• 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…

  • 4L Ministries

    Last week, I announced the launch of a new podcast about education and administration within the church (primarily). That podcast, Christian Educator Weekly (CEW), fits well within my scope of work and within my overall life goals and plans. But that addition also brings a new change to our ministry. If you have been reading this blog for a few years you may remember a series I did on the previous site (fotonni.blogspot.com) about the 4Ls. The 4L’s – Learn, Live, Love, Lead – are the steps by which I fulfill my strategy to accomplish my mission, and fulfill the vision I have for my life. Most everything I do…

  • Announcing CEW

    This blog is meant to help us to live in, not of the world. In fact, that is the title of this blog in reverse. fotonni are the letters to the words “in not of” spelled backwards. The idea is that Christians should see this world as different than God intended. Instead of doing something upside-down, I chose to reverse the order of the letters. fotonni was the first emphasis of my personal ministry. By personal ministry, I mean what I do outside of my role on staff at a church. fotonni began in late 2003 and has largely focused on blogging over the past 7+ years. However, my ministry…

  • Communicating With God, Part 3

    In last week’s post, I shared three aspects of what prayer can (should?) be. Like with all communication between close friends, we should find ourselves sending messages and expecting replies, receiving messages and sending replies, and regularly checking in with the other person. But prayer is not just talking with any person, it is talking to God. And thus, most of us struggle with these concepts for a variety of reasons. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons is a fear of asking hard questions. Honestly, most people struggle with having difficult conversations in general. We like easy, and non-committal conversations but going deeper makes us vulnerable. And being vulnerable,…