Facebook by Ps Michael Podhaczky

I read the following article and thought that it was greatly needed in this day and age, especially when so much is said and done on Facebook. As Christ-followers, it is important that our conversations are bringing glory to the Lord and build others up. This may include all forms of communication and not just Facebook.

18 Ways to Ruin Your Reputation on Facebook
By Paul Steinbrueck
Facebook is a great way for you to build and maintain relationships with people both inside your church and in your community. But Facebook is not without its risks. Every time you post something, you risk hurting, offending or distancing yourself from people. So, here are 18 things you want to avoid doing on Facebook

First, the ugly
1.    Post something out of frustration in the heat of the moment
We all get frustrated at times. Moreover, if you want to engage people authentically, you need to “keep it real.” But, Facebooking when angry, frustrated or hurt is never a good idea. Take a few minutes (or a few hours) to cool down, and then think again if you really want to use Facebook to vent.

2.    Criticise people
Even if you don’t use a person’s name, chances are your Facebook friends with that person or someone close enough to the situation to know who you’re really talking about.

3.    Embarrass yourself
Expect everyone in your congregation and your community to see everything you post to Facebook. So don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable saying or showing from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.

4.    Embarrass your family
Our spouses and kids say and do funny things all the time. Most of those things can be posted to Facebook with no problem, and they help people to see you’re a normal person with a normal family. But be sensitive and when in doubt, ask your spouse and kids if it’s OK to share a quote, happening or pic online.

5.    Criticise other churches in the community
Every church has a different mission, ministry philosophy, style of worship and theology. But we all share one Lord, one faith and one baptism. We should be known for our unity, not our division.

The self-absorbed
6.    Only talk about your church
Christians, when people become Facebook friends with you, it’s because they want to engage with you (a real person) not a spokesperson for your church.

7.    Share everything posted to the church FB page
Even if you post personal updates to your Facebook profile, don’t repost every church update as well. Some, yes—all, no.

8.    Just talk about yourself
When you go to a social event, do you like hanging around with people who only talk about themselves and never ask you about you? Don’t be one of those people online either.

The disingenuous
9.    Act like your life is perfect
Nobody is perfect, and everyone knows it. If you act like everything is good all the time, you’ll be perceived as inauthentic, wearing a mask.

10.  Act like you’re always “joyful in the Lord.
Nobody is happy all the time either.

11.  Act like you have all the answers
Nobody likes a know-it-all either. Share insight and advice when asked. Be confident but not arrogant.

The offender
12.  Act like the language/morality police
Your Facebook friends are not perfect. They are going to swear, post questionable pictures of themselves and share things you don’t agree with. If something is really bad, consider contacting the person privately about it, but don’t call people out publicly for what is, unfortunately, a common behaviour in our culture.

13.  Roll out the fire and brimstone
I don’t know if preaching about sin and hell worked with past generations, but it’s not going to put you in a position to influence people on Facebook. People on Facebook respond much more favourably to hope and love.

14.  Be overly political
It’s OK to take stands on key issues, but unless you want to irk half your church and close the door to half the people in your community, don’t tow a party line.

15.  Engage people in debates
Online (and offline) debates rarely cause anyone to shift their position on an issue. Discussion is great, but if things get heated or personal, it’s time to lighten up.
The disengaged
16.  Post a lot of theological stuff that’s over your friends’ heads.
It’s great for Christians to engage their Facebook friends in spiritual conversations, but avoid posting your doctoral thesis. It’s not going to engage anyone and will put people off.

17.  Log in once every week or two. Relationships require consistency
You can take breaks, go on vacation and don’t need to be on Facebook every day, but you’ve got to be regular if you’re going to build relationships onFacebook.

18.  Fail to respond
When people send you messages, post to your timeline or comment on your status updates and links, it’s important to respond. Answer people’s questions. Thank people for their insight and stories.

