Dane Lewis

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So far Dane Lewis has created 376 blog entries.

The Meaningful Life: To Make an Impact

This sermon is based on 2 Timothy 3:14-17. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In short, it sounds like a very bad idea. But

Of States and Stages

I’ve never been to Idaho, and I’m not sure I ever want to go to Idaho; but ho-ho-ho, you never know.  That’s what good stories do; they change our perspective! Here’s the story. Back in the day, the territory around Denver (called the Pike’s Peak mining area) wanted to become a state. But before they could do that, it needed a name. Now, not just any name would do. It had to be a state-worthy name with a nice ring to it. Thankfully, the dull boys at Pike’s Peak mining area didn’t have to come up with a name. A Congressional committee would do that for them. After weeks of deliberation, the committee narrowed the future name of the state down to two finalists. A lobbyist named George Willing had suggested an old Indian word, "Idaho," which meant, “Gem of the Mountain”; and someone else had proposed an incredibly dull

The Meaningful Life: To Be in Community

This sermon is based on Hebrews 10:19-25. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In short, it sounds like a very bad idea. But what

You Can’t Trust George, But You Can Trust. . . .

Fred looks up and sees his friend George walking down the sidewalk towards him and immediately is overcome with bewilderment. “George,” he says, “I heard you had died!” “Hardly,” says George laughing, “As you can see, I am very much alive.” “Impossible,” says Fred, “The person who told me is way more trustworthy and reliable that you!” Think back when we were very young children. No one was more reliable or more trustworthy than our parents. If they said it, we believed it. In fact, they didn’t even need to say anything, we automatically grew up like them. Yes, they taught us things, but we all know we caught far more than they taught. Children are like that. They absorb all sorts of things, including their parents’ faith. In this series, we are talking about the six stages of faith. Stages are distinguishable periods of growth and development that take

The Meaningful Life: To Find Purpose in Suffering

This sermon is based on Hebrews 12:4-13. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In short, it sounds like a very bad idea. But what

Preschool Wasteland

Excuse me, but I need to rant. Recently, I have become extremely frustrated with the River Kid’s Sunday school curriculum for preschoolers. It is more than frustration. It is close to rage. How hard can it be to teach preschoolers? See, we have a holy charge to teach our kids; but instead of fulfilling our obligation to God and to the parents of these kids, our teachers do nothing but share Bible stories with our kids. That’s not quite true. They also sing cutesy songs to them. When did we give in to the spirit of our age? When did we decide that we needed to dumb down our faith? See, I have looked through our curriculum extensively, and I have yet to see one lesson (no not one!) on divine timelessness, unlimited duration and the foreknowledge of God.  Nor has there been one discussion on Modalism, Docetism, Adoptionism or

The Meaningful Life: To Grow Wise

This sermon is based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In short, it sounds like a very bad idea. But

All the World’s a Stage: An Introduction

Shakespeare was right: all the world IS a stage! Think about all the things in our world that utilize stages. Rockets come in stages. Butterflies come in stages. Even the common cold comes in stages. There are stages in the consumer buying process, in how to buy a home and in how injured toenails grow back. There are stages in how we form our relationships and in how we break-up. There are stages of life, stages of sleep, stages of depression, and stages of labor and delivery. Almost every disease progresses through stages. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross gave us the five stages of grief. Jean Piaget gave us the four stages of cognitive development. Erik Erikson gave us the eight stages of psychosocial development. And Lawrence Kohlberg gave us the six stages of moral development. And I didn’t even mention Prochaska and DiClemente’s six-stage theory of change (but I think I changed

The Meaningful Life: Knowing Your True Self

This sermon is based on Ephesians 4:1-6, 17-24. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In short, it sounds like a very bad idea. But

So, Am I a Christian?

Thomas Jefferson had died. He was our third president, our second vice-president, and our first Secretary of State. He wrote the Declaration of Independence and drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. As president, he established the US Military Academy, purchased the Louisiana Territory (doubling the size of the US), and commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the west. He founded the University of Virginia, made the Library of Congress possible and abolished the international slave trade. He was also a husband and a father of six or more (oh yeah, way more) children. And that is just a quick sample of all the things he accomplished. I know, it’s a pretty impressive list. Now, based on all of this, what do you think should be inscribed on his tombstone? Let’s put this discussion into a context. Søren Kierkegaard, the philosopher, author, and all-around great Dane dictated exactly what he

To Love and Be Loved

This sermon is based on 1 John 4:7-21. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In short, it sounds like a very bad idea. But

