Dane Lewis

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So far Dane Lewis has created 274 blog entries.

Four Views of Christmas

Kin Hubbard once said, “Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.”  Well, that’s not good! And so, to stop this loss of spirit, let’s talk about the Christmas story even though it is January, (or at least, use it as a springboard to talk about other things).  Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, we were talking to good friends who asked a great question: “Why is Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth so different from Matthew’s?” It was a really good question, and it gets to the heart of how the gospels were put together (which is kind of important stuff!). How different are Matthew and Luke’s accounts? Well, let’s look! Here’s what we see when we read through MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT: There’s a genealogy of Jesus (starts with Abraham and ends with Jesus). The angel visits Joseph to answer his

When in Romans, Start at the End

This sermon introduces our new series and is based on Romans 16:1-16. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A few months ago, I let my dark secret slip: Romans is close to being my least favorite book in the Bible (Nahum may be less appealing, but just barely). People were mortified when they heard this. Worse, they were bewitched, bothered and bewildered. I could have said I was a member of the Communist Party and received less questions (and less prayers for my salvation). After all, how could anyone NOT love Romans? Its theological argument flows so logically. It was the book that led Luther to rediscover salvation by grace alone. The “Roman Road” has led many seekers to Christ. And Romans is not only Paul’s gospel, but it may be

Happy New Eyes to You, Two

Here’s the truth: the world is a dark place, especially when it’s night.  Most years, when I went to visit our teachers in Asia, I stayed in the nearby hotel. It was very convenient, except on the nights when fights broke out in the next room or when parties broke out next door or when toxic fumes filled the building. Other than that, it was great. But then a more convenient option arose. Chris and Debbie had an apartment in the same complex as our teachers, and their tenant had moved out. So, for the two weeks I was there, I moved in! Now later, I was informed that what I was doing was technically “illegal” because all foreigners are “required” to stay in hotels; but as I read the Bible, it is only illegal if there is a verse against it (?). So, I stayed in Chris and Debbie’s

John about Less of John

This sermon concludes our Advent series and is based on John 1:19-34. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: There is no Mary or Joseph, and there is no Zechariah or Elizabeth. There is no Gabriel making birth announcements, no angel telling good news, and there are no angels singing. In fact, there are no angels, not even one. But it gets worse. There is no virgin. There are no miracle pregnancies, and there are no songs of praise. There is no decree. No Bethlehem. No manger. There is no star in the sky, no Magi from the east and no shepherds in their fields. There is no baby, no strips of cloth and no lying in a manger; which means no gold, frankincense or myrrh. No, nada, nothing. And if there wasn’t any

Happy New Eyes!

This year’s Christmas Eve was great. Even though it was outside and in the dark and in the cold, it was a wonderful and meaningful time. It offered joy, worship, community and candles – all the things that make Christmas Eve Christmas Eve. Plus, it will be a Christmas Eve service we will all remember forever. Not only because it was outside in the cold, but primarily because it wasn’t Christmas Eve.  Who celebrates Christmas Eve on the Eve of Christmas Eve? Answer: We did! All that to say, it was a spectacular night. And while several people said it was too cold, don’t believe them. Cold is when you breathe and your mustache instantly freezes or when you can’t feel your finger tips or when you bend your toes and they fall off, none of which happened Christmas Eve Eve. So, it wasn’t nearly too cold to gather for

John about John

This sermon is based on John 1:6-18. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: There is no Mary or Joseph, and there is no Zechariah or Elizabeth. There is no Gabriel making birth announcements, no angel telling good news, and there are no angels singing. In fact, there are no angels, not even one. But it gets worse. There is no virgin. There are no miracle pregnancies, and there are no songs of praise. There is no decree. No Bethlehem. No manger. There is no star in the sky, no Magi from the east and no shepherds in their fields. There is no baby, no strips of cloth and no lying in a manger; which means no gold, frankincense or myrrh. No, nada, nothing. And if there wasn’t any of that, there surely wouldn’t

Finding God in John

This Christmas Eve sermon is based on John 1:18. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: There is no Mary or Joseph, and there is no Zechariah or Elizabeth. There is no Gabriel making birth announcements, no angel telling good news, and there are no angels singing. In fact, there are no angels, not even one. But it gets worse. There is no virgin. There are no miracle pregnancies, and there are no songs of praise. There is no decree. No Bethlehem. No manger. There is no star in the sky, no Magi from the east and no shepherds in their fields. There is no baby, no strips of cloth and no lying in a manger; which means no gold, frankincense or myrrh. No, nada, nothing. And if there wasn’t any of that, there

