In earlier years, the word “twitter” described the sound of birds and the chit-chat of women down at the beauty parlor (or men in the barber shop). But since 2006, twittering has become an international communication phenomenon. It’s the SMS (Simple Message System) of the Internet, a simple 140-character social networking strategy that can be described as half-blogging and half-texting.
The first twitter message was published at 9:50 on the evening of March 21, 2006.
Today tweets (twitter messages) are flying all over the world — billions of them, about a million every hour. A recent study found that Twitter did a better job getting information out during an emergency than traditional news media or government emergency services. The Red Cross uses Twitter to exchange moment-by-moment information during disasters and emergencies.
If you’re a tweet, you know that the question at the top of the Twitter page is “What’s Happening?” As I’ve traveled across the nation and around the world in recent months, I’ve found that people are in a twitter about what’s happening around the globe. So many of us are upset, disturbed, worried, and anxious about news coming from Washington, London, Berlin, Tehran, Jerusalem, Pyongyang, Wall Street, and every other newsworthy spot on earth.
While world events alarm us, we aren’t really citizens of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven, and we’re assigned here for a little while to minister to our generation as David “served his own generation” and then “fell asleep” (Acts 13:36). If we aren’t careful, the headlines and the apparent unfolding of prophetic events around us will distract us from living in the “now.” God has placed us in the world right today, and we’re here as temporary residents, scattered around the globe, for a reason. God has us here for a purpose, and we should be updating our kingdom status every day.
What’s Happening: Prayer
That means we should be sending messages to heaven constantly. Prayer is not a method for getting our will done in heaven but for getting God’s will done on earth. Missionary Hudson Taylor told us to “move men by God through prayer alone.”
If you’re worried about another individual — perhaps a family member or neighbor — focus your prayers on behalf of that person. Come on them from above, as Oswald Chambers put it. Select Scripture verses to “pray into” their lives. Pray for world rulers and for those in authority over us. Begin and end the day with prayer, and pray frequently throughout your waking hours.
What’s Happening: Soul-Winning
We must also confront a twittering, trembling world with the message of Christ. The apostle Paul didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or text messaging, yet he took the Gospel of Jesus to the heart of the Roman Empire. Think of how we can mobilize our technology today to help win the world. We have print media, broadcast media, and a dizzying array of Internet and social networking tools. But it still comes down to the old first century method of one person telling another. You and I don’t have to be techies to share our faith.
What’s Happening: Influence
It’s also vital to extend our influence for Christ now. In his book on Scripture memory, William Evans tells about a hardcore skeptic who bedeviled the pastors of a certain Michigan city. Several had met with him and tried to lead him, in a logical way, to simple faith in Christ. They had used every argument, but to no avail. But there was a young student who was committed to Scripture memory. One day he met the skeptic, and he simply answered the man’s talking points by quoting Scripture. Out of his memory came a vast assemblage of timely verses, and by the time they parted, the infidel had disavowed his skepticism.
A consistent prayer life, a burden for souls, a scriptural influence. Who would have thought those ancient biblical prescriptions would still be so effective with the Twitter generation? But they are. So let’s not be in a twitter about the future. Let’s serve God today.