What if Jesus Used Indeed.com or Ziprecruiter or Linkedin?

by DanWolgemuth on February 21, 2020

It seems as though many of the organizations I’m closely connected to are in the process of leadership transition. In short, a season of discernment in recruiting and selecting key leaders for the future. Certainly this includes Youth For Christ USA.

In a period of reflection like this, I’ve been tugged to contemplate and evaluate the recruiting process of Jesus.

Unmistakably, Jesus discerned, recruited, developed and retained a collection of leaders that literally transformed the world. What qualifications did they bring? What key elements informed their resume?

This ignited a quick search of the resume that I assembled when I applied for the role of President/CEO of Youth For Christ USA in the Fall of 2004.

As I walked back through my 2004 resume, I was profoundly struck by how little of what I identified as key leadership accomplishments actually informed my journey for the past 15 years. Certainly I appreciated and leveraged the many lessons that God taught me over the 28 years that preceded this step, but on closer inspection, and in personal reflection something emerged as a theme. A theme that is the antithesis of reality.

Resumes, by design, shine the light on self-sufficiency, on independent accomplishment, on personal achievement. Mine was no different. An upward trajectory from a college diploma, to a covered Executive Parking Lot. From a small cubicle in the middle of the first floor of an office building in Fort Wayne, IN, to an inspiring and engaging window office on the 4th floor of a beautiful building in downtown Kansas City.

A resume screams individuality. Personal success. Mine did. Even when I was applying for the job of leading a national movement to engage the hearts of lost young people. Young people who could have cared less about my resume, parking spots, or stock options.

I couldn’t help but ponder, what if I was required to anchor my resume in the words of Scripture…

  • Apart from Christ I can do nothing. (John 15)
  • My heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. (Jer. 17:9)
  • I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Cor. 12:9a)
  • I take pleasure in my weaknesses. (2 Cor. 12:9b)
  • When I’m weak, I’m strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)
  • I can’t brag about having a spectacular ministry. What I have is a sincere heart. (2 Cor. 5:12)
  • Weaker parts of the body are indispensable. (1 Cor. 12:22)
  • I don’t know anything except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2)

This in no way diminishes the importance of stewarding work responsibilities well. After all, the standard is high… “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23, ESV) But it does inform the character of those who are capable of leading in a Godly manner.

They are reliable because they rely.
They are trustworthy because they confess.
They are competent because they admit weakness.
They speak well because they listen well.
They have authority because they serve.
They are powerful because they are humble.
They are leaders because they follow.

Followers. That was the job description that Jesus posted.

Flawed. On a journey from self-sufficiency to complete and utter dependence. From strength to weakness.

Eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12). Nothing less. Nothing more.

Applicants welcome.

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The love you had at first…

by DanWolgemuth on February 14, 2020

She was a freshman. I was a sophomore.

The very first time I had a conversation with her, it was a request for a date. I confess, not a “best practice.” Two days after that invitation and a positive response, we ran into each other at a campus-wide Valentine’s Day event. Our official date was two days later, on the 16th of February. 1975.

After the Valentine’s Day event, I asked her to go on a walk. Snow had recently fallen in rural Indiana, and the night seemed magical to me. Authentic conversation flowed. Mary was from Indianapolis. Wheaton, Illinois for me. Her faith was fresh, authentic, and compelling. Her interaction about Christ was tender and rich.

My heart raced. My mitten-covered hand found hers. And we walked, and talked… and then walked some more.

At the conclusion of the night I suggested that we repeat our walk on the following night, knowing that one day after that we would have our first “official” date. (I know, what a knucklehead to ask her for a date to a concert just four days before the event, but I digress!) She declined. Seems she already had a date on the Saturday night. My heart sank, even as my competitive juices flowed.

Sunday night, the 16th of February, it was date #1… at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Styx. Enough said.

This story. The one I just covered in 231 words stirs joy and delight and admiration and gratitude and respect and tenderness. It stirs love. 45 years later.

