• 3 Tips for Those Who Find it Hard to Pray for Others

    In one of the courses I teach, the first part of the class focuses on helping church leaders know more about themselves – that is, the way God made them, gifted them, and how to organize their lives to be more effective as leaders within their respective churches. One of the aspects in Week 1 is to do a spiritual gift inventory. I realize many are skeptical of these inventories and they do have many weaknesses the greatest of which is trying to objectively measure something that is divinely given. However, these assessments can help people to gain a perspective on their ministry and why some things seem to come…

  • Learning to Give It All

      This past weekend, I preached from the last portion of Acts 5. My sermon was on the emphasis of our need to revere (worship) Jesus and how true reverence will cause us to live our lives in a constant state of worship. That does not mean singing songs constantly; rather, it means everything we do is done with the intention of bringing God glory. But as I have reflected on the message over the past couple of days, I have realized that the full chapter (Acts 5) is a perfect contrast of being “in and of the world” versus being “in, but not of the world.” The chapter begins…

  • The Equippers

    Everyone who is in vocational ministry knows the words of Paul in Ephesians 4.12: “to equip the saints.” Paul’s statement is about those whom God has given to the church (v.11) to help the church “for the work of ministry” and “building up the body of Christ” (v. 12) until complete unity has been achieved (v.13). These verses represent both a charge and a challenge to those called to serve in churches. We are called to encourage others to serve. We are called to inspire others for service. We are called to partner with others to serve. But who equips those who equip? The easy answer to that question is…

  • Living In Not Of

    Welcome to the new home of the fotonni blog! In the initial post of this blog, I want to briefly share a thought about the general idea of living in, not of, the world, and then explain why doing so is such a challenge. (I hope most posts are not quite this long, but this post is necessary for an overall explanation, so I will share in full, even if it is a little lengthy.) First, we are to live in the world, not of it (in, not of, which backwards spells fotonni) because Jesus prayed for us to do so (see John 17.14-18). But living in this manner is…