Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Blues

Being the music lover that I am, I'm surprised it took me so long to appreciate the genre called "The Blues". Maybe I had to have a few years under my belt (I'll be 50 this year), but there are others who have appreciated this style of music that are much younger than me. Some of them even play it (Johnny Lang comes to mind), so it's not a matter of's more a matter of feeling...of life experiences. The blues conveys emotions that no other music form least to me.

As a christian, trying to find christian blues music seems like an exersize in futility. I mean, Jesus brings us abundant life, right? He brings us blessings, and a cheery outlook on all things, correct?

Well, Jesus did give me life, and life abudnantly! He has given me peace! He has given me joy! He has given me mercy! He has given me grace! He has given me Himself!

But I still live in a fallen world. And sometimes this world gives me the blues. As I type this it is 8:55 pm. I normally have bible study at our church on Weds. nights, but tonight I am home taking care of a sick wife, and two sick children. My wife has been sick all week, and so has my son. My daughter just got hit by the flu bug last night. They are all feeling yucky!

Seeing those that I love suffer from sickness, which is a result of nothing more than contracting some unknown flu virus makes me blue. It also makes me angry, not angry at them, but angry at sin and the devil, and longing for the day when Jesus comes back and makes all things right. So I guess it was great that I was reading in the Psalms today.

You're probably thinking that I'm now going to share how I read some of the Psalms and they talked of how great and mighty the Lord is and how wonderful He is, and that "picked" me up. Well, yes and no.

Actually, here is some of what I read in the Psalms today:

Psalm 12:1-4 (New International Version)

1 Help, LORD, for the godly are no more;
the faithful have vanished from among men.
2 Everyone lies to his neighbor;
their flattering lips speak with deception.

3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue

4 that says, "We will triumph with our tongues;
we own our lips—who is our master?"

Ummmm...not exactly uplifiting.

Then there was this one:

Psalm 13:1-4 (New International Version)

1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall

Ouch! Not exactly Sunday morning praise and worship time!

Today's readings reminded me that the Psalms are not all rah-rah songs for the Lord. They deal with real people, going through real issues, feeling real feelings....and not all of them are "good" feelings.

So, although the Psalms I read were not "cheery, pick-me-up and make me wanna shout" psalms, they still made me feel better about the blues I was goin' through. I felt better simply because I was reminded that I was not alone in my blues.

And then, there were these verses in the same chapters:

Psalm 12:7 O LORD, you will keep us safe
and protect us from such people forever.

and this one:

Psalm 13:5-6 (New International Version)

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Like the psalmist, I too know that even though I'm going through the blues right now, I know that tomorrow is another day. I know that ultimately God is in control. I know that I can trust in the Lord, and my heart does rejoice in the salvation that is mine through Jesus.

So, my recomendation for the blues: Read the Psalms.

And then put on some music by Darrell Mansfield & Glenn Kaiser (and if you don't know who they are, they are some of the best, if not THE BEST Christian blues artists around...and if you want to sample some of their tunes, let me know)

Oh, and if anyone from church reads was it tonight? I missed you all, and spent some time in prayer for you.

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Sin

My Sin

A couple of “blogs” ago I confessed that I had a sin that I was battling, and that I would make a full confession in an upcoming blog.

So here it is.

I’m a glutton.

There’s something about that word that just makes me want to squirm. If I say, I am fat, well, we know lots of fat people don’t we? Fat, while not a compliment, doesn't carry the same weight (no pun intended) that the word “glutton” does.

The problem is that most of us think of gluttony as a problem with eating too much, or being overweight, but gluttony like all sins, is not a physical problem. It is a spiritual problem, a heart problem. I am a glutton at heart

I recently heard a message from The Village Church by Paul Matthes, where he confesses his sin of gluttony. He has a great definition of the sin of gluttony. Here it is:

“Commonly seen in eating, gluttony is a lack of a faith in God that expresses itself through excess, and expects total satisfaction from some idol of choice, at the expense of community, responsibility and trusting worship of God”

I am a glutton.

Since this is a forum where I “let my hair down”,I am going to ask you, my brothers and sisters to help me battle this sin. It does show itself in my weight,without a doubt, but I don't need a new fangled diet book, or a new type of workout (you have to have an old type of workout before you can get a new one), no, what I need to do is repent of my sin of gluttony.

Take a look at Ezekiel 16:49 from The Message: "The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy."

I don't know about you, but this is not the kind of company that I want to keep.

So on Friday, my day off from the county, I am going to seek out a gym. On Saturday, I am going to the gym. I am going to begin to address this sin of gluttony…..from the outside and from the inside.

