Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's Connect!

The world in which we live has never been more connected. Companies are spending millions of dollars to lay millions of miles in fiber optic cables and shooting communication satellites into space just to stay connected. People all around the world share information instantly through their connection on the internet. Kids all around the world are texting each other and “tweeting” to each other information in real time on their cell phones- some even in the middle of jungles and deserts. Just today I was sitting in my office talking on my cell phone to a friend who was walking up a path with other Christian leaders in Brazil. In so many ways we are connected to each other instantaneously.

While we seem to be more and more connected all over the world, as a pastor I continually meet people who actually feel more and more disconnected than ever before. They feel completely out of the loop or on the outside of life looking in. Many of these people are disconnected with family members. Some are disconnected from the fellowship of a church. Others are disconnected from friends or a close personal relationship while others are completely disconnected from God. The result of such disconnection in people’s lives is loneliness. Loneliness is becoming a pandemic in America and even right here where we live. Every week I go and make visits in people’s homes, talk to them at public establishments, or receive messages from them and what I continue to discover over and over is that people are lonely.

Did you know God did not create us to be lonely? We are not to be “islands” unto ourselves. In fact in the very beginning of time God said, “It is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).” Some of you know what I am talking about today because often times you feel like you are the one who is disconnected.

What can we do about the disconnection in our own lives and the disconnection in the lives of others? I learned a practical lesson that helped me with this just a few weeks ago while out of the country speaking at a conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Brazil their electrical power is on 220 volts while everything in America that we plug in and use is on 110 volts. You cannot plug an 110v appliance into a 220 v plug without some help. What you must have to make everything work properly is a connector. The connector converts 220 volts down to 110 volts. The result is that our American laptops, hairdryers, and phone chargers work properly when plugged through the connector even though they shouldn’t connect at all.

Do you know one of the reasons why God has put us on this earth? We are to be connectors in the lives of people all around us. Without help, some people will never get connected to other people, connected to a church home, or even connected to God. I wonder, what can you do personally to help those who are disconnected get connected this week? Let me make some suggestions: First, you must realize people exist. Start seeing people as being precious and worth your time, effort, and expertise. Second, show people love and kindness. You can do nothing about how they treat you, but you can do something about how you treat them. Show them respect and let them see how their lives have value. Third, intentionally seek to give people some of your time and a listening ear. Fourth, invite people into your life, your small group, or into your church so that they might connect with you and with others. Fifth, show people how they can connect with God in a personal way through Jesus Christ. Finally, pray for people by name that God might use you as a connector.

Do you know what will happen? Even if you feel disconnected, by helping others connect in meaningful ways, you become connected yourself. You do not have to be alone.