Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Looking Ahead

Today's post is shorter due to my being out of town and without good (free) internet access. I find this ironic as I am in St Louis, yet I normally reside (post) from a small town in NW Missouri. I am attending our denomination's annual state convention this week, and a focus has been made on discipleship. Having finished my series on the JOURNEY, my intention for this blog was to focus on matters of Kingdom-living (living in, not of - fotonni). One very important element of this is discipleship, but learning to live with a Kingdom mindset is more than just discipleship, at least as it is often considered. As has been posted throughout this blog's introductory series on the JOURNEY, we cannot properly function without intertwining each of the five functions – discipleship, fellowship, worship, ministry, and evangelism.

That said, much of this blog's posts will be on the function of discipleship. There are a number of experts in each area of focus, and though I am no expert on discipleship, my background and training is in the area of Christian Education and my heart is to make disciples. Indeed, I am still learning about being a disciple myself. My own journey has been drastically impacted within the context of James 4.7-8 this week as God has spoken to me often over the last three days since I preached on that passage.

As I close today, I leave you with a two brief quotes from the teaching part of the convention. If you follow me on twitter (@andybraams), you may have already seen these, but if not they are worthy to preserve.

"The only thing Jesus has authorized us to do is to make disciples." (Matthew 28)
- Bill Hull

"The Christian life is not a negotiation. It is a surrender."
- Bill Hull

So, my challenge to each of us today is to surrender our life to the King and make disciples in, and for, His name.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Y - You

The final letter in JOURNEY is obviously Y. The Y stands for you. This letter stands as far from the J as possible, which is appropriate since YOU (and me) are as far from Jesus as possible, apart from the grace of God.

Each one of us is on a journey. Some have long traveled the road with Jesus. Others are just getting started. Still others may not know a journey exists, or perhaps have chosen a journey separate from God. Regardless, we are all on some sort of journey. However, the Christian JOURNEY insists that we listen to Jesus' words of "Follow Me".

That's what this first series of the blog has been about - a brief introduction to the various responsibilities we, as the Church, have in following Jesus. Each of the letters obviously have a great deal to further explore, but again, this brief series can serve as a starting point. Each of us is to be, and make disciples (O-bserve). We are all to be in fellowship (U-nity). We must worship God (R-evere). We are called to minister to others (N-urture). And we must evangelize (E-voke). Though these letters may not represent a true sequence, they are all necessary as we respond in faith to bring Y-ou and J-esus closer together.

The living out of the JOURNEY day by day is one part of the equation. But making sure you have chosen the right path for the JOURNEY is the critical first step. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14.6) He is the way. We can't come except by the way He had made. These terms reflect travel language - like that of a journey.

That is the ultimate question here. This isn't hypothetical. When talking to His disciples in Matthew 16, Jesus asked them what the general sentiment of the people were about Him. But then He got personal. He asked them, "Who do you say that I am?"

These were His closest followers. His closest friends. They had spent a great deal of time with Him. They had seen Jesus do countless miracles. They had witnessed Jesus challenge the conventional religion of the day. Jesus knew these men and women had chosen to follow Him, but now wanted to get to their intentions. What was their purpose in being there? What was their purpose in being with Him? What were their expectations? Thus, His question, "Who do you say that I am?

Is Jesus asking the same question of YOU?

Sure, the articles in this series may sound reasonable in their usage. It is easier to consider when you don't have to be personal with it. Of course, you may agree with my usage of these letters or you may not. That question may have relevance, but it isn't the most important.

What is important is what YOU decide to do with Jesus.

Will YOU follow Jesus and embark on the JOURNEY He has for YOU?

Or will YOU turn and go down a path separate from Him?

Whom do you say Jesus is?

