Thoughts on Social Media and God Remember my previous newsletter titled “IPHONE’s OMISSION.” Apple had neglected to list Good Friday and Easter on their calendar but remembered April Fools’ Day which is also Easter. Well I am happy to report that Apple got the memo. A few people after reading my article said, “Yea my iPhone doesn’t have it either.” Then, people reported that their iPhones now had Good Friday and Easter on their calendar. It’s a miracle! “They were healed!” I won’t take credit for Apple waking up and updating their calendar but I am grateful that they have. Let me ask you: Would you live in a glass house; a house with no curtains, or blinds or any privacy device whatsoever? Think about it. No privacy at all. Everything you did was exposed. Add to it that they can listen in on your phone calls, read your mail and see your financials. Then they could come in when you aren’t there. Look through you’re your personal diaries, love letters and photos. They would even have access to your children, family and friends. Add to it that these individuals would be compiling a dossier of information about you. The question was would you live in a glass house – would you live this way? Most people would say no, but in truth I believe most have already said yes. Do you use Social Media? When you clicked ‘ACCEPT’ did know that you also give them permission to make a dossier on you? Did you give permission for them to share it (your data) with others? It doesn’t matter. They did it anyway. Really! What are you going to do? Did you know that those entities are not just peeking in your digital windows they have full access to your digital life and are sharing what they learn? This is cyberstalking by permission. You are being targeted and your privacy is being victimized. The trust that users place in their provider(s) has not been respected. Mark Zuckerberg famously said in 2010, “that privacy is no longer a “social norm.”* However, Mr. Zuckerberg believes he is entitled to his privacy since he installed a six foot privacy fence around his Hawaiian property. Privacy is not only a “norm” but an implicit responsibility of every entity possessing personal information. Facebook talks a good game but in practice, contradicts their rhetoric (ref. Cambridge Analytica). Ironically, in an era where many, especially individuals of the millennial generation, value authenticity, transparency and honesty there seems to be a lack of umbrage toward the social media giant’s violations. Why? Simply put: Facebook and other Social Media platforms are like a drug, a digital drug, an opiate for the masses. It is where people run to, to escape their daily lives. Ed Stetzer once quipped, “Facebook down. Work productivity soared 342%. Parents are talking to kids 823% more. 985% more people just saw the sun.” That little quip is funny because it speaks to a truth about people and their social media platforms. We all have observed those who ignore everything else to the exclusion of their daily, hourly, minute by minute fix of social media; willingly surrendering their personal and private information to keep their fix streaming in front of them. But did you know believers can have this same problem? The social media bug is a contagion that knows no bounds. Many believers have tuned into Facebook and have tuned out God. That’s a problem. God is to be first. When a believer substitutes God in their life, there will be conflict. It is the Holy Spirit sending a message to your spirit to put God first. God did not send His Son to die so you could tune Him out of your life. He gave His Son, Jesus, so you could have a more abundant life but that abundant life doesn’t happen with social media (as research is beginning to reveal); it happens through our relationship with Christ. When a believer surrenders themselves – byte by byte to the digital world – they are yielding themselves to something that sole purpose is to take. Christ came to give. Who should we yield to? The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of sin. If your heart is troubled over your use of Social Media, heed the message; do not provoke God into using other means – more vigorous means – of getting your attention. May I provoke you? How much of yourself have you given away on social media: How much of your time, your attention and your focus have you devoted? Now, how much have you given to your Lord and Savior? We measure our allegiances in these two ways: where do we spend our money and our time. Remember the first commandment? “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex. 20.3). How do you prioritize social media in your life? If it is a problem, what will you do about it? Let me encourage you. If you have surrendered too much to social media, you can ask forgiveness and reprioritize your life. Heed the Holy Spirit’s call to change direction and pursue God and not the threads found on social media. God always forgives the repentant. The Holy Spirit will assist you in your quest to draw close to God. Unlike Social Media, God has given everything and takes nothing from you. He wants to give so much to you and bless your life. Each of us must make the choice to accept it. Blessings to you this Easter season, for we serve a risen Savior – He has risen; He has Risen INDEED!

Your Pastor, Dave Rowser