Monthly Archives: October 2007

Confidence in Righteousness

Luke 18:9-14 The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Interesting parable, this is… and it hit pretty close to home this week, as I was discussing the discipleship website I’m building with a friend of mine.

One of the issues with internet evangelism, is that things can take a real header in a hurry, if brothers and sisters in Christ start arguing with one another over righteousness, when a seeker asks an honest question. Usually the underlying issue is one of judgementalism… so the question was, how can this best be constrained. And then the discussion morphed a bit, and it was, thank goodness we see eye to eye, and we aren’t judgemental like those other folks. (light bulb moment) Yep, as soon as the second part of that sentence was stated it was like egads, we’re not being humble at all here, and are sharing the same sin, as those who would exalt themselves over others.

I think its fine to thank God for wisdom, insight, even righteous living etc. We are blessed to be granted the privilege of studying His word, edification, and Church. These are all good and proper things. Where the line crosses, is when we add in comparison factors and become cocky. Not everyone is at the same place, or has the same understanding, some more so, some less so. However, I do think we should be thankful for what God has granted us, we should not however, elevate ourselves or make comparisons. Certainly, a teacher is under greater judgement than a student, yet, the teacher should feel fine to thank God, for those who have taught him or her, but not condemn a student in the same sentence. It comes down to the last verse.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted

Often times, good teachers, will use experience the humbling experience of role reversal. Ie, the student brings things to light, not previously considered by the teacher. This, the roles are reversed. That is another cause for thanksgiving.

The problem is ultimately exhaltation of oneself over another. The proactive solution, humility.

Why your church needs a website, and why its not what you think…

Wow, so I am a bit fried….

Today was a bit of a zoo. Everything from a php coding issue, to metallurgy, to people management issues, to assisting with a suicide prevention. Go figure, the life of a tech dude.

And this, is why your church needs a website. It might well have saved a life this evening.

In the online world, it is rare that one ever crosses the line into 3D activities. Terroristic threts, and suicides are 2 subjects that do result in crossing that line. And this is why your church needs a website. Time is of the essence in such matters as one might expect, and 3D, not virtual intervention is key. The problem of course is connecting the two to make it possible. This is where your church enters in.

People, even the most careful individuals do leave cyber trails, and often times under pressure give other clues. They may not want to involve others in their situation, yet suicide is often times a call for help. It doesn’t matter if its for real or not. All such threats need to be followed up on if indeed possible. And no, its not always possible as sometimes, there just isn’t enough info to work with, and generally, unless its a terroristic threat and a call from the FBI, most ISP’s won’t assist.

Thus, in this case we did have information to work off of, and we found a church website, and found a pastors contact info. We no doubt ended up waking him up, but the end result, is a young person is now in a hospital rather than dieing in their bedroom, all the while his parents were asleep. (for all you parents out there, this can happen… and I can only imagine the heartache involved, had this youngster succeeded).

As a result, please do make sure your church has a website, make sure it has a contact number, as well as your pastors name. (I don’t know that posting the emergency number online is wise to avoid prank calls and such), but the main number, and an answering machine which directs folks to an after hours emergency number is certainly a viable option.

Now, some readers might think such a situation is a rarity. Sadly, online suicide threats occur somewhere in the world 24/7/365. Most webmasters and administrators are not well equipped to deal with such issues, but more and more are finding it is a critical need, as virtual communities become more and more life like.

This of course doesn’t mean that every situation will have a successful outcome. In many cases, the person is too hard to track, the net tools, dont work, or we end up chasing evidence that goes no where. And of course, there are always the situations where its someone just out for a thrill to see what a fuss can be made by crying wolf. And in other cases, the person succeeds, or in others, they never travel over the same cyber path for months if ever. Thus, there is no way to really know that such plans are effective in many cases. Yet, if one life is spared, it makes it all worthwhile.

Praise God, the youngster got to the ER, praise God, we reached the pastor, praise God, the church had a website, praise God, all the right people were at the right place at the right time.