• Preparing for 2021

    What is culture? If we are to be in the world, not of it, then we must consider what it is that we are “in.” It is not just the world that we are in, it is a particular culture (or multiple cultures). And therefore, we need to consider culture more deeply. (This has become more clear to me for multiple reasons including the two previous posts on this blog about 1) what do I mean to be in the world for God or in God for the world and 2) having influence not fame?) So, developing a better understanding of culture requires a deeper look – a much deeper…

  • A Clarifying Statement

    What do you want from your life? That question will draw a lot of different responses and many reasons for those responses. I have known my answer for several years, but I have not been able to articulate it as clearly as I would have liked. That changed last week. I will share my newfound clarity momentarily, but first, let me share the challenge. If you have been following this blog for long you know that I want to encourage people, including myself to live in, not of the world. That is the message of fotonni (again, fotonni is in not of spelled backwards – we need to turn the…

  • A Question to Take Seriously

    What is culture? That question is very simple on the surface. We hear the word all the time. The term is common and is used in many different ways. But when you stop to think about the definition, it can be more complex. I recently started a new course as a student to “change” my doctoral degree. Our first assignment was to read a couple of books (actually three, but I am just starting the third one) and develop a cogent definition of culture that will work for our church and the community. Thus, the definition must be broad enough so as not to isolate one particular aspect, but I…

  • Applying the System – A Second Look

    How do you make decisions? That was the question last week, and now I return to it next week. As I mentioned then, the decisions I am referencing are life decisions, not the average decisions we make daily – although the theory does still work. The purpose of this post is to provide another example of how I use my system to make decisions. Last week, I shared how I made a decision to return to school for a different doctoral degree. I encourage you to read that post as it provides additional context. Today, I will speak about a more difficult decision – one that did not align originally…

  • Applying the System – Example 1

    How do you make decisions? Well, I would guess most of the decisions you make on a daily basis are made by thinking, without thinking. This idea is known as unconscious competence. It is the idea that we do many things so well we don’t have to think about doing them. For instance, when you walk, you slightly bend the left knee as you lift your left foot, extend your left leg, straighten the knee, plant the left foot, and then begin the same process with your right knee, foot, leg, etc. And then you repeat. And all of this is done without any real thought (for most people). So…

  • Deciding To Do What’s Next

    What do you need to do next? The answer to that question will have similarities for many people; however, the answer will be different for every one of us. But by what needs to be done next, I am not asking you to consider, “Should I finish reading this blog post or should I…?” Certainly, that question is pertinent for this moment, but it may not matter in five minutes. It certainly will not matter in five days or five years. Instead, what I mean by the opening question is what is the next thing that you are to do according to living out your SYSTEM.* *If you are reading…

  • The System – Conclusion

    “Give to Ceasar what is Caesar’s. Give to God what is God’s.” – Jesus Jesus said these words on the day of testing during His final week of life. Just like the lambs were to be tested for spots and blemishes before the Passover (Exodus 12), the religious leaders of the day were testing Jesus in much the same way (albeit unknowingly). Different groups came to challenge Jesus that day (the accounts can be found in Matthew 21-22, Mark 11-12, and Luke 20). They challenged him about His authority, the resurrection, the Great Commandment, and paying taxes to Rome, which is the focus here. Many people have heard this story,…

  • Make Disciples

    “Follow Me.” – Jesus “Make disciples.” – Jesus In last week’s post, I shared how I see my SYSTEM fitting into the invitation (and command) to follow Jesus (Matthew 4.19). This week, I will share how the SYSTEM fits into the Great Commission (Matthew 28.19-20). The text of the Great Commission is: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” As is often mentioned, the only verb in this actual commissioning…

  • Short Reviews – A Review of My Recent Reading List (2020 – 3rd Qtr)

    On the right side of this blog, I provide my current reading list. While I often read other books simultaneously, my goal each quarter is to read one book from each of the “steps” that help me fulfill my strategy which is comprised of the acrostic LEARN.* Therefore, I choose the books I read carefully because I want them to help me improve as a teacher, a pastor, a leader, and most importantly as a person. Thus, I rarely read books that are disappointing to me. However, some are more helpful than others, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few insights from my reading, in case…

  • Follow Me

    “Follow Me.” – Jesus “Make disciples.” – Jesus As a Christian Educator, I have learned the value of teaching for cognitive (head), affective (heart), and psychomotor (hands) learning. In the next two weeks, I want to share how Jesus’ command not only captures each of those three learning domains, but also how the two quotes above encapsulate Jesus’ plan and model for discipleship, while connecting both quotes to the 4L’s, and thus the SYSTEM, I have been writing about for months. This week, I begin with Jesus’ words to “Follow Me.” These words are found in Matthew 4.19. Some will consider them an invitation. Others will hear them as a…