Showing items for 'Bonni Mace'

Showing items filed under “Bonni Mace”

#Triggered - What to do when your Facebook is at war

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Following one of the most controversial election cycles in modern history, where the political drama was only amplified by the voices of our friends and family online, the social media bashing of one another’s views has not stopped. It’s easy to get swept away in it all. Convictions, opinions, emotions and confusion are still running rampant online and it can lead to moments of regret or moments of inflated pride. It’s time for us, as Christ-followers, to take a step back and reassess our witness on social media.

How do we do this? Remember this truth: if you claim to follow Jesus, you represent him. Everything you say and do should represent his heart. Here are some practical ways you can be sure that you a representing Jesus well.

Take a break.

If you have spent a lot of time on social media lately, chances are your head is spinning. Maybe because you’re actually confused on where you stand, or maybe because your convictions are being tested so much that it leaves you in a borderline or all out rage. No matter where you stand on this spectrum, it’s healthy for all of us to step back from the keyboard for a time.

There’s a simple test you can give yourself to see if it’s time for a break; let’s call it the Fruit Test (Galatians 5:22-23). After you spend some time online, assess what you are feeling. Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, or self-control? If you wrote some things yourself, are these fruits present in your words? If the answer is no, it’s time for a break!

Jesus often retreated from the chaos to align His heart with His Father. (Matthew 14:13 is just one example, what others can you find?) When you find your fruit is not of God step away and realign your heart with His. Spend as long as it takes to move your heart close to His once more.

Remember that behind every post and comment is a person whom Jesus loves and wants to have a relationship with.

Let’s face it. Our newsfeeds are full of people who are not yet in relationship with Jesus! This means that we are definitely going to see something that does not line up with our beliefs. So what do we do when we see those posts? Remember that those who do not yet know Jesus do not yet understand our beliefs because they do not have the Holy Spirit at work in them helping them to understand.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16 emphasis added

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

How will our friends begin to understand? Only through a relationship with Jesus! Did you catch that? They aren’t going to understand a Spirit point of view unless the Spirit is in them! This means that arguing your point until you are blue in the face (or fingers) is not going to change them. Only a relationship with Jesus can do that!

There is a reason Jesus said “Go and make disciples!” (Matthew 28:19-20) and not “Go and prove your point!” It is our job to be in relationship with those who need a relationship with Jesus.

Arguing with strangers on a comment thread is not going to reveal Jesus, because a comment thread is not a relationship. If you’re ready to make disciples, go and be in relationship with the people you are most offended by online. Tell them about Jesus and who He is, and allow the Spirit to inform their viewpoints once they enter into a life-changing relationship with Him.

Learn how to have a discussion.

The biggest issue with social media is the strange social construct it creates. The more time we spend online, the less grounded in actual truth we tend to be. We build ourselves a network of people who mostly agree with us, we follow pages we like, and we ignore or hide the ones we don’t. This creates a phenomenon called an “echo chamber” where our own perceptions are solidified by what we are seeing online.

These echo chambers can cause us to stand more firmly behind our personal perceptions than on the Word of God.

Take the time to understand what is informing your opinions. Is it social media or Scripture? If you are spending more time online than you are in Scripture, then go back to step one and dig in to the Bible. Align your heart with Jesus’ and then come back and see if your opinions still stand through the filter of God’s Word.

Once you have a clear picture of where your convictions lie, you might start to feel compelled to share, post, comment or reply again. The healthiest thing to do before posting at all is to take a beat and pray before you even begin typing. Then after you’ve typed up your post, pray again. Reread your words and allow God to speak to you about them. And remember the Fruit Test: is the post full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If it meets this test, you might be able to share it.

Another test you should give yourself is the relationship test. If you are about to comment on another’s post, ask yourself, “Do I have a meaningful relationship with this person?” if the answer is yes, then ask, “Can I look this person in the eye and say this to their face?” If the answer is no, delete it and move on, my friend! You are not called to be a keyboard warrior, you are called to be in relationship with other broken people. Use social media only as an extension of relationship, not a fabrication of relationship.

Finally, get educated!

Be sure you have a full understanding of topics you are discussing. Understand the bias you are bringing to the conversation. Research and learn from multiple outlets (and dare we say, books!) before chiming in.

Times of online strife are no fun for anyone, and it is in those times more than ever that we should be prepared to represent Jesus in real ways. This call requires a lot of work on our part, but it is a work that can please our Father. If you feel you’ve already tarnished your witness online, remember there is grace. Spend some time in confession offline with God in prayer, and then allow Him to do a new work in your life.

