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How to use the Hootlet Chrome plug-in now that Facebook has changed the partner API policy


UPDATE: The folks at Hootsuite are seriously "Johnny-On-The-Spot"! They've already made fixes so that the following blog post is already outdated. BOOM!  Nevertheless, I'll leave this post up as a record of how much chaos heavy-handed API changes can cause for end-users. ;-)

In case you haven’t noticed, Facebook made some API changes recently that resulted in a significant shift in how third-party platforms function, even when not being used to post or schedule posts to Facebook.
Here’s part of the explanation/notice from Hootsuite:
“Facebook requires that messages posted to Facebook be fully user generated, and not pre-filled with any content that the user did not write themselves.” You can read the rest here: Facebook Platform Policy 2.3 Updates.
The bottom line is that the Hootlet no longer works like it used to, even if you are scheduling for Twitter, not Facebook. After a little bit of experimentation, here’s how the Hootlet now seems to works for Twitter.
  1. Navigate to an article you want to share. Click the Hootlet icon in your toolbar.
  2. The new dialogue/share window which pops up will look like this:



  3. Select the Twitter profile you want to post to or schedule for.

  4. Your Twitter post will be constructed with the following parameters:

  5. Here’s the info from the previous image after being shared on Twitter, noting that the content below the "C" link will NOT show up in your Twitter post:

Have I left anything out? Let me know in the comments!
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A Simple Solution for Those Who Disagree with the Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage



It is official: The Church drug its feet, and has lost the battle over marriage. Government and homosexual advocates have co-opted the word "marriage" and redefined it to suit their purposes. There is no going back (at least not any time soon … if ever). As they say, that ship has sailed.

For those who are bothered by this, I have an idea of how to “fix” this situation, but first some groundwork.

What has been the “stated” goal of same-sex advocates? The hashtag says it plainly: #EqualityForAll. We could have easily solved that by adopting my initial “simple solution” and dropping the word marriage altogether. Everyone gets a civil union. Everyone is “equal.” But few people bought into my proposal. Only a couple of thousand people even read it. I suspect that, even had my proposal gone viral and received national attention in every news outlet, every pulpit, and bent the ear of every politician, it still would have been rejected because it would have seemed like a compromise for both sides. In the end, there had to be a winner and a loser. That’s the American Way. So those who support traditional marriage between one man and one woman (apparently the overwhelming majority of Americans by a 12 to 1 vote ratio in State amendments) lost. Those who support same-sex marriage won. Game over.

To the winners: congratulations. You showed tenacity and commitment, and you had a brilliant, shrewd strategy that you stuck with start to finish. You earned the win. Kudos. The “losers” could learn a lot from you in that respect. It reminds me of the words of Jesus: “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries than the people of light” (Luke 16:8).

So, what about the losers? What has been the driving force behind their less-than-stellar opposition to such a vocal and potent minority? I think part of the problem is that the opposition could not really be powerfully summed up in a hashtag. (As a branding person, I mean that sincerely.) But if I had to encapsulate it in the smallest statement possible, I’d say it was a desire to be recognized as having something different, something “loftier,” something divinely ordained. Those who support traditional marriage did not want the unions they have with their opposite-sex husband or wife to be demoted and equated with the same-sex unions proposed by those who supported this new definition of marriage.

So I have another simple solution, a way for the “losers” in this socio-political game to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Move the goal line. Raise the bar. How? Glad you asked.

Give up on the word “marriage.” Accept its full demotion. [Relax, take a deep breath, and stay with me. I think you’ll at least appreciate where this is going, even if you disagree.] And for those congregations who still believe that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexual relationships cannot and will not be recognized or blessed by God, refuse to hold "marriage" ceremonies for anyone, under any circumstance. Set yourself free from the tyranny by joining the #SCOTUS (and culture, to a small extent) in demoting “marriage” to the place of a civil/government program, required by law in order to enjoy certain legal benefits. In plain language, accept that the bar for marriage has been lowered and that marriage is now nothing more than a legally binding contract. Stop trying to give meaning and power to a word which has lost its meaning and power both in the eyes of civil society and the government.

Think about it. If the word "marriage" is now legally and culturally defined and recognized to include what you see as sinful activities and mindsets, then you should put a little distance between yourself and that word. Instead, I suggest the Church begin to offer restricted "Covenant Union" ceremonies, available only for one man and one woman who have professed their mutual faith in and commitment to Christ—“till death do us part.” Covenant Unions would then become a sacrament of the Church, like baptism and communion.

