Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Passion For God - Part 2

I finished reading the book on Tozer today.

I don't have words that can express how I feel after reading this book.
I finished it on one of my breaks at work, and afterwards I wanted to just crawl under my desk and cry and pray and ask God that I might know Him even more.

A. W. Tozer had a passion for many things when it came to ministry. He had a passion to preach, to teach, to mentor, and to see souls saved. All of this was born out of his greatest passion, and that was to know God more and more, never being satisfied with where he was at, but always striving for a deeper knowing of God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit.

This biography of this man of God made me re-evaluate my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I realized I have spent much time knowing about God, knowing of God and precious little time knowing God.

My ramblings on this blog cannot do justice to what the book did for me as I read it. I learned of a man who spent time pursuing his relationship with God in a manner that I don't know of anyone else doing.

The book does not paint a "candy-coated" picture of Tozer. His faults are there, in black and white, and they stand out even more so in contrast to the picture of his heart and devotion to God.

Here are a couple of random quotes from the book:
"...he(Tozer) had come to see that most people (including Christians) had such a low view of God that they felt little desire to pursue Him."

"The need today is for leaders identified so fully with the cross-carrying Jesus that they have no life apart from Him, no ambition except to make Him appear glorious in the sight of men. Such as these will seek no place, no reputation. Christ Himself will be their glory and their all."

I think of so many today, who say they are called to preach the gospel, but are more concerned with building a ministry. Tozer believed that if we would pursue the depth of our ministry through our relationship with God, that God would take care of the breadth of our ministry.

I cannot help but wonder what would happen if we had a hundred men like Tozer today.

I encourage every beleiver to read this book about this amazing man of God. I believe you will not be the same when you finish.

I am going back to reading his book, "The Pursuit Of God" again...and I plan on diving into the Word of God more often, for longer periods of time, along with as much time on my knees as I can.

I would like to close with a quote from the introduction to his book, "The Pursuit Of God" that Tozer himself wrote.

"...if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at it's flame."

I pray for a passion for God as Tozer had, to be set ablaze with the love of Christ, and that others might catch fire with me.

In pursuit of God,
Pastor Dave

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Passion For God

I've been reading a few books by A.W. Tozer lately.
And conviction seems to follow soon after I finish a book.

Tozer died in 1963, and so his books are written in a style that is a bit different than today, and they take a little work to get through, but they are worth it. He pulls no punches and I have found myself on my knees both in my heart, and physically on the ground, after reading his books.

I desired to know more about this man who wholly surrendered his life to God, and had briefly mentioned something to my wife. Being the observant wife that she is, she noticed that I had been reading books by Tozer, and this along with a couple of brief comments about how they impacted my life, led to me opening a gift from my beautiful wife of 23 years on Christmas morning. That gift was the book, "A Passion For God: The Spiritual Journey Of A.W. Tozer" by Lyle Dorsett.


One of the amazing things I learned is that Tozer did not grow up in a Christian home, and had no Christian influence in his life. He was led to the Lord after hearing two different street preachers preach the gospel, and so alone in his bedroom, he prayed to the Lord for salvation. He was the only beleiver in his family for many years.

Now, I am only on page 68 in this book (which only has 189 pages, so I hope to finish it by tomorrow), and so I cannot give a complete review, but at this point I am deeply moved by the story of Tozer's conversion and commitment to the Lord. I want to just leave you with a portion of the prayer that Tozer prayed and wrote after he was ordained as a minister of the gospel.

If there are any preachers reading this blog, take note of this prayer. The heart of this prayer should be the heart of any man who feels called of God to preach the gospel.

"O Lord i have heard Thy voice adn was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task...Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Annoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Frobid that I should become a religous scribe....Save me from the curse that lies dark across the face of the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitiation, of professionalixm. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering....Save me from the bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier for Jesus Christ....if in thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.....I concecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt....I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and tht will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and i choose it above all things on earth or in heaven....let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the reace of men. I pray Thee therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness....Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlsting. Amen."

All I can say is, "Wow!"

Even now, after already having read this prayer by Tozer once today, I am moved all over again. This prayer took place on August 18, 1920. I beleive that the heart of this man of God in this prayer is needed even more today in the heart of every preacher of the gospel.

I encourage you to pick up some books by Tozer, and devour them.

Some of the books he wrote are:

The Pursuit Of God
God's Pursuit Of Man
The Radical Cross
The Attributes Of God (2 volumes, with study guide)

That should keep you busy for awhile.

And now, I'm off to spend some time in prayer, as I imitate my brother Aiden W. Tozer, as he imitated Paul, and as Paul imitated Christ.

Pastor Dave

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Songs For The Shepherd

Although there have been several Keith Green albums released since his death, "Songs For The Shepherd" was the last recording released in his lifetime.


I remember I was living in South Lake Tahoe at the time the record was released. I went to the only place you could buy christian music in Tahoe (at least back then), the local Calvary Chapel church, which had a tiny bookstore. Of course, like his previous album, I could have written Keith and gotten it for free, but I could afford to pay for it, and so I did.

I got home, put it on the stereo and was a bit disapointed. Nothing seemed to reach out and grab me as his music had before. I put the album up and did not listen to it for many, many years later.

I don't know exactly why, but over the years it has grown on me to where I consider it to be my favorite of all of Keiths' albums. Maybe it took some time in the pigpen of the world before I could appreciate it. Maybe it was that when it was released, albums of praise and worship type music were not very big. Whatever the case, I am absolutely in love with this album today.

Three of the songs are adaptations of scripture from the book of Psalms. One is a cover of the old hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy". It also contains what I feel is the best song that his wife Melody has ever written, "There Is A Redeemer".

Here are some of the lyrics to this album:

"Draw Me"
Draw me, oh, draw me, please draw me, my Jesus.
Into your presence, where I cannot lie.
My soul is so thirsty, I cannot endure it.
And if I can't get closer, I surely will die.

