Dane Lewis

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So far Dane Lewis has created 328 blog entries.

Knowing God’s Will for You

Ask any military expert: knowing when to attack is of vital importance. The ancient Romans knew this; and that is why, before any battle, they inquired of the chickens. You read that right. To discern whether or not they should execute their battle plan, the Romans asked . . . some chickens. But not just some ordinary chickens. They asked the sacred chickens. According to Roman religious practices, the will of the gods regarding an upcoming battle could be discerned by simply offering grain to a handful of sacred chickens. If the chickens ate the grain, it was a sign from the gods that conditions were favorable and that victory was nearly assured. However, if the chickens refused to eat, it was a warning that they should postpone fighting to another day. On the morning of the Battle of Drepana (that’s right, the one in 249 BC), the Roman naval

I Wouldn’t Want That Job

Stacker.com has a list of the 50 worst jobs in America. To prove that their list is scientifically accurate and not just a list of jobs they personally would hate to have, they developed the “Misery Score.” The Misery Score combines four factors: job meaning, median income, job satisfaction and projected job growth. For some unknown reason, they believe that a job with no existential meaning, low pay, no satisfaction and low hope of advancement equals misery. As a result, they rank the worst five jobs as the following: #5 – Lathe and turning machine tool setters (I’m not sure this is accurate. I’ve known many immigrants from Ireland who love this job and are perfectly content in it. After all, have you ever met an unhappy Irish Setter?) #4 – Dry Cleaning (I’m not sure what would cause this job to be so high on the misery scale unless it

The Spark

This sermon is based on Jeremiah 1:1-12, 17-19. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Why a series on Jeremiah? Why not a series on Isaiah? Or Obadiah? Or Zephaniah or Zechariah or any of the “iah’s”? They are all good! And that doesn’t even include the non-prophets, people like Josiah, Jeconiah, Nehemiah, Uriah and last, but not least, Zedekiah. All great “iah” names.  But although they have “iah” in common, Jeremiah stands head and shoulders above them all because (work with me here) there was a fire in Jeremiah! Join us for a summer series that will make you say, “iah”! Or maybe, “Hey, look it’s a… Jeremiah!” Or even “YIAH, Jeremiah!” Whatever your response, from Ohio to the Bayou (“Jambalaya, me-ah-my-a, Jeremiah?”), you’re going to find this series something that will inspire because there’s a Fire in Jeremiah.

The Price of Secrecy

On April 28, 1944, an armada of US warships were approaching Slapton Sands (Slapton Sands is a beautiful beach area off the southwest coast of England). These ships were part of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming D-Day invasion of Normandy. And it was a serious rehearsal. 300 ships were involved and over 30,000 men. Previous mock invasions on these very shores had been utter failures, and so it was crucial for this training exercise to go off without a hitch. But that was not going to happen. Shortly after 2 am, while the ships were awaiting the signal to “invade,” a German torpedo-boat squadron stumbled upon the flotilla and opened fire. Three of our ships were hit and sunk almost immediately. Oil and gas spilled out into the water and erupted in flames. Survivors jumped into the icy water and were forced to swim around or under the oil

Painting a Portrait of Authenticity

A man has to do what a man has to do; and when a man finds an Alfred Hitchcock marathon on TCM, a man has to watch every single movie. If you don’t understand that, I can’t help you. It’s a man thing. You’ll need to check your copy of Wild at Heart to see exactly how, but it is. And so, because it was my manly duty to invest myself in these movies, I did. I watched Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Psycho, Dial M for Murder, Rope and many others. You ask me how I watched so many movies, and I will tell you. Hitchcock is a genius. Why do I say that? Because Hitchcock believed, “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” See, all things are possible to them who relieve. (OK, truth is, I actually DVR’ed

A Fiery Fourth

This sermon introduces our new series and is based on Jeremiah 7:1-15. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Why a series on Jeremiah? Why not a series on Isaiah? Or Obadiah? Or Zephaniah or Zechariah or any of the “iah’s”? They are all good! And that doesn’t even include the non-prophets, people like Josiah, Jeconiah, Nehemiah, Uriah and last, but not least, Zedekiah. All great “iah” names.  But although they have “iah” in common, Jeremiah stands head and shoulders above them all because (work with me here) there was a fire in Jeremiah! Join us for a summer series that will make you say, “iah”! Or maybe, “Hey, look it’s a… Jeremiah!” Or even “YIAH, Jeremiah!” Whatever your response, from Ohio to the Bayou (“Jambalaya, me-ah-my-a, Jeremiah?”), you’re going to find this series something that will inspire because there’s a Fire

One Last Prayer (or Two)

How do you enlist people to pray? Simple: You make them a great offer. For instance, you tell people, “Short prayers are better than long prayers.” Now, that is a great offer. But often, great offers don’t turn out too great. After the Romans were defeated by Hannibal’s army at Cannae (216 BC, but I’m sure you already knew that), Roman army recruiters found it difficult to enlist potential soldiers. Apparently, men were hesitant to join a losing army. And so, the marketing division of the Roman army put their heads together and came up with an innovative plan. They promised any slave who enlisted in the army and then, in battle, brought back the head of an enemy soldier would be granted their freedom.  It was a great incentive, and it worked like a charm. Thousands of slaves joined the cause for a chance at emancipation.  But while the

