Crunchy

by DanWolgemuth on August 29, 2014

On a recent trip to the mountains, Mary and I popped into a local grocery store to replenish our inventory of peanut butter. PB&J sandwiches are a mountain staple when hiking or biking.

As we walked the aisle I noted that it looked like the small market only had crunchy peanut butter. I looked at Mary and said, “That doesn’t work since you don’t like crunchy peanut butter.”

With complete surprise Mary looked back at me and replied, “No, you’re the one that doesn’t like crunchy. ”

“No”, I volleyed back, “I grew up on crunchy.”

Then silence as something stunning occurred to both of us in perfect synchronization. Over the course of 36 years of marriage and three years of dating (that certainly included peanut butter intervals), we had carefully crafted assumptions about each other that weren’t true.

Our ill-informed perspective shaped our behavior, and likely, the entire peanut butter marketplace for nearly four decades. At this point I’ve not informed our three children of this discovery as I worry about how they will react to this transformational shift in our culinary behavior. They have been shaped and molded with creamy as a cornerstone. Counseling may be in order.

Even in the most intimate relationships, uninformed, and unexplored assumptions shape our behaviors. We act, and live, and believe a certain way, not because we know the facts, but because we assume we know the facts. Our assumptions become our reality. And over time, our reality becomes our absolute.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) (John 4:7-9 ESV)

How is it…?

I thought I knew. I was sure that I knew!

Long standing assumptions don’t evolve into truth. Truth alone is truth.

It’s crunchy that now sits on our pantry shelf, and it’s a healthy dose of humility that now confronts other, far more important assumptions that I’ve made.

Maybe, just maybe, God used a jar of peanut butter to rock my world.

{ 0 comments }

His Journal/My Journal

by DanWolgemuth on August 22, 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)

Peter.  Good old Peter.

Yep, the Disciple of Jesus.  The fisherman turned fisher of men turned shepherd of the flock of Christ.

Peter, the bold, brash, perhaps proud guardian of the mission.

Peter, the over confident.  Peter, the talk first, think second.  Peter, the crushed and broken and frightened and regret-filled.

The first four books of the New Testament are not only an in-depth account of the life and earthly ministry of Jesus, they are also an unvarnished look into the lives of people that surrounded Jesus.  People like Peter.  Especially Peter.

Much has been made of this man.  Peter, by his own account in the book of Mark, exposes the good and the bad.  The account of Peter’s statements, his actions and his personal journey are in full view; and consequently, under extraordinary scrutiny.

Over the last two months I’ve spent considerable time exploring the life of this man.  In doing so I’ve come to realize that the convenient criticism that I’ve felt for Peter has often been unchecked against the tendencies of my own soul.

I’ve come to imagine what it would be like to publically post my thoughts and actions related to my walk with Jesus over the past three years.  My moments of grand public proclamation, and my blunders of word and deed that would defame and distort the cause and the claims that I deeply believe and cherish.

What if doubt-filled and dread-filled moments were chronicled?  What if my spontaneous reactions and my “baked in” biases were exposed?  What if it was my journal that you were reading, my failures that were on display?

The life of Peter serves me best when I’m relating and not critiquing.

The open book on Peter’s life is intended to illuminate my own soul.  The path is lit all the way through the tears of confession and brokenness, to the hope-filled sprint to an empty grave.  It is restoration and vision and commissioning that Jesus imparts to Peter… and that shows the way for me.   It is Peter in the pulpit with the power of the Holy Spirit in his soul that inspires me and that reflects the heart of God.

Authentic.  Raw.  Real.  From the pen of Peter to the journal in front of me.

Peter is not my biblical dissection project; he’s my brother and friend.  He’s my companion and guide.  He’s my mirror and my fellow pilgrim… to grace… to life… to power.

It’s my journal that Peter wrote; and it serves as a trustworthy map to the bottomless and fathomless grace of God.

{ 0 comments }

Because Grace is the Point

August 15, 2014

Imagine the mayhem that would exist in corporate boardrooms and executive suites when one of the primary spokespeople for the organization completely discredits and disconnects from the cause they have agreed to support.  Imagine. That’s Michael Jordan, in his prime, saying that he doesn’t know anything about Nike and he doesn’t want anything to do […]

Read the full article →

Fifty-One Verses

August 8, 2014

The room was filled and hearts were hungry.  Wednesday night was when young people would be invited to respond to the message of confession, grace, mercy, hope and transformation. Ray Villegas, our YFC staff member from Harlem, was bringing the message.  Although Ray’s address was 3,000 miles from most of the kids in the room, […]

Read the full article →

It Should Have Been Easy

August 1, 2014

This is the tenth summer that I’ve been a part of the mission of Youth for Christ/USA.  I’ve come to understand the varied rhythms that reflect the realities of my calendar year.  There are seasons of operational intensity, of mission focus, of leadership development, of fund raising, and of staff communication.  There also is a […]

Read the full article →

A Roundabout Way

July 25, 2014

(As Dan is away from the office, please enjoy this classic Fragment.) It seems to me that when Jesus taught His disciples an important lesson, He rarely took the shortest route. For instance, in Matthew 16 Jesus warns His followers about the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. It was clear that Jesus was […]

Read the full article →

Be Strong and Courageous

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. […]

Read the full article →

Even as the Grinder Blared 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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →