Thinking about Christian bumper stickers

So this is an unusual find this weekend. One of Alexander’s roommates shared this with me. You can ask for 10 random “Christian” bumper stickers from the website below, or select 10 that you want for free. I definitely do NOT agree with all the messages included in their bumper sticker menu, but I DO agree with many of them. In most cases, these short messages encourage some worthwhile, critical thinking. Some reference Bible verses, most do not.

As an example of a bumper sticker message with which I disagree: We don’t simply need to require / mandate prayer in public schools to remove all ills, like drug abuse or premarital sex from teen and adult culture. I happen to work at a school that mandates chapel for all students, and I can tell you this is not received well by many of the students. At some point I will write a blog post reflecting on mandatory chapel. I am definitely a fan, and I love having chapel services at our school, but it is recklessly naïve for people to think we simply need to mandate prayer and Bible reading in schools and this will heal all of our society’s ills like a magic wand. God has the power to heal any of us at any time, but the mechanism of his healing for our culture is not via a mandated school Bible curriculum in public or private schools. If you’re a little fuzzy on historic problems with mandated religion, refer to the English Wikipedia article for the “European Wars of Religion:”

It is true bumper stickers on our cars can provide an opportunity to encourage people to think about questions of faith, morality and propriety. I don’t think putting a bumper sticker on your car is going to realistically lead to immediate, life changing decisions for people to turn their lives over to God and reject evil, but it’s worth considering whether or not this is something you want to do. Check it out: www.christianbumpersticker.org

I think a more random selection of these bumper stickers could be used as a catalyst for excellent conversations in a Sunday school class, about our beliefs and the ways in which we are called to advocate for and work for God‘s kingdom on earth.

The Gospel Encounter of the Apostle Paul (Part 1)

Last week in our “Gospel Encounters” adult Sunday School class on February 3, 2019, we started a multi-part study on transformative experiences of the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus. These were the notes I took during our class discussion:

We started by using the KWL strategy about Paul’s life and conversion: What do we KNOW, what do we WANT to know, and what have we LEARNED?

Some of the things class members shared that they know about Paul, his life and his conversion to become a follower of Jesus were:

  1. Saul was a persecutor of the early Christian church
  2. Saul was highly schooled (reminded us of Pastor Mateen Elass)
  3. He was “a Pharisee’s Pharisee” (someone who ardently followed all the directives and prescriptions of Jewish law)
  4. He was born a Roman citizen
  5. He was zealous
  6. Paul wrote most of the letters included in the New Testament
  7. Paul had important arguments with the Apostle Peter, over the historic requirements of Jews to follow dietary restrictions and men to submit to circumcision
  8. Paul went on several important missionary journeys
  9. Saul was a tent maker by trade
  10. God annointed Paul as His missionary to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Gentiles (non-Jews)
  11. Paul’s letter to the Galatians addresses the toxic organizational structure of that early church, and includes his teachings on how to properly handle church leadership and organization

Things we WANT to know include:

  1. Where was/is Tarsus? (a historic city in south-central Turkey)
  2. How did a person become a Roman citizen?

We read the 9th chapter of the Book of Acts from the New International Version, which is the first of three accounts of Paul’s conversion which are included in Acts. (The others are in Acts 22 and Acts 26.) After reading this chapter, we watched the 5.5 minute video, “The Road to Damascus – Saul Takes his Journey.” Since this video was published by the Mormon Church, I shared the same disclaimer I have before when sharing Mormon videos: Some of the videos shared by the LDS church (like this one) are outstanding, but my use of them in teaching does NOT constitute an endorsement or recommendation of LDS theology.

