Tag Archives: Life Upside Down

It’s Not About Numbers

God is leading me to become a

Churches worry about numbers.

Bloggers worry about numbers.

It’s good to show that kind of growth, but our main concern and focus should be on the people we retain on our blog and in our church. That’s where I am at now. I am working on growing my platform, but in calling it a platform, I can forget the humanity of it. In fact, I don’t publish stories that are controversial if I am only publishing it to be controversial and to grow my numbers. I am focusing on you as a person.

In social media speak, you are my neighbor. I care about your problems.

In 2015, I will change from this blog to http://www.cataclysmmissionsintl.com because blogging here at Life Upside Down is ending. That part of my life is done. I look at life upside down still, but I have grown, healed, and moved on. My intentions are still to help those that struggle, but my mission has changed.

I want to mobilize people to get online and befriend others. I want to educate people. I want to reach those who have been hurt by church and take their hand to help them walk back to real life church whether its a house church or a traditional church. I want to unite our Christian, Bible-only believing churches in solidarity. I want to teach them to forget about the color of the carpet, past hurts, and what kind of music might be playing, instead to focus on people and the message of Salvation, to grow as a Christian family.

So in 2015, you will find me at these three web addresses:

http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com (as I will continue to work on getting published)

http://www.therelevantchristianmagazine.com

http://www.cataclysmmissionsintl.com

Eventually, I would like to make Cataclysm Missions International a non-profit. I would like to work full time on all three websites so I can focus on my new mission more completely to educate and equip the believer while working at reaching the unbeliever with the message of Salvation.

But I need your help.

Non-profits don’t pay much in salary, and my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck with my current wage. Would you consider donating to my new mission?  Click here to learn more.

 

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Callling People to New Ways of Thinking

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“In the same way, as you call people to new ways of thinking, relating, and serving, spend time preparing them as best as you can. Honor their questions and concerns; remind them that they are not alone.” – Lead Like Jesus, Day 192

This reminded me of page 58 in Never Go Back by Dr. Henry Cloud:

“Show people the water. Show them how cool and refreshing it is. When they are dehydrated, tell them that water would help them. Tell them how much you would enjoy drinking water together. Show them what it has done for you. Burp loudly. But realize that you can’t make them drink. That is something they will do only when and if they want to. Remember…they are free to choose.”

When you want to change someone’s mind, you can’t hit them over the head with a proverbial stick, especially when talking about social media.

Social media is not well received by most in the older generation, and while Christians post dozens of selfies of themselves in the bathroom or play hours of candy crush, 32,000 Mormon missionaries were given ipads at a steep discount by their church to draw people into their cult through proselytization. The Mormon church recently recognized the internet as the mission field in a time when the traditional Christian church is experiencing a decline in membership or attendance.

In fact, less than 40% according to Gallup, actually attend church. Most, “regular church attendee gets sick or sleeps in. The other reason may be people who tell us they go to church but are worshipping in non-traditional ways, such as small groups, people meeting in gyms or school libraries,” says Gallup via churchleaders.com. While pollsters are saying church attendance is declining, Charisma and other sources indicate church attendance is growing, citing the reasons of conservatism or house churches and small groups. Overall, the Mormon cult has many pluses which make them successful. This is not to say I agree with them or believe that they are Christian in any way. But there are some lessons we can take from them:

1: Mormons make great neighbors, friends, and co-workers. They are always ready to serve, help, and are very dedicated to COMMITTING to their church and family. The Christian church seriously lacks commitment especially in ages 55 and under. David Jeremiah said on a radio show the other day how we are a “multichoice” generation, always wanting to “keep our options open.” How many gatherings in real life have I attempted where people said “maybe,” and never showed up with so much as a phone call or an email or a text? How many don’t marry and instead live together? How many gatherings went ignored without a decline? How many people said, “I don’t know what I am doing yet,” to an invitation for something a few days away? It’s like they are waiting for something better to come along. Why aren’t we the great neighbors, spouse, friend, and co-worker that our Mormon neighbors are to us?

2: Mormons do not put down each other or their other stakes or wards (churches). However, Christians do a great job of cutting each other down in websites such as Sundays are The Worst, and various other blogs around the internet over the years. In this, we can take a lesson and talk directly with the people who have offended us; or shake off the dust, and get a new group of friends, or a new church. Plus, Christians like to leave comments that cut down each other in harsh tones. That’s not to say we can’t be constructive in our criticism rather than judgmental in tone, or disagree with each other on some level while still coming from a place of love.

