Today's Devotions

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Showcase:Celebrating Discipline

  • Spiritual Disciplines, Valerie E Hess +

    This daily devotional contains brief (no more than one page) readable passages on the spiritual disciplines. Each reading begins with Read More
  • Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster +

    The Path to Spiritual Growth The book on spiritual disciplines. Read More
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greenfield1The following is one of  a series of editorials in  the New  York Times about the relationship between religion/faith and Facebook.

Believers but Not Churchgoers

September 8, 2011

The Rev. Cheryl J. Sanders is the senior pastor of Third Street Church of God in Washington.

As a pastor, it is my responsibility to encourage participation in face-to-face meetings at the church each week for worship, prayer and Bible study.

While I cannot foresee a time when virtual contact will take the place of direct human contact, in my experience social networking enables additional conversations, interactions and sharing of information that reinforce the sense of community at every level of our lives. Our church has a Facebook group, and I include church members as friends on my personal Facebook page. Some of my most frequent Facebook posts come from members who are very quiet (or absent) when the church gathers for worship, but who readily speak up online to share their opinions, photos and links to news about religion, politics and popular culture.

Online communities are a tool for reaching a generation whose personal priorities do not include church attendance but who spend hours each day online.

Social networking works wonders for the instantaneous sharing of information of importance to church members, such as invitations to special events, solicitations of prayers for members and friends in crisis, and the sharing of suggestions for worship at home when church services are canceled because of inclement weather.

While social networking does not replace human contact, it provides opportunities for virtual participation in religious community by members who cannot attend church because of work, illness or relocation and by students who are away at college. Moreover, it is a tool for reaching a generation whose personal priorities do not include church attendance but who spend hours each day online. Jesus called fishermen who were experienced at working nets full of fish to follow Him and become "fishers of men." It is my hope that the work of calling people to faith in this century will be vigorously embraced by a virtual community of disciples whose skills in social networking are employed not just for self-absorbed amusement, but also for the care of human souls.

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Eugene Peterson was one of America’s most beloved preachers. Let’s not miss his last sermon. +

    Eugene Peterson, the internationally best-selling Christian author who passed into the great unknown this week, Read More
  • Eugene Peterson: 2009 Book of Faith Jubilee +

    Peterson discussed a wide range of topics with Diane Jacobson, Read More
  • Eugene Peterson: Journey with Jonah: Part 1 +

    This is part 1 of a 3 part series of lectures Eugene Peterson Read More
  • Eugene Peterson: Journey with Jonah: Part 2 +

    This is part 2 of Eugene Peterson's 1991 Simpson lecture Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • God's Healing Touch by Sylvia Gunter +

    Listen to God's word for you in Isaiah 42:3. "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick Read More
  • The Healing Day by Bill Fay +

    It will be okay on the healing dayno more coldest placeon the healing day Read More
  • Inner Healing by Judith MacNutt +

    The following is a clip from a teaching at the MacNutt's Level I School. While brief, it provides a good Read More
  • Healing Ministry & Spiritual Warfare by Judith MacNutt +

    Judith MacNutt on the relationship between spiritual warfare and healing ministry. Read More
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