by DanWolgemuth on November 30, 2018

A zip code. A community on the south side of Dallas. For our Youth For Christ mission… a calling.

In the words of an employee in the local juvenile detention facility… 75216 is a “cradle to prison pipeline” for young people in the neighborhood. Predictable. Gut-wrenchingly predictable.

92.5% of the students in 75216 are eligible for free or reduced lunch. A pipeline. An onramp to incarceration, despair, and brokenness.

“But God…”

Merciful. Compassionate. God.

Because Jesus entered His zip code. A cradle to cross pipeline. Predictable. Hope-inducingly predictable.

Jesus interrupted the pipeline of despair. He provided an offramp to hopelessness. But only by willfully embracing His own death sentence. Only by breaking the relentless grip of the evil one at the expense of His own life. Only by living out the call for His faultless life.

The answer to the cradle in 75216 is the cradle in Bethlehem. The only answer to the prison in 75216 is the cross in Jerusalem.

Immanuel. God with us. God in the neighborhood. God on the cross. God victorious.

A pipeline with purpose. No longer a pipedream. Jesus interrupts the cycle.

Hope for 75216. Hope for every son and daughter of Adam.

A pipeline in 75216. Diverted. Redirected. Transformed.

An answer without bars. A solution without parole. Liberation.

A calling. A conviction. A stewardship.


The Cradle. The Cross. The Answer. For every cradle. For every pipeline.

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish. (John 1:14 MSG)

Into the neighborhood. Into 75216. Into the souls of the lost and broken.

“Glory to God in the highest,
                      and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
(Luke 2:14 ESV)

Peace. In 75216.


A Rolling Stop?

by DanWolgemuth on November 16, 2018

Littered throughout my neighborhood are stop signs. In fact, just about 100 feet north of my driveway is one, and a quarter of a mile south, another that I have traversed hundreds of times over the last 13 years.

While I understand that the octagonal sign says STOP, seldom do I feel compelled to do so. Most often I translate the command into a suggestion to simply slow down and check for inconvenient traffic. It’s embarrassing to admit, but completely true.

A rolling stop. A tap of the brakes. Velocity adjusted, but not eliminated.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. A STOP sign.

Across the traffic of life and living, an octagonal sign that suggests a change in speed. An intentional adjustment of velocity. The persistent decision throughout the holiday will be whether I come to a complete stop or merely tap my brakes.

Will I intentionally arrest my thoughts enough to fully and completely engage? Will the volume of cross traffic be irrelevant because I’m not looking for the perfect opportunity to merge.

I’ll be busy. A turkey to grill, a once a year meal to help prepare, grandchildren to tackle, a football to throw… but stopped. Not rolling through. Not momentarily available. No. A full stop. Perhaps even stopped long enough to shift gears. Park, not drive.

A plan for thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. A strategy for laughter and joy.

Vacant moments to be filled with immediate opportunity. Notifications off. Fully present. Agile. Nimble. Engaged. Because I’m not rolling back into traffic.

When I stop, I serve. When I serve, I honor those I love. And when I do that, I steward the love of Jesus in a way that brings him delight… even as it does the same for me.

Happy Thanksgiving. Full STOP.

Not rolling through. Not tapping my brakes. Stopped.

Nourishment for the soul. A feast without calories.

Busy, but stopped. Stopped, but moving in the right direction.

An act of worship. A demonstration of trust. A commitment to love.


In Captivity to be Set Free

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 […]

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No Shortcuts

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 […]

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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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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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