Friday, October 26, 2012

E - Evoke

As we wind down towards the end of our journey through the word JOURNEY, we come to the letter E. In this context, we can let it be for the word evoke. Evoke isn't an overly common word, but essentially it is "to call up" or "to elicit". Of course, evoke is related to provoke which often has a more negative tone. But evoke can be good or bad. And a part of our role in making disciples is "to elicit" a response from others for Jesus.

As it relates to the ministry of the church, evoke represents the function of evangelism. To many people the idea of evangelism brings forth (evokes) the emotion of fear. But we evangelize all the time, at least in a  sense. To simplify things, the simple definition of evangelize is to bring a joyful message. The word evangelism, a transliteration from the Greek, is usually represented as gospel in English bibles. But if we remove the context from the bible for a moment, what joyful messages do you share? Perhaps when someone has a baby. Perhaps when you or someone you know is rewarded for something. Perhaps when your favorite sports team wins, or you find out your favorite actor or actress is making another movie. Of course, there are many more.

I realize some may say that I have dumbed down the meaning of the gospel. First, I am not talking about THE GOSPEL, I am describing the definition of the word. Only a handful of words in the Bible were original words. Most were a part of common language that the authors (and Author) used to communicate to the hearers and readers of the day. These words have taken on special significance over time (and rightfully so), but the words mean what they mean.

Thus, we are used to sharing good news with others. If you are already on your JOURNEY with Jesus, what more exciting news could there be? We should share the gospel not just because Jesus said we would (Acts 1.8), but because we can't help contain the GOSPEL within us. When we share God's Good News it should evoke others to consider it as well. Certainly, it is up to the power of the Holy Spirit to use our words in sharing God's story to bring someone to the sake of salvation. But if we are unwilling to share the story we have already received, we need to question how much joy we truly have in our hearts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

N - Nurture

When we think of nurture, we may think of caring for someone, perhaps even gently. That is partially true, but one definition is to train or to educate. In our JOURNEY, this is how I perceive nurture. Certainly, there is an element of care, but ultimately caring for others so they can not only care for themselves, but also care for others. This is Paul's statement in Ephesians 4.11-13. God has given some to the church to help others be nurtured to conduct ministry and subsequently be united in the faith, united in the knowledge of Christ, and become complete in Him.

So nurture is about ministry. Ministry is one of the five functions recorded in the early church (Acts 2.45).  It is about helping others see a need, and then fulfilling a need. But, for a believer, this should be done in the name of Christ. It is not enough to just help someone for the sake of helping. Jesus said to make disciples. Disciples are followers and they need someone (Someone) to follow. So as we help others by ministering to them, as a believer, we must also share that a greater purpose exists, and that is to help them see Jesus.

The reality is that there are more needs than any one person can meet. There are more than any one church can meet. But there are not more than God can meet. When we minister to others in our strength, and without a greater purpose, we may help others for a short time, but miss a bigger opportunity. And as a pastor, my role is to be a coach-player in this scenario. Yes, I should minister to others, but as Paul wrote, I must also prepare others to do this. The reasons are multiple, but two are primary.

First, I cannot meet as many needs by myself as a congregation full of people can meet collectively.

Second, as I do all of the ministry, everyone misses out on the blessings. I miss out due to being overworked, stressed, etc. More importantly, I miss out on seeing others grow in their faith as they faithfully serve God by serving others.

Third, others miss the opportunity for growth. They do not have a chance to develop their gifts and better understand how God has crafted them for the good works they are supposed to do (Ephesians 2.10).

So, nurture is indeed important. Like the other letters (O, U, R, E), there is a lot of overlap in the scope of the JOURNEY. We O-bserve as we nurture, we U-nite in purpose as we nurture, we R-evere God as we nurture, and when we nurture in Jesus name, we E-voke the hearts of others to consider the true ministry of our Savior.

As we JOURNEY through this life, let us remember that ultimately our purpose is to worship God and reflect His presence in our lives. Being equipped to serve is a part of that process. Using our gifts for His sake in ministering to (nurturing) others in His name, provides the opportunity for that reflection to shine, showing we are truly living in, not of (fotonni).