After watching the video, we discussed in small groups and then shared together things which stood out for us, after reading Acts 9 and watching this video. Some of the standouts were:

  1. Paul’s conversion experience was VERY dramatic
  2. The events detailed in scripture and depicted in the video required obedience on the part of both Paul and Ananias.
  3. The video did a good job portraying the tenderness of Paul after his conversion experience, it’s both understandable and reasonable that he was extremely humbled by this experience on the road to Damascus.
  4. In his communication to Ananias, God reveals his plan for Paul to be his missionary to the Gentiles, bring them the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  5. Paul’s response to his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus included baptism, an act in which his old identity (Saul) was washed away and he was reborn into his new identity (Paul)

This coming Sunday (tomorrow) we’ll continue our study of Paul, his conversion experience, and the lessons we can glean from this powerful Gospel encounter with Jesus Christ!

Gospel Encounters: Sharing our Journey of Faith to Jesus

Today in our adult Sunday School class, continuing our focus on both historical and contemporary “Gospel Encounters” with Jesus, I shared my personal testimony as well as a framework for “Sharing our Journey of Faith to Jesus.” This is based on a four part framework explained on our church‘s new website, “7 Core Practices,” detailed in the post from August 2018, “Going Deeper Into Your Story.” Here are the slides I used during today’s lesson.

I referenced a video about part of my testimony which I recorded and posted to YouTube in September 2011, titled “God Answered My Prayer in Pilot Training.”

I initially wrote about this on my professional blog in August 2006, before I created this separate space as my “Christian blog.” It was initially named “Eyes Right,” before I changed it to “Pocket Share Jesus” to align with the “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” book and evangelism empowerment project.

This was the first time I shared parts of “my story” publicly which followed the events described in the above video. Those experiences from my life in February 1994 are likely things I will never put online and share digitally, but I am glad to have an opportunity to share them in person with others with the hope and prayer they will serve as an encouragement which points others to Jesus Christ.

I hope and pray today’s lesson highlighted the ways God has and continues to be active in my life and the life of our family. I also hope it was an encouragement to us all to share our own Gospel story with others. Check out 7corepractices.com for more inspiration and practical suggestions about ways we can serve and share Jesus Christ in our homes, workplaces, and communities. Also check out www.dw4jc.com for suggestions and strategies for how we can share scripture, our stories, and our witness of God’s Holy Spirit being active in our lives using digital media.

* Added 27 October 2018: I shared a modified version of these slides, with a few photos from pilot training which I dug out of our garage, in a presentation for our Friday Morning Men’s group on October 26, 2018.

Podcast12: Unleash Your Digital Creativity for Jesus (May 2018)

This is an audio recording of Wesley Fryer’s workshop at the May 5, 2018, MoRanch Men’s Conference near Hunt, Texas. The title of the session was, “Pocket Share Jesus: Be a Digital Witness for Christ.”

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The session description was:

This workshop will empower you as a Christian to share the transforming reality and love of God with others around the world through multimedia and social media. By creating and sharing Bible verse “infopics,” creating sketchnotes and narrated sketchnotes and recording “quick edit” video interviews on mission trips, we can digitally amplify and share God’s Word and work with others.

Slides for this session, which include live hyperlinks, are embedded below and also available on wfryer.me/mo2018. This presentation is also linked on the main project site for “Pocket Share: Be a Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” www.dw4jc.com. Videos shared and referenced in this presentation are also embedded below. Refer to the podcast shownotes for links to many referenced resources from this session.

Show Notes:

