Who are you following?

I’m a fan of social media. It’s useful for keeping up with family and friends, having group discussions, and recently I even bought a second-hand bass guitar through a Facebook group.

I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more, but the one I use most is Instagram. Almost every morning I post an image containing a verse which I hope will encourage one of the people who “follow” my account. And there are quite a few of them.

On Facebook, almost all my friends are people I know in the non-virtual world, but on Instagram it’s the reverse. Most of my followers, and those I follow, are people I have never met and have no other contact with. And that’s fine.

I follow accounts that are inspiring because of their content, whether scriptures or the beauty of creation, or to encourage people I come across who have very few followers. I hope that some of these will follow me in return, but it’s not because I want followers; it’s because I hope that by this means some may see a verse that will encourage them when they need it.

“Most of my followers, and those I follow, are people I have never met and have no other contact with. And that’s fine.”

Other Instagram users can see how many followers I have, but it’s really of no interest to me. What they can’t easily see is who I follow. I don’t get kudos for following celebrities and I’m sure that celebrities don’t care whether I follow them or not! (Most of them do care about the total number of followers, though!) And no one can tell who I follow by looking at my posts.

brian head welch

I follow Brian “Head” Welch from KoRn because he follows Jesus in the difficult sub-culture of heavy metal and prays for his fans at almost every gig!

Almost the only celebrity on social media that I follow is Brian “Head” Welch from KoRn and that’s because he follows Jesus in the difficult sub-culture of heavy metal and prays for his fans at almost every gig! Awesome! But I’m sure he has no idea that I follow him, and that’s fine too.  🙂

But there’s one celebrity with no social media account who I do follow, and if my friends and followers can’t tell that by looking at my posts then there’s something wrong.

In Acts 4:13 we read the following:

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

They didn’t recognize them as men who had a lot of knowledge, or who had adopted Jesus’ philosophy or way of life. They simply recognized these early disciples as men who had been with Jesus; they were his followers and it was obvious!

I hope that my “friends” and “followers” on social media and in the “real” world can also recognize that I have been with Jesus. (Note to self: it would be good to spend more time sitting with Jesus and without distractions; more like Mary than Martha.)

He’s the only one I follow that I want them to know about. He does know who follows Him, and cares – not for the number of followers but for each individual.

And my hope and prayer is that one day my followers will follow Him too.

 

Come home, all is forgiven!

For the last 30 years we’ve lived in a country which is home to the capital of the diamond-cutting business: Antwerp. Diamonds are shipped in, or even hand-carried, from all over the world for expert cutting and then returned for sale. Plain, rough diamonds which look worthless to the untrained eye are turned into brilliant, sparkling gems of high value. Each stone is given many facets in order to reflect the light falling on it and bring out its inherent beauty.

The Gospel, the good news about God, is like one such diamond. It is the most valuable diamond of all and, like a valuable diamond, it has many facets. I feel that the Holy Spirit has been impressing one of these facets on me recently and it’s this: the good news is that the Father says, “Come home, all is forgiven!

This is a phrase that people used to put in the personal advertisements in newspapers to encourage a runaway son or daughter or to come back, and it’s the Father’s plea to us, his often-runaway children, too.

This simple phrase suggests three things to me:

  1. There is an invitation – God is almost pleading with us. His heart aches for the wayward child as only a parent’s heart can. He is not angry with us if we have run away – or never known Him – He is heartbroken until we come to Him.
  2. There is a home to come to. God has a home for each of us, one where we belong, and, like the prodigal son in the parable Jesus told, we can come home; only pride keeps us away.
  3. We have been forgiven.  Whatever we think is keeping us from the Father’s love has already been dealt with! As Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished!” There will be no rebuke when we return; there will be celebration!

So what keeps us away? Perhaps we don’t know there is a home where we can experience love such as we’ve never known before. Perhaps we haven’t heard the invitation. Or perhaps we’re too proud. We say, “I’ve done nothing wrong! I need no forgiveness!”

In a society where such pride is prevalent, God will use many ways to love His children home and this brings me to the second phrase that the Holy Spirit has impressed on me since we came to Japan at the beginning of September. It’s one way He will use and it’s the title of a song: “Spirit break out.

We pray for the Holy Spirit to break out, to break down our walls of pride, and for heaven itself to touch the earth.

We pray for revival of what is dead and new life where there has been none.

We pray for God to pour out his Spirit like never before.

We pray this for every nation on earth but, because we our calling and our hearts are here, we pray it particularly for Japan.

Spirit break out and bring your children home! All is forgiven!

“Spirit Break Out”

Our Father, all of Heaven roars Your name
Sing louder, let this place erupt with praise
Can you hear it, the sound of Heaven touching Earth
The sound of Heaven touching Earth

Spirit break out
Break our walls down
Spirit break out
Heaven come down

King Jesus You’re the name we’re lifting high
Your glory shaking up the earth and skies
Revival we wanna see Your kingdom here
We wanna see Your kingdom here

Spirit break out
Break our walls down
Spirit break out
Heaven come down

King Jesus You’re the name we’re lifting high
Your glory shaking up the earth and skies
Revival we wanna see Your kingdom here
We wanna see Your kingdom here

Spirit break out
Break our walls down
Spirit break out
Heaven come down

Spirit break out
Break our walls down