Only Rowan

by DanWolgemuth on February 27, 2015

We moved in, as they moved out.

Our intersection was a small breezeway between two double doors. Mary and I were with Rowan, our 18-month-old grandson. The two individuals coming toward us were not with their grandson, but rather an enormous dog.

We met in the middle. Spontaneous in its origin, the encounter was laced with lots of potential outcomes.

Rowan was fully bundled, having just experienced an hour of fresh Colorado mountain air. He looked like a blue marshmallow as he trudged.

Dog met boy before adults could respond. Boy met dog without intervention.

Twenty pounds of boy, met 170 pounds of canine.

Without a flinch. Without hesitation. Without fear. Rowan entered in.

Tail wagged and collisions happened. Hand patted on the massive landscape of a brown back.

Joy, unsolicited, unscripted delight.

Then eye level licks; more delight; but no intimidation.

Overmatched and unfamiliar, Rowan invaded. He embraced without measurement. He celebrated without constraint.

Less than five minutes and it was over; but not really. Joy lingered. Smiles returned as the story was recounted.

The lesson is lasting.

Massively overmatched, but unafraid. Fear would have robbed Rowan of his exuberance.

Fear would have been completely understandable… in fact, terror would have been explainable. But there was none of that.

Only embrace. Only confidence. Only a full speed entrance ramp to delight.

Nothing was going to rob Rowan. Nothing.

And it was contagious. It was infectious. It was a classroom… right in that little breezeway between two double doors.

Opportunity met unconstrained embrace.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)

No fear. Pure delight.

In the classroom of an 18-month-old.


A Gut Feel

by DanWolgemuth on February 20, 2015

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them… Matthew 9:36

It was in his gut. Jesus felt it. A deep ache that he embraced as his own when he entered into the spiritual aimlessness of the people.

I’ve often celebrated the historic power of Jesus becoming flesh and living among us… but that doesn’t tell the entire story. Not only did Jesus walk the dusty trails of Israel; not only did he enter miraculously into lives of people; not only did he teach with power… he choose to engage his gut; to feel at the core; to personalize the pain.

Jesus chose this.

The tears of the vulnerable landed on his cheek.

His mission was world changing, but it extended beyond a global strategy. Jesus invested his emotion in his mission.

The fragile and damaged lives that Jesus encountered were more than just pieces on a cosmic chessboard. Jesus loved. With the risks, disappointments, vulnerability and suffering that this invites.

Jesus rescued the desperate. He entered into the chaos. There was nothing sterile about it. Mercy met the mess.

Hope can’t be delivered remotely. A manger proved that.

Forgiveness can’t be purchased without a price. The cross made this clear.

Love won’t be extended without tears. Compassion exposed that.

Victory is impossible without resurrection. A grave without a corpse revealed that.

Compassion. There is nothing hypothetical about his care.

His model of love shows the way. Real tears. Real pain. Real love.

Nothing less will honor him.


I’ve Proved Him Over and Over

February 13, 2015

Trust is the gateway to intimacy. It is the currency in the marketplace of authentic relationship. Trust invites courage and assaults fear. Trust trades on the equity of integrity. I am desperate to trust… but unreliable in delivery. In 1882 Louisa Stead poured the spotlight of trust on the only dependable source: Tis so sweet […]

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January 30, 2015

“When I was seven I took care of my younger brothers while my parents fought the power of addiction.” These words cut like a razor sharp knife through my soul as I watched a ministry update from one of our chapters. Innocence obliterated. Children, not only caring for children, but parenting parents. Seven. “God found […]

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January 23, 2015

The Urban Dictionary defines this new social media propelled phrase as: ThrowBack Thursday. The letters are a preamble to post a picture or narrative that reflects on some experience from the past. It makes Thursday the perfect day to glance in the rear view mirror, and to include others in that look backward. Today, a […]

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The Tale of the Thermostat

January 16, 2015

The house that Mary and I bought in June of 2005 had a thermostat that could be managed with a scheduling setting. This included both furnace and air-conditioner settings. Certainly there have been times when we’ve found this useful, but there have also been times when we have chosen to manually manage the temperature. Christmas […]

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Language Found A Pulse

December 12, 2014

“In the beginning was the Word” Language. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The expression of God became tangible. The language of God became personal. The distance between God and […]

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Proclaim It

November 21, 2014

I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. (Psalm 26:6-7) Proclaim it. Verbalize it. Out loud. Unleash your heart to reflect. Remove the constraints of business to explore boldly and humbly the landscape of His wondrous deeds. Resist the urge to […]

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Lake-Effect Snow

November 18, 2014

The western edge of Michigan is known for a weather phenomenon known as lake-effect snow. Cold winds blow over the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, drawing the warmer lake moisture into the atmosphere and depositing the newly crystalized water onto communities along the shore. Last night and this morning, I witnessed this event, but from […]

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Yard Signs

November 7, 2014

Ballots have been counted and recounted. Polling locations have turned out the lights. Radio and television space has been vacated. The election is over. And yet, littered across the landscape, the yard signs remain. Candidates who just a week ago were in the thick of the race, don’t have the motivation or work force to […]

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