Is God on Facebook?

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
Romans 12:15

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. 
Colossians 4:6
my-facebookConfession:
If I’m having a bad day...
  • I’m not going to pick up the phone and call you for help.
  • I won’t send you a text to meet me for lunch.
  • I won’t walk next door and chat it out with you.
But I might whisper it on Facebook.

It’s hard for me to reach out when I’m feeling down.
But it’s easy for me to type up a status update. It requires only minimal time and emotional investment, but the rewards can be rich.

It may not be the optimal way to connect (please understand this), but God can still use it...if his ministers on it are available to him.

It’s how I reconnected with Beth. When Daddy was dying, my status updates reflected the struggle. Beth—once a close school friend but we’d lost touch through the years—saw my wall post.

She had been through the same thing and recognized the opportunity to minister to me.

We later met for lunch, and she shared important advice with my sister and me for making the most of the remaining time with our dad. What a blessing!
God used Beth through Facebook.
A few Fridays ago, I read Emma’s update (not her real name). My heart ached at her despair. I first did the obvious thing—hit “comment” and typed in an encouraging word.

But when my ache didn’t go away, I talked to my 16-year-old about it at breakfast. I asked her point-blank: “Should I do more?”

And just as point-blank, she said, “Yes. You’re a grown-up.”

I had to finish what Facebook started. So I moved my fingers off the keyboard and followed up with the phone. 
God grew me through Facebook.
We can use Facebook for God.  
Or Facebook can use us.

It can eat up our time, involve us in business we don’t belong, stir up feelings of infatuation or jealousy or frustration or distraction or (fill in the blank).

If these statistics below are true—and based on my circle of friends, I’d guess they are—we’d best get serious how we’re working our Facebook opportunities.Facebook-facts1
Because Facebook, like most everything else, is a tool that can be used for good or for bad. Will we use it to advance the Kingdom or degrade it?
If you spend time on Facebook, make the most of it.
I initially signed up for Facebook to guard my daughter. I didn’t want her on without me. But now that I’ve been around, I see it’s much bigger than that.

You don’t have to be preachy about it, but redeem Facebook as a ministry, as a way to touch people’s lives, not just while you’re on-line, but also to improve your off-line relationships with these friends.
  • My sister Sandy shares encouraging Christian quotes as status updates on Facebook.
  • Patti set up a Facebook Page to communicate the homeschool needs of her fire-ravaged neighbors in Bastrop, Texas.
  • Barbara passes along godly advice from Facebook and other places on her blog each Monday. 
Facebook-facts2
Pray for the people behind the profile pictures. Seek out opportunities hidden in status updates. Engage with friends who need to see God in you, and with whom you need to see God in.

Because of friends on Facebook, I got through a lot of hard nights with Daddy’s cancer and a lot of hard days with Mama’s journey through Alzheimer’s.

I wasn’t alone out there. You aren’t either.
God is on Facebook, too.

* * *

Are you on Facebook? What do you think?

What’s your Facebook story?

28 comments:

Nikole Hahn said...

I wake up...I check Facebook. LOL. But you do have to balance your time between it, family, real life friends, and make sure that you don't use Facebook to publize a conflict. I see that a lot. But you're right...we should be using it to advance the kingdom of God.

Love Bears All Things said...

Lisa, this is a wonderful post...you're so right...God is everywhere and I've seen him at work on our blogs, so why not FB. I am on Facebook. I mostly use it to check on my son in Afghanistan or his family in Texas but it has also given me a chance to reconnect with cousins I don't see often. I seldom post a status but just read the news feed. I've noticed my Granddaughter quoting scripture or posting about the work of God in her life. I didn't even know she had accepted Christ until I started seeing evidence of it on FB. God can use anything for his Glory...and He is right here with us in this new technical age. Praise the Lord, I say. We might not be able or even led to go to other countries to witness but we can do it right here at home....He said for us to go forth and gather the harvest....we can reach many with His message and never leave our homes.
Mama Bear

Trisha said...

Oh, I have strong feelings about Facebook. :) I'm not on it, but I am glad to read of the many ways it has blessed you, my friend. I think you're unique in your discernment AND your sincerity. May God continue to use you to bless so many.

Lisa notes... said...

Nikole,
You make a good point that people really need to use good judgment about what they post (and don’t) and FB.

I’ve seen things, too, that make me uncomfortable because they either shouldn’t be public knowledge or they could hurt somebody’s feelings, etc.

It just confirms to me that FB itself is a neutral medium; it’s what we do with it that turns it into an instrument for God or for the enemy.

Lisa notes... said...

Mama Bear,
Could you have imagined a few years ago that you could check on your son in Afghanistan through something called Facebook? It’s a rapidly changing world, huh? I’ve used it to reconnect with my cousins too (I love that!).

