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@stickyJesus
How to Live Out Your Faith Online

By Toni Birdsong and Tami Heim

Book Excerpt

The Scripture provides the first lesson in social networking and the importance of community. It points to Jesus as one of history's first influencers to say, "Follow me."

"As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,' Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him."
Mark 1:16-18, NIV

Then and now

That day in Galilee, Andrew and Simon dropped their nets and followed Jesus. Since that day, millions have decided to do the same. Jesus promised before He ascended to heaven that He would send His Holy Spirit (the Power Source) to enable His followers to do greater things than even He had done (John 14:12). Give yourself a minute and reread that sentence.

Do you really believe you can do greater things empowered by the Holy Spirit than even Christ did while He walked the earth? Perhaps if you did—if we all did—things might look differently around us.

Jesus charged His believers to get up and go, to share the truth about Him with the world. He called those believers, and He's calling you, a "light."

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."
Matthew 5:14, NIV

What does light do? It makes things visible and more easily understood. God's light helps others see what they didn't see—or couldn't see—when the lights were out. Your presence as a believer in social networking circles "sheds light on" cultural, social, and political issues, world events, personal struggles, and issues of morality that a global culture all but shrouds.

You will find in this new frontier that influence, persuasion, marketing, vanity, and jockeying for position are the universal currency. Your presence is to be monetized; your message is to be marginalized, to make room for the next, best thing in the Land of Shiny Things.

But your job is to illuminate and celebrate truth in a whole different way.

"Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!' and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful."
2 Corinthians 4:5-6, THE MESSAGE

In this passage, Paul tells us that light isn't content to simply shine on itself; it must inform and proclaim a higher message. It sees, understands, shares, and illuminates for others the face of God, that is, Christ.

So in such a time as this—the predetermined time to which you were born—how do you follow Jesus in a Web-based world and lead others to do the same? How do you deliver the only message that matters? How do you make it stick?

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  1. Light trumps shiny every time.
  2. "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14, NIV).
  3. God planned for you to be born in this time.
  4. Social networks are the communication channels you can travel with Him and for Him.
  5. The newest mission field is at your fingertips. No passport needed.
  6. Jesus is still the greatest influencer and community builder of all time.
  7. Jesus said, "Follow Me."
  8. The mandate hasn't changed: spread the gospel here, there, and everywhere.

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Dear Lord,

With one word You spoke the world into being. You spoke light. You spoke man. And You spoke love with Your Son, Jesus. You fashioned me long ago to live and move in this time, and I will man my post with Your authority and Your power. I will speak Your name in the Land of Shiny Things, knowing that only Your Light can interrupt the world's gaze and turn it back to heaven.

All things were created by You, for You, and for Your glory—including the many tools of technology. Help me master those tools to bring Your Kingdom to this earth.

I will go and I will do just as so many have done before me with the tools they were given. Open my mind and open my understanding—for my deepest desire is to follow You and make You known as I log online each day. Amen.