ICYouth: With Social Media, the Problem Isn’t Our Filters (Grant)

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By Grant Everly

Throughout its duration, the Bible continually establishes the concept of Christ’s followers being image bearers to the world. This ideal is one that Christians have tirelessly strived for since Christ’s life on Earth, but it has become increasingly complicated with the addition of all things screen-related.

Social media quote ICyouth blog 2.19.15Technology complicates our relationships in that we are allowed to have an interaction, but we do so without many of the more tangible aspects of relationships. In typing behind a screen we’re at a huge disadvantage because people can’t hear the tone with which we say things, and furthermore, others are inhibited from seeing our true intentions behind what we say. In short, our images can become easily distorted, the last thing we want if we are to bear Christ’s image.

This past Sunday at iMPACT we looked at social media as it relates to Christians and asked the following question: what story do our social media accounts tell?

If we are to be a people truly transformed by Christ, our lives should be indicative of this change on all levels, in particular social media. But this becomes increasingly difficult because communication behind a screen is a completely different world than reality. We’re prone to say things we wouldn’t say in person, and, as I mentioned before, we take out important foundations of relationships, creating the potential for a whole lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about individuals that will never be resolved without face to face communication. Being a Christian in a technological age is like walking on ice; we may not intend to break through and go crashing into freezing water, but the reality of a keyboard makes it all too easy to do so.

Being a Christian in a technological age is like walking on ice; we may not intend to break through and go crashing into freezing water, but the reality of a keyboard makes it all too easy to do so.

So how exactly does one go about making sure they’re truly bearing Christ’s image on social media? Well, the short and not entirely helpful answer is to be extremely careful. The fact that anything we say is being read through the lens of another person, over which we have no control, should cause us to be very judicious in what we post and how we say what we post. But, more importantly, I think the more we draw close to Christ on a personal level, the less prone we’ll be to have social media gaffes.

Tyler Boyce, the speaker from Sunday night, talked about this idea via an analogy: A lot of times we think it’s our verbal filter that needs fixing, but a filter doesn’t solve our problems. Filters collect the “gunk” of our words, but once the collection reaches a certain point, the filter becomes worthless, as it can no longer block bad stuff from getting through due to it reaching its full filtering capacity. What we need is to fix the “water” that comes through us at its source; when we draw close to Christ, He purifies our hearts, and when this occurs, our tendency to say things that we likely shouldn’t becomes less. Our problem isn’t our filter; its our purity at our source.

So what story do your screen-related interactions show? Is your Facebook, twitter, texting, indicative of a purified and renewed life?

Grant headshotGrant Everly is a senior at Warren Township High School and regularly attends church with his family and iMPACT on Sunday nights. He plays soccer, enjoys sports and has passion for learning more about Christ and growing in Him.

ICYouth: Struggling to Forgive? (Grant)

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By Grant Everly

As Christians, there’s a lot of hard questions that we have to struggle through. Questions like, “how am I supposed to forgive people who have horribly wronged me?” “What does it look like to truly trust in God’s sovereignty?” “What does it mean to truly love my enemies?”

This past Sunday at iMPACT we talked about some ideas along these lines, specifically, how we’re supposed to control our reaction to hard and unfavorable things, especially in our relationships with our families. In doing so we worked through the story of Joseph.

Personally, I find Joseph’s story to be one of the best in the Bible largely because he models what it looks like to live by the standards of forgiveness and love that God gives us. Furthermore, Joseph rather remarkably trusts God throughout all the adversity that comes his way, which was a whole lot in his case; sold into slavery by his own brothers, who admittedly hated him, and wrongly accused of committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph unwaveringly held to God’s promises. Joseph experienced no shortage of trials, and throughout all that he had to endure God’s sovereign hand can be seen as Joseph eventually ended up becoming in charge of Egypt.

Joseph had a lot he could’ve complained about, and there were plenty of times in which the events happening to him gave his life a very gloomy outlook; however, he never questioned God. Instead trusting Him with all that he had, Joseph continually put his best foot forward.

