesn’t have to be a “made for TV true life story”–it just has to be real and genuine.

To be a Kingdom Witness it takes both actions and words! Those first disciples were Kingdom Witnesses because they had their experiences with God’s Grace and they both showed and told with words their Personal Story Of God’s Grace. And their words carried weight because their actions verified what they were saying! So, stay off the speaker phone in public–but let your Grace Story be seen by others–and then you will have the opportunity to tell in your own words, what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your life.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

1 John Chapter 3 Verses 18 and 19 (New Living Translation)

And There Was A Loud Wailing And Crying!

It was early yesterday afternoon when I first noticed it. The sound was at first faint and distant. But it grew louder and louder, deafening even. I quickly recognized it as the sound of people wailing and crying. Between the wails and the cries was the sound of moaning. I wondered, “What’s going on? Did the rapture happen and I missed it? Are hyper-Calvinists right, and I wasn’t one of the chosen?” I didn’t have a clue as to the cause–just the wailing and the crying, and the moans as they were trying to catch their breath.

Then last night, I discovered the reason when I checked in on my Twitter account: Facebook and Instagram were DOWN! Oh dear Lord! Is this a sign of the apocalypse? I reflected for a moment, thinking about the deafening sounds in the hills and hollows around our community. Suddenly, clarity came to me, and I began to understand what all those people were crying, wailing and moaning about.

The world was missing out on how important they are.  The world wouldn’t know what they ate for lunch; the mean people they encountered, the times they didn’t get their way.  In short, their small, selfish world imploded on them. They were no longer the center of the universe. It was as if a black hole had swallowed them up. They felt insignificant because they couldn’t tell how many liked their latest post. Self-esteem plummeted like the Stock Market.

But the most disturbing cry I heard was from those who self-identify as “Christian”.  They were moaning, “Oh, dear Lord, sweet Jesus, how can the world know how much I love you?  I can’t ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘type amen’, ‘copy and paste this as my status’.   Merciful God, how can they know I’m not ashamed of you if I can’t like, share, type amen, copy and paste this as my status?  Sweet Jesus, what am I going to do?  How can I let the world know about you, my friends (some of whom I’ve never met, but they are my FB friends) won’t be able to see I’m a Christian!  Please, Jesus, heal Facebook and Instagram.  The world needs to know You, and how can it if I can’t like, share, type amen, copy and paste this as my status?  If you can’t heal Facebook and Instagram, then Jesus just come on back.  There’s nothing I can do for you anymore.”

Now if this all sounds sarcastic to you, then please, let me assure you, IT IS! Sarcasm is one of my spiritual gifts, although the Holy Spirit is probably scratching His head right now wondering, “When did I give Randy that gift?” OK, so Facebook and Instagram crashed yesterday. I would like to think that it was caused by the Holy Spirit (now I can’t give you any Scripture to back this up) to get people to rethink about their life–especially those who self-identify as “Christian”.

I know I’m a day late and a dollar short, but may I give you wailers, criers, and moaners some advice? The next time Facebook and Instagram crashes, calmly remind yourself that you are not the center of the universe. Oh, that realization will hurt and hurt deeply. But when the truth dawns upon you, you will find a lot more calm and peace in your life.

And to you who self-identify as “Christians”? Try this to let your friends and the world know you are a Christian. Be kind to everyone. Help anyone and everyone you can. Volunteer at the local food bank. Help sort clothes that were given to help those in need. Get to know your neighbors. Listen. In other words, let your attitudes and actions announce you are indeed a Christian, not your posts.

Facebook and Instagram crashed. The world did not end. Jesus hasn’t returned, yet. And the hyper-Calvinists are still wrong. So…..Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM! And you can live without Facebook and Instagram….

What’s A Martyr?

Martyr

We urgently need more martyrs today!  Can you imagine the revival that would happen in the U.S. if “Comfortable Christians”, Tenured Pew Sitters, Churchians and others who are more focused on their little piece of the church than the Kingdom of God would embrace J.D.’s challenge?