It’s common knowledge that the heart and soul of Christianity is belief in Jesus.

But, what does it mean to believe in Jesus?

That question is the basis of Paul’s teaching about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. And it is apparent from Paul’s comment in verse 2 that belief in Jesus can be “in vain”, meaning simply, that belief in Jesus can be invalid; it can be wrong.

As I thought about this, I wrote down what I understand the Bible to teach about what it means to believe in Jesus.

A biblical belief in Jesus means…

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Here’s the fifth in our series of photo galleries from our trip to Norway in May.

Cruise ItineraryThese photos were taken on the second half of our Sognefjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen. From there, we rode a bus to Voss via a very steep mountain road. We walked around Voss for an hour or two until the train arrived to take us to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, which we’ll show you in our next photo gallery.

(In case you missed last week’s gallery, here’s a link to the first half of our photos from our Cruise on the Sognefjord. A few are truly stunning!)

Grace and peace to you,

Lon and Dawn

Click any photo to view a full-size slide show

Norway in a Nutshell RouteGood Friday to you!

Here’s the fourth in our series of photo galleries from our trip to Norway in May. These photos were taken on our cruise of a small part of the Sognefjord (starting at Flåm on the map to the right). It was as perfect a day as you could wish for, and there was so much to see that I’ll share another cruise photo gallery next week.

Let us place our hope in the God who made the mountains march down to the sea.


(btw—today is Dawn’s birthday. Would you leave a “happy birthday” in the comments for her? Please? And thank you!)

Click any photo to view a full-size slide show

Well over a decade ago, a good friend challenged me with this question:

What do you dream about?

I remember feeling creases deepen on my brow as I answered emphatically, and somewhat bitterly,

I don’t dream. I’ve had enough disappointment already.

[Old Man in Sorrow, Vincent van Gogh via Wikimedia Commons]

This post is about why I stopped dreaming, how I eventually discovered that hope in God is better than my dreams, and why this blog is called Average Us.

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Norway in a Nutshell RouteGood Friday to you!

Here’s the next in our series of photo galleries from our trip to Norway in May. These photos capture my favorite moment of our trip, an early morning 5 kilometer walk—just Dawn and me—through the villages of  Flåm and Lunden at the head of the Sognefjord.

Some of my favorite photos are here, too. Enjoy!

Click any photo to view a full-size slide show

Sunday morning a few weeks ago, as Dawn and I stood before the congregation of Ivy Creek Church declaring our vows of membership, something unexpected happened…

A surprising joy washed over me.

Joy doormat

[handmade project photo courtesy of Lisa Leonard Online]

It was sudden and strong, unlooked for and unhoped for. It was the sort of arresting moment that said, “Pay attention! A pearl of wisdom lies hidden nearby.” I shared my experience with Dawn later, and she confirmed that she had felt the same surprising joy. But as we talked it over, we realized that we shouldn’t have been surprised.

I know what you’re thinking.

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PSALM 107:1-2

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.


The psalmist sings out the call for God’s redeemed people to come before Him with gratitude in their hearts and on their lips. Why?—Three reasons.

—Because His character is all goodness.

—Because His covenant love for the redeemed is steadfast and enduring.

—Because of His redemptive work to save them from many troubles.


Come before the Lord, our Redeemer with thankful hearts and joyful songs!

Give thanks that He is good, and has been good to His people. Give thanks for His constant love, which will never fail, nor turn away from those He has redeemed.