1. We’re Teaching This:
Let's be honest. We've all been guilty of painting a less-than-honest picture of ourselves or others through social media. But the Bible reminds us that what we say—whether on-line or in person—matters. How we talk about others, and ourselves, is important. And it all starts with what's inside our hearts. So where do you need to rethink what you say on-line? What things are you dealing with inside that need to stop showing up on your newsfeed? What do you need to do to become the person you want to be—not just the person you want everyone to think you are?
2. Think About This:
I remember when my family got our first VCR machine. I was in elementary school and this “new technology” seemed so cool. You could just pop in a video–remember those—and watch any movie you wanted to without having to actually go to the movies. It was the beginning of the home theatre.
Just to other night, my kids and I wanted to watch a movie and I was reminded of how much this experience has changed. As we scrolled through the hundreds of movie titles on our Netflix feed, I found myself frustrated that we couldn’t find what we wanted to watch. Would I actually have to go look at Hulu or Amazon to find the movie we wanted? Then, once we found what we wanted, I put in my password and a message came up telling me that I would have to wait a few minutes for my movie to load and if it didn’t, to call Amazon directly. I started to get a little bit frustrated, until I looked over at my daughter who was REALLY frustrated. And I paused. This isn’t that big of a deal. I used to have to drive to Blockbuster, spend 30 minutes walking around the store looking for a movie, stand in line to pay and drive back home all before we could even put the movie in.
It’s funny how nowadays, everything is at our fingertips and yet we are less satisfied and less patient. You wake up in the morning and turn on the television. Instantly, you have all the latest news right in front of you from around the world. You’re driving in your car and you hear a song that you really like. You grab your phone, type in a few lyrics and find out who the artist is, along with the album, song and entire discography. We don’t have to wait for anything these days. We live in a world where we can have what we want almost immediately. And sometimes this availability in the world of technology and media gets transferred to other areas of our lives. Even areas that are meant to take more time and be a bit difficult, like relationships with other people and with God; even our own relationship with ourselves. But sometimes, the waiting process—delaying the gratification of something we want, of a result we want to see–is a really healthy and good thing. Because the old adage “good things are worth waiting for” is true. Waiting for something—going through a process—can make us appreciate the whole experience more. And if we aren’t careful, our relationship with technology and the expectation of immediacy it fosters will rob us of the ability to exercise the wonderful discipline of delayed gratification.
Maybe there’s some merit to this idea of waiting on something and even waiting for something. Maybe by waiting a bit—waiting to check our cell phones, Facebook feeds, Twitter feeds, email, text messages, you name it—we will begin to move at a faster pace with the most important things: our relationships. Maybe we can learn to slow down a bit. Breathe a bit. Look around a bit. And ultimately, enjoy the beautiful relationships and experiences that come with waiting and resting.
3. Try This:
Choose one night and get everyone in your family off the grid. That means a full media blackout for everyone in your household for 6-9 hours. No Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine … no Internet at all. In fact, get really serious and have a designated and out-of-reach spot for everyone to put their phones—and iPads, tablets … you name it—and instead, spend that time in face-to-face, quality family time. You could go out for a family night or a have a media-free zone at home and have a meal and after-dinner game night together. Here are some fun dinner table questions to get your night rolling.
- If you could have picked your own name, what would it be?
- If you had to eat the same meal every night for dinner, what would you eat?
- Which of your friends do you think I/we like the most? Why?
- What is the earliest memory you have of our family?
- What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
- Would you rather be: A professional athlete, an actor/actress or a singer? Why?
- What punishment have I/we given you that you thought was really unfair? Why?
- What fast food restaurant could you eat at for an entire day—breakfast, lunch and dinner?
July 18 - 19, 2015
Post-It Session 1: Followers
Bottom Line: What you post MATTERS.
INTRODUCTION: We can’t deny it; social media is a huge part of all of our lives. The problem is, not everything we read and post on social media is positive. We’ve probably all been guilty of it at one time or another.
TENSION: But for some reason, it just seems easier to do when it comes to social media. What we say and do online is in some ways more real, more impactful, and more lasting than what we say in person. Social media allows us access to people, and other people access to us, that we wouldn’t normally have.
TRUTH: What we choose to post is a pretty big deal. The book of Ephesians, a letter the apostle Paul wrote to a group of Christians who lived in the city of Ephesus, gives us some insight. Paul focuses on the importance of the words they were saying to each other.
Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).
Our words—spoken, written or typed—can do harm. But we are actually doing damage to ourselves as well. When you say something bad about someone else it affects the way other people view you. Paul finished this thought in Ephesians 4:29. He says, Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
The bottom line is this: What we post MATTERS.
APPLICATION: A great idea for us to put into practice in the future might be to apply a filter to our posts. To get even more practical, before letting anything float into the social media world, quickly ask yourself, Does this help or hurt? Are we “helping” represent God well? Are we “helping” others out? Are we “helping” our reputation? If we can say “yes” to these, then we can see incredibly positive things coming from something so many—us included—have used to hurt.
LANDING: We don’t have to try to change the world through our social media accounts. Just filter it before you post it and I promise you, you’ll be glad you did.
July 25 - 26, 2015
Post-It Session 2: Likes
Bottom Line: You are MORE than what you post.
INTRODUCTION: Last week, we started this conversation about all things “social media” and the role that it plays in our lives. All of this is a great place to start, but there is more to social media than just that. Your posts matter. True. But, you are more than what you post. We all have an image we want to project on social media. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
TENSION: The problem comes when we get caught up and obsessed with something that—honestly—isn’t reality. The areas of our lives people don’t see are just as important as the moments they do. We learned last week that thinking before we post is actually wise. However, we need to put the same amount of effort into those aspects of our lives that we’d rather not tweet about. Because you are more than what you post.
TRUTH: Jesus talked about the relationship between what’s in our hearts and what comes out of our mouths. In Luke 6:45, He says this, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What’s on the inside of our hearts is just as important as what comes out of our mouths. If this is true, we should all pay close attention to the attitudes and actions that are hidden within our hearts.
APPLICATION: How can you pay attention to what is in your heart? We can begin by focusing on who we are becoming, not just what we are posting. Another idea might be to unplug for a day … entirely. And I promise you, if you truly begin to ask God to search you, He will reveal some attitudes and actions that might surprise you. This one small step will help you become more than just what you want others to see.
LANDING: God’s desire for us is to allow Him to work in our hearts in such a way that He is literally changing our character.