What things have you seen pastors do to hurt their reputation on Facebook? What would you caution pastors against doing?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, and a husband, father of 3, and a prolific blogger.

Who Are You? (Vocation) Part 4 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

Let me encourage us to prayerfully let our imagination run wild to discover our God-given vocation. Remember, nothing is too hard or ridiculous for God. We can live in this wonderful place of vocation as this is who we have been created to be. It'snot consumer Christianity here, as this doesn’t lead us to our vocation; but leads us away. It is our intimate relationship with the One who when creating us spoke into our lives with His gift of vocation. Thus, we need to pursue what really matters at all cost. As Christ-followers we have died to self, in Jesus Christ, in order to enter into the fullness of our God-designed vocation.

This takes a fusion of head and heart. It is not just the head, which may lead to a changed mind, but not a changed inner life. Neither is it just the heart, which can become emotionalism. It is about the whole person. If we attempt one without another, it can lead to a disconnect between our head and heart. It will also take a fusion of being solitary and in community. It is not purely about me, as it may lead to introversion, and not impact the community around me. Nor is it just the community, which may lead to becoming shallow in or even a people pleaser. It is about the whole person, being alone with our heavenly Father becoming aware of our vocation. However, we also need to be in community with each other where our vocation can be expressed. It has been said that,
“We need to take personal responsibility for our lives and our vocation; we need to be intentional and proactive. We each will ask, ‘What is the good work which I am called?’ And only you and I can answer this question. We have to make the call; no one else can do it for us. Yet it is equally important to stress that although we each can make the call, we cannot do this alone. We need the company of others co-discerners who walk with us on this road.”[1]

As the Spirit prods us, encouraging us deeper into God’s will so that He can use our vocation. So, let us be open to see His Kingdom come around us and His will done on earth as He uses us in our God designed vocation. Let Him continue to transform us to be more Christlike. To grow in the authenticity of our vocation, living in community, deeper in love and offering greater hope to those around us. This is possible through our God-given vocation.
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Smith, Gordon T. Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2016), 10-11.

Who Are You? (Vocation) Part 3 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

So, our vocation is who we have been created to be, aside from our employment. What is it that our Heavenly Father has spoken into us or called us to be as He formed us before coming to earth? Vocation begins with a Kingdom of God emphasis, which then is lived out on earth. That is, it has its practical daily outworking in truth like,
10 “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us today the food we need” (Matt 6:10, 11 NLT).
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (Matt 6:33 NLT).
Consequently, our perspective of vocation needs to shift to have a Kingdom of God focus and not an employment one. That is, the word/s that our Heavenly Father has spoken into our lives when He created us. He wants to see His Kingdom come soon and His will to be done on earth through us, as it is in heaven. Now don’t get me wrong our vocation may play out through your employment, but if it does not do so,that is okay. However, it needs to flow out from how we are into the world around us constantly. For example,
·         Are you the one at work or uni that notices the one that is hurting and seeks to comfort or encourage them, regardless of what you do for a job or the course that you are studying? Your vocation maybe compassion, empathy or even nurture or a combination of these and others.
·         When you are with friends or family, do you find joy in helping them understand things so that, they are able to gain a Kingdom perspective to be able to live life on a higher level? Your vocationmaybe equipping or encouraging growth toward maturity.
·         Do you find that you are able to see things in creation that others cannot, and you reveal them through art, music, drama etc.? Your vocation maybe creativity or vision?
These are just some examples of vocation that may have an impact on our life and even employment but are more than your employment.
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

Who Are You? (Vocation) Part 2 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

Vocation has nothing to do with what we have done or do, but who God has created us to be. This is what may be called our true vocation. So how do we think about our own vocation? What we do does not define who we have been created to be. It is our God-given vocation that counts and needs to define us. But what is our vocation to be able to think along these lines? What is vocation full stop?
It has nothing to do with our education or employment, but who God has called us to be. In fact, it has been said on the matter that,
“Vocation does not come from wilfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about-or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions. That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for ‘voice.’ Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear… It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfil the original selfhood given me at birth by God.”[1]
It could be said that this is “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”[2] What has God our Heavenly Father spoken into us, when He created us? This was on the mind of the Psalmist, as was said in the previous blog,
13 “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with You” (Ps 139:13-18 NLT).
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. (Kindle Locations 76-79, 125-126). Kindle Edition.
[2] Rohr, Richard. “Vocation.” https://cac.org/who-am-i-2018-05-28/(15th August 2018).