Take me, oh take me, please take me, my Jesus.
Quickly, before I forget that I'm lost.
For so many times, my mind has deceived me,
That I really don't have to carry the cross.

I just need to know how to pray.
My wicked desires block the way,
Sometimes i have grieved you away,
I don't want to do that today.

Help me, oh help me, please help me my Jesus.
Save me from sins that I thought were all gone.
Kill me with kindness, and break through my blindness.
I know till i'm dead, I can never live on.

I just need to know how to pray.
My wicked desires block the way,
Sometimes i have grieved you away,
I don't want to do that today.

Draw me, oh draw me, please draw me my Jesus.

"There Is A Redeemer"
There is a redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One,

Jesus my redeemer, Name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,Oh, for sinners slain.

Thank you oh my father, For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit, 'Til the work on Earth is done.

When I stand in Glory, I will see His face,
And there I'll serve my King forever, In that Holy Place.

Thank you oh my father, For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit, 'Til the work on Earth is done.

There is a redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One,

Thank you oh my father, For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit, 'Til the work on Earth is done.

And leaving Your Spirit, 'Till the work on Earth is done.

"Until That Final Day"
My flesh is tired of seeking God,
But on my knees I'll stay.
I want to be a pleasing child,
Until that final day.

My mind is full of many thoughts
That clutter and confuse.
But standing firm, I will prevail,
In faith that I'll be used.

Amen! I'm asking once again.
Won't you help me my friend, Lord Jesus.
Holy Lord Spirit, set us free,
From chains we cannot see,
Come release us.

I wrestle not with flesh and blood,
My fight is with the one,
Who lost the keys of hell and death,
To God's most precious son.

One sleepless night of anguished prayer,
I triumphed over sin.
One battle in the Holy war,
God's promised me to win.

Amen! I'm asking once again.
Won't you help me my friend, Lord Jesus.
Holy, Lord Spirit, set us free,
From chains we cannot see,
Come release us.

My flesh is tired of seeking God,
But on my knees I'll stay.
I want to be a pleasing child,
Until that final day.

Keith Green died in July, 1982, and while some might say I'm being over-dramatic here, I feel as if a large part of the integrity of christian music died with him. I know of very few like him today, and the christian music industry has turned into a monster of frankenstien proportions.

I would reccomend you pick up the latest Keith Green albums, especially if you don't have any of his music. There is a new Greatest Hits cd:

And a live cd, called "The Live Experience",


that also comes in a deluxe edition with a dvd, which in my opinion is worth far more than the few extra dollars it will cost over the cd only edition.

In closing, if you like the music of Keith Green, I would reccomend you check out the music of Steve Camp, Rich Mullins and Todd Agnew. All three of these artists seem to have a little bit of Keith in their music.

Until the day when I can hear Keith sing at the foot of Jesus myself, I will continue to listen to his music and enjoy it as it convicts me, inspires me, moves me and energizes me to serve my Lord and my God with all that I am.

Because of Him,
Pastor Dave

Monday, December 8, 2008

So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt

Ok, it has taken a few days, but here we go in the continuing series of posts about Keith Green and his music.

I have just finished the newest edition of the biography of Keith written by his wife Melody. This is an expanded and updated edition, and it is excellent. Even though this is the fourth time I have read this book, and I knew how it was going to end, it still moves me emotionally every time I read it. This is a book that needs to be read by every believer who wants to fully commit themselves to their Lord and Savior.

Ok, now on to the music.

The third album that Keith recorded was called, "So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt".

The most unique thing about this album was this: Keith gave it to you for whatever you could afford. Even if you couldn't afford anything, he would send it to you for free. At his concerts he would let you have it for whatever you could afford, even if it was nothing. You couldn't find it in the bookstores at first. All they would have is an order blank, you filled out the order blank, sent it in with whatever you could afford (even if it was nothing) and Keith would send you the album and send the bookstore a dollar for having the order forms available. Even if you could not afford to pay Keith anything for the album, he still sent the bookstore a dollar for carrying the order forms. Eventually he let the bookstores carry the album, but only with a sticker that said, "If you cannot afford to pay the full price for this record, write to the address below and send whatever you can afford to pay, even if it is nothing and we will mail you an album." When interviewed by a christian magazine who gave Keith a hard time for giving the album away, he was confronted with a statement along the lines of, "Well, if they can't afford to buy the album, they probably don't have anything to listen to it on anyway, what will you do about that?" Keith's response was that while he would not buy anyone a fancy sound system, he would send someone a protable cassette player and a tape (for whatever they could afford....even if it was nothing) in order for them to be ministered to by the music. Is that a radical idea or what? Does anybody do this in music ministry today? While pastors are paid a salary (hopefully), the salary is paid out of the offerings the church collects, which is strictly on a voluntary basis. While that is considered the norm for pastors, Keith is the only christian musician I have ever known who did this with his music.

As for the songs on the album, they reflected the growth and maturity that comes with walking with the Lord. Keith was still very outspoken, but he was starting to understand the grace of God and how that works in our lives as beleivers. This was reflected in many of the songs, and yet he still confronted lukewarm and apathetic beleivers.

This quickly became my favorite Keith Green album of all, and stayed that way until just recently (more about that, hopefully, tomorrow). Just a little bit of trivia about this album, it featured a rock legend, who said that he loved to listen to Keith's albums. He played harmonica on at least one song, and maybe more. His name is Robert Zimmerman, but you probably know him better as Bob Dylan.

Anyway, here are some lyrics to some of the songs on this album.