I ask you my brothers and sisters, to love me enough to hold me accountable. If I worship with you Sunday, ask me how the workout is going...ask me how I’m doing at saying "no” to food and “things” that are part of this sin called gluttony. If you are reading this blog and we don’t have contact, then email me with suggestions, prayer or encouragement.

We were not meant to walk this road alone. I ask for your love, encouragement and grace, as I battle this sin.

Oh, and if anyone wants a copy of the message that has inspired and uplifted me on this subject, (and I believe that even “skinny” people can be gluttons so you might need it too), then email me, and I will be glad to burn you a cd of the message and get it to you.

Yes, I have been a glutton.

But God is calling me out of my gluttonous sin, to live a life according to his Word, according to His plan, according to His mercy and His grace.

I have been a glutton, but I will live like a child of the King, to be a glutton no more.

Ok, so there’s that.
Pastor Dave

Prayer Needed

Just a quick post for now. I would like anyone who is reading this blog to pray for me today. I feel the spiritual battle more than ever before this morning. I don't know what is up, but I feel the presence of the enemy very strongly. This is truly one of those moments for me to "let my hair down". I don't know what I will be facing today at work, at home or in the spiritual realm, but I know the One who will walk me through it, and if needed, carry me through it.

Pastor Dave

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Who Would You Go To Hell For?

Reading in Romans 9 & 10 today, I came across a verse that I have read many times before, and each time find it an almost unbeliveable statment, and today was no different.

The verse I'm talking about is Romans 9:3 where Paul writes, "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race." In essence, what Paul is saying here, is that he loves his fellow Jews so much, that if it would "buy" their salvation, he would give himself up to be seperated from Christ, literally, that he would be willing to go to hell if it meant their salvation.

To me, this is a huge, huge statement, and it shows the depths of the love that Paul had for people. Paul often gets a bad rap as being hard and stiff, but this verse shows a love that I don't have, and that I don't know that I have seen anyone have.

Who would you got to hell for? Would you go for your children? Before you say yes, think about what it really means. I love my kids. I would give my life for my kids in a heartbeat. But to be honest, I don't think I would give my relationship with Christ for my kids.

This verse makes me examine my life, my heart and my motives for serving God. Do I really serve God out of love, or because it is just what I do? What sacrifices am I willing to make? What am I willing to give up? How deep is my love of Jesus? How deep is my love of the lost? Do I really care that people I work with will die and wind up in hell? If I do care, why don't I do more about it?

As usual, when I take a good look at the scriptures I walk away with more questions, than answers.

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

Most people who know me, know that I am a big fan of the music of the Beatles. A lot of their songs are just silly combinations of words that when put to music, well, they just seem to work (Hello, Goodbye; I Am The Walrus; Hey Bulldog, just to name a few), while others are really thoughtful, and more than once in my life the lyrics spoke to me right where I was at the time (What You're Doing; In My Life; Yesterday), and the song that started todays blog: Help! I'll bring it back around to that in just a minute.

Yesterday I read the chapters in Joshua and I noticed a trend. The Israelites had been told to completely remove the people living in the land of Canaan . For some reason, they didn’t do that. Instead, we see this scenario repeated several times: Joshua 15:63 “ Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites…to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah .” Joshua 16:10 : They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.” Joshua 17:13 “…they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them completely out.” (this was in a different area than the previous verse).

They were told to remove all of the Canaanites, but they didn’t. In some cases they decided to make them their slaves.

The problem was that years later, the Israelites were hounded, harassed and enslaved themselves by the decendants of the Canaanites they let stay in the land.

God had said they had to deal with them in drastic ways for a good reason. He knew they would later influence the Israelites and try to destroy them.

I see a huge parallel here between the Israelites and the Canaanites and us and sin.

Jesus told us in Matthew that if our eye causes us to sin it would be better for us to pluck it out! That is very drastic isn’t it? I don’t for a minute believe that Jesus wanted us to be gouging our eyes out….but he was trying to tell us that dealing with sin requires drastic measures. Too often like the Israelites making slaves to those they were supposed to get rid of, we try to manage sin. We try to justify it, micro-manage it, and just learn to live with it. It’s no wonder that we continue to struggle with things when we won’t make the hard choices necessary to deal with sin.

Of course, when we boil it all down, it comes down to a matter of the heart. Sin is a heart issue. If we really want be serious about our relationship with Jesus, then we will seriously deal with sin. I think sometimes we love sin more than we want to admit.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves and with each other. And that is where we fail far too often. We neglect to seek help and support from brothers & sisters around us.

