{re}fresh

Out with the Old

by Rob Dunne

flickr.com/photos/nevilleslens/14534754156/in/photolis_CC BY NC ND 2.0

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

My wife Kellie and I recently undertook a DIY project…painting our kitchen cabinets. It was, by far, our most ambitious home improvement project to date. Truthfully, it is not for the faint of heart.

The first step was to remove the doors, drawers and all of the hardware. Next, we removed the contents of the cabinets or covered the insides with plastic. Of all the steps, this was the most difficult in my opinion. Both of us used an electric hand sander and the dust went everywhere! After sanding, you use a tack cloth to remove all of the dust.

In addition to the cabinet frame, there were twenty-one doors and seven drawers. We put two coats of primer and two coats of paint on all of it. Once they were all dry, the hinges and new hardware was placed back on everything. Lastly, the doors were hung and the drawers slid back in to place. In the end, our kitchen got a much needed facelift and Kellie and I are quite pleased with the results. However, it was a lot of work!

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I Double Dare You!

by Rob Dunne

Dare by Peter Blanchard
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And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 9:5

“I double dare you!” Those words were frightening as a kid. It meant a peer was goading you into doing something stupid or dangerous. If you had the guts to accept the challenge and successfully accomplished it, you were a hero. Fail to meet the challenge and you were the embarrassment of the neighborhood; At least until the next sucker was challenged.

I am not a farmer. It is my understanding, however, that farmers who still use beasts of burden like oxen to plow their fields use a goad. A goad is what helps the animal maintain a straight line or is used to increase its pace. It is an instrument that causes discomfort to make corrections.

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Sabbath Rest

by Rob Dunne

Image by Bart Soverijns
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[B]ut in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Leviticus 25:4

When I was in high school, relatives from Ireland came to visit us. They spent a week with us, a week with my aunt and a week with my uncle. Then they enjoyed several weeks of sightseeing. All in all, they were on vacation for a whopping six weeks! Now that is what I call a vacation!

Here in the United States, we have forgotten the importance of downtime. Rather than taking weeks off for vacation, we take one week or a few days. Making matters worse, we bring work with us. That drive is not healthy for the body, mind or soul.

God understands the importance of rest.

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Spring Cleaning

by Rob Dunne

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

My wife Kellie and I decided to do a liver cleanse. Some practitioners recommend doing this in the springtime to cleanse our bodies of toxins. They probably realize that we abuse them from Halloween to Easter. Therefore, we need to give our bodies a fresh start through diet and supplementation.

Like our bodies, our minds also need to be cleansed. Even if you were fortunate enough to have two parents completely sold out to God, at some point in your life, you were exposed to the things of this world – media, entertainment and people who do not share your Christian beliefs. Whether we realize it or not, these things have an impact on our lives.

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God’s Perfect Plan

by Rob Dunne

Image by CJ
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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

My wife recently lost her grandmother, aka Mimi. Mimi lived to be ninety-seven. Prior to her passing, the nursing home workers told us how much they loved her and the joy she brought to their lives. At the funeral home people paying their respects frequently commented on how happy she looked in all of the photographs celebrating her life.

Death is one of those events that makes you stop and think about your own life. You realize how short life is, and for me, I question whether I am using my limited time wisely, wonder whether or not I am living up to my God given potential. Does God have a plan for my life and if so, am I fulfilling that specific plan?

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First Love

by Rob Dunne

Image by Heart Bible
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“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” Revelation 2:4

My wife Kellie and I have been married for over seven years. Most people will say that the honeymoon period is long since over. I disagree. Every morning, I look forward to waking up next to her. After a long day at work, I anxiously await seeing her when I arrive at home. I cherish the time we spend discussing the events of our respective days. On these cold winter nights, lying close to one another at the end of the day is warming and comforting.

Maintaining intimacy doesn’t come easily – Kellie and I put work into our relationship. For instance, we have a weekly date night. Once a week we sit down and ask each other questions from a book entitled, “The Navigator’s Council”. Though the questions are the same each week, they often spark interesting and thought provoking conversations. Spending time with each other in these ways strengthens our intimacy.

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Good News!

by Rob Dunne

Image by Darren Tunnifliff
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“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
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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 »

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