Finding Our Way to YES

by DanWolgemuth on April 28, 2017

Have you noticed that parents with young children don’t spend a great deal of time teaching their toddlers to say NO? No comes naturally, and not just for two-year-olds.

While parents are shaping the words Momma and Daddy, children are fluently expressing the thoughts on their minds. NO!

Our earliest vocabulary is formed from a heart of selfishness. “Mine” and “No” are the foundation upon which early dialog is built.

Certainly there is an appropriate place for “no” in the language portfolio of a child, an adolescent and an adult, but navigating our way to the appropriate “Yes” is vital in shaping a vision for life and living.

Yes is the simple response we ask teenagers to express when they are asked to consider following Jesus. At the conclusion of a thirty-minute “solo time” at YFC Camp, the silence is broken with the powerful commitment and affirmation. YES! It cascades through the sky in unconstrained hope.

Yes. A courageous affirmation into a journey of faith.

Every invitation that Jesus posed to His disciples and the many others that He encountered was focused on the language of Yes.

“Will you?”
“Do you?”
“Would you?”

The narrow way to an unselfish Yes, is the trail to purpose and meaning. Yes is the trailhead to the adventure of a lifetime. It is the gateway to the promises of God.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you…, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:19-20, ESV)

A selfish “No” gives way to a sacrificial “Yes.” In Jesus. Through Jesus.

Yes. Not to one more thing… not to one more personal pleasure… not for the sake of comfort… But Yes to Jesus. Not just once, but daily… moment by moment.

He is the ultimate yes. He is the only yes. The yes above every yes.

I was born with No on my lips, but it was Jesus who said yes on the cross so that I could say yes to life. Yes to living. Yes to sacrificing. Yes to courage. Yes to serving and not being served. Yes to caring for the broken and marginalized. Yes to giving. Yes to loving. Yes to proclaiming. Yes to less of me… and so much more of Him. Yes to Jesus.

“…but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.”

Every promise of God. Yes in him.

Say it. Push “No” to the back of your throat and say it. Yes. Yes, Jesus. Yes.

I’m yours. I’m in. I’m willing.

It’s time for the church of Jesus to once again find their “Yes”… in Jesus.

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Juni

Post image for Juni

by DanWolgemuth on April 21, 2017

It had been nearly two months since I had held our granddaughter. Alli and Chris had flown to the Dominican Republic when she was two months old, and now, nearly the same length of time later, she was back in my hands.

In those two months she had added a few more rolls, but then, hadn’t we all. In those two months she had lost the layer of black hair that had covered her head… now it was fuzz.

Now this beautiful little baby was placed in my arms once again. Her skin was the soft canvas that I had held in late February. A sweet wave of joy washed over me.

Two months before, with similar positioning, I had held Juni as she was tightly wrapped in a warm blanket. She was like a burrito with a pulse. When she opened her eyes they darted without focus and her expressions were unprovoked and random.

But now, at just under four months, we made eye contact for the first time. She saw me. Her focus invited response, and so I obliged. With bobbing head I rocked and talked without regard to public opinion or professional decorum. I cooed and babbled and beamed in pure delight. Then, in contagious response, Juni mirrored my joy. A smile broke across her face. Not the random uninspiring smile of a newborn, but the smile of a responsive heart. A response in response to a smile. A noise in response to a noise.

Juni smiled because unconstrained smiles had been lavished on her. Juni echoed joy because joy surrounded her.

Alli, Chris, Desmond and Abe had smiled on her before she could meaningfully smile back. Day after day after day. Smiles without reply.

But then, somewhere between February and April, a smile. And again.

She smiled because her family first smiled on her.

And now, the enthralled and whiskered face of a 61-year-old grandpa produced a response. A smile.

While Alli and Chris were doing their best to learn Spanish, Juni was learning to smile. Juni was learning love.

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)

We smile because He first smiled on us.

Our capacity to love, our ability to respond with joy, is something we have learned from the God who made us.

While I was just a burrito with a pulse, my Father spoke to me. He loved me. He poured smiles over me.

This is why, when I live a life of love, I bring joy to my Father. I delight His heart.

In His arms I rest. His smile becomes mine. His love invades my soul.

Juni smiled.

Because she had been smiled upon.

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Every scar a story… every stitch a tale

April 17, 2017

From an uninvited and imprecise scar above my lip, the result of an early childhood encounter with a wing nut, to a meticulously positioned and expertly executed incision to reattach my left hamstring within the last year… every scar pulls back the curtain on a drama. Wounds. Healing. Scars. It was in July of 2012 […]

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Making Cents of Sparrows

April 7, 2017

Ah, the beautiful Flicker. A bird of size, color, elegance and stature. A bird that frequents the feeders on the deck outside our kitchen window. Like an extra guest at the breakfast table. Like an artist displaying some of their finest work. Yet the Flicker isn’t our only feeder patron. In fact, many birds come […]

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From Boggle to Beauty

March 31, 2017

The letters dance, the timer gets flipped, and the competitors unleash their minds to construct words out of the clutter. Boggle. Sixteen cubic dice settle into individual boxes inviting a thoughtful evaluation and assembly into words of varying lengths. Chaotic possibilities finding order. Meaninglessness finding definition. A game with a prophetic voice. A metaphor waiting […]

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Cinque

March 24, 2017
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I spotted a 3 by 5 card on the desk in our hotel room. The importance of the evening was not lost on me. Our first getaway dinner in Athens. We had spent the day doing what tourists do in Athens… history class in hiking shoes. And now the search was on. With wifi in […]

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The Day I Met Heaven

March 17, 2017

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) Two weeks ago I met Heaven. Seriously. I met her. In fact, not only did I meet her, I also held her; I sang Happy Birthday to her… and I had the privilege of praying for her. Heaven. A beautiful […]

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Light of the World

March 10, 2017

You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may […]

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Again and Immediately

March 3, 2017

Again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.  And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.  And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  It is enough, the […]

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Candidly Unprofessional

February 24, 2017

It was almost exactly nine years ago that I met Rick Voit. Like me, he was attending the 60th birthday party of my brother Robert in Orlando, Florida. Rick’s connection with Robert began while Rick was a student at New Trier High School in the north suburbs of Chicago. Robert led a Youth For Christ […]

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