  1. Presentation Slides on Google Slides
  2. MoRanch Men’s Conference
  3. Contact Wes Fryer
  4. Wes Fryer’s Christian Twitter channel: @pocketshare
  5. Wes Fryer’s professional Twitter channel: @wfryer
  6. Wes’ Bible Verse InfoPics on iCloud: wfryer.me/bible
  7. Photos on Instagram tagged #dw4jc
  8. Wes’ Flickr album of Bible Verse InfoPics
  9. YouVersion Bible App
  10. InfoPics Chapter of Pocket Share Jesus
  11. Recommended website source for royalty free/remixable photos: unsplash.com
  12. Adobe Spark Post (online version)
  13. Adobe Spark Post: Poster Maker for iOS
  14. 7 minute [VIDEO] tutorial – App Smash: Bible Verse Infopics
  15. Sketchnotes Chapter of Pocket Share Jesus
  16. Flick album of Sketchnotes by Wes Fryer (includes sermon sketchnotes)
  17. 63 second [VIDEO] tutorial: Tips for Sketchnoting
  18. The Noun Project (great source for icons)
  19. Best TEDx Talk Ever: “Drawing in Class” by Rachel Smith (@ninmah)
  20. John 15: Bearing Fruit for Jesus (Narrated sermon sketch note)
  21. Narrated Sketchnotes Chapter of Pocket Share Jesus

Family Faith Story Sharing Challenge

Since our regular Sunday School teacher has come down with the flu and is also planning to travel out of town over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I’m going to have an opportunity to teach as a substitute the next two Sundays. Our teacher gave me the green light to depart from our normal book study lessons (on “The Comeback” by Louie Giglio). Tomorrow I’m going to share a challenge inspired by the “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” project.

You can access the full, printable, 1 page “Family Faith Story Sharing Challenge” as a Google Document.

Please share this document and project with others! To facilitate easier reading and sharing of this project, I’ve copied and pasted the text of the Google Document project description below.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Why: God calls us to praise Him, to share the reasons for the joy we have, to show & tell the love of his Son, Jesus, and to be his witnesses in our communities and around the world. (More on www.dw4jc.com/why/)
When: As you gather with family this holiday season…

What: Take some time to:

  1. Audio record at least a five minute faith story with an iPhone
  2. Ask for your interviewee’s permission to share their story with others online
  3. Share the story electronically by either:
    1. Posting it as a video to Facebook
    2. Emailing it to other relatives

How:

  1. Download the free iPhone app “Voice Record Pro” (wfryer.me/vrp)
    Press the red REC (record) button to start recording, then START in the upper right corner.
  2. Ask good open-ended questions like these:
    1. How do you know God is real?
    2. Who do you believe Jesus is?
    3. How have you seen God act in your life?
    4. Tell me a story about your life when you have needed God the most.
    5. How has your relationship with God changed as you’ve gotten older?
  3. Press STOP (square icon) when finished.
  4. Tap the CAMERA icon to add a photo if desired. (optional)
  5. Choose SAVE IN PHOTO ALBUM – SAVE.
  6. Select the desired template which will show date/time info and a photo if you added one.
  7. Tap CONTINUE.
  8. SHARE your recorded interview as a video:
    1. On Facebook by uploading it to your profile with a short message. Add the hashtag #dw4jc
    2. By emailing it to other family members

Tips:

  1. Step out of your comfort zone to accept this challenge! God calls us to be bold and courageous!
  2. Find a quiet room to record your interview.
  3. Share the questions you will ask with your interviewee in advance.
  4. Take a photo (selfie) of you with your interviewee before you start recording.
  5. Consider also uploading your audio recording (saved as a video) to YouTube.
  6. Ask someone else for help if you get stuck on any technical issues.
  7. Access examples of faith story interviews on faithstories.speedofcreativity.org.

Image Attribution: Turkey icon by IconFactoryTeam on The Noun project. Microphone icon by Edward Boatman on The Noun Project.

App Smash: Creating Bible Info Pics

Today I’m sharing a chapel talk at school for upper division, middle division, and lower division students. The talk is repeated, so I’ll simplify it in several ways for the younger elementary students. The title of the talk is, “Pocket Share Jesus with Bible Verse InfoPics.” These are my slides, which include a sped-up video (4X) showing the steps for using these apps. iPhone apps demonstrated include the YouVersion Bible, Safari with the website PhotosForClass.com, Adobe Spark Post, Instagram and EchoFon.

I created a 7 minute narrated screencast demonstrating these steps as well, which I published to YouTube.

