Dane Lewis

About Dane Lewis

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So far Dane Lewis has created 342 blog entries.

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

A Prayer with All the Fixings

Let’s fix time. I’ve told you this story before; but I think it is a hoot, so, you get to hear it again. One day, Julius Caesar decided he had to fix the calendar. Before his time, all calendars were based on the lunar cycle. But the lunar calendar was 11 days shorter than a solar calendar. In an attempt to fix things, the time police mandated the addition of an extra leap month to the calendar at the end of every three years.  Suffice it to say, that it wasn’t long before Julius Caesar had enough of those sort of time shenanigans and decided that the time was right for a completely new calendar, one that was based solely on the sun. The result of this Julian calendar was that the year was now comprised of 365 ¼ days and would start in January and not in March. (March

When in Romans, Remember, God Uses Women To Do Extraordinary Things

This sermon concludes our 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 the

A Prayer for Grace and Protection

Angela Carter said, “Comedy is a tragedy that happens to other people.” That truism is wonderfully illustrated by the story of Aeschylus (525-456 BC). Aeschylus was a famous Greek playwright who wrote more than 70 plays, but tragically, only 7 have survived. He is known in dramatic circles as the “father of tragedy.” But tragically, that is not why I remember him. I remember him because he died a tragic death that may also be perceived as rather funny. Pliny the Elder was also a famous author (although he was Roman and not Greek).  Pliny wrote an encyclopedia-like work of scientific discoveries that we now know as pure bunk, but contained such famous quotes as “Fortune favors the brave,” and “The only certainty is that nothing is certain,” and “Home is where the heart is.” It also contained the sad tale of the death of Aeschylus.  The tale recounts how

When in Romans, Live by the Spirit

This sermon is based on Romans 8:9-17. 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: 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 the best articulation of the

A Prayer for Grace

Imagine two Christian “superstars” meeting for the first time (they were “superstars” in their day and, for many, they still retain that title even today—but of course, they would never accept that title to describe themselves). I am talking about the American evangelist, DL Moody (1837-1899), and the great British preacher, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892).  What would their first meeting look like? Now, both Moody and Spurgeon had admired each other from across the pond for decades. Moody, in fact, considered Spurgeon a type of mentor when it came to preaching. Every week, Spurgeon’s Sunday sermon was printed in the newspaper; and Moody studied each issue carefully. But, although they corresponded with each other, they never had the opportunity to meet. But Moody wanted to change that (one of the items on his bucket list was to go to the Metropolitan Tabernacle and hear Spurgeon preach).  And so, one day, he

When in Romans, Grasp the Gift of Grace

This sermon is based on Romans 5:12-21. 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 the best articulation of the

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