Saturday, January 17, 2009

Passionate Prayers

Back around Thanksgiving '08, I stumbled on something called United Nerd Life Group (UNLG for short). You see, I was on twitter one evening just cruising around looking at what the twitterati were saying. I saw that a few people that I had been following were talking about this online group that was about to meet. There was a URL and everything.

So I clicked the link to see if I could find out more about it. First thing you know, I'm staring at Tony Steward's smiling face as he starts talking about online life groups.

Wait, who is Tony Steward and what is an online life group?

Ok. Tony is a member of the staff and serves as an Online Community Pastor and member of the Digerati team. One of his jobs is to bring the idea of online Christian community to reality. That's where the UNLG thing plays a role.

UNLG is an online life group. That is, it is a group of people that meet, interact, talk, pray, create relationship and fellowship, and generally share in each other's lives through online means. Typically, these types of groups have been done "offline" with people meeting together in a physical location (church, home, coffee house, etc). The online communities remove many of the limitations that exist for the physical groups and allow a much broader range of options, connections, and opportunities.

That's not to say that online is better than or obsoletes the physical groups. Online communities are just another option. Go see what Tony has to say if you are really interested in learning more about online communities and lifegroups.

So, you back with me now? Good.

I hung around for a couple of weeks learning that UNLG was about creating an online community of people that would then propogate that community by creating online lifegroups of their own. We were using Mogulus at the beginning. It was kinda cool. We all got to see and hear Tony on the webcam and we could interact through the builtin chat. Then we decided to try out TokBox. Wow, what a difference it was to be able to see and hear all of the folks in the group. The interaction was amazing.

We did 6 weeks of meetings online with the goal that we would be ready to create and run our own online lifegroups starting in January '09. I'm not going to hit that timeline but I am working on putting the story together and figuring out who and when for my group. The key thing that has stuck with me from the "DNA" of UNLG that we discussed was having a belief in and passion for extraordinary prayer.

I will admit that I have historically been a lukewarm prayer guy. With the exception of a few times in a hospital chapel, my prayers were not very frequent, regular, or, to be honest, passionate. That has changed in the last 9 weeks.

As I spend more time in God's Word I see the call to be serious, passionate, faithful, and honest in my prayers and in quiet time each day. I see where I am called to be full of prayer for anyone and everyone God puts before me.

And it has been so great. I feel incredible and I can feel God's love on me and through me. It's a connectedness I haven't had much of before. I have been really missing out!

So, how can I pray for you today?

Friday, January 2, 2009

The circle of (social media) life

Here's what is on my mind today. Honestly, it has been on my mind a lot lately but it came into focus quite a bit today.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Why? Well, let's follow the circle:
I read an article in the latest Relevant magazine on by Brett McCracken.
Carlos Whitaker wrote a post on his blog about the same article.
Tony Steward sent a tweet saying that he commented on Carlos' post.
I went and read the blog post. I realized it was about the same article.
I left a comment on the post.
I went back to a tab in Firefox that I had open to Conversant Life.
I noticed that Brett McCracken's name was attached to some movie review articles on there.
This reminded me that I probably followed his blog in Google Reader. So I opened it up and checked to see if it was the same guy.
It is the same guy so I went over to Brett's blog.
Brett's most recent post was about Romans 12. Especially verse 2.
I write a little blog post about how social media connects the dots.

Just goes to show you how God can use anything and anybody. Peace.