An Ordinary Act

This sermon is based on John 13:1-17 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D for “Dull,”

Praying Your Own Prayer

A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will kill you. Not true. It may sting for a second or two, but it will absolutely not kill you. However, a piano falling all that way is a different story. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space. Again, not true. It may be long, but it is neither incredibly high nor wide. The fact is, there are days in Beijing when the pollution is so bad you can’t even see the Great Wall from across the street! It takes a person seven to ten years to digest gum that is swallowed. If you buy that, you will swallow anything because this also is not true. We talk about words going in one ear and out the other; it is the same principle here. But in this case, that other ear … is

An Extraordinary Father

This sermon is 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D for “Dull,” but then Jesus touches

A Prayer for Joy

“To err is human, but to arrr is pirate.” This is a story of both of err and arrr.  When Julius Caesar was a young man, he was captured by pirates and held for ransom (it was an err that the arrrs would regret). The pirates, being pirates, were not so bright and set the ransom at 20 talents. Caesar was horrified. How dare these pirates set such a price for his liberation. It most certainly had to be in err. A talent was roughly the equivalent of the salary a laborer could make in nine years. Caesar was beside himself, not because he feared, at that price, he would never be redeemed, but that the ransom was way too low for someone of his rank and status. In fact, the ransom was embarrassing. And so, Caesar demanded that the pirates (arrr) increase his ransom to a more fitting fifty

Another Ordinary Request

This sermon is based on Matthew 8:5-13. 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D for “Dull,” but then Jesus touches

A Prayer Filled with Reminders of God

Apparently, Alexander the Great wasn’t so great when it came to art.  An ancient historian (Claudius Aelianus) tells the story of Alexander viewing a painting done in his honor. The painting featured Alexander sitting on his favorite horse. It was a bold portrait done by a master named Apelles. And yet, Alexander was not overly impressed. It failed to move him, and he only gave it faint praise. The artist was not pleased. To prove the painting’s realism and value, he brought a horse into the atrium; and when it saw the paining, it neighed, believing that the horse on the canvas was real. “King,” said Apelles, “this horse seems to understand the painting much better than you.” I often feel like I have very little understanding and appreciation of prayer and that most of my prayers are, in reality, just horsing around. There is an art in praying, but

Another Ordinary Conversation

This sermon is based on John 11: 17, 21-29, 32-44. 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D for “Dull,” but

A Prayer with a Request

Milo of Croton was incredibly strong. He was a wrestler by profession and was well-celebrated by his Greek fans for his fearlessness, strength and his acumen in the ring. Outside the ring, however, he was not so bright.  One day in the 6th century BCE, Milo decided to go for a stroll in the forest. He was enjoying the fresh air and the solitude, but then he spotted something that just called his name. It was a tree, tall and strong. But this one was being split. At some point not too long ago, a lumberjack had tried to split the tree while it was still standing (I was taught that, first, you fell the tree, then you split the tree; but this lumberjack was trying to skip a step). But all this logger accomplished was to get his wedges buried deep in the tree. Yes, it was partly split,

An Ordinary Conversation

This sermon is based on John 4:4-26. 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D for “Dull,” but then Jesus touches

A Prayer and an Address

Fireflies. I love them. I love seeing them light up in the dark as they flitter around in my backyard. But here’s some troubling news.  Fireflies are misnamed. No matter what we say, fireflies are not flies. They are beetles. But I promise you, even if fireflies did nothing different and were just as enlightening and sweet as they are now, but we had to call them firebeetles, I would hate them with a passion. And while we are at it, Koala bears are not bears; they are marsupials. Now, I don’t care if they misnamed the Koala because of marketing; it is misleading. I would suggest that we throw whoever is responsible for this misrepresentation to some grizzlies so he (or she) can know what a true bear looks like. And let’s talk desserts. I don’t care what they say. Boston cream pie is definitely a cake, and cheesecake

An Ordinary Voyage

This sermon is based on Mark 6:45-52. 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D for “Dull,” but then Jesus touches

A Prayer for a Proper Diagnosis

Suppose you lived in the ancient world and were suffering from a toothache. With no local dentists nearby, you had to find another health-care solution (and even if there was another option, you don’t want to know what people were doing to bring relief to toothaches back then!). Enter the doctrine of “signatures”! When suffering from a particular ailment, it was thought that the solution would often look like the problem. That’s right, it was believed that God, in creating the world, gave us hints as to what curative effect each plant or herb had by shaping said plant so that it looked like the human organ it was made to heal. So, if you have a problem with your brain (and who doesn’t?) or needed a little brain boost before taking your SAT’s, the best thing you could eat is walnuts because the meat of the walnut looks like

A Dull Wedding

This sermon introduces our new teaching series and is based on John 2:1-10. 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: Some moments are ordinary, maybe even boring, definitely easily forgettable; but then there are the ones that endure in our memories forever. Those extraordinary moments are what make life rich and all the more so when they come out of nowhere.  Jesus is at a dull and failing wedding; nothing to remember here. The disciples are plodding along on yet another boring boat. Not much can happen here that hasn’t happened to them a thousand times before. There’s a shared meal going on. It should be fun, but once again everyone is jockeying for their place at the table and fighting over status—truly boring. All of these are ordinary moments rated D

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