Monday, October 22, 2012

R - Revere (Fork)

This post was originally not scheduled, but today we come to a fork. Of course, on a JOURNEY we often come to places that we call "forks in the road". While the technical term of excurses would likely be better, "fork" is more apt to be used by most, and thus, in the event that this blog comes to such a place, I will use fork. So, while this could, in some ways, be Revere, Part 2, I do not consider it necessarily to be a secondary part of the post on worship, but rather like chasing a rabbit for a minute. A part of this was covered in the first few posts of this blog, but it is pertinent here as well. The JOURNEY will be resumed with the letter N on Wednesday.

This weekend I saw a post on Facebook about heaven. It wasn't an inappropriate post, but in light of the purpose of this blog, I think it was shortsighted. Most people will respond yes if asked the question, "Would you like to go to heaven?" But why?

Frankly, I would be one who would answer the question in the affirmative as well. However, my goal is not to go to heaven. If it is, then I may be guilty of worshiping heaven, not God. My desire is to spend eternity with Jesus. Now I know Jesus is currently in heaven, but depending on how one views the events of the Second Coming, millenium, etc., there is a time He might not be in heaven. And as for the triune God, there was certainly a time that He existed apart from heaven (consider before Genesis 1.1). 

Revelation 21 says that a new heaven and earth will descend from heaven. Again, there are many understandings of this text, but regardless if my goal is to be in heaven, am I missing the bigger picture of being with God? Jesus clearly talked about the Kingdom of Heaven (throughout Matthew), and the prayer to have God's Kingdom come, means its relevance is now, not just after we die.

Am I making too fine a point? Maybe. But ask yourself, what is your picture of heaven? If our desire to be in heaven is for anything other than spending eternity serving, and lifting praise to, the Father, Son, and Spirit, then perhaps we seek (worship/revere) the wrong thing? Seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness will add ALL these things (Matthew 6.33). Contextually, all these things are food, clothing, etc, but it would certainly include heaven as well.

So "Like" heaven if you want. Comment or discuss heaven as a destination as you wish. However, our worship (reverence) should be only for God, not His Kingdom, nor heaven. Because God reigns in His Kingdom, we can experience God's Kingdom now, not just after we die in heaven.

What are you seeking (revering) today?

Friday, October 19, 2012

R - Revere

The fourth letter in the JOURNEY is R. For our purposes this represents worship. It is not that worship is less important, but rather it just fits here. However, it is interesting that R is the middle letter. Again, the J is for Jesus, and the Y is for You. Everything we do centers on our response to Jesus. We cannot be united ("U - Unity (Part 1)") and ("U - Unity (Part 2)") in Christ if we don't acknowledge Jesus. There is no reason to call ourselves His disciples ("O - Observe") if we don't acknowledge Him. We will certainly not evangelize (E) for Him, if we don't believe in Him. And while we may do various good, and charitable, deeds, they will not be done in His name (N).

Thus, we might say the fulcrum is worship. While Jesus is, and should be the object, worship is a mid-point in this process. We do not realize we are on this JOURNEY, if we do not acknowledge Him, and we cannot fulfill any of the five functions if we do not worship Him. It does not mean that we are not on a JOURNEY, it just means we are stuck on the Y. We are all on a different part of this JOURNEY.

In addition, everyone of us worship. It may not be God as Father, Son and Spirit. Indeed, it may not be "in the Spirit". But we all worship something. We all also worship differently. Some are more reserved while others are very expressive. God is certainly very creative, and He has uniquely crafted each of us. As such, we each relate to Him differently. As long as we are open and honest with ourselves and with God, then we are in worship. Because worship isn't just something that we do, it should truly be an expression of who we are (in Him).