Let's jump back to the Israelites again for just a moment. If they had acted as one, instead of individual tribes, they would have & could have driven the Canaanites out of the land and saved themselves a ton of problems down the road. But they didn't. They tried to tackle the problem by themselves & failed. Who knows why it happened. Maybe they were ashamed, maybe the other Israelites got too wrapped up in their own lives, maybe they did seek help, but instead got osctracized because they weren't stronger, or any number of reasons.

We suffer from the same thing. We try and fight the sin without our brothers and sisters, because when we have been vulnerable-instead of being helped-we were kicked. Instead of being helped-we were laughed at. Instead of being helped-we were shunned. And so, next time, we struggled alone. We fought alone. We fell, all alone.

It's time for the church to stop shooting their wounded, but instead help to bind each others wounds with love, kindness, mercy, grace and accountability.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

I cannot, you cannot, we cannot fight this battle all by ourselves.
Pray for me. Walk with me.

Later on I plan on getting more specific about a particular sin that I have been dealing with for a long time. I know I will be taking a huge step making this public, but I beleive it is neccesary in order for me to overcome this.

Now, before the rumour mill gets to going full speed, let me say this: What I will be revealing is something that you will find in every church, without exception. In fact you will find it taking place at church functions. Some may not even think of it as sin, but I do. At least now I do.

How's that for a cliffhanger?

Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


How many of us have heard the saying, “God loves you just the way you are!”
It sounds nice. It sounds spiritual. The problem is that it is only a half-truth.

Let’s examine it a bit closer.

Think of the following people:

Adolf Hitler

Charles Manson

Idi Amin

Osama Ben Laden

Now, say the above statement, “God loves you just the way you are!”….with one little bitty change. Insert any of the above names in place of the word “you”. Doesn’t sound so nice does it?

I thought of this when reading the scripture for yesterday.

In Genesis 12:1 it says, “The Lord had said to Abram, Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
You see, when God is your Lord, when you accept Jesus as your Savior he has plans for you. He has “places for you to go, people for you to meet”. He has work for you to do. He has changes in you He wants to make.

One thing I have learned is this: you cannot go with God and yet, stay where you are.

God will always call you to somewhere else in your life…either a new place physically, or financially, or emotionally, or spiritually, but He does not just want us to stay where we were when we first became one of His.

So what does all this have to do with the little phrase, “God loves you just the way you are.”?

As I said at the start of this blog, it is only a half-truth. It is not a complete statement.

The full truth is this, “God loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay the way you are.”

When He called Abraham to be the father of the nation of Israel, and the father of the faithful, He told Abe to go. He didn’t leave Him where he was, but pushed Him out of his comfort zone into a place where Abe had never been before. He loved Abe just as he was, but He loved him way, way, way too much to let him stay there and miss out on all that He (God) had in store for him (Abraham).

So what about you and me. What are we missing out on because we want to stay comfortable? What are we missing out on because we want to stay safe? What are we missing out on because we want to stay in our nice little place in life? My friend Bob has a blog called “On the Road to Ruin”. We don’t think of the gospel that way, but in reality, the change that the gospel makes should ruin our lives of complacency! It should ruin our comfortable cozy Christian club! It should move us from the comfort zone into the battle zone!

So whadda we sittin’ around for!

Let’s go!

And remember,

The first three letters in Satan is “sat”.

The first two letters in God are “go”

Ok, so there’s that.

Pastor Dave

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Heart Of The Matter

Several years ago Don Henley had a song called "The Heart Of The Matter". Part of the lyrics went like this:

"Ive been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter...
...But I think its about forgiveness

Mr. Henley had come to the point in his life where he knew that the heart is what really matters in relationships. He talks about forgiveness, no matter what, which of course is true forgiveness. Anyone can say "I forgive you", but to really mean it, you have to get down to the heart of the matter, and say, and mean, "I forgive you, no matter what."

I thought of this while reading todays scripture: Matthew, chapters 5 thru 7.

In this portion of scripture, commonly refered to as the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus addresses some well known laws of his day, but takes them further than just outward obedience. He gets down to the heart of the matter.

He says in verses 21-22 of chapter 5, that being angry with someone is equal to murder in your heart. Ouch!

In verses 27 thru 28 (in chapter 5) He tells us that if you lust after someone, you have committed adultery in your heart! Every guy I know (and every woman too....I think) is guilty of that one!

In verses 29 thru 30 of the same chapter He instructs us that sin is serious business and we need to take drastic measures to deal with it.

