Be A World Changer in One Minute

So often I look at the dreadful status of the world around me and sigh and wish that I could change things in a significant way. This moves me to join with organizations that are making a difference either through participation or through contribution. That is not a brag… I’m far away from being able to brag about myself in this matter.

I wonder how often we fail to make a difference in the world because we’re always looking at some IMMENSE problem that demands a GIANT solution? What if we could change the world in one minute or less in a simple way?

I don’t know if she knew this was going to happen but Ashley C. Ford (Twitter @iSmashFizzle) did just that back in December. One area that touched her heart was the unpaid lunch debts at the schools around her. So she just made a suggestion in a tweet:

A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off. (LINK)

Depending on your experience with Twitter, you may know that thousands of tweets float by in the universe every hour and you won’t see the vast majority of them. But sometimes they catch your eye.

At the time Ashley had  66,000 followers.  Enough of them saw and retweeted so that this simple suggestion began to grow wings.  By now that tweet has been retweeted more than 13,000 times.  Every time it is catching someone’s eyes. 

Lindsey Bell noted that Kristina Arwood, a resident from Evansville, Indiana, helped raise $20,000 to pay off lunch debts in her area. She told CBS News, “It really hit home for me. . . . I grew up on free and reduced-price lunches, but even that 40 cents was hard to get together with four kids. There were times I wouldn’t eat because I didn’t have money and didn’t want to be labeled as the poor kid.” (LINK)

The Today Show ran with the story and you can read some of the amazing results of this tweet HERE.

What touches your heart? What is it that catches your breath when you hear about it? 

I’ve been blessed to know a number of these influencers. One person I’ve never met in real life but who has had a great influence in my world is Mike Ellis. He’s one of those who doesn’t let anything keep him from reaching out and helping others. Another world changer is Aaron Reddin who was inspired to love the homeless people of Little Rock. His world changing idea was to buy a van and stock it with stuff the homeless need and take it to them. This has grown as others have gotten on board. Or Mike Baumgartner who refurbished an RV and turned it into a kitchen and goes where disaster strikes to make food for victims and helpers…and this has also evolved.  Quincy Gardner has gathered around him an army of helpers who come to the aid of people truly in need. 

Stack of Cards from Love in the Mail Group!

I once had an idea that if I could get 100 people to agree to send 1 card with 1 dollar to 1 person per week that we could change the lives of 52 people per year. So I started a group on Facebook called Love in the Mail. We’ve sent cards and dollars to over 100 people now. We still don’t have 100 participants, hovering around 70. But to me that’s a simple plan, a simple idea, that makes a big difference. Let me know if you want to join in!

The one thing all of these people have in common in the beginning is that they had an idea of a way to help someone and they just put it out there. There is, in most people, a heart of compassion that needs an outlet. 

So what idea have you had that might change the world in one minute? Why not just tweet it out or share it on Facebook or call a friend and ask if they want to join in? I have a little project right now that I’m about to ask some friends to join in and help. Maybe I can help change someone’s world in one minute. 

I’ll be watching for your world-changing idea!

You should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you – Jesus, Matthew 7:12

Thanks for reading. JD

Hoax: Did You Really Post That?

9.28.15

DID YOU KNOW THAT…

*Halloween falls on Friday the 13th this year for the first time in 666 years?

*Facebook is about to charge you to keep your private posts private, otherwise they’re all going to become public soon if you don’t pay up!!!!

*Recently an amnesiac awakened from a coma able to only speak ancient Hebrew!

*There is now a Facebook Drug Task Force monitoring all posts on Facebook!

Some are easy to spot. An internet post threatens that if it is not reposted within 24 hours, you will suffer a terrible tragedy. Don’t we all believe that is untrue? But most of the hoaxes are not so bold. In fact, some of them have an ‘official’ look or tone to them. No doubt we’ve all passed along something that ended up to not be true. But if you have any time at all on Facebook, you should be aware of their existence and view odd posts with a raised eyebrow. Of course Facebook isn’t the only place that hoaxes reside. Many arrive at your email inbox.

