Sunscreen and Umbrellas

by DanWolgemuth on January 13, 2017

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

I live in Aurora, Colorado. On most days in our city, the sun shines. In fact, it doesn’t just shine, it envelopes us. We love it.

That also means that on good old-fashioned rainy days, we celebrate. The rain becomes a celebrity, just for showing up.

Matthew 5:45 reminds me that the sun and rain are “His.”  They belong to God. I claim no ownership and wield no control over either.

As such, it’s up to God who basks in the warmth of His sun, and what land is graced by His rain. The beams and the drops are His to navigate, delegate and deploy.

Have you noticed that people who defame the name of God, and farmers who curse at the thought of Jesus still are warmed by His light and profitable by His rain?

Does it shock you to see gardens grow for the Godless?

And what of those arrogant atheists who throw the sails of their yachts into the air, recline in the sunshine on the deck, and who revel in their cunning schemes to exploit the poor?

Wouldn’t it be easier to entice people to follow Jesus if the Godless lived in perpetual darkness? Wouldn’t our efforts to evangelize be enhanced significantly if it were only our yards that were green?

Manipulation was never God’s plan for winning converts. In fact, His words about sunshine and rain sit in the center of His command to love our enemies.

God wraps gifts for under the Christmas tree, and not just for His family and friends. He gives good gifts to people who hate Him, ignore Him, and malign Him.

The light of the sun may illuminate the path to evil for some… but God still gives it. The rain may be used to water philosophies of life that repudiate the presence of a Supreme Being, but open your umbrellas, the rain still falls.

God’s generous love splashed enough light for Mother Theresa to find her way to the poor and sick; but it also rises each morning for the new wave of atheists who use its light to write their latest defiant treatise.

Love. Inextinguishable love.

Revealed in God. Revealed by God. Unleashed on us. Unleashed in us.

… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We love because He first loved us.

The implications are significant. This means that it’s not just Christians who buy sunscreen and umbrellas…

But, there’s a flip side to this coin; a harsh reality that equally lives in the light of His love.

Followers and lovers of Jesus get chemotherapy, and have car accidents, and heart attacks, and are in the wrong place when a terrorist bomb detonates.

The outrageous love of God doesn’t entitle us, and it doesn’t make us immune.

There are Godly people under hospice care… not because loving Jesus doesn’t matter, but because it does. His light shines. In us. Through us. In the congregation of care, and on the front lines of the enemy.

Sun and rain. Terminal illnesses and terrorism.

The light shines. Love lives.

Buy a bottle of SPF50 and an umbrella for your closest skeptic. And bless and commission your precious Christ-following cancer patient.

Sunshine on the Godless. Hope in the face of evil.

Love your enemies. Love like Jesus.

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Revisiting the Glimpse

by DanWolgemuth on January 9, 2017

Within the past several days I was escorted back to the front seat of an incident that happened privately many years ago in Munich, Germany. I’m guessing it was in 1999… but that’s irrelevant, except that the lingering impact of this experience hovers over my soul.

I was in the center of my tenure with General Electric. Mary and I lived in suburban Kansas City… and my organizational responsibilities took me to England and Germany on a monthly basis.

I would often catch a very early flight from Munich on Friday morning, which would get me home in time for pizza on Friday night. Quite literally, my sleep was so short on Thursday night that the taste of toothpaste was still in my mouth when my alarm shook me awake.

I had the process down. Hotel München Palace was my launch pad… and while it was lovely, don’t be misled by the name. Clean. Efficient. Quiet, but anything but palatial. German to the core.

As I recall, I had a 6AM flight to Amsterdam on KLM Airlines. I tugged my roller bag to the undersized elevator in the hotel. I pushed the lobby level button and bent over to tie my shoe. With that assignment complete I glanced up to reorient myself for the exit from the elevator and the rendezvous with a Munich cab.

It was in that glance that my eyes caught the image that was captured in the mirror-clad elevator. I had ridden this same elevator many times, but always with my guard up and my best face forward.

In the middle of the night, the unguarded moment caught me defenseless. I looked terrible. Tired, disheveled, and hurried. I was a forty-something business leader in General Electric with an over-touched-up image of himself. At 4AM, in a candid and unpolished moment, I caught a glimpse of who I really was.

Certainly, in the nearly twenty years since that experience I’ve looked worse, on many, many occasions. But there was something about the moment, the posture, the presumption that was a stiff and impolite reminder.

This story is not a shame-filled, embarrassing disclosure… but a poignant reminder. On nearly every occasion, I look better to myself than I actually am.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

According to the Apostle Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit), an over inflated self-analysis keeps me from fully engaging with others. It keeps me independent and autonomous.

So I begin 2017 with this Munich confession.

Unfiltered wisdom.

I need help. I’m incomplete. I need you. We’re better together.

One body. One Lord.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Resist the urge to move the period in the verse above. All things, only and always through Christ.

Starting the year honestly, humbly and gratefully.

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Wow

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A Shoebox Filled With Love

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The Wait is Over

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Thursday morning I clicked on the radio to catch a glimpse at the top news and weather stories in the Mile High City. Instead, I was fed a steady diet of Chicago Cubs related updates. Even in Denver. Smiles pushed through the airwaves as the good news was shared. The Cubs are World Series Champions. […]

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“If” gave way to “if only” which yielded to “wait until next year.”

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71 years. 108 years. These two specific numbers ooze out of the sports recaps these days as the Chicago Cubs now hover a single win away from going to the World Series for the first time in 71 years. If the Cubs outscore the Los Angeles Dodgers in one of the next two baseball games, […]

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His Beloved

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 […]

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