10,000 Reasons

September 22nd, 2014
by DW

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Preposterous Logic

June 25th, 2014
by DW
While reading an adventure novel I think I stumbled on a perfect example of faith. The author, Chris Kuzneski, has the hero of Sign Of The Cross, say, “… the preposterous often turns out to be the most profitable.” Now, if that doesn’t sound like God’s way of doing things, then maybe you haven’t read the Bible, or just simply haven’t paid attention while you read.
When was the last time you actually thought about the whole religious side of Easter – I mean really thought about it? Jesus, the One and only Son of the living God, dying a torturous and incredibly painful death for me…is it possible to fully absorb that reality and not be somewhat knocked off your feet? When you combine Jesus’ death and resurrection with the Christmas story; a pregnant virgin, an accepting husband, a very long journey (two actually), and attempted murder – the whole idea seems absolutely preposterous! But that’s the way God chose to do it.
There are other examples of God doing things in preposterous ways. Remember the story of Joshua conquering the city of Jericho? They were to conquer the city by walking around it in complete silence seven times, and then simply shout. Shouting to win a war sounds a little preposterous, yet it was definitely profitable. Moses and the burning bush? Abraham, Samson, and what about David vs. Goliath? All preposterous, illogical, against the odds, yet very profitable outcomes.
What about Jesus leaving the responsibility of changing of the world in the hands of twelve of the most ordinary guys you could possibly find? If that’s not a preposterous idea, I don’t know what is – yet it has been extremely profitable and generations of people have been changed in profound ways for thousands of years.

Back to the whole Easter thing, God choose a preposterous way to restore you and me to Himself; back to life the way it was designed to be – free. That’s the profit, it’s not money, it’s your freedom, its life (not the action of living – but really experiencing life). What a preposterous act so that you could profoundly profit – have you?
Just one traveler to another, Peace.
Dan

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Current Teaching Series; The Habits of Happiness

June 17th, 2014
by DW

 

 

Happiness Habits

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Direction vs Perfection…

May 31st, 2014
by DW
Have you ever had to tell someone the truth? Was it difficult? I’m not talking about the truth about ill fitting clothes, or having something between your teeth. I’m talking about having to tell someone the truth that involves things like character flaws or wrong action; like gossiping, for example. What about having to deal with the truth within yourself, ever had to deal with that? When that inner self truth becomes difficult to handle, where do you go? How do you handle it? Do you go to the self-help section of Barnes and Nobles, or to your friends? Do you go somewhere within your religious beliefs? Is going to Jesus an option?
I believe that life moves, and that relationships are always moving in one direction or another. But when something in life or relationships goes wrong – where do you go? The answer to that question will determine whether you add to your “spiritual & emotional baggage” or put yourself on the path to freedom.

When Judas failed, he turned back to the people that helped create the problem – he ran back to (religious) people. When Peter failed, he literally ran to Jesus. He didn’t go to church (which isn’t bad), he went to Jesus. This isn’t about failure per se; it’s more about direction vs. perfection. Religions (any of them) are by definition about the “perfection” of one’s adherence to that religion. Christianity, as Jesus demonstrated it – a relationship with God the Father, was and is about direction and who is at the end of that journey. For Judas, religion and the religious were his direction and his goal. As a result of that choice, his failure became final. Peter’s direction and goal was Jesus. As a result, he was restored. One path had baggage that was too burdensome to manage; the other released the baggage (guilt) and set him free. Where do you go? Does it add to your baggage or set you free?

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The “Simple-Minded”…

May 14th, 2014
by DW
“Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.” Prov. 14:15-16
It’s easy to write off the “simpletons” as a reference to stupid people, or someone that is just “simple minded,” then just ignore the verses. That very well may be the “proper” interpretation, but who is simple minded? To the point; I think the “simple minded” in our society are the ones who buy into the “tolerance” lie. Simple minded also describes people that will not hold to a set of convictions, they accept everything thing as potentially valid. It takes no strength of character to accept everything. The simpleton is not a person of low intellectual capacity; it is a person of low moral conviction. You can believe in a lot of things and be convicted to hold to nothing. This way of “loose” thinking, opens people up to be swayed by whatever and whoever is the most convincing at the moment. We then have what we think is a consensus and mistake that for confidence that we are doing what is right. Verse 16 of Proverbs 14 calls that “reckless”. Reckless confidence is nothing more than false confidence.

Look at the current situation in our society today, the “stimulus package” (whether you accept it or not), the politicians, and people’s response to it. Read these two simple yet profound verses, look around and think. Ask God for wisdom, and ask who is who in our world. Being a “simpleton” isn’t an insult, it’s reckless and dangerous; not just for society as a whole, but for you as an individual as well.