He continues to cut through the layers of outward appearances and plastic religon again and again. He addresses divorce, swearing oaths, revenge, how to treat your enemies, the needy, prayer, fasting, stress & worry, and judging others....and with each one he tears away layer after layer of the piety and falseness that the teachers of the law and religion of His day had built up.

Today we are not any different. We look at people and judge them by their outward appearances. We compare ourselves to people that we feel are "badder" than us, so that we can feel good about ourselves. But the problem is that if we look past the nice clothes and perfect skin, hair & teeth, we will find that our hearts are cold, hard and black. When we stop comparing ourselves to those around us and compare ourselves to God, we come up short every way, every time.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?"

Taking a good look at our heart requires careful examination. Our heart wants to trick us, and it will lie to us. When we do get an honest look, we know exactly who and what we are, and we don't like it. So we go back to playing church. We go back to living the plastic Jesus life. And all along the heart continues to decieve us.

What can we do?

Ephesians 2:8-9 (King James Version)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We have to realize that we are saved (born-again) by the grace of God when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and I know that as evangelical christians, we KNOW this in our HEADS, but we don't always live it in our lives. It's not about how good I can be, but about how good (perfect) HE is! Too often as believers we will acknowledge that we are saved by grace, and then we try and live the christian life by works! Whatever good we do for Jesus in this life, we can only do by the grace of God.

It's time for God's people to take a good look at their hearts.

To see what is really there.

To see who is really there.

Is Jesus on the throne of your heart, or have you pulled a "fast-one" and pushed Him off the throne, and set yourself up in His rightful place?

I know that I have to constantly check my heart, my motives, my life. It doesn't take much for my heart to shift gears and decieve me, and the next thing you know, I've got thoughts I wish I didn't have, feelings that betray me, and motivation that is less than honorable.

The heart of the matter.

Thank you for the great lyric Mr. Henley.

I think it's time to go take a look at my heart again.

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Friday, January 19, 2007


Twenty something years ago I worked at a newspaper and met a guy who became a very close friend of mine. When we first met we hit it off right away with our love of music and comedy. He was a constant comedian. He could do different voices, lines from movies, facial expressions and his own comedy routines. No matter how bad work got, we could always count on him to cheer us up.

His wife also worked with us. She was a complete opposite from him. She was harsh, hard and mean. Nobody, and I mean, NOBODY wanted to work with her or be with her. None of us could imagine what might have brought them together. Within just a few months after meeting my new friend, he called me up one day and told me that his wife had left him.

Fast forward several years, and now he had remarried and life is good. I finally asked him one day, "How did you handle it with her (his ex-wife)? She was nothing like you...and she was harsh!" He looked at me, smiled, and I will never forget what he said.

He said, "I would get up every morning and at 7:00 on channel 4 they would play the Stooges for half an hour (that's The Three Stooges for the uninformed), and after a half hour of Larry, Moe & Curly, I'm good to go for the day, no matter what!"
You may think I'm making this up, but it is the truth....a dose of the Stooges was what he used to make it through the day.

I thought of my friend and what he said when I read this scripture the other day:
"Oh Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, for they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me."
Psalm 7:1

We don't use that word refuge much these days. The dictionary says defines refuge as:

1. shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.: to take refuge from a storm.
2. a place of shelter, protection, or safety.
3. anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.

For my friend, watching the Stooges was where he went to for aid, relief, escape, and for shelter. It might seem odd, but it worked for him, for awhile. Eventually there was pain, suffering and sorrow from the divorce that was too big for him to find refuge in Larry, Moe or Curly.

Too often we seek refuge in things that at best, will only numb the pain or help us ignore the problems we are going through, and at worst, will eventually destroy us.

We turn to alcohol, drugs, eating, pornography, work, relationships, or any number of things that will deaden what we are going through, all the time feeling as though we have a place of shelter protection, aid and relief, when in reality we are only putting off the inevitable, always needing more.

In this Psalm, David tells us that the Lord is his refuge. It has taken me a long time to get to this place, but I have finally reached the place in my life where the Lord truly is my refuge. As a pastor this is extremely important. There is no way I can please all the people that I serve all the time. I must be true to God and His Word and His direction...ans sometimes, in the process, people get their feelings hurt, or some people just don't understand and get angry. During these times I have learned to lean on God, to let Him be my refuge. I literally run to Him in my heart, and on my knees.

Don't get me wrong. I don't always run to God for my refuge. Sometimes I still fall back into bad habits and addictions for my refuge, but it's getting better.