And when the next online war is waged, remember that Jesus can and will be glorified through you if you seek his heart!

On The Road Update

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We’re officially six months into our On The Road journey, time for a big update! We’re really happy with how our biggest capital campaign ever is starting out, and we know that God will continue to do amazing things through each one of you who have chosen to participate as well.

The Refresher

Here at The Church at Severn Run our mission is to reach as many people as possible by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son in the power of the Spirit. In 2015, God called our Lead Pastor Drew Shofner to begin pursuing our next big milestone: becoming a worshipping community of 5,000 growing disciples. Currently Severn Run is composed of about 1,300 people and we are getting closer each day to maxing out each and every physical resource that we have on our campus to accommodate new Severn Runners. In order to achieve our goal of becoming this amazing community of 5,000 people, we are aiming to raise $6 million that will help us reduce our current financial responsibilities and plan for future expansion opportunities. These funds will also help us increase our mission capital and broaden our ministry friendships both locally and globally.

In February we officially launched On The Road church-wide and gave each one of you the opportunity to join us on the trip of a lifetime! We were really excited to get over $1 million in pledges in the first round of commitments as well as an amazing return from the creative ideas initiated from our $5 jar giveaway back in January.

Where We Stand: Commitments

On page 11 of our On The Road brochure, we set specific Severn Runner giving goals based on family units, and we wanted to give you an update as to where we stand there:

What’s not shown here are the 46 families that have pledged outside of a specific category as well as those of you who have chosen to give without turning in a commitment card.

That being said, our current pledged total is:
$1,007,973 coming from 201 families.

At the end of our two-year campaign we plan to see $2.5 million come from Severn Runners total. That means we’ve got an additional $1,492,027 in pledges and 404 Severn Run families remaining to reach our goal. We can’t wait to see what God does through those who are going to make future commitments.

If you and your family are still deciding on what you can commit to On The Road, feel free to reach out to anyone here on staff with questions you may have along the way. And remember, you can turn in your commitment card any Sunday in the giving basket, or online by visiting ontheroad.severnrun.com.

Where We Stand: Total Given So Far

Severn Runners, you are faithful to your commitments! We are so excited to see that over $187,000 has been given to On The Road so far. We are on track to meet our commitment goal by the end of our two-year campaign, and here’s how we can stay on track! By the end of 2016 we are making it our goal to have at least $500,000 total given to the On The Road campaign. That means we only have $313,000 to go in the final 6 months of the year.

$187,000 Given To Date
$500,000 End Of Year Goal
$313,000 To Go!

Where Do You Stand?

If you’ve committed to On The Road, or given to anything here at The Church at Severn Run this year, you should have received a giving statement in the mail last week. This giving statement is a great way for you to check in on where you stand with your regular tithes and offerings as well as your On The Road Commitment. If you have turned in a Commitment Card to On The Road at any point in time, you will see a quick update of where you stand on the right side of your giving statement. It shows gifts given to date and the balance that remains in order to fulfill your commitment in the next year and half. If you are noticing that your On The Road gifts are not showing up in that column, be sure your gifts are designated clearly in your chosen form of giving.

What’s Next?

Our next big call is coming soon at our 10th Birthday Party this August. We’re praying for this time to be a place where many families are able to commit to the On The Road Campaign for the first time, as well as a time where those who have already committed to continue to listen to God’s call to generosity on their lives. Please join us in praying for our 10th Birthday Party on August 21!

In 2017, we are looking forward to launching the “Ask” portion of the On The Road Campaign that aims to partner with community members and businesses to raise the remaining $3.5 million. Be praying about who you personally know that may be interested in giving towards our goal of becoming a worshipping community of 5000 disciples who will make a huge difference in our community for Jesus.

Ready to Start Now?

If you’re ready to help us meet our year-end goals now, here are a couple of action steps you can take!

Send in your commitment card.
Click here to submit your commitment card to On The Road today. This card lets us know that you are getting On The Road with us and helps us to know where we stand with our goals! Also, did you know that those who commit to On The Road get an awesome free gift from the staff? You may have seen them around!

Set up your On The Road gifts online.
One of the best ways to remain faithful to your On The Road commitment is by setting up a specific recurring gift on our giving page. Click here to visit the giving page to get started.

Helpful tips:

  • Select “On The Road Capital Campaign” under “For.”
  • You can give weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Choose the frequency that is right for you
  • You can set a start and end date right away! Utilize this feature for an easy way to “set it and forget it!”