"So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt"

"So you wanna go back to Egypt
Where it's warm and secure
Are sorry you bought the one way ticket
When you thought you were sure
You wanted to live in the land of promise
But now it's getting so hard
Are you sorry you're out here in the desert
Instead of your own back yard

Eating leaks and onions by the Nile
Ooh what breath for dining out in style
Ooh, my life's on the skids
Building the pyramids

Well there's nothing do but travel
And we sure travel a lot
'Cause it's hard to keep your feet from moving
When the sand gets so hot
And in the morning it's manna hotcakes
We snack on manna all day
And we sure had a winner last night for dinner
Flaming manna souffle

Well we once complained for something new to munch
The ground opened up and had some of us for lunch
Ooh, such fire and smoke
Can't God even take a joke? Huh? NO!

So you wanna to back to Egypt
Where your friends wait for you
You can throw a big party and tell the whole gang
Of what they said was all true
And this Moses acts like a big shot
Who does he think he is?
Well it's true that God works lots of miracles
But Moses thinks they're all his

Oh we're having so much trouble even now
Why'd he get so mad about that c-c-c-cow (that golded calf)
Moses seems rather idle
He just sits aound, he just sits around and writes the Bible!

Oh, Moses, put down your pen!
What? Oh no, manna again?

Oh, manna waffles....
Manna burgers
Manna bagels
Fillet of manna
BaManna bread!"

"You Love The World (And You're Avoiding Me)"

"I want you here with me.
But you've been keeping other company.
You can't sit still, it's plain to see.
You love the world and you're avoiding me.

My word sits there upon your desk.
But you love your books and magazines the best.
Prefer the light of your TV.
You love the world, and you're avoiding me.

You used to pray, you were so brave.
Now you can't keep even one appointment we've made.
Oh I gave my blood, to save you life.
Tell me, tell me is it right?
Will you leave me here along again tonight?

Well I love you, still more and more.
But you're fighting everything I'm working for.
You're acting like my enemy.
You love the world and you're avoiding me.

These other loves, they're hurting you.
If you end up losing me, then what will you do?
Oh, I gave my blood, to save your life.
Tell me, tell me is it right?
Will you leave me here alone again tonight?

Well, I want you, here with me.
But you've been keeping other company.
Prefer the light, of your TV.
You love the world, and you're avoiding me.
You love the world, you love the world,
You love the world and you're avoiding me.
Oh, you love the world.
You love the world and you're avoiding me."

"I Want To Be More Like Jesus"

"As each day passes by,
I feel my love run dry.
I get so weary, worn,
And tossed around in the storm.
Well I'm blind to all his needs,
And I'm tired of planting seeds.
I seem to have a wealth,
Of so many thoughts about myself.

I want to, I need to, be more like jesus.
I want to, I need to, be more like him.

Our father's will was done,
By giving us his son,
Who paid the highest cost,
To point us to the cross.
And when I think of him,
Taking on the whole world's sin,
I take one look at me,
Compared to what I'm called to be.

I want to, I need to, be more like jesus.
I want to, I need to, be more like him.
Remember, there's no greater love,
Then to lay down your life for a friend.

The end of all my prayers,
Is to care like my lord cares.
My one and only goal,
His image in my soul.
Yes my weakness is revealed,
When by his stripes I'm healed.
He's faithful and he's true,
To complete the work he begins in you."


"When I was young I used to believe everything that I heard, just what I heard.
But now the only thing that I can believe is god's word, his holy word.
But even now my doubts will open up for me a world that I just despise.
And then the shades come down, the light turn off,
And I'm left alone with my helpless cries.
When I hear all his lies. all of the devil's wicked lies.
If you believe and your faith just dies.
Don't you be a fool, don't you even open up,
Or expose yourself to just one of his wicked lies.

I want to go around the world and prove jesus lives, you know he lives.
And we're not only friends, we're family, we're relatives, relatives.
But when I'm far from home and so alone, and my imagined fears get so oversized.
That's when I listen to the one no one should listen to, and get fooled by his disguise.
Feeling weak from his lies, all of his bad wicked lies,
If you believe and your faith just dies.
Don't you get fooled, don't you even open up,
Or expose yourself to just one of his wicked lies.

If you're well read, you probably know how the story goes.
That wolf can look so good especially dressed in the right clothes, the wooly clothes.
And as he starts to knit the counterfeit he'll totally make you feel like you're paralyzed.
He'll keep you spun around and looking down,
Just when you should be looking straight to the skies.
Pleading help from his lies, all of the devil's wicked lies.
If you believe and your faith just dies.
Don't you be a fool, don't you even open up, or expose yourself,
To one of his wicked lies, to one of his wicked lies."

"Romans VII"

"The very things I hate, I end up doing,
The things I want to do, I just don't do.
Lord it seems do sad, why am I so bad?
When in my heart I only want to be like you.

The very ones I love I end up hurting,
The ones I want to help I pass right by.
Now I want to be, finally set free
The grace you've shown, the love I've known,
Please let it shine through me.

I want to love them, the way you do,
I want to serve them, by serving you

Lord how I know your tender heart must be broken,
By all those unkept promises I've made,
The question still prevails, please take away the doubt,
About how you forgive, and still you live inside when I fail

I want to love them all, the way you do,
I want to serve them, by serving you.
I want to be like you - Jesus I do

I want to love them all, the way you do,
I want to serve them, by serving you."

And lastly, here is my all time favorite Keith Green song. I have posted the lyrics on another blog here back in April 2007. I'll share the story behind why this song is so important to me at a future date. But the bottom line is this, without the grace of God, we are all hopeless. Our salvation is one huge, enormous, gigantic, unfathomable act of grace.

"Grace By Which I Stand"

"Lord, the feelings are not the same,
I guess I'm older, I guess I've changed.
And how I wish it had been explained, that as you're growing you must remember,
That nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away, except for grace, by which I'm saved.
Lord, I remember that special way,
I vowed to serve you, when it was brand new.
But like Peter, I can't even watch and pray, one hour with you,
And I bet, I could deny you too.

But nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus.
I'm sure that my whole life would waste away, except for grace, by which I'm saved.
But nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away, except for grace, by which I'm saved."

If things go well, tomorrow I will post about the last album that was released before Keith was taken home to be with Jesus. "Songs For The Shepherd" was released April 12, 1982 and Keith along with two of his children and several others would die in a plane crash just a few months later on July 28, 1982.

Pastor Dave

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Compromise

I just finished reading chapter four in the new updated & expanded edition of the book about Keith Green. Even though this is my fourth reading of this book, all I can say is "WHEW!"

What an intense person Keith was. His passion for searching for the truth was intense. He kept plowing through all of the mystical, religious garbage of the world, never satisfied, always searching for the truth...until he found it in Jesus. He doesn't find Jesus in chapter four, that happens in the next chapter, but the intensity of his search has just about reached it's peak in this chapter.

Where others would settle, Keith would continue to dig. Where others would be satisfied, Keith would be uncomfortable. Where others would be complacent, Keith would be fired up. When others would look at themselves, satisfied with what they saw, Keith always wanted more.

This intensity spilled over into his life as a believer also. He had searched for so long to find the truth that he was overjoyed when he found it. His first album relfects that newfound joy....and even that in a more intense way than it is for many of us.

By the time the second album came around, he had witnessed many who claimed the name of Christ, but did not walk the way of Christ. For someone who had seached high and low, under every spiritual rock he came in contact with, this was something that was baffling to Keith. How could people treat the truth, the one who gave His life for them in such a casual, flippant way. The songs on his second album relfected his boldness in calling Christians to live like Christians.

The album was called "No Compromise"

The album was a wake up call to the church, starting with the cover and straight on thru to the lyrics. It's hard to imagine any of these songs being played on christian "feel-good" raido these days.

Here's a sample of some of the lyrics from that album:


"Do you see? Do you see?
All the people sinking down?
Don't you care? Don't you care?
Are you gonna let them drown?

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes,
and pretend the job is done

"Oh, bless me, Lord! Bless me, Lord!"
You know, it's all I ever hear!
No one aches, no one hurts,
no one even sheds one tear
But, He cries, He weeps, He bleeds,
and He cares for your needs
And you just lay back,
and keep soaking it in

Oh, can't you see such sin?!
'Cause He brings people to your door,
and you turn them away
as you smile and say:
"God bless you! Be at peace!"
And all Heaven just weep,
'cause Jesus came to your door,
you left Him out on the streets

Open up! Open up!
And give yourself away
You see the need,
you hear the cries,
so how can you delay?!
God is calling,
and you are the one
But like Jonah, you run
He told you to speak,
but you keep holding it in

Oh, can't you see such sin?!
The world is sleeping in the dark,
that the church just can't fight,
'cause it's asleep in the light!
How can you be so dead?!
When you've been so well famed
Jesus rose from the grave,
And you!
You can't even get out of bed!
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead!
Come on, get out of your bed!

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes,
And pretend the job is done!
You close your eyes,
and pretend the job is done!
Don't close your eyes,
don't pretend the job is done

Come away! Come away!
Come away with Me, mMy love!
Come away from this mess,
Come away with Me, My love!
Come away from this mess!
Come away with Me, My love!
Come away,
Come away with Me My love!"


"Make my life a prayer to You, I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies, No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light You gave, Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair, It comforts me to know You're really there

Well I wann thank you know For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust And just believe what You say
Oh you're coming again Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let You give, Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me, The love that set me free
I wanna tell the world out there, You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head, You're God the Son and You've risen from the dead


I wanna die and let You give,Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me, The love that set me free"


"My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

But what can be done
For an old heart like mine
Soften it up
With oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew
With the wine of Your Blood"


"To obey is better than sacrifice
I don't need your money
I want your life
And I hear you say that I'm coming back soon
But you act like I'll never return

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet
How you thrive on milk, but reject My meat
And I can't help weeping of how it will be
If you keep on ignoring My words
Well you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can't feed

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights
Cause if you can't come to Me every day
Then don't bother coming at all
La,la,la etc.

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want hearts of fire
Not your prayers of ice
And I'm coming quickly
To give back to you
According to what you have done
According to what you have done
According to what you have done"

Can you feel the intensity in the lyrics there?

I heard someone call Keith a "whack-job nut" because of the lyric in the song "To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice" where Keith sings (speaking for God), "Cause if you can't come to me every day, then don't bother coming at all." I realize this is a very bold statement and it makes people squirm. Would God really say something like this? I don't know, but I feel Keith was trying to make a point, just as Jesus was trying to make a point when he told us to cut off our hands or pluck our eyes out if they cause us to sin. Jesus was trying to tell us to deal with sin in a radical way in our life...not to literally maim ourselves. In the same way I feel that Keith was trying to shake us out of our complacency into a radical commitment to follow Jesus.

Let's be honest with ourselves. How many people do we come into contact with, day in and day out, who are on their way to hell, and we say NOTHING! I know I am guilty of this very thing.

How many hours do we spend watching tv, listening to the radio, reading books, blogging, etc, compared to how much time we spend with the Almighty, Jehovah, Elohim, El Shaddai, God!

I pray for the intensity that Keith had in my own walk with the Lord. I pray that I will no longer be lethargic, anemic, complacent and satisfied with where I am in my relationship with Jesus. While I know that the work of my salvation was completed on calvary, and sealed at the resurrection, I also know that work that my Savior has called me to do will not be completed until that day when He calls me home.

Let us be satisfied with our salvation, but intense in our relationship with the Lord. May we one day read about what Keith did and find it "no big deal", because it has become the norm for those who claim to follow Christ.

Ok, now I'm off to read chapter five. Tomorrow, I'll post some about the third album that Keith made.

