Welcome to the Blogosphere (Where Voices are a Dime a Dozen)

I was in the remote South-South region of Nigeria during the Easter of 2009. The town we stayed in did not have consistent electricity. Most businesses operated by candle or oil lantern at night. Every bit of the cooking I saw was either done on kerosene stoves or over a fire. Most people walked everywhere or had bicycles. If you had a little bit of money you might have had a 50cc Chinese-made motorcycle upon which you would transport your family of five. Many of the homes were made of mud walls on a stick frame with thatched roofs. Everyone in that city had to rely on generators for essential electrical needs, but most generators did not run all day. If you were fortunate enough to have municipal water, it was not safe to drink. Trash blew the streets like leaves on a fall day. I think you get the picture. But among this all too common scene of African scantiness something caught my eye—cellphones—an abundance of cellphones. As I began to pay attention, I noticed most people didn’t just have one phone, no, more often than not, people had two or three cellphones—men and women. And there, in a part of Africa, without potable water, sanitation service, where people burn their trash to dispose of it; in a place with no more than three hours of electricity a day, the Internet was available on cellphones. (We even pulled up YouTube one day just to do it.)

 

On another trip, we were in the bush of Uganda, at the base of an extinct volcano near the Kenyan border, preaching at a pastors’ conference. The home of the pastor we were visiting had no electricity or running water. Many of the children in that village ran around without pants (for some reason they had tattered shirts). The livestock were tied to rocks and allowed to graze in circles. The pastor’s compound had a small brick and mortar house surrounded by three traditional round mud huts used for sleeping and cooking. And even there, we not only had cell signal, we had Internet. And there, we not only pulled up YouTube, we actually watched a video or two.

bush phone
Smartphones abound in Africa.

Anyone, anywhere, can now have a voice and a platform, even when they could never earn that platform from God or even the experts in their perspective fields.

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Shallow Worship At The Altar Of Semantics

I once took a college spring trip to Key West, FL. A buddy from church and I left out on a Friday and made our way down to the tip of the Continental United States. We stopped off at Marathon Key and got a campsite for the first night. Being college students, this was going to have to be a budget trip. If I recall, that campsite cost us $70 a night (and this was back in the 90’s). We both realized quickly that we didn’t have the money to last a full week down in the Keys. On Sunday morning we got up and, having nothing else to do, we went to church. I recalled seeing an Assemblies of God church on the main drag so we stopped in there, arriving just a little late for the first service. With nothing to do and nowhere to go (we were after all college students flying by the seat of our pants), we stayed for the second service as well. During the second service I remember hearing the pastor mention the name of their sister church down in Key West. When he mentioned the name of that church, I knew within myself, that’s where we need to head next. Long story short, we made great friendships that week with some beautiful Assemblies of God brethren and even got to spend the rest of the week sleeping in one of the Sunday school rooms. God provided housing for us at no cost. At the nudging of God’s Spirit, we went down there to have fun, but God did so much more. During that divinely appointed Spring Break, I had the honor of personally leading 25 people to Christ through simple street evangelism. My friend led two people to the Lord. We came back a week later with 27 salvations under our collective belt (that’s far better than what most college kids do on Spring Break).

 

Upon our return, we were so excited to tell everyone what God had done (this was the 90’s, we didn’t have cellphones, and Zuckerburg would have been in middle school). In those days, the group of believers I ran with called the positive fruit of evangelism, “getting someone born-again.” And so that’s we said when we returned from the Keys. Them: “How was Spring Break?” Us: “Awesome! We got 27 people born-again.” Most people were so excited to hear such a testimony, but inevitably there was Brother Semantic ready to extinguish young college zeal. His retort would have sounded something like this, “Brother, you didn’t get anybody born-again. It is Jesus that saves, by the power of the Holy Spirit. You were either sowing, or watering. It is God that gives the increase. You sound so prideful when you talk that way.” Eh, maybe we did sound prideful. Or maybe it was just shear excitement and exuberance at such a wonderful Spring Break.

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