Be Strong and Courageous

by DanWolgemuth on July 18, 2014

(As Dan is away from the office, please enjoy this classic Fragment.)

That’s right Joshua. The baton is now in your hand. The Promised Land is in front of you and the emergency brake has been released. The expansive resources of this land are now available… to you and to my people.

That’s right Joshua. You’re my guy. I want you to step out, to march into uncertainty with the confidence that “every place” is yours. It’s yours because it’s mine. The fire that I ignited in your soul when you scouted the land can now be fanned into a blaze. Move forward. Occupy the land. No dream is too big. No territory too untamed.

No man: not a giant, not a political leader, not a military power will defeat you. I’m here: not just for tomorrow or the next day, but for all of the days of your life.

Camp on my Word. Set your heart, your mind, and your soul on the things that I’ve communicated to you. Don’t just use it as a reference book, but as a guide for life.

God’s purpose and promises have not changed; that baton is now ours. It’s time to occupy the promises of God. It’s time to cross the river of doubt and take possession of what He has already given to us.

The Lord our God is strong and mighty. He has not lost His power to do more than you could ask or imagine.

God is stirring, now as then. Be strong and courageous.

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Even as the Grinder Blared On

by DanWolgemuth on July 11, 2014

Two blocks from our home is a stand of Ponderosa pine trees.  These wonderful trees are esteemed enough to escalate the value of any home that is fortunate enough to share an address with them.

As much as homeowners esteem this cohabitation, the trees themselves don’t welcome disruptive intruders.  Over the years I’ve watched as these trees have slowly, but decisively died.

Several days ago, a Denver company by the name of Aesthetic Tree Services was parked adjacent to this stand of trees, but their task was far from aesthetic.  They were systematically cutting down several of the dead trees and subsequently pulverizing them into tiny bits.  The roar of the grinder gave evidence to the gravity of the situation.

Amidst all of the realities associated with this process, there was an unexpected sensory experience.  As I rode my bike past the oversized equipment, the fragrance in the air was captivating and powerful.  Authentic pine smells are an emotional experience.  With the power of Star Trek technology, the fragrance transports me to reflective and restful places.  I’ve come to expect this in the vast pine forests of Colorado, but the aroma seemed out of place, and frankly, more powerful.

It took only seconds for my mind to race to family members and friends who are fighting for their lives.  Cancer and other illnesses have washed over healthy bodies like a tsunami, and yet, even in dying the fragrance of life and hope radiates.

The once green Ponderosa pines, now brown and lifeless, still produce the fragrance of life… right down to their final moments of existence.

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.”  (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Even in the waning moments of mortal existence, those with the life of Christ flowing through them, produce a fragrance of life… even while life is escaping, their lives are rescuing those around them.  Death and dying is just one more opportunity to expose the power of true life.

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, because God is with us, producing the aroma of life that fills the spaces we occupy.

I experienced it with the Ponderosas; I know it to be true in so many that I love and respect.

In living and in dying… the aroma of Christ.

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The Extravagant Promise of Grace

July 3, 2014

In a small Oregon town a 13­-year-­old named “E” recoils from the cascading impact of years of unhealthy relationships. The chasm in her life is relational, but her inability to process any of these feelings takes her to a place of deep disappointment and abandonment. Two weeks after her 14th birthday, E gives birth to […]

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Only in Virginia

June 27, 2014

In the Mesabi Iron Range the town of Virginia, Minnesota looms large.  It’s a town that hit its population prime between 1950 and 1960. It was during this period of time that transplanted Michiganders by the name of Don and Eunice Cargo welcomed their third child into the world, a daughter.  Don was an electrical […]

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There Were Four, Not Three

June 20, 2014

Often, when asked about the “friends of Job” in the Old Testament account of bad advice giving and gridlock, there are three names mentioned.  I confess that under the pressure of a million dollar question on Jeopardy I would have answered incorrectly.  “Three!” In Chapter 32 of the book, we’re introduced to a new character.  […]

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Somebody Else’s Cowbell

June 13, 2014

My ride started innocently enough, but without premeditation, I had merged into the cycling route of a local triathlon.  Saturday at the Aurora Reservoir was a noteworthy adventure, and as I pulled onto east bound Quincy Avenue, I was the fortunate benefactor of a road closed to motor traffic and a sweeping flow of riders. […]

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A Few Changes to the Job Description

June 6, 2014

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18-19) Jesus broke through the focused activities of two […]

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“The World Itself Could Not Contain”

May 23, 2014

An early breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Gas City, Indiana, afforded me the opportunity to listen, learn and savor time with Jay Kesler.  Jay is a trusted friend, a wise advisor, and a man of Godly depth.  I love him.  He served as the President of Youth for Christ/USA from 1973 to 1985, so he […]

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FellowshipChicago

May 16, 2014

Old steel beams and concrete floors shrouded the vision in front of me.  Members of the FellowshipChicago leadership team spoke with clarity and hope about what was going to be. A charter school.  A retail space to offer vocational opportunity.  A worship center. The immediate condition of the property didn’t discourage or overwhelm these leaders.  […]

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A glance into a mirror that I didn’t expect…

May 2, 2014

Mack was unwrapping the mess that was his childhood. An absent mother, a robust and destructive gang community, drugs, violence and ultimately incarceration. Without being mean-spirited, Mack challenged the notion that the juvenile justice system as it stands could ever rehabilitate a young law breaker. He understood and embraced both the need for justice and […]

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