Summary: Following people on Twitter costs us nothing, but following Jesus Christ costs us everything.
In the digital world, it’s all about being connected. We can be connected with our smart devices and computers to over 900 social media apps. We’re familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Vine. There are others we may not be so familiar with, but in this digital age, the worst thing we can be is disconnected. Here’s the interesting thing, though. The more connected we become digitally, the more disconnected we become literally. Here’s an example: Last Sunday, I’m sitting at my mother’s house watching the Saints (no comments please), and my brother, my brother’s son-in-law and my son are all sitting on the couch---not talking to each other, but all checking their smart phones for the latest update on their “fantasy” football teams. We can’t even watch real football for checking out our fantasy teams! We’re disconnected in a connected world.
This sermon series is about connections, but not the connections we make on social media. There are so many false relationships on social media, or if not false, then superficial. We can post anything—true, false, indifferent—on social media at any time. Social media connections are not really connections at all. Over the next five weeks, Chris and I are going to use the premise of several social media platforms to discover the source of true, lasting, life-changing connections. We start this morning with Twitter.
How many of you have a Twitter account? Wait! How many actually know what Twitter is? Twitter is a free social networking microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Twitter members can broadcast tweets (limited to 140 characters) and “follow” other users' tweets. Twitter is public, and anyone can follow anyone on Twitter. Now, how many have a Twitter account? If you do, you are among 974 million “Twits” (that’s what a person who uses Twitter is called) worldwide, and 52.7 million in the U. S. That’s a pretty hefty number.
Twitter is about followers and following. You “follow” someone, and someone “follows” you. That means every time I post a “tweet” it goes out into the “Twitterverse” for all the world to see, but especially to those who have chosen to “follow” me. And, every time someone I’m following “tweets,” it shows up on my Twitter page. Do you know who has the most Twitter followers? Number three is President Barack Obama with 64 million followers. Number two is Justin Bieber with just under 67 million followers, and number one is Katy Perry with around 76 million followers. Personally, I tweet @revlynnmalone, and I have 123 followers which, the last time I checked, was twice as many as @ChrisWinterman has. Followers and following—it’s what Twitter is all about.
Following on Twitter is easy. Simply click a button on the app. If someone was so inclined we could follow what a person was doing all throughout the day, from getting up in the morning to going to the market or to work, to knowing where and what they were having for dinner. I’m not sure why we would want someone to know all that, but we do. Yes, following is easy, but it has no real impact on our lives. The fact that Katy Perry posts photos of her in the mountains of Machu Picchu makes no difference in the grand scheme of my life. The danger for us is that we too often see following Jesus with the same philosophy. We think it’s great to follow Jesus, but we don’t give much thought to what it means. What difference does it make to say we’re following Jesus? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?