Some Christians hear the mission call online, but one of our pastors said the other day how Twitter has become a news feed of links, and not a conversation. I have seen both. I describe Twitter to newbies as a national and international conversation. Christian authors on my own news feed appear to only post about their books or other people’s books without appearing to have any serious conversation with other people. We’re scattered with our different motivations instead of united. In fact, a comment on a church Facebook site showed intense loyalty to that particular church as if that church was the only one with an “authentic” sense of community. He reflected a past hurt. The internet is a powerful influence. It has a real, online community of people, but in order for us to be effective in this new mission field, we need to take our internet and social media seriously.

These are some suggestions:

1: Missions organizations can recognize officially the new mission field, send out missionaries online to connect, tell the story of the Gospel, and encourage local church attendance.

2: Church congregations can learn the new technology. Older patrons can use simplified versions of social media like Twitter or have their grandchildren assist them in posting a blog to share the rich life experiences of their past before their story ends.

3: Christians can use their social media time wisely to show interest in other people, pray for them, participate in discussions without feeling defensive if they can’t answer the questions. Write down the questions and ask a pastor. Get back to them with an answer. Or refer that person to someone who can answer it.

4: Talk positively about your church and community experiences. When we are tempted to talk about our hurts, ask yourself, “What can people learn from it? Am I transfering my pain on other people? Or is there a God-lesson coming out of this?”

5: Resist the temptation to call out people online. Confront them. If congregation members are acting badly, talk to your congregation. If someone treats someone badly in a public place, be the friend and say something from a place of love. I’m not saying that abuse stories or testimonies should not be shared. On the contrary, they should, but safeguards must be put in place and the story coming out should be God’s story in your life. This is a lesson I learned as a blogger.

I have a plan in the works which will launch later this year. A new website. A new direction. If you are interested in partnering with me, please stay tuned to this website. You can also email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com to ask to be put on a special newsletter to receive invitations pre-launch on how you can get involved. We can all learn from our past mistakes as bloggers, from life, and humbly admit when we are wrong while celebrating what God is doing in the world and among us.

For those with questions on the cults, I encourage you to go to Christian Ministries International. It’s a great place to start your research. Or ask your pastor.

“God will back His gospel, not some man-made, watered-down message. God will back the exaltation of Jesus, not some muddled, every-path-leads-to-God nonsense. God will back the call to take up the cross and live for Him, not some flesh-pleasing success formula. God will back biblical standards, not some meet-me-halfway, worldly-wise compromise.” – Charisma

 

 

 

 

The Trouble With Flies

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Fly (Photo credit: orangeacid)

Flies hover around the openings of your face, like paparazzi or people you don’t want around anymore. Unlike bees who are aggressive and purpose-driven in nature, flies are sad, hopeful, mindless, and even thoughtless. It’s easier to go with the wind than to break away and go against it. Flies get caught between the glass and the screen and die there, twitching, gasping, and never see the opening in the corner where they could have squeezed out to the fresh air.

They could have found freedom. Instead, flies rise when the air is hot and rain hasn’t touched the thirsty ground. They feed on dead things like dead poets or old stories, living vicariously through them, hoping for a bit of sustenance to keep them flying; to give them purpose. The trouble with flies is that they aren’t bees. They aren’t aggressive, defensive, offensive, and they don’t seek honor. Flies are sad creatures who live off the dead and not the living. Yet, even God has a purpose for every insect on earth.

The bees pollinate. They help fruit and flowers bloom. The bees make honey, and the happy buzzing in a Russian Sage sings the song of summer, play days, and warmth. When one thinks of flies, we think of the dead, the decomposing, and the things that rot. Flies do serve a purpose though. Their larvae eats decomposing organic matter. Spiders and other insects feed off flies. I’d be happy if most of us were bees instead, honoring the King as we help each other succeed, and live in the future and not the past.

Life Upside Down Launch

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Life Upside Down

Welcome to Life Upside Down where everyone has a story. Through telling our stories we create community. My blog’s intentions is to create that community through authentic Christian living and talking about the people, culture, books, and movies that influence us for better or for worse.

Creating Community

My interest in re-launching my blog is to create community. Less time blogging means more time on twitter, Facebook, and social networking to talk to you.

More Writing Time

Because I am available to ghost blog and will be launching a magazine in the spring, 2013, I need to make sure I am continuing my regular writing on my novel and short stories. Blogging every day has created a unique challenge and I have discovered I yearn to write relevant posts. Relevant posts take more research. I will post Monday, Wednesday and Fridays every week. That doesn’t mean I won’t post in between times, but if I do, it’s because it’s a guest blog, interview or a book review.

Tomorrow is the first day of my posts. Please feel free to email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com if you have suggestions.