Dane Lewis

About Dane Lewis

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So far Dane Lewis has created 473 blog entries.

Mind the Gap

Years ago, I enrolled in a graduate program in Semitic languages at Catholic University. I don’t know what I was thinking. My first class was a two-credit course where we translated the entire book of Jeremiah in 15 weeks.  And while it was only a two-credit class, our professor told us he was treating it like a three-credit course in order to separate the wannabes from the real students. In every class, we were expected to be able to answer any and all questions regarding any grammatical, exegetical or lexical feature of the passage; and if you didn’t know your stuff, you were in trouble. To make things worse, there were only seven of us in the class. No one could hide. Now, to get to CUA, I would take the red line down from Silver Spring. It sounds like a delightful ride, but do not be deceived. Every moment I

A Reimagined Mission

This sermon concludes our series, "A Different Mission," and is based on Acts 16:6-15. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Biblically speaking, this is as sure as it gets: God is a missionary God. And this is not something new that happened with the dawning of the New Testament. No, God has always been a missionary God (That’s right, even in the Old Testament we see God at work to reach the world). In short, all of our theology starts with this truth: our God is a missionary God. Historically speaking, River’s Edge has always been a missionary church. Ask anyone who was here at the beginning; missions was the reason we started River's Edge. But times have changed and circumstances have changed and opportunities have changed; and as a result, things look very different today. These days, missions doesn’t appear to be

The Case of the Mysterious Households

It’s a mystery. So, before we try to solve it, let’s get our head in the game which, you should know by now, is afoot).  Here are a few quotes to ponder: “There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.” (Ambrose Bierce) “I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along.” (Raymond Chandler) “The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get twenty-two.” (Dashiell Hammett)  “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.” (Sherlock Holmes via Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) And my favorite: “Except for cases that clearly involve a homicidal maniac, the police like to believe murders are committed by those we know and love, and most of the time they’re right—a chilling thought when you sit down to

Coincidentally and Purposefully

Steven Wright tells the story of two babies who were born on the same day at the same hospital. They lie there and look at each other. Their families came and took them away. Eighty years later, by a bizarre coincidence, they lie in the same hospital, on their deathbeds, next to each other. One of them looked at the other and said, “So, what did you think?” Coincidentally, here are some quotes on coincidences.  From Agatha Christie: “Any coincidence is worth noticing. You can throw it away later if it is only a coincidence.” From Albert Einstein: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” From Ian Fleming: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” From Yogi Berra: “That’s too coincidental to be a coincidence.” And from John Green: “It's hard to believe in coincidence, but it's even harder to believe in anything else.” There is

A Different Mission

This sermon introduces our new series, "A Different Mission," and is based on Ephesians 2:13-18. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Biblically speaking, this is as sure as it gets: God is a missionary God. And this is not something new that happened with the dawning of the New Testament. No, God has always been a missionary God (That’s right, even in the Old Testament we see God at work to reach the world). In short, all of our theology starts with this truth: our God is a missionary God. Historically speaking, River’s Edge has always been a missionary church. Ask anyone who was here at the beginning; missions was the reason we started River's Edge. But times have changed and circumstances have changed and opportunities have changed; and as a result, things look very different today. These days, missions doesn’t appear to

Forever

How long is forever?  I’m not 100% sure, but I believe it is a very long time, maybe even an unending amount of time. How long is forever? Maybe a few quotes will help us figure it out. “Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”  -- Rumi “I know a way to stay friends forever–there's really nothing to it: I tell you what to do, and you do it.” – Shel Silverstein “What love we've given, we'll have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.” – Leo Buscaglia “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.” – Steven Wright And my favorite Hamilton lyrics (from “You’ll Be Back”): “You say my love is draining and