Jesus said in John 12.32 that if He is lifted up from the earth, He will draw all people to Himself. Of course, in the context of the passage, Jesus is speaking of His imminent death. But it is interesting this verse is found directly after Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. In addition, the preceding text indicates several Greeks were looking for Him as well. Jesus response to one of His disciples was that His time to be glorified had come (John 12.23). Thus, the physical act of lifting Him up from the earth on a cross, can be understood in a figurative sense as well - we should lift Him up in worship.

Our worship is for His glory alone, and ultimately, as we worship Him, others will be drawn to Him. What a glorious thought indeed. My prayer is that you will find time to worship Him today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

U - Unite (Part 2)

In my first posts on "Unity (Part 1)", I briefly described the concepts of dogma, doctrine, and belief. It is important to remember that Kingdom people may not agree on everything, but hold certain elements as critical. It has been said, we do not need uniformity, just unity.

The apostle Paul wrote of unity. In Romans a large part of his message was for Jews and Gentiles to be united. Likewise, he discusses this in Ephesians, and other letters. However, his letter to the church in Corinth is filled with helping people be united. His appeal in 1 Corinthians 1 is that no divisions should exist (v. 10) because Christ is not divided (v. 13). The context of this letter sounds much like the church today. Instead of Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, etc, they were the Church of Cephas, Church of Apollos, or Church of Paul.

Ultimately, it is Christ that we follow. He is the King (Messiah). Jewish believers refer to Him as Yeshua Ha'Moshiach (Jesus Messiah). It is He that is King. Thus, we unite under Him. Are denominations important? They can be helpful because different people have differing beliefs, and understand doctrine differently. What is important is that people connect to God, and if different approaches to worship provide that connection, then so be it.

A difference in denominations does not mean others are not Christian. It does not mean that partnerships cannot be formed to share the gospel as we are faithful to Christ. Personally, I am baptist, and much of that is due to the doctrine of baptism. However, my first responsibility is to Jesus Messiah. And regardless of your affiliation in a denomination, or even if you are not affiliated with one, if you are a citizen of His Kingdom, your responsibility is to Him as as well. Thus, we are united, and should live that way.

After all, the question we will face upon leaving this life for the life to come is not how good of a Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. we were, but rather  how we responded to our King.

Monday, October 15, 2012

U - Unite (Part 1), Dogma, Doctrine, Belief

The next function necessary for Kingdom living is fellowship. In the model of JOURNEY, this represents the U - unity. As disciples (obedient - O), we are to be united in Christ and united for Christ. Many believers will agree with this statement, but how we live it out is another matter. Of course, not everyone has the same understanding of biblical teachings. This goes back to the idea of dogma, doctrine, and belief.

Very briefly, dogma represents the essentials of understanding, in this case, for Christianity. Jesus being born of a virgin, dying physically, and being physically raised from the dead are a few essentials of what it means to be a Christian. Apart from these, and others one cannot truly claim to be Christian.

Doctrine, on the other hand, represents an understanding of Scripture that separates many believers into certain classifications that are deemed very important by most (e.g.  denominations), yet do not diminish the authenticity of someone's faith in, and through, Christ. Examples might include baptism, Spiritual gifts, etc.

Belief, is also important, just not as important, from a Kingdom perspective. While dogma separates Christian thought from non-Christian thought, and doctrine often separates believers by denomination, varying beliefs are commonly held by many in a single congregation, let alone denomination. Understanding the event, or the timing of, the rapture and Second Coming would be an example of this definition of belief.

Beliefs are important, and the idea that we use the word "believe" to express our thoughts on dogmatic issues, doctrinal issues, and issues of understanding of select topics (e.g. Second Coming) confuse the issues. But it should not keep us from being united in the realm of the Kingdom. Christians are not (should not be) enemies of other Christians. Unfortunately, this happens all too often.

We must take care to be united in our faith (dogma), while reflecting on our differences. We may not all agree on this side of eternity. But I would guess on the other side, we will find out some things we thought were especially important, were not very important at all in God's eyes.