By leaving the "legal marriage" business to the government and other organizations that have no problem endorsing homosexual activity, the Church can return to focusing on sacraments—a practice that no law will ever be able to co-opt. By doing so, the Church rids itself of any legal issues concerning the secular marriage ceremony.

What we used to refer to as “marriage”—a union established by God in Genesis 2:21-25 and upheld by Christ in Mark 10:5-9—needs a new, more powerful, more descriptive name for disciples of Christ: a Covenant Union. Those who believe that only a husband and a wife can become sexually yoked without shame and joined by God the Father as one flesh need a way to describe that union without allowing it to become legally entangled or culturally irrelevant. Let’s be honest: those who oppose same-sex relationships do so because they view those relationships as a shameful celebration of sin. And if those relationships are to be associated with marriage, then the Church must accept marriage as something far less than the standard by which we conduct our own relationships.

So I challenge you, Church: Put up or shut up. If you really believe that the Christian union between a woman and man is somehow “better” than a same-sex partnership, prove it. Raise the bar. I urge you to adopt the sacrament of a Covenant Union as your standard. In fact, my wife and I have often discussed renewing our vows. As far as I am concerned, the “marriage license” we have is now of no greater value than our drivers licenses. It is legally necessary in a civil society, but religiously irrelevant. Since we have always approached our relationship as a covenant, we are now looking to make our covenant ceremonially official, as a public statement that what we have is far more than a marriage—it is sacred and holy.

The added beauty of this approach (and, frankly, what makes it much better than my previous proposal) is that it requires no government intervention of any kind. In fact, any effort to turn Covenant Unions into a kind of legal ceremony will eventually be no different than marriage. We are in our current state because the Church gave marriage over to the government. It was Luther himself who said marriage is “a worldly thing ... that belongs to the realm of government.” We do not need the government involved in a Church sacrament. All that to say, you can make this change yourself. You need no permission from anyone to move forward. Decide today that you will abandon the civil idea of marriage as your goal and allow it to be what it now is: a legal agreement. Then, make your true goal the sacrament of a Covenant Union. Ask your pastor to do the same. If you are engaged, go to the court house, do your due diligence to secure a civil marriage license, and then plan a Covenant Union ceremony to make it matter. And if you are already legally married, ask your pastor to perform a vow renewal ceremony under the banner of a Covenant Union. Local congregations can establish their own guidelines for Covenant Unions, and/or denominational headquarters can set standards for each of their congregations.

Move the goal. Raise the bar. Set it much higher. Snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and allow your Covenant Union to become what it was always intended to be: an example to the world of God’s Covenant Union with His Bride, the Church.
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The Confederate Flag Battle

For the record, I do not currently own anything with a Confederate flag on it. Growing up in South Georgia, I knew it as the "Rebel Flag" and used it as a curtain in my bedroom. It was just another piece of art, along with a hundred or so heavy metal posters which adorned every square inch of wall space. When I became a Christian (mid-80s), I got rid of it (and the posters) because "rebellion" seemed at odds with the person I was trying to become. To my knowledge (i.e., the friends and family I had contact with, black and white), never once was the flag associated with slavery or hatred for another race. For me, it was simply a symbol of regional pride. Think about it: How many times have you seen a southern roadside stop selling wares with the phrase “Southern and proud of it!” (or similar phrase) accompanied by a Confederate flag emblem? I know, you will point out the history of the situation as you’ve been taught. I’m not trying to debate history. I have friends who are much more capable of making that debate, and so I’ll leave that to the experts and all you who aren’t experts but play one on social media. I’m merely pointing out my own experience as a bona fide Southerner, born and raised in the Deep South. I’ve never in my entire life met a single human being for whom the Confederate flag was a rallying call to hate people of color. Maybe I was just naïve or sheltered. I’m OK with that as well.

Fast-forward 35 years, and much has changed. A June 24 article from Reuters pointed out that Google, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart have all jumped on the “ban the Confederate flag” movement, ignited by the demonic attack that happened in Charleston, South Carolina, leaving nine people dead. Now, as I previously stated, I do not own (or sell) any confederate flag merchandise, so I’m not personally affected by a ban. But I fear that I will be greatly affected by the movement itself. Here’s why.

