Wisdom for Today

Who can you trust? Where do you get the best, most accurate, information out there? How do you know if something/someone is credible?

Recently I attended, as a proud parent, of all of my kids promotion/awards ceremonies in school. If I can be biased, I have some amazing and amazingly smart kids. As I was sitting in the ceremonies, “patiently” waiting for my kids’ names to be called, I heard a common theme throughout all four ceremonies (Pre-K – 8th Grade). And that theme was, in a nutshell, never stop learning.

Now that I have had a few days to think more about that, I am reminded of the biblical book of ProverbsProverbs, including Ecclesiastes, are taken from the Jewish wisdom traditions. Other important books, that are not included in the biblical cannon, include Wisdom of SolomonSirach, all point to the same theme. That theme is true wisdom comes from God. In fact, they all say something to the extent of “the beginning of wisdom comes from the fear of God.”

So now I think the question we should ask is, “what are we truly seeking? Wisdom or knowledge?” Knowledge is all well and good, if we are content with “knowing” some basic information. Knowledge is good is we want to appear smart. Knowledge is good if we want to make ourselves look good. 

And if that is want makes us content, then fine.

But, if we want to understand how the information is applicable to our time and place. If we want  to better understand how our lives impact and intersect the culture, then wisdom is what we should be seeking.


Because if we are seeking Sidon, we may just be seeking answers to deeper questions about meaning. We may just be seeking the One who created everything and everyone. 

And, if we are seeking the One who created everything, we can understand true wisdom comes from God.

We are not seeking wisdom to make us better. NO. Wisdom, helps us understand our place in the world and how God has made you and I uniquely to fit in this time and this place.

So, learn as much as you can about the world. Gain as much information about humanity and the world around you. But, if you want to have an understanding that goes deeper than just mere head knowledge, if you want to know something that brings about transformation, seek and live into the wisdom that comes from God. And God will freely give wisdom. Just ask God.


If you are looking for your next resource to help you understand God, understand who you are, understand next steps to take, this is perfect for you:


My name is Ryan Stratton and I wrote a book called “Crossroads.” It’s a forty day devotional.

You’ve been in a position and situation where you have had to make a big decision. You may have felt an overwhelming sense of dread or anxiety because you keep trying to figure out what “to do.”

What if, “what to do” is the wrong question to ask? I came to this realization a few years ago. This book, for me, has been a journey to help me make better decisions and discern who God is making me to be.

This book is designed to take you on a journey of faith to help you see how God is leading you.  

As you read, you’ll consider questions such as:

• Which way does God want you to go?

• How do you know if you’ve made the right choice?

• What is the best option right now?

• What are the best options in the future?

Having to make decisions is not always easy. But when you ask the right questions and seek the God who is leading and guiding you, you may just find the decision you make is the one that makes you who God created you to be.

I pray this resource is meaningful for you and helps you stay in tune with who God is and who God is making you to be.

The Book of Jonah


If you were asked to explain God, how would you do it? What if you only had one book of the Bible, would you be able to explain who God is and what God’s mission in the world is? What if you only had the book of Jonah?

This book is a rework of the sermons preached in the summer 2019. In this book, we are taking a closer look at the Old Testament book of Jonah. Some people say the events in this book did not occur because of the time of writing and the audience it appealed to at that time. The reality is, it doesn’t matter whether the events of the book of actually happened. They are scripture, and there is so much we can learn from this short book.

I pray you find, experience, and live into the grace God offers you, and the rest of the world, as you take this journey into studying Jonah.



My name is Ryan Stratton and I wrote a book called “Crossroads.” It’s a forty day devotional and I am really excited about it!

You’ve been in a position and situation where you have had to make a big decision. You may have felt an overwhelming sense of dread or anxiety because you keep trying to figure out what “to do.”

What if, “what to do” is the wrong question to ask? I came to this realization a few years ago. This book, for me, has been a journey to help me make better decisions and discern who God is making me to be.

This book is designed to take you on a journey of faith to help you see how God is leading you.  

As you read, you’ll consider questions such as:

• Which way does God want you to go?

• How do you know if you’ve made the right choice?

• What is the best option right now?

• What are the best options in the future?

Having to make decisions is not always easy. But when you ask the right questions and seek the God who is leading and guiding you, you may just find the decision you make is the one that makes you who God created you to be.

I pray this resource is meaningful for you and helps you stay in tune with who God is and who God is making you to be.


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Preparing a Sermon

Pastors know this. Sunday’s coming whether we are ready or not. The question is, are you ready to preach and proclaim the Word of God with confidence and humility?

In this video, I outline the “steps” I have learned to understand the scripture. I hope this helps. Even if you are not preaching, this video could also help with Bible Study leaders and anyone seeking to expound upon their knowledge of the scriptures. This is a basic outline I learned in seminary and continue to use today.

This is not an exhaustive video, but it will help you get a starting point.

I am praying for you as you prepare to proclaim the truth found in the Holy Scriptures. May you always be pointed to Jesus and stay connected to and in love with God.

The Presence of God

Read: Exodus 24:12-18 (NIV)

“The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.” When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”

Do you know the presence of God when you are in it? Do you know how to recognize the presence of God?

I love the story we find in the book of Exodus. It is about a people who have been delivered, redeemed, and brought out of slavery to follow God. Their lives were changed and they became a witness to the world for the sovereignty and grace of God.

In the beginning of the book, God raised up a Hebrew baby in the care of Egyptian royalty. Moses was his name because he was “drawn out” of the water. This tells the beautiful story of saving God’s people even before the major Exodus event later on.

At this juncture in the storyline, Moses is 80, check 80, years old! God was using the experience and wisdom Moses had learned in his time in the Egyptian palace, and in the wilderness to save God’s people from Egypt and lead them toward the promised land.

Think about that. An 80 year old man being used. I don’t know what season of life you are in right now, but you need to hear this, “God is not done with you.” Moses was obedient, though reluctantly, to the voice of God, and he was used in mighty ways to bring the people out of Egypt.

At the point of the narrative we pick up this passage, God is calling Moses “up to” him on the mountain. Moses had some of his closest and trusted people around him. Moses knew he needed their support. So, Moses goes up the mountain and the cloud engulfs the mountain. In other words, Moses was completely surrounded by the presence of God!

What do you think was going through Moses’ mind? He had already received the 10 Commandments and other aspects of the law, what more did he need?

God had so much more to share with Moses than just the “law.” He was teaching Moses how the people who had escaped from Egypt would be transformed into the people of God that would dl be the priests (representatives) of God in this world.

God was shaping the mind and heart of Moses to be the person that would help to lead the change in the lives of the people. This is the beginning of an awakening/revival among the Israelites.

That’s what the presence of God does. His presence brings about life change that will affect the other people around.

Throughout history, there have been movements of revival, of awakening, that God was using to call his people “up to Him on the mountain.” God was revealing the human heart and condition. God was and is still speaking life to His people.

That’s what revival does. Change hearts/lives that impact and bring about change in the community. The presence of God shapes the people to clearly see Him and Him alone.

In the 1700s, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement, was part of such an awakening that 25% , at least, of all the world’s Protestants can trace their spiritual lineage through John Wesley.

Other revivals have occurred worldwide. The Azusa Street revival in the 1900s. The asbury University Revival in the early 1970s. And even now, at Asbury University, there is a revival/awakening happening that has been going on since Wednesday, February 8, 2023. And, as of, February 16, is still going strong! People from all over are joining in this movement of God.

This Holy Spirit led awakening is bringing people to confess and repent. People are accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives.

God is clearly making Himself known to this generations and it is an incredible thing to witness and hear about.

All of this is bringing about life change that will impact the world for the Kingdom of Heaven to be known and shown to the world.

To the rest of the world, these events looks strange. It is hard to image what is really going on unless you trust it is the presence and working one God through His mighty Holy Spirit. Unless you trust it is the movement of God, you will inevitably grow impatient and begin to search for other “meanings.” Just a few chapters later, the people of Israel grew tired of waiting on Moses to go back down the mountains that they formed and created their own “god,” a golden calf.

It’s easy to try and criticize movements we do not fully understand. It is easy to grow impatient as to what will happen next, or wanting to know how lives are truly changed.

What are the people doing at Asbury right now? They are staying and resting in the presence of God. They are wanting to know Jesus and be fully known by Him. What a time to live in!

Moses was unable to leave the presence of God while God was talking to him on the mountain. He was soaking up the words, the presence, the awesome wonder that is the Holy.

And God used Moses to convey His truth to the people of Israel, who were supposed to be the shining examples of God’s presence in this world.

God will always find ways to speak to his people. God will always find ways to break in and change people’s lives for His glory.

Jesus does this with His disciples.

Matthew 17, Jesus (God-in-flesh), takes three of his disciples on the mountain. 

Read the passage here:

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.” (Matthew‬ ‭17‬:‭1‬-‭8‬ ‭NIV)

The disciples did not know how to respond. But they clearly saw Jesus. They heard the voice, from Heaven, speak.Their focus and attention was now shifted to Jesus.

