by DanWolgemuth on 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 of confession that none of us like to hear at a personal level… “If I’ve hurt you, or offended you in any way, I’m sorry.”

And yet, in God’s mercy, He has gently, but clearly pointed the spotlight of His holiness and love on a few key areas. He’s done this, most predominantly through some of the scripture reading I’ve gone through since Saturday night.

Specifically, I landed in James 1, verse 26. And I didn’t like it much…

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (ESV)

At first, when I read this verse, my mind raced to a list of names that I rapidly assembled. Perhaps you’ve just followed a similar path. I’m guessing that if we compared lists, we’d have some overlap. Tongues out of control.


Then, on closer inspection, my list shorted, to me.

My unbridled tongue.

Not on public display, and most generally in more subtle ways, but a deceived heart that masks the depth of my own sin and pride.

Sometimes my renegade tongue shows up in sarcasm. At other times, it’s a witty statement about someone I consider an enemy. Still other times it’s in the front seat of my vehicle when I feel the personal affront of another reckless driver. And sometimes, it’s in the careless use of details surrounding a story I’m telling.

What I give my lips permission to speak, reveals the freedom I give my heart to judge. My lips don’t create a message, they reveal it. And at times, it’s not pretty.

Polite, maybe. Acceptable in the circles I’m in, maybe. But unbridled. Borderless and boundaryless thoughts and ideas. Tongues without constraint. Given permission through recklessly self-righteous justification.

“They deserve it.”
“They had it coming.”
“If I don’t say it, who will?”
“It improves the story, who cares if it’s not completely accurate.”

It is the apostle Paul who reminds us that we are not victims of our thoughts, of our language, or of our schemes. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to hold these thoughts captive…

We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, CSB)

We demolish.
We take every thought captive.

It’s time to stop making excuses for reckless words. It’s time to stop allowing our lips to violate what Christ commissions.

I confess. I repent. I commit. I claim.

Higher ground. Lips that speak what Jesus instructed. My heart first. My lips next.

Anyone else care to join me?


It Started in 2017

by DanWolgemuth on 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 especially true when we realized that the cosmic highway for the total eclipse would traverse the state of Indiana, directly over the college campus where Mary and I met in 1975.

At the beginning of the year, this plan moved from our bucket-list to our calendar. And on Monday, April 8th, 2024 at 3:08pm, we entered an experience that I had grossly underestimated. For 2 minutes and 58 seconds I could look directly at the sun. No odd looking sunglasses required. During this time, the sun’s corona was on full display. NASA defines a corona like this…

The Corona is the Sun’s outer atmosphere. It is visible during total eclipses of the Sun as a pearly white crown surrounding the Sun.

Psalm 19:1 echoed my sentiments… “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

On Monday, my soul screamed a full-throated AMEN.

Only infrequently does a much anticipated event exceed lofty expectation. But on Monday, the comparison was lopsided.

The word “awesome”, misused in most situations, was woefully inadequate. God flexed His celestial biceps, and they ripped the t-shirt He was wearing.

We stood in an open field, beside a small wooded area… so we could not only see, but also hear what happens during this three minutes of totality. And during that time, while the rays of the sun were being stiff armed by the moon, two planets became visible. For 2 minutes and 58 seconds.

And, as you can tell, I’m still enthralled when I think about it.

The explanation we heard ahead of the event was helpful in describing what was about to happen, but facts were an inadequate prerequisite to what we were about to experience.

God, the cosmic artist, put on a show.

     When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
          the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
     what is man that you are mindful of him,
         and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4, ESV)

So for those of you who have already reached for your calendar with a pen in hand, the next solar eclipse that will impact the contiguous United States will be August 23rd, 2044 but it will only impact Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. But wait, there’s more. On August 12th, 2045 another eclipse will impact the U.S., and this time, the path of totality will include Denver. Not sure how I would look at 90 years old with eclipse glasses… or maybe I’ll be looking at the glory of God close up.

Think about it. Incredible cosmic beauty, and the predictability of the finest Swiss watch. Only our Creator. Only as a means to show off his glory.

God. Creative. Grand. Majestic. And always on time.


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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A Lenten Reflection – Part 1

February 23, 2024

Wednesday night I poured over the journal in front of me as I engaged for an hour at the “Biblical Stations of the Cross” at our church. Each Wednesday for four weeks. Fourteen stations. Fourteen reflections and passages of scripture. I’m not sure why this is something new to me. Something unexplored in my evangelical […]

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Grand Baking

February 9, 2024

In the fall of 2020 I took a Zoom bread baking class with my daughter, Alli. Our instructor was Sara Ward, from her austere kitchen at Hen Corner in West London. One class led to two, and then three… and then I was hooked. Now, I would consider bread baking my favorite hobby. I have […]

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In the Middle of the Ashes

February 6, 2024

The call flashed on an iPhone screen. A recognized name, at an unexpected time. A neighbor, and a reliable source. Questions rushed as voices connected. “Your house is on fire, and I’ve called 911.” A house that had been a renovation project for the last three years. An investment of time, money, sweat, and dreams. […]

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