That same June 24 article from Reuters went on to say, “In announcing its decision to pull Confederate flags on Tuesday, eBay said the banner had become a ‘contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.’”

Notice the phrase “had become.” So even eBay is passively admitting that the symbol has not always been (or in every case been) a symbol of racism or hate. And then there’s this statement from Google: “We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group.” Generally perceived? Hmmm.

For a country that has always prided itself on Liberty and Free Speech, we are on dangerously thin ice, here. And for those of us who are disciples of Christ, the threat seems even more ominous.

While it may be hard for some to understand, there is, in fact, a war on Christian values, both in this country and around the globe. The war did not begin this week, this year, or even this century. Americans didn’t even start the war as it preceded our history by more than a millennia. But it is real. What has changed is the number of vocal opponents and the number of laws being enacted to limit Christianity’s reach and influence upon society at large. So, what happens when the efforts of those who want a society free from religious ideals, values and beliefs are successful in having those things labeled as “divisive and hateful?” One only need to look to other countries to see some implications of this already in action. And if the Confederate flag issue is any indication, the move to ban Christianity from the public sphere could be swift and exacting given the right ignition switch. That’s frightening on every level imaginable.

I recognize that this is a very complicated and nuanced issue, that my perspective is subjective and limited by my experience, and that there is plenty of room for civil debate. I also realize that, for you, the Confederate flag may well be a symbol of racism. I’m sorry for that. I do not share your perspective, though I can comprehend it. But we must also admit that most people don’t think very deeply about these type issues. Instead, we go with gut reactions (as evidenced by the swift move on the part of corporate and government types this week concerning the Confederate flag). That’s all the more reason we should think twice about jumping on the bandwagon to ban the flag and begin cleansing Southern culture of public references to the Confederacy. That action could one day become a nightmare of our own making—allowing something we associate with to become labeled as hate and banned from the public sphere as well. That thought should send cold chills down your spine.

P.S. As I was getting ready to post this, a friend of mine shared this article by Robin Koerner titled “150 Years After the Civil War, How That Flag Comes Down.” It is a thought-provoking piece with a unique perspective and well worth your time to read.
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Losers, Baseball, and Mindsets

This morning I had the privilege of sharing a morning devotion with 100 or so Regional Speech and Debate competitors from the NCFCA. I thought I'd post the "transcript" of that message here for those who may have missed the devotion as well as for those who simply need a word of encouragement. The message I had for them was tailored to the speech and debate competitor, but I think you'll find the overall theme can be applied to each of us in one way or another.


Take a good long look at the people around you--left, right, front, behind. You ALL have something in common and I bet you'll never guess what that is.

Go ahead. Take a guess.

Ready for the answer?

You are all losers.

That wasn’t very nice, was it?

Before you get too offended, let me clarify. I don't mean "Loser” as in the infamous L-shaped-hand-gesture-to-the-forehead, I mean that you've all lost. Repeatedly. Even the so-called "winners" in the room have lost far more often than they've won.

You've lost arguments. You've lost debate rounds. You've lost speech competitions. You've lost athletic events. You've lost. And losing can be tough.

Any baseball fans in the room today? I truly love baseball because Baseball players have to learn to cope with defeat more constantly than any other athlete.

If you know anything about baseball, you know that even the greatest players in history only have batting averages in the .300s. Ty Cobb’s lifetime batting average was .366. Ted Williams was .344. Babe Ruth: .342. Lou Gehrig: .340. Hank Aaron: .305. Mickey Mantle: .298.

That means that for every ten times these Hall-of-Famers got up to bat, they either struck out or batted out seven times. Seven out of ten times they failed. 70% fail rate. Wow.

Sports columnists Thomas Boswell once said:

“A losing streak can mount up on you so much quicker than a winning streak that it's a kind of terror that grips a team. It's like the spooky music that runs under baseball.”

So how do baseball players learn to deal with SO MUCH constant “failure” and loss?

It could be their superstitious nature. Or maybe they are just mentally deranged? Can they not see that getting out 7 out of 10 times is a horrible track record?

I think Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has the answer.

Dweck has spent decades of research on achievement and success, which she wrote about in her book called Mindsets.

