Hidden…

by DanWolgemuth on May 10, 2024

“Do not let your adorning be external… but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV)

The hidden person of the heart.

Imperishable beauty.

A gentle and quiet spirit.

Did the Apostle Peter have a glimpse into the world of Tic Tok and Instagram when he wrote these words? Did he have a sense that in 2024 the vice of external beauty would contort the identity and crush the souls of women young and old?

Hidden.

Not vacant. Not absent. Hidden.

An anchor point for the beauty that is precious in the sight of God.

Unavailable on a selfie. Exposed in character. Amplified in service.

I was introduced to such a woman in 1955. A mother of six. A wife to a globally committed missionary. Grace was tall, slender, elegant, and gritty. Imperishable beauty described her until the day she died in 2010.

Twenty years after I met Grace, I met Eunice. The introduction was appropriately cool as I began to woo her youngest daughter. In 1978, when Mary became my wife, Eunice’s embrace was genuine and generous.

Eunice. A woman who grew up in austerity in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The daughter of Finnish immigrants. The wife of a winsome and engaging husband.

A heart anchored in faith.

Selfless.

Hidden, but present.

Strong and determined.

Private, but teachable.

Grace first. Then Eunice.

Mothers who lived what Peter commended.

No smart phone necessary to highlight their beauty. They modeled what Christ commends.

Imperfectly. But courageously.

They are not a relic. They are a beacon to show the way.

Hidden people of the heart.

Imperishable beauty.

Showing the way. Guiding… even now. Even in their absence. No photo album required.

Fully adorned by the love of Christ.

Externally beautiful as well, but rooted in the rich soil of godly character. Inside. Then outside.

First things, first.

Grace. Eunice.

What a gift. What a guide.

Mother’s Day. A classroom. A curriculum.

Women to be cherished and commended.

Women who showed the way. Women we still do.

They are missed. They are treasured.

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Not For Sale

by DanWolgemuth on May 3, 2024

On March 16th, I received an email with the following Subject Line: “Dan, quick question”.

The email was sent to me from Nathan Willis, a name that was close enough to a few other individuals that I know, so I opened it.

The opening of the email read as follows…

“Hi Dan,

I hope you are doing well! Are you considering selling Youth For Christ USA Inc. in the coming months or years?”

Nathan went on to explain that he has facilitated the sale of organizations that has resulted in over “$500 million in our clients’ pockets.”

At first, I smirked at the outrageous question, and of course, the presumption that some how I would have a voice in a decision like this. And then, the humorous onramp created a sobering journey. On so many levels, our young people are for sale.

Sophisticated technology, and opportunistic capitalism have kicked open the door to a generation of young people who are a gateway to bloated bottom lines, and political dogma at the expense of personal identity and dignity.

A generation is for sale, and many of us didn’t realize it until the transaction was complete. Indeed, shrewd businesses have monetized the unthinkable. A click can become cash. And that cash becomes the fuel for more invasive assaults.

Pervasive and pointed. And in so many ways… private.

A generation is for sale, and there was never even a sign in the front yard.

That’s why I kept Nathan’s email. It’s an invitation to categorically declare that this next generation is not for sale. None of them. Not the high achiever, or the overlooked. Not the high school football star, or the juvenile offender. Not college students, or electricians.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that this generation of young people is a masterpiece… and yes, they have been bought with a price. At unimaginable cost. That means that they are officially off the market, now and forever. That they are more than the sum total of their ability to influence, or post, or like, or stream. They are image bearers, not users. They are designed with dignity, not objects to be disbursed. They are of eternal value, and not merely pawns on a global chessboard.

Researchers call them, Generation Z. God calls them His.

Corporations target them. God rescues them.

Political causes leverage them. God embraces them.

They are not for sale. Not for $500 million dollars. Not for any price.

They have a promised land to occupy. A purpose to live into. A Kingdom to advance.

No, Nathan. Youth For Christ is not for sale.

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A Maserati in Amish Country

April 26, 2024

Over the past 19 years, I have rented a lot of Alamo cars. On Monday evening at Philadelphia International Airport, with an Alamo agent walking in the parking lot at my side, I got asked a question I’ve never been asked. It started with this observation, “Sir, I know you rented a small SUV (which […]

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Confession

April 19, 2024

I was on my feet on Saturday night at Colorado Community Church, when we repeated, in unison, the classic liturgy of confession. “I have sinned… in thought, word and deed.” At the moment, I resisted the opportunity to specifically name what needed to be named. It was a general confession. A blanket admission. The kind […]

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It Started in 2017

April 12, 2024

On August 21st, 2017 Mary and I stood in an open field on the east side of Denver peering at an open sky through appropriately darkened lenses. A solar eclipse was at approximately 65% throughout the Rockies, but that was clearly enough to capture our hearts, our imagination, and our plans for 2024. This was […]

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Another Anniversary, But Not Just Another…

April 5, 2024

It was 46 years ago, in Franklin, Michigan, that I caught my first wedding glimpse of Mary Christine Cargo. My bride. If I pause, I can still see that image, feel those feelings, and experience those emotions. But a wedding is only the beginning. Cliché. Probably. But true. What happens after “I do” is what […]

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Lenten Reflection – Part 5

March 29, 2024

“The look.” I remember it well. And likely more relevantly, I remember giving it. Words are superfluous. “The look” communicates disappointment, disapproval, distain… and perhaps worse. The outcome of “the look” varied, but seldom did it accomplish the intended purpose. I’m quite certain that Jesus had a look. It was a look that Peter received… […]

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Lenten Reflection – Part 4

March 22, 2024

Blame. The currency of exchange in political transactions. Perhaps you’ve noticed. Vision takes a backseat to blame. Whether it’s political ads, stump speeches, opinion columns… or just the pervasive attitude of the day. But don’t be confused, blame is not an invention of cable news, or social media, or a two-party system. We can trace […]

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Lenten Reflection – Part 3

March 8, 2024

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? …for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done […]

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Lenten Reflection – Part 2

March 4, 2024

Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he […]

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