Wednesday, October 31, 2012


If you judge by the decorations and celebrations, Halloween has been embraced by Americans as a major holiday.  Picked this up from a blog, Jesus Needs Better PR.  Not sure what message this church is communicating.  I think I know what they think they are communicating.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


by Steve Dunn
A storm like nothing ever experienced by people living today slammed into the East Coast of the United States yesterday along the New Jersey coast. It’s name is Sandy. 60 million people were in its immediate path. Less than six hours later more than four million households in the Middle Atlantic States were without electricity.  Global commerce took a hit as the New York Stock Exchange had to literally close its doors to ride out the storm.  Even the Presidential election campaign had to go on hold as both candidates came off the campaign trail to attend to the matters of Sandy’s assault on our nation.  People as far away as Chicago felt its effects as Sandy morphed into a cyclone whose weather pattern will dominate parts of the Midwest, Middle Atlantic states and the Northeast for days to come.

As I write this post, my wife and I are sitting in Bloomington IN, in the home of our son Chris and his wife Megan.  We had been scheduled to arrive today in central Pennsylvania where we live following ten days on the road speaking for Bridgebuilders, a seminar I have designed to help traditional churches reach their unchurched neighbors.  Given that our destination is already experiencing flooding and power outages and the road  in between must past through an area of heavy snow and restricted driving conditions, a spontaneous visit seemed to best choice.

We live in a world where people believe that everything is tameable or obtainable.  Find the right scientific solution and we can control nature, or so we believe–until we meet Sandy. Work hard enough and we can have our dreams become realities–until someone taxes those dreams into oblivion or creates a more elaborate product that we do not yet possess and we return to the rat race to earn enough credits to bring this new thing into our lives.

It is not my intention to be cynical or negative here.  I am simply stating a fact.  Our pride puts us in the crosshairs of things that will always be bigger than us and beyond our ability to control. Our pride keeps us rebuilding on ground that is going to be visited again by the Sandy’s of the planet. Our belief that we are ultimately in control of our personal destiny keeps us colliding with that same belief possessed by others and great becomes our fall.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.”  Ultimately Frankenstorms push us back to this reality.  We need more than ourselves to live with peace and strength in this world.

Psalm 46:1 points us to a wonderful promise: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” And that promise is rooted in something even more compelling. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Frankenstorms remind me of how little I really control my life and destiny and drive me back to trusting the One Who does.
(C) 2012 by Stephen L Dunn

Sunday, October 7, 2012


       Major League Baseball has provided millions of us with one of the most exciting and memorable seasons in recent memory.  Although there still are some kinks to be worked out, the expanded Wild Card Format keep people glued to the standings (and packing the stands) literally down to the final hours of the 2012 regular season. No one would logically have projected the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles as participants in post-season play.  And how can we match the Oakland Athletics amazing assault on the AL West's divisional crown in the final ten days of the season?

      The season has its sad tales and melodrama.  You only have to travel to Boston and recap the soap opera that was the Red Sox and Bobby Valentine. How many innings would Stephen Strasburg pitch and would he really be benched before the Nationals captured a pennant for Washington in centuries?  And superstar Josh Hamilton's ups and downs at Texas, did he really deserved carrying the brunt of the blame for the vaunted Rangers collapse? Grow up, Ron Washington.

      The best baseball story in 2012 had to be Miguel Cabrera's winning of the Triple Crown.  He is the first to do so since Carl Yastremski in 1967!  Miguel's season almost ended in spring training when he took a shot to the eye, bloodied but protected by his sunglasses.  Miguel was also trying to be on his best behavior after well-documented marital and alcohol problems.  

      Cabrera has obviously grown up. Perhaps the best baseball player today, certainly the most intelligent and prolific hitter, he also proved to be the consummate team player--professing his willingness to make sure his Tigers captured the AL Central crown even if it meant he did not achieve his personal prize-the Triple Crown.  Playing with a Tigers team that started very hot but then struggled mightily to live up to its pedigree and payroll, it was Cabrera's consistent production that kept them in the race and ultimately propelled them into the playoffs.  One cannot help but agree with Justin Verlander (last year's AL MVP) that Miguel Cabrera is the 2012 AL MVP.

       By the way--hats off to the classy fans of the Kansas City Royals, who gave Cabrera two standing O's when he captured the crown in their park--treating him with the respect he deserved.

      Regardless of whether that Tigers ultimately make it to and triumph in the World Series--Cabrera has given Tigers fans and baseball fans everywhere, a season to celebrate.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


These past six weeks I have done very little public blogging.  It has been one of those seasons when life was captured by a different set of priorities--far more immediate and demanding than an intentional person like myself was particularly comfortable with.  In mid July I completed nearly 11 years as the Lead Pastor of a wonderful congregation called the Church of God of Landisville.  My wife Dianne and I had sensed that God wanted us to move on to some other form and area of ministry.  I have been a local church pastor all but seven of the last 41 years, so I think we believed that we would still be pastoring but in a different context.  I also do training in evangelism and consulting in church mission and leadership. It's not at the level that I have tried to make a living off of it, but I have been somewhat busy in those venues of ministry.  I also am a part-time instructor for a seminary and spent the time preparing and now teaching a class of 16 students - 11 in a classroom and 5 on-line from another part of Pennsylvania.

What really captured my time was the sale of my house.  I knew that if I continued pastoring, ethically I needed to move out of the immediate area of my last parish and God confirmed that-allowing me to sell my home to a family in 28 days when they sold their 11 days later after only being on the market three. 

So Dianne and I have spent mid-August until just six days ago--sorting, packing, downsizing, moving my office and several rooms of furniture and possessions into storage--while both of us working.  Not much time left over.

I love blogging and see it, among other things as a ministry.  So this is just to tell you--I'm back and will be picking up speed.  Thank you for your patience during this hiatus and for not un-subscribing.