We opened the envelope. Have you heard?
As we near the end of our Hoosier Summer Tour 2015, we were grateful to find our way finally to Fort Wayne. Mike and Ronda rented a house at which we stayed for the many weekend wedding festivities surrounding Sam & Molly’s wedding at Emmanuel Lutheran. Then, we were graciously hosted by our friends Jeremy and Katie on Sunday and Monday night. While in town, we were also able to reconnect with Adam & Meredith, Tommy & Laura, Brian & Emily, Celine, and the Jank family. Sorry if we missed you in our passing through. Here are only a few photos. I only now realize that we failed to grab photos when with most of our friends. I suppose the conversation had our attentions, which is a good thing.
We are so grateful for this time we’ve had here in Indiana. Many thanks to all who have housed us, fed us, and met us! Our return to Minnesota is imminent – less than one week now.
I’ve been experimenting with my Twitter use lately. People use social media in such a great variety of ways and can have quite differing philosophies on how to most effectively connect and engage with others. Many people subscribe to the following when it comes to ⭐ing Tweets:
Twitter tip of the year: "Favorite" tweets liberally, not sparingly. It lets people know you see them & care about what they're thinking. 👍🏼
— Matt Brown (@evangelistmatt) July 21, 2015
As I mentioned earlier this year, I have adopted a slightly different approach to engagement on Twitter. I maintain a more curated list of ⭐ed content. Over the past couple weeks I have set up a few IFTTT recipes that better handle my ⭐ing on Twitter. The first recipe takes Tweets I have ⭐ed and published them to this blog. I use the old retired Pressgram plugin for handling these incoming posts – converting them to a custom post type. The second recipe catches any users whose Tweets I’ve ⭐ed and adds them to my Twitter list of Favorited users which then serves as a feed of Tweets I know are coming from folks who often publish great content. Go ahead, visit the list and see what I mean. Or, visit vandercar.net/⭐ to see my full list of ⭐ed Tweets. (You can see I’m making use of WordPress’s new emoji support for URLs. Probably not the best implementation, as support elsewhere is spotty, but I wanted to test the limits of emoji support when registering custom post types.)
This approach to ⭐ing on Twitter offers a few benefits.
- Like highlighting in a book, I have easy access to the highest quality content I’ve encountered on Twitter.
- I am able to share these good finds with family and friends who are not active on Twitter.
- I create a list that should prove to stream more excellent things.
- These ⭐ed users hopefully gain a wider sphere of influence.
For what it’s worth, this is my current approach regarding the little gold star.
The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the Church has lost her power to weep over it. Leonard Ravenhill
— Leonard Ravenhill (@DailyRavenhill) May 25, 2015
The other day, I happened upon this obscure word that immediately brought to mind an urgent need within the church (and a tree I once saw in Arizona).
The term APHERCOTROPISM refers to the response an organism makes as it grows to overcome an obstacle in its way. pic.twitter.com/DD7jN4a3kP
— HaggardHawks Words (@HaggardHawks) July 5, 2015
The Church should learn this word well. https://t.co/3n9dtN99Vz
— Ua Vandercar (@UaMV) July 16, 2015
We followers of Jesus are God’s created beings who trust in the restorative work of the Creator. We believe that the One who has spoken all things to life also gives of Himself to see that death would have no great sway over the eternal course of that which He calls His own – and He calls the church His own, His beloved.
We are to be a living organism in this world. Scripture speaks of this strange and diverse collective of men and women as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), as the Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7), and as a spiritual house built up with living stones (1 Peter 2:4-5). We are to be organic, active, and growing. We are to be sensitive, responsive, and adaptive. We are to be living and giving life. We are to exist with a purpose and with a passion.
Of course, in this fallen world, where there is life, death will be not far removed. The church will encounter hindrances. There will be trials. There will even be torment and despair. We will be attacked. Will need to nurse wounds from those without and from ailments within. We may find ourselves facing weariness. The land about us may parch.
It is vital that we remain alert and sensitive to that which environs us. Only to great detriment do we shrug off any hint of our adversarial foes or of the swing of the seasons.
How do we followers of Jesus grow to overcome such obstacles that greet us in this day and age? What response will we make to the necessary changes that must accompany our overcoming?
Whatever course for growth must be taken by the church, let us remember that this growth must issue forth from strong roots (Colossians 2:6-9). It is in Christ we must remain. In Jesus, the source of all life, we must abide (John 15:1-8). In all, we know and hold to the assurance that Christ has overcome (John 16:33). We hope in a God who has promised a day when His glory shall be wholly revealed (Isaiah 40:5), when healing will come in full (Revelation 22:1-5), and when life stretches on into an eternity (John 6:47).