• 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,…

  • 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…

  • Renewal or Resolutions

    What do you do differently this year than you did last year? Is that difference helpful? These questions are basically the intent of the resolutions many people make at the end of every year. Essentially a resolution says, “I want to make a certain change in my life in order for something to be true.” But the reality is that most of us do not have the willpower to follow through on our desires. Thus, perhaps the naming convention should be New Year’s Intentions instead of New Year’s Resolutions. I used to make resolutions. For instance, one year my wife and I decided to join a gym because we wanted…