Why You Share What You Share

Why do you share what you share on social media? Think about it.

  • Do you want to prove your point?
  • Do you want to inform people? Of what?
  • Do you want to associate with someone, and sharing gives you the appearance of a relationship?
  • Do you want attention?
  • Do you want a good deal, even if it’s too good to be true?
  • Do you want to increase your following?
  • Do you want to push buttons, surprise or shock people?
  • Do you want to passive-aggressively hurt or offend someone?
  • Do you want to brag?
  • Do you want to encourage people?
  • Do you want to welcome accountability?

Are your intentions on social media different than sharing in person?

It’s important to know your motivation for sharing. It’s your heart issue, and you need to keep your intentions in check.

Sharing is an invitation.

You get to invite people into…whatever you choose. When you click the share button, you give a bit of yourself. You give a snapshot of who you are…or who you want others to believe you are, which still gives a glimpse of who you really are. If you deceive others, you deceive yourself. You can never be unaffected by the persona you project to others. It is still you. You click the share button. Your intentions affect you.

It seems like a lot of pressure, but really, you can accept it as an opportunity to take a deep breath. Inhale and consider your motivation. Filter it through God’s will. Is it share-worthy? If it is, it should also be God-worthy. Does it honor Him? If the answer is “yes,” then exhale. Share. Click the button. Love God. Love others.

It sounds simple. But really, it is. We can get tied up in our intentions, or keep them pure.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

God Pricks Our Hearts

God pricks our hearts, making them beat a little harder with compassion, conviction, or justice. But when we harden our hearts, we don’t feel the prick as easily.

We want to protect ourselves. We don’t want people to hurt us. We toughen up. And sometimes, that makes us less sensitive to God. We take pride in not be too sensitive with others, and in the process, we desensitize ourselves to Him.

Of course, He can be adamant and firm enough to still get through to us, but we miss out something. We miss out on our vulnerability to Him and His way. He miss out on sensitivity.

It takes humility, and it involves risks, but I believe it is worth it.

I want Him to prompt me, and I want to respond well. I want Him to prick my heart to feel what matters most to Him.

What about you?

Who Do You Need? Who Do You Love?

I love me. I love myself. And I don’t need anyone else.

I scanned the radio stations as I traveled, trying to find something to keep me entertained. The tune was catchy, so I stopped and listened. The chorus repeated before I realized the words.

I love me. I love myself. And I don’t need anyone else.

Really?

I’m glad she loves herself, and I can certainly relate to occasional bouts of not wanting to need anyone else, especially a person or two in particular. But is it even possible to not need anyone else?

Of course not!

From a practical stand point, consider all the things that others do for you. Who built your house? Who provides all the ingredients for your favorite food? Who built your car, refined the oil that filled your tank with gasoline, and developed the machine that allows you to pay for it and everything else you buy? Who keeps track of your money at the bank, made your clothes, and made your toilet paper? Seriously. Be honest. We need people.

Of course, it’s even more important on a spiritual level. We need people because God created us for relationship–with Him and others. And not just the kinds of relationships that feel good, encourage and fulfill us. He also uses those frustrating, challenging, sharpening relationships that make us want to sing (or scream) we don’t need anyone else!

Pay attention to the songs you sing, even to yourself. They might just be a glimpse of your heart.

The Cost of Peace

In a peace plan, everybody will have to do with less than they deserve. (Dalia Eshkanazi Landau)

6948865-dandelion-flowerPeace is costly.

It’s costly when nations are at war.

It’s costly when ideas are at war.

It’s costly when priorities, rights, histories, and our own thoughts are at war.

In order to gain peace, everyone has to give up something.

What are you willing to give up for peace? Not peace and quiet, not “everything is now and forevermore okay,” but a peace that is an underlying choice of contentment of where you are and what you need.

Peace isn’t so much an agreement as a decision. Peace isn’t as much a status as a frame of mind and heart.