A Baby Changes Everything

A guy calls the hospital and says, "You gotta send help! My wife's going into labor!" The nurse says, "Calm down. Is this her first child?" He says, "No! This is her husband!" Let’s face it, a baby changes everything and quickly moves us from peace to panic. But you don’t have to believe me. Check out these four quotes. They'll prove it to you. “A perfect example of minority rule is a baby in the house.” -- Milwaukee Journal “I don’t want to sleep like a baby, I want to sleep like my husband.” – Anonymous “Having a new baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate.” -- Anne Lamott “If your baby is beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time, you’re the grandma.” -- Theresa Bloomingdale Yes, we all agree, a baby changes everything; but

John and Glory (But It Is Not Surrounding the Shepherds)

This sermon is based on John 1:14. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: There is no Mary or Joseph, and there is no Zechariah or Elizabeth. There is no Gabriel making birth announcements, no angel telling good news, and there are no angels singing. In fact, there are no angels, not even one. But it gets worse. There is no virgin. There are no miracle pregnancies, and there are no songs of praise. There is no decree. No Bethlehem. No manger. There is no star in the sky, no Magi from the east and no shepherds in their fields. There is no baby, no strips of cloth and no lying in a manger; which means no gold, frankincense or myrrh. No, nada, nothing. And if there wasn’t any of that, there surely wouldn’t

Oh, Tidings of Sorrow and Joy, Sorrow and Joy

Joy. It’s a Christmas thing. Isaiah predicted its coming. Gabriel announced it to Zechariah. John the Baptizer, while still in the womb, leapt for it. The angels proclaimed it in abundance to the shepherds. And we sing about it . . . a lot. Joy can be found in “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “O Holy Night,” “What Child Is This?” “When Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” “O, Come, All Ye Faithful” and, of course, “Joy to the World.” With all this joy, one would think that the angel would have said to Joseph, “The virgin will give birth to a son, and they will call him 'Imjoyuel' (which means ‘joy with us’).”  Bottom line, there’s a lot of joy in Christmas. And yet, when we read Isaiah’s description of Jesus and his life, we don’t

John’s Birth Story (and It’s Not Jesus’)

This sermon is based on John 1:6-13. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: There is no Mary or Joseph, and there is no Zechariah or Elizabeth. There is no Gabriel making birth announcements, no angel telling good news, and there are no angels singing. In fact, there are no angels, not even one. But it gets worse. There is no virgin. There are no miracle pregnancies, and there are no songs of praise. There is no decree. No Bethlehem. No manger. There is no star in the sky, no Magi from the east and no shepherds in their fields. There is no baby, no strips of cloth and no lying in a manger; which means no gold, frankincense or myrrh. No, nada, nothing. And if there wasn’t any of that, there surely wouldn’t

The Self-Defrosting Freezer — Bah Humbug!

It was a normal Friday night. The Edge youth group was over, and I was locking up the downstairs of the church after one of our depth groups had met there (a windows-open, physically-distant, masks-required depth group with 2-4 students). I went over to make sure the orange closet door was locked, and that was when I noticed that the freezer door seemed to have been left open. Ugh. I figured before I left for the night, I should first throw out any food that was inside.  So, I went to open the door, but it didn’t budge. And yes, that was odd, thanks for noticing.  If at first, you can’t open the door, try, try again. So, I did. Again and again, I pulled and I pulled, but nothing. In a huff, I went looking for a solution and came back with a sturdy pole which, when rightly applied,

John’s Beginning (and It’s Not in Bethlehem)

This sermon introduces our Christmas series and is based on John 1:1-5. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: There is no Mary or Joseph, and there is no Zechariah or Elizabeth. There is no Gabriel making birth announcements, no angel telling good news, and there are no angels singing. In fact, there are no angels, not even one. But it gets worse. There is no virgin. There are no miracle pregnancies, and there are no songs of praise. There is no decree. No Bethlehem. No manger. There is no star in the sky, no Magi from the east and no shepherds in their fields. There is no baby, no strips of cloth and no lying in a manger; which means no gold, frankincense or myrrh. No, nada, nothing. And if there wasn’t any