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A Crazy Lion Killer, Jesus, & Us

April 4th, 2014
by DW
            Believe it or not, faith in Jesus is not a passive thing. I believe modern Christianity has produced several generations of Christians that talk about, hold on to, and believe in something completely passive – their faith. We have come to a place where faith is sort of a warm blanket that serves to warm us emotionally, but is functionally useless.
            The story of Benaiah, in the Bible, brings into stark contrast the battle between our fears and our faith. Many people wrongly believe that unbelief is the opposite of faith, when in reality and according to Jesus, fear is the opposite of faith. In Mark 5:36 when Jarius comes to Jesus for healing of his daughter, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” When climbing into the boat after having sent his disciples on ahead, Jesus questions their fear and tells them to just have faith. Fear is the opposite of faith. So our relationship with Jesus, a relationship of love, is one that should rid us of fear; of the present, the future, and the unknown. 1 John 4:18 says “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels allfear.”
Benaiah wasn’t crazy, but a life of faith can often times look that way, he believed that God was with Him wherever, whenever, and for whatever. That translates to a courageous life which means living and making decisions in faith not fear.

Peace J

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Discipled by Forrest Gump

March 12th, 2014
by DW
“I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is!” said Forrest Gump. Hmmm… I wonder… do we? I mean, as a society, do we really know what love is? If so, why is the divorce rate so high? And why are we so angry (just drive on a freeway for proof)? So then, what is love? Many Christians say that God is love (so does the Bible). While that is true, it is not a definition of love. That fact, that God is love, does not keep marriages together (although it should), does not guide me with a cantankerous neighbor (although it should), or help me with rude, mean people (although it should). Nor does it help me with the people I think I actually do “love”. You get the point.
In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus gives the command to love our enemies; He must be joking! But, He’s not. We are to love our enemies. So the question becomes, is there a definition of love that applies both to the people I love and those I don’t? I believe there is, but it requires us to let go of our emotions. In order to succeed emotionally we have to accept the reality that love is not an emotion. It involvesour emotions, but it is not an emotion. In its simplest form, love is a commitment. But it has to be a commitment to something that is greater than, while including, the person we “love”. William Barclay deduced in his commentary on Matthew; love is a commitment to another persons highest good all the time, no matter what (my words, his concept). This is the only definition that includes those I love and those I don’t (enemies). It is also the theory behind the idea of “tough love” – doing what right’s for the other even though they may hate me for it – welcome to parenting!

So, go do as God does for you; loves you unconditionally and always works for your highest good whether you like it or not.

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No! Not a Small Group! pt. 2

March 11th, 2014
by DW
Ok, so what’s the big deal about community? The big deal is this, you rob yourself of blessings when you avoid being in community. I believe that we can not find our individual purpose, our “sweet-spot”, until we put ourselves in the right context. That is, the context that God created for us to be in – community. I mentioned last time that in Genesis God said; it is not good for man to be alone, and Solomon said; the person that falls alone is in real trouble.  I believe this is true. In addition, 1 Cor. 12:7 says; “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is…”(the Message) I went to a conference where one of the clinicians asserted that as Christians we can not be in compliance to the Bible (and therefore in submission to Christ) if we are not part of a church. 1 Cor. 12:7 teaches us that our “spiritual gifts” are for use within the body (community). Your “sweet spot” is not just for you. Someone else’s “sweet spot” is not just for them. When we combine our gifts we become so much more than we could ever be alone.
                Unfortunately, it all breaks down when we forget Ephesians 4:2-3. We are told to be humble, patient, and forgiving of each others faults, and that it’s all driven by our love for each other. In fact, Jesus said our love for each other serves as validation, or proof, of His claims. I believe our own emotional and spiritual health depends on this principal as well. When we forget to be humble, patient, and forgiving, we get off track spiritually and emotionally. Arrogance, stubbornness, and an unforgiving heart (attitude), are enormous stumbling blocks to spiritual and emotional growth. Scripture tells us that it is in authentic community (church, small groups, Sunday school, etc…) where we are loved by others in spite of our flaws, love others in spite of theirs, and engage in true worship of and to God (Romans 15:6); which is the beginning of a balanced life.

No matter how good your counselor is, how strong your anti-depressants are, how much education you achieve, or how nice you are, your life does not give proper witness to the claims of Christ outside the context of community. No matter how religious you are, without being involved in authentic community (authentic = trust and honesty), you rob yourself of God’s blessings. God said in Scripture that He would meet all your needs. He also tells us as believers to meet each others needs. The reality is this, God uses the church to fulfill His promises in our lives whether we like it or not. The question is; are you short changing yourself? Find your “sweet spot” by getting involved in the lives of others – get into community. If you need one, you are welcome in ours – Sunday’s at 10:45 a.m. – everybody has to start somewhere.

