Posts by: Brian Dolleman

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

Adventures in Prayer – Take a Hike!

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The Gospels often mention Jesus going somewhere to pray – into the hills, out in the wilderness, to an olive grove and on a mountain).

What a great idea: go on a prayer hike, prayer jog, prayer walk, prayer bike ride, etc.

I enjoy jogging a trail that runs from my neighborhood in Maple Valley out to the “wilderness” of Black Diamond. It takes about 2 hours round trip. I have some of my best conversations with God along the way!

Go on adventures in prayer. Get alone with God. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask Him to speak to you. Listen.

Take a hike with God!

“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” (Matthew 14.23)

“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1.35)

“After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.” (Mark 6.46)

“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.’” (Mark 14.32)

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5.16)

“Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” (Luke 6.12)

“One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone.” (Luke 9.18)

“Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.” (Luke 9.28)

“Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 22.39)

Grace Reaches Across Boundaries

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In Jesus’ day, lepers were separated from the rest of society. They were outcasts and labeled “unclean.”

People were more afraid of getting what lepers had and less concerned about the needs of the lepers.

Jesus reached across the boundary.

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy.

When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Luke 5.12, 13)

Jesus reached out and touched the man even though he was unclean. That’s what grace does… it reaches across boundaries.

When grace and the “unclean” collide, grace always wins.

We need to be less afraid of people and more full of grace for people!

Enlarge your circle of influence. Reach across boundaries. Love. Bless. Include.

Reach out with grace towards others and live the adventure today!

Unexpected Friendships = an Interesting, Adventure-filled Life

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If you want safe, boring, routine and mundane, don’t ever invest in “unexpected friendships” (people outside your usual circle of interest, comfort and preference).

Want an interesting, adventure filled life? Get outside the circle! Reach for unexpected friendships.

Jesus did this with Zacchaeus. When Jesus went to Zach’s house, it shocked the religious crowd – “they all grumbled: he has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19.7).

Here’s what Jesus had to say about it:

“If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that.”

“If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that.”

“Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us: generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is Kind; you be kind.”

“Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”

(Luke 6 selected verses MSG)

Adventures in Friendship… The Power of Giving Gifts

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Do you want to be remembered, appreciated, valued, loved?

Of course you do.

So be memorable. Invest in your relationships. Give value. Be generous, kind, uplifting and encouraging.

On a practical level: pay the bill for lunch, give surprise presents, write an encouraging note and send it…

“Giving a gift can open doors…” – Proverbs 18:6

“Everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!” – Proverbs 19:6

Jesus said, “Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends.” – Luke 16:9.

There is a real power in giving.

Think of someone else today.
Buy someone a cup of coffee or send them a gift card with a little note.
Gifts don’t always have to be big or expensive. Even the smallest gift sends the message: “I’m thinking of you”.

Live the adventure today. Invest in friendship.
Give. Love. Enrich. Bless.

Adventures in Friendship… Invite Yourself In!

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When it comes to friendships, don’t be the passive observer.

Take initiative. Risk something. Relationships are adventure!

I love the story of Jesus going to Zacchaeus’ home for dinner because Jesus invited himself over. Yup, that’s right… He invited himself over to Zach’s house.

Here’s how it reads in Luke 19:5 & 6…

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

The cool thing about this story is how excited Zacchaeus was that Jesus wanted to hang out with him.

Here’s a little secret: most people are lonely and bored. Americans today have fewer close friends than ever before. People want friendships but often lack the courage to initiate.

Be the initiator.

Invite people into your world… and invite yourself into theirs!

RE: Worship… Less Drama & More Jesus

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You ever have tense, argument-filled rides to church with your family? Yeah, me neither…

The truth is, we easily get distracted from the main course. Tension, stress, anger and frustration often cloud our view of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said, “what I want mostly is for men to pray – not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.” (1 Timothy 2:8).

Remember the story of Jesus having dinner at Mary and Martha’s house – Martha was shaking an angry fist, but Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Re: Worship… less drama and more Jesus!

Book Review: Hear No Evil

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Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner (reviewed by Brian Dolleman)

I love the honesty and humor Matthew Paul Turner uses to talk about growing in a Fundamentalist home.

One of my favorite excerpts:

“For as long as I could remember, I had lived a separate existence from normal people. I don’t believe I comprehended to what extent my life was different from the lives of other people my age, but I wasn’t naive to how odd and detached we were. Sure, my parents installed a chastity belt around my brain to keep out unwanted predators like Pee-wee Herman and the anti-God propagandist who wrote 1984, but I wasn’t ignorant. I knew my family was different. We liked being different.