An Awful, Amusing and Artificial Christmas

Word meanings change over time. There is a great story that, nearing the end of the construction of the Cathedral of St Paul, the queen was taken on a tour of the nearly-finished cathedral by the chief architect, Sir Christopher Wren.  When the visit was complete, the queen told Wren in no uncertain terms that the new building was amusing, awful, and artificial. I would have been devastated, but remarkably, Wren was quite pleased.  Why? Because in the 1600’s, “amusing” meant “amazing,” “awful” meant “awe-inspiring,” and “artificial” meant “artistic.” See, word meanings change over time. In fact, until the beginning of the 19th century, weddings were still described as “awful ceremonies” (maybe many should still be described that way today!). I wonder if that is what is going on in Luke 1, that the words we understand to mean “good” and “wonderful” meant something else to Mary. When the angel visits Mary

Who Do We Want to Be?

This sermon is based on Philippians 3:17-21 and concludes this series. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: “The Who” (yeah, “The Who” from way back when) had a song with these great lyrics, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Oh, I really want to know. . . . Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” (I always liked the “who, who, who, who” part).” Now, I used to think that was an easy question to answer. I don’t know much, but at least, I knew who I was. I’m me. But now, I’m not so sure. Some want to say I am just chemicals operating in a Dane head. Some want to say I am a pleasure-seeking animal. Some want to say I am a rational mind (that can’t be

On the Trail of Gratitude and Generosity, Part 2

There’s nothing like a good hike, except when you get lost. One of my favorite memories from when I was a kid was going to Camp Cedar Lake (not really, but lies aren’t lies if they are in a blog).  Camp Cedar Lake was a Christian camp with all the normal camp things—shooting rifles, making cheap crafts, swimming, canoeing (which often turned into swimming) and a hike up a mountain. Thinking about it now, I doubt it was much of a hike or a mountain; but as a 9-year-old, both were epic. Our guide up the mountain was our cabin counselor. Now generally, one would not entrust one’s life to a 17-year old who couldn’t find any better paying summer job than at a church camp, but entrust ourselves we did. And so, up the mountain we went; and before we knew it, we arrived at the top. As advertised,

Who Are We Supposed to Be?

This sermon is based on Colossians 3:15-17. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: “The Who” (yeah, “The Who” from way back when) had a song with these great lyrics, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Oh, I really want to know. . . . Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” (I always liked the “who, who, who, who” part).” Now, I used to think that was an easy question to answer. I don’t know much, but at least, I knew who I was. I’m me. But now, I’m not so sure. Some want to say I am just chemicals operating in a Dane head. Some want to say I am a pleasure-seeking animal. Some want to say I am a rational mind (that can’t be right). And others want

On the Trail of Gratitude and Generosity

Please forgive me, but I am going a little crazy. There are two trails in Patapsco State Park near our house. Let’s start at the Thru Trail. You turn left, go between the roots of two gigantic fallen trees, go left at the intersection, take the ridge path overseeing the river, walk over this rocky area, wander a bit in the woods and then turn left at the marked tree. Easy. I’ve done it many, many times. Now, let’s do it backwards. Start off at the same marked tree, follow the trail, take the rock steps (which, yes, is different from the rocky area), go up the hill to the right, zig zag a bit, get a little lost, turn right, and bingo, bango you’re walking between the two huge roots.  Same starting points. Same ending points. But for the life of me, I don’t know where they connect. Somehow,

Who Does God Say We Are?

This sermon is based on 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: “The Who” (yeah, “The Who” from way back when) had a song with these great lyrics, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Oh, I really want to know. . . . Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” (I always liked the “who, who, who, who” part).” Now, I used to think that was an easy question to answer. I don’t know much, but at least, I knew who I was. I’m me. But now, I’m not so sure. Some want to say I am just chemicals operating in a Dane head. Some want to say I am a pleasure-seeking animal. Some want to say I am a rational mind (that can’t be right). And others

METAPHORS: Part 6–Quiz Time

Congratulations! You have completed the blog course, Four Metaphors for Evangelism. You have read every word, unpacked every parable and thought about every concept. Well done. There’s just one more thing to do. You need to take the final exam.  Now, there is nothing I like more than giving an exam. Sue Barker said, “Everyone loves sport, and everyone loves a quiz.” Now, I don’t know Ms. Barker, but I know she is right. Even Jo, who at first was really anxious (and maybe even a bit miffed) about being quizzed by me about topics she knew nothing about and cared about even less, now has a totally different opinion. But why wait for her to tell you how she feels. Below are four answers. Which one best describes her response to being quizzed today? Is it . . . She is annoyed at constantly being exposed as ignorant

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