Always Set a Good Example

 

My mother used to read to me every day when I was a child.  She was also an example to me by reading the newspaper every day and devouring the Newsweek Magazine when it arrived on Tuesdays.

When I had my children, it was imperative to me that I continue the reading tradition.   My children had separate rooms.   At bedtime, I would start in my son’s room, read two books with him, turn off his light, and then visit my daughter.  I would read two books with her and  then turn out the light.  More often than not, her little voice would come to me from the darkness.  “Mom?”  “Can I talk to you for a minute?”  I soon learned that she felt safest under the cloak of darkness. I would come back in her room and listen to her most private thoughts and concerns.

So, while my mother did most things really well, I didn’t think she excelled at listening.   I made a vow that I would be the best listener ever!  So, when my daughter wanted to talk at the most inopportune times, I always said YES.  When she wouldn’t stop talking, I always encouraged her to say everything on her mind.  And I promised not to judge or preach, but rather mentor her decisions.

Don’t get me wrong. I always reserved the right to share my opinion.  I would make it clear if I did not think she was making the right decision, but it was she who had to learn to live with the consequences of her choices.

One time my daughter came into my room around midnight.  (I had gone to bed around 9:00 and was enjoying some great REM sleep.)  “Mom?”  “I’ve been on the phone with my friend and he’s talking about committing suicide.  What can we do?”  I called his parents.  Woke them up.  Potentially saved the life of their teenage son.

Both my parents smoked when I was a child.  I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I knew it was something I wanted to avoid and I vowed that I would never have anything to do with it.  Sally felt the same as I, but our oldest sister smoked in college (a combination of peer pressure and “how bad can it be if my parents are doing it?”) Good or bad, we were influenced by our parents’ example.

In every thing we do and every thing we say, we are an example to those around us.  Whether it is a good example or a bad one, people are watching.

We have power and influence without even knowing it.    Don’t you have a teacher who made a difference in your life?  Or an adult neighbor?  Or a priest?

Share your good example, including the example of how to live as an Engaged Catholic.   Remember, not only are “people” watching…GOD is watching!

 

 

Because next week is Mothers Day, I would like to share a little poem I wrote about my son when he was 2.  At the end of the poem, I thought about how all-consuming young parenthood is, and how transient.   I knew it would be gone all too soon and that I would miss those days…

 

From the corner of my eye I spy

a little golden head.

Who can it be

playing peek-a-boo with me?

All I can see is a little golden head.

Then I hear a giggle, and see a wiggle.

There are lots of toes, and a nose,

and a little golden head.

I wake now to find

my dreams left behind;

I am caught in fond memories

of a little golden head.

 

 

GLORIFY THE RISEN LORD

 

Many years ago I was in a Women’s Scripture Study group.    The facilitator tasked us with writing a reflection on how we could “give back to God” for all the gifts He had given each of us.

At the time, my children were young—3 and 4-1/2.    I was in awe of the blessing of being a parent.  (For the record, I still am!)

I had just recently attended a day-long Ministers’ Retreat at our parish.  We brought in a priest from outside the parish and I was asked to provide hospitality.   I set up a nice continental breakfast and had sandwiches ready for the midday break.  When the ministers were asked to relocate to the church for the opening session, the priest approached me and asked me to join them.

I told him that I was just there to provide hospitality and besides, I was the Parish Secretary, not a Minister.   He said something to me that day that changed my life.   He told me that there was no such thing as “just a Parish Secretary”.  He explained that, indeed, I was not a Minster of the Word, or a Minister of the Eucharist.  I did not facilitate a Bible Study or act as an Usher at Sunday Mass.

Instead, I ministered to the ministers.  I ministered to every person that walked in the front door of our parish office.  I was often the first person they saw that represented the parish and perhaps the Church.

So I set aside “Martha” (I still had to clean up the breakfast), followed him to the church, and became “Mary” for the morning.  At a short break, I told Father that I was back in Martha mode, worrying about setting up lunch.  He said he would find a few people to help me and the group would delay lunch by a few minutes and we could get it set up AFTER the morning session was completed.

At the conclusion of the day, we sang “Here I am, Lord”.  To this day, I still cry every time I hear/sing that song.   It reminds me that God intended for me to be there FOR HIM just as He is here for us.  God has no hands by ours; hands to do His work, arms to embrace a lost soul.

God places people and situations in our lives all the time that will lead us to the answers.  We just need live with our eyes, minds, and hearts open to these opportunities.

 

Lord, You’ve given me many gifts in my life. 

You placed me with parents who truly love me and then you stayed by to offer counsel and support.

You helped me find someone with whom I can share my life; a man who is genuine and supportive.

You placed in my arms two of your sweetest angels and trusted me with the responsibility of raising them.

You steered me to a job that allows me to serve you in a very special way.

You gave me friends who are always there for me with love and support and sometimes just a sympathetic ear…friends who allow me to be myself.

You’ve given me so much…probably more than I deserve.  It’s time for me to start giving something back to you.

 I will glorify You by allowing my job to be a special way to serve your people.

 I will glorify You by being a responsible parent to your little angels.

 I will glorify You by being the best friend I can for the people who count on me to be genuine and caring.

 In my work, in my friends, in my family, in every aspect of my life, I WILL GIVE GLORY TO YOU, O LORD!

 

 

 

Christian Stewards: People of the Resurrection

For those immersed in the secular world, Easter is long over. The pastel bunnies, the chocolate eggs, the color-splashed jelly beans which appeared in the marketplace so temptingly just as Christians were beginning the fasting of Lent, have long been swept from the store shelves to be replaced in anticipation of the next marketable holiday. For the Christian steward, how backward this all seems. Yes, we believe that the Paschal mystery and the life-changing events of Easter are not over. They are not an end but a triumphal beginning, and they have altered us in a quite radical way. The mystery and miracle of Easter challenge us to live as different people, as people of the Resurrection.

What does this mean? For those new Catholics who participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), a period of mystagogy helps to understand this mystery. Indeed, this ancient Greek word actually means “to lead through the mysteries.”

During mystagogia, many parishes introduce their new members to service in a quite practical way.

Here are the ministries of the parish; here are the charities we support; here are the needs of our community and our congregation.

How do you choose to live out your faith in the Resurrection in a quite tangible and real way? How do your gifts fit into our needs? Essentially, however, this is a question that the Easter season calls forth in all Christian stewards not just our newest members.

We have lived through Lent and the Paschal mysteries, all the while trying to deepen a relationship with the person of Christ. It’s as simple, yet as amazing and complex as that.

The deeper the relationship grows, the more we become rooted in it, the more this relationship with Christ comes to dominate our lives. We no longer compartmentalize Jesus, we hold him at our center. And the mysteries lead us to the fundamental question at the heart of all Christian stewardship, the question that Easter compels us to ask: How do I steward my resources – my time, my money, my abilities and gifts, my very life – so that they are in service to the Kingdom of God? It’s not a part-time question. It’s not a seasonal question that’s swept off the shelf periodically. It’s the basic question which the Easter season demands of us: Jesus, how do you want me to serve you?

How did you do with your Lenten promises/sacrifices this year?  Did you add something meaningful to your life or did you sacrifice something that brought you pleasure?  You might remember about my giving up my second cup of coffee.  I can’t believe that I managed to follow through with it all through Lent!  During that time, it became a habit NOT to have a second cup!  So it was good for the soul and good for the body!  A Blessed Easter Season to you.

 

 

 

Called to Care for Creation

Both Saint Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis remind us that it is a Gospel imperative that we be good stewards of the earth. What better way to remind us of their teaching than to observe Earth Day 2017 and be good stewards of this precious planet year-round. Earth Day will be observed worldwide on April 22. The first Earth Day was held in 1970, activating 20 million Americans and helping to pass legislation including the Clean Air Act.

Today, Earth Day is a global event and possibly the largest civic observance in the world. For the Catholic steward, this day is an affirmation of Pope Francis’ call to the world to embrace the ethical dimensions of climate change and our response to it in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si. During the 47 years since the first Earth Day, the world has become more conscious of environmental degradation and humans’ role in it. It can feel overwhelming, and we ask, what can one person do?

Pope Francis acknowledges technological fixes, global guidelines, international protocols. He praises solar energy and calls for a decrease in the use of non-renewables. But the pontiff calls for something more radical, more spiritual, and for the Christian steward more deeply challenging: “profound interior conversion.” Climate change, environmental destruction and a change in weather patterns, he reminds us, exert their greatest damage on the world’s poor. The poor are a major theme of Laudato Si, as they are of Francis’ papacy. He challenges us to examine the profit motive that often engulfs respect for nature. He challenges us to consider how the powerful and the rich of this earth are affecting the powerless. Pope Francis reminds us that care of creation is rooted in the Book of Genesis.

He begins his encyclical, the first ever dedicated solely to the environment, with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, and quotes frequently from his predecessors. This, he is telling us, is a spiritual and Catholic issue. In honor of Earth Day, consider what changes – perhaps some radical – you might make. “Live simply so that others may simply live,” has long been a mantra of the Christian steward. Begin by turning down the thermostat and promising to eschew one-use plastics. Take a reusuable bag to the grocery and a reusable container to the coffee shop. Cut down on frivolous buying. Consider what the “throwaway culture” of which Francis speaks means in your own life. Prayerfully consider your personal relationship to the poor. Make your environmental concerns known to your legislative representatives. “Teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe,” Pope Francis prays to a generous God, “for all things speak of you.”

 

 

Make Holy Week a Holy Time

Do you ever think about how you experience the cross of Jesus Christ? Do you ever think about the power of that cross in your daily life? Is the cross even relevant to your life? It is to stewards of the Lord, who recognize the hope Christ brings through the gift of his cross. They acknowledge that for them, the cross is their only hope. Being good stewards of our life in Christ is not easy, but to embrace the cross is not only countercultural, it seems absurd. Then again, we cannot avoid what Jesus said to his disciples: “If you wish to come after me you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. For if you wish to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake you will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). The cross is more readily embraced by people of faith who suffer, are poor, broken, or are the victims of such things as violence, oppression or natural disasters. They see the cross as the hope that no matter what has happened to them, God will see them through.   The Father did it for Jesus who hung on the cross, so surely their sufferings will be redeemed by Jesus’ sufferings. Where people possess much material abundance, comfort and leisure, however, there is a tendency to de-emphasize the cross, to draw away from it.

They can’t touch it or feel it so they wish to “save” their lives by looking to other things: power, wealth, fame, relevance, being the center of attention. What is preached about the cross from the pulpit sounds good, but in reality something more tangible is desired. Christ emptied himself completely in humble obedience, allowing himself to suffer and die out of compassion for the world (Philippians 2:6-11). Good stewards follow his example and work day-to-day to empty themselves and live compassionately; most noticeably by sharing their lives with others. As we approach the climax of our liturgical year, the Easter triduum, let us ask the Holy Spirit for an even deeper awareness of the cross in our lives. Let us find hope in the cross and pray that as we embrace it, we too will experience in a special way the joy of new life in the risen Lord.

Twenty-eight years ago, I was feeling a lot of angst and discontent with my personal burdens.  As Holy Week approached, I took some time to reflect and when I put it all in perspective, I was moved to write this poem:

You were born for me so long ago,

Long before my life began.

And now You’re giving up Your life;

You really ARE the Son of Man.

 

I carry my burdens like a cross;

I wonder what I’ll do.

But MY crosses are not as heavy

As the cross I’ve nailed You to.

 

The image of You on the cross

Haunts me night and day.

I look at what You’ve done for me,

Then I drop to my knees and pray:

 

“Jesus, You gave your life for me,

You died that day to set me free.

Free from sin to rise with You—

That’s what You wanted me to do.”

 

So why do I refuse to change?

I love You so—it all seems strange.

For every time I sin again,

I get a nail and drive it in.

 

…For every time I sin again

I get a nail and drive it in.

 

So why do I refuse to change?

I wish I knew.

It’s all so strange.

 

I love You, Lord.

Please…    Help me change.

 

 

CHOICES:  A or B?

Did you know that one night during the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, Annie Oakley could have stopped WWI from happening?

“What?”  Yes, it’s true.  Annie asked for a volunteer from the audience who would be happy to hold a cigar in their mouth from which she would shoot the ashes.  Usually her request was just met with laughter and her husband would begrudgingly be put in the firing line. But that night was different.

