“It’s complicated.”

by DanWolgemuth on October 23, 2020

I’ve said that many times, especially recently.

Politics. Platforms. Justice. Mercy. Medicine. Weather. Economics. Immigration. Law enforcement. Elections. Relationships. Opinions.

Complicated.

Right?

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35–40, ESV)

On these two “hang” (NIV) everything.

Complication is an excuse for ignoring the words of Jesus. 613 Jewish laws to choose from…

Then Jesus. The personification of this directive.

Love God. Wholeheartedly. Passionately. Creatively. Emphatically. Courageously. Diligently.

Love your neighbor. Sacrificially. Boldly. Relentlessly. Continuously.

Every part of me, loving God. Every breath in me, serving others.

The most difficult thing you will ever do. But uncomplicated.

It is by this that a watching world will know… that we are His disciples.

Once again… and always. Jesus shows us the way.

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He Saw… and so should we

by DanWolgemuth on October 16, 2020

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. (John 9:1)
 
A recent trip to downtown Denver on the local RTD train provided transportation and a bit more.
 
Masks on. Space provided. Miles covered.
 
Once downtown, a walk to a beautifully renovated office building, and the assignment at hand. I was focused. My mind locked on the subject in front of me. My destination was a studio where I would livestream a video to our YFC staff around the United States. This was the virtual replacement for seven geographically targeted conferences that had been on the agenda at the start of the year.
 
I felt strongly about the specific message I wanted to deliver. A tight 25-minute window.
 
My notes were printed, highlighted and appropriately scribbled on. I was ready.

Once delivered, I retraced the route to my car. But this time, my personal attention was less focused on my own righteous agenda, and consequently, more responsive to the world around me.
 
The homeless man on the corner panhandling. The young guy sitting on the bench by the bus stop. He looked weathered. Worn. Out of it.
 
Then there was the Greyhound bus station in the lower level of Union Station. Benches cluttered with people heading to wherever. For whatever. Toting luggage and burdens that seemed to ooze from their expressions. I heard a baby crying. I saw a man on the floor sleeping on his bags.
 
Then the C Line train back to my car. Again, staccato interaction with a few other passengers. All with a story. All with a destination in mind. In relatively close proximity, but miles away.

Were these people here when I traveled downtown? Had the brokenness and loneliness of the community just surfaced?

I wish. But, no.

I was so “on mission” to get to my opportunity to preach the Gospel… the Good News… and I missed being the good news.

Jesus… on a three-year timeline. A ministry pace to change the human race. Cosmic urgency.

Focus. Purpose.

“He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)

Yet, Jesus, in the midst of His “mega-narrative” never lost sight of His “minor-opportunities”. His attention was on the cross, but His eyes never left the faces of those around Him.

The faces of the broken. The outcast. The unclean. The disdained. The ugly.

Jesus made eye contact with the blind. He approached the leper. He touched the dead.

Always on mission, yet always aware.

Always on task, but always available.

COVID-19 has given me permission to live into my selfishness. To ignore for a reason. To avoid on purpose. A medical rationale for a sinful preoccupation.

And Jesus grieves.

Call it an “eye exam”, call it a new “lens”… but make no mistake, it’s the visional attention of Jesus. Before He healed, before He taught, before He cleansed, before He exorcised, before He bled… He saw.

And so should I. No mission, Godly or mundane, should ever obscure my vision of the human condition around me.

Eyes like Jesus. And a heart that will follow.

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Tattooed

October 9, 2020

It was in May of 2019 that my heart was moved beyond expectation. A heart tattooed. Marked indelibly by an experience in juvenile detention. An experience with Jesus. Now, roughly eighteen months later… I still wake in the middle of the night and think about KB. I wonder. I ache. I pray. The story of […]

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The Profile Page of God

October 2, 2020

A profile. A personal resume. Facebook calls it an About Intro… With icons. Short narratives. And a few locations. Me. Dan Wolgemuth. 65 years distilled. So, the question surfaces. If God had to fill out a profile… something He would put on LinkedIn or Instagram or Facebook, what would it be?   Actually, He did. […]

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Pregnant. Expecting.

September 25, 2020

Those were the terms we used in the early summer of 1980 to inform our families that a baby was on the way. Our first. By August, 1980, my entire family was in Birmingham, England for the retirement celebration of my Dad from Youth For Christ. A once in a lifetime gathering to reflect, commend, […]

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A Plastic Recorder and a Borrowed Ukulele

September 18, 2020

There’s a pause, pregnant with anticipation. Then music. A note or two on a piano or a single voice, or a misaligned entry point for a little plastic recorder. And moments later, the vague resemblance of a familiar tune. Then words that confirm the identity of the cloaked hymn. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound… […]

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Only a pebble…

September 11, 2020

My work day had concluded, and I made the short commute from the office in our home to the front porch. Mary was sitting there, watching over the water play of two of our grandchildren. Our two youngest. Juni, our 3-year-old, and Mack at nearly two. They had filled a clear storage tub with water […]

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It started with Toilet Paper

September 4, 2020

I think it started with toilet paper. You remember, grocery store shelves empty from end to end. But like the pandemic itself, the shortages and binge buying raced through other aisles as well. Hand sanitizer. Pasta. Cleaning products. Rice. Masks. Meat. Perhaps a bit irrational, but real.  Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash Consumers clamoring for items that […]

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Buyer’s remorse

August 28, 2020

Buyer’s remorse. You know that feeling. The purchase is complete, the product firmly in your hand, and a wave of dissatisfaction or worry washes over you. My most vivid experience of this occurred when Mary and I purchased our first house in Fort Wayne, Indiana in January of 1979. A three bedroom, one bath house […]

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He Is What He Says He Is

August 21, 2020

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (Matthew 11:28–29, ESV) Gentle. Lowly. In heart. The outstanding new book by Dane Ortlund […]

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