Pastor Dave

Saturday, November 29, 2008

For Him Who Has Ears To Hear

I love to read. I have a ton of books that I have read, and many that I have bought, but don't read. Unlike my wife, who reads books over and over again, there are only three books that I have read more than once. They are "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn (read three times), "In The Footsteps Of Jesus" by Bruce Marchiano (read three times), and the book I am currently reading, "No Compromise: The Life Story Of Keith Green" (currently on my fourth time reading, but this one is the new "Legacy Edition-Updaed and Expanded").
Keith was only 28 years old when he died in a plane crash in 1982. At the time of his death he had only released four albums (remember them...the large round peices of black plastic with little hole in in the middle....you put them on this box and played the music with a thing called a needle?...talk about the middle ages). And yet I cannot think of any Christian musician that has had a bigger impact on my life, and the life of many others than Keith Green.

I had embraced Jesus at the age of 10 as my Saviour, but somewhere around the age of 15 as trouble brewed at home and I was exposed to many of the temptations the world has to offer, I began a slow decline down a slippery slope that would eventually last for ten years and leave me a broken man in many ways.

When I cried out to the Lord he heard me. He restored me into a sweet fellowship with Himself. My initial prayer inlcuded words that went something like this, "Lord, I want to start all over again. I don't want to take anything I've ever known about you for granted, teach me about yourself like I have become newly born again."

He used the music of Keith Green to do just that. Although I had heard Keith's music several years before, I had not really listened to his music. Now, Keith was with the Lord and I went out and purchased those first four albums that he released. I began to really listen to the lyrics that he was singing.

Let me share some of those with you from his first album, "For Him Who Has Ears To Hear".

"You Put This Love In My Heart"

I found it hard to believe
Someone like you cared for me
You put this love in my heart...

...Well I know
the loneliness I had before
Is gone now
I'll never feel it anymore

Cause your love has released me
From all that's in my past
And I know I can believe you
When you say I'll never be forsaken
Your love is gonna last"

"When I Hear The Praises Start"

My son, My son, why are you striving
You can't add one thing to what's been done for you
I did it all while I was dying
Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you

For when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child and you know me
To Me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do for Me

My child, My child, why are you weeping
You will not have to wait forever
That day and that hour is in My keeping
The day I'll bring you into Heaven

For when I hear the praises start
My child, I want to rain upon you
Blessing that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child and you know me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do in Me

My precious bride, the day is nearing
When I'll take you in My arms and hold you
I know there are so many things that you've been hearing
But you just hold on to what I have told you

For when I hear the praises start
My bride, I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child, and you know Me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done will remain
Only what you do for me

"He'll Take Care Of The Rest"

You know it ain't no use, banging your head, up against that cold stone wall,
Cause nobody's perfect, except for the Lord, and even the best bound to fall,
Remember He is de vine, and you are de branch,
He'd love to get you through it if you'd give Him a chance,
Just keep doing your best,
And pray that it's blessed,
And Jesus takes care of the rest.
Yes the Lord said that He'd take care of the rest, He's gonna do it,
He'll take care of the rest, He'll see you through it,
He'll take care of the rest, the devil blew it,
He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the rest.

"Your Love Broke Through"

Like a foolish dreamer, trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down, and I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds that hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I've been blind all these wasted years and I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through

All my life I've been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch, you just rolled away the stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy, as just asking you in
And I am so sure I could never doubt your gentle touch again
It's like the power of the wind

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love, until your love, broke through

These are all from the first album Keith Released, "For Him Who Has Ears To Hear". You can get it, and much more information about Keith as well as resources to help you in your walk with Christ at http://www.lastdaysministries.org/

In I Corinthians 1:11 Paul writes, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." I'm glad that the Paul only asks us to imitate the part of him that imitates Christ, because Paul also called himself the chief of sinners, and I'm sure he would not want us to imitate that part of his life.

In the same way, I have reached a point in my spiritual walk where I desire to imitate Keith Green, as he imitated Christ. Keith had many faults, just like we all do, but there is no denying his passion and love for his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. There is no doubt of his love and zeal for the Word of God, and there is no getting around the fact that this man was also passionate about reaching out to a lost and dying world with the love of Jesus.

Thank you Keith, for allowing yourself to be used by God.
I'll see you at home one day.

Tomorrow I will post some lyrics and thoughts about Keith's second album.

Because of You, Jesus.
Pastor Dave

Friday, November 28, 2008

Spectacular Sins

John Piper makes my brain hurt.

Whenever I read a book by Piper, it takes me longer than any other book, by any other author. Piper puts so much into his books that I find myself reading lines on the page over and over again just so I can understand the point he is trying to get across.

Now this is not a bad thing; it's just that it means that reading a book by Piper is different than reading books written by anyone else.

Having said that, I have just finished reading my first "headache free" Piper book, and what a book it is!

"Spectacular Sins And Their Global Purpose In The Glory Of Christ"


is one amazing book. In it, Piper answers some of the hardest questions that have ever been posed about the God of the Bible and about Christianity.

I'm not going to go into detail about what is in this book; you just need to read it. After all, any book with an introduction that has a sub-title of "When The Bruised Heart Needs A Tire Iron" is a different type of book.

This book answers the question about sin and the devil & how can any "good" come from these two...as well as addressing particular sins of the scripture, such as David's fall and the sin of Judas.

I will leave you with a few quotes from the book to whet your appetite. One thing is for sure, you won't hear this preached in many churches in the good ol' USA.

"Christians in the West are weakened by wimpy worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. God is weightless in our lives. He is not terrifyingly magnificent. His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to His sensitivity."

And then there is this one:

"What is missing is the Bible. I mean the whole Bible, with its blood and guts and sins and horrors...and all of it under the massive hand of God. The hand whose fingers flick stars into being. The hand that gives life and takes it. The hand that rules everything. Everything. What we need is to know the great things about God. Knowing great things about God will help make us ready not to collapse under cataclysmic conflict and personal catastrophe."