Remember, United, we DO stand. Divided, we will fall.

Friday, October 12, 2012

O - Observe

The next letter in JOURNEY is the O. Again, we must understand the true destination is God's Kingdom, and therefore our perspective needs to be fotonni. With this in mind, the early church had several characteristics which we must consider today if we are to effectively live in, not of. One characteristic involved being a disciple. A disciple of Jesus. The process is known as discipleship, and that is what the O represents.

Jesus said that his current disciples are to teach others to Observe everything he had commanded in order that they become disciples as well (Matthew 28.19). It was his command then, and it is His goal for us today. But do we recognize His authority? That is why the JOURNEY cannot effectively begin without Jesus. If we are to live as a citizen of the Kingdom, we must abide by His laws for us. Yes, as someone who lives on earth, and in my case America, I must adhere to man's laws as well, but only if they do not contradict God's laws.

Paul said that He uses all God's energy in his work to make disciples. (Colossians 1.28-29). I am not that diligent, but it is a worthwhile goal. As we become disciples, and Observe the commands to "Love God" and "Love Others", we will truly begin to reflect His Kingdom. If we do not, the lens of our life is out of focus with God's design, and we need to reconsider the path of our journey.

After all, we must determine where our allegiance lies. For me, I am an American Christian, not a Christian American. My identity is in Christ. Therefore, though I am imperfect in my Kingdom citizenship, I choose to live by His decrees, not man's.

What about you?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

J - Jesus

In my previous post ("The Kingdom"), I mentioned that it begins with Jesus. Why? Because He is the Way. If we are to seek the Kingdom, then we need to know where to look. We need to know the way to get there. Jesus said He is the Way. So it is with Jesus we begin.

In Matthew 16.13-20, Jesus speaks to His disciples to determine who others consider Him to be, but more importantly who they consider Him to be. He has performed many miracles in the preceding chapters and yet the religious leaders of the day ask for signs. His own followers must be thinking of pretty highly of themselves for having been chosen by Jesus.

So, Jesus gets their attention by not only asking who they consider Him to be, but the tone suggests that He wants to know what they want from Him. Jesus is testing their commitment. Peter's declaration of Jesus being the Son of the living God grants Jesus to declare His authority by instituting the church. He has already stated the Kingdom is near (Matthew 4.17). He has described the Kingdom in many ways (Matthew 13) and now Jesus establishes the church as an agent of the Kingdom.

Of course, Jesus had the authority to do so, but He wanted to make sure the disciples recognized it. The same is true for you and I. Jesus still has the authority (Matthew 28.18), but do we recognize it. As we do, we are also unleashed to do His work in His power. As we do, we are not only seeking the Kingdom, we are realizing its presence in our lives and in the lives of those we love and serve. As we do, we truly are enabled to live fotonni.

The question for you and I today is the same question Jesus asked His followers nearly 2000 years ago: Who do you say that I am? The answer may seem simple. But the implications are enormous.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Kingdom

In the previous post ("JOURNEY") I briefly listed the word associated with each letter of the acrostic. In my next post, I will begin discussing the individual component beginning with the letter "J". The "J" is for Jesus. As a Christian, a disciple, a follower, or however else you want to be designated, the JOURNEY must begin, and end, with Jesus. But we must come back to the destination of the Kingdom one more time before entering our JOURNEY.

Again, our journey is destined for the Kingdom. Yes, we find can find Jesus in church, but when the church ceases to exist, Jesus, and His Kingdom, will remain. In fact, as Jesus begins His ministry (as recorded by Matthew and Mark), he mentions the Kingdom is at hand. Throughout the gospels, Jesus mentions the church three times (once in Matthew 16, twice in Matthew 18). However, the term the Kingdom is mentioned over 120 times, mostly by Jesus. In the book of Matthew alone, the phrase Kingdom of Heaven is used more than 30 times.* Jesus wanted to ensure the people focused on Him, and His Kingdom. When we place our trust in a person, a church, or any other man made institution (even if created/ordained by God), we will be disappointed. But Jesus and His Kingdom are true and last forever.

