Your salvation testimonies are good.
They show God is still at work.
They show God works personally.
They show God works intentionally.
They show how you lived before Christ.
They show how you came to a crisis point.
They show how your life was changed by Christ.
They show an opportunity for others to be changed by Christ.
But your testimony is not the gospel.
The gospel reminds you of God’s design.
The gospel shows you have wandered from His design (sin.)
The gospel shows that we are broken because of our wandering.
The gospel shows the futility of trying to fix our brokenness in our own way.
The gospel is about how Jesus rescues us from our brokenness.
The gospel shows us we need to turn hard from sin and turn hard to Christ.
The gospel shows how we are restored to God’s design and purpose through Christ.
Have a testimony–that differs from person to person.
Know the gospel–that never changes.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:21-26 ESV).
I’m a bit late to the game when it comes to the particulars of social media. Recently, I came across a social media device on Twitter called “subtweeting.” Here’s the definition and my initial thought on the subject:
Social media platforms can turn into one’s own personal echo chamber. “It’s my page–I can say what I want”–especially that person (1) feels a sense of moral superiority, or (2) they believe the person they criticize will never see their subtweeting.
Again, I know this passive-aggressive device has been around for a while, but I would hope that if a follower of Christ or someone that wishes to serve as a Christian leader comes across this blogpost that this would give them pause.
- It’s cowardly. Rather than go to that person and directly confront them about the issue, put out a cryptic tweet about the object of one’s angst. In the passage above, Jesus tells us not to avoid those conversations but to come to terms quickly with our accuser–the one who is the object of our anger.
- It’s cruel. Most subtweets are mean, not kind. Most (if not all) tweets which are encouraging in nature tag the person they wish to encourage. Subtweets, per the definition, mock and criticize, hiding behind the fortress of one’s keyboard. “Well, that’s just the nature of Twitter,” one may say. Is it? Do we as followers of Christ have to perpetuate that?
- It’s costly. To put this bluntly, people are not stupid and will find out somehow about the things said on social media. This is not a time to burn bridges. We need each other desperately as we navigate through these troublesome times. Behaviors like this will cost you your character, your relationships, and will affect your fellowship with the Savior you say you follow. What you’re saying is a lot more than what you’re saying.
In the book of Genesis, Cain’s jealousy of his brother Abel led to anger that was seething hotly in his heart. God gave him a warning:
“The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:6-7, ESV).
While subtweeting may deceive us into thinking that we can get something off our chest with anonymity and cleverness, it also betrays a bitterness, anger, and a superiority that God sees right through. Sin crouches at the door of all of us. We cannot master this alone.
So, in an effort to subvert the subtweeting–either have the conversation with the person with whom you take umbrage, or take it to the Lord and have Him deal with this issue as He sees fit.
Come to think of it–both options are taking it to the Lord, for you are trusting Him with your responses.
At the end of the services on Sunday, I mentioned the great effects of modulations in music that really help congregational singing–and how God provides spiritual modulations in life. What kind of spiritual modulations does God provide for you?
“And yet, I may not deny that there is something in this restless drive that disturbs me. Conversion is pressed, but instruction of the converted must be postponed—how could it be otherwise?—there is no time, for eyes and hearts are already focused on making more new converts. People rejoice especially in the number of converts. So they think they can dispense with any test and they welcome with nebulous indeterminacy every person as an ally who, on whatever basis, along whatever path, from whatever motive, simply wants to march in our ranks and join us in talking about the Lord, as though prevenient grace has stopped working, covenant blessing has lost its power, the church’s past is purposeless, and every conversion, beyond the influence of God’s faithful covenant, is an isolated fact, an incidental work of the Lord’s Spirit. Sometimes it appears as though God’s elect are not generated through rebirth from the one Christ in shared parentage, but are plucked from the river like drowning victims by the arm of the Spirit.
“That may not remain unchallenged, beloved! Spiritual revival is an extraordinary grace, I know, sometimes the only saving means, but when it is made the rule it subverts Jesus’ church. Then it is nothing but cuttings planted together here and there in beds, but then there is no root, and the vine has no stem that binds the branches into a unity. “Together with all the saints,” says the man from Tarsus in the verse following our text, and that connection is never neglected without very serious injury. For the bitter fruit is already manifested. We already see how each one wants to travel under his own flag, to privateer under his own ensign. Already the many-headed monster of that all-fracturing individualism is sticking out its horns. O, if people only realized that in this way bricks are indeed brought in and piled up, but that pile of bricks cannot stack itself up into a wall. Without design, cement, and builder, a house will never emerge from those stones.
Abraham Kuyper, Rooted and Grounded: The Church as Organism and Institution
In Genesis 9:8-17, we see God’s sign for his covenant to Noah (and us)–the rainbow. In our day, the rainbow is known more for LGBT pride than a biblical promise. What does the Scripture say about God’s design in this regard? For more information about our ministry, go to:
“Because a leader needs has ministry position to give him what it was never meant to give, he needs to see himself as more ascension than he actually is. And because he looks to the ministry to give him his sense of worth, he is tempted to assign to himself more power to produce results than any leader will ever have. In his search for spiritual rest instability, he again and again does poor spiritual math, adding two and two and getting five. No leader has the power to create change. No leader is able to determine results. No leader can control the response of people, let alone the flow of events. No leader has the ability to soften hearts, to make them faithful, humble, and courageous. No leader can control the opinions of fellow leaders. No leader can cause people to hunger for the gospel. No leader is a change agent; rather, every ministry leader is a tool in the toolbox of the one who alone holds the power of change in his hands.
“A leader’s pride in ministry achievement is not only a self serving delusion; it is redemptive fevery, taking personal pride and what only the redeemer can do. It is a thin bubble that will soon break, because it is not true, and it does not give the spiritual nutrients that every leader needs.”
Paul David Tripp, Lead, p. 170.
Sharing about the providential conversations with friends and partners across the world and how this reflects the joy of Psalm 96.
Glenn C. Loury is the Merchant P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He earned his BA in Mathematics in Northwestern University, his PhD in Economics in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He’s also served on the economics faculties of Harvard University and Boston University. Professor Loury is a distinguished scholar of economics. He’s a notable public intellectual in the United States, having published more than 200 essays in various academic outlets. He’s also a proficient scholar on racial and social policy issues. He’s written several books on the topic of race in America. I’m very much looking forward to this conversation today with Glenn Loury.