Social Media

I enjoy a love/hate relationship with social media. At their best, the various platforms deliver community, communication, promotion, and education. At their worst, the social networks are a terrible time-suck that provide opportunities for hate speech, cyber bullying, and ignorant rants.

I resisted the siren’s call of social media for years. I dipped my toes into the water in 2013 with a weekly blog. In 2017, I took the plunge by creating a Facebook page. However, I continue to draw the line at instagramtwittertictoxlinkedinredditsnapchat.

A large part of my vocation is communication. The message remains the same, but the medium changes. I felt convicted to join a social platform to share the gospel and to connect with parishioners.

However, I quickly experienced the addictive nature of social media. What began as a high and holy calling degenerated into scanning pictures of people’s meals or enjoying memes of cute kittens. During any free moment, I found myself habitually checking the latest posts.

During Lent, I committed to check Facebook twice a day in the morning and evening. This felt like a healthy balance that enabled me to keep up with others without wasting time on inane topics. After Easter, however, I slipped back into my old habits.

Social media makes a wonderful servant but a terrible taskmaster. Therefore, I’m recommitting to my discipline of checking Facebook twice a day. Perhaps others might feel a similar need to create appropriate boundaries.

To misquote Jesus, social media was made for people, not people for social media.

Sand Castles

This summer our granddaughter spent a week with us at the beach. I enjoyed building sandcastles together. Give any man a shovel, bucket, and sand, and he will instantly revert to boyhood!

Children do not approach sandcastles with the seriousness of adults. We undertake the task like Georgia Tech engineers designing a skyscraper. However, even the best sandcastles do not last. They are trampled underfoot or washed away. All the work seldom outlasts the day.

In the comic strip “Peanuts,” Linus constructed an elaborate sandcastle, complete with turrets, moat, and drawbridge. Then a giant wave flattened his creation. Dazed, he said, “There is a lesson to be learned here somewhere. But I don’t know what it is!”

In Matthew 7, Jesus told a story about two men who planned to build a house. The first man searched until he found a good site. Then he dug deep and laid the home’s foundation on solid rock.

The second man did not take any care in choosing a construction site. He quickly found a plain of smooth sand. Little work was required to lay a foundation upon the ground, and the house was soon completed.

In Palestine, the wet season begins in September. The rains came and the floods rose. The home built on solid rock survived. However, the waters destroyed the house built on sand.

Jesus concluded the story by saying, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Those who hear and do not act are like the foolish man who built upon the sand.”

The world is shot through with fault lines. It provides no firm foundation. Those who base life on the temporal rather than the eternal are building sandcastles before a rising tide.

When the rains come, the floods rise, and the storms strike, only those who build upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ will stand. Everything else will be swept away.

Growing in Love

The Grand Miss Haisley, our three-year-old granddaughter, stayed two weeks with us in June. The first week she attended ‘Cation Bible School at Northside Church. Then we spent a week at the beach.

Lately, family relationships have fascinated Haisley. For anyone who will listen, she proudly traces her family tree, carefully delineating who is related to whom and why. It’s intriguing to watch her connect the dots.

One day we were discussing the day of Haisley’s birth. My wife described how snow covered the ground, and we traveled to the hospital to see her for the first time.

Haisley perked up to add some details. She said, “Until I was born, I was growing in my mommy’s tummy.” Then she looked at me and added, “And I was growing in Pops’ heart.”

OHMYGOSH. Buy this girl a pony! My heart melted then and there.

I always rolled my eyes when my friends became doting grandparents. Then I became one, and suddenly I understood. Grandchildren are the delayed prize of parenthood, and indeed they do grow in your heart.

Following the Palm Sunday Parade, some religious leaders took Jesus to task. They asked, “Do you not hear what these children are saying?” Jesus responded, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.” (Matthew 21:16)

From the lips of our children and grandchildren, we also discover grace anew. May God’s love incarnate in others’ lives grow in our hearts.


The Northside Church August worship series is entitled FAQs. We are exploring Frequently Asked Questions by Christians.  During sermon preparation, I asked my Facebook friends for some ideas and received 67 responses, including:

  • What is God’s last name?
  • Is the church still relevant as attendance declines?
  • Why?
  • Who did Cain and Abel marry?
  • Is the Bible literal?
  • Will non-Christians go to heaven?
  • What about hell?
  • Was Jesus married?
  • And my personal favorite, why are some Christians such jerks?

After curating (I could have used “organizing” or “selecting” but “curating” is SO 2021) the suggestions, I chose five topics:

  • How Can I Know that I am Saved?
  • What is God’s Will for My Life?
  • Do Miracles Still Happen?
  • What is Heaven Like?
  • FAQs—a catchall sermon containing multiple questions

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus promised, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” In the process of asking, seeking, and knocking, our questions strengthen our faith.

I invite you to join us onsite or online Sundays at Northside Church with Traditional Worship at 8:30 and 11:15 along with Contemporary Worship at 9:00. We will explore FAQs FYI PDQ IMHO.