• Armistice!

    Each year, on November 11, most Americans take time to honor our veterans. The day has been known as Veterans Day since 1954. Prior to that, the day was known as Armistice Day and was first celebrated in 1919 one year after “the war to end all wars” came to an end which ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. President Wilson declared that all Americans “should be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service.” Eight years later, Congress passed a resolution requesting President Coolidge proclaim an annual celebration of the day, and would…

  • Nothing New Under the Sun (Go Vote)

      “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” -Ecclesiastes 1.9   These words were written approximately 3000 years ago by The Preacher (Eccl 1.1; ESV, NASB, etc.; or the Teacher as some other translations use), who many consider to have been King Solomon. Of course, the writer did not mean that the world would not see innovation; rather, the nature of man and of relationships would be unchanging from a birds-eye view. That is true in so many areas, including the one on which I rarely post or comment publicly – politics.…

  • 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…