And finally:

"I am writing this book to build a vision of God into our lives that will not let us down in the worst of times. I mean really bad times. Horrific times. Who is prepared to meet the agony that is coming? Our worship services and our preaching too often pamper us. They coddle."

Believe it or not, the above quotes come from the first six pages of the introduction. That's right--the introduction. And it only gets better from there.

I want to leave you with one last quote. This is where Piper states his reason for writing this book:

"My aim is to show that sin and evil, no matter how spectacular, never nullify the decisive, Christ-exalting, purposes of God. No, my aim is more than that. These spectacular sins do not just fail to nullify God's purpose to glorify Christ, the succeed, by God's unfathomable providence, in making His gracious purpose come to pass."

I cannot say it enough. This is an amazing book. It is a small book (only 112 page of reading, plus some with notes), but the information inside of it is BIG.

Do yourself a favor, pick up "Spectacular Sin" by John Piper...it will make you think but I promise, you won't get a headache.

Now I'm off to read some Tozer.

Pastor Dave

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Have You Got It?

I have just read a book that has greatly impacted my life, not only as a pastor, but as a follower of Jesus.

The name of the book is: it
IT book

The author is: Craig Groeschel
Craig Groeshel

The content is phenomenal.

It is a "church growth" book, but not your typical church growth book.
What I like the most about it is that Craig doesn't give us his secret to success, or his formula to build a church.

He simply talks about churches that have "it", and how you know if you are in a church that has "it".

What's great about this book is that it drives you into the word of God, it drives you into a deeper relationship with Jesus, it drives you to a deeper prayer life.

I'm not a book reviewer, that would be my lovely wife. You can check out her blog here: http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com/

But I know if I like a book, and this one is keeper. It has yellow highlighter all over the page. It avoids the cookie-cutter approach to church growth, which I like because the last thing we need is more "McChurches" in our country. He writes that one of the things that a church needs to have in order to have "it", is a desire to reach the lost. Craig says that his church will do anything short of sin to reach the lost. Just imagine if every church, if every believer lived their life in this way! Imagine the difference we could make!

This is why I beleive that even though this book is directed towars pastors, it should be read by every one who wants to leave a spiritual leagcy. It needs to be read by everyone who claims the name of Christ.

We are in the process of ordaining three men as decons in our church, and this book will be required reading for each one of them.

I could not think of just one portion of the book to quote from in this blog. This is the AM/PM of church growth books, there is just "too much good stuf" in this little book. So, I will leave one little quote from the book. In trying to explain what "it" is, Craig says this:

"The best explanation i can give you is this: "it" is what God does through a rare combination of thse qualities found in his people:
* Passion for His presence
* A deep craving to reach the lost
* Sincere integrity
* Spirit-filled faith
* Down-to-earth humility
* Brokenness"

While reading I began to realize how many of these 6 points are missing in a lot of churches. I began to realize how many of them are missing in my church. I began to realize how many of them are missing in my life! I began to weep, and shout and pray as never before. Without a doubt, this little book (it is only 188 pages long)has impacted my life in a huge way.

What else can I say? Do you have it? Does your church have it? If not, then go out and buy "it" by Craig Groeschel...and read "it" and then live "it"!

Ok, that's it for now (pun intended)

Pastor Dave

Monday, September 1, 2008

36 Minus One

A few posts ago, I shared how in the short time it took to read a blog, 36 people had died without knowing Jesus as their Savior.

I talked about the growth of our church, and how although it has been growing, it has not been growing due to new births.

Well, yesterday that all changed.

A man came forward yesterday and embraced Jesus as his Lord and Savior!!!
His wife had been praying for him for many years, and as he shared with me, his heart was heavy and you could see the emotion in his face, especially in his eyes.

His prayer was simple, yet moving. Among other things he said, "God I've been running from you for a long, long time. I'm lost. I want to be found."

He shared with the church what had happened and said, "I was lost, but I've been found!"

There was shouting....especially from his wife....and clapping and cheering!

Please join me in prayer that he will be the first of many. We also need prayer abut space (we are now having more people coming to services than we have seats for), and for me to no longer be bi-vocational. It is getting harder and harder to pastor this group of brothers and sisters, and continue to put in 40 hours a week as an eligibility worker for the Welfare Department.

Oh, and in case you didn't get the title of this blog....it's very simple, 36 people may have died without Jesus normally during the time it took you to read this blog, but this time, it is one less.

I leave you with the lyrics of a favorite song of mine (I will list the author of the lyrics at the end of the post....it just might surprise you.)


I was blinded by the devil
Born already ruined
Stone-cold dead
As I stepped out of the womb
By His grace I have been touched
By His word I have been healed
By His hand I have been delivered
By His spirit I Have been sealed.

I've been saved
By the blood of the lamb
By the blood of the lamb
And I'm so glad
Yes, I'm so glad
I'm so glad
So glad
I want to thank you, Lord
I just want to thank You Lord
Thank You Lord.

By his truth I can be upright
By his strength I do endure
By His power I've been lifted
In His love I am secure
He bought me with a price
Freed me from the pit
Full of emptiness and wrath
And the fire that burns in it.

I've been saved
By the blood of the lamb
By the blood of the lamb
And I'm so glad
Yes, I'm so glad
I'm so glad
So glad
I want to thank you, Lord
I just want to thank You Lord
Thank You, Lord.
Nobody to rescue me
Nobody would dare
I was going down for the last time
But by His Mercy I've been spared
Not by works
But by faith in Him who called
For so long I've been hindered
For so long I've been stalled.

I've been saved
By the blood of the lamb
By the blood of the lamb
And I'm so glad
Yes, I'm so glad
I'm so glad
So glad
I want to thank you, Lord
I just want to thank You Lord
Thank You, Lord.

