• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • Communicating With God, Part 2

    In last week’s post, I wrote of our need to pray. Why do we need to pray? Because Jesus did. And Jesus is God. So, if He, as the Son, needed to pray to the Father, then we do too. But the concept of prayer is scary to most people. Why? In part because we make it more than it is. What do I mean? Well, prayer is simply communicating. Granted, that communication is with an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, holy, and unseen God, but it is still simply communicating. So, today, I want to show you that prayer is not really much different than how you already communicate. We simply…

  • Communicating With God, Part 1

    Why is it, in a time when we cannot escape communication, we find it more difficult than ever to communicate with God? Well, the answer cannot be because we do not know how to communicate. Communication is everywhere. The light on our phone is constantly blinking which is a message from our phone to us that we have some message or action that needs to be addressed. Messages come in the form of text messages, FaceBook posts or through Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And occasionally our phones even receive a call! Likewise, advertisements are all around us as we walk, bike, or drive around. As we watch television we see…