Why wouldn’t God find pleasure in my holy brown-nosing? Most of the people at my church did. As far as I knew, the faith I lived was built on nothing less than the state of my own righteousness.

I wanted to go to the theater, But I did fear that when the movie was over, I’d struggle to envision God looking at me with the same delight as he did before.

At my church my sins weren’t so much saved by grace. They were taunted by it.”

If you enjoy music, stories, satire, honesty and humor, this book is for you.

Summary of Hear No Evil:
If you’ve ever had the opening bars of a song transport you back in time or remind you of a pivotal spiritual moment, Matthew Paul Turner’s honest—and frequently hilarious—musings will strike a chord. Straightforward and amusing, Hear No Evil is Turner’s “life soundtrack,” a compilation of engaging personal stories about how music—and music’s ability to transform—has played a key role in his spiritual life. Groove along on his journey as young evangelical Turner attends forbidden contemporary Christian concerts, moves to “Music City” Nashville, and dreams of becoming the Michael Jackson of Christian music. Cosmic and compelling, keen and funny, every page is a new encounter with the people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author

some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.

Author Bio:
Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, and several other popular books. After a childhood in rural Maryland, Turner attended Nashville’s Belmont University, where he received a BBA in music business, and was the editor of CCM magazine before leaving to pursue writing as a career. Turner has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single, and other magazines. He and his wife, Jessica, have one son, and live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his website:

Win a free book:
Be the first one to email me (include your name and address) and you will receive your very own copy of “Hear No Evil” – FREE!


Where to purchase this book:

Note: This book was provided for review by RandomHouse publishing…

The Main Course

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Worship – giving Jesus the attention, honor and glory he deserves – isn’t a warm-up exercise or a time-filler… it is the main course.

The Gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha:

A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said.

But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 Message).

Martha was distracted, upset, stressed-out, caught up in the details and “pulled away by all she had to do”. Unfortunately, she missed the main course.

Don’t miss the main course!

Take time to focus on Jesus. Listen.

Give Him the attention, honor and glory He deserves.

Have a “worship adventure” with Jesus today.

Growth (it’s more than just not going the wrong direction)

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Growth is more than just not going the wrong direction.

It’s possible to stop going the wrong direction and yet still be headed nowhere.

You can stop going the wrong direction and still not grow.

Growth requires movement, change, adjustment and going the right direction.

The Apostle Paul said, “But you… are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11).

Notice the two verbs in that verse: Run / Pursue.

Run from the bad. Pursue the good.

Don’t just stop your bad habits… start new (good) ones!

Today is a great day to begin some new disciplines.

Growth demands constant motion. Pursue the good. Go after the best.

Yesterday’s motions don’t provide enough momentum to keep you going in the right direction today or tomorrow – just like yesterday’s meal won’t continue to sustain you.

Take some new steps toward growth today!

Part of the Adventure is Knowing How to Grow & Change

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Part of living the adventure is knowing how to grow and change.

Spiritual growth (growing in our relationship with God) isn’t something we do once and complete – it is a daily necessity.

One of my pastors would always say: “you grow daily or die gradually.”

The apostle Paul said:
“I pray that you will keep on growing.” (Philippians 1:9).

What we learned last year, last month, last week, or even yesterday isn’t enough for today and tomorrow.

Because today is a new day, bringing new challenges and new demands.

Growth and change is a way of life – don’t hate it, embrace it.

Athletes, and the sports they compete in, continue to evolve and improve. The game changes. Sometimes the rules change. The level of play continues to rise. New records are achieved as athletes raise the bar year after year.

This is true in life: the game has changed. The bar has been raised. There are new challenges and new demands today.

We cannot be effective today playing at the level we did a decade ago.

Have you heard the expression: “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”?

Here’s what that phrase is saying: Don’t fault the successful participant in a flawed system; instead try to discern and rebuke that aspect of the system which allows or encourages the behavior which provoked your displeasure.

When it comes to spiritual growth, don’t hate the playa or the game!

Part of the adventure is knowing how to grow and change.

Don’t resent the need to grow and change. That’s just life.

Enjoy doing things differently – it makes you stronger!

Be hungry to learn, adapt, change and grow today.

Embrace growth and change as a way of life.

You choose: grow daily or die gradually.