Thursday, November 24, 2016

WALMART PARKING LOT

Black Friday is about to begin, instead of the typical diatribe against consumer insanity I thought I'd repost  a life lesson I learned while navigating a Walmart parking lot on a typical day without the added intensity of Black Friday. This originally appeared in my THRIVING IN CHRIST devotional blog on July 24, 2010-Steve

BY STEVE DUNN

Came close the other day to going home to be with Jesus - as in heavenly home - for eternity. I don't know if it was the appointed time in God's will but the opportunity was definitely there for me to be yanked home to meet my Maker. That intersection of grace and free will (someone else's) was coming together to make this a real possibility. If it had happened, the launch point would have been the Walmart parking lot on Fruitville Pike in Lancaster PA.

I had just finished making my purchases and had returned to my Saturn. I was backing up slowly and cautiously because, of course, I was surrounded on either side by two monster trucks designed to obscure any view for at least a mile.  As I attempted to back, I had not yet reached the stage of cautiously inching my rear end into traffic when a vehicle raced by at a speed that would have earned a ticket on the interstate.  Then I took almost another full minute to back up stopping with great frequency, i.e., I lost count, as more vehicles backed out into the space I was trying to occupy.

When I finally made it "out", my vehicle was accosted by the rear ends of at least three other vehicles who seemed to have simply kicked it into reverse and pushed the gas pedal before even beginning to think that there might be someone else out there.  Once this exercise in "dodgem" was over, I still had to navigate a parking lot where people were making wide turns or occupying the center of the lane because they were talking on their doggone cell phones. (Actually, I had another expletive/adjective in mind but this is a religious blog site. Forgive me, Lord, for allowing that to even be in my vocabulary's secret vault.)

After about six minutes of near-death experiences (it seemed like sixty), I made it into the safety of actual traffic where God spared my life so I could be home to be with my lovely wife instead of my Maker.

Did you ever notice how dangerous life can be? Even for those people who try to insulate their lives by taking no risks, eating bland foods, staying out of traffic, avoiding their neighbors, keeping their heads down and mouths shut, life comes at you fast and you really have a lot less control than you'd like.  And at times it can scare the socks off of us.

That's why wise people like David teach us that we need to put our lives into the hands of the Lord.  "Even though I must walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me."  To do business as a human being requires us to venture into the Walmart parking lots and human intersections where another person's freedom can rob us of our peace and attack our joy. Where damage can be done that then we will have to deal with.

But we can live with confidence because "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35)  It's that confidence that removes my fear and allows me to live with confidence even in the Walmart parking lots of the planet.  I may suffer a fender-bender, or I may actually meet with a fatal "accident", but I cannot be separated from God.

Friday, October 14, 2016

HAITI TODAY - ONE WAY TO HELP

by STEVE DUNN

A friend of mine, who I first met when we took a trip to Haiti, and a pastor from my stream of Christianity, is leading an awesome work New Life in Haiti.  Hurricane Matthew has left them with a great challenge as this article from the Napierville Sun Time circulated by the Chicago Tribune reveals.  This IS A PLACE WHERE I HAVE SEEN JESUS LATELY.





OFF THE RADAR - RANDOM OBSERVATIONS

BY STEVE DUNN

Someone sent me a message about an old post of this blog and I found myself back Blogger Dashboard.  I was surprised.  My last post on Life Matters had been August 24th--nearly seven weeks ago.  For a lot of reasons I had been doing most of my writing on Facebook--offering my thoughts and sharing the posts of others in this frenetic and frustrating political season; but I had gotten out of my intentional rhythm with me key blogs: Life Matters, Dr. Steve Dunn.Com, Being the Best Church for the Community, and Dr. Steve's Digital Desk.