Jesus and the Committed Life

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” I’ve used that quote a dozen times to illustrate unrelenting commitment. Here was Edison, the inventor of the electric light bulb, struggling to find a filament that would not burn out after a few illuminating moments. But it was Edison’s perseverance; his commitment to excellence, innovation and light that propelled Edison to carry on, failure after failure. And when he was asked if he was frustrated after trying so many things that did not work, Edison’s response was an encouragement to all of us to endure, regardless of the obstacles in our lives.  Ask anyone for a picture of unwavering, courageous commitment and they will point to Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. Except for one thing: Edison didn’t really invent the lightbulb. Seventy-seven years before Edison (in 1802), an English chemist named Sir Humphry Davy made

To Know God

We begin a new series this week, titled, "Choose." This introductory sermon is based on Deuteronomy 30:11-20. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: A sermon series on the meaning of life? That sounds awfully philosophical. Who wants weeks and weeks of Sartre saying, “Existence precedes essence”? It also seems extremely impractical because if Woody Allen is right, then “The meaning of life is that nobody knows the meaning of life.” And wouldn’t any answer that we give, be rather simplistic? What was it that Paul Scofield said: “Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question? I hope they are asking you the meaning of life!” And on top of all that, it sounds depressing. Kurt Vonnegut was right: “Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker, as well?” In

Jesus and Wisdom

Some people play music to set the mood. Some look at their mood rings for inspiration. Others adjust the lighting. I hear mod fabrics is even a thing. Some people use candles to set the perfect atmosphere. Me? I tell stories (all three of these stories I found in a Leland Gregory book). 2,300 years ago, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, looked up into the far reaches of the northern sky. There he saw the constellation Ursa Major. Ursa Major, of course, is, as anyone looking at the constellation can easily see, “the big bear,” even though it may appear at first, second and third, and maybe even fourth glance, in the form of a big dipper. In any case, Aristotle named the land mass under it, “the bear.” He then looked in the opposite direction; and since it was indeed the opposite, he named the land mass to the south,

Jesus and the Sheep

The innocent always suffer. It was 1943; and Great Britain was in the midst of a terrible war, a war they feared they could lose.  But war had not yet reached a tiny remote, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland, until it did in a big way. On this day, a group of soldiers brought 80 sheep to the island. But they weren’t actually soldiers, they were scientists. And they had come to this island on a secret, deadly mission. They wanted to see if their anthrax bombs were as lethal as they believed. If they were, the next step was to drop anthrax on German cities. The scientists were wearing cloth overalls, rubber gloves, and gas masks; but that hardly seemed like enough protection. They launched the anthrax by mortar and watched the effects. At first, the sheep showed no signs of infection; but when they did,

Jesus and Justice

Okay, I lied. I gave Columbus the benefit of the doubt in my last post saying it was more likely that Columbus was simply bad at math and not a swindler. Having now read more of the Columbus story, I need to retract that statement. Plain and simple, it is far more likely that Columbus was a crook. If that is too strong, then let me just say, he was a horrible human being.  Consider the evidence. He was a terrible sea captain (half of his voyages ended in dismal failure). He was notoriously cruel (natives who did not bring in a sufficient amount of gold would have their hands cut off). He trafficked in slaves. He and his crew spread disease which almost eradicated the entire Taino population (how do you spell “genocide”?). As governor, he was both utterly corrupt and tyrannical (as a result of his thieving and

The Fire Is on Fire

This sermon concludes our series and is based on Jeremiah 26:1-15. 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 in

Dreaming During the Day

Honestly, the only thing I admire about Christopher Columbus is that he was bad at math. Of all the deficiencies in one’s education, being bad at math is the only one that doesn’t count. For example, Paul Harvey may not have been a great mathematician, but he still was extremely wise. It was Harvey who gave us this truism and tell me you don’t agree with it: "If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 times out of 10, it will." Amen and amen. Back to my point: in the 1400’s, navigation depended upon a lot of guesswork. This was primarily because no one knew the circumference of the earth or how to measure latitude. But there were theories. The first theory came from the Greeks. It utilized the Roman mile (roughly 1.47 kilometers). The second theory came from Arabic scholars. Unsurprisingly, it also utilized

The Fire Gets Hot

This sermon is based on Jeremiah 5:14-19, 25-31. 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.

Defining “Holy Guacamole”

I’m not sure where I first heard this story, but it was love at first sight (hearing? reading? whatever!). In 1962, Congresswoman Clare Booth Luce walked into the oval office.  She had been thinking for a long time of what she wanted to communicate to then President John F. Kennedy, and she finally had it.  She walked into his office and said: “A great man is one sentence.” And then, she dropped the bomb: “So, what is your sentence?” Luce feared that Kennedy was trying to do too much, that he had too many priorities and too little focus.  He didn’t have a sentence.  He had a cluttered paragraph. Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, had a sentence.  It was: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.” Franklin Roosevelt’s sentence was, “He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.”  Luce’s question was

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