Today, no matter what you face, the Lord can and will be your refuge. You just need to call out to Him. Jesus told a religious leader in the gospel of John, "You must be born again." This persons knowledge of scripture wouldn't cut it, his standing in the community didn't make the grade, his position in his church (synagogue) didn't add up to much in the eyes of Jesus. He needed to be born into the family of God in order to have a relationship with God. Sometime between that discussion with Jesus, and the death of Jesus on the cross, it appears that he did just that.

What about you.

Where do you go for refuge?

I reccomend the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

It sure beats Larry, Moe and Curly any day.

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Sunday, January 14, 2007

That's Not Fair!

I've been meaning to post this for a few days, but life happens. So here we go.

I remember as a little kid I thought that my Mom and Dad were clueless as to what my life was like. More than once when they made decisions about my life (what I could and could not do), I would respond with much indignation, "That's not fair!" Of course for this to be an accurate and truthful statement, it would mean that I, as a 10 year old boy, knew more about what was fair than my older, wiser parents.

My parents responded, in the same way that I do now when my kids utter the "fair" comment: "Life is not fair. You better get used to it." The amazing thing about that statement is that it doesn't defend what was done. Mom and Dad didn't say, "Well, this is why we decided this..." No, they actually supported what I said by responding with the "life is not fair" answer. Why did they respond this way, and why do I respond this way to my children sometimes?

Simply because from the childs perspective, it isn't fair. But their perspective is limited by a lack of: age, knowledge, experience, wisdom, and hindsight.

Now what is the point of all of this.

When reading in Joshua 6 thru 10 I read of the sin of Achan. In short, after the Israelites conquered Jericho, they were told not to keep any of the "stuff" for themselves, but to give it to God. Achan kept some stuff. God had him and his family killed for it. Now that's the condensed version. But after reading it (and this was not the first time I had read the story), I cried out, "That's not fair!"

So I went back and read it again. Reading closer, it took on a different light.

First, God told them in Joshua 6:18 "But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about hyour own destruction by taking any of them...all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must be go into his treasury."

So God said to them straight up. Keep away from it. You cannot have it. It belongs to me. So Achan not only didn't obey God, in essence, he stold from God. So he was warned of the consequences ahead of time.

Second, they were told that if someone took some of the gold/silver that "you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction & bring touble on it." (vs. 18 again). So now they were told, keep away, it belongs to God, and if you take any, you will bring destruction to the nation.

Now the bonehead Achan ignores all of this and thinks he will take a little bit. What happens, the Israelites go to conquer the next city and get toasted. Thirty six men lost their lives because of this. It is now no longer a little sin, but something that has impacted many others, especially when you consider that these people had friends and families.

Now, after this Joshua is feeling bummed out. He goes to God and God tells Josh, "Hey, wake up. There's sin in the camp. I told you this would happen." (this is my paraphrase of part of chapter 7). In fact if you look at the start of chapter 7 Joshua and his men decide to go against this city without seeking God first. If they had, I think God would have told them, hold on, there's this dude named Achan that you need to deal with first.

But it gets even better.

God tells Jacob that tomorrow have the people come out tribe by tribe. He then says, I'm going to go through them tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family until I come to the person who has done this.

Now, if Achan was a smart person he wouldn't have taken the items in the first place, but I'm thinking now would be a good time to 'fess up about what was done. But he doesn't. He rides it out to the end. All the time hiding and covering up what he has done.

As the story comes to a horrible end, Achan reveals something about himself. He confesses to what he did, but only after he is pointed out by God. In his confession he says "I coveted them and took them." That word "coveted" means it was not a rash decision. It was not a spur of the moment thing. He had a heart that coveted. He saw. He wanted. He desired. He had to have it. He took it, knowing full well what the consequences were.

By the end of the chapter the consequences come home to roost for Achan and his family. They are all destroyed.

Now, maybe you still are thinking that this is not fair.

And to be honest with you, I still sometimes think the same thing.

But after going back over it, I see that God warned ahead of time what would happen. The deed caused death to others. The sin was a matter of the persons heart. The consequences that were warned of, were delievered.

Sometimes we may think God is not fair. And He may not be fair in our eyes. But just as I was limited by my lack of age, experience, wisdom, hindsight and knowldege when I thought my parents were not being fair, so I am limited by the same things when I think God is not being fair, except to a much larger degree, oh, and my definition of what is fair is also limited by the fact that He is God and I'm not.

So in the end I came to two conclusions.

God may not always "seem" fair. But He is always right. I can fully trust Him.

And: My actions may have devastaing consequences to my family.

