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Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Friday, December 26, 2008

all creation was waiting (christmas eve message)

A blessed Christmas to all!

Here is audio of my Christmas Eve message... about 7 1/2 min. long with the prayer at the end. Or, you can read the transcript (I was reading this time) on the sermon blog HERE.

"All Creation was Waiting" (audio)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

gspc christmas e-card

Last Wednesday, a group from church went caroling in our neighborhood. The group was warmly received; kids would peek out their window and families would come to the door. I'm sure it seemed like something out of a movie or times long past... about 40 people of all ages singing joyfully. What fun... and I think a good searchlight witness to the neighbors we are slowly and persistently trying to get to know and love. Click below for a link to hear us sing (we stopped under a streetlight for a brief video e-card recording) and for a challenging and heartwarming Christmas story from one of our members.

Merry Christmas from Good Shepherd!

Friday, December 12, 2008

facebook wisdom, pt. 2

Facebook is the dominant online social network and we are to bear the light into the world around us. Can these two statements come together somehow? Can Facebook be more than superpokes and virtual snowball fights?

In the previous post I shared one practical (by me) reflection on Facebook usage. Here I share a very thoughtful on by Justin Buzzard, writing on the Gospel and Culture Project.

Here's two parts of Justin's article: read the rest HERE

Here are nine ways not to use Facebook:

1. Don’t use status updates to complain. For many, complaining has become a trend on Facebook. With their status updates, many people broadcast consistent grumbles, like: “Joe is bored,” “Joe can’t wait to leave his stupid job,” or “Joe is exhausted.” By all means, be real, be honest and authentic, but beware of the culture of complaint.

2. Don’t measure your worth/identity by the number of your Facebook friends and interactions. Facebook measurements are the opposite of gospel measurements. Facebook tells you that the more Facebook friends and interactions you have, the more important, loved, and accepted you are. The gospel tells sinners an opposite message: no matter how lonely, unpopular, or unnoticed you might feel, in Jesus you are more loved, accepted, and noticed than you can imagine.

3. Don’t value forming Facebook (virtual) friendships more than real world friendships.

4. Don’t diminish your face-to-face time with people to check what’s going on in your Facebook world. If you’ve ever been out to dinner with friends and found yourself anxious to pull away and check out what’s happening on Facebook, you know what I’m talking about.

5. Don’t be someone online you’d never be in person. Let Facebook reflect the real you, not some pseudo-personality that emerges when you’re alone with your computer.

6. Don’t hurt and exclude others (intentionally or unintentionally) through use of applications such as “Top Friends.” Likewise, don’t become jealous of others having conversations without you. Be patient and gracious with potential misunderstandings that inevitably happen in cyberspace. When you spot something on Facebook that causes feelings of hurt or jealousy, assume the best.

7. Don’t allow Facebook and online life in general to make you a more distracted person. If you’ve noticed that use of Facebook and online life—constant change, updates, movement, and hyperlinks—has made it more difficult for you to sit down and read a book for one hour, you’d benefit from stepping back and evaluating how this technology is affecting you.

8. Don’t allow Facebook to tempt you away from your calling and work. Don’t let Facebook’s little status updates (“Lisa is chewing gum”) and Wall writings take your focus off the great and big things that your heart should be engaged in, namely the work that God has put you on earth to do.

9. Don’t let Facebook cause you to think about yourself more than you already do. You were created to look outside yourself toward God, other people, and the wonder-filled world he has made for you to enjoy and cultivate.

In the same vein, here are six ways to use Facebook to love God and others, and care for your own soul:

1. Use Facebook to get back in touch with far-away friends, showing them how Jesus has changed you. As Facebook has reconnected me with friends from my past, a number have been struck by how much I’ve changed. High school friends from Sacramento regularly express shock at learning that I’m a pastor.

2. Use Facebook as an extension of face-to-face relationships and to enhance time with people. Get to know people and love and care for them better when you’re with them because, through Facebook, you know more about who they are and what’s going on in their lives.