(Courtesy of Mr. Robert Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan, from his album "Saved".

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Radical Cross

I have been reading "The Radical Cross" by A.W. Tozer.

It has brought conviction to my heart.

This is not an easy book to read, but I believe it is a much needed book for the church today. I went on an internet search for Tozer, and came up with some quotes I would like to share here.

"Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its environment, actually stands in sharp opposition to it."

"Apart from God nothing matters. We think that health matters, that freedom matters, or knowledge or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word they would matter indeed. That word is eternity."

"Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere."

"The man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life, but a glorious one. May God raise up many such prophets. The church needs them badly."

The first chapter of the book all by itself is worth the price of this book.

Find it.

Read it.

Make it apart of you.

I close with thes lyrics from a song by Steve Camp. Photobucket
"The Cross Is A Radical Thing"

I heard the call of the Lord
He said, "Come and Follow me!"
Once you put you hand to the ploy
You've got to press on faithfully

Like the rich young ruler,
Who wanted heaven on his own terms
We try and find an easy way
But there's a cross to bear and
A lesson to learn

Two roads diverged in my life
I took the one less traveled by
I had to leave my old ways of living
For the cross is a radical thing

Jesus paid for my salvation
On a hill called Calvary
he shed his blood for my sin
So that I could be free indeed

But though I'm free from sin
A slave to my Lord am I
'Cause when Jesus calls a man
he bids him to come and die

I've been crucified with jesus
No longer I live but He lives in me
I've left everything for my King
For the cross is a radical thing

Ok, now I have to go read some more Tozer.
Pastor Dave

Monday, July 7, 2008

3.8 Million

I ran across this information in an article in an old issue of Outreach magazine. I have "adapted" it to fit this blog.

In the 30 seconds it took you to skim the title of this blog somewhere in the world aproxomately 125 people were born, and 53 people died, 36 of who did not claim to know Christ. In 2007, aproximately 3.8 million people died who likely didn't know Christ.

These are statistics.

But statistics have a face.

They represent real people.

How many of these "statistics" have crossed my path? How many of them could I have shared the gospel with, but didn't?

Jesus gave the great comission, but too many of us act like it is the great "omission".

The church I pastor has grown from 12 people to over 60 in less than four years. Today we had 63 people in a church with 70 seats! On top of that, we had a dozen or more people on vacation. While I stand amazed at what God has done in this little church, the truth is, not one of those increases in numbers has been the result of a new birth. I appreciate each and every one of them, and look forward to even more growth, but the desire of my heart is that we would have new births into the Kingdom.

I have been very convicted lately of my lack of actively sharing my faith. I ask for your prayers that I might be salt and light to those around me.

Since you've been reading this blog, aproximately 500 people have been born, 213 have died, 145 of whom likely didn't know Christ. In the coming days, weeks and months, I pray that we will all think about these numbers and the lives they represent. I pray that our hearts will break for those who die....and those who live not knowing Christ. I pray that we will all get very serious so that people will come to the realization that the answer to this life is the amazing, captivating grace of Jesus!

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Three Dads

I just finished reading the book, "Lost Boy" by Greg Laurie.

Lost Boy

It has been some time since a biography (in this case and autobiography), has moved me to tears. I saw so much of my life in some of the things Greg went through, especially in the area of his Dad.

I never met my first Dad. He died at the age of 50, when I was in my early twenties. I did not even know I had another "Dad" until I was 12 years old. The story is too long to go into here, but as a young boy, about to enter his teenage years, this revelation rocked my world, to say the least.

My second Dad, the man who raised me, who gave me his last name, who taught me right and wrong, who loved me unconditionally, was as good a Dad as a kid could hope for, and yet, I could not help but wonder what was wrong with me that my first Dad not only abandoned me, but was more than willing to sign me over to this other man. You see, in order for my second Dad to adopt me, my first Dad had to agree to it.

During my teenage years as my second Dad and I grew apart, I always thought it was because I was not his "real" son. As a teenager, I never felt like I was good enough for him. I just felt like I didn't measure up. Of course, time has proven that to be a lie from the devil. My second Dad had his own problems, just like all of us do.

Now, as a 50 year old man, with my "second" Dad having turned 74, I see a man who took a little 2 year old boy and made him his own. He did what many men would not have done. He did not have to adopt me, but he chose to. I am proud to call him Dad. I am proud to be his son.

I am thankful for so much that he has done for me over the years. He has not been, and is not perfect. But he is my Dad. And most of all, he was instrumental in introducing me to my third Dad.

I am so glad that my Dad made sure we went to church. At vacation bible school in the summer of 1968 I met Jesus as my Savior, and became a child of God. My third Dad (God), has been everything that my other two Dad's never have been, and never could be.

You will probably not ever meet my Dad (#2), but I pray that one day you will meet Dad #3.

As the scripture says, He is the Father of the fatherless.

Well, I've got to go now. My son is calling me to come watch him play a video game.

I pray you will come join the family.

Pastor Dave

Friday, July 4, 2008

From The Pastor

I have started putting a little article each week in our church bulliten that I call, "From The Pastor". This week I shared with the church "40 Tips For Young Pators" by Craig Groeshel. I thought they were great (and some were just funny), but that they could apply to others in ministry, not just pastors. The more I thought about them, I realized that several could apply to christians in general, and so I thought I would share the tips with you. Here they are. I've included some comments of my own in brackets. Enjoy.

40 Leadership Tips For Young Pastors

1. Life is short. Make every day count for God’s glory.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

3. Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.

