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3 years, 4 months ago 10

 

 

It happens from time to time, a well meaning person tries to talk some sense into me!  Over the Christmas holidays a person asked me why I made such a public, strong, unabashed stand for my faith.  He said, “I think it’s great to have beliefs, but in today’s society a lot of people think that is something you should keep to yourself.  Many people are made uncomfortable by someone being so bold about it.”

 

I respect his opinion and I fully understand where he is coming from, but I don’t think he fully understands where I’m coming from.  Let me share an email I got this morning from someone signing up with Artists Standing For Christ,  and I will withhold the name of the person who so kindly sent the email to me.

 

HI Bill, count me in.  I really like the concept of Artists Standing for Christ. You don’t know the effect you have had on me since we have not seen each other for awhile. I attend church regularly and now my daughter and her two children do also! I take part in a weekly Bible  study reading Corinthians 1. I have spent the past three weeks reading and studying Romans to catch up with the group.  I wake up happy with gratitude every day. Thanks to you.

 

He added this quote which I love,

 

“Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass….It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
~ Vivian Greene

 

I appreciate the kind words, but the glory and honor should go to Him who makes all this possible, including my life.  It just so happens that I have a very special love for the man that sent me that email.  I’ve prayed for Him, and have watched him become a terrific photographers as he has also grown in his faith.  I’m thrilled he is getting to be a really good shooter,  I’m much more thrilled about this note!!!!

 

Photography is what I do, I love it, and it has brought me 46 years of fun, adventures, excitement and fulfillment, but it will not last forever.  Being obedient to God and doing as I’m told for His glory and His sake, will last through out eternity.  My friend got one thing wrong in his email to me, the last sentience; Thanks to you.  No my friend, thanks to our Heavenly Father who loved you enough to place in a situation where we could meet and He could minister to you.  What part do I play in all this?  Simple, I live by the following prescription;

 

“Life Comes down to just two things;  God loves you, so….love others…and God sacrificed everything to be with you, so….sacrifice everything.”

 

It’s no more or less than that.  Is it easy?  No!  Is it worth it to remain under the protective wings of our Heavenly Father?   You bet!  A dear friend of mine that has a very successful prison ministry ends all  his meetings with this quote.  “When I’m gone, if you can’t remember me, you’ve lost nothing, but if you can’t remember anything about the man I shared with you, Jesus, you’ve lost everything my friend!”

 

No one knows what their life will be worth when they are gone, but I’m not taking any chances, mine will count for something far more important than myself.  I will raise up the name of Jesus and will lovingly share it with anyone that will allow me to. I don’;t want anyone to miss the peace and joy He has brought into my life, and no one has to.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

3 years, 4 months ago 6

 

 

As we close out the great year photographically, it’s time to get ready for 2016.

 

FIRST:   Many of this year’s events are sold out or almost sold out, so with that vote of confidence, it’s time to focus on what I will teach this year.  (Sorry about the pun “Focus in”)  couldn’t help myself.  So after months of thought I realized that my friends, clients, customers are ready for the next step.  So this year my emphasis will be on the process of stepping up our visual acuity,, your ability to see, formulate and compose for better images.  A heavier emphasis on image reviews that go deeper and teach more.

 

SECOND:  The His Light Workshops this coming year are limited to 8 Guests.  I want to have a closer, more tight knit experience among myself and the students.  I’m excited to see how the new formula works, I’m betting a much better experience for everyone involved.

 

THIRD:  With the creation of Artists Standing For Christ, things are heating up spiritually, and I’m praying on how to best handle that in our workshops.  I know exciting things are ahead.

 

FOURTH:  The Gear, what am I going  to carry th is year and what am I going to use.  This one is a heck of a lot tougher.  Fuji has done a really bad thing, they’ve produce enough incredible bodies and glass that choosing is no longer easy.  My mantra has always been simplify!  It’s really hard to do so now with so many wonderful options.  My solution?  If traveling by car, I will carry two main camera bags; one with the Two X-T1s, 10-24, 16-55, 18-135, 50-140, 1.4 Converter, in the Second, a X-T10,  14, 16, 23, 35, 56, 90 .  In a small third bag I keep a Fuji X100T and an X30.  Of course tons of extra batteries. polarizers, auto extension tubes, and on and on!

 

There will be more, but that’s it for now.  I’m really looking forward stop the coming year with all of you!!!!

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

the Pilgrim

 

 

Image by one of my students, sorry, lost the info, but who ever shot it, it’s a good one!!!!!

 

 

GET EXCITED,  I’m currently testing something from Fuji and I can’t wait to share about it, but I can’t, not until it is officially releases, I can’t say anymore but I can tell you it is going to be EXTREMELY Big!  Be patient, it is worth it!!

