Monday, April 29, 2013

The Pros of Facebook

By Kim W.

It was a joy to recently share with the ladies ways that we can walk worthy in the area of technology use, such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc. We are commanded to do all things for God's glory, and this would include our use of these modern day indulgences. It is literally a way of life now, and as women, we need to be aware of the pros and cons of Facebook and other forms of media.

Tim Challies has a blog post entitled 700 Billion Minutes, which is the amount of time active Facebook users spent on Facebook in 2010 in ONE month. Yes, that means for the 500 million active Facebook users in that year, they spent 1.3 million years on Facebook in one month...they spent 18,000 lifetimes on Facebook in 30 days. Unbelievable! Today, there are about 1.6 billion users of Facebook, so we can do the math and figure out how much of our precious time is spent on just Facebook alone. Those 700 billion minutes were taken from what? For the most part, these minutes came from time from our everday lives. What has Facebook replaced? Interesting question to think on. I will address the answer to that in a later post.

There are some benefits to Facebook and it can be used for God's glory. I would like to begin this series on the "pros" of Facebook. Please notice as I list them, that all of the pros are others-focused.

Other- and God-focused pros of using Facebook:

  1. We can have instant information so that we can know better how to minister to others.
  2. We can know very quickly how to pray for others...we receive immediate prayer requests on Facebook - some of them very urgent - and we can stop what we are doing to pray. Along those same lines, we can know specifics on the trials and difficult times other are going through. Also, we can rejoice with others and praise God for good times, answered prayers, and joyful moments.
  3. We can encourage others. I especially appreciate those who encourage others on Facebook by using Scripture. We can build others up in the Lord with encouraging words. Proverbs 16:24 tells us that "Gracious words are like a honeycomb...sweetness to the soul and health to the body."
  4. We can share information, which could involve upcoming events.
  5. We can share biblically-based quotes and Scripture to cause others to focus their hearts and minds on the Lord. I appreciate how a couple of my friends always begin their day with quoting Scripture on Facebook. I also am thankful for another friend's thought-provoking quotes that always draw my mind to God.
  6. We can stay in close contact with others. It might be family that lives far away. Grandparents can easily see pictures of grandchildren...relatives and friends can find out what is going on in the lives of those they miss. We can stay in contact with friends who move away.
  7. Facebook allows for us to be exposed to more biblical teaching and allows us to link to good teaching for others to read...links to excellent sermons, edifying articles, and blogs that teach biblical content. But with that, we also need to be cautious and discerning. Not everything that is linked to is what we need to be reading. Have a discerning mind.
  8. On Facebook we have an opportunity to be an evangelist. We are an example, and everything we write or link to can be a tool used by God to draw others to Himself. We should gently and intentionally share about Christ and His gospel on our Facebook. We never know how an unbeliever's heart can be affected by us. Nowhere else do we have a captive audience like be an example of Christ's gospel--be an evangelist.

A question to leave you with that I will address in the next post:What could Facebook be replacing in your life?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hospitality in the Real World

If you weren't able to make it to the Treasures of the Heart & Home event last Friday, or if you just forgot to pick up a handout, here are a couple of the handouts that were given.

A Helping of Hospitality with a Smidgen of Space

From Ham Sandwiches to Cordon Blue: Taking Hospitality to the Next Level

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: Lit!

By Becky A.

As a book lover, I was immediately drawn to this book when I saw it advertised very inexpensively as a Kindle ebook. After downloading it, I sat and devoured it.

I love books from a lot of different genres, but have struggled with how to process and justify fiction books or even "self-help" books when there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day for good Christian books. This author addressed almost all of my questions and then some. He answers the "whys" of reading and then even talks about "how to read a book." Never again will I feel guilty for breezing through a book that didn't need to be chewed on. And I now have met a respected Christian author who feels the same way I do about reading right before bed -- NOTHING HEAVY! My brain is so tired, I can only process fiction.

He even shares the benefits of reading fiction and classic literature. He is very specific about what it gives to our Christian walks.

The pages on distraction in this media driven world were a real help to me. In implementing some of his suggestions, I have found myself enjoying my books more and gleaning more from my time spent in them. There are things that I will be changing even in my homeschooling in order to help my younger kids fight against the constant barrage of distractions that hinder them from succeeding in reading their school work. This will also help them enjoy their pleasure books, too.

The author gives great help in finding and making time to read each day -- even when your life is filled to the brim with running around. He shares personal illustrations that I found helpful and similar to mine. I loved that!

One of my favorite chapters in this book was about marking up the books you read. I write all in my books so I LOVED this one! My father has a library that I have loved smelling, touching, browsing, and choosing books from since I was a child. I still love going into his office because I know he will share with me the latest book he is reading and why he loves it. If he has an extra copy, he will even give me a copy. When he picks up a book to show me, I usually see sticky markers sticking out of the pages. I know there was something at that point that captured his attention. Then when the book is opened, there it is. What I love seeing: red marks, yellow highlights, my dad's neat print in the margins. It's like taking a personal peak into his personal walk with the Lord. And I know why I write in my books. One day my kids will, hopefully, feel this way about my books -- the way I feel about looking into his books. Maybe they will better understand me.

Anyway, back to the book.

Lastly, he gives parents and pastors helpful tips to cultivate readers in our homes and church families. I was pleased to know that homeschooling for 12 years has given me the opportunities to do a lot of what he suggested. We still sit around the living room in our comfy chairs each morning, reading the Bible together. Then the kids listen to me read a classic.

This book is well-worth reading. It won't take long. The 186 pages are easy to read and kept me wanting more. I think I was highly motivated because I thought he was going to tell me, for sure, how to read more books in a year!

He did!

And I'm going to try it. :)