According to Dweck, mindsets are just beliefs—beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.
  • your intelligence,
  • your talents,
  • your personality.
QUESTION: Are these qualities simply fixed traits, carved in stone? ~OR~ are they things you can cultivate throughout your life? According to Dweck, your answer indicates whether or not you have a FIXED or GROWTH mindset.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities—intelligence, talent, etc.—are simply fixed traits. They spend their time PROVING those qualities over and over. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? And they have no strategy to deal with failure. They give up and move on to something easier.

By contrast, in a growth mindset, your qualities—the hand you’re dealt in life—is just the starting point for development. Someone with a growth mindset isn’t focused on PROVING but on IMPROVING. They believe everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

This growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. People with a growth mindset understand that no one has ever accomplished great things—not Tchaikovsky or Ty Cobb—without years of passionate practice and learning.

Dweck argues—quite convincingly—that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life and what you will be able to accomplish.

Why waste time PROVING over and over how great you are, when you could be IMPROVING instead? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives—those times when the losses seem to be mounting up.

Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Phillipians (3:2-15, NET):

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh!
For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, exult in Christ Jesus, and do not rely on human credentials – though mine too are significant. If someone thinks he has good reasons to put confidence in human credentials, I have more:
I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews.
I lived according to the law as a Pharisee.
In my zeal for God I persecuted the church.
According to the righteousness stipulated in the law I was blameless.
But these assets I have come to regard as liabilities because of Christ.
More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung!– that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness– a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness.
My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways.

The Apostle Paul did not have a fixed mindset. He did NOT believe that who he was and what he was capable of was fixed, written in stone. He believed in a God who makes change and growth possible—and so he determined to continue learning, continue growing, and continue IMPROVING!

I challenge you: when you walk into a room today and prepare to debate or give a speech, check your mindset. Are you going in there to PROVE yourself to be a winner (fixed mindset)

~OR~

Are you stepping in that room and looking at those judges, that moment, as one more chance to IMPROVE yourself—to become a better speaker, a better debater?

If you choose the latter, you have already won, regardless of how you score on the judges ballots.

Medals, awards, certificates … these are all great. But let’s be honest: They have no value in and of themselves. You can’t resell them—even on Craigs List—for more than a buck a piece. But IMPROVING yourself, LEARNING to be a better speaker than you were, a better debater than you were, that knowledge is a priceless treasure that will profoundly impact your life—far more than any trophy or award ever will!

Say this with me:
  • Always learning!
  • Always growing!
  • Always Improving!
Now go learn. Grow. Improve. Always.

More Bible Passages

For those who would like to explore this topic from a biblical perspective, I encourage you to meditate on the following passages of Scripture:
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Are You a Spiritual Diabetic?



According to Healthline.com, “29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, 8.1 million of whom may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. In adults 20 and older, more than one in every 10 people suffers from diabetes.”

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, those levels can become dangerously high, potentially damaging nerves, skin, eyes, kidneys, and bladder.

That’s why diabetics are told to monitor what they eat and drink. A cupcake can pose a real risk under the right conditions. But what about “all the good stuff” they have to miss out on? Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day … those may have come and gone, but there are plenty more holidays on the way, and holidays often bring indulgences at social gatherings. Should diabetics be expected to “miss out” on what “everyone else” at the big shin-dig is enjoying?

In a word, yes. It is the sacrifice they must make in order to stay focused on the "mission" of better health. To quote Count Rugen from The Princess Bride: “If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.”

The truth us, we are all diabetics, spiritually speaking. Our bodies are flawed. They do not have the ability to regulate themselves and stay on track. That’s why we need Christ. That's why we need God's Word. Oftentimes it is incredibly tempting as believers to see things that the rest of the world is indulging in and think, They look like they are having so much fun. No one is getting hurt. No laws are being broken. Can’t I just do what they are doing? What could it hurt?

Please ... stop excusing disobedience. Furthermore, don’t mistake God’s amazing grace for His approval. Yes, God is long-suffering. But think of how much healthier we could be if we just learned to obey God's Word. In other words, what if instead of having a "missing out" mindset we chose instead to have a "mission-oriented" mindset? Think about it.
  • They look like they are having so much fun. No one is getting hurt. No laws are being broken. Can’t I just do what they are doing? What could it hurt? Have you ever felt this way?
  • Why is the thought of “missing out” so compelling? Why do we care?
  • What would you say are the most common things that the world wants us to think we are “missing out on”?
Throughout the Old Testament, Israel often found some lame excuse to try and justify their disobedience or to excuse them from submitting to God’s will. We’d do well to learn from their mistakes.
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LUCKY!