3 years, 4 months ago 2

 

 

Let’s take another few steps down this very important road.

 

5.  We are who we associate with.  Build a circle of friends that believe as you do, wow, sounds like a church!  I know lots of people say I’m not into into “organized” religion, those places are full of hypocrites.  Yes you are absolutely right, they are, another word for that is sinners.  However, there is worse news coming.  Romans tells us that “we are all sinners, we have all fallen short of what God wanted for us.”  So if you are going to throw stones at all those sinners, well just remember what Jesus said, “Let he that is without sin, cast the first stone!”  Hey I didn’t say it, if you don’t like it…take it up with Him!

 

6.  Watch what you watch on TV, at the movies, and what you listen to.  This is a tough one,  I like a good movie as much as the next guy, but I’ve gotten stricter on myself about what I spend my time watching.  I lean towards TV shows that have a strong moral message like Blue Bloods.  How do we know?   Watch one episode of any show, if it espouses something that makes you uncomfortable, you likely should take that one off the list.  Warning, this is going to cut your TV time way down!

 

7.  Make your play list uplifting.  There are plenty of good artists out there that produce great music, that is keeping with your new standards, and some terrific Christian music.  Thankfully artists like Jordan Smith are turning the tide on great music that is uplifting!

 

8.  Clean your slate.  Developing  a perfectly open line of communication with Him changes everything.  That starts with forgiveness, not yours, that’s a done deal!  Now it’s time to search your heart and make list, a list of those you have not forgiven.  I know the drill, I’ve been through it, and I can give you some advice; God loves you but it is not a good idea to try and convince Him that you have the right to refuse to forgive someone because of how badly they hurt you.  A little review; Your Heavenly Father, (God) sent His ONLY Son to die so you could be forgiven for your sins!  Do you really want to argue that point with Him??!!  Thought so, get to it, you’ll never believe the freedom that comes from letting it go!

 

O.K. that’s some heavy stuff, so let’s give it rest for now, but the pay off is greater than you can ever imagine!

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

the pilgrim

3 years, 4 months ago 2

 

 

Many of you have sent me an email saying, “Count me in”!  For that I am thankful, now comes the hard part.  When ever we take a stand we must ask ourselves, am I living up to my proclamation? So what does that mean?  Once we stand firm for Christ, the enemy will seek every way to defeat us, and thus kill our witness for Him.  The world is trying viciously to run from God, and if we give the lost a reason to doubt the validity of a walk with Him, they will take the first opportunity to point to us as the problem with Christianity!

 

So folks, it falls on us, to live our faith.  Admittedly, not and easy task.  Why?  Because we are human, and we fail, and we sin, and we simply are far from perfect.  It seems unfair that our dear Savior is judged based on our behavior, but sadly many will do just that.

 

We have to have a plan!  Here are some things that I know will help!

 

1.  Be sure our brain is in gear, before we open our mouths!  It’s easy, too easy, to  say things we regret and very shortly after know it was a bone headed move.  You may be wondering why I speak with so much authority on this issue, I’ll bet you can guess!!!

 

2.  Ask your self the old WWJD question before taking action on any issue.  It’s amazing how many things we should not be thinking or doing that can be stopped in their tracks by simply asking, “What Would Jesus Do?”

 

3.  Make it a daily habit to get into the Word!   An empty mind is the devil’s playground, if we fill ours with His word, we will be much more likely to be thinking and doing what we know is His will.

 

4.   Speaking of His will, we need to pray for that.  It is very hard to not go to God in prayer and give Him our to do list, things we are concerned about, worried about, things we desire.  The list is always long, but every prayer should end with an affirmation of our faith in our Heavenly Father, and that we desire His will above all else.  When we tell our Havenly Father, may Thy will be done, we are saying we trust Him, and that is what He desires most!  The great news is He is far more than Trustworthy!

 

A moment to moment walk with Him is not always easy, but always filled with peace and joy. One thing we can do is support one another.  When Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them in pairs. I am sure the message was, we can’t do this alone, we need each other.  I want my brothers and sisters to call me on my behavior, if it falls outside the lines of serving Him.  It may hurt when we get called on the carpet, but it hurts a whole lot less than seeing someone that didn’t get to paradise, because of us!

 

Heavy stuff for the day after Christmas I know, but then Jesus wasn’t born so we could put up a tree and open presents, He came to change the world forever.  If he has changed your world, then you already know the answer to the question, “What are you going to do about it?”  If it helps at all, please know I’m there with you!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

Join us in Artists Standing For Christ!  Read the blog two days below, take the pledge and send me an email if you want to be on the email list!  Either way, please join us!    billfortney@earthlink.net