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If something catches your eye enough that you are ready to excitedly share it with your network, I encourage you to think before you share. Thankfully, there are some websites you can go to in order to see if a particular post has been given the ‘true’ or ‘false’ label.  Sites such as …

*Snopes.com – probably the best known. I’ve actually had people say to me, “I don’t believe Snopes” – which is quite ironic, but a personal choice I suppose. No website is perfect, but Snopes commonly provides outside links substantiating the claims it makes about the truthfulness of an item, or the lack thereof.

*Hoax-Slayer is another website that does the same thing. You might want to subscribe to their newsletter to get a ‘heads up’ about the latest scams and hoaxes floating around the internet.

*Truth or Fiction is a no-frills listing of current hoaxes circulating.

So before you get all excitable that Facebook is banning a picture of the Nativity (so hurry and repost it – there’s your clue), check it out. (LINK)

As I was writing this, friend Christine Abraham posted this on Facebook:

Don’t share until you validate. I’ve seen three posts today that are hoaxes or false rumors. Here’s how to test before your share:

1) type the first sentence of the post into a Google search
2) look for validation sites such as Snopes or Hoax-slayer
3) verify true or false before you spread the article

In particular, I think that Christians have a responsibility to check things out that look very strange or odd or may not be true. We don’t want to be linked to passing on fake links. And some of them are so obviously false, but we’re just not paying attention.

Thanks for reading, JD.

Related:

11 Hoaxes Your Gullible Facebook Friends Fell For in 2014

 

Quick… Tweet This!!!

Tweet-This2

In July of 2006 a new social network was launched called Twitter. It was unique in that it only allowed one to post in 140 characters or less. These short posts were called ‘Tweets”. Although many make fun of the name and often inane posts, each day there are over 340 million searchable Tweets  from around the world! Today there are over 203 million active users.*

I joined Twitter in December of 2007. Since then I’ve posted over 37,000 tweets (even I’m surprised at this!) and have over 3,000 followers. I’ve posted almost 700 photos across the years. I’m not bragging about these stats … just recognizing that for many people Twitter is a part of the daily experience and with re-Tweets (people re-posting your Tweet) an innumerable audience is available to read your posts.

So that’s why Twitter posts shot off-the-hip can get one in trouble.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was fined by the NBA for thousands of dollars for tweeting: “Im sorry NBA fans. Ive tried for 13 years to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably. Any Suggestions ? I need help.”

In 2011 Congressman Anthony Weiner from New York was forced to resign after “accidentally” tweeting a photo of his manhood.

Charlie Sheen accidentally posted his phone number to Twitter. He thought he was sending a Direct Message (private Tweet) to Justin Bieber. After thousands of calls and texts he had to disconnect that number.

This week Seinfeld favorite Jason Alexander (@IJasonAlexander) was on Howard Stern’s radio show when he said something unkind about a costar -Heidi Swedberg – who played George’s fiancee Susan. Realizing how it all sounded, he took to Twitter to apologize:

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Mr. Alexander is not the only on apologizing. Ted Cruze just made a joke about Joe Biden while his son is about to be buried. There’s a time and a place for everything. Mr. Cruz doesn’t seem to know … but he did apologize on Twitter!

 

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I guess that’s a good way to use Twitter after a media-aware mistake. I’m certainly not bashing Twitter nor blaming Twitter. But there is a principle at work here that especially Christian Twitter users should remember:

Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.  James 1:19

The problem with Twitter is that it is very easy to zip off 140 characters at flaming speed and like spoken words, you can’t take them back. James might have written to our contemporaries, “Let everyone be slow to Tweet”. This applies, of course, to all social media.

*Sometimes we don’t have all the facts.

*Sometimes we respond in anger.

*Sometimes we type out a thought from our human nature and forget to let Jesus have his way with us.

*Sometimes we feel so right about something but the next day we may realize we had a wrong impression.

*Sometimes we get very personal with our criticisms … sometimes even bordering on the profane.

What would Jesus Tweet? Well, take a look at the Beatitudes and consider them as brief, terse, instructions. What would Jesus have tweeted to the lawyer who asked about the greatest command? What would have have tweeted to Peter after the resurrection?