Oh, and just in case you think this kind of thing is an Old Testament God thing, check out the book of Acts, where a husband and wife dropped dead for lying to God about some details concerning their "stuff".

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Even The Best Laid Plans....

Even the best laid plans don't always pan out like you think they will. When I started this blog I had every intention of posting on a daily basis to match up with the daily Bible readings....alas....time....the ever encroaching enemy has foiled my best laid plans. So, I will post a blog as often as I can, and they will still follow the daily Bible readings, but they may contain a day or two, or three, or...(well, you get the point), or more of the daily readings.

So without further delay, away we go!

Although I read some great stuff these last few days, I keep going back to the first couple of chapters in Matthew. Here we have the account of the genealogy of Jesus, and the account of the birth of Jesus.

Now normally Mary gets a lot of attention, and I don't have a problem with that, but after watching the movie, The Nativity, I have a lot more appreciation for Joesph than ever before.

Think about it. Cut away everything you know about the birth of Jesus. Put yourself in the place of this guy. You are engaged to be married, and the your fiance comes up pregnant, and she has the nerve to tell you that God is the Dad! I mean, most guys would go punch out the guy who got their fiance pregnant, but when you're told that God is the father, whadda ya gonna do!?!? Wouldn't you think your girl was a bit whacko?

Joe then has a dream, and in the dream he gets a message that everything is cool, and that the baby is the Messiah.

Now, even though Joe believes this, it is still a HUGE thing! He has to be responsible to raise the Messiah! Yep, no pressure there. In the movie The Nativity, Joe tells Mary, "I wonder if I will be able to teach him anything at all."
Whew! I worry about messin' my kids up...wonder if Joe ever thought about that.

The amazing thing is that we don't hear any more about Joe after this. He fades away. It is assumed by most that he has died by the time Jesus entered into His public ministry. Yet, if Mary was picked by God, doesn't it seem like Joe would have been picked as well?

I mean, if you were God(now there's a scary thought!) and you were gonna have someone raise your Son up to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world, woudn't you want the best you could find?

And that is the point I want to make. I believe God did choose the best. He chose Joe. Just a plain ol' Joe.

Ever wonder what "great" things you could do for God? Or maybe you've wondered how you could do anything, because you're just a "regular" guy, or girl. You're nobody special. You're just a plain ol' Joe.

Then rejoice! God has a habit of choosing "plain ol'Joes" to get His work done.

Believe me, I know this not only from the scripture, but from my own life. If He can use me, then He can use ANYBODY.....EVEN YOU!

So go on, go on out tomorrow and be a plain ol' Joe for Jesus.

You never know where it will lead you.

Until the next time,
Pastor Dave

Monday, January 8, 2007

Good Things Come In Threes.

Ever notice how good things come in threes?

You have the inner circle of disciples: Peter, James & John.

Three brothers make up the Bee Gees: Robin, Maurice & Barry.

Then there is that classic comedy team: Larry, Moe & Curly!

(Ok, maybe I should have stopped after the disciples!)

The point is that I haven't posted in a few days, and so I'm going to combine three days worth of Bible readings into one, now you know where the title comes from.

PSALMS 1 & 2:

This is like AM/PM...too much good stuff! But the Psalms are just loaded with great truths and praise and worship. I want to focus on the last part of the 2nd Psalm, where David says, "Blessed are all who take refuge in him (the Son)."

I remember a time in my life when I took refuge in everything else but the Son. I spent too many weekends in my early twenties hittin' the bars in Chico. I couldn't wait untill the weekend! I would party all weekend, recoup on Sunday, and then begin the drudgery of Monday. This would repeat itself, week after week. After awhile I desired something that would get me beyond the weekend. Something that would get me beyond "Saturday night".

Today many people still seek refuge at the local bar on the weekend. But many seek refuge at a lot of other places too. Some seek refuge with a new sexual partner, some with food, some with drugs, some with tv, some with the computer, and the list goes on and on and on. Our list of things to take comfort in knows no end. The problem is that we always have to go back for more. It never satisfies. I remember the comerical for Snickers candy bars several years back. It said, "Snickers, the taste that really satisfies!" But it didn't. Because you always had to go back for more.

I'm glad that I finally woke up and turned to the Son for refuge. He has never let me down, no matter how many times I have let Him down. End the end, it doesn't matter what you are taking your refuge in; if it isn't in the Son, your satisfaction will always be fleeting.

