Dane Lewis

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So far Dane Lewis has created 261 blog entries.

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

Who Do We Say We Are?

This sermon is also based on Luke 15:11-24. 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 5–Magnets

A true story (or so they say).  I put it in the form of a verse (which probably made the story even worse): There once was a songster with writer’s block Who had no more clever ideas left in stock. And so, in search of a creative spark, Wrote down some fun words -- almost as a lark. He cut them up and put them on a table And arranged them into verse as he was able. Hoping this act would cure his disease, It ended badly, when he had a big sneeze. What could possibly hold all these words down, But still allow him to move them all around? The answer was clear and simple to do, Attach the words to magnets with a dab of glue! He then placed them all on his refrigerator door. Everything was ready; he was free to explore! That’s why this guy gave

Who Shapes You?

 Continuing from last week, this sermon is also based on Romans 12:1-2. 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

Who Are You?

 This sermon introduces this series and is based on Romans 12:1-2. 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

METAPHORS: Part 3–Spiritual Midwives

If I had to choose, give me Jimmy Stewart in Call Northside 777, or even Bob Hope in Call Me Bwana or the classic, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs with Sidney Poitier. I would also be happy with A Fish Called Wanda or the great Swedish movie (based on the book), A Man Called Ove. And if push came to shove, I would also agree to An Inspector Calls or The Call of the Wild or Better Call Saul or even Total Recall. I would agree to any of these, but please don’t make me watch Call the Midwife. Now Jo really enjoys Call the Midwife, and I am sure there will be people reading this who will side with Jo on this one (so what else is new?); but really, who wants to watch a group of overworked and overwrought nuns running around rescuing desperate women and delivering babies

Some Truly Good News about Jesus

 This sermon concludes our series and is based on John 11:17-44. 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: During the early days of the pandemic, John Krasinski produced a web series that brought good news to people when good news was in short supply. It was great, but it was a long time ago. There is a lot of bad news out there—pandemics, wildfires, hurricanes, racism, injustice, poverty, huge chunks of Greenland falling into the ocean, things like that. And unfortunately, there are many more things like that. And many of these things are causing people to question God’s goodness and to doubt that God exists. And that can’t be good. What we need today is some good news to counteract all this bad news so that our faith will be encouraged

METAPHORS: Part 1–Rocks and the Scale

I love rocks. There are, right now, in my study, within my reach (although I may have to stand up for some), 37 rocks that I can touch (add 22 more if you will allow me to take two steps). Now, some of these rocks are decorations; but many of them, I use. Some hold down pages of books. Some give me inspiration (but you have to hold those rocks just right) and some reduce stress. But some are just to have and to hold. Now, the bigger rocks are assigned a part in my stone walls (I know . . . I live in Maryland, but I have two New England stone walls). So, the rocks in my study are all generally the size of a softball or smaller. I have rocks from China, Nova Scotia, Sweden, Norway and rocks from various states. To be honest, if I go

Some Truly Good News about Truth

 This sermon is based on John 14:1-6. 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: During the early days of the pandemic, John Krasinski produced a web series that brought good news to people when good news was in short supply. It was great, but it was a long time ago. There is a lot of bad news out there—pandemics, wildfires, hurricanes, racism, injustice, poverty, huge chunks of Greenland falling into the ocean, things like that. And unfortunately, there are many more things like that. And many of these things are causing people to question God’s goodness and to doubt that God exists. And that can’t be good. What we need today is some good news to counteract all this bad news so that our faith will be encouraged and we will be

Hearing Our Similarities

When we mishear a song lyric or a statement and replace it with others words that make far more sense to us, it is called a Mondegreen (see last week’s blog for the origin of this expression). Examples abound, but let me offer you just five: Instead of hearing, “Baby come back, you can blame it all on me” (from the song, “Baby, Come Back” by Player), some hear “Baby, come back, you can play Monopoly.” Instead of hearing, “Taking care of business,” (from the song of the same name by Bachman-Turner Overdrive), some hear “Baking carrot biscuits.” Instead of hearing, “Hit me with your best shot” (by Pat Benatar), some hear (or are going to hear from now on), “Hit me with your pet shark.” Instead of hearing, “I’ll never be your beast of burden” (Rolling Stones), many have heard, “I’ll never leave your pizza burning” which is a

Some Truly Good News about the Bible

 This sermon is based on 2 Timothy 3:14-17. 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: During the early days of the pandemic, John Krasinski produced a web series that brought good news to people when good news was in short supply. It was great, but it was a long time ago. There is a lot of bad news out there—pandemics, wildfires, hurricanes, racism, injustice, poverty, huge chunks of Greenland falling into the ocean, things like that. And unfortunately, there are many more things like that. And many of these things are causing people to question God’s goodness and to doubt that God exists. And that can’t be good. What we need today is some good news to counteract all this bad news so that our faith will be encouraged and we will

Hearing Our Differences

Sylvia Wright loved to listen to her mother read poetry to her when she was a young child. In particular, she loved hearing her mom read from a book of poems and ballads from 1765, entitled Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (I’m sure we read this same book to our kids when we weren’t reading Batman or the latest issue of The Hockey News). In any case, Wright particularly love the sad ballad of the Earl and Lady Mondegreen which begins with these lines: Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands, Oh, where hae ye been? They hae slain the Earl Amurray And Lady Mondegreen. Makes you feel sad all over, doesn’t it? I mean, it was bad enough they killed the Earl, but to do in Lady Mondegreen, also—well, that is inexcusable! Shockingly, many years later, Wright found out that there was no Lady Mondegreen! She had misheard the line. Instead,

Some Truly Good News about Christianity

 This sermon starts our new series and is based on Acts 17:16-31. 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: During the early days of the pandemic, John Krasinski produced a web series that brought good news to people when good news was in short supply. It was great, but it was a long time ago. There is a lot of bad news out there—pandemics, wildfires, hurricanes, racism, injustice, poverty, huge chunks of Greenland falling into the ocean, things like that. And unfortunately, there are many more things like that. And many of these things are causing people to question God’s goodness and to doubt that God exists. And that can’t be good. What we need today is some good news to counteract all this bad news so that our faith will be

To Quote Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Okay, I lied. I am sorry. But I have an excuse. I am an addict, and we all know that addicts cannot be trusted when it comes to their addiction. I said in our last blog featuring Martin Luther, that we had now completed our series. I even said it strong and bold: “Read my lips, no more quotes.” But here we are again, being assailed with more quotes. But it is more than I am just a quote addict, although I do feel rather powerless when it comes to the question as to whether to quote or not (much like Kierkegaard said, “I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.”). It is more than that. I really wanted to be done, but the deepest recesses of my soul kept crying out, “How can

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