3. Use Facebook to take the focus off of yourself. Facebook can actually help you get outside of yourself and your problems. Next time you login, use the time to focus on creatively listening to, loving, and encouraging others. Approach Facebook thinking about what you can give.

4. Use Facebook to sharpen and discipline what you do with your time. Facebook status updates can serve as a form of built-in accountability. Just knowing that my Facebook community can read my updates provides additional motivation to stay on task and actually do what I say I’m doing.

5. Use Facebook to quickly announce and facilitate great face-to-face gatherings. Instead of taking 45 minutes to call 10 people to come over for a spontaneous evening, use Facebook.

6. Use Facebook to influence other people for Jesus. Create a new culture with your status updates. Use them to love, encourage, teach, and challenge people.

Recently, my wife used a Facebook status update to express how her reading in the Gospel of John was encouraging her. One of my wife’s friends from high school read my wife’s update on a particularly difficult day, triggering her to begin reading the Gospel of John. Since that status update, my wife and her friend have had several fruitful conversations.

We are all in different places in our use of technology. As a result of bear hugging, some of us are Internet addicted and need to take a fast or maybe even a permanent break from Facebook. Some of us need to take more time to reflect, get alone with God, and ask him how to engage this technology for his glory, our good, and the good of others. A few of us are giving technology the cold shoulder and need to catch up with the 21st century.

May we work to put our use of Facebook beneath Jesus’ feet, along with everything else in our lives.

Justin Buzzard is a pastor at Central Peninsula Church on the San Francisco Peninsula. His first book, Consider Jesus, a guide to the book of Hebrews, will be published in early 2009. You can find him on Facebook under the name Justin Buzzard.

Let me know what you think!


facebook wisdom, pt. 1

Facebook is the dominant online social network and we are to bear the light into the world around us. Can these two statements come together somehow? Can Facebook be more than superpokes and virtual snowball fights?

In this post and the next I'll share one practical (by me) and one thoughtful reflection (by another person) on Facebook usage.

First, a recent Facebook note of mine:

Don't mean to be a downer, but:

Just a word to the wise, particularly all my new Good Shepherd adult face-booking friends...

Don't take it personally if I don't return thrown snowballs, plant a 'lil green patch, receive bumper stickers, or engage in mob wars.

It's nothing personal - I'm just cautious. Each one of these is an application that comes from outside Facebook. That means a 14-yr. old whiz kid could have written it. It means a marketing company for ping-pong balls could have written it to collect your personal information and that of your friends. They are fun, harmless looking applications that turn over your info to someone you don't know.

And sometimes... like "mob wars" apparently (a blog friend of mine was hit) - they can share a computer disease with you and all your friends and even take down your hard drive.

I continue to enjoy sharing photos, comments, and other Facebook-written features with you, but wanted to share with you my choice to say 'no' to all the rest... for what that's worth.
Let me know what you think!


Monday, December 01, 2008

silence and solitude

After Sunday's sermon on silence and solitude, a church member wrote this e-mail to me:

There was a young family I knew a number of years ago and the mother was expecting a baby shortly after the holidays.

She developed complications early in December and was confined to bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. She always had a dozen things going – and probably more during the holidays, whether activities with the kids, volunteering, decorating the house, baking, or hosting a party at their house. Her initial reaction was “how will we ever get through the holidays with me in bed?!?” Understandably, it turned out to be a very different Christmas for the family – no parties, relying on others for help, etc.

The “significant” part of the memory is that, after the holidays, she shared that it turned out to be one of the most special Christmases she’d experienced. Not just because of folks reaching out to help them, but because she saw it as a time the Lord was telling her to “be still” and that He was giving her a chance to focus on Christmas’ true meaning. I wish she could have been here this morning to testify to the truth of your message.

With wishes for a merry-but-quiet Christmas!

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