"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Go Ye Therefore - by Instant Messenger, Blogs and Text Messages

Through the fog of almost sleep, I heard the ring of a phone. I glanced over at the clock next to my bed and it read 12:17 a.m. Once again, the ringing came, but I realized that it was not coming from the phone on the end table, but from elsewhere in the house. Through my groggy state, I realized it was an instant messenger alert. Someone was calling me through the computer in my study. The sensible thing to do was to ignore it, which I tried to do, however my curiosity finally got the better of me and I knew I might as well get up and go see who it was. Plus, their constant attempt to contact me was only going to drive me to a criminal act if it continued.

I recognized the screen name immediately as one of the teenagers at church. I replied to him with a rather snarky "WHAT! It's after midnight, dude! Go to bed!". His reply almost stopped my heart. He was in a tough spot...a really bad place... and needed some help. Not financial help (as in bail bond), but spiritually. He felt as if he were losing his way and needed someone to talk to in hopes he could find himself and God again. Peer pressure was getting too strong, he was making some bad choices and knew the consequences would be coming. He did not feel like God would let him come back and he felt so terribly alone even though he was in his home with parents and siblings. You know, that kind of alone that you can feel when God seems so far away and the road ahead seems too far and so dark and so lonely. It is night and the fears increase as the shadows come and the thoughts of sleep seem impossible. You are afraid to sleep because tomorrow may actually come and that is not what you want. You cry out to God and you feel that He can't quite hear you. You are alone. Totally alone. So you reach out to someone for help. Someone, anyone, but because of your fear of rejection and judgement, you choose a seemingly anonymous route of instant messenger. Even though he knew it was me on the other end of the DSL, and I knew it was him, he was not having to admit things face to face.

We talked for a long time in that early morning conversation and when we finally signed off, he knew that God loved him as much as ever and would forgive him any transgression. He knew that God was there in his bedroom and would be watching over him as he slept. He knew that God would be there the next morning when he woke and with him all day at school. And, most importantly, he knew that God would be there when he began to change his friendships and reverse the choices he had made. I slept very sound that night because I knew my boy had come home to his God and would be a stronger Christian young man as a result.

I think we as Christians often miss out on many methods of ministry because we get so hung up on the traditional ways. You know, the cards, the phone calls, the visits, and so forth. There is a vast world of technology available for evangelism that is scarcely being touched. One of which are the various instant messenger services. You chat back and forth, day by day, and grow relationships with friends and neighbors that you already know. Even though it is not an anonymous service, you have that feeling and you find yourself at times being more honest and open than you would in a face to face setting. It can flow naturally into evangelistic conversations and discussions of encouragement and support.

Websites and blogs are wonderful vehicles that we use to share God with others. In just a short time, I have met brothers and sisters in Christ all across the country that I feel like I know closely even though we have never met. I am blessed by many of the writings I see, so I am certain that those who are not believers have to be impacted to a degree. As the scriptures tell us that 'some people will sow the seeds and others may help reap the harvest.' You, my fellow bloggers and scribes, are sowing a lot of seeds that God will bring to harvest.

God will bless any effort that we make on His behalf and I have been blessed by the use of technology. I certainly enjoy and prefer the personal encounters of sharing Christ with others, however, there are times that human pride may get in the way. So, we adopt strange screen names and visit websites, blogsites and instant message into the wee hours of the night. We post and comment and encourage and support people that we may never meet in person, but I kinda hope there will be a special cyber cafe in Heaven so we can connect blognames with our new heavenly faces. My friends, we should never take lightly the responsibility we have as we post and journal on our respective sites. We never know who is lurking out there and may be touched. God created the minds of people who created the advancements in technology. Let's claim it for His glory!

And that, my friends, is the gospel according to Jimmy.

Be God's!


At 5:56 AM, Blogger BJ said...


Thanks for being open to love a student in the middle of the night. I, like you, have experienced many opportunities to love students outside of the church and youth group night. You may not see the fruits of those conversations ever, but know that you are serving your God faithfully by allowing Him to use you in moments of need. Thanks for your post, as it is an encouragement that there are others out there loving not because they (you) have to but because they (you) were first loved by Him. Bless you, brother.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Jane King said...

Nice Blog, thank you for your efforts. J

At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Angel said...

What you wrote is very true, uplifting, and a reminder to us all that we never know when God will have use of us.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A said...

Today's technology is amazing. I work for a ministry that is developing "media tools" to reach young people for Christ so if you have any ideas let me know! We have a website that needs some attention and a CD Rom that is being re-done and some short films that we use. We are always looking for fresh ideas from people like you who are "in the field" and in touch with youth. (I need to copy this to BJ as well).

Keep up the good work. God will bless you for your late night obedience in ministering to this young dude :)


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