These resources are now included on the InfoPics page of the “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” website, as well as the “Pocket Share Jesus” page where I’m sharing presentation slides on the topics of this project.

This is a work in progress! Please send feedback / suggestions to @wfryer on Twitter or via webform.

Sermon Sketchnote on Psalms 78:1-8

This is my narrated sermon sketchnote and sketchnote for today’s sermon by Jen Howat on Psalms 78:1-8 at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma. Key points were:

  1. Don’t hide God’s good news about Jesus Christ!
  2. Remember God calls us to SHARE with others
  3. As disciples we should be reproducing: Helping GROW other disciples!
  4. People can’t follow Jesus if they haven’t heard about him from someone
  5. Remember those who POURED their lives into you as a believer, and resolve to “pour yourself” in a mentor/apprentice relationship into others
  6. It’s good for God to create TENSION in our hearts: Encouraging us to SHARE JESUS with others!

Pocket Share Jesus #MoRanch2016 Workshop Proposal

This year during the first weekend in May, I’ll make my annual pilgrimage to the Hill Country of Texas to participate in the Mo Ranch Men’s Conference. This is the largest gathering of Presbyterian men in the United States every year, and it’s become an important weekend of both fellowship and renewal for me. My dad will not be able to come with me this year, unfortunately. The years I’ve been able to attend the conference with him have been some of my favorite memories in recent times.

I am going to share a workshop this year which continues the book and media sharing project, “Digital Witness 4 Jesus Christ.” Since most of the conference attendees are older men, however, it’s vital I choose a session title and focus which is not intimidating or scary. Otherwise (as I’ve learned in past years) not many men will come to the session.

Here’s what I’ve come up with for this year, with the help of my wise wife. The title will be, “Pocket Share Jesus.” The description is:

Come learn how to share your favorite Bible verses with your children and grandchildren, using your phone or iPad. Learn how to share inspiring quotations from a Kindle book you’re reading from Amazon. Practical and hands-on steps! This session is designed specifically for grandfathers who are not tech savvy! Resources on www.dw4jc.com

This is what I shared for my conference bio:

Wes Fryer is a follower of Jesus Christ in Oklahoma City. He is active in his church men’s ministry, kids ministry, and adult Sunday school class. He is an ordained church deacon and elder. He is a member of First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma. Wes’ background includes service in the US Air Force and work as an elementary school teacher. He is currently the Director of Technology for Casady School in OKC.

Last night I added two more chapters to the #dw4jc project website, one for “eBook Quotations” and one for “Narrated Sketchnotes.” I’m going to also add one for Bible quotations, primarily using the YouVersion Bible app. In my Mo Ranch workshop this year, I think I’ll focus on the “Bible Quotations” and “eBook Quotations” skills, along with a little about why we should digitally share our faith.

Rather than focus on “outside sharing” with social media, however, I think I’ll focus on “inside sharing” with family and friends. This builds on some ideas I shared in a secular / educational conference setting last Friday in Tulsa. I’m looking forward to another spring weekend with other Christian men at Mo Ranch!

Energized to Tell God’s Story Through Creative Expression

Yesterday on Saturday, August 22, 2015, Shelly and I participated in a wonderful morning workshop at Frontline Church in Oklahoma City. Our friend Kori Hall was one of the organizers of this unique event, called “Story: The Six Days In Between.” The description of the event on the Frontline blog was:

A conversation and workshop
For artists and creatives
Telling the story
Of gospel collision
With human lives

I’m not sure exactly how many people attended, but I’d guess around 75. The morning started off with musician and worship leader, Charlie Hall, explaining the background and vision for the Story Workshop.

I hadn’t pre-planned doing this, but I realized shortly after the workshop started it might be good to broadcast and archive some of the event via Periscope. Last week I learned about and registered with Katch, which is a free cloud service that archives Periscope video broadcasts so they remain online and archived longer than 24 hours. I didn’t Periscope Charlie’s initial comments, so I’ll attempt to paraphrase.

