Where are the nine?

by DanWolgemuth on April 3, 2020

The 17th chapter of the book of Luke records this amazing story of compassion, as Jesus not only ventures into close proximity with a collection of unclean lepers, but then He extends His miraculous healing power to them.

Ten lepers who stood at a distance… a social distance with a stamp of shame.

In that moment, Jesus healed. His words chased away the humiliation. His words bridged the gap to hope.

“Then one of them…” Just one. Words of gratitude echoing back from the halls of healing. One of them.

Then the question. The riveting and rhetorical question. The nine?

Nine with a short memory.

How could they forget? Where was the gratitude?

We’re all living through an unthinkable reality. A reality that we desperately want to get through. And so the question that keeps running through my mind is… “When we get to the other side. When COVID-19 is not the only story in the news. When the death toll numbers aren’t front and center… will we forget the lessons God taught us? Will our ears be retuned to the frequency of the culture? Will my quieter and more reflective patterns once again succumb to boarding passes and hotel stays?

Like the other nine… will I simply move on. Will I take the power of God for granted, yet again. Will Jesus look at me and say, “Where are the nine?”

So, perhaps as a hedge against indifferent ingratitude, start a list. Your Luke 17 list. Your COVID-19 list. A list of what you never want to go back to. A list of what you have savored and learned in the midst of this current reality.

Everything has changed. Everything. Let’s not forget what God is teaching us. Now.

Gratitude germinates in the fertile ground of uncertainty, and it blooms in a return trip to the feet of Jesus.

Nine with a short memory. Never forget.

Make a list to remind you, to inspire you, to escort you back to Jesus.



by DanWolgemuth on March 27, 2020

Two trillion dollars to propel us as rapidly through this crisis as possible. Rocket fuel to get us to the other side. Questions loom… is it enough? Will it impact the places where it is needed most?

Questions without answers. But the rationale is clear. Get us through this. Fast. Numb the pain. Flatten the curve. Declare that we’ve seen the bottom of the market.

Quarantine is something to get through. Something to weather. Something to push past.

A crisis to be managed? An issue to be sorted out? A catastrophe to be minimized or contained?

Yes, on many appropriate levels. Medical teams unplug their clocks and press in. Local retailers shutter their doors and hang on. Hourly workers at local grocery stores clock in and hope for the best… and for each, a prayer and a heartfelt expression of gratitude.

Yet, if we simply press through, if we simply focus on getting to the “other side”, we miss the unrelenting power of the moment.

This is a plague of Biblical proportion. Perhaps it’s God, with His cosmic thumb on “Pause”, maybe even, “Stop”!

If we simply press through, we miss how fragile we are. We miss how misguided and misplaced our self-confidence has been. We miss the beauty of isolation. We overlook the tenderness of those who we used to ignore or look beyond. We miss God…

A stimulus as a solution to propel past the pain?

From the pen of the Holy Spirit (through the paraphrase of the Living Bible, a passage I memorized in this way as a kid, and now find from power and comfort in):

Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.

Don’t try to squirm out…
Patience in full bloom…

Ready for anything! Strong! Complete!

What if quarantine meant flourishing? What if isolation meant thriving?

Redeeming the pandemic.
Repurposing the pain.
Stimulus in the problem, not just through it.


“Follow me.”

March 20, 2020

Two words. It’s what Jesus said at the beginning of his three-year ministry, and it was a part of the closing communication he left with the Apostle Peter. “Follow me.” His closest companions spent three years trying to figure him out, but his invitation and instructions were clear… “Follow me.” Following into the storm. Following […]

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To the Rock I Cry

March 13, 2020

In the years before Mary and I moved to Denver to join the Youth For Christ USA national team, I worked for a very large engineering and architectural firm. HNTB has locations all over the country with specific expertise in bridge design. It was my job to oversee technology throughout the firm. As a result, […]

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My Jack Welch Era

March 6, 2020

This past week an American Corporate icon passed away. Jack Welch, the titanic leader of General Electric for two decades, drew his last breath on March 1st. Much has been written about the leadership style, power, success and passion of this man. Frankly, I’m grateful to have lived it firsthand. From 1995 to 2002, I […]

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Rest Assured

February 28, 2020

The winter months provide a tremendous opportunity for Mary to do, what Mary loves to do… that is feed the birds. Suet and seed provide wonderful entertainment for us and for visiting grandchildren. Birds, both small and large make their way to the feeding spots, including a feeder that is suction cupped to our sliding […]

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

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 […]

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The love you had at first…

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 […]

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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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