That’s wonderful about your granddaughter. I imagine it warms your heart every time you see her post a status like that. Yes, we can witness all over the world right from home. It drives home the point that we need to be responsible with this medium that God is giving us.

Lisa notes... said...

Trisha,
My husband has strong feelings about Facebook too, so I hear you. ;-) We tread gently on the subject. But it’s really good to help me stay balanced on my use.

Thanks for your vote of confidence on my discernment and sincerity. You bless me. But please feel free to correct me when you see things in me that contradict that. I struggle in many areas and always need accountability. (Last night my FB status was about my candy corn obsession—you might need to call me out on that one! ha)

One Heart said...

As with everything else in life, we all have different tendencies so I think it's very individual. I've used it for my children and I've used it to keep in touch with old friends. I no longer have a personal account (too noisy for me although I agree with you that it's easier to communicate) but have a public page to link to my blog. I think it only gets complicated when we get too opinionated or read into statuses that sometimes don't relate to anyone in particular but nonetheless some are offended by.

To answer the question of your title, since God works all things together for good, even that which the enemy intends for evil, then He can most certainly use facebook for good. I think, though, that we must follow His personal conviction cautiously and continuously through different seasons of our life.

I enjoyed reading this. :)

Barbara H. said...

Thanks so much for the link!

I so agree about Facebook being a neutral medium in itself and it's how we use it that makes a difference. I have unsaved family and friends, and some of what they say makes me wince (and even causes me to delete their posts from time to time), but it does let me know what's in their hearts and reminds me to pray for them. When they're visiting me, they sound different: when they post something to their friends, I get a glimpse of where they really are.

But overall I've found FB to be a very positive experience. People share quotes, Scripture, prayer requests, and sometimes people from church whom I don't know very well will say something that then is a conversation starter when I do see them.

Rebecca said...

Great points! Facebook like anything else is life is what we make it -- either to build others up or to tear them down. I love the idea of making my Facebook experience a ministry!

Lisa notes... said...

One Heart,
Well said. It is definitely individual.

My personal theory (at the moment anyway) is that we introverts are drawn to social media because we can mull over our words a little before we send them into the world, whereas more extroverted types don't want to bother with that added barrier. If that makes sense. ;-)

I'm guilty of making the mistake you mentioned: reading too much into a status, and at best being too curious, but at worst being unnecessarily offended. Definitely a worthy caution.

Lisa notes... said...

Barbara,
I’m happy to share the link about your meme. I’ve always been impressed how many great things you glean from Facebook and then keep going.

You make an excellent point that updates are conversation starters. Knowing snippets of people’s lives may not seem like a big thing, but sometimes it’s the very thing I need to talk to someone that I otherwise might not have approached.

Which begs the question…why would I be “friends” with someone on FB if it’s not someone I talk to in real life when I see them?...Well, I try to keep my FB friends and my “real” friends the same group of people, but sometimes I accept a request on faith. :-)

That’s probably a post for another day because I’d like to hear how other people set the criteria for who they accept friend requests from.

Beth in NC said...

Hi Lisa!

I agree with using Facebook as another avenue to touch others for Christ. I have prayed over the phone with many women I have "met" via FB or through my blog.

I admit though that I'm sure the computer takes WAY TOO MUCH of my time each day. Right now I am tied to it booking parties and answering questions for our corn maze ...

It is a miracle that I'm even taking time to read your sweet post.

Bless you!
Beth

Lisa notes... said...

Beth,
I feel very blessed that you took time to visit me. There are days that I am thankful for the computer and days that I’d like to live freer from it. But I know it is here to stay. I just have to continually learn how to balance it and find ways to be productive with it for the glory of God.

If I lived closer, I’d come visit you in your corn maze. I bet you have pictures of it on your FB page? :-)

BARBIE said...

I continually ask God to give me balance through social media. I try to use things like Facebook to further His Kingdom. I don't want to get caught up in anything that isn't about Him. I love that we have this avenue to reconnect with lost friends and find new ones!

Carol said...

This is an excellent post. I appreciate your suggestions for reaching out to friends through facebook.

I have rekindled a friendship with a couple of women that were freshman in college with me--I had not seen them since then but we connected on facebook.

A few months ago we had a reunion weekend and shared the experiences of the years that had gone by.We have re-established relationship.

Stephani said...

Lisa, I do think facebook can be used of God and for God, you've given examples of that, but I don't have a facebook account. I used to have one, but in a very short amount of time it created havoc in my life. I can't go into the details here, but it is something that in my life was very detriminal to me and my family. So, as it is with all things, what may be good in one instance, may not be good in another, and for me God has directed me away from it. I'm reminded of the scripture that talks about certain things being unacceptable for some yet not others. If it's detrimental to my spiritual life, my family relationships, and God has directed me away from it, then I can't be a part of it. Again, I am one individual, and I know God uses it to further his kingdom. I was just thinking today how he wants us to penetrate the darkness with light and we can do that with social media. I am on Pinterest now which is a totally different medium, but as I participate in that, I want to reflect God and bring something positive and creative to it. I had to open a Twitter account to open the Pinterest account, but I haven't logged into it at all and plan to close it down. Anyway, that is my perspective. I'm so glad that facebook is a positive thing in your life and that God is using it for his glory!

Lisa notes... said...

Carol,
That is wonderful that you’ve reconnected and had a reunion with college classmates.

I wonder how Facebook will affect the traditional class reunions. Now that students can stay in touch with you each even after school—and see pictures through the years—will that hinder or encourage reunions? Time will tell.

Lisa notes... said...

Stephani,
Thank you for sharing this perspective! I hope others will read it and be encouraged to do what you did and stay away from anything that does NOT work for God’s good in their lives. It is a bold step. In these times when it seems like everybody is participating in a certain media, it would be difficult to opt out.

But we all have areas of our lives where we’ve learned (or need to learn!) to steer clear of. We avoid a lot of TV shows and movies just because I can’t see how in the world they could be good for us, yet it means we’re in the dark in conversations that others have about them.

My daughter and nieces have joined Pinterest. For now I’m holding out just because I’m on the computer enough as it is. Sigh.

I appreciate your sweet spirit in an area that you don’t participate. It shows a gracious tolerance that Christians need to give one another. I wish we could all be more like you.

Jen said...

Ooohhh! I love this: God is on Facebook, too. Why of course! I never thought of this, but God is everywhere. I love using Facebook as part of my ministry, too. What a good message you have here.

Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com said...

Lisa,

I loved this, right here:

"We can use Facebook for God.
Or Facebook can use us."

You make a great case for the ways that we can use the stuff of this world -- including social-media -- to glorify the Father. I'm sharing this one with my readers at GDWJ. Thank you for your wise, wise words.

Shanda said...

I know at times I do spend too much time on FB but it is also a blessing in my life and I have been able to bless others. It is like anything else: it's how you use it and the balance you keep.

Beverley said...

Yes God is on Facebook. When my niece died in a car accident on the 8th dec 2009. Someone created a memorial site for her and within days there were over 3,000 messages from people that knew her and loved her. Now her sister just has to say and we (my sister and i, not her mother) are there either by phone or text or sometimes we answer on facebook. We don't all live in the place so it's like hands holding hands across space.

Debbie said...

I LOVE Facebook! And yes, God is on Facebook too. :)

It has been a blessing for me to keep in touch with long distance friends and family. I have relatives in Norway and I can use Google translate and we get to communicate. It's brought us closer together.

I have high school friends on Facebook. I am able to share with so many of them about my relationship with Christ. I was not walking with the Lord during those years so this is new for them to learn of my faith.

There are so many stories I could share but I'll leave it at ...yes, God is on Facebook. And you make a great point about anything being used for good or bad. It can be addicting.

Blessings and love,
Debbie

Jennifer said...

Lisa, this post is absolutely wonderful! I frequently use Facebook as ministry, but not to the extent that I should. Not knowing the stats, I have missed more opportunities than I realized. Thank you so much!

HisFireFly said...

God is in it! He is interwoven with us all on the web, making connections that seem like coincidence but are part of His plan.

I thank Him for connecting me to you, dear one... :-)

Lisa notes... said...

Beverley,
What a beautiful use of Facebook—a memorial place for your niece. I’m sure it was such a comfort for your family to read the messages, but also a comfort for her friends to have a place to express their feelings for her.

“Holding hands across space”—yes. That imagery works for me.

Lisa notes... said...

Debbie,
I know what you mean about Google translate. Since our return from El Salvador, I’ve used it over and over to correspond with my new Spanish-speaking friends on Facebook. It’s such a quick and easy way to understand each other. So I think it’s fair to say that God is on Google translate too. :-)

What a beautiful way to share with your old friends that you now walk with the Lord. I have a few friends that I now see on Facebook talking about Jesus that didn’t express it in high school; it always blesses me to see the changes He can make in our lives. I’m sure your witness is making such a positive impact for the Kingdom among your friends!

Bonnie Gray said...

"We can use Facebook for God.
Or Facebook can use us."

Lisa, I've known you only through blogging, but just as you've said for Facebook, you've been able to encourage me by sharing common struggles and journey. And thank GOD for the internet. I wouldn't have "met" you.

Lisa, when I finished reading your post, I thought to myself, what a wonderful friend you are to us -- sharing with us how you are using everything you're coming into contact in our everyday world to turn around for Jesus.

You ARE a missionary, girl. Can you imagine how many people you are touching through FB .. and you're right, how much others can touch us?

I would be using FB a lot more if it weren't for my 2 litle boys. They keep me busy. So, for now, I am doing a FB page to share encouragement.

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