Who Are You? (Vocation) by Ps Michael Podhackzy

I read a blog recently on the issue of vocation. This is something dear to my heart. In it, the blogger pointed out that the,
“The deepest vocational question is not “What ought I to do with my life?” It is the more elemental and demanding “Who am I? What is my nature?”... [I believe we’ve got to get our own who right before we can begin to address the question of what am I to do.]
Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”[1]
In February 2017 I spoke on this very matter and asked the question “Who Are You?” This is an important road that we are all journeying down to find our God-givenvocation.

Do you know what our Heavenly Father’s vocation of you is? Maybe you have not thought about this matter before, but it is important if we are to become who He has created us to be as we engage with the world around us. We are not a mistake or accident, but we are His beloved children lovingly created with His own gift to us, that is a vocation. This will vary from person to person, but it is who we are created to be.
David contemplating this matter said,
1 “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me…13 For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with You” (Ps 139:1,13-18 NLT).
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Rohr, Richard. “Vocation.” https://cac.org/who-am-i-2018-05-28/(4th June 2018).

Waiting by Ps Dave Podhaczky

Waiting for anything in life can be a very difficult thing for many of us.
How is your patience when waiting in traffic, or behind someone with more than 12 items in the express checkout? How about waiting for serious needs or desires in life?  

Scripture has plenty to say about waiting. We can read about dozens of people that had to wait for God to answer their prayers. I encourage you to learn from these people’s stories - and from God’s role in them.

Let’s take a look at the story of Joseph in Genesis. The end of Genesis 40 and the first verse of 41 can so easily be glossed over. ‘The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him”. “When two years had passed, Pharoah had a dream”.
Joseph had faithfully endured many ordeals and difficult times since the dreams of his youth. He had been thrown into a well and sold into slavery by his brothers. He then found success in Potiphar’s house, but ended up in prison after being falsely accused by his master’s wife.
I daresay that time goes very slowly while in prison - but even so, Joseph remained faithful and found success again. Finally, a glimmer of hope presented itself for him to find a way out. Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker were put into prison and Joseph interpreted their dreams. The cupbearer was impressed and promised to put in a good word for Joseph with the Pharaoh.
Sadly, however, he forgot all about Joseph.
Two years passed. Two years. In prison. 

How would you go waiting two years for your moment of hope to materialise? And without any idea of how much longer you would need to wait.
So what was Joseph’s response when he finally got his chance to help Pharaoh?
He faithfully trusted God and continued to serve Him with a good attitude.
How do you respond to seasons or moments of waiting?

Max Lucado writes about waitingin his book You’ll Get Through This: “While you wait, God works. “My Father is always at his work,” Jesus said (John 5:17 NIV). God never twiddles his thumbs. He never stops. He takes no vacations. He rested on the seventh day of creation but got back to work on the eighth and hasn’t stopped since. Just because you are idle, don’t assume God is. He’s working for you as well. “Be still, and know that I am God” reads the sign on God’s waiting room wall.

To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to “rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; . . . not fret” (Ps. 37:7).”

Those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isa. 40:31). Delight yourself in God, and he will bring rest to your soul. You’ll get through this waiting room season just fine. Pay careful note, and you will detect the most wonderful surprise. The doctor will step out of his office and take the seat next to yours. “Just thought I’d keep you company while you are waiting.” Not every physician will do that, but yours will. After all, he is the Great Physician.