Basically, some of the leaders within Frontline Church have been planning this Story Workshop as a way to encourage networking and collaboration among artistic creatives within their community as well as the larger Oklahoma City metro area. We all have different gifts from God, and I liked what Charlie had to say about how the things we make with our gifts do NOT define who we are… yet that is a tendency we all have as human beings. Charlie encouraged us to lay our gifts at the feet of Christ, and seek to find ways to collaborate together to creatively share SNAPSHOTS of life as followers of Christ to a world in need of the hope which God offers. I love Frontline’s core mission: “To love God, to love others, and to push back darkness.” The Story Workshop is a way to invite and empower a diverse group of creative individuals to intentionally focus on telling God’s story in our community through a variety of voices and mediums.

I started to Periscope the opening session as filmmaker and videographer Derek Watson (of Lampstand Media in OKC) shared about the power of story and introduced a short video collaboration he created with Kori. I later cross-posted this video to YouTube.

I hope they will post that video online at some point, and if they do I’ll definitely update this post and insert it. It was powerful. Kori is an amazing “spoken word” poet and performer, and the video featured prose she wrote and shared.

After the introductory session, we each selected a different breakout session. The choices were Film, Visual Art, Performance Art, Writing, Photography, and Music. I was going to attend Film, but Shelly asked if I was going to writing… she was planning to stay for film. She’s helped her 3rd and 4th graders at Positive Tomorrows the past two years create and share some wonderful videos on their classroom YouTube channel,  and wanted to get some ideas for elevating their digital storytelling projects. Since I’m continuing to help organize the local “Write Well, Sell Well Conference” for writers in Oklahoma City, it did make sense for me to join the writer’s breakout… and I’m very glad I did.

We had a great turnout of over twenty people for the writing group, and we started (similar to a WordPress OKC Meetup) by having everyone briefly share about themselves and their current writing project(s) or interests.

I have worked on a variety of Christian-related media projects and websites the past 9 years, since we moved to Oklahoma, but this month I got the idea of naming the book project I’ve been wanting to write “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ.” I registered this domain on August 8th (dw4jc.com) and decided the corresponding hashtag (#dw4jc) would be both unique and good since it’s so short. I brainstormed and wrote down about seven book chapter titles, and then set aside this project to work on later.

During Saturday’s Story Workshop, I was struck (again) by how important it is for writers to have both catalysts for writing and accountability partners. I often create because of deadlines: Conferences at which I present or deadlines which are related to upcoming professional development events.

During our writing time in the breakout session, I uploaded and configured WordPress on the dw4jc.com website, but didn’t have time to write much content on it.

Inspired by the Story Workshop, last night I spent about five hours installing CommentPress, creating the chapter pages for the “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” book project, and writing some content on each of the pages so early visitors could get a partial look into the focus and ideas of the project.

Four years ago when I was teaching one day per week at the University of North Texas and writing the first three chapters of my dissertation, I thought of the “3 Minutes About Jesus” project and registered a corresponding domain. In the succeeding years, I recorded and shared several videos on the site… but it wasn’t something that “took off” or I spent lots of time trying to develop.

When I thought of the dw4jc.com domain earlier this month, I also thought it would be good to use the October 23-24, Write Well, Sell Well Conference as a deadline to get an initial version of the book finished to share in printed form. This may seem like an unrealistic deadline, but it’s similar to timelines I’ve followed previously for other books I’ve self-published. I’m not positive if I’ll make that deadline, but the Story Workshop certainly served as a catalyst for me to take significant steps in this writing project.

Here’s the Katch archived Periscope video of the Story Workshop closing session with Charlie Hall. It’s also cross-posted to YouTube.

Like Kori, I’m looking forward to seeing where this collaboration is going to take us!

Here’s a Storify archive of all the tweets sharing during yesterday’s workshop.

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