 Look for them to start ramping up again next week.  That blogging hiatus did coincide with three significant events in my professional arena.  The fall trimester was about to begin at Winebrenner Theological Seminary's Scotland PA location where I serve as an administrator and an adjunct faculty member (New Testament Foundations this time).  Also my role for a Korean Christian School here in Chambersburg--Global Vision Christian School (where I teach three bloc classes in history). And a new assignment as the Intentional Interim Pastor at the Penbrook Church of God in Harrisburg. A lot of travel time for reflection but little leftover energy to write.

When your plate is full life can, in the words of Tim Hansel, get "so daily."

The danger of daily is that it can squelch creativity.  In my world, an unacceptable reality.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

FULLY HUMAN, FULLY DIVINE

fFrom time to time I just want to share how others explain how life matters to God and you matter to God. The SKIT GUYS are among the best-STEVE

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

FACEBOOK PROPHETS--MKSCELLANEOUS COMMENTS

BY STEVE DUNN

Here is this week's collection.  Enjoy or squirm or both.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

1000 POSTS - LIFE MATTERS

BY STEVE DUNN

On July 4, 2016 I passed a milestone with this blog.  I published my 1000th post.  (In case you missed it 1000)  I was so busy at the time that I missed the significance of that post myself. 1000 blog posts - a whole lot of words.  Some more eloquent than others.  Some more useful than others.  Some more memorable and some quite forgettable.


My first post was March 3, 2009. Here is what I wrote more than seven years ago:

 Many people think Christians have closed minds, more concerned with being the moral police than good neighbors. I believe that Christians are called to reflect the character of Christ--which means that loving God and loving my neighbor are two sides of the same coin. Rather than exhibiting a closed mind, it is important for me to possess the mind of Christ. The Christ portrayed in the Gospels possessed clarity and a deep commitment to the truth. That meant that he was open to people's questions and even taught the truth by asking questions, not merely making pronouncements. A mind committed to knowing and living by the truth is essential to being a genuine Christ follower. Having a mind assumes that you are required to think, ask questions, reflect, and respond. It also implies that your actions and values are the result of well-examined, open-minded (to the truth) conviction. As a sign I once saw on a campus minister's door proclaimed: JESUS CAME TO TAKE AWAY YOUR SINS, NOT YOUR MIND. 

I doubt if I have changed the minds of everyone who has read this blog; but then my purpose is really more in line with Ravi Zacharias "to simply get people to open their minds and let the Holy Spirit do the persuading."  I hope in some small measure that LIFE MATTERS has accomplished that purpose.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS - BACK TO SCHOOL PREPARATIONS

BY STEVE DUNN


I have been in the ministry for 45 years--starting as a youth pastor back in 1971.  Since 2008, I have added teaching graduate students in a seminary to my resume.  Since last January I have added teaching history to high school students from Korea to my professional mix. I am about to do both again. Monday Morning Reflections this week is late because I am busy completing syllabi, lesson plans and initial lessons for high schools kids (9th, 10th and 11th graders) and seminarians (only God knows some of their ages and it would be ecclesiastically/politically incorrect to ask).  High school starts next Monday, seminary two weeks later.

At this moment I am firmly reminded of the words of Solomon, an ancient wise man of centuries ago:



As they say in my profession: "That'll preach."  And so far that is true just for the instructor.  It will soon be the lament of my students and their compatriots.

Yet as I wade through all the paperwork and other preparations, it is a labor of love.  It is also a critical endeavor.  Knowledge is the beginning of power and ignorance is not bliss, it is dangerous.
Education provides knowledge, but more than that--the discipline of learning and the accountability needed not only to get a good grade but to live life with competence, confidence, and significance.
Knowing the details of early American politics may not come into daily usefulness for all of my high schoolers, any more than the nuances of biblical interpretation for my seminarians.  But the process of learning with its requirement to live by standards of excellence and to use that learning with integrity are survival values for society and the Church.

I love my students too much to let them be wallow in ignorance, shackled by laziness, and handicapped by an uninformed life.  And I love our nation, our world, and the Kingdom of God not to do my part in educating.

So now--back to the preparations.  May they bear much fruit which will last.


© 2016 by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com