The energy of love. The beauty of something unexplainable quickening between two people.

And now, a reality check that admits that some of what burned brightly in 1975 is more measured, more subdued, more routine, more mature, more comfortable but…

“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Revelation 2:4, ESV)

The Apostle John, penning the words of Jesus to the church in Ephesus. Remembering back to a day when love pulsed powerfully. When love inspired courage. When love transcended reason. When love served sacrificially. A love that defied inaction. And now… abandoned.

A love story. God to men and women. God in pursuit. God with resolve. God in relationship. My hand in His.

God is love. Before Hallmark.

Whether married, single… brokenhearted or seasoned. God. The essence and definition of love. And us. His prize creation. The object of His affection. His valentine. “Be mine.” “Forever.”

A thoughtful accusation. You’ve forgotten.

Don’t forget. Don’t neglect. Don’t move on from the beautiful reality of the love you felt at first. That surge of joy. Overcoming transformation. Head and heart singing a duet. “I am loved, so I can love.”

“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste…” (Revelation 2:5, MSG)

No time to waste. Tell Him. Whisper if you must, shout it if you can… ”God, I love you. Because you loved me first… “

Love. Stop and remember… the matchless love of Jesus.

“… the greatest of these is love.”

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Inoculated

January 31, 2020

Our headlines are full of the rippling impact of the coronavirus that is hitting China, and now threatens other parts of the world. With compelling urgency, vaccinations are being developed to help fight the illness in a controlled environment. A small dose of a larger disease to ignite our immune system. Two weeks ago I […]

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“Chapter Books”

January 24, 2020

I could hear it from the back of my 2002 Chrysler van, grandkids seizing a moment, celebrating a right of passage. The discussion centered around the ability not only to read, but most importantly, to read “chapter books.” Stories within stories. Passages that are a part of an overarching story line. A chapter, distinct in […]

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They laughed…

January 10, 2020

“…they laughed at him” (Mark 5:40) Humor was not the inspiration for this laughter. There was nothing funny or entertaining that ignited this reaction. This was pure skepticism. Arrogance, perhaps. And probably not entirely unwarranted. A twelve-year-old girl. Dead. Death picked the daughter of a prominent leader. Indiscriminately. The mourners were out. The tears flowed. Wailing filled the […]

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20/20 into 2020

January 3, 2020

Ophthalmologists and Optometrists have been the most frequently visited physicians in my lifetime. The typical vision correction has been one factor, but added to that, I have ocular hypertension, and an occurrence of a Central Retinal Vein Occlusion in 2008. This has amplified the value I place on visual acuity. The visual quality that expert […]

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The On Ramp to Christmas… a concluding thought

December 20, 2019

Hanging on a wall in our hallway, under glass, are memorable invitations/announcements that have happened in our family over the years. A wedding in Michigan in 1978. The birth of a son in 1981, another in 1983, and a daughter in 1986. Then weddings in 2003, 2006, and 2008. Invitations to hope. Announcements of joy. […]

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The best supporting actor.

December 16, 2019

On a cosmic stage, with the spotlight shining most brightly in a different direction. Joseph. But it’s Joseph who endures the crushing realization that the love of his life, his fiancé, his hometown girl is pregnant. The Gospel of Matthew records it this way… Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. […]

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The On Ramp to Christmas… continued

December 6, 2019

In 1968, after a vivid and moving dream about his deceased mother, Paul McCartney put pen to paper for his last song as a member of the Beatles. The song became the title track of the final Beatles album in 1970. Let it be… Even as I type these words, the melody and lyrics drift […]

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The On-Ramp to Christmas – Part 2 Between Gabriel and Elizabeth

November 22, 2019

Interruptions are often unwelcome, and at times frightening. But just imagine. A young teenaged girl… possibly lost in the anticipation, or fear, or delight of an upcoming marriage. Then, a voice, an exchange, an encounter. With an angel. With Gabriel. “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary was reeling. Not just on […]

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