{re}fresh

Good News!

by Rob Dunne

Image by Darren Tunnifliff
Flickr.com_4232232092_2be61c1467_CC BY-ND 2.0

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33.

I try very hard not to read or watch the news. To a certain extent, I believe the media intentionally fills its headlines with bad news. The result is that we as consumers of media are in a constant state of fear or anxiety. News can give us a sense of hopelessness.

Two thousand years ago, God sent the angel Gabriel to give Mary and the world some good news. When Gabriel first appeared to Mary, she responded in fear. Unlike the fear that we may experience when watching the news, this fear was warranted. Imagine what it would be like for a supernatural being like an angel to appear in your room. Mary was justified in her initial response.

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Harvesting a surprise

by Rob Dunne

Image by Toni Verdu CarboFlickr.com_629236570_31721a3ebd_CC BY-ND 2.0

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

One of the most rewarding aspects of youth ministry I’ve experienced, was short term mission trips. To date, I have traveled to Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala and Uganda.  These overseas trips were particularly powerful because the students experienced how difficult life was outside of the United States. They realized just how good they had it back home!

Admittedly, students occasionally made poor choices. There were times when I wondered if my efforts were for naught.

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Filled With The Spirit

by Rob Dunne

Praying by Tarah
Flickr.com_1471520030_ccde31ee4f_CC BY-ND 2.0

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. 1 Corinthians 14:4

My friend Tony is a spirit filled Pentecostal. When he and I first started hanging out, Tony told me that I had to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Then I heard people speaking in tongues and thought to myself, this is weird!

The first mention of tongues is found in Acts chapter 2. The Spirit fell on the disciples and they went out in to the street and people from all over the world heard them speak in their native tongue. I thought to myself, “This is what speaking in tongues is about. It is not gibberish. It is an actual, known language.” I fought the idea of speaking in tongues for a long time.

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Lover Of My Soul

by Rob Dunne

Monet by Peter Miller http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmillera4/6883619436 CC BY-ND 2.0

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

A wealthy couple spent many years collecting fine art. One day, they added a Monet to their collection that immediately became the wife’s favorite. Though they shared a love of art, the husband’s love for his wife grew cold and he filed for divorce. She kept the Monet.

Within a few short years, the wife contracted a terminal illness and died. When her will was read, everyone was surprised that she had bequeathed the Monet to her ex-husband. As it turned out, she never stopped loving him and demonstrated that by giving him her most prized possession.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sowing Seed

by Rob Dunne

Image by Brianna Privett_Flickr.com_2284232743_d7a58a1f2d__CC BY-ND 2.0

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20

During summer break in college, I got a job building tennis courts. One of the many facets to building a tennis court was surrounding it with a chain link fence. Every post requires a fairly deep hole. To achieve this, you must use a variety of tools.

To say that this was labor intensive is an understatement. You start out using a post hole digger. Once you get past the first foot or so of soil, you encounter rocks. The deeper you go, the bigger they get. Occasionally, you hit a boulder. We would try to work them out with a steel digging bar. If they were particularly big, we busted out the jackhammer. Either way, we got them out of the ground.

Jesus shared a parable about sowing seed and how it thrives in good ground. He explains that the sower is someone who shares the Word of God (the seed) with others. It lands on four types of ground; the wayside, stony ground, among thorns and good ground.

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Free At Last

by Rob Dunne

Image by Michael Coghlan Flickr.com_15900760331_bd3a917e8c_CC BY-ND 2.0

Image by Michael Coghlan
Flickr.com_15900760331_bd3a917e8c_CC BY-ND 2.0

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

Clank! The heavy iron door slammed shut behind me. This happened several more times until I was ushered in to a whitewashed room with a metal table bolted to the wall. The guard closed the door behind me and locked it shut with a large skeleton key.

This was a temporary situation. I was meeting with a client to sign paperwork. Once done, I would be allowed out of that dismal room with my freedom fully restored. Losing that freedom, even briefly, was enough to persuade me that nothing is worth losing something so precious. Read the rest of this entry »

It Is Finished

by Rob Dunne

It is finished by Leslie Richards_Flickr.com_15061235211_49ee486f1a_CC BY-ND 2.0

It is finished by Leslie Richards_Flickr.com_15061235211_49ee486f1a_CC BY-ND 2.0

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30

Trial work is hard. It starts days before jury selection with the drafting of motions, preparation of exhibits and meeting with witnesses. The jury selection process is exhausting as you meet with dozens of potential jurors and ask them the same questions for days on end.

Though exhilarating, the trial itself is demanding.

And when it comes to the closing argument, which is a summation of the case you have presented to the jury, time is a critical factor. You must be cautious to reserve some time  for rebuttal. Perhaps the most nerve wracking part of the trial is waiting for the jury to deliberate and render a verdict. Once that happens, the weight of the world is lifted from your shoulders and you can finally rest. Read the rest of this entry »

Fear Not Little Flock

by Rob Dunne

by-wally-gobetz_flickr-com9274040749-ab97ca386e.jpg CC BY_ND 2.0

by-wally-gobetz_flickr-com9274040749-ab97ca386e.jpg CC BY_ND 2.0

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.’” Ezra 1:2

In addition to the exciting fact that I was now an adult, I remember two distinct things happening shortly after my 18th birthday: I registered to vote and registered for the selective service. At that time, Ronald Reagan was our president. When his two terms ended I watched him leave office. Don’t quote me on this, but I think I actually cried as he boarded Air Force One. I genuinely wanted him to stay for a third term. Given the eventual disclosure of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, that would have been a horrible idea.

It is clear that we have never experienced an election cycle like the present one and by the time you read this, the nation will have made its choice and lots of people will be unhappy. Neither of the two candidates appeared to be a solid option. Both incited deep emotional feelings from the electorate including fear of what the future may hold. Read the rest of this entry »

Be Anxious For Nothing

by Rob Dunne

pleaseprayfor2bylongthlen_flickr-com_25993749282_2e4418c094_CC BY-ND 2.0

Please pray for2_by Long Thlen_flickr-com_25993749282_2e4418c094_CC BY-ND 2.0

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Things were not getting off to a very good start. Blood starting draining towards my head as the chair was tilted further and further back. The thumping in my chest increased when the syringe penetrated my gums. It is a curious thing to watch a dentist work. How is it that the needle seems to go that deeply in to your gums? Once it is in your gums, how are they able to move the needle around so much without removing it from your gums first? Read the rest of this entry »

Island Time

by Rob Dunne

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I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. Psalm 130:5.

In 2004, I went on my first mission’s trip. Five young adults and I went to the beautiful island of Jamaica to conduct a vacation bible school. Weeks of planning went into the trip. Each moment of the day was meticulously planned out. Our team arrived at the church and quickly finished preparations. As the 10 o’clock hour came and went, we were all dejected by how few children showed up. Did they neglect to advertise the event?

We quickly learned about the concept of ‘island time’. In a nutshell, Jamaicans have two speeds – slow and slower! In the fast-paced world of New England, we expect everything yesterday. We lack patience or tolerance for things that take longer than a few seconds.

Admittedly, it took us all a few days to adjust to this slower pace of life. Personally, it took even longer to appreciate why they live the way that they do. First, it is hot. If you do things too quickly or exert unnecessary energy, you won’t last the day. Second, they are simply more laid back than us.

As a litigation attorney, I am in a profession that requires me to rise early and work late. By the time I get home and eat supper, my mind and body are drained. Making time to be with Jesus can be difficult. Therefore, I find myself getting creative. Read the rest of this entry »

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