From the Royal box, a young Friedrich Wilhelm II (the Crown Prince of Germany) volunteered.   After some unexpected banter, she pulled the trigger. What happened next set the stage for the rest of modern human history.  If the bullet had landed squarely in Wilhelm’s temple, killing him instantly, there would not have been a World War I.   (He wouldn’t have been in power to react to the assignation of Archduke Ferdinand.)

As a result, there would not have been a  World War II. (There would have been no Treaty of Versailles and no sentiment by which Hitler could have been voted into power.)

Every choice and circumstance sets a different set of results into play.  Many movies have been written about “what if”.  That was part of the premise of the popular Back to the Future movies.

I’ve know of a person who met his wife as she was leaving the Student Union.  He had forgotten something, turned to go back to his car, and changed his mind.  Had he gone back, he would have missed the moment.  He wouldn’t have met her, gotten married, had the children they shared.  It goes on and on.

What about the time you are ready to leave the office and stop to answer the last call of the day?  It puts you 10 minutes behind schedule.  When you get on the road, the traffic is backed up from a serious accident.  If you had left at your regular time, you would probably been part of the accident scene.

These situations are serendipity at its best.  But what about when we are confronted with making a conscious choice in our lives?  What happens when you choose A instead of B?  What happens when you choose to not act at all?  An old rock band, Rush, sang: When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

The choices you make along your Faith Journey are just as important, if not more so.

We all know that we are expected to attend Mass every weekend.  And each weekend, many people make the conscious choice to sleep late, go to the soccer game, watch the football game.

Do you choose to not further your faith experience?   Our parish offers many opportunities for Adult Faith Formation.  These include Tuesday Scripture Study (1 & 7 p.m.) and Thursday Adult Ed (currently studying the writings of St. Augustine at 1 & 7 p.m.).  And during Lent, we have Food for the Body and Soul on Sunday night at 6 p.m.

Do you choose to follow the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?    Our parish has outreach opportunities to visit the sick, feed the hungry, pray for those in need.  If the parish doesn’t have the ministry you are looking for, you can pursue any of the Works of Mercy on your own or as a family.

EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE IS IMPORTANT.  Ask God for help; pray before your make them.  Ask for help from people you trust.  Make good choices.

 

Stewardship of Treasure

It has been four years since our parish community began to embrace Stewardship as a Way of Life.

During that time, we formed a Greeter Ministry and have become more welcoming and inviting to our existing community, new parishioners, and visitors.

We came to embrace the idea of being a Shared Parish and have come to know and appreciate the members of our parish who worship and minister in another language.

We began to see even more beyond ourselves and became more involved in ministry and outreach.

We formed a Stewardship Team whose mission is to help each other on their Faith Journey.

Our team has facilitated the distribution of devotionals and books, including three popular Matthew Kelly books.

They also created the annual Covenant with God, a popular tool to assess your level of personal spiritual growth.

Our parish has grown.   In the last 14 months, I personally met with 69 new families who had chosen to become an official part of our parish by completing the registration process.   They saw something good in our parish community and wanted to become a part of it.

Recently, all registered parishioners received a mailing that addressed Stewardship of Treasure.  I respectfully ask that you take some time to read the publication carefully and prayerfully discern God’s intention for you.

Enclosed with the brochure was a pledge card for the diocesan Annual Catholic Appeal.  This appeal supports the programs and services offered by the Diocese to the Catholics in San Diego & Imperial Counties.  Our 2017 assessment is $30,000.  Our parish is responsible for that amount, whether or not it comes from the parishioners.   Please consider helping our parish reach this goal.

If you remember the video we showed at Mass last September on Covenant Sunday, we mentioned that we wanted to improve communications.  We are ready to do just that!  We are starting a database of parishioners who want to be in touch via email to view reminders of events, notification of funerals, and special services.   Please complete the “Let’s Communicate” card so we can include you as well!

[If you wish to view the video again, it can be found on our web site.]

And lastly, I ask you to discern your financial commitment to the parish.   Your generosity is our only funding.  We rely on you for our operations and our special projects that allow us to maintain our historic church and campus and provide outreach and other special services.

Stewardship is a trinity.

As Grateful Disciples,

our response is to give of our Time,

our Talents & our Treasure.