That’s what the Spirit of God does. We are pointed to the person of Jesus. He is who we are being transformed into. He is our Lord and Savior.

The presence of God will always point us to Jesus.

So, what does the world see when they look at you? Do they see Jesus? How is God working, in your life, to revive your heart and focus on Him?

Revivals and awakenings are incredible. You never know, God may just be using you to help bring about the next revival to show more people the incredible presence of God.

How to Read the Bible

The Bible is the book that has changed millions of lives over the last few thousand years. It is a life changing book. This “book” has changed my life. Yet, the Bible can be challenging to read.

John Wesley, the 18th century founder of the Methodist Movement, called “searching the scriptures” (reading and studying the scriptures) a “means of grace.” He was saying that the scriptures are a means we can experience God’s grace.

In this video, I share a few thoughts on how to read the Bible. I pray the transformative words of the Holy Spirit speak to you as you read and study this incredible library of books we call the Bible.

I would also love to hear any other “tips” you may have to help others read and learn from and hear the Holy Spirit through the pages of scripture.

Matthew 13

Take some time to read this parable:

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭1‬-‭9‬, ‭18‬-‭23‬ ‭NIV

As I read this passage, I can’t help but find myself getting bogged down in the details, but then I hear the Spirit of God say, “Watch and listen. You are missing something vital.”

I love to come up with new ideas. I love to find ways to get things done. Sometimes what I am hoping for to happen, doesn’t. That’s just a reality. Sometimes things go so much greater than I ever imagined.

How about you? I’m sure you have gone through seasons of innovation, implementation, expectation, only to see your efforts fall flat. Is it because of something you did wrong? There is always the possibility it was the wrong thing to do, could have also just been the wrong time. You can’t plant any crop at any time you want and expect them all to grow.

But notice the sower, in the parable, was determined to get the seed out. Nothing stopped him from attempting to plant. Nothing stopped him from moving forward. He couldn’t control the quality of the soil.

We get so easily discouraged when things don’t happen the way we want. But, what if, our job is to keep planting? What if our job is to keep moving? See, we can be hopeful for what God is going to do because he knows how to make his kingdom grow. 

You and I have been called to keep sowing the seeds of the Word of God. We are called to continue moving forward, working with God, so the Kingdom of Heaven is expanded. So it is known and shown.

The encouragement we should continue with is keep moving. God will produce the fruit in due time. When you step out in faith, know that God is leading, guiding, and causing his work to be done.

An example of this kind of life is found in John Wesley, the 18th Century founder of the Methodist Movement. He clocked over 250,000 miles on horseback, thousands of sermons, thousands of followers he led to Jesus. He has an incredible legacy. A phrase he used was “the world is my parish.” He would do anything he could to reach people for Jesus.

But it wasn’t always fun and easy. He had his “setbacks” many times. Being stoned, thrown out of public places, churches, made fun of, and so much more. His “failures” did not stop him. He kept pressing forward no matter what. His entire life was devoted to proclaiming the message of Christ to all he could.

Keep in mind, your obedience to sowing the seeds and moving forward is your part. You are following where Jesus is moving. But we also cannot get discouraged when people reject the message, when the fruit doesn’t come, when the soil can’t yield the produce. Why? Because we cannot control how the seed is received. We cannot be held responsible for how people react. But we are responsible for moving forward.I encourage you to keep a hopeful eye on the horizon. Keep moving forward as someone who knows God can and will do incredible things.

Takeaway: Keep sowing seeds. You never know how God will produce fruit from the steps of faith we take.

Work of the Gospel

I am sure you may know what the “gospel” (Good News) of Jesus Christ is. If not, the Apostle Paul gives a great “short” telling of the essence of what the gospel is:

“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”

1 Corinthians 15:2-11 NIV

By this, what we can see is the essence of the gospel is the life, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus Christ. It is in the proclaiming of Christ that we experience the good news. This good news leads to salvation, wholeness, reconciliation, holiness with God. This good news leads us to life. 

This looks at “gospel” being a “noun.” In other words something tangible. But thee gospel is also a verb. How? When someone is being gospeled, they are being formed into the likeness and image of the message being proclaimed. When this happens, the mind is changed and the person is no formed into the good news.

So, whenever we proclaim the gospel, we are also witnessing the Holy Spirit do the gospel work within a person. The person’s mind is being transformed by the message of Jesus and the person’s life (spirit, emotions, etc.) is being gospeled by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

This is the reality when we proclaim Christ. The message of his life, death, resurrection, and ascension is what holds the power for life change to bring healing, reconciliation, wholeness (holiness), for the person who is open to hearing the truth of Jesus.

