{re}fresh

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

014

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 »

I Hope You Dance

by Rob Dunne

7091577957_4aa2f77110_q

woman-dancing freely by good to go health flickr.com/photos/73162816@N08/_CC BY-ND 2.0

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Our bright red blanket provided dramatic contrast to the beige sand of Dennis beach. Fortune smiled on us as the normally crowded shore lay virtually barren. The late Spring sun did its best to provide warmth as moderate temperatures and strong winds tried to chill our bones. Unusually small waves provided a soft whooshing sound as they gently crashed upon the land. The distinct smell of sea water scented the air.

We took a short walk along the beach. Our solitude was interrupted as a woman danced on the sand. It was difficult to tell if it was choreographed or impromptu. The delight on her face made that inconsequential. When we got within an earshot of one another, I asked her what I owed her for the performance. “Was it good?” she asked. I assured her it was and she thanked me. She took dance as a child and loved it. She said it brought God delight to watch her dancing so freely.

Life has a way of changing us. We allow what other people think about us to influence how we behave. The goal is to fit in and be “normal”. Rather than dance freely on the beach without a care in the world, we feel self-conscious that others may be looking and laughing at us. There is so much restriction in that.

Jesus went down to the Jordan River and was baptized by His cousin John. As He came up out of the water, God audibly spoke and said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” In that moment, the Father solidified Jesus’ identity for Him. You are the Son of God. Immediately, that identity came under attack. Satan tried to get Jesus to question His identity. “If you are the Son of God, then…” Fortunately, Jesus didn’t fall for the devil’s trickery. He was supremely secure in who He was and nothing or no one was going to take that away from Him – not even the devil.

The born again experience is an exchange. God gives us a brand new spirit with a new nature. This ushers us in to His kingdom and He calls us sons and daughters. The rest of our lives are spent drawing that new nature out of our spirits and in to our hearts and minds. The bible tells us who we are and what we have in Christ. As we put faith in what God’s Word says and believe it in our hearts, we are transformed and become everything that He created us to be. The more secure we become in that new identity, the more freedom we experience in our everyday lives.

There was a part of me that desperately wanted to join the woman dancing on the beach. The idea of being that free to dance like no one was watching appealed to me. That reserved self-conscious part of me has not been fully renewed yet. So I sat and watched and imagined myself twirling beside her. Maybe next time I will join her.

The Little Seed That Could

by Rob Dunne

Lazy Day by 19melissa68_Flickr.com_4487677625_917f5572ba_z

Lazy Day by 19melissa68_Flickr.com_4487677625_917f5572ba_z_ CC BY-ND 4.0

Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming!” Genesis 37:19

Some years ago a Japanese botanist found some viable lotus seeds in a layer of peat in a dry lake-bed in Manchuria. Testing was done suggesting that the seeds were hundreds if not thousands of years old. Germination tests were made on the seeds. Almost all of them grew, even after having lain around in museums for a decade or two. The contents of a seed are powerful!

A word from God is like a seed planted in our hearts. In the book of Genesis, we are introduced to Joseph. He is the eleventh son of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. At the age of thirteen, God gives Joseph two dreams. Both dreams show him ruling over his family and that everyone, including his father, will one day bow before him. Needless to say, these dreams did not make his family members happy. His brothers were incredibly jealous and sold Joseph in to slavery.

For thirteen long years, it did not appear as though Joseph’s dream would come to pass. He prospered as a slave until he was wrongfully accused by his master’s wife and thrown in to prison. While in prison, Joseph was placed in charge of the other inmates. Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker were put in prison and had dreams of their own. Joseph provided both with the interpretation and asked the cup bearer to remember him when he was once again in Pharaoh’s presence.

Eventually, Pharaoh had a dream that none of his priests or magicians could interpret. Finally, the cup-bearer remembered Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams. He correctly interpreted the dream and told Pharaoh that seven prosperous years were coming followed by seven years of famine. He suggested a game plan on how to navigate this period of time that impressed Pharaoh. As a result, Joseph was put in charge of Pharaoh’s entire kingdom. Nine years later, Joseph’s family traveled to Egypt and his dream came to pass.

God gives us words in a number of ways. He will speak to us through His written word, by speaking to our hearts, using a prophet or even a dream. Our job is to receive and nurture that word. Like Joseph, it may take years before we see that dream come to pass. During that time of waiting, we may be faced with many adversities. Trust that during this time, God is forging your character and preparing you to fulfill every aspect of that dream.

