Dear July – continued…

by DanWolgemuth on July 6, 2018

This past week, while the World Cup Soccer tournament roared, and Major League Baseball edged past the midway point in the season… many in the world of sports focused on a 33-year-old from Akron, Ohio. LeBron James officially became LABron, with a four-year commitment to play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.

What’s clear is that LeBron stewards a vast array of physical and mental talents that make him a basketball elite. By some accounts, he’s on his way to becoming one of the finest players to ever pound the hardwoods.

By virtue of this new contract to leave the Buckeye State, LeBron will be paid handsomely. Consider this. Over the next four seasons, LeBron will make approximately $481,000 for each game that he plays. That’s over $12,000 a minute, or $17,000 for every point he scores.

Make no mistake, this was no act of charity by the Lakers. It was a calculated business decision to bring a “ticket selling” and merchandise selling machine to southern California. In essence, $25 of every ticket sold at the Center for a Lakers basketball game, will go to pay LeBron. Twenty-five dollars times 19,000 tickets a game. An investment.

But if 15 seasons of LeBron has taught us anything, it’s this… a phenomenal athlete, in a special and rare category, with a steely determination isn’t enough to win NBA Championships. Indeed, he’s won championships; two in Miami, and one much hoped for in Cleveland… but there were 12 other seasons. Only two of his 15 seasons didn’t include the NBA playoffs, and 9 seasons have ended in the NBA Finals. But only three have secured the trophy.

Please don’t misunderstand, this is not an indictment of LeBron. He’s fiercely competitive and monstrously talented, but even LeBron James is not enough alone. And frankly, you can’t just throw four other athletes on the floor and have that be enough. He needs great basketball players around him to win championships. At least four and maybe six. And then you throw the necessity of the right coach and coaching staff.

Even LeBron needs help. Even LeBron isn’t enough by himself.

If career statistics are the end goal, then LeBron can succeed on his own. But if championships are the measure, then a team is required. Others. Players. Gifted. Focused.

So, just a week into July and my “Dear July” has reinforced a powerful reality, and through the Sports Pages no less.

I need others. Not casually, but desperately. A Body of Believers. The Church.

Weakness? Reality.

Even LeBron. Especially Dan Wolgemuth.

A role to play. A pass to make. A shot to take. Always and only on a team.

July.

{ 0 comments }

Dear July –

by DanWolgemuth on June 29, 2018

Welcome back, dear friend. I’m looking forward to being with you soon. There’s always been something very special about you, but this year, more than ever, I wait to embrace you with renewed urgency and need.

Rest has been illusive this past eleven months. I’ve been consistently in the classroom of trust and faith, and at times needing remedial work.

Doubt, worry, frustration, fear have all pressed into my heart and mind in unrelenting ways. “What if” has declared war against “But, God”.

Any illusion that Satan plays fair has been long since dispelled.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)

God warned me. I know that the forces of evil are dirty and nasty. Body punches when my gloves are down. Chaos when I expected calm.

Interrupted sleep. Grueling days.

God said it would be so… but God not only warned, He equipped. No toy pistols or water balloons. This is war, and my arsenal is robust.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (Ephesians 6:13-18, Message)

July. A flip of the page, and a stake in the ground. I plan to make ready my armor. I commit to pray hard and long. For brothers and sisters. For sons and daughters. For mission and message. For weary warriors. For discouraged gladiators.

I will extinguish the fires of fear. I will pursue rest, and reflection. I will meditate on God’s Word and I will pray spontaneously and vigorously. I won’t be in the office, but I will be engaged in the most important of all work.

July. I exit June with confession, and I enter July with renewed commitment. There is no weapon of man, or no scheme of Satan that can withstand the onslaught of God.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18–19, ESV)

A mismatch. No match. Satan’s gates don’t stand a chance and so we attack… in humble stewardship of the unfettered weapons of war.

July. Regrouping, not retreating. A commitment. A promise.

Our Living Hope.

July.

{ 0 comments }

Jesus in the kitchen

June 22, 2018

Grace Wolgemuth loved to bake bread. I remember vividly walking through the back door of our home on Park Street in Wheaton, Illinois into the smell of freshly baked bread. It was a culinary hug. A whole wheat welcome mat. My Mom had the recipe, technique, baking and timing down to a science. But before […]

Read the full article →

My True-Blue Line

June 15, 2018
Thumbnail image for My True-Blue Line

Acadia National Park is a national treasure. A tribute to the creativity and power of God. Mary and I just concluded a week in Bar Harbor, Maine that included an exploration of several of the robust Acadia hiking trails. While notably different than the trails we’re used to in Colorado, they were equally as awe […]

Read the full article →

“Unless you turn and become like children…”

June 8, 2018

There weren’t many on the route from Colorado to Nebraska. The migration pattern typically leads in the other direction. But we had Lake McConaughy on our mind. And so, we rendezvoused at a camp site… three camp sites to be precise. It was our first family camping weekend, with eight adults, ten children (our grands), […]

Read the full article →

Scotland 1996

June 1, 2018

I had just finished an intense six month project in Folkestone, England with General Electric. As a family, we chose to end our assignment with a trip north into the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Rustic, rough, underdeveloped and breathtaking. On a blustery July day we stumbled upon a “Sheepdog Contest”. Authentic and poignant, we […]

Read the full article →

From Bernice to Juni… with love

May 25, 2018
Thumbnail image for From Bernice to Juni… with love

Knitting needles in the hands of Bernice Cargo. Mary’s Grandmother was a master. And last night, in our kitchen, Bernice’s legacy was on display. Juni, our 18-month-old granddaughter was a willing dress-up doll for Mary as she pulled an aged wardrobe back into public view.  When Juni was clad in a meticulously constructed blue sweater […]

Read the full article →

In the Classroom at Smitty’s

May 11, 2018

I was completely perplexed, inexperienced, and exceptionally cheap. A sprinkler system malfunction was not going to stump me. I’ve drained and restarted the same system for 12 years, and year 13 was not going to be any different… but it was, and is. Multiple zones operating simultaneously and inconsistently was beyond my capacity to diagnose […]

Read the full article →

In Tuskegee. At Booker T. Washington

May 4, 2018
Thumbnail image for In Tuskegee. At Booker T. Washington

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13, NLT) A hero. Someone who trades their own life for the life of others. Warriors. Soldiers. First Responders. Courageous bystanders. A high school Principal. Brelinda Sullen. Tuskegee, Alabama. Booker T Washington High School (BTW). Against the odds. In the […]

Read the full article →

The Smell of Heaven

April 27, 2018

The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rev. 5:8) I was just a few hours from walking back into my house after being on the road for several days.  When that happens, when I walk from the […]

Read the full article →