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NO! Not a Small Group…UGH!

March 8th, 2014
by DW
Small Groups – uugghh! Another demand from my church, Bible studies that are irrelevant, prayer for people I don’t know, and the ever threatening expectation of vulnerability; do I really needthis? After all, I’ve had a long day at work, the kids have homework, my kids can’t be up late, and to top it off, I’m tired. The short answer is; yes, you really need this. The question is do you really want to know why you need this? If the answer is “yes”, close your eyes, click your heals together twice and you will receive the answer by transcendental meditation – just kidding. This isn’t really about small groups; it’s about the necessity (our innate need) for community. We were created to be in community. As the theologian Ruben Welch once wrote, “We really do need each other.”
In Genesis 2:18 God said that it is not good that we should be alone. Although that particular passage is related to marriage, the principle is not limited to marriage. It is a principle that is fundamental to a balanced and successful life. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Solomon tells us that there are benefits to being in a community. The benefits listed by Solomon are all common sense sorts of things; help when we fall down, staying warm, and defending ourselves. But more than that, “Solomon is lamenting the perils of isolation.” (Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 1:987)

I think there are reasons for Solomon’s lamenting the perils of isolation, and they go beyond the common sense reasons listed in Ecclesiastes. There are emotional and spiritual benefits to be realized. We will look at those next…
Stay Tuned…

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Dan’s Air Plane Adventure…hang in there…

February 17th, 2014
by DW
So I’m going to see my Mom in Arizona and get to my plane (barely, I was one of THOSE people). I find my row and seat to discover I have a small window seat; I don’t mind because I LOVE to see the beautiful city of Portland from the air. We take off and I get the thrill as we rapidly rise and a slight smile across my face as I begin to see more and more of the city. It is incredible. I name the major streets and freeways in my mind, glance toward Mt. Hood knowing I can’t see it, but it is there. When we get into the clouds everything changed. My smile was gone, and I had ONE thought over and over. By the way, you know those blinking lights at the end of the wing? As I looked out the window that blinking light was all I could see in the middle of a raging storm. In each flash of the light all I could see was a fierce rain and wind storm that was rocking the plane. That’s when I had my thought…ready? This scene right here, the rain in the blinking light is the EXACT scene I see in EVERY plane crash, or plane tragedy movie of any kind. I didn’t say the thought was pleasant.
  Suddenly a light pops on that illuminated almost the entire engine casing, at least what I could see of it. I found myself comforted by a more substantial light. NOTHING had changed. The wind still blew, the rain still poured, and the plane still rocked, but my “thought” was gone. I noticed that I was oddly comforted and actually felt safer. In my mind I muttered something about Jesus being the Light of the world, a light for my feet, but it was really more of a passing thought to be honest.
  I opened my Kindle and began to read in the dark (fearing that the pre-teens next to me would think me a jerk…or Lord forbid that our legs might brush. Don’t think I’ve ever quite had a very polite “excuse me” and a sense of the other person being grossed out. And yes, I showered.). After some time I looked up and out the window, sunrise was on display. It was magnificent! I was actually filled with a sense of joy! It was beautiful. No wind that I could feel. No rain, and still in the plane. Situation was largely unchanged. But I felt joy. In a very weird way, I was sort of embarrassed that though I was in the same seat, my thoughts had gone from doom and gloom to pure joy looking out of the same window, going the same direction, with the same blinking light. That thought about Jesus being the Light of the world came back to my mind.
  I started to think of all the talk we have been doing about following Jesus, and I thought of a question. Why do we as believers always talk only about Jesus being a light to a dark world? When we mention it in church about ourselves, it’s almost shameful at how weak it all seems. What I felt looking at the sunrise was powerful and very real!
  What if we as followers of Jesus have missed the point of the whole “light” thing? I seriously doubt Jesus created that beautiful sunrise for Himself – he IS Light…He doesn’t need it. I did. What if (stick with me) your smile, your simple “hello,” your out-of-the-way-in-a-hurry “How’s your day?” is the same as a sunrise to another person? What if these glorious sunrises serve as our example of what we bring having Jesus in us and through us to a world largely looking out the same windows, but maybe seeing only a storm in the dark?

  Next time you see an awesome sunrise or sunset and find yourself saying, “WOW!” Add one thing to that “WOW…” “Lord, thank you for the example! Who do YOU want me to give it to?”

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