When tough things happen and it feels like God has deserted us, I can’t help but be reminded of Joseph’s story, which is truly the story of God using the most improbable of circumstances and most unlikely person to accomplish His will. When you think about it this is the story of you and me as well; we’re unlikely candidates to carry out God’s mission, but for whatever reason He chooses to let us come aboard.

Likewise, when struggling to forgive those who’ve wronged me Joseph’s story gives me a whole lot of motivation. Joseph had no reason to forgive and show love to his brothers, who had done something so atrocious to him as selling him into slavery; however, he looked past this and chose to act in a way honoring to God. So when trials and adversity come our way and we struggle with how to react in a God honoring manner, we need not look further than the story of Joseph.

Grant Everly is a senior at Warren Township High School and regularly attends church with his family and iMPACT on Sunday nights. He plays soccer, enjoys sports and has passion for learning more about Christ and growing in Him.

ICYouth: Who’s your Zacchaeus? (Grant)

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your geneorsity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Grant Everly

There is a subtle component to Christ’s ministry on earth that often gets overlooked: Jesus made himself readily available to those who needed him. Time and time again throughout the gospel we see a man who teaches powerfully, heals incredibly and loves lavishly, but we also see a man who was willing to drop everything he was doing to simply be with and walk alongside those who were important to him.

In light of the Love Does Legacy Summit on Saturday, and iMPACT on Sunday, I’ve continually been struck by just how different the church would look if we had the same mentality as Christ when it came to our availability. There are three specific stories scattered throughout the gospel that have been on my mind a lot this past week. The first two were actually mentioned briefly by Bob Goff on Saturday.

The first is that of Zacchaeus. According to Luke 19:7, Zacchaeus was known as a definitive “sinner,” someone who Jesus could have, but, as he often chose to do, did not overlook. Upon noticing Zacchaeus up in a tree, Christ promptly invited himself over for lunch; he made himself fully available to one who greatly needed him.

The second is that of the suffering and sick woman who touched Jesus’s cloak. The pace of Christ’s ministry was blistering. Have you ever thought about that? We like to talk a lot about how difficult it is to maintain consistency in our spiritual walks due to the fact that we’re so busy. I can’t imagine how this excuse must sound to Christ; He was the man wherever he went. As He moved from city to city doing a plethora of miracles and giving profound wisdom in his teaching, he was ceaselessly followed by people who were trying to get a meager ounce of his attention. Yet despite this daunting pace, and the demands of those around him, when touched by a random woman in a ginormous crowd, Christ stopped everything he was doing to find out who touched his cloak (Mark 5:30). Not only that, Christ healed the woman; He postponed His life so that He could be fully engaged in someone else’s.

The last example of Christ’s availability comes in an often overlooked spot in a fairly common story: In John 4, Jesus has an encounter with a Samaritan woman. Long story short, the woman comes to believe that Christ is the Messiah and goes to tell her fellow Samaritans about their crazy encounter. Upon doing this, many of the Samaritans wanted to see Jesus and ended up urging “him to stay with them” (John 4:40). And as a matter of fact, Jesus ended up staying with them for two entire days, resulting in many people coming to faith in Him (John 4:41).

Throughout the gospel, we repeatedly see that Jesus took time out of his ever-busy ministry norm to devote himself fully to people and groups of people who needed his full, undivided attention. The reality for us is that we all have Zacchaeuses, sick women and Samaritan villages in our lives; we just need to take the time to make ourselves available to them. It’s not easy. Just as Christ had to postpone all of the important things in his ministry, so we may have to put some important areas of our lives on the back burner. But the rewarding reality is that in doing so, those around us are given a window into Christ’s love for us and are able to see the one who made himself fully and eternally available while dying on a cross.

So who’s your Zacchaeus?

Grant Everly is a senior at Warren Township High School and regularly attends church with his family and iMPACT on Sunday nights. He plays soccer, enjoys sports and has passion for learning more about Christ and growing in Him.