So here’s the challenge: Who can you share the gospel with? Who will you invite, and pray for, so the Holy Spirit can do the gospel in work within the person?

The power and presence of Jesus is incredible. It’s too good not to share with the world!

I’d love to hear your stories of sharing the gospel message to others.

Leadership that Encourages

What makes a person a leader?

This is the point where I would hear things like, “good role model, smart, think outside the box, knows how to get things done, etc. etc. etc.”

But here’s the answer. A person is a leader when there are people following him/her. That’s it. You cannot lead if there are no followers. So the question now becomes, what is important when leading? In other words, what makes a “good leader?”

In my experience, a good leader is someone who can build others up. Someone who encourages people to become and do more than they thought possible. Yes, a leader helps direct; but more importantly, the good leader makes sure the people know the direction forward and are confident in this plan.

People will, really, only follow when they believe in what is happening. There are times it seems like people are like sheep and blindly following, but the truth is the people would not be following if they did to find any meaning.

This is why it is vital for the leader to know what will help people become who they were meant to be. Good and true leadership begins with a clear understanding of what it means to follow God. Good leaders understand all their giftings and intellect and wisdom are from the One who created them. It is not something we have given ourselves.

Therefore, we give praise and glory to the One who created us. Good leaders follow and model their lives after the ultimate expression of God, Jesus Christ. Modeling life and leadership after Jesus will show us how to be compassionate when tired, how to look after the needs of others, leading people to a place of life change.

For leaders to model their lives after Jesus Christ, they also should be spending time getting to know who Jesus is, what Jesus is like, and what Jesus calls his people to do with their lives. Leaders set the example for expectations and ways of living. Leaders are always learning and allowing the person and presence of Jesus to change and transform their own lives.

Modeling our lives after Jesus Christ, who we’re being made into likeness of anyway, means leaders look beyond their current situation and see the possibilities that lay ahead of them. Leaders keep the best interests and wellbeing of their followers in mind.

Good leaders know how to encourage and how to help people live into the gifts and talents God has given them. They will surround themselves with a team of diverse gifts and strengths to make sure they are all working together in a complementary way, for the betterment of everyone.

There is so much more to say about what makes a good leader. I would love to hear your thoughts.

To sum all of this up, I see good leaders as those who seek and follow Jesus Christ, work for things beyond themselves, and seek to encourage the followers to be who they were created to be and live out their giftings God has given them.

Be Confident in Your Calling

To what do you feel called? In other words, what is your purpose in life? What are you passionate about?

These questions are all part of a series of questions we should ask ourselves to better understand who we are as humans. Finding the answer to these questions will also help us see how we are all connected to each other.

I’m about to say something that will make you go, “well duh!” Here it is. We are all different. We all have different talents. We all have different passions. What makes it really interesting is when we allow each other to live into their talents, live into their passions, live into the purpose they were created.

So if this is so obvious, why do I point this out?

We seem to live in a time when we attempt to celebrate diversity. At the same time we end up vilifying anyone who thinks differently than we do. The truth is that it takes all of us to work and live together. Without your gifts, my gifts, my and your neighbor’s gifts, our co-worker’s gifts nothing would really be done of lasting significance or value.

My five year old daughter loves the Tinker Bell movies on Disney. One of the movies gives the origin story of Tinker Bell and how she became a “Tinker Fairy.” It turns out she was gifted with a special and unique gifting as a Tinker none of the other Tinker fairies received.

The whole movie is about Tinker Bell being displeased being a Tinker (one who fixes or creates things) and try to be a different kind of fairy. So she tries to be an animal, water, light, wind fairy. All of these different giftings, but she was not able to make those talents work for her, and she was not happy.

It took a disaster, caused by Tinker Bell, for Tinker Bell to discover she actually likes and loves who she is. It took this event for her to embrace who she is.

That is our challenge today. Seeking out who God created us to be and living into that with confidence and joy. Will be be able to do everything we want or desire? Most likely not. But we can still find fulfillment in our gifts/talents because God has made us all unique.

To help drive this point, I invite you to read 1 Corinthians 12. (Click here to read the chapter)

See when we all live into our giftings, we can see how we all fit together, and are meant to be part of a community. Not just a community where everyone is exactly the same, even in thinking. No. But a community with diversity of gifts and passions to help make this world (with the help and grace of God) the place it was meant to be.

So, be confident in who God created you to be and trust he has placed you with he right set of gifts. Stand firm in your passions and just watch God use your calling to do incredible things in the world.

It won’t always be easy, but don’t try to be like everyone else. Stick to who God created you to be and just watch how you thrive and live in joy.

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