Intentional and Consistent Time in God’s Word :: Friday Feet

Friday Feet with the Word

Normall for my Friday Feet posts, which I know has been a while, I like to take a shot of what I was doing out and about during the day. After being outside for about 30 minutes in this heat I realized I wasn’t going back out again. Something that has been on my mind is this notion of being intentional about spending time in God’s word.

I use to get sick of hearing pastors tell me I should be reading the Bible, that is until I actually started reading it for all it’s worth, then I totally understood what in the world they were talking about. The Christian life, our daily walk, must have some component of daily strengthening in our relationship with Christ.

If praying is God’s way for us to talk to him, God’s word is His way of talking to us. How would our relationship with our spouse or children be if we listened to them as often as we listened to God through reading his Word?

Yesterday it hit me when I read this tweet by D.L. Moody (and The Resurgence). Then after that, still yesterday, I received a video from a friend of mine who basically said everything I was already thinking, so I stole his title and wrote my thoughts down as I tend to do.

While the conclusion Moody was probably making in the tweet may be true, the reality of 1% of men reading the Bible is… alarming, tragic, pathetic, pitiful, ridiculous, or whatever other adjectives you want to use here for us men.

It just made me wonder how can we truly lead our families without being grounded in God’s instruction? This isn’t a condemnation of everyone else, I have struggled with this for years. Every day I pray I have an overwhelming desire to spend time in God’s word.

There is no better time than today, right now, and it has never been easier in the history of the world to read God’s word. We have more access to the Bible and read it less than probably any generation before us. If you are busy, like most of us are, YouVersion’s selection of reading plans is outstanding. As far as online, web, mobile, and Internet resources that give you countless ways to read the bible, YouVersion has no match.

This morning, right before I took the photo above, I finished the Psalms in 31 Days YouVersion plan, which I have read a few times this year. Since going to work for the church in 2008 I had never had a more difficult time trying to stay grounded in God’s word, until I went through a spiritual disciplines study in one of my seminary classes in 2009-2010. Since then, I have been very intentional about spending time in God’s word every day (with a break on a specific routine in Saturday).

This was not something that was a light switch event, it took time, it took effort, and it was far easier to let it slide a day or two here or there, but now it has become routine, and when I miss a day, I really long for that time back. It’s no longer a dreaded, oh now I have to read, it’s a desire that makes me look forward to this time every day. I truly believe this desire to read came from my prayer for God to give me that desire, so prayer to read is important as well.

I am personally a canonical reader, I have a specific personal reading plan to read through the entire Bible each year, and this year I finished that in June, so I decided to just start over. I do this using three different reading plans on YouVersion, one for the entire bible called the Canonical Plan, one for the NT called New Thru 30, and one for Psalms I listed above. I do not use the time frame on the plan, just the order to keep me on track, but there are hundreds of plans to chose from. Trust me, there is one that fits within your schedule. If you don’t want to use YouVersion, there are countless other resources available, just pick one, and create a habit around it.

Anyway, there you have it, I wholeheartedly agree with those pastors who say daily reading of God’s word is important, very important. After all, your wife probably expects you to listen to her today, right? And God is supposed to be ahead of everything. There is no more important time in the day than the time we spend in God’s word. It affects everything else we do throughout the day and into the evening, even if it’s just a short time amount of time at first, it adds up over time.

It may not seem like it at first, but being intentional and consistently spending time in God’s word will strengthen your relationship with Christ, but also with your family, your spouse, your coworkers, and those who still haven’t heard the Good News.

10 Reasons To Learn Social Media if You Are a Christian

Scott Fillmer on Facebook

I decided to start a series of sorts on social media and how we the people of the church body use, don’t use, or outright diss the majority of the world at this point. I’m hereafter coining this series of sorts as the SMFT (Social Media, Facebook, and Twitter) discussion. Part of the necessity of this discussion comes after reading some of Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival by Leonard Sweet (or @lensweet), which I would highly recommend to anyone, but should almost be required reading for anyone born prior to 1985. I have written on this many times before, but I do so now mainly because there are still some in the church today who continue ignore this medium, which has now become the most powerful tool in the world to connect with other people.

Much of the premise behind Viral is to bring the older generations of believers (that is those born prior to about 1985) into the fold of understanding in the world we live in today. It is far easier to say “I’m not part of the world, the culture, the depravity of our society,” and ignore everything our world has become, even though we do still live in the world. We are supposed to be the salt and light to the world, not to be just the salt and light to the baby boomers. Many of us do ignore the power of social media in our calling as Christians to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).

How in the world can we make disciples if we don’t know and understand the different forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter? So you say I’m on Facebook, got that covered… well, I would say Facebook is the most closed, the least evangelically available social media tool there is. You can close yourself off in Facebook by locking every aspect of your Facebook account and never be heard from again, what type of witness is that? Did you know that most younger generations are moving away from Facebook at this point (partly because we are now on there). It’s extremely important to get beyond Facebook and into other areas like Instagr.am, Pinterest, Foursquare, FlickrSpotify, YouVersion, Kindle Books (yes it’s social), blogging, texting, and various avenues on Twitter.

[On a side note… if you are only on Facebook, you are not a part of the social media revolution, this is basically pseudo social networking at best. I say this because Facebook is close to reaching saturation levels. Facebook has become like the telephone or cable TV of the 80’s. Once everyone is on there who wants to be on there it’s growth is all but flatlined. I don’t mean if you aren’t on there yet, you shouldn’t get on there, and fast, but If you are only willing to get into one single social site, I would not recommend it be Facebook, I would first make it a smart phone, where you can learn how to access everything the world now takes for granted.]