JOB 1 & 2:

I will be the first one to admit that the book of Job can be a hard book to read sometimes. Parts of it I just don't get, and let's face it, some if it is just plain depressing! But in the first two chapters, after Job has lost his kids (they were all killed), and his servants, and his property; in other words, pretty much all he had in this life, the scripture says this in verse 20, "At this (that was hearing the terrible news about his family, possesions, etc.), Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his heard.; Thken he fell to the ground in worship"

Anyone see anything strange in that sentence?

He just lost everything, he goes into mourning (that's the torn clothes & shaved head thing), and then he worships!

Can you imagine going to a funeral and worshipping God?!?! Yet, that is pretty much what Job did.

See, Job got what we often forget. In the bad, in the good, and in the in-between, God is still God and still deserves to be worshiped. When you are hurting, depressed, stressed, anxious, scared, or whatever, try a little bit of worship and see what happens. What a testimony to those around us that would be!

Job doesn't ignore his pain or his sorrow. He just puts it in the proper place. Maybe that is where we miss it so often. We focus so much on the problem, and not enough on the problem solver.

So, when my time comes. If you happen to be one of those that are at my funeral, don't forget to worship a little.

ISAIAH 1 - 6:

In the 60's people would have described the book of Isaiah like this, "Heavy man, heavy!"

These first few chapters are just that...heavy. They are loaded with so much stuff, that I don't know where to begin or end, so I'll just try and make this short and sweet.

If you haven't read it, here are some portions of the scripture. I'll just let the Word of God speak for itself without any comments from me.

"Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselve clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right."

"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."

"Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord."

"Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?"

Now for just a few comments from me.

Chapter 5, vs. 20 says, "Woe to thos who call evil good and good evil."
(Ever find yourself calling a movie or tv show that takes the Lord's name in vain, or has excessive violence good...hmmm...something to think about)

And finally, there is one of the most famous of all passages of scripture found in the reading of Isaiah the other day, when Isaiah said, "Here am I, send me."

Oh, the impact we would have if every believer lived their lives with those five words as our life verse. Here am I, send me. I'll go. I'll do. I'll sacrifice. I'll give. I'll die. Here am I, send me.

And on that note, I'm outta here.

Pastor Dave

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Charlton Heston or John Derek?

It seems like Moses gets all the press. There have been several movies about Moses, the most famous being the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston as Moses. It was such a huge movie, that other actors and even cartoons that tell the story of Moses are based on the version that Mr. Heston made famous.

In the movie, John Derek plays Joshua. John who? John Derek. More famously known as the late husband of Bo Derek, John did a great job portraying Joshua, and as much as I do like Moses, Joshua in my book is just huge!

There is so much in the first five chapters of Joshua that I read the other day, that I don't know where to begin. Even though Moses took the children of Israel to the Promised Land, it was Joshua who "took" the Promised Land and made it the Nation of Israel.

What was the secret of Joshua's success?

I think it is found in the very first chapter of the book of Joshua.

In verses 7 & 8 the Lord says to Joshua, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be SUCESSFUL wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; mediated on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written it."

Joshua found the "key" to success. It was paying attention to the Word of God to the point of not straying to the left or to the right. You see, where we blow it is that we are always trying to see how close to the edge we can get. We're always trying to push the limits. We're always trying to see how close to the fire we can get and not get burned.

Joshua got the narrow road thing. He understood that if he wanted to be accomplish what his mission was in life He could not be distracted by what was outside of the "lines". He could not stray to the right or to the left.

He also knew that all that he needed for success was found in the Word of God. He wasw told to meditate on it day and night. He was told to not let it depart from his mouth. What did that mean?

Simply, it meant this: When he got up in the morning he was in the Word. During the day he was dwelling on or thinking about the Word. Sometime before the end of the night, he was back in the Word. It also meant he talked about the Word. He quoted the Word. The Word came out freely and casually from his mouth, becasue it was a part of him. He didn't forget what it said, but had it ever ready to spring from his lips.

Today, we are in danger of raising a culturally relevant, technologicaly savvy, contemporary church, that is filled with biblically illiterate people.

We know the culture, we know the gadgets, we've read all the books on church growth, we've gone to the seminars, attended the confrences, bought the t-shirt, but the Book still is only read during church if even that.

We in America have had several "Moses" types pave the way for us in many of the great revivals of the past. What we are missing are the "Joshua" types that will "take the land" for the Lord.

And....someone needs to make a movie about Joshua!

Following Jesus, one step at a time,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The More Things Change...

There's an old song that has a chorus that goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." That would be true of Genesis chapters one thru three.

Here we have the creation of all things. And all things are good. I mean reall good. I'm talkin' about perfect good. So good that God said it was good. Now when God calls somethin''s good, with a captial "G".

