“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
Facebook is changing its company name next week to focus on building the “metaverse.” What is the metaverse, you ask?
The term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where it referred to a 3D world inhabited by avatars of real people. BBC reports that the metaverse “could be to [virtual reality] what the modern smartphone is to the first clunky mobile phones of the 1980s.” The article explains, “Instead of being on a computer, in the metaverse you might use a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments. . . . this virtual world could be used for practically anything—work, play, concerts, cinema trips—or just hanging out.”
Facebook is making a huge investment in the metaverse, announcing its plan to hire ten thousand people in Europe to build it. You can already use technology to stage “watch” and “listen” parties with nearly every streaming and gaming company. This is apparently the next step.
Donald Trump is launching “TRUTH Social”
In other digital news, former President Trump has announced plans to launch his own social media platform early next year. He’s calling it TRUTH Social and considers it part of his efforts to fight back against “the Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”
Meanwhile, PayPal is reportedly in late stage talks to acquire Pinterest at a cost of $45 billion. And the Wall Street Journal reports that a ransomware gang masqueraded as a real company to recruit tech talent.
Digital news makes the news daily. There is much you can do online, with more coming. But a cell phone cannot hug a grieving spouse. A laptop cannot open Christmas presents from your grandparents. A tablet cannot substitute for a parent at a recital or baseball game.
In a new poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans who use social media platforms believe life was better without them. While Pascal was right to observe that there is a “God-shaped emptiness” in our souls, there is a “people-shaped emptiness” in us as well. The first time God ever said something was “not good,” he made this declaration: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
Real people need real people. And that’s the good news we’ll discuss today.
“The key to a fulfilled life”
Oscar Thompson’s Concentric Circles of Concern: From Self to Others Through Life-Style Evangelism is a classic in the field. Dr. Thompson, a longtime pastor and evangelism professor, identifies seven relational “circles” in our lives: self, family, relatives, friends, neighbors-associates, acquaintances, and “Person X” whom we’ve not yet met.
He notes: “The key to a fulfilled life is relationships. Things do not satisfy; relationships do.” His book encourages us to first “get right with God, self, and others,” since we cannot give what we do not have or lead people where we are unwilling to go. When “you do get things right in your own life with God,” he writes, “he will begin to engineer humanly impossible circumstances to bring more people into your concentric circles to have their needs met.” As a result, “You become fulfilled as you see the fruit of God’s Spirit impacting the lives of those around you.”
Dr. Thompson adds: “When you make Christ Lord of your life, you forever surrender the right to choose whom you will love.” It is that love for others that fuels all we do to serve our Lord (cf. Matthew 22:37–40).
Next, we are to survey our relationships, work with God through prayer, build relationship bridges to them, show God’s love by meeting needs, make disciples and help them grow, and then help new Christians make disciples.
Dr. Thompson is right: the people in your spheres of influence “are there for you to love—to meet their needs—so the Father can draw them to his Son Jesus.” He notes that we need to start where we are, since “you will not have a ministry in the future if you do not have it now. . . . So, remember that your ministry is not out there somewhere in the future; it is now!”
Why Luka Doncic is already an MVP
As the NBA season begins this week, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is the clear favorite to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) when the season ends. But he is already the MVP for patients at Children’s Health in Dallas and Plano, arranging for a bag of surprises to be delivered to eighty patients Tuesday. They included a pair of Jordan sneakers; a Jordan drawstring, bag, hoodie, and socks; as well as a letter from Luka and a signed photo.
You will probably never compete in the NBA and may never attain the celebrity of a basketball superstar. But God has entrusted someone’s needs to your care today. He has prepared someone for you to share your compassion and faith with them. He has prepared you for that relationship as well.
So, ask him to put that person on your mind and heart right now with Samuel’s prayer, “Speak, Lᴏʀᴅ, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9 NLT). Then say to God with Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Yesterday morning, I was walking in our neighborhood before dawn under a beautiful harvest moon. The moon reflected the sun’s rays so powerfully, they cast my shadow ahead of me as I walked. However, before long I came under a streetlight; its brilliance far outshone the moon.
Obviously, a streetlight cannot compare with the moon for luminosity. But it was so much closer to me than the moon that its light illuminated the entire block where I was walking.
You and I are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) as we reflect Jesus, the “light of the world” (John 8:12). We are like the moon reflecting the rays from our Source. We therefore need to be aligned with Jesus and we need to be close to those who need his light in their darkness.
Who will walk under your “streetlight” today?
NOTE: The Ten Commandments are the ancient “rules of the game” from God that tell us how to live if we want to live well. I unpack each of these rules in my tenth volume of Biblical Insight to Tough Questions, where I seek to answer questions about how to handle our ambitions, religion, stress, parents, enemies, sex, possessions, lies, and lusts. Please request your copy of this new resource* today.
*You can also pre-order the entire 10-volume set of Biblical Insight to Tough Questions, where I unapologetically answer dozens of our culture’s toughest questions with Scripture.