Category Archives: Facebook
For those of us of a certain vintage, we recall the bane of chain letters. A well-meaning friend would send you a letter telling about the secret to success. Your task was to forward the letter to twenty-five other friends. If you did, you were guaranteed success. If you broke the chain, disaster would follow. Considering I always tossed them in the trash, it probably explains why I am still working to make a living. 😉
Today’s version of the chain letter is telling someone to say “Amen” or “Like” your Facebook post. “I bet we can’t get 1,000 people to repost this phrase or cute picture.” Don’t break the chain or else …
Please let me make up my own mind as to whether or not I agree with what you’ve posted and want to share it with my network. If I think it is valid and helpful, I will. If I consider it frivolous, I will ignore it. If you keep doing it, I may even unfollow you. Please let me make up my own mind.
I will now step off my soapbox.
This was originally published in July 2013. Since I have seen “R.I.P.” posted twice in the past week I thought it might be time to repost.
I’ve noticed recently that several Christian friends on Facebook post “Rest in Peace” when a well-known actor, author, or celebrity dies. It caused me to ask the question, what exactly do we mean when we say, “Rest in Peace”?
In one sense, death is a time of rest, at least for our physical bodies. Scripture uses the metaphor of “going to sleep” to describe death. This picture is mentioned three times in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Dr. Luke uses the same concept in Acts 7 and the apostle Paul uses it again in 1 Corinthians 15 on two occasions. In Mark, chapter 5, the daughter of a religious leader had died and Jairus, her father, begged Jesus for help. Jesus said, “She’s not dead; she is asleep.” In this sense, death is a time of rest.
In another sense, death is a time when we rest from our labors and enjoy our inheritance. Hebrews 4 talks about the “Sabbath rest” for the people of God. It links the idea to God’s work of creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh day as well as Israel’s wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. Tying them together, to rest means to cease from our labor of trying to earn God’s favor and enjoying the inheritance and blessings he has prepared for us.
This doesn’t mean, however, that eternity will be spent floating on clouds strumming a harp. Scripture pictures heaven as a place where we engage in meaningful activity. We will be engaged in worship (Revelation 22:1-3), praising Christ for providing our salvation. We will also be serving as we reign with Christ in eternity (Revelation 20:6).
However, these pictures of rest are only true of those who trusted Christ for salvation during their lifetime. Those who rejected Christ as savior will find themselves in hell enduring an eternity of suffering (Matthew 13:42, 50).
With this is mind, we need to be careful about whom we say “Rest in Peace” to. We don’t want to come across as closet universalists who believe all people go to heaven regardless of their beliefs or lifestyle. Nor do we want to communicate that we secretly believe God grades on a curve and the more well-known you are, the more likely you will be in heaven. We also don’t want to act as if this life is all there is, and there is no afterlife. In addition, we don’t want to say “Rest in Peace” simply because we don’t know what else to say.
Eternal rest is only available to those who stopped working to earn their salvation. For the Christ follower, they can go to sleep and later wake up in the arms of Jesus. They can rest and fully enjoy the blessings of salvation and heaven.
After the conclusion of day one of our week of Vacation Bible School (VBS) at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, back in July, one person teasingly asked if my pictures would be posted in 10 minutes. I jokingly responded, “Maybe 15.”
I was explaining to our elder council last evening that I post the pictures of a church event so quickly (sometimes scant hours after the completion) because I want to create a buzz about our church. I post the photos on my blog and then post the link on my and the church’s Facebook pages. I want people to know that exciting things are happening at FCBC. This allows folks to relive the joy and to share it with others. It also communicates to those who didn’t attend that they missed something significant. It creates an excitement for the event, and it whets people’s appetite for the next one. It makes them want to attend and become part of the staff.
Not only does it create a buzz, but there is also a halo effect. Being one person, I cannot be involved in every ministry at our church. I don’t have time to take pictures of every activity. However, shining a bright light on one activity creates a halo that spills over onto our other ministries. If VBS is so exciting, what might Sunday School look like? If children’s ministry has so much energy and creativity, what might the church be doing in adult ministry? What is Celebrate Recovery all about?
If people are buzzing about what the church is doing, it creates a hunger for more. It gets people in the front door so we can share the exciting news that salvation is a free gift from God.
A recent headline helps explain how we have gotten off track. Go Figure: Facebook Read Daily More Than Bible gives a statistical view of the popularity of the internet versus Scripture.
Facebook’s numbers are epic. More Americans check Facebook daily than read the Bible and it has more monthly users worldwide than most continents have people.
Facebook, which celebrates its 10th anniversary Tuesday, says worldwide it has 757 million daily active users. Of those 19 percent are in the U.S. and Canada, so that’s more than 143 million people checking Facebook daily.
The Bible used to be the go-to for statistics about reading, pre-digital age. A 2006 CBS News poll found 15 percent of U.S. adults read the Bible or other religious texts daily. There are about 267 million adults in the U.S. and Canada. That means about 40 million people reading the Bible daily.
40 million people in the USA and Canada read the Bible every day as opposed to 143 million people in the USA and Canada checking Facebook. Our values are more influenced by friends and culture than by God’s Word. Is it any wonder we struggle with the problems we face?