*Matthew was interested in showing his readers (the Jews) that the Kingdom they desired was one which was spiritual, not physical. In addition, while Mark or others could have used Kingdom of God, the Jews would not write God's name (YHWH, Yeshua, etc) and thus, Matthew spoke to them in terms of Heaven, not G-d.).

So, it begins with Jesus, as the Son of God. If we seek first His Kingdom (Matthew 6.33), then we will not be disappointed. If we seek His Kingdom, we begin to experience it on earth, and will serve in it for eternity. Jesus' Kingdom is not of this world (John 18.36), but we are to serve Him now by faith with love and obedience (John 14 and 15).

Does this mean the church is irrelevant? No. The church DOES matter. The church (you and I as believers) is the agent for God in His Kingdom. Truly, we should not think of church as a place to attend, but rather something to be. Of course, in being the church, we should gather with others to worship, serve, and disciple others. However, inviting someone to church is selling God's ultimate destination short. The church is a part of the Kingdom, not the final destination.

As we begin to shift our mindset towards a Kingdom mindset, we must engage AS the church to not only live our lives in, not of, but help others to do so as well. We do that by remembering Jesus!

Friday, October 5, 2012


The idea of living in, not of, requires a change of perspective. That perspective is to focus on God's Kingdom. "Thy Kingdom come". What do we mean by that?

Earlier this year I read Mims' book, The Kingdom Focused Church, in which he provides strong insights for a church to consider the larger picture. Our church had just developed a Vision Team at the time of my reading this book, and we discussed how to integrate the five functions into our overall objectives, with the ultimate idea of fulfilling God's vision for us. Though some will use nine functions, our team agreed to settle on the five functions (as described in Acts 2). The five functions are discipleship, fellowship, worship, ministry, and evangelism.

The reason the items are listed in this particular order is that we have built an acrostic out of these functions. The acrostic is JOURNEY. The area of northwest Missouri (where I serve) has had a tremendous population decline over the past few decades.* As such people in the area are on a journey, largely away from this area. Are they prepared? If not, how can we do a better job of preparing them?

*Atchison County, Mo has had 25% decline since 1990, and more than 35% drop since 1980 (source

And, of course, life is a journey, itself. This is one of the popular phrases people will use to describe it. Not to mention the Christian-lingo of "the Christian walk", "following Jesus", etc. Jesus' own words of "Come to me" and "Follow me" speak to a journey as well. Much more can be said about this, and likely will in this blog, over time, but for now, let me briefly outline the acrostic JOURNEY.

J - Jesus
O - Observe (discipleship)
U - Unite (fellowship)
R - Revere (worship)
N - Nurture (minister/ministry)
E - Evoke (evangelize)
Y - You

So the JOURNEY that links YOU to JESUS includes the five functions as described in Acts 2 and yet fit nicely into this acrostic. If these five functions are a part of our individual goals, I believe we will truly be empowered to live in, not of (fotonni).* More importantly, it will keep our focus on the true destination, the Kingdom.

*Most future references to "in, not of" will simply be stated as fotonni.

In the coming posts, I will further break down the individual components of the acrostic.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Changing Perspective

The idea of living in, and not, of the world is challenging at its best. Personally, I fail continually as I have ideas that I want to pursue. Even idea that may be for spiritual reasons (such as a trip to Israel), they are still worldly in many ways. But it is largely a matter of perspective.

As I mentioned in my "Welcome" post, fotonni is simply the words in not of, turned around. Certainly, to live in this way, we need to turn our thinking around, and ultimately, work to turn the world around. But why? What is the purpose? Where does this all lead?