So, if you are a believer, and think this social media thing is going to go away, I’m sorry, it’s only going to get more and more ingrained into the very fabric of the world we live in. In another 5-10 years it will encompass the world’s population, except for those who ignore it’s existence. For us the church to ignore social media is akin to the church ignoring electrical power and the car when they were invented, choosing instead to stick with candles and horses.

10 Reasons To Learn Social Media if You Are a Christian

  1. Jesus would have used this media (this is a later post, but I will show from Scripture why this is the case)
  2. We are called to disciple the world, and the world is connected via social media
  3. If you don’t learn the basics, instead of you teaching your kids, your kids will be teaching you at some point
  4. By the time you are ready it will be too late (it’s already quite late as it is)
  5. Your target audience are all sitting right there waiting for your witness
  6. How many people in your neighborhood have your talked to (witnessed to) lately?
  7. Door to door is dead. Buried… and greatly frowned upon in our society. Social networking is the norm.
  8. The disciples used every tool to their advantage (they wrote books and distributed them)
  9. The Bible is the greatest social media tool every created, it’s meant to be socially shared
  10. Because there are lost people who do not know Jesus and you may be their only connection

So there you have it. That’s just a start. I didn’t put a lot of references, or other specifics as to where my ideas came from, I will put those in future SMFT posts, and those 10 reasons are just off the top of my head, I’m sure there are a ton more. I beg the church body to not let itself become irrelevant in such an overwhelming way as to not be able to reach our world today. We make disciples by investing in people’s lives, and more than any other time in the history of the world, we have access to more people, to discuss the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with more people, than any generation who ever lived before us.

A Look at the Visioning and Planning Process of the Church Body

Monthly All Staff Meeting at Cornerstone

It may not look like it at first glance, but this is part of the hard work that goes into following Christ wholeheartedly, what we call, Leading People to Know and Serve Jesus. I have learned an amazing amount about how the church body functions since I went on staff in late 2008. One of the incredible things about being on staff is the behind the scenes look you get at the visioning and planning process the church body goes through, continually. To see God actively working, guiding his people through the process of being the church, is a great privilege. Today was one of those rare monthly staff meetings where almost everyone on staff was in the room. There are almost as many people behind me in the photo above as there are in front of me, and still we had a few people who couldn’t be there today.

One thing that never stops amazing me is how hard everyone works, not just at my church, but at most all the churches I have come into contact with over the years. There are so many people who make the church body what it is. Countless volunteers who have sacrificed time, and money, to be the hands and feet of Christ. Of the many topics discussed today, one was how to tell the stories of these volunteers and other people who’s lives have been changed by Christ’s work through his church, like some of our seniors going to Uganda last week instead of going somewhere like Panama City Beach for a party.

I’m not really sure why this particular post came to be tonight, this just happened to be what was on my mind as I recalled events from my day. I do know this type of planning and these type of stories, go on endlessly, because God is at work in His people endlessly. If you haven’t been in church for a while, there is no better time than now. Sunday is less than 7 days away, and you aren’t reading this by accident any more than I wrote this by accident. Don’t just keep looking around for that perfect church, there isn’t one. Christ, who built the church out of imperfect people, can change your life forever, and he can use us imperfect people of the church to do it.

The Future Mr and Mrs Dow Engagement :: Photos

This afternoon I had the privilege of shooting a surprise engagement for some friends of mine. It is always a great treat for me to be able to be a part of such a personal and intimate moment as this, I’m honored they asked me to be there. John had this all planned, for quite some time, in great detail, and at least from my perspective, it went very well. Here are just a few of the images from that moment, thanks to the happy couple for allowing me to share some of their private moments with the world. Congratulations guys!

Future Mr and Mrs John Dow Engagement

Future Mr and Mrs John Dow Engagement

Future Mr and Mrs John Dow Engagement

Future Mr and Mrs John Dow Engagement

Future Mr and Mrs John Dow Engagement

One Boy’s Plea for Eternity Etched in Concrete

Outside the Cell Inside the Walls
Outside the Cell Inside the Walls
Never Forget God's Children
Never Forget God’s Children

This second photo above with the writing on the wall might not seem like much at first, especially without bringing out the contrast in the image, the writing on the wall is almost unseen. The boy in the first image at the top is sitting right in front of the window where I took this second shot (farthest window to the left). Etched and scratched into a concrete wall, in an almost morbid sense of humanity for a child, are written these words:

Never forget Masaba Derick from Mbale Town good boy from Kampiringisa

This boy’s home town, Mbale, is a tiny little village hours and hours away from where I photographed this image in the Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre, so there is no telling how he ended up in this Children’s facility, or if or when he left. These facilities exist all over Uganda, and some, like this one, were not staffed with adults, but yet it housed hundreds of kids who had to just fend for themselves. No electricity, no water, and in many ways, no hope. This image, taken in October 2011, just stuck with me over the last several months.

By the point I took this image above, this particular building was no longer being used to actively house anyone, but obviously it did at some point. One thing I do know, God has not forgotten these children, whether they know it yet or not. To see more images from this particular day, see They are Hidden but Not Forgotten or go to my Stories section to see others.