71 years.

108 years.

These two specific numbers ooze out of the sports recaps these days as the Chicago Cubs now hover a single win away from going to the World Series for the first time in 71 years. If the Cubs outscore the Los Angeles Dodgers in one of the next two baseball games, and if they are able to then best the Cleveland Indians in a seven game series, it would be their first world championship since 1908. 108 years ago.

For a lifelong Cubs fan, there are simply too many “ifs” in the previous paragraph to make me feel any sense of confidence or comfort.

Cub fans have lived on the short side of “if” for a very long time.

As a youngster growing up in the west suburbs of Chicago, I had my hopes dashed on several painful occasions.

“If” gave way to “if only” which yielded to “wait until next year.”

As a 14-year-old I vividly remember the outstanding 1969 season in which the Cubs had a substantial lead in their division in mid-August, only to give up an incredible 17½ games in the standings to the New York Mets in the last quarter of the season.

“If” and “if only.”

In the mid-1980’s I taught our sons the Cubs starting lineup. They had it memorized. But once again, for naught. Perhaps Bible memorization would have been more valuable and enduring… but alas, I digress.

“If” and “if only.”  Hopes dashed.

Subsequent to my 1969 trauma, the Cubs have hooked their leadership wagon to 28 different managers. Twenty-eight! Each with aspirations of greatness, all with the enduring desire to break the cycle, but again a predictable pattern of “if only” and then, “wait until next year.”


A vision tempered. A lofty aspiration seasoned with reality.


Baseball gives way to politics. Politics yield to the personal battles that each and every human being faces.

“If” and then “if only.”

In 1969 I was being tugged along in my faith by The Living Bible. A paraphrase that brought the words of scripture to life for a hungry soul. It was here that I read these words from the book of Hebrews:

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. 

Faith. Confidence. Hope.

Security. Assurance. Guarantee.

Beyond the baseball diamond at Wrigley Field. Past the lineup card that Joe Maddon will submit.

Beyond the ballot box. Past the Oval Office.

“If” gives way to “when.”
“If only” submits to “because.”
And “wait until next year” becomes “now.”

Jesus conquers. Perfectly. Eternally. Sovereignly.

Once. For all.

Against this backdrop I cheer. Against this backdrop I yield. Against this backdrop I remain confident.

Sweet hope. Sweet Jesus. Our confident assurance. Nothing more. Nothing less.

(Go Cubs.)


His Beloved

by DanWolgemuth on October 14, 2016

and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

“Beloved Son.”

“I am well pleased with Him.”

i.e. – “Hey humans – my created ones, this is Jesus. He’s my son and I’m crazy about Him. He brings me extraordinary joy and pleasure. I’m proud of Him.”

Before the fierce exam of Satan in the wilderness…

Before Jesus engages in His first miracle…

Before He recruits followers…



Beloved Son.

Before He does… He is.

Before He does… He delights.

Lost in the clutter and chaos of exploding egos and flattering self-portraits… we search for identity. Who are we?

Do our actions, performance and accomplishments define us? Does our resume reveal who we are? Is it the trophies, the gold watches, the nest egg, the address, the endorsements, the “likes,” the “friends,” or the “followers” that produces our identity?

If so, then the true north of our personal identity will be anything but True. We’ll be buoyed on our good days and crushed on our bad.

Any sustainable change in behavior has to be anchored in an indestructible identity.

That is why, when we are given the position of “children of God,” everything changes. The order is important. We don’t change everything to be children of God… no, we are declared His children, and then we are invited to live into that calling, that position, that relationship, that stewardship.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. 1 John 3:1-2

God’s children.

And as His children, we are His beloved. As His children we bring Him delight.

Last year 21,000 leaders who are a part of Youth For Christ USA engaged in authentic, Christ-sharing relationships with 125,000 teenagers who have yet to embrace the reality of this adoption into the family of God.

These are lost and broken and self-destructive and marginalized and pregnant and incarcerated and confused and addicted and poor and fatherless and affluently- distracted and identity-adrift teenagers.

And before we expect anything to change…


Sons and daughters.

God as Father.

Jesus as brother, Savior… then model and guide.

“My beloved son…” “My beloved daughter…”

From the lips of God to the heart of His people.

Identity first.

i.e. – “Hey humans – my created ones. You are my sons and daughters and I’m crazy about you. You bring me extraordinary joy and pleasure. I’m proud of you.”

His beloved.


Inviting Hatred for All the Right Reasons

October 7, 2016

“Follow me.” This was the invitation of Jesus, first to His disciples, then to others, now to us. “Follow me.” Be like Jesus. In one of the early sermons of Jesus’ ministry He defines His character, His attitude, and His incarnational persona. “Blessed are the poor in spirit… “Blessed are those who mourn… “Blessed are […]

Read the full article →

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

September 30, 2016

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again. The earliest version of this well known nursery rhyme was published in Samuel Arnold’s Juvenile Amusements in 1797. The primary content has remained the same for over two hundred years. It […]

Read the full article →

The Door Slams

September 23, 2016

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 ESV) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I […]

Read the full article →


September 16, 2016

Not a momentary lapse into a positive frame of mind. Not a good mood kind of day. Not an outcome due to perfect circumstances. Not a function of ideal situations. Joy. “Christian joy is both a privilege and a duty.” (Jerry Bridges – The Fruitful Life) Cultivated in the soil of real life… Birthed through […]

Read the full article →

Living Without A Limp… Surgery Required

September 9, 2016

It took four weeks to get the proper diagnosis, but that changed last Friday: An apparent subacute avulsion of the entire left hamstring tendon off the left ischial tuberosity. The torn and retracted hamstring tendon is identified 6 cm distal to the ischial attachment site. What had been originally diagnosed as a level 2 hamstring […]

Read the full article →

“Hello Andrew, this is Donna…”

September 2, 2016

April 7, 2015. A 36-second voicemail. “Hello Andrew, this is Donna…” Donna, a Social Worker in Denver was reaching out to Andrew and Chrissy, certified foster parents on Donna’s list. “I wanted to speak with one of you about a potential foster care placement…” A potential placement. A little boy. Breathtaking blue eyes. Enviable curls. […]

Read the full article →

Calendars Beware

August 26, 2016

It’s time for me to disclose a personal pet peeve. I don’t feel overly passionate about this pet peeve, just annoyed. It’s often a radio advertisement that triggers this… something like a local car dealership that is offering a special financing or rebate deal for only “two short weeks.” Two short weeks. Versus what? Two […]

Read the full article →

Dear Vivian –

August 19, 2016

My heart is heavy but hopeful as I press the keys. It’s nearly unthinkable that Joel is gone. Lost to us for a time, but ever so found by his King. 41 years just didn’t seem like enough. And I can’t imagine how that feels to you and Havannah. For the last year, you and […]

Read the full article →