Confessions of a College Knitter

by DanWolgemuth on June 24, 2016

I’m not sure precisely when I learned to knit, or why… but early in my college life, on one of my visits back to Wheaton, Illinois, I got enough training to be dangerous. It happened at a local knitting shop, which propelled me. I was armed with two very large plastic needles and a connection to an individual in the shop who could get me started and who could effectively terminate my activity. Yes, I never learned to start or stop a knitting project. (My face is a little flushed right now for a variety of reasons.)

I was a one-trick pony… scarfs.

My apologies to anyone on my gift list at that point in time because there was little mystery in the gifting.

By the middle of my sophomore year at Taylor University, I met and started dating Mary. She was a year younger, from Indianapolis, and quickly became a great friend and a trusted companion. By Christmas of 1975 I was contemplating the appropriate gift(s) for this young woman and voila – the idea of the best scarf I had ever made came to mind.

I bought high quality yarn, I got my starting rows established at my local shop, and I began this labor of love. It turned out to be a very, very long labor of love. Not in duration but in literal length. I simply couldn’t stop as each new row seemed to express my admiration and captivation for this 19-year-old.

Mission accomplished. Scarf completed and wrapped and delivered. And yes, Mary was completely surprised… but perhaps mostly because she now had a scarf that could fully surround her… no, literally. If she wrapped it around her beautiful neck it would still hang down at wildly non-fashionable levels. If she happened to be wearing it in a windstorm, it would harass and potentially injure those that were close by.

If it was the thought that counts, then I got extra credit.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

Actually, it turns out that knitting was God’s idea. His were the first needles to create. He needed no help from a local shop… and what He created was beautiful and unique, and perfectly created to serve the purpose God had planned.

On Monday, Mary celebrates a birthday. It’s a big one. Both numbers flip on this one.

What I’ve come to realize is that when God was knitting this tiny baby together in the womb of Eunice Cargo in 1956… He was knitting me a scarf. Yes, God knew perfectly well just how to carefully, functionally, creatively and beautifully craft this masterpiece. And the knitting wasn’t just for me. It warmed a whole host of others.

Knit together. As a way to show His love. As a gift.

Happy Birthday, Mary. You were indeed knit together. For good. For grace. For joy and laughter and adventure… for the purposes and plans of God.

Knitting needles in the hands of the Creator. My perfect scarf.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created (i.e. knitted together) us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things (i.e. be the perfect scarf!) he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

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“Ask what I shall give you”

by DanWolgemuth on June 17, 2016

Who wouldn’t love an invitation like this… “Ask what I shall give you.” Most especially when these words come from the lips of God.

Wisdom was Solomon’s choice, and God both commended and rewarded his selection.

Fast forward to the twelve disciples, living and learning in the shadow of their rabbi. From Jesus. Only once in their three-year journey does scripture record a specific request from them… “Teach us…” they said; they pleaded; they begged.

And it was the classroom of prayer that they longed for. Conversations with God 101.

Teach us to pray.

Had they lowered the standard from Solomon? Did they misspeak or wrongly request? Quite the opposite. They knew well that it was in prayer that Jesus found wisdom. It was on His knees that Jesus found strength and resolve. In intercession Christ forgave and healed. Quite the opposite.

And Jesus obliged… He answered and He rewarded, just as God had done in 1 Kings with Solomon.

And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4)

Jesus told us what to say, but make no mistake, He also told us who we were saying our prayers to.

Father.

Our Father. (Matthew 6:9)

Jesus declares our position as well as our language. We have a Father. He’s Our Father.

We declare Him holy and just and good and hallowed. We acknowledge that He is a King with a Kingdom.

He provides. Daily.
He forgives. Graciously.
He expects. Willingly.
He guides. Powerfully.

As Our Father.

Jesus added no footnote, no disclaimer, no parenthetical clarification – (this is just hypothetical language; for metaphoric use only).

No, Jesus gave us the authority and privilege to pray like He did; to His father. To Our Father.

We have a Father. Against the backdrop of epidemic fatherlessness; we have a Father.

And He’s good. He’s love. He’s God.

Perfect. Powerful. Merciful. Generous. Father.

It was in the inspired request of the disciples that Jesus introduced us to His Father; Our Father.

Down the avenue of prayer… we have access to what Solomon sought. Not from an aloof deity, but from our Dad; our Father. The King.

Father’s Day. Our Father’s Day.

From the lips of Jesus to the hearts of His people. A Father. The Father. Our Father.

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Lessons from Detention

June 10, 2016

There are a lot of reasons why one of our staff members who works with incarcerated young people might get a call from the local Detention Center. The competence and confidence that years of faithful engagement brings engenders a level of trust that makes our Youth For Christ staff member a part of the team. […]

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A Verb or a Noun

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This week I made a trip to Eugene, Oregon to visit several wonderful friends and partners of our ministry. While I was driving through this college town I drove past the Universal Unitarian Church of Eugene. It was a large and distinctive building and it caused me to think through the general premise and promise […]

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A Low T Church

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I must admit some trepidation in the title and inference of this Fragment, yet I feel compelled and convicted to press the keys… to push into the subject. Low Testosterone. Our society and culture are consumed with messages and advertisements and remedies for this condition. Quite honestly, my point isn’t to minimize or undermine the […]

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Bring them…

May 20, 2016

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (John 6:8-9) Visionary Leadership. This has been an aspiration of mine as I have led the mission of Youth For Christ USA for the […]

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Picture Perfect

May 13, 2016

“he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2b These prophetic words constructed by the prophet Isaiah are scandalous.  As God breathed into the soul of Isaiah, these words become the projection of a father declaring that someday the son that would […]

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The Secret of Grace

May 9, 2016

For the love of Christ controls us, (2 Corinthians 5:14a) Roughly a quarter of a mile from Wheaton Central High School was 103 East Park. This address was home for 16 years of my life, including my high school years. The close proximity to the school property made it possible for me to eat many […]

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“With the first pick…”

May 2, 2016

“With the first pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams select Jarod Goff, quarterback California.” These words rolled off the lips of Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the National Football League, as he announced the first, and each subsequent player selected by the professional football teams in the United States. Pride swelled. […]

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Calling All Shepherds… Yes, All of You

April 22, 2016

I’m several weeks away from a Youth For Christ USA National Board meeting. It’s in this context that I will receive my performance review. The process started several weeks ago and included the candid feedback of my Cabinet, of the board members, along with my own perspective related to my job performance. It’s a part […]

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