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The Future of Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the keynote address at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in San Francisco. Facebook says people who use its Messenger chat service will soon be able to order flowers, request news articles and talk with businesses by sending them direct text messages. At its annual conference for software developers, Zuckerberg said the company is releasing new tools that businesses can use to build Facebook's annual developer's conference, F8, kicked off Tuesday morning in San Francisco with a keynote address from CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the state of the company and its vision for the future. The summit gives fans and developers alike the chance to learn more about the social network that links nearly a quarter of the world's more than seven billion people. Those who can't attend can watch online (after you finish reading this of course…).

Updates on Facebook's messenger service, its new live streaming capabilities, and the future of virtual reality are some of the conference's more anticipated offerings. But the biggest news, perhaps, is the company's plans for integrating "the next billion" in emerging markets around the world. New technology like Facebook Lite, a version of the program intended to work with limited 2G connections, is expected to help expand Facebook's reach into areas that are currently outside the social network's grasp.

The opportunity for Facebook and its partners to monetize that expansion is a big reason why one third of the roughly 2,600 developers planning to attend the conference will come from outside the U.S. By making it easier for businesses to utilize Facebook, and through advances in the social network's peer-to-peer payment system, companies large and small from around the globe can be more ready for that next generation of users to come online while also becoming better equipped to reach those already using the service.

Facebook's ability to profit other industries is one of the primary reasons it's worth an estimated $325 billion. Zuckerberg's company knows what it does best and, as a result, is able to focus its efforts to that end. Most everything they do is geared towards gaining new users and keeping them online for longer periods of time, thereby increasing users' exposure to the company's various clients and partners.

As Christians, perhaps we would be more effective at sharing the gospel if we took a similar approach. Each of us has been given a specific set of gifts and a calling to match for the purpose of better sharing God's message of salvation with those who desperately need to hear it (1 Corinthians 12:4–7). Too often though, we get so caught up with what we think sharing the gospel is supposed to look like that we forget to speak and act according to the unique purpose each of us has been given.

The core of the gospel message is the same for all believers (John 3:16, Romans 3:23–26), but how and with whom God has equipped you to share it may be drastically different from his calling on my life. That doesn't make it any better or worse, just different. If we can learn to focus on sharing God's offer of salvation according to the unique calling and purpose he has for each of us, then we would become far more effective at expanding his kingdom.

So take some time today to ask God to help you better understand how he has equipped you to most effectively share the gospel. And when you ask him to help you with that understanding, don't go into it with any preconceived notions about what it's supposed to look like. You are unique in God's kingdom, so how you are called to share his message is going to be inherently unique as well. That's a good thing, but only in so far as we understand how to use that uniqueness for his purposes. Do you?

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