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Love—The Annual Catholic Appeal

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  Our recent diocesan synod on marriage and family life, which brought together priests and lay representatives from every parish in San Diego and Imperial Counties, pointed once again to the vibrancy and depth of the Catholic community in the diocese of San Diego.  In tandem with our diocesan task forces on young adults, priestly vocation and Catholic schools, the Synod provided a set of new initiatives for our diocese designed to deepen the life of the Gospel in our midst and make Christ more present to family life, our children growing in faith, millennials and the elderly.

None of these initiatives could take form without the assistance of the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA).  Through your generous support, the diocese is able to carry out its work of training new priests, preparing couples for marriage, ministering to the poor, the marginalized and the imprisoned, training parish leaders to bring faith to children in our parish schools and religious formation programs, forming permanent deacons, and caring for the retired priests who have given the whole of their lives in service to the Church.

I invite you to prayerfully consider making a sacrificial gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal this year.  It constitutes a tangible pathway to answer the call for discipleship in the Church today by supporting the life of the diocese which in turn supports in so many critical ways both the life of the parishes and the work of the universal Church.   –  Most Reverend Robert McElroy, Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND TUITION ASSISTANCE:  With support from the Annual Catholic Appeal, we strive to make Catholic Education both affordable and accessible to every child and family who desires it, regardless of their background, neighborhood, family income or culture.  Tuition Assistance is provided to families who would otherwise not be able to afford sending their children to a Catholic School.

FORMATION IN THE FAITH:  The ACA provides funding for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministries, the Diocesan Institute and Youth Ministries.  These diocesan ministries coordinate training for Directors of Catechetical ministries, Youth Ministry Coordinators, catechists and religious education teachers as well as theological formation for adults.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES:  Following the example of Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve”, Catholic Charities is supported by the ACA in its effort to promote the dignity of the human person and its commitment to the Judeo-Christian version of justice and charity.  The agency assists almost 300,000 people each year through its expansive network of programs and services.

PRISON MINISTRY:  Chaplaincies at 27 different facilities impact the lives of over 25,000 inmates.  These include eight sheriff’s jails, five juvenile detention centers, three state prisons and four federal detention facilities.  Ministry supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal responds to the hunger that many of these inmates have to deepen their relationship with God.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY:  Young Adult Ministry reaches out and invites this age group to responsible participation in the full life and mission of the Church.  Faith-filled peer ministries and various social, service and spiritual opportunities strive to connect young adults to Christ and His Church.

RETIRED PRIESTS:  Fifty five retired priests of this diocese receive financial support so they can live in dignity, free of anxiety about their means of subsistence.  This support includes providing heath and auto insurance, and nursing care when required as well as supplementing their retirement and pension income when necessary.  Retired priest are also invited to the annual convocation of priests at no charge.

SEMINARIAN SUPPORT:  Our Diocese supports over 16 seminarians who are discerning a call to the priestly life and service in the Church.  Tuition and living expenses average around $45,000 per seminarian.  Three new priests were ordained for our diocese this past year.

 

JUMPSTART YOUR LENTEN JOURNEY

 

“Back in the day”, a young person was supposed to “have their act together” by the time they were in their early twenties.  Some even made career decisions when leaving high school and entering a particular college.  Not everything worked out exactly as planned, but many did.  And most were at least thinking seriously about their future.

Fast forward…  My two children are 31 and 32.  My sister’s daughter is 34.  It was very recently that we looked at each other and said “our kids have finally grown up”.

In the last two years, both of my children have married the love of their lives.  My son made a bold career move and joined the Navy at the age of 30.  My daughter and son-in-law are starting a family.  (You can start calling me “Nana” at the end of June!)

So, what does this have to do with you?    It’s okay to be a late bloomer.  Statistics show that the majority of Millennials are not coming into their own until their thirties.  They are not finding their career path or their life partner at an early age.  They are not starting families until their thirties or even forties.

The same goes for your Faith Journey.  Some people “get it” at an early age.  Some get it, and lose it, and get it again.  And some don’t have that “AHA” moment until much later.  As my niece loves to say, “It’s all good.”   God is there waiting for you the entire time, ready to welcome you into the fold (and most importantly, His loving arms).

