Facebook Hiatus

After realizing Facebook had consumed me again, I uninstalled the app and the messenger app last Sunday night (5/18/14) and closed the Facebook tab on my browsers on my computers.

In the last week, I’ve read more, I’ve prayed more, and I have spent more time with family.  I’ve accomplished more without the ever consuming thoughts of “what’s happening on Facebook? I need to check in or I miss something. I need to catch up or it will take hours this evening to catch up.” etc.

When I logged back in, there were 80+ notifications, messages, and new friend requests. I didn’t really bother with much of it. I didn’t want to immediately become immersed again.

Moving forward, I am not sure how much time I can spend on Facebook. I have taken a few breaks here and there, return and promise myself balance only to find myself on Facebook all day long.
I don’t think Facebook is bad by any means. There are tons of opportunities for ministry, learning, and serving others (with kind words, or knowing there’s an issue where you could serve). I just don’t think I personally have the capability of balancing it.

I have already turned off notifications on the app. Next, I will only spend a set time on Facebook per day. I am currently thinking 30 minutes.

I have already found great replacements for the time I spend: Reading the Bible. Reading books I’ve purchased but only read parts of. Spending time with my wife and kids.

Matthew 6:24 - “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

I don’t serve money so much anymore, but I did realize that Facebook sometimes feels like a Master to me. It dictates how I spent a large portion of my time each day that I could be dedicating to something else that is more important.

How do you feel Facebook impacts your life?

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My Second Sermon – Ambassadors For Christ

Ambassador

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

My first notes on this sermon was that it was even more difficult to work on than the first. I felt spiritually attacked from the moment I started working on it. I won’t go into a lot of details, but I didn’t get this one completed up until I practiced it once the night before preaching this message. I had been asked 3 weeks prior (maybe longer) and was excited to have so much time. But, I couldn’t concentrate to get it done. Each time I started, I had distractions of some type. I finally recognized, when it was near too late, that almost everything started going wrong when I started trying to work in this sermon.

The more I pray, the more I do my best to understand the Bible, the more I try to live my life the way I believe Jesus taught us to live in obedience, the more I feel attacked. It’s irritating and tends to be hard to recognize. But, I prayed, and thankfully, was finally left alone to do the notes and put this all together.

I haven’t even listened to this myself. And, my memory doesn’t serve me well enough to know what I said, or how meaningful even to me it was. I know the study prior to was meaningful as this is something I’ve studied before.

I am incredibly grateful first to Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I am grateful for the leadership team at my Church putting their trust in me to present messages to the congregation. I am grateful for all of my mentors, friends, and family who continually support me as I grow in my faith and allow God to lead me in whatever direction He leads.

I owe a great deal of gratitude especially to my wife, Amber Oliver, for her continued support, even when I’m being a numskull and not being a very good imitator of Christ, or ambassador for Christ. She’s there to encourage me, there to support me, there to help me make the sermon make sense to other people instead of just to me. I love her incredibly. That’s why I gave her a free link to her blog in this post! ;)

This sermon, I didn’t get time to make “fill in the blank” notes or choose an illustrative video. I will try to get notes done while listening to the sermon and following along on my notes sometime soon!

To listen to me talk about being Ambassadors for Christ, click here!

Please feel free to comment below and encourage me or let me know what you think!

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My First Sermon

Today, I had the honor and privilege of sharing my first sermon with the congregation at my Church (Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Glen Rose, Texas). I had went out on faith and told the pastor that I’d like the opportunity to do a sermon for the Church… this being after much prayer asking God if He was sure that was a good idea. :)

Let me back up a little bit and say… 3-4 years ago, I, nor just about anyone I know would have imagined me standing up in front of a bunch of people talking about Jesus. For several reasons. The first being, I don’t really like being in front of people and being serious about anything. Also, I feel inadequate in sharing anything about God because I look over my life and think I have no business sharing God’s Word with anyone. Next up, is I really don’t think I was in a good standing with God. My life was about me. Not about God. I am ashamed at how I lived my life all the while proclaiming to be a believer. I did believe in God, I believed Jesus died for my sins, but I certainly wasn’t trying to be obedient to him. There weren’t many around me who’d have said “James is a follower of Jesus. You can tell by how he lives his life.”

And, lastly, I fear God. We joke around sometimes among some of the guys in our discipleship group about James 3:1 – That teachers will especially be held accountable. If we stand in front of people and tell them something wrong, and lead them down the wrong path, we will be held accountable for that. It scares me. I want to make sure I’m teaching exactly what God wants me to teach.

I don’t know how long it’s been now, but through a series of events, I realized how I was living was NOT even close to the life Jesus called me to live. The life that I believe every follower of Him is called to. A life of obedience. His last words to people before ascending to heaven was to “make disciples and teach them to obey everything I have commanded”. So, I now try to live my life in obedience to him. I am an utter failure most of the time. But, each day, I learn more how to resist temptation and turn to Him for help me.

Sometimes, I hear people talk about the changes in my life that I’ve made in the last couple of years. Well, I want to be clear that I couldn’t change anything or I would have years earlier. Jesus made a change in me and I just committed all of me to Him. I am more richly blessed than I imagined and it is all because of Him. I am just following His lead and doing what I believe He is calling me to do. It has been quite a journey in spiritual growth and learning to follow God and ignore my own hesitations. My life is better because I am following his lead. My relationships with my children are better. My relationship with my wife is better.

I am thankful for many of my friends who have been a source of encouragement in my faith, and my spiritual growth. Many of them have been there for me in the last couple of weeks as I prepared this message today. Looking over my notes for me. Giving me advice on how to improve the message. So, for these friends, I am grateful. Thank you to Joe, Randy, Tommy, Phillip, and several others for our encouragement! You guys are awesome!

I am thankful for the Church leadership where I attend. Those guys not only went out on a limb to let a young, many times sarcastic, and sometimes says things without thinking first, guy present a message to the folks who are under their spiritual charge, but they also took the time to go into a room with me this morning and pray for me. It helped tremendously. I will always remember their spirits in helping me with that part of the preparation. I know many others were praying for me this morning before I stood up there.

As I sit here tonight, absorbing my day, as many of us introverts (INTJ) folks do.. I am so humbled by this experience. I don’t deserve to be able to stand in front of people and talk about Jesus. God has brought me so far from my comfort zone and I am truly thankful for that. It was an answered prayer.. because I was comfortable for too long. If I get too comfortable, I might not be willing to get up and stand for Christ.

With all that, some have asked if I would record my first message. I did. I will put a link below for those that want to listen. I pray that Jesus touches you through something that He put on my heart to say. I truly love whoever is reading this and want to share how much Jesus loves you.  I will put a link to download notes also to help you follow along.

Before listening to me, I’d highly suggest watching the video that I played for the Church before I started. Here’s the video:

Here’s the link to listen to me: My first sermon

Click here to download the notes.

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