In Captivity to be Set Free

by DanWolgemuth on November 9, 2018

As the temperature drops in Colorado so does the obvious food supply for the variety of birds that call our neighborhood their home. So, before Mary hangs her wintertime bird feeder, she wanted to reduce, if not eliminate any potential competition. That means a live animal trap on our deck. And yes, within hours, our first squirrel. Within the first day, two.

As I relocate these critters about five miles from our home, I have a front row seat to captivity. To the anxiety that is produced as these furry tailed animals realize what an ambition for peanut butter has cost them.

Captivity. Confinement.

I typically think of this posture in very negative terms, which is why the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians are so profound and provocative.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)

Every thought captive.

The King James Version puts it this way… “bringing into captivity every thought”.

Thoughts arrested. Every one. Incarcerated, but not by shame or guilt, but by Holy Spirit infused scrutiny. Each thought interrogated by the God who created us. Every thought under control.

Yes, those thoughts that wake you at 3am and chase your pulse to exercise levels while you lay motionless. Yes, the thoughts that race to a script of destruction or despair. Yes, the selfish, Godless ideas that feed personal pleasure and comfort at the expense of others. Oh yes, the thoughts that presuppose an outcome or behavior simply because of a built-in bias or prejudice. Yes, thoughts anchored in fear. Yes, thoughts birthed from pride. Thoughts no longer running unchecked across our mind. Now brought into captivity.

Scrutinized. Assessed. Challenged.

Many dismissed or dismantled… because Christ has given us power and dominion to incarcerate the destructive thoughts that the Evil One would love to have running unconfined across our heart, mind and soul. But no longer.

For freedom Christ has set us free… (Galatians 5:1a ESV)

Unhealthy and destructive thoughts arrested, now liberty to live is unshackled. Freedom. Our thoughts no longer victimized by pain and regret, by bitterness and anger. Free. By Christ.

Don’t be deceived… your thoughts will scream foul. They will protest vigorously… but you are not captive to them, they are captive to you through Christ. The Warden is on duty. The lock is set.

Every thought. Not as master, but inmate. This is the power of Christ in us. No excuses. No exceptions. Every.

In the middle of the night… at a point of vulnerability… when fear hits like a tsunami. Every thought… captive. And not just relocated but evicted. Replaced…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

Thoughts… righteous thoughts… compassionate, selfless and holy thoughts empowered and unleashed.

The trap is set… time to bring every thought into captivity. For the cause of Christ. By the power of Christ. For the glory of Christ.

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No Shortcuts

by DanWolgemuth on November 2, 2018

On October 22nd I held Mack William Horst in my arms for the first time. He was hours old and beautiful. All 10 pounds and 3 ounces of him. My grandson.

As I held him, I stared, and as I stared, I marveled at the magnanimous gift of life. Mack’s mom, our daughter Alli, was sitting just a few feet away. Alli and her husband, Chris, oozed with delight.

Mack, on the other hand was oblivious to the celebration, the joy, the photography, the laughter and the complete sense of awe that filled the room at Rose Medical Center. Mack, although testing his own lungs for the first time, was completely and utterly dependent on those around him. For comfort, for warmth, for food, for safety… for everything. His birth, while glorious, was an introduction to vulnerability. An on-ramp to total dependence.

Everyone in the room knew this, expected it, and were well prepared.

As I continued to gaze into the face of this infant I had just met, all the while feeling a sense of love that typically takes years to cultivate… I couldn’t help but think about the astounding reality of the birth of Christ. I’ve pondered and preached on His sacrificial love that the Apostle Paul highlights in Philippians 2, but what of Christ’s journey to complete vulnerability.

God, now a human… and yes, now an infant. And on top of all of that, He was placed in the arms of a teenaged mother on her maiden voyage. Jesus, testing His lungs for the first time. Jesus, every bit as dependent and helpless as Mack.

God’s mind-boggling gift to mankind, His plan for restoration, His design for rescue didn’t parachute onto the scene in full battle regalia. No, God in the flesh meant a baby in all of His vulnerability. A baby, wrapped in strips of cloth and nestled in the arms of inexperience.

Yes, Jesus was the perfect lamb of God. He was a sinless sacrifice for the foolishness of our sin. He was the miracle working, Pharisee defying, evil spirit rebuking, meal preparing, water walking Savior of the world… but first, He was a baby. Omnipotent, but dependent. Omniscient, but with brand new neurons. The Alpha and Omega, nursing at the breast of a young Jewish mother.

Fully God. Fully man. No shortcuts.

Mind bending truth. Hope producing condescension.

From vulnerability, a message to the vulnerable. From weakness, hope for the weak.

Such amazing love. Such incomprehensible humility.

No shortcuts.

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Eddie Daniels III

October 19, 2018

On Wednesday night I received word that Eddie Daniels had been shot. A short time later, he was gone. Eddie, a 15-year-old who frequented our City Life Center in downtown Spokane had been embraced and loved by Jeff Ross, our local site director. In Jeff’s words… “He was like a son to me”. A year […]

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Still Gardner

October 12, 2018

The pre-dinner mingling began at 6PM. The Taylor University Board of Trustees had finished a full day of meetings and it was time for dinner with key members of the Administration. The agenda was simple and scripted. An opening prayer, a few remarks, a beautiful tribute to a 1951 Alum all leading to an 8PM […]

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Juni, on Wednesday

October 5, 2018

It was in mid-August when Mary and I sat with our calendars and worked through an intense Fall schedule. Six Regional Leadership Conferences, all scheduled on weekends, a national Youth For Christ golf event, again, on a weekend. Three board meetings… etc. Our objective in August was to find open days during the week that […]

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A Tale of Neighboring Buildings

September 24, 2018

Within a quarter of a mile of my office are two prominent buildings. Both are substantial, expensive and active. One is the home of the Denver Broncos, the other… the Marvin W. Foote Youth Detention Facility. These two properties are side by side, yet they could hardly be farther apart. One rewards the best moments […]

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HiPots

September 14, 2018

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3–5, ESV) High Potential, HiPots. […]

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Remembering Grace…

August 31, 2018

Yesterday would have been Grace Wolgemuth’s 102 birthday. Perhaps they celebrate them in Heaven. Certainly, they have reason to celebrate Grace. Her life and love tugged me back to a Fragment that I wrote shortly after her death in 2010… It was typically the east side door on the Wheaton Evangelical Church where we would […]

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A Kiss for a Prodigal

August 24, 2018

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20, ESV) In 2009, the Academy Award for the Best Motion Picture of the Year went to Slumdog Millionaire. The story is […]

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Eavesdropping on a Conversation with God

August 17, 2018

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance […]

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