Sunday, September 4, 2011

#10 -That Social Net Villain

Getting connected is what started the Internet. Scientists wanted to share research results. Farmers wanted to get up-to-the-minute crop prices. That provided the basic computer hardware. Beyond that, the World Wide Web took the Internet to a whole new level, with browsers, shared computer programs, news, graphics, sound, video etc. But the third, and current, stage of computer connectivity is the SOCIAL networks, that moves remote socializing far beyond what the telephone, or even the video telephone could do.

In the deep shadows of the on-line social networks is a silent hungry lion, always on the prowl for anyone not on their guard, while on-line, at a desktop keyboard or a mobile device. At first glance, those click-spots appear quite innocent-looking. But they're an accumulative thing, their presence starts building a road to a dead end.

Everywhere you look, you're told the opinions and additional choices of others, regarding what now appears on your screen. Along with that, you're bombarded with snap-surveys of your own opinions that are recorded on lots of hidden computers and then posted for others to read, rather than forming their own opinion. This certainly peaks our thoughts that others pay attention to what we think and do. We call that our testimony, which the Bible also calls that our conversation; our manner of living.

The problem is that all of the Bible reminds us we are to seek HIS DESIRES and principles. We are to often each day, ask Him to survey our attitudes and actions, that our lives will be examples of loving obedience to His “FOLLOW ME”.

This last Power List attribute that Jesus followed is called SOCIAL. It's the “and man.” of Luke 2:52. As we did with the other three attributes in this Luke 2:52 quartet, we'll divide it into its own quartet. We'll make a quartet within a quartet. Our SOCIAL quartet gets divided into My Associations and Witness, My Activities, My Abilities, and My Actions.

My Associations and Witness

Almost without exception, who we group with, becomes a statement to others, about our principles and character. Who we associate with, is more-so our first impression in the eyes of others. But far more critical is that we humans adapt; we absorb, we change to fit in; often just to be accepted, to feel secure, like 'safety in numbers'.

But what happens, over time is that we either become more like those we socialize with, or we make an influence on those around us. Not many youth have the strength of character to influence others rather than being influenced. As a teenager, Jesus was a wonderful role model for us to be that God-honoring influence in the lives of others. Luke chapter 2 even gives a great example of this, in the temple. Check out 1John 4:4, and 1Peter 3:15.

My Activities

Teenagers today saturate themselves with activities whether on-line or not. It seems they are trying to muffle the reoccurring questions, “Where is this all leading?”, “Is there no real joy and peace for me?”, “How can I know if anyone really loves me, just as I am?” One of the ugly outcomes of living your days and nights like this, is you will never be able to achieve anything to be proud of. No one will be deeply sincerely grateful for your 'help'. Your activities should be planned and played out with prayer by asking God what He wants you to do today. Then trust Him to lead and give you the strength and courage to follow through.

My Abilities

Someone once said, “God don't make no junk!” With God's gifts of love and leading, He also gives us tools; abilities and talents to serve Him and share His love and compassion with others. The Bible gives examples of most every kind of talent, and how these talents were used. A beginning list would easily fill this page, and more. The big question is HOW can I use my abilities that will magnify Him and help the church. Sometimes even asking our pastor or leader to pray with us about using our skills, is a powerful way to build teamwork in our teenage lives. Check out Luke 16:1-10.

Your Actions

Your actions speak far louder than your words!” This is a statement we've all heard, and place a lot of value in. Another is, “Talk's cheap!” Our actions often give real evidence to our inner desires and character. Luke chapter 2 gives us powerful evidence by the actions of Jesus in the temple, responding to Mary and Joseph's sorrowful questions, and also in his obedience to follow and be subject to them, during the return trip to Mary's home in Nazareth. Because our actions are observed by others, with their own eyes, they are remembered far longer. “Christian” means Christ-like. My actions in word AND deed must agree with each other, and with scripture. Read 1Samuel 2:3 scripture slowly.

(Note: adapted from “The Balanced Life – Youth For Christ (aka Campus Life)