• Do We Know Its Christmas

    It is December. And that means many Americans and others around the world are really stressed. If you were alive in the 1980s, you might remember the advent of several types of “aid” campaigns. The biggest of these was likely Live Aid which raised millions for Africa in 1985, and particularly for the famine in Ethiopia. A year prior, a song was recorded by several musicians who banded together (called Band Aid) to record a song entitled “Do They Know Its Christmas?” (Early the next year, in 1985, even more artists grouped together as “USA for Africa” to record “We Are the World”.) The point of the song (Do They…

  • Giving Thanks

    If you live in the United States, you likely celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. (This posted on Friday, November 29, 2019). Now, I realize that many people had a difficult time giving thanks because of some circumstance in their life. And certainly, certain challenges in our lives make being thankful difficult. But the Bible does command us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5.18). Notice, it does not say to be thankful for all circumstances. Thus, we can find reason to give thanks even when the circumstances around us are not favorable. Personally, I have much for which to be thankful. I was able to spend time with family yesterday.…

  • Imitating God

    Have you read the Bible? I mean really read the Bible? If so, you know one of the most understated verses in the Bible is Romans 3.23 which says that we all fall short of God’s glory. One of the reasons I like the Bible is because it is real. It shows the good, the bad, the ugly, and the really ugly. We have heroes like David, Paul, and many others who were far from perfect. In fact, apart from Jesus, I think Daniel is about as close to perfect as we might find based upon the evidence in the Bible. The reality is that knowing our biblical heroes are…

  • A Worthy Walk

    You have likely heard the phrase, “He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk?” This phrase (or something similar) is used in many different areas of life. Perhaps it is someone boasting about their ability in sports or acting or any number of other areas. But the statement is certainly true of living as a Christian. And for those who cannot walk the walk, well, we (yes, I include myself), we are called hypocrites. The reality is that no one who has ever been a Christian is able to perfectly walk the walk. And yet, we are to talk the talk. That is, we are to teach…

  • Choosing a Response Through Pain

    What comes to mind when you hear the term Christian? <Pause to allow yourself to really think about that term for a minute.> For me, the focus is on the first part of that word – Christ. And, to me, that is good. It represents goodness, even perfection. It represents love. It represents peace. And so much more. But for many the word has a very different meaning. It represents judgment, hatred, hypocrisy, and so much more. And I get that. Many so-called Christians do not live as Christ lived. But the name actually was given to people for living differently – in, not of, you might say. Last week,…

  • CEW is Launching

    The wait is over. Ok, so not everyone has been waiting, but some have, and for those who have, the wait ends Monday, November 4. You may recall that during the first part of this year, I did a series on administering the church. It is natural for me to talk about such matters because it is one of the courses I teach at seminary. But, frankly, it represented a drift from the overall purpose of this blog. If I squint and look hard enough, I can see a connection, but, well, fotonni is not meant for that purpose. So, in the last post in June, I mentioned a change…

  • Tests, Commands, and the Spirit of God

    During the last couple of posts, I have been writing about the tests that Christians face. Sometimes these tests are internal (should I really do that?) and some are external (“I can’t believe what is happening!”). Regardless, all people face these types of tests, but as Christians, we are commanded to pass tests that may seem impossible to pass. In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote of many tests. Of course, we must understand that Paul’s writings were never just written randomly. He was addressing real issues in real churches. And the letter we call 1 Thessalonians was no exception. For the sake of space, I…

  • Tests and Faith

    Are you someone that likes tests? People respond to tests very differently. Some people thrive on the pressure (whether the pressure is perceived or real). Some people crumble. Others focus less on the fact that something is a test, and just consider whatever is before them, the next task to be completed. But what is true for all of us is that we all face tests. Every day. Of course, the tests that we face change over the course of our lives. In grade school, we have tests in subjects such as math and spelling. As we grow a little older, more specific studies are added, and thus, more tests…

  • Comparing Faith

    Do you compare your faith to others? As humans, it is difficult, if not impossible to avoid making comparisons to one another. Some comparisons are simple and unimportant. For instance, I am taller than my wife. That is a comparative statement, but it is a fact. And it is not a problem unless we allow it to be a problem like using names and labels against another person. Again, some comparisons are harmless, but all comparisons can be problematic if we abuse the facts. Some people have more resources than others. Some people are healthier than others. Some people have more friends than others. Data can support each of those…

  • Desires vs Pride

    Many people will link the desire to lead with a mindset of pride. I believe this is a false interpretation. However, it does not matter what I believe. Let me conclude this brief series on having a platform by looking at a couple of verses in the Bible related to desire. Before I look at the verses though, let me clarify that desire can lead to pride. And pride can be the result of desire. However, can is different than will. Perhaps it is rare when the two are not bound together, but they do not have to be. After all, the Bible is clear that God is opposed to…