Now let's fast forward thousands of years. Here we are in 2007. It doens't take a genius to know that we have come a loooong way from the garden. We don't wear fig leaves for clothes any longer, and we don't have to go out and personally slaugther our animals for clothes. We just go down to the local Wal-mart.

We have technology that just 20 or 30 years ago seemed like something out of Star Trek. Every time I flip open my cell phone I have this urge to say "Beam me up Scotty".

We can fly to the moon, and take a shuttle up in space again and again and again, as well as live in a space station.

Yes, we've come a long way from the garden.

Yet, the more things change....the more they stay the same.

In Genesis 2:7 we read how the Lord breathed life into man, and he became a living being. God is still doing that today. He found me, dead in my sins, and breathed life into me. He breathes life into dead marriages, dead families, dead relationships, and brings them all to life. And what a life it is!

In Genesis 3:1-4, we find the devil (not the dude with the red suit and the pitchfork, but the real deal, the fallen archangel Lucifer) lying to Eve. Telling her that God did not say what he really said. Trying to convince her that God was the one decieving her. The devil still does that to people today. He tries to get us to believe that God wants to ruin our fun, that God is dull, boring and only for old men and old women. He wants to convince you and me that if you really want a good time, he's the one to hook up with, not God. And like Eve, people still believe his lies.

My favorite thing in Genesis that has not changed is found in Genesis 3:9 where it says, "But the Lord god called to the man, "Where are you?"

Ahhh, I love that.

Because after accepting the Lord as my savior when I was only ten years old, I walked away from the life He gave me. Slow steps. Small steps. But steps away just the same. It started when I was about took full bloom around the age of 20....and it nearly destroyed me by the time I was 27.

But then, I heard the voice. That voice that called out to me, "Dave, where are you?"

You see, the Lord is still calling out to people today. To those who have known Him and walked away, He calls. To those who are seeking the truth and believe that the truth can be found somewhere else, He calls. To those who have gone as far as you can think a person can go, He calls.

Listen for Him today.

In His service,

Pastor Dave

Monday, January 1, 2007

Prayer requests & etc.

Just wanted to ask for prayer for myself tomorrow as I head back to work after being gone for almost two weeks. For those who are not aware, I work the type of job that "piles up" when you are gone, so prayers would be appreciated.

Also, some have said they had trouble posting comments. I am still a "baby-blogger" so have to get all the bugs worked out. If you have had trouble commenting, please email me at

If you have prayer requests, concerns, questions, etc., please feel free to email me or to post them as a comment to any of my blogs.

Serving Him, by serving you,
Pastor Dave


Here goes the first post in the journey through the Bible. The reading for 12/31/06 (Sunday) was Romans chapters 1 & 2. There a lot of great things in these chapters, way more than I would have room or time to write about here. Some of my favorite verse are 1:1, 1:12, 1:14, 1:16 & 2;4. Since I want to keep each of these blogs somewhat short, sweet and simple, I am going to focus on Romans 1:1 today:

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus..."

That is a word and an attitude missing from many beleivers lives today.


What would happen to our country, to our world if every beleiver began to live like a servant? The possibilities boggle my mind!

What would happen if when people went looking for a new church, they didn't look for the one with the hip, cool, new-fangled, high-tech worship band and gagedtry, but instead went looking for a church that needed servants?

What if we chose a church based on ways to serve, instead of ways to be served?

Maybe the reason that the little church down the road doesn't have all the new-fangled, high-tech etc., etc., is becasue no one is willing to come and serve in the capacity to provide what is needed for that church to have it?

What if the reason the church across town doesn't have a youth group, or a mens group, or a womans group, or a college age group, or a singles group, or a group for people who like hamsters (ok, I'm being sarcastic, but you get the point), is because no one wants to go and serve and work and get those particular groups off the ground?

What would happen if all beleivers lived life at work, at home, in their neighborhoods with the servant attitude?

What would happen if every Christian man decided to mow his neighbors yard for year?

You may think I'm being ridiculous, but think about it for just a minute.

Even as a pastor, I am called to be a leader of the flock that God has entrutsted me with, but I am to be a servant leader.

I remember a few years ago, Burger King had the jingle on their comericals, "Have it your way at Burger King." That's ok for burgers and fries, but not for believer and church. It is not supposed to be my way or your way, but His way.

I think church would look very different if we all came with the servant mentality.
I think church would sound very different if we all came with a servant heart.
I think church would feel very different if we all came with a servant spirit.

Because just like in tennis, when it comes to the life of a follower of Christ, its' all in the serve.

Pastor Dave