If you prefer to give in-services each week, be sure to visit the On The Road Pit Stop in the Atrium to pick up a few of our On The Road Giving Envelopes. Stick them in your wallet or Bible to help you remember to give to On The Road at your committed frequency.

We are so excited to see what God will do next through each one of you! Thank you for an amazing start to On The Road, let’s keep the good times rolling.

Responding to the Orlando Attack: What's a Jesus Follower To Do?

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It’s happened again.

A massive attack on an unsuspecting group of people.

This time it’s on US soil.

This time it’s directed towards a group of people that has continued to be at odds with the “church” for quite some time.

And it is a tragedy…

How do we respond? We’re Jesus followers and, of course, our hearts are broken. People, made in God’s image, had their lives taken from them at a moments notice. And here we are distant, but affected.

So how do we best respond in a way that glorifies Jesus?

1. Pause and grieve.

When Jesus lost a close friend in John 11, he could have done a lot of things. He could have said, “Well now he’s in a better place with my father!” He could have snapped his fingers and caused a crazy miracle before Lazarus even died. He could have ignored the grief and moved on with his life. But he didn’t. It says right there in John 11:35, “Jesus wept.”

Jesus paused and cried with those who were crying. He did not make the moment anything more or anything less. He acknowledged the pain of brokenness in our world, and cried.

Body of Christ, take a moment to pause and grieve with those who are hurting this week. Do nothing more for a time, just pause and grieve. This moment of solidarity with the hurting is more meaningful than you could even imagine.

2. Keep the focus on Jesus.

Jesus followers, this is not a time for politics and opinions. This is a time for healing through Jesus. Maybe you have strong feelings on gun laws or immigration. Hear this. Now is not the time for these soapboxes. Tragedies are not strategies to show how right you are and how wrong the “other” side is. A tragedy is just that, a tragedy. Jesus did not use situations to glorify an agenda. He built relationships so that he could walk through situations with others to glorify his Father.

Instead of expressing your opinions on Facebook today, find a hurting person and listen to them. Walk with them. Cry with them. Take some time to read Romans 12:9-16, then ask God to show you how you can practice real love with someone today.

3. Earn a seat at the table.

The “church” as a whole has not always lived Jesus towards those identifying as LGBTQ. Our “agendas” have often been at odds, and we get swept up in emotion and forget that we are all made in God’s image. We’re all broken. Jesus died for each of us. Now, suddenly, there’s an immense tragedy affecting the people that many have neglected. We’re genuinely upset. We mean it when we say “We’re praying for you Orlando.” But somehow our words come across hollow and meaningless to those who need to hear it. Why? Because the phrase “sending thoughts and prayers” has been a hollow statement, used as PR and not real sentiment by many leaders both within the "church" and outside of it. So how do we go beyond “thoughts and prayers”? How do we really show the love of Jesus to people who are mourning now?

Well, Jesus followers, it’s not something that will happen overnight because of this tragedy. But it is something that you can start changing now. We must recognize that we don’t earn a seat of respect with people previously neglected just by offering a heartfelt Facebook post (or blog post for that matter). Words are nice, but they can be empty. Friends, it’s time to start meaningfully diving into relationships with other broken people.

Make this the time that you start to exit your comfort zone. Jesus was always living outside of the “religious comfort zone,” and it’s time that we start to follow his example again. Who do you know that doesn’t know Jesus yet? It’s time to invite them to join you and your family for dinner. It’s time to stop at their desk each day to just see how they’re doing. It’s time to remember their first name, last name, and hey, maybe even their birthday! Jesus is calling us to just be in relationships with other people. Isolation and cliques are Satan’s game. Connection is Kingdom work. Create relationships. Make an impact. Live Jesus. This is how you earn a seat at the table. This is how your words become full of life and meaning. This is how you reveal the love of the Father!

4. Finally, pray.

Pray hard. Pray for a long time. Pray honestly. Prayer is how you, Jesus follower, can gain the God-Wisdom and God-Power to continue to reveal his love in times of intense tragedy. Ask God to comfort you. Ask him to show you his love. Ask him to use your story so that others can know him personally the way that you know him. Pray that Jesus’ name is spread far and wide. Pray that every man, woman, boy, and girl would come to know him as their Father, Savior, Redeemer.

These are four things each of us can and should do in this time following a national tragedy. What are some things you think Jesus would do if he were physically here with us this week?

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