Peace isn’t getting as much as you can out of a deal. It’s knowing what to let fall away and what to cling to, what to sacrifice and what to grasp.

People of Israel

I didn’t plan to take as many photos of people in Israel as I did. At first, I just wanted to capture everyday life. While thousands of people visit Israel every year to visit biblical sites and walk where Jesus walked, many more are taking their own steps, living present-day life in Israel every single day. I didn’t want to be an observer. As much as possible, I wanted to walk alongside others, and at the very least, respect them.

On the first day, as we walked down Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv, I savored the “everyday-ness” of people around me.

11.1.14 Rothschild Avenue Tel Aviv 15
©2014 PurePurpose.org

 

Then, I looked up into a building under construction and saw this man:

11.1.14 Rothschild Avenue Tel Aviv 23
©2014 PurePurpose.org

 

Still everyday life, on the same block, yet very different from the many people casually strolling along the boulevard, eating breakfast in open air cafes, and sipping their morning coffee. As I snapped the photo, the man looked at me. I felt guilty for invading his space, what seemed to be his temporary home. I took my camera away from my eyes and acknowledged him with a nod out of respect. He smiled. But I didn’t stop. I didn’t ask what he needed. I didn’t ask how I could help.

He doesn’t know it, but he helped me. He reminded me to look people in the eyes, to not observe but to participate. Right then and there, I determined to capture as many faces in Israel as I could to help people see the commonalities in all of our lives. There is beauty in diversity, and there is compassion in commonalities. We need to see each other without the stereotypes. We need to see individuals. We need to look at each in the eyes, and trust God to help us see others’ hearts.

I invite you to look into some of the eyes and hearts of the people of Israel as I saw them. Click here to visit a photo album I posted to Facebook.

Recipient vs. Participant

How well do we provide for others?

For those who “do” ministry, we can struggle from time to time with this one. We want people to get involved, to participate, but there are so many who seem to be content to receive. We want to be generous. We want to be loving. We want to be giving. But, really? Can’t people step up and take responsibility?

Well, yes, they can. It’s not a simple if/then equation, but we need to consider what we’re doing that fosters people to receive instead of participate.

helpIt’s not just about church attendance. In fact, lets widen the circle for a moment and consider how well we serve people in need. I’m not talking about our numbers or programs, the how much and what of our service. What about the how well?

I have had this conversation multiple times at ministry events, especially among churches and organizations who are especially known for their focus on identifying and meeting needs in both short-term crises and ongoing support. But what are we supporting? Are we simply providing without equipping? Are we giving stuff and time but taking away something even more important, like dignity?

Let’s get a bit more personal. When you give away clothes or furniture because someone needs it, what is your attitude? Do you give away your best? Do you engage the person? Do you listen to their story? Do you insist on receiving nothing in return even when they really want to give something to you? Do you follow up? Do you care? Do you invest?

We like to solve problems, so if we have something or can buy something someone needs, we feel good about our generosity. We’re helping, and who doesn’t get warm fuzzies by helping others? But are we sure our giving is the best option? Have we even explored the options? Do we know the situation well enough to explore the options?

Let’s broaden the circle even wider. When we become aware of a need in another country, we often begin collecting what we think will solve the problem. We often avoid thinking about how our solutions might create more problems. For example, clean water. We want everyone to have it, right? Let’s pay for and install water pumps in every village so people have access to clean water. Sounds great, right? What if no one local is trained to fix the water pump? What if parts are not easily, affordably available? Are there other, better, longer-lasting options?

What if we donate all kinds of things because we have easy access to them, but in the process, we eliminate someone’s only way to make money in that community? For example, when we send cases of new shoes, what happens to the man who has repaired every person’s shoes for decades? I’m not saying we shouldn’t donate and provide, but I think it’s important to think through the how well of our service.

We accomplish something when we give and someone receives. But what if we focus on developing participants instead of recipients? What if we give dignity, ownership, and responsibility with our service? After all, it’s not really about us. If we care that much to invest in others, we need to make sure our how well is our best for God.