God With US

This sermon is based on Revelation 21:1-7 and concludes our series, "God With Us." You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Pick a preposition, any preposition. Here’s the sentence: “God is ____ us.” Will you choose (A) “against” (that can’t be good); or (B) “over” (that’s true enough, but it is hardly good news); or (C) “beyond” (in my opinion, that’s even worse than being “over” us), or (D) “after” (I’m not sure -- is that good news or bad news?) or (E) “for” (I like that; I like “for” a lot); or last, (F) “with” (now we are talking!). Of all the prepositions we could choose, there is not one that outshines “with.” One simple preposition, but it brings peace, hope, and tons of comfort and joy in its wake. And that is why we all agree: “With” is the Christmas

After, Before and In

In order to unlock this post, you must first name six songs (because anyone can name five!) that have the word “water” in the title. With that stipulation, the following songs, even though they are all about water, would not count. In other words, “NO” to songs like “Come Sail Away,” “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” And “YES” to our loophole song of the day, “Waterloo” (ABBA). Even though it is not about water, it still would count since it has “water” in the title. How many can you name in a minute? Go! (That’s right, don’t read on; name that song, and then five more).  Here are my six: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon and Garfunkel), “Smoke on the Water” (Deep Purple), “Black Water” (Doobie Brothers), “Wade in the Water” (the spiritual), “Cool Water”

Series Introduction

Let’s talk division (and because we have to, we will even talk some math). We start with a question: “What’s the best way to divide the history of old Rome?” Answer: “It is best to use a pair of Caesars.” Another important question: “Why doesn’t anyone talk to circles?” Answer: “Because there is no point.” By the way, did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers? He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them.  So bad, but we continue. A high school student called me the other day after he saw his math teacher with a piece of graph paper. He was afraid his teacher was plotting something.  Last one, I promise. After I retire, I’ve decided to become a math teacher, but I am only going to teach subtraction. See, I just want to make a difference. Division is a good thing in math; but in the church, it is (generally-speaking)

God With Us

This sermon is part of our Christmas Eve service and continues our series, "God With Us." You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Pick a preposition, any preposition. Here’s the sentence: “God is ____ us.” Will you choose (A) “against” (that can’t be good); or (B) “over” (that’s true enough, but it is hardly good news); or (C) “beyond” (in my opinion, that’s even worse than being “over” us), or (D) “after” (I’m not sure -- is that good news or bad news?) or (E) “for” (I like that; I like “for” a lot); or last, (F) “with” (now we are talking!). Of all the prepositions we could choose, there is not one that outshines “with.” One simple preposition, but it brings peace, hope, and tons of comfort and joy in its wake. And that is why we all agree: “With” is

Incarnation

At first, it was the gift that counted. We wanted to give gifts to the students in our Edge youth group that they would enjoy.  And what do high school students enjoy most of all? Food. And so, we went with candy and hot chocolate mix and spoons made of peppermint. (I can still remember watching one student chug the hot chocolate mix directly from the package – no drink, no hot, just pure chocolate powder – classic!). But then, I decided, “Forget them and what they like! I want to give gifts that I like!” I love rocks; and so one year, I gave rocks with words printed on them and a card explaining why I chose that particular word for them. I love popcorn, and so one year I gave popcorn because popcorn is holy.  And as you well know, I love good quotes; and so this year,

The Promise of “With”

This sermon is based on Isaiah 9:2-7. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Pick a preposition, any preposition. Here’s the sentence: “God is ____ us.” Will you choose (A) “against” (that can’t be good); or (B) “over” (that’s true enough, but it is hardly good news); or (C) “beyond” (in my opinion, that’s even worse than being “over” us), or (D) “after” (I’m not sure -- is that good news or bad news?) or (E) “for” (I like that; I like “for” a lot); or last, (F) “with” (now we are talking!). Of all the prepositions we could choose, there is not one that outshines “with.” One simple preposition, but it brings peace, hope, and tons of comfort and joy in its wake. And that is why we all agree: “With” is the Christmas preposition. After all, what better Christmas gift