Do you consider yourself to be a "lucky" person? How about a "blessed" person?

In 2000, recording artist Rachel Lampa released a song that you may remember:

“I am blessed / I am blessed / From when I rise up in the morning / 'Till I lay my head to rest.”

Are you blessed? Perhaps more importantly, what exactly does that mean? What sort of “proof” does that conjure up in your mind? Do you think of your family? Your job? Your great hair or flawless tan?

It’s interesting when we look at Matthew 5:1-12, some of Jesus’ remarks about the "blessed" are so counter-intuitive: Poor in spirit; mournful; persecuted; insulted. It's doubtful that very many of us would call ourselves "blessed" in these contexts.

There’s even more shocking stuff tucked away in these so-called “beatitudes” of the blessed. The Greek word is makarios, which means “fortunate, well off, happy.” It isn't a particularly religious word at all (especially when compared to eulogia). It describes someone who is in an enviable or "fortunate" position. It corresponds to the Hebrew asar and connotes someone whose paths are straight. In other words, no matter what, in the end, everything always seems to work out for this guy or gal. In the immortal proclamation of Napoleon Dynamite: “Lu-cky-y-y!”

Strange, right? Can you even imagine hearing these words: “Dude! Mr. Poor in spirit. You are lu-cky-y-y!” or “Whoa! Crying man. You are so-o-o lucky!” Weird. But keep in mind—not lucky as in some random chance of the cosmos or the result of owning a rabbit’s foot, but lucky as in being in the right place at the right time. How so? Because the Kingdom of heaven is near! Your circumstances are just right for the intervening grace of God. You will be comforted. You will inherit the earth. You will be satisfied. You will be shown mercy. You will see God. You will be called the children of God. If grace were a seed, your circumstances are the exact kind of soil that the blessings of God thrive in. “Lu-cky-y-y!”

Your circumstances may not make you feel very “lucky” or blessed, but you are, because you are a disciple of Christ, and each step of faith and obedience puts you in the right place the right time for God’s guidance and care. Lu-cky-y-y!
  • Have you ever thought about the beatitudes in this way? What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
  • Is this the kind of message that would appeal more to the person who seems to have been “born with a silver spoon in her mouth,” or to the person who is struggling?
  • Given the historical context, Jesus’ audience was most likely filled with those who were struggling—the poor, the lonely, the hurting. How do you think they responded to his message?
The beatitudes are the most well-known “blessed” verses, but there are plenty of others. If you really want to learn the secret to getting "lucky"—to being in the right place at the right time to experience God's blessings—take a look at these verses (opens a PDF via Google Drive)!
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Is God's Word Like a Map?


We have a small group of believers ranging in age from nine to 50-something that meet in our home each week for prayer, fellowship, a meal, and Bible study. The Bible study portion of our time together is very interactive. We read Scripture, we ask questions, we make observations; we wrestle and chew on the concepts that present themselves from God’s word. We rarely have any 3-point lesson plans to guide us. As you might imagine, that leads to some fun and interesting conversations, but it also leads to some really amazing “A-HA!” moments for our little community of faith.

Recently, we were discussing the concept of sin as “missing the mark.” The focus was on how we seem to be constantly getting off-target and on how God works to get us back on target. One of the teens in the group piped up and said, “So, it’s like a divine GPS! And God is constantly having to repeat the same patient phrase: ‘Rerouting…’”

Dr. Lee Roy Martin notes that the popular idea of God’s Word being a road map is not without merit, but it is “too impersonal.” It doesn’t take into account the fact that God has a purpose and plan for each of us. God interacts with us through His word, His Spirit, prayer, and more. A GPS (while still not perfect) is a much better analogy, I think, because it recognizes both the reality of a destination and the interaction along the way. Our challenge is in learning to recognize and trust His voice as He divinely directs our paths each day . . . hopefully without too much rerouting being necessary.
  • Has God ever spoken to you . . . not necessarily in an audible voice, but in a way that you were sure that it was Him?
  • Why do you suppose it seems so difficult at times to recognize God’s voice when He speaks?
  • Do you think God ever gets tired of having to constantly “reroute” us in order to keep us on track?
For deeper study, consider reading the story of Hannah and Samuel in 1 Samuel and consider how God’s providential guidance was at work in their lives.
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