Tuesday, October 3, 2017



I originally posted this in 2011 on this blog.  Reading through it the other day, I thought it was worth reposting.

People spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what is necessary to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Plans are developed. Whole books and workbooks are written.  How do we capture the essence of true discipleship to make sure we’ve got it right, and by implication, that God will be pleased with us?

They try to think of every situation that may arise and write a plan for it.  They pour themselves into many activities in order to build a spiritual resume–although their busyness does not always [produce lasting fruit.

I remember a college student I knew who had a schedule for every minute in the day of what he planned to do for Jesus.  He also had checklists to make sure that he had covered a broad range of discipleship activities from Bible study to outreach to mentoring to evangelism; at the same time having an elaborate prayer list which he was constantly checking to see if he covered everyone and writing a note of the results of those prayers.

I know of Christians who are so concerned that they do the right thing in the right way that they are reluctant to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  I also know others who fear that if they plan anything they will interfere with the Spirit’s work. Persons who believe authentic faith is always connected to an emotional high and enthusiasm, and others who believe that you have to have an elaborate reason or proof text to any position or action.

For many of these people there is no joy to their salvation – only feelings of inadequacy or guilt when they don’t measure up. There is no peace because they live in fear that God will change the game plan.

The bottom line is this – love God with every ounce or your being and love God by loving your neighbor as God loves them (starting with yourself.) That is the bottom line.  It is that simple. It is not rocket science.

It living by grace in the power of God motivated by His unconditional love.

(c) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn

Monday, October 2, 2017



I am thankful to be an American.  I live in perhaps the most prosperous nation on earth.  I enjoy freedom and security still unequaled around the globe.  My neighbors are by and large good people seeking to live at peace with one another.  I believe that my nation, despite its flaws and inconsistencies, has done more good for our world than most other countries and has often carried a load for the larger population of this planet far beyond our fair share—and have done so generously and sacrificially. I dislike when others bash our nation because we are a convenient whipping boy while at the same time aspiring to come to our land to find fulfillment, safety, and some measure of prosperity.

As a Christian, committed to living by the truth and facing the consequences of that truth. I am deeply troubled by fellow Americans who would deny the truth because it inconveniences or offends them.    And I am offended by fellow Americans who attack people who simply tell the truth because they do not do it in a politically correct way.  (Note: The Left does not have a monopoly on “political correctness.” The Right has its own version and just as resolutely promote and enforce it).

But more than anything, my heart grieves when Christians make earthly political positions and man-made symbols more important than Biblical integrity in their words and behaviors.  And I am sure that God is grieved when our words and actions, Facebook posts and Tweets, and other public pronouncements ignore the Second Commandment, “Love thy neighbor as Thyself.” Ignore is not too strong a word.

Although you may be offended by taking a knee during the national anthem, have you bothered to try and understand the motivation behind such exercises of free speech?  (Many of those athletes are devout evangelical Christians).  You may not agree with them, but have you sought to understand them?

And when several million of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico have had their lives devastated by two hurricanes, why is all of our attention on sports stadiums and what occurs there instead of getting help to our brothers and sisters in need?

For those who would honestly want to think about the current NFL and MLB protests, you might find this helpful reading.

© 2017 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 


Dan Masshardt is a young pastor in Pennsylvania and a good friend.  He writes an excellent blog called CHOOSE TODAY.  This post is well worth reading.

Is Your Church Like Planet Fitness?

Many of us live in a land of many choices.

If you want to exercise, you probably have quite a few options.  One popular option is Planet Fitness. This gym is inexpensive, open all the time, and constantly advertises a ‘judgement free zone.’  Those are all good things or can be.

Planet Fitness seems to be driven by the idea that you won’t be intimidated there.  They won’t allow it and will remove anybody deemed intimidating – a lunk.

While there are certainly people in Planet Fitness that are in great shape and word hard, if you went there and just filled up your time doing the bear minimum, you’d likely never know that you were falling short of what you really should be doing.

Some churches seem to be a bit like planet fitness.   They are just happy if someone shows up.  That person is included in the attendance and membership numbers.  They have a few dollars coming in.   People aren’t ever told or challenged to thing that what they are doing is falling short of what they currently are.

And while a church like that might have some really serious and dedicated disciples of Jesus in their midst, the church doesn’t expect people to become all in, sold out, go anywhere and do anything God calls us to do kind of Christians.

I’ve been in some serious gyms.  Filled with powerlifters, bodybuilders and strongman.  Crossfit gyms are like this too.   And I can tell you that in my personal experience, Plant Fitness is mostly dead wrong about the attitude of these serious trainers.  They are glad to be together with older people, newer people just getting started.

People should never be judged for getting started.  They should be wholeheartedly encouraged for getting started.  It’s perhaps the biggest step.

But they should know that the journey is the beginning of being the best you can be.  That may be different for different people when it comes to fitness.  But a serious gym will take people where they are at and encourage them, motive them and challenge them to grow.