Redemption

Let’s reminisce: best trip, worst trip, scariest trip and a trip that you would never take again.  I’ll start.  We loved going to Sweden and Norway. It was a great trip. In fact, it was our best trip.  We went to the Wisconsin Dells once. It was miserable. We also went to some awful cabin in Pennsylvania where the water was so contaminated with rust that when we showered, it stained our hair.  It is tied with the Dells for our most miserable trip.  I was nervous going to China the first time (Could I survive two weeks eating Chinese food? More importantly, would I want to survive eating only Chinese food?). I guess I am a picky eater, because I also felt that way about my first trip to Ukraine. Both fears were terribly, terribly unfounded. And my trip that I would never take again? The last time I

Not Over, From or For

This sermon is based on Luke 1:26-35. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Pick a preposition, any preposition. Here’s the sentence: “God is ____ us.” Will you choose (A) “against” (that can’t be good); or (B) “over” (that’s true enough, but it is hardly good news); or (C) “beyond” (in my opinion, that’s even worse than being “over” us), or (D) “after” (I’m not sure -- is that good news or bad news?) or (E) “for” (I like that; I like “for” a lot); or last, (F) “with” (now we are talking!). Of all the prepositions we could choose, there is not one that outshines “with.” One simple preposition, but it brings peace, hope, and tons of comfort and joy in its wake. And that is why we all agree: “With” is the Christmas preposition. After all, what better Christmas gift

Mystery

I love quotes. There is no mystery there. In fact, I spend a ton of time trying to find just the right quote to share in whatever I am doing—blogs, sermons, talks, or everyday conversations. And I love origin stories, from how the Hekawi Indian tribe got their name (as they migrated west from Massachusetts, the medicine man said: “I think we lost. Where the heck are we?”) to how I came to love quotes. Years ago (and years and years), I used to read a humor column in the newspaper (something like a news website, but on paper that was delivered to your house). One week, there was a story in that column about a guy who found an intriguing quote and memorized it. He thought it was funny and figured, one day, it would come in handy. Years past and he had never once found the opportunity to

Not With Us

This sermon introduces our Advent teaching series and is based on Matthew 1:18-23. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Pick a preposition, any preposition. Here’s the sentence: “God is ____ us.” Will you choose (A) “against” (that can’t be good); or (B) “over” (that’s true enough, but it is hardly good news); or (C) “beyond” (in my opinion, that’s even worse than being “over” us), or (D) “after” (I’m not sure -- is that good news or bad news?) or (E) “for” (I like that; I like “for” a lot); or last, (F) “with” (now we are talking!). Of all the prepositions we could choose, there is not one that outshines “with.” One simple preposition, but it brings peace, hope, and tons of comfort and joy in its wake. And that is why we all agree: “With” is the Christmas preposition.

Waiting

I’m having a Grinch moment, and it is a bit disconcerting. Change that: it is very disconcerting. Here are the lines that tell the whole Grinch story (and yes, Dr. Seuss was a genius):  “Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing --Without any presents at all! He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Let’s say it together: “We LOVE this story!” From the

2022 Annual State of the Ministry

This sermon is based on Philippians 1:3-11. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A  

Jesus’ and the Ethic of Gratitude

This sermon is based on Matthew 6:1-4. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: “Just do the right thing” sounds easy enough, but how do we know what the right thing is? “Just do what the New Testament says” sounds like good advice until you are confronted five times with “greet one another with a holy kiss” and other such anachronisms. “Just do what Jesus says” sounds great until you read the Sermon on the Mount with its prohibitions on anger, lust, divorce, and oaths, as well as its “turn the other cheek,” “give your coat,” “go the extra mile” and “love those who persecute you” philosophy. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but “knowing and doing the right thing” is far more complicated than it first appears. So, what are we to do? We seek God’s wisdom from above, from beyond, from

One Last Time Because You’re Ready

Okay, quiz time. Today, we come to the end of this series. What better way to end Knack 2 is there than to have a quiz, but not just any quiz: a quiz on famous last lines in classic fiction. Now, I think the quiz is easy, but, then again, I chose the books. All you have to do is name the author and the book from which each great last line appeared. “I am haunted by humans.”  "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."  "For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo."   "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I

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