Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

1 cor. 9.22.001Recently I posted about purchasing a couple of tickets to a baseball game for my wife and me to attend. Our local AAA baseball team had partnered with a semiprofessional football in our area for a one-night promotional event through which the Bayou Lacombe Cardinals football team would receive a portion of the proceeds. I also happen to work with the team as their public address announcer.

I had no idea that my post — meant to urge others to purchase tickets to support the football team — would be controversial. Because I am also a pastor, my association with the team was questioned, and I offered an immediate straightforward answer: “I’m building relationships with people who need the gospel.” Somehow this led to a charge that my “popularity” has to do with my willingness to please people and to conform to their ways. The charge continued to what must have been the aim of the original question, which was to disparage the use of contemporary music in churches.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I enjoy contemporary music. But I also enjoy the sacred hymns. However, I also enjoy many other styles of music. When asked “What kind of music do I want the church to use?” I always respond, “Music that honors God and that is done well and that relates to the people. I define “done well” as that which is presented as the best the particular congregation, singers, or instrumentalists can offer because we ought always offer our best when it comes to worshiping the Lord.”

Throughout my ministry I have pursued a variety of interests in order to connect with people in the community. The goal has always been the same — to build relationships with people who need the gospel. The apostle Paul modeled this (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Paul clearly stated his purpose for conforming to the customs and opinions of men by stating “I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). What mattered to Paul was not him, his rights, or his preferences, but the gospel. The gospel consumed his life.

The controversy surrounding “contemporary music” hardly smacks of something new. In 1873 (that’s more than 150 years ago!), something new came on the scene when the great preacher D.L. Moody’s singing associate, Ira D. Sankey, introduced what became known as the “singing of the gospel.” Sankey’s style completely revolutionized the music of the church.

Before Sankey, a cappella singing of the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs had always been an important part of worship services. However, Sankey introduced a style of popular hymn calculated to awaken the careless, to melt the hardened, and to guide the inquiring souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. Often when the Moody-Sankey team came to town for an evangelistic campaign, the people would come out of curiosity to see and hear Sankey sing. Pedaling his small cabinet organ, he would sing out in his rich, melodious voice, and completely captivate his audience. During this time many church members thought that the use of an organ or any kind of musical instrument to accompany the voices of singers was wicked and worldly. Strict church people, accustomed only to the unaccompanied old psalm-singing type of church music called Sankey’s songs “human hymns.” It took tact on the part of Sankey to break down the prejudice against organ music. He helped transition the practice and the result was a wave of well-composed and great theologically sound hymns which are still sung in churches today.

I believe that each generation needs its Ira Sankeys who can tactfully make the theology of Scripture speak to the people. People often say that the older hymns have such theological value and that we should be teaching their value and not have them lost. If by teaching the value of hymns, you mean that we should sing songs that have robust theological meaning, I wholeheartedly agree. If you mean that we need to teach a particular style of music, that’s actually missing the point. People are converted to Christ through the gospel not through a style of music.

What matters is the theological truth that comes from Scripture. Words are what matters — not the melodies or tunes or even the instruments. We should sing truth. We can sing truth with new songs and new instruments, and we can sing truth with old songs and new instruments and new arrangements.

It comes down to getting the saving message of the gospel to people. I cannot win everyone, but I’m willing to do whatever is biblically permissible to win some. And I’m willing to rub elbows with anyone if it means that I might have the opportunity to speak the gospel.

 

 

 

 

I’ll be going “over the edge” with Pastors Waylon Bailey and David Crosby if Crossroads NOLA raises $30,000 on GIVE NOLA DAY — May 5.

God has used Anna Palmer, the executive director of Crossroads NOLA, along with Tyler Sandifer, the director of program management, to touch my heart concerning one of the greatest needs in our state. I had no idea that on any given day in Louisiana about 4,500 children are in need of foster care. That’s tragic enough; however, the need for foster parents falls well short of the need. My heart has been broken over the tragedy of children in such dire circumstances of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. The shortage of foster homes means that siblings can end up being separated or having to be moved a multiple of times. crossroadsnolalogoNew1

I’m grateful to the Lord that He has called out several in our church family to take the foster-parenting journey or to make this a matter of prayer to determine how we can all come to the aid of the children in need in our area. One way we can all help is to give to Crossroads NOLA on May 5.

Some of you have asked Gayla about why she’s letting me do such a thing. I will confess that I submitted to some peer pressure! However, I believe in this cause. I want you to give. I also want you to consider prayerfully how you might go further and determine how you will join in meeting the needs of some children in our area. That might come by providing support and encouragement to those in our church who will provide foster care, or might come by preparing to become a foster parent.

Give NOLA Day is Tuesday, May 5, and is hosted by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Give NOLA Day is the community’s largest one-day, online giving event. On that day, go to givenola.org and choose Crossroads NOLA from the list of nonprofits. All money raised will be used by Crossroads NOLA to connect children to families.

I hope that the goal is reached! When it occurs, I’ll have plenty of time to get ready for “the leap” over the edge a high rise building in Baton Rouge on Friday, June 19.

 

super-bowl-2015-ad-4-milThis may come as a surprise to you, but I did not watch what many have called “the most exciting Super Bowl ever.” Yes, I know who won, and I have watched the final couple of big plays many times, but I just did not sit down to watch the game.

Like many people, I did, however, have some interest in the commercials. Amazingly, every thirty-second advertisement went for an incredible $4.5 million! I’m not sure how anyone can justify that kind of spending, but apparently “supply-and-demand” worked – at least for NBC and the NFL.

One commercial that I heard about advertising BMW features Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric are seen (hilariously) arguing about the new-fangled “Internet” in a 1994 clip from the Today Show. Think about it: 21 years ago, we didn’t know what the Internet was. I also remember learning in school that a google was a number with 100 zeros after it. Now we say “Google it” whenever we want to find something on the Internet. Our pastoral staff uses “Google Drive” to share information and to collaborate on projects. Do you remember whenever you wanted to find a restaurant; you looked in a phone book or you actually talked to somebody who had eaten there? Your “wall”? Probably made of sheet rock, and if someone posted on it, then they had better have used scotch tape. It seems like our world has changed in a flash with the advent of connected computers.

We could not have predicted it in 1994. What else is around the corner in the future, that for all our wisdom and knowledge we cannot see coming? Will we allow the uncertainty of days to come to point us to God?

Our only hope for the future lies in placing our lives in the One who knows the future. In Jesus, we have someone who does not change. The writer of Hebrews said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). In a world that constantly changes and living in a culture that wants to change the values, we need to solid foundation that a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will provide.

Former Arkansas governor and Fox New host, Mike Huckabee, said Thursday that the success of “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” went beyond “anything I could have imagined,” saying stores across the country reported “record, historic sales.” Customers swamped local franchise stores following Huckabee’s call for a show of support. The call came after CEO Dan Cathy came under fire in some circles for his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Huckabee said the call for an “Appreciation Day” was in response to what he described as “economic bullying” by people trying to put Cathy out of business. “It was just getting out of hand,” Huckabee said. The protests against Cathy included local mayors in Boston and Chicago threatening to keep the restaurant out of their cities. But on Wednesday, stores were packed and lines poured into the streets.

Gayla and I ate a chicken sandwich on Wednesday along with our church staff. We gladly support the “in the marketplace” testimony of the Cathy family. They have consistently put their biblical values on display since the beginning of the company in 1946. Dan Cathy’s father and company founder, Truett, has devoted his life to living his faith. Truett and his wife, Jeannette, have been members of First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, where Truett taught a junior high boys Sunday School class for more than 50 years.

I could go on about the Cathys and Chick-fil-A; however, I cannot help but think about how satisfied we felt on Wednesday as we participated in this massive event. We demonstrated our support – and we got to eat chicken! What if we showed that kind of passion for the gospel?

It’s great to support a good cause and stand with people who have consistently demonstrated their commitment to Christ. However, we have been commissioned to speak with words – words laced with love and mercy and compassion. God has called each of us to speak for Him. Consider Paul’s words:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:8-12).

So the gospel is for everyone!

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:14-17).

In this passage, Paul used the words “preaching” and “preach.” However, the meaning of these verses stresses the call that every believer has. Each of us – pastors, deacons, men, women, boys, and girls – have been called by God to share the good news because “faith comes from hearing.”

I’m glad to be your pastor!

Because of Jesus,
Ken Schroeder

Follow me on Twitter @kenschroeder

The headline read “Ashton Kutcher Apologizes for Slamming Penn State Officials for Joe Paterno Firing.” Apparently, Kutcher has learned a valuable life lesson after blasting Penn State officials on Twitter for firing legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Kutcher had sparked a frenzy among his more than eight million followers late Wednesday after he tweeted, “How do you fird Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” (By the way, # before a word is a way on Twitter to make sure you get more hits on your feed. It’s called a hashtag in Twitter lingo.)

However, the actor soon admitted mouthing off in ignorance on the ongoing child abuse scandal in State College. Kutcher expressed shock and issued an emphatic apology after he discovered why the  longtime coach was dismissed. He deleted the previous post and then tweeted, “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet!”  he added, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Didn’t have full story.  #admitwhenYoumakemistakes.”

Kutcher later deleted the series of messages, before  issuing a frank apology. “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual  exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St.  case,” he tweeted. “As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to  properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won’t happen again.”

When we attempt to draw conclusions without having all the facts and pass those conclusions on to someone else, it’s called gossip. All scuttlebutt subject matters — no matter who or what it involves — has the same fundamental two-pronged goal. First, it’s intended to hurt somone. Gossip never builds, and it never helps anyone. The second goal of gossip is selfish in that the one who dispenses it either actively or passively seeks to elevate his or her position. This may mean that the individual sharing it wants the listener to think he or she is the source of important or valuable information.

Consider these references to gossip:

  • A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28, NIV 1984).
  • A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19, NIV 1984).
  • Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20, NIV 1984).

Ashton Kutcher would have done well to have not spoken (tweeted) until he had the facts, because he spoke before he had all the facts. However, as believers we can actually go a step further. Before speaking (or posting on any social media), we should ask, “Is what I am about to say going to help or tear down?” If it will tear down someone’s character, it violates biblical guidelines. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Rome, We must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another (Romans 14:19, HCSB).

Let’s promote peace and build up one another!