Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Monday, January 24, 2011

You Don't Know Jack!

Over the weekend, fitness guru Jack LaLanne passed away. Jack was 96 when he died and was well known for his television exercise program in the 1960s and early 1970s. He was also a pioneer of the current fitness movement and self-appointed hawk of his name brand juicer.

I remember staying home sick from school and watching his television program and following him as he did different exercises with nothing but a chair and towel. Jack was always looking healthy and buff as he appeared on his show in a short-sleeved exercise jumpsuit with his biceps bulging. Running around his set was a large white German Shepherd who was either getting in the way of Jack or lying on the floor huffing and puffing. Even the dog got into the act on Jack's show! To really get viewers motivated, Jack had some cheesy organ music accompanying him as he did his exercises. Every once in a while, Jack would display his strength and endurance by performing some attention-grabbing and self-promoting stunt. One time he did over 1,000 push-ups in approximately 20 minutes!

The one thing I really remember about Jack was something that he said years ago. Someone asked him if he ever thought about dying. He told the interviewer that he was not going to die because it would be bad for his reputation! I'm sure he was only joking, but it should have driven home an important point to all who listened. That point is that one day we are all going to die and no amount of exercise or eating right will trump that event. Most people don't like to think about dying, let alone preparing for it, but it is a fact we must all eventually think about and prepare for.

As Christians, we believe that Jesus conquered death once and for all. His resurrection from the dead proved to all creation that He is "Lord of the Living and the Dead" and that He is "The Living One who is alive forever and ever!" Through faith in Him and His finished work, we too can have that eternal life - not a temporary and deteriorating physical life like Jack LaLanne and all of us live, but an eternal life based on the promises of Jesus to all who believe. The scripture says that physical exercise is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

May we have the same zeal to live for God and His message as Jack LaLanne had for his message and life. For if we do, we can say like Jack jokingly remarked - we are never going to die!

Pastor Don

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let the Foundation be Strongly Laid!

Over the past weekend, I had the good fortune to officiate the wedding for a couple in our church. It was a moving time as they entered into a new life together and expressed their love for each other to those in attendance. The thing that impressed me the most was their conscious effort to acknowledge and include Jesus Christ in EVERY part of the ceremony. From the different scripture readings to the vows themselves, Jesus was acknowledged and praised as the source of their love and the foundation of their relationship. It was a moving testimony not only to those from Downriver Christian Community Church, but also to all who are friends and family of the couple.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-25 that whoever listens to His words is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. When the winds blew, the rain fell, and the waves beat against the house, it stood solid and unshakable. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that the only foundation that we should lay in our lives is upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. His presence, words, comfort, and help are always there for anyone who asks. Revelation 22:17 says: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

As the couple chose to focus on Jesus in their wedding ceremony, may we include Jesus in everything we do, say, and pledge. May we constantly be aware of His real and abiding presence in our lives and strive to be obedient to His holy word. When we do that, we too will be a testimony to all who see or hear us. They will see that we belong to someone special, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Don

Monday, January 10, 2011

You'd Better Think!

While flipping through the television stations last night, I came across an old MSNBC taped interview. The interview was with Jeffery Dahmer, the notorious serial killer from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Normally I would click to another channel, but something he said while I was watching caused me to watch further. The man conducting the interview asked Dahmer if he thought he was accountable for his actions. The answer Dahmer gave sent chills up and down my spine. Dahmer said that he never thought he would be accountable to anyone because he believed in evolution and the philosophy that it taught - survival of the fittest. His life, as he described it, was an intentional preying on individuals he considered "inferior." His worldview dictated to him that he was superior and that death brought about the end of existence. In his mind, there was no God or gods waiting to judge him and no heaven to be gained or hell to be punished in. Since he believed that with all his heart, he was going to do what he wanted in his life with no concern about what anyone thought or did.

As I meditated upon what he said, I began to think of how important a role our thinking plays in our actions that we take. The Bible says in Proverbs that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Jeffery Dahmer's thinking was dominated by a foundational idea, one that is taught with great religious vigor in our schools, universities, and media. The idea of evolution has no basis in reality, but is taught as an established scientific "fact." It was this foundational idea, however, that laid the groundwork and set off a chain of events that led Jeffery Dahmer to take the actions that he did.
Our thinking will be dominated by some foundational idea that in turn will determine the actions we take. The Bible instructs us to think God's thoughts after Him and to take every thought captive unto Christ Jesus. When we stray from God's thoughts about life and death or anything else, we open ourselves up to some other authoritarian source of information about those topics. Many times the results are catastrophic.

As we head into 2011, let our hearts and minds continually meditate on God's Holy Word so that His word may dwell richly in our hearts and dictate the proper actions that we should take in all circumstances.

Pastor Don

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trusting in the Lord for 2011

Well, 2010 has come and gone, and 2011 is now upon us! What awaits all of us in this new year? Will it be a year like the past year for some of us, getting up and going to work, paying the bills, taking the usual vacation, or just going through the same old routine that we've done year after year? I don't know about you, but I have great anticipation for what awaits the "Church" and the Downriver Christian Community Church in 2011! I believe with all my heart that each day will see the establishing and growing of the Kingdom of God in a new and more glorious way. An exciting fact in all this is that we each play a small part in that momentous event! I don't know how God will accomplish all of this, but I do know we have His sacred word that it will be accomplished! The Bible tells us that the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as water covers the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). The message of the Gospel is a world-changing proclamation!

Habakkuk was a prophet to Israel and warned them of imminent destruction and captivity at the hands of the Babylonians because of their constant rebellion against the Lord and His commands. God had sent Israel prophet after prophet to warn them to return to Him with all their hearts, but His message continually fell upon deaf ears. Habakkuk was burdened with delivering this message to his own people whom he loved and whom he cried out to God to have mercy on. God told Habakkuk that His word was going to be fulfilled soon and that Israel would be punished for their sins. Habakkuk was overwhelmed by what he was told and instructed to speak.

In the midst of an impending invasion, societal upheaval, religious idolatry, a changing political structure, high unemployment, and a host of other problems, Habakkuk could still write:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Who among us can predict what 2011 will bring in each of our lives, but whatever the new year throws at us, we can assuredly learn to trust in God's love and providence regardless of the various circumstances we may encounter! May 2011 teach us all to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. May we acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Pastor Don