I know, it’s hard to imagine Jesus walking through the streets of Jerusalem with his head down, thumbs clicking on a phone, bumping into people. I doubt he would be that rapt with the thoughts of the world flying by one tweet at a time.

Just …. think before you tweet. Or you could be like Bae:

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Good luck with that Bae.

Here are some of my favorite Twitter accounts (there are too many to list them all!):

Paul David Tripp @paultripp

Christine Abraham @WomensBibleCafe

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson @ShellieT

Church Curmudgeon @ChrchCurmudgeon

Larry Richards @FrLarryRichards

Well, I realize now that by starting a list I have started something that never ends!  Who are your favorite Twitter accounts to follow? Thanks for reading!

*Thanks Wikipedia for the info on Twitter!

 

Link Party!

Join In!

As I recently recounted, my domain seems to be transitioning from one host to another (and I don’t really even know what that means!). I thought my site was going to disappear for a week or so…and it hasn’t (yet)! So I’m throwing a LINK PARTY!

If you have a blog or a website I’d like for you to post the name and link in the comments. If  you want to tell a little about it, feel free. All I ask in return is that you share the link to this page with your social network(s)!

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR LINK!!!

Share the love, share the links! I’m looking forward to visiting your sites!

John

The Last Post

11.5.14I wonder if you, like me, have thought about your last post in social media?

The Bible is pretty clear that life runs by us pretty fast. James says that life is like a vapor. Peter says life is like grass that grows up in the day but withers in the heat of the afternoon. Job says that life is like sparks that fly up in the sky and disappear.

So what was that you just posted? I don’t want to be paranoid but it might help to be thoughtful about things we write for other people to see. Who knows if that might be the last post that you write? Who knows if this might be the last post I write on this blog?

Famous last words have been a source of fascination for a long time. Did you hear about one redneck’s famous last words? “Hey Bubba, watch this!”

THIS POST had a list of 64 people and their famous last words. A few that caught my eye …

Frank Sinatra died after saying, “I’m losing it.”

Author Herman Melville died saying, “God bless Captain Vere!” referencing his then-unpublished novel Billy Budd, found on his desk after he died.

As Benjamin Franklin lay dying at the age of 84, his daughter told him to change position in bed so he could breathe more easily. Franklin’s last words were, “A dying man can do nothing easy.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories, died at age 71 in his garden. He turned to his wife and said, “You are wonderful,” then clutched his chest and died.

Actor Michael Landon, best known for Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, died of cancer in 1991. His family gathered around his bed, and his son said it was time to move on. Landon said, “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.”

When he was 57, Edward R. Murrow died while patting his wife’s hand. He said, “Well, Jan, we were lucky at that.”

 When Groucho Marx was dying, he let out one last quip: “This is no way to live!”

Baseball player “Moe” Berg’s last words: “How did the Mets do today?”

I don’t know how successful we can be in planning our last words – we don’t always have a lot of warning. But I do think we can think about what we say out loud for all the social media world to hear. It may be a good thing to consider at times as we review our timeline.

Would I be happy for this to be my last post?

Thanks for reading. JD (who does not plan for this to be his last post!)

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men…

Social Media Hypnosis

11.2.14I heard a term recently that resonated with me. “Social Media Hypnosis” … sound familiar? If you’ve ever sat down to your computer to check the weather and looked up two hours later… you know. If you’ve ever picked up your tablet to answer a text and found yourself trolling through YouTube videos for long unaccounted for gaps of time, you’ve experienced it.  If you regard it as normal to spend hours a day on Facebook even while you have very important things to do, and then claim you have no time … something has happened. Snap out of it!

Social Media Hypnosis is Unjustifiable. It’s hard to justify the amount of time spent in social media. Twitter and Tumbler posts accumulate so quickly that you never get to the end of them. At the end of your time, barely blinking planted in front of a screen, there isn’t much news to report. There’s a kind of faux news (not Fox News, depending on who you ask) that garners our attention. We know what Bob had for lunch and that there are three hundred new prayer requests (how many did you commit to remember in prayer? Are you being honest?).

Social Media Hypnosis is Creeping. It’s growing into every corner of your life. I’m sure there is a science behind this strange obsession with the screens that are always in front of us. I find it hard not to watch TV without my iPad so I can look up the actors on IMDB and see in what other programs they’ve performed. Some shows even have ‘second screen experiences’. Hard to resist! I don’t know the science, but I know that there are millions of people being drawn into endless electronic rabbit holes with no way out.

Social Media Hypnosis is Revealing. Are there things that should draw us in with no consciousness of time – but do not? Back before we looked at little screens people read a lot more (conjecture, just an observation).  Anyone remember getting lost in a good book? Is that still happening? Do we ever get so caught up in reading or studying our Bibles that the time escapes us? Did you ever have to set a timer so that you wouldn’t pray so long?  Wouldn’t it be an awesome experience to be so interested, so attentive, so tuned in to prayer that we went into kind of a prayer hypnosis and before we realized it an hour to had gone by? Shouldn’t that be a normative experience? I think most people would say that they have a hard time keeping their focus during times of prayer and Bible study – even if they have accommodated their social media addiction with prayer and Bible apps. It may be an unfair comparison. After all, social media is fairly passive … prayer and study are more intensive. But I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Social Media Hypnosis is Passive Education. If we fall prey to social media hypnosis, how much of our own thoughts are being driven by other people … often strangers … and in what ways are we being influenced to think, perceive? As we mindlessly ‘like’ pictures, some of which come from very spurious sources, watch videos, and reference trends … are we being subconsciously educated by the masses? Do we feel pressured to ‘like’ something that we do not necessarily agree with – for the sake of a ‘friend’? Do we ‘share’ items because we are asked to rather than because we desire to propel a cause/idea? And is that sometimes a pooling of ignorance?

Social Media Hypnosis is Deceptive. It’s too easy to think that this couldn’t happen to us. But then you consider the unfounded and ridiculous things passed along as “news”. It’s totally unbelievable but rational intelligent people click ‘share’ as if it is reality. Bill Gates hasn’t decided to give away his money via Facebook shares! The Obamas did not use their left hand over the heart during the National Athem! (But I saw it in a real live picture!!!!) There are not only a few items like this, there are thousands. Sometimes when I have suggested someone check it out with some source that scans these news items, I’ve been told “I don’t believe them“. Does anyone see the irony of believing the fabricated urban myth and disbelieving the fact checkers that exist to expose these lies? Have we come so far as to prefer to believe the scam rather than back off of something we shared?

Social Media Hypnosis is Blank. We have no expectation we have no expectation of remembering what we have read. We can’t even find posts we read five minutes ago. The stream is a torrent. We have no reasonable expectation that we are connecting in particular to anyone or anything, we are just experiencing the exposure to the media at the moment. Much like the junkie lives for the moment of the high, with all other time devoted to getting to the next high, there is no return for the investment of time. A momentary laugh at a prank, a tearful reunion of soldier and child, a Bible verse on a pretty picture, a sarcastic cranky saying, a politically snooty remark, on and on it goes and we get a charge with each one but when it’s over we close our iPads and look up at the world around us none the better.

This is not a call to end Facebook, destroy Twitter, nor incinerate Instagram. I like them all. But I need to be aware (and so do a lot of others) that we can be drawn in and hypnotized to no good end if we are not careful. An old funny cartoon said, “I love my computer – all my friends live in it.” That is a modern reality. There are lots of friends, connections, sharing, prayers, and encouragements to be found. It can be a ministry and a blessing to so many. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it is more than what it is.

This is a call to be intentional in the use of Social Media. If it is the only thing that catches and keeps our attention, then a break is called for. Just … put … it … down. Take it out of your ‘favorites’ bar. Remove it from your phone. Disable your account … just for a little while. You are not a slave to  a frenetic experience where we are exposed to flickering ideas and images and sounds in a rapid succession. Or are you? This post is an attempt to break the hypnosis and help us to use Social Media mindfully.

Thanks for reading,

JD