Has God planted a dream in your heart? Are you feeling discouraged because you haven’t seen it come to pass? Take inspiration from Joseph and trust that God is able to complete the good work that He has begun in you!

Let It Rain!

by Rob Dunne

Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. Joel 2:23

When I moved to New York City, I got rid of my car. It was too expensive to keep and public transportation is easily accessible. When my new boss told me that we had a court appearance out on Staten Island, I said to myself, “No problem. I will take the ferry and catch a bus to the courthouse. Piece of cake!” Then the rain came.

Normally, the ferry was a smooth ride. After all, we were only crossing New York Harbor. That day, the storm was rocking the boat back and forth like an exhausted mother desperate to get her crying child back to sleep. Thankfully, I am not one to get sea sick so it was no problem. Once we reached the shore, I quickly hopped on a bus and headed to court.

Genuine concern arose as the bus wound its way across the island. Streams of water were running down the street. Reaching the bottom of one hill, I saw numerous cars submerged under water. My body pulsed as though an unseen drummer was beating on my heart with all his might. When I finally arrived at the courthouse, I was told that they were closing due to the weather. It would have been nice to learn that before I got began this trek!

Rain can be our friend or our enemy. It is essential for vegetation to grow. Without it, our water supply would dry up. In Palestine where Jesus grew up, there were two cycles of rain- the former rain and the latter rain. The former rain would start as the farmers planted their crops. The latter rain came just prior to the harvest and helped plump up the wheat. Both rainy seasons were vital to the success of the crops.

God always has been and always will be the source of our provision. He is the one who provides the rain that waters the crops that ultimately give us food. I have a tendency to take credit for any success that I have in life. Upon reflection, I realize that God is the one who gave me the gifts, talents and abilities that I have in order to perform my job. He is the One who uniquely crafted me with a love for words and putting them together on a page in a way that makes people enjoy reading them (at least I hope they do!)

It is critically important that we acknowledge God as our source and provider. He alone deserves all of the credit for anything good that we have in our lives. After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

He is incredibly faithful and trustworthy. God is rock solid and He never changes. Thank Him today for meeting all of your needs.

Rain's Acomin' by Don Graham flickr-com_13111699453_fa33a3bb31_z.jpg

Rain’s Acomin’ by Don Graham flickr-com_13111699453_fa33a3bb31_z.jpg_CC BY-ND 4.0

 

Distracted Walking

by Rob Dunne

 

08^306232 web plate ped121815.jpg

Star Tribune- December 20, 2015. Glen Stube

Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. Luke 24:31

I stepped onto the elevator outside of my office and pushed G-2 for the garage level. Not necessarily expecting to pick up a passenger, I moved to the back corner of the car. Though not the same hue as the wood paneled walls, my lawyerly garb blended into the background.

Prior to reaching my destination, the car came to a halt. A gentleman engaged in a friendly conversation backed his way into the elevator and waived goodbye to his colleague. He selected his desired floor and slowly inched backwards. Suddenly, aware of my presence in the corner of the car, he jumped and shouted, “Jesus, you scared me!” I like when people see Jesus in me.

There is an interesting account in Luke 24 of two of Jesus’ disciples walking to Emmaus. En route, the resurrected Jesus joins them. Neither has any clue that it was Him. Jesus then asks what they are discussing. Astonished, they recount all of the things that had happened several days prior. They explain that Jesus was a prophet whom they thought was going to redeem Israel. Unfortunately, that hope was dashed when He was crucified and buried. The disciples also describe how on the third day, the tomb was found empty by certain women and other members of their group.

Beginning with Moses and the Prophets, Jesus begins to teach them the Messiah had to suffer the way that He did. When they reach their destination, He continues on the path but they invite Him to join them. As they sit down to eat, Jesus blessed and broke bread and gave it to them. This familiar gesture finally woke them from zombie land because they finally recognized Him. Naturally, Jesus immediately disappeared before their very eyes.

In today’s society, we can become so distracted that we don’t see things that are right in front of our face. The other day I read an article about distracted walking. People using their smart phones walk in to all sorts of things like trash cans, cement blockades and even water fountains.

If we are not careful, we too could miss an encounter with Jesus. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He longs to walk along the road of life with us to teach us the things of the kingdom. He wants to share intimacy with us as we sit and break bread with Him. As we prepare to celebrate Easter, be mindful of distractions and keep your eyes focused on Jesus. It will be less painful than walking into a water fountain.

%d bloggers like this: