• 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…

  • Short Reviews – A Review of My Recent Reading List (2019 – 3rd Quarter)

    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.* I thought it might be helpful to share a few insights from my reading. Please note, this is not a formal review, but I will state if I recommend the read. My goal here is to simply provide a few key insights from each book. *Someday I will do an update on that series on this new site, but you can find my…

  • Pride and Platforms

    Is it wrong for Christians to have a platform? While I began to cover that idea last week, I did not get to the heart of the challenge. As I mentioned in last week’s post, Christians are to have and exert influence. Without influence we cannot make disciples. And we are commanded to make disciples by the One who has all authority (Matthew 28.18-20). To have an influence is, in effect, to have a platform. But having a platform with a few is much different than having a platform to reach the masses. And, for the Christian, that is the challenge. I clearly stated last week that it is not…

  • Having a Platform

    We live in an age that allows a lot of people to have a platform for promoting something, including themselves. Have you ever wondered how having a platform relates to Christianity? In our world today, and particularly through social media, many people have developed a platform. For most, this platform has provided them to have a voice when otherwise their voice would not have been heard. In some cases, those voices have been helpful. In others, they have not been. Now, depending upon who you are and what you believe about any particular aspect of life, you may disagree on which voices are helpful and which are not, but we…

  • The Year = xxx9

    During the past two weeks, this blog has shared a couple of announcements related to a new podcast (Christian Educator Weekly) and a new structure (4L Ministries). Both of these announcements are, in part, due to reflections that I have been making personally over the past few months. During my reflection, I realized something a little odd. The year ends in 9. That is, this is 2019. Now, that does not really mean much in general. But perhaps something is hidden within me that needs to be addressed. See, I was born in 1970. So, any year that ends in a 9 means that I am about to face a…