The internet. You either love it or hate it.
There are so many positive legitimate websites on the net and behind every one of these are people who have the best interests for you and me. On the other hand, there are enough evil sites lurking on the net to sink a battleship. For every evil site there are evil people doing whatever they can to dupe, deceive, and defame the unsuspecting browser. Hacking and gaining access to personal information is (and I am guessing) a trillion dollar enterprise.
Take for instance the dilemma we are in here at First United Methodist Church in Lewistown. About 17 months ago, we launched a new website, our office manager informed our old website host to remove the old site, and all seemed good. Somewhere in the bowels of the interweb, a company or person decided to intercept our old website and cached it into the system. The site was corrupted and remains the number one choice for anyone searching for United Methodist Churches in Lewistown, PA. It's a dead link.
An unassuming person seeking to worship in a UM church might search any of the search engines and get this website suggestion: http://lewistownfum.com/ Sadly, anyone who clicks on this link takes the unsuspecting person to a dead website with nothing of value there. (This is a bad HYPERLINK) We are flummoxed about how to correct this issue.
The other day, a sales rep from the Chamber of Commerce stopped by to promote the Juniata Valley publication that lists all that our fine area has to offer. She said something that caught my attention. Audrey, mentioned a newer feature that comes along with our proposed advertisement. We are tied into an electronic version of the publication. Anytime a person seeks to visit our area and goes online to search for things like churches, they hover over and click the ad for First UMC and it will take the person right to our website. Great! Our advertisement is a hyperlink right to our website. Whoa! Wait a minute!!! Which site will the person be led toward??? Will they fall into the old site trap that leads nowhere? Ughhhhh......
We gave Audrey our updated information which contains the correct website. Then it hit me.
When people are seeking Jesus Christ, it should be assumed they can talk to another believer and immediately be connected to Jesus. Are we Christians a living HYPERLINK that connects people with the risen Christ? God forbid a person would trust us enough to talk about spiritual things and end up being connected to a Gospel that has been corrupted by any number of things. The empty person seeking fulfillment in Jesus walks away as empty as they were when they first approached us.
Given the swirling confusion in our world, we need to consider our hyperlink to Jesus. Which link are we? Do we have the best interest of others at heart and want them to experience the risen Christ? Hope so.
I'm asking a huge favor here. If you love Jesus and understand His grace and forgiveness, be an intentional living hyperlink for Him. If your relationship with Jesus has been corrupted, then seek to repair and renew it.
Oh, and if you know how to purge old website addresses from the internet, could you let me know.
Until then, please use the following website to find Jesus and the power of His resurrection!