His Beloved

by DanWolgemuth on October 14, 2016

and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

“Beloved Son.”

“I am well pleased with Him.”

i.e. – “Hey humans – my created ones, this is Jesus. He’s my son and I’m crazy about Him. He brings me extraordinary joy and pleasure. I’m proud of Him.”

Before the fierce exam of Satan in the wilderness…

Before Jesus engages in His first miracle…

Before He recruits followers…



Beloved Son.

Before He does… He is.

Before He does… He delights.

Lost in the clutter and chaos of exploding egos and flattering self-portraits… we search for identity. Who are we?

Do our actions, performance and accomplishments define us? Does our resume reveal who we are? Is it the trophies, the gold watches, the nest egg, the address, the endorsements, the “likes,” the “friends,” or the “followers” that produces our identity?

If so, then the true north of our personal identity will be anything but True. We’ll be buoyed on our good days and crushed on our bad.

Any sustainable change in behavior has to be anchored in an indestructible identity.

That is why, when we are given the position of “children of God,” everything changes. The order is important. We don’t change everything to be children of God… no, we are declared His children, and then we are invited to live into that calling, that position, that relationship, that stewardship.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. 1 John 3:1-2

God’s children.

And as His children, we are His beloved. As His children we bring Him delight.

Last year 21,000 leaders who are a part of Youth For Christ USA engaged in authentic, Christ-sharing relationships with 125,000 teenagers who have yet to embrace the reality of this adoption into the family of God.

These are lost and broken and self-destructive and marginalized and pregnant and incarcerated and confused and addicted and poor and fatherless and affluently- distracted and identity-adrift teenagers.

And before we expect anything to change…


Sons and daughters.

God as Father.

Jesus as brother, Savior… then model and guide.

“My beloved son…” “My beloved daughter…”

From the lips of God to the heart of His people.

Identity first.

i.e. – “Hey humans – my created ones. You are my sons and daughters and I’m crazy about you. You bring me extraordinary joy and pleasure. I’m proud of you.”

His beloved.


Inviting Hatred for All the Right Reasons

by DanWolgemuth on October 7, 2016

“Follow me.”

This was the invitation of Jesus, first to His disciples, then to others, now to us. “Follow me.” Be like Jesus.

In one of the early sermons of Jesus’ ministry He defines His character, His attitude, and His incarnational persona.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…
“Blessed are those who mourn…
“Blessed are the meek…
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…
“Blessed are the merciful…
“Blessed are the pure in heart…
“Blessed are the peacemakers…
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account… (Matthew 5:3-12 – in pieces ESV)

The Beatitudes. The Resume of Jesus. Our navigation system for following Christ.

These words were not simply a part of a powerful sermon, they were the very description of Christ. He was what He taught.

So why… with a resume of humility, justice, mercy, peace, grace, righteousness and compassion… did people hate Jesus? (“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18 ESV)

Just how could “the world” hate a man like this?

The powerbrokers of Jesus’ day hated Him.
The self-righteous zealots hated Jesus.
The self-absorbed and arrogant hated Jesus.
The legalist hated Jesus.
The religiously bigoted hated Jesus.
The ethnically prejudiced hated Jesus.
The culturally rigid hated Jesus.

They hated Jesus because He wasn’t obnoxious or defensive or abusive or elitist. They hated Him because He lived into His calling… He lived the words He preached.

He gave them no punches to counterpunch. He left them with the simmering resentment that boils over into hatred.

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:39-42 ESV)

Against the backdrop of this example I test my own heart; my own behavior; my own attitude.

Am I hated by the world? Perhaps, but most likely because I’m loveless, opinionated, forceful, biased, and maybe even obnoxious. I’m more apt to pound my fist, or shake my head, or click my tongue for what I think is right and what I know is wrong… truth without love. Righteousness without grace.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6 ESV)

Gracious. Seasoned.

It is no badge of honor; no claim to fame; no cause for celebration if the world hates me because I hate them.

Being obnoxious or hateful or arrogant finds no space in the Beatitudes.

The world hated Jesus because He was full of grace AND truth. He was irreconcilable with political power and exploitation. And frankly, that simply ticked off the powerful.

“Follow me.” Follow Jesus.

To the cross and then the throne. To the least and then to glory.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. (Philippians 2:5 The Message)

I want to be hated by the world for all the right reasons…

“Follow me.”


All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

September 30, 2016

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again. The earliest version of this well known nursery rhyme was published in Samuel Arnold’s Juvenile Amusements in 1797. The primary content has remained the same for over two hundred years. It […]

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The Door Slams

September 23, 2016

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 ESV) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I […]

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September 16, 2016

Not a momentary lapse into a positive frame of mind. Not a good mood kind of day. Not an outcome due to perfect circumstances. Not a function of ideal situations. Joy. “Christian joy is both a privilege and a duty.” (Jerry Bridges – The Fruitful Life) Cultivated in the soil of real life… Birthed through […]

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Living Without A Limp… Surgery Required

September 9, 2016

It took four weeks to get the proper diagnosis, but that changed last Friday: An apparent subacute avulsion of the entire left hamstring tendon off the left ischial tuberosity. The torn and retracted hamstring tendon is identified 6 cm distal to the ischial attachment site. What had been originally diagnosed as a level 2 hamstring […]

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“Hello Andrew, this is Donna…”

September 2, 2016

April 7, 2015. A 36-second voicemail. “Hello Andrew, this is Donna…” Donna, a Social Worker in Denver was reaching out to Andrew and Chrissy, certified foster parents on Donna’s list. “I wanted to speak with one of you about a potential foster care placement…” A potential placement. A little boy. Breathtaking blue eyes. Enviable curls. […]

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Calendars Beware

August 26, 2016

It’s time for me to disclose a personal pet peeve. I don’t feel overly passionate about this pet peeve, just annoyed. It’s often a radio advertisement that triggers this… something like a local car dealership that is offering a special financing or rebate deal for only “two short weeks.” Two short weeks. Versus what? Two […]

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Dear Vivian –

August 19, 2016

My heart is heavy but hopeful as I press the keys. It’s nearly unthinkable that Joel is gone. Lost to us for a time, but ever so found by his King. 41 years just didn’t seem like enough. And I can’t imagine how that feels to you and Havannah. For the last year, you and […]

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Pure Gold… Who Needs Simone Biles Anyway

August 12, 2016

Our attention was riveted to the coverage of the Summer Olympics as Simone Biles raced across the mat to perform a masterful Floor Exercise routine. The speed, height and precision of her routine invoked the appropriate gasps in the room… until the words of Rowan interrupted the performance. Rowan is my grandson; a three-year-old this […]

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