James wrote that to be friends with the world is to be against God. (James 1.4) So if we are indeed in the world but not to be friends with it, what should our mindset be? To me, it is about the Kingdom. Jesus said, the Kingdom of heaven is near. The model prayer has us pray for God's Kingdom to come and His reign to be on earth as He reigns in heaven. So how does translate to us?

Life is often compared to a game, but in reality it is more like a journey. Whether a game or a journey, there is an endpoint. Some games end quickly (Tic-Tac-Toe) whereas others are lengthy (Monopoly). The same is true with a journey. Some trips are short (to a local store), and others are lengthy and, perhaps, adventurous (a two week safari). A part of our challenge is that games, journeys, and life itself are full of unpredictable events. Yet, the objective is still to finish well. For the game, that likely includes winning. For a journey, that means reaching the destination, and  accomplishing the goal of the trip. For life, well, that can be more complicated.

For a Christian, the goal (or purpose) should be to become more like Christ. It is, after all, God's goal for us (Romans 8.29). The word Christian means a lot of things to a lot of people, but the earliest believers were asked to "Follow Me", and were called Followers of the Way. This is indeed "travel language", and why I will be looking at the idea of our JOURNEY in the coming posts. Ultimately, our objective is to be with God in His Kingdom, and thus we need to set our destination appropriately.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Several years ago I began blogging. Blogging was not quite in its infancy, but it was young. However, I was not ready for the responsibility at the time. Frankly, I do not know if I am fully ready for it now, yet I have been wrestling against the idea of starting this for awhile now, and realize I must. interesting word. Many people use the word to describe things they would like to happen. Others use it for ideas of preference. But must truly means obligated or necessary, as in we must eat, drink, and breathe to live. So, perhaps in that case, must may be a bit strong for me to say that I now realize I must blog.

However, I am being compelled to do so. Not by my wife, or family, or friends. But by God. Perhaps to some extent, as the apostle Paul wrote, that he was compelled to share the gospel (1 Corinthians 9.16). So, not a must, but a necessary.

Thus, this blog begins. But why must I? Perhaps over time that will become more evident to you, as the reader, and to me, as the writer. I do not suggest that I do not have ideas to share, but simultaneously many others have shared their thoughts and likely say it better. However, each Christian is called to make disciples. If my attempt at disciple-making is relegated to a blog only, then I have missed the calling God has place on me. Yet, perhaps, this exercise will make me a better steward of what God has given me, and help to encourage someone else along the way.

Thus, I must blog. It is necessary. I am compelled.

The intentions of this blog are to help us prepare to live in, not of, the world. The blog title, fotonni, is simply the words in not of turned around backwards. I first had the idea while reading Scripture back in 2004, and have done a little with it. Unfortunately, I have done little with it (just a camp, a few retreats, and some t-shirts.

I hope you find this blog helpful and will pass along the site. Our website is currently down as we seek to move it to a new host and revamp it a bit. While the blog will be updated a few times each week, I do plan to tweet some of these same principles as well. You can follow on twitter at @DisciplesJourny (twitter wouldn't allow for the “e”). I also have a personal twitter account @andybraams, where I will share more personal information, like in the moment happenings related to my activities, etc.

As I prepare to sign off from this welcome post, please understand I am not perfect. I understand that well. The ideas I share may be the ideal goal as espoused by Scripture, or they may discuss my shortcomings in relation to that ideal. Regardless, I want God's Word to speak through this site, any related tweets, etc. As such, my aim is to put forth the principles, and supplement with examples as necessary, not the other way around.

Finally, I do not intend for the posts to be much longer than this one (if even this long). I realize everyone is busy, myself included. As such, a few short posts each week are likely more welcome than a longer one. That is the intent of my approach.

As for discussion and feedback. The intention is to make that available as well. I do not suggest that everyone will agree with me, nor do I think you should. However, I do ask, that this being a blog about living in, not of, the world, that comments are respectful and civil towards everyone.