A Roundabout Way

by DanWolgemuth on 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 deeply concerned about the doctrinal stance and practical ramifications of these groups’ teachings.

But instead of coming right out and declaring His concern, Jesus took His followers on a trip through the countryside. When the disciples arrived at their destination, they realized they had not packed a lunch.

At this critical moment, Jesus turns the conversation in an unusual direction.

“Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

As the disciples wander through “Betty Crockerland,” wondering if Jesus had enrolled them in a baking class, they finally arrive at His intended destination in verse 12: “Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

How utterly inefficient! What a waste to turn this simple lesson into a group project, yet it is consistent with Jesus’ teaching methods.

Christ communicated His most important lessons — the ones He wanted to embed in the hearts and minds of His followers — in a way that engaged multiple senses. He could have announced: “Pharisees are hypocrites” (Luke 12:1), but instead, He meandered through the educational countryside.

I’m confident that Jesus’ methodology was precise and intentional. He designed His lessons around daily life, so the disciples would have “classroom reminders,” long after they had misplaced their lecture notes. By connecting spiritual lessons to everyday experiences, Jesus provided refresher courses long after He returned to His Father.

From that day forward, every time a disciple walked by a bakery, held a crust of bread in his hand, or witnessed the invisible impact of yeast, he would remember Christ’s message. Jesus knew that the more senses He could engage with His teaching, the more likely the lesson was to connect with His followers.

Real lessons, connected to real life –Theology 101 in The Master’s classroom.

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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

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 […]

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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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