Spend Freely…

by DanWolgemuth on April 13, 2018

We make lists… we write notes… we use an app called Wunderlist… we send text messages, all for the purpose of remembering to buy something that we’re out of.

You’ve got a list. We all do.

Exhaustible resources.

Our refrigerators are empty, our gas tanks need to be filled, our cupboards look bare.

Much of our existence and much of the global turmoil in the world swirls around the discovery, management and utilization of finite resources.

In the very kitchen where many of the edible resources get prepared and consumed, Mary has positioned three words on top of our cabinets. In bold block letters the words read… FAITH HOPE LOVE.

They’ve been in a place of prominence for over a decade… but they’ve been on the heart of God since the foundation of the world.

By contrast, these words are inexhaustible. Infinite.

In many ways, the more we use them, the more vast they become.

There are times that I’ve been stingy with love or hope or grace or mercy… and when that happens, my soul begins to shrivel and my pool of joy dries up. But, when I am liberal with love, when I am lavish with hope, when I am extravagant with grace, my supply increases.

The beautiful story in 2 Kings 4 of Elisha and a widow gives us a snapshot of what this looks like. A poor, debt-ridden woman is told by Elisha to go to her neighbors and borrow some empty vessels. She is then instructed to pour what little precious oil she has into each container. Amazingly, miraculous, the oil pours freely; abundantly.

While this is an engaging story, I believe it’s also intended to inspire us to pour out the gifts of God as freely and confidently, and at times, as outrageously as possible.

We pour, He fills.

Ironically, and confessionally, I realize that I spend much too much time protecting and preserving my finite resources, when I should be preoccupied with investing what will never be consumed.

His love is inexhaustible. His hope is infinite. His grace is endless.

Milk. Bread. Coffee… here today, on my shopping list for tomorrow.

But love. Vast and limitless. Boundless love.

Go crazy. Spend freely. Give outrageously. Love.

{ 0 comments }

Then. And Now.

by DanWolgemuth on April 6, 2018

It was a bright Spring day in Franklin, Michigan. April 8, 1978.

At 7PM, with the wedding attendants at the front of the church, Mary and her dad moved in front of the double doors at the back of the church. I could see her. The dress she wore was ivory, satin and beautiful. A dress that Mary’s Mom had worn in Calumet, Michigan nearly 30 years before.

In that moment, the music stopped, even as my heart pounded. In that moment, every guest and every participant disappeared from my sight. I fixed my eyes on my fiancé, my wife to be at the back of the room. I locked my gaze on Mary. And in that moment, I recited the words that I had scratched on a piece of paper months ahead of this date, words that rolled from a captured heart…

“Mary, I’ve waited a long time to look down this aisle and see you in that beautiful gown, and it’s been well worth every second. For as I gaze at you now I see a beauty that is beyond any I have ever known. A beauty that begins in your heart and moves outward. A beauty enhanced by time and cultivated in day to day living.

I love you with a love that encompasses every inch of my being. I love for the memories, for the current realities, and for the dreams you’ve allowed me to share. I am so very full today and so very proud to have you as my bride.”

Minutes later we were husband and wife. With a life in front of us.

I moved my beautiful wife into an apartment located above a beauty parlor at 1815 ½ High Street, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were paying $150 a month.

We had spoken words of commitment to each other… words that reflected our solidarity, our commitment, and our naïveté.

I promise, before God and these witnesses to be your faithful husband, both in times of plenty and in times of want, in laughter and in tears, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all the circumstances of our lives together to be loyal to you for my whole life and with all my being.

And Mary said the same.

Then life.

Jobs. Babies… three heart-stealing babies.

Fort Wayne, Indiana. Franklin, Tennessee. Goshen, Indiana. Lenexa, Kansas. Aurora, Colorado.

Then weddings where we sat in the front row. Our kids finding their soul-mates. A ground swell of gratitude for the adults that now surrounded us as family. Then babies… ten heart-stealing babies (with number 11 on the way).

Yes, then. Yes, now.

Yes to the laughter. Yes to the tears.

But, yes. Still yes. Always, yes. Even when my stubborn soul says no… yes.

Senior discounts, but fighting fiercely for love.

Forty.

Forty years.

Mary, I’ve waited a long time to look down this aisle…

The adventure of a lifetime.

Our Ruby Anniversary. A milestone, but not a destination.

How little I knew in Franklin, Michigan. How grateful I am that you said yes. Then. And now.

I am so very full today and so very proud to have you as my bride.

Then. And now.

By God’s grace, and in His mercy. Yes.

{ 0 comments }

The Joy of Juni

March 16, 2018
Thumbnail image for The Joy of Juni

It was two and a half years ago that Eunice Cargo moved into Peakview Assisted Living. She’s been a beautiful part of this community. She knows the names of the residents and she smiles and greets them, often without reciprocation. Enter, Juni. Juni is our 15-month-old granddaughter, and Eunice’s great-granddaughter. On Monday morning, Juni and […]

Read the full article →

The Commemorative Issue

March 9, 2018

America’s Preacher (Time Magazine – Billy Graham Commemorative Issue) Remembering America’s Man of God (Newsweek – Billy Graham Commemorative Issue) The accolades flowed like Colorado streams after a spring thaw. From print to video. From spoken word to lyrics sung. Pastor to the Presidents. Evangelist to the world. But the word that surfaced over and […]

Read the full article →

From a Tent in Charlotte… Celebrating Billy

March 2, 2018

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (John 6:9, ESV) A boy. With a meal. It’s hard to imagine what thoughts raced through the head and heart of the boy who offered his barley bread and fish to Andrew. His meal, relinquished. […]

Read the full article →

On the day that Billy Graham died, I heard him preach

February 23, 2018

At 7:33AM Eastern Time, on February 21st, Billy Graham, the first, full-time Evangelist in our Youth For Christ mission tugged oxygen out of his last breath, and then marched humbly into glory. Graham, a profound amplifier of the name and fame of Jesus the Christ. Graham, by his own admission, a sinner, saved by grace. […]

Read the full article →

kollaō

February 19, 2018

Cling. Cleave. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9, NKJV – my emphasis) Like glue. To good. And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (Mark 10:18, ESV) Jesus turned a question from a wealthy young ruler on its […]

Read the full article →

Setting the songbird free…

February 2, 2018

“…but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things  enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19)  Songbirds! That’s what we’re attracting to our bird feeder these days. A wide assortment that collect each day to feast on the breakfast of seeds and nuts that Mary diligently assembles for them each day. That is until the squirrels showed up. These resourceful and agile and committed critters […]

Read the full article →

Not a make over or a do over…

January 29, 2018

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV) In a small Oregon community, a 13-year-old girl, Ella, recoils from the impact of years of unhealthy relationships in her life. Unable to process her feelings, she sinks deeper into […]

Read the full article →

A Little Man

January 5, 2018

Rob Wolgemuth is my nephew. He’s a fine, Godly man who, along with his wife, Rebecca, shepherd a family with five young kids. During Rob’s childhood, I had many opportunities to interact with him. He was the son of my oldest brother and as such, Rob was often more like a little brother to me […]

Read the full article →