When our parish introduced Stewardship as a Way of Life almost four years ago, many were skeptical.  I pray that, during this time, you have found some tools that have helped you get a little further along the path to Heaven.

To that end, each week on this page, I offer thoughts on living Stewardship in your everyday life.  Many weeks I sit down with a blank mind and a deadline and have Writer’s Block.  I pray to the Holy Spirit to inspire me and take a short break.  Within minutes, the story is able to write itself.  (And those are the weeks that I get the most feedback!)

Over the past several years, you have been gifted several Matthew Kelly books (Rediscover Catholicism, Rediscover Jesus, and just last week, Resisting Happiness).  There have been Daily Devotionals for Advent.

Last year we invited Renee Bondi to share her journey in testimony, prayer and song.  Bishop Brom visited us and talked on Mercy.  Leisa Anslinger has come to the parish several time to speak on living Stewardship.

Next week, we are hosting a Parish Lenten Mission.  Leisa will visit us again and talk with us about Living the Strengths that God has gifted to us.    During her presentation, she will reference the Gallup Strengthsfinder strengths and talents.  The material will be presented in such a way that you do not need to take this survey in advance.

But if you wish to have more insight before the Mission, just go to GallupStrengthsCenter.com.  You can take the personal assessment for $15.00 and get immediate results.

Our Parish Mission will be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 14-16 in the church, beginning at 6:30 p.m.   Each night builds on the others, but you are encouraged to come for as many or few as you are able.

Jumpstart your Lenten Journey!  See you there!

 

 

Internet Etiquette (“Netiquette”) For Christian Stewards

 

The internet can be a wonderful tool for Christian stewards to give witness to their faith, and knowing proper internet etiquette (“netiquette”) is important for exercising good Christian stewardship. Listed below are just a few netiquette principles to keep in mind when communicating over the internet.

BE KIND TO PEOPLE. Send messages that reveal a care and concern for others. Avoid posting comments that reveal impatience or lack restraint. Don’t use expressions that are vulgar, intemperate or aggressive in tone.

BE TRUTHFUL. When sending e-mails or using social networks, be sure what you are relating is accurate and do not leave false impressions. Avoid creating or promoting false online profiles or images of yourself.

BE HELPFUL TO OTHERS. Believe it or not, newcomers to online usage appear every day. If you encounter new internet users, help them.   Be patient and help newcomers understand appropriate internet use and “netiquette”.

ACT WITH COMPASSION AND EMPATHY. It is hard to share feelings on the internet. In person, people can see the genuine concern and love on our faces when sensitive issues arise. On the internet, messages can more easily be misinterpreted or we can respond in a way that appears curt or lacking in sympathy. Practice compassion online.

AVOID GOSSIP. Posting any form of gossip designed to slander, show disrespect or put down others behind their back (back-stabbing) should be avoided. We should also not share personal information about anyone without that person’s permission.

AVOID CHARACTER ASSASINATIONS.  Addressing others using derogatory terms such as “liars” or “morons” is certainly inappropriate for public forums, especially for a disciple of Jesus Christ.

AVOID “FLAMING” OR MATCHING “FLAME” FOR “FLAME”.  Flaming is an internet term meaning an exchange of inflammatory remarks with another in anger. Pause before reacting to someone’s post in anger, and pray before you decide on the appropriate response, or whether it might even be better not to respond in certain circumstances, rather than reacting in anger and posting words in an inflammatory manner. St. Paul wrote that if we bite and devour one another, we’ll only be consumed by one another. (Gal 5:15).

DON’T SEND MESSAGES USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Using ALL CAPS is generally perceived as “shouting” at others. It is considered as rude as it is inflammatory and should be avoided.

BE FORGIVING OF OTHER PEOPLES’ MISTAKES.   Mistakes, especially unintentional, do happen. Avoid scoffing or making fun of others’ mistakes in grammar. Where a message may be confusing or could be construed in a negative way, give the sender the benefit of the doubt. Ask for clarification where necessary.

LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS.  Think of two or three people to whom you can send a brief word of encouragement. Sometimes it is just, “Hi, I was just thinking about you and prayed that God bless you in a special way today.”

We can enjoy our internet communications and serve Jesus Christ at the same time. A principle of Christian stewardship is fundamental to internet communications: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.