4. Jesus cares more about the church than you do. (I really need to remember this

5. You can’t please everyone…so why try? (A trap that is easy to get caught up in)

6. People will criticize you. Quit whining. Get used to it. (Hoo-boy...need to
remember this one too!)

7. Three months from now, you won’t even remember most of the
things that are bothering you now.

8. You can’t do it all. Stop trying.

9. God called you because He is good, not because you are. (That is the truth!!)

10. If you blame yourself for the bad results in ministry, you’ll likely also take credit for the good results.

11. Become close friends with other pastors in your town (as many as you can).

12. Your kids will be grown before you know it. Don’t sacrifice them on the altar
of ministry. (I've seen this happen far too often)

13. Your ministry isn’t your god. God is your God.

14. You know how to give and how to minister to others. If you don’t learn how to
receive, you'll burn out and/or die. (Why is this so hard for pastors to do?)

15. Studying for sermons doesn’t replace your personal time with God and in His Word.

16. Err on the side of generosity.

17. Believe in people that others overlook.

18. If you’re going to reach people that others aren’t, you’ll have to do things
that others won't. (This is one for each beleiver, each local church)

19. Your integrity matters more than you can imagine.

20. Hire staff members that you like.

21. When you have a tough decision to make, but you know it’s right, make it
immediately. Like pulling off a Band-Aid: do it fast, and all at once.

22. Hire slowly. Fire quickly.

23. You can’t change people. Only God can.

24. Don’t criticize others’ ministries. Yours isn’t nearly as perfect as you think
it is. (I laughed out loud at this one)

25. Take care of yourself. Eat right. Rest. Exercise. Take time off. No one else can do that for you.

26. If you don’t take much time off, it’s because you’re proud, and you think
you’re more necessary than you really are. (Ouch!)

27. Don’t just delegate responsibility. Delegate authority.

28. Laugh frequently.

29. People will leave your church. People you love and trust will leave your church. Don’t take it personally. (It's hard not too...often the rest of the church
blames the pastor)

30. When you suffer and hurt because of ministry, worship Jesus all the more.

31. Talk about Jesus every time you preach.

32. Be careful what you say. You’re being watched-and recorded.

33. Don’t return emails when you’re angry.

34. Check to make sure your microphone is turned off before you use the bathroom.
Double-check. (This is funny....because I've done this)

35. Check to make sure your zipper is zipped every time before you preach.
Double-check. (And I've done this too)

36. Love your wife more than you love the church. The church is Jesus’ bride, not
yours. (I've seen too many abandon their wives for the church)

37. Always be caught speaking well of others.

38. Compliment, encourage, and build up your staff and volunteers.

39. Hand write thank you notes.

40. Smile and look people in the eyes when you talk to them.

Ok, so there's that.

Pastor Dave

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'm Back.....again

Ok, I've said it before, but here we go again.....I'm back.

I've neglected my blog for too long, but I have undergone a mini-revival (is there such a thing?) of sorts, and this blog is one of the things that I really feel impressed on by the Lord to update and get into gear with.

This post will be short, and to the point.

I have been neglecting the call that God has placed on my life. Now don't get me wrong. I have been preaching, and studying, and praying, etc, etc, etc. But I have also let to much "stuff" get in the way of the calling that God has placed on me.
I have come to the conclusion that I have adopted more of a "westernized" view of christianity and that a biblical view of christianity is needed.

I have just read three books that have impacted my head, my heart and my life. They are, in no particular order:

Secret Believers by Brother Andrew

secret believers

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love


The Beautiful Fight by Gary Thomas (thanks to my wife Deena for directing me to this wonderful, life changing book!)

The Beautiful Fight

All I can say is that if you don't want to change your life, if you're happy with the status quo of your walk with the Lord, if you are comfortable right where you are, then DON'T READ THESE BOOKS!!!

But, if you feel like something is missing, and that God is calling you to something deeper, something radical, something life changing, then READ THESE BOOKS!!!

I really cannot put into words the change that these books, (along with the word of God and time in prayer), have made in my life. I am fired up. I am ready to go. I am ready to lay my life down, and pick up the cross.

I invite you to come and join me.

Please keep me and the church I pastor in your prayers. I beleive that God is at work and on the move in our little church.

I plan on blogging three times each week....Friday, Saturday & Sunday. More if it is possible. If you are a reader, drop me a line. Leave a comment. Email me. Let me know if these ramblings of a 50 year old pony-tailed pastor are worth reading.

Above all, live for Jesus.

By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Pastor Dave

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are You My Brother? (or Sister)

Years ago, as a child I remember reading a book called, "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman.


In it a lost little bird goes from animal to animal looking for it's Mother.

I couldn't help but think of a parallel in the church today.
There are hurting brothers and sisters all around us, and often when they reveal their hurts, their struggles, their mistakes and their sins, the church turns it's back on them. They are searching, for fellow believers, asking honestly from broken hearts and broken lives, "Are you my brother?", "Are you my sister?"

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think we should tolerate sin, and I don't think we should try and "manage" sin. We need to run from sin. We need to run to Jesus, and Jesus will heal us and forgive us and cleanse us. But, let's not forget that we all need forgiveness, cleansing and healing of our sin and the affects it has on our lives.

We find it so easy to cast stones at someone else, yet we are all in different stages of our own sin addiction. I'm sure someone will say, "Not me. I'm not addicted to sin." Then, like most addicts you are only fooling yourself. Sometimes I think I need to stand up in church and say, "My name is Dave, and I'm a sin addict."

Why do I call us all sin addicts? Simply because none of us have been able to stop. Oh, we might have cut back, or quit for awhile (seriously, though, how long do you really think you can go without sinning?), but in the end, we all wind up sinning again. As beleivers, we should sin less, but we will never be sinless. Yes, there is a difference.

Scripture tells us in 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." And then again just a couple verses later:
1 John 1:10 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

You might have a problem with me calling us sin addicts, but if it is really buggin' you, take it up with God. He's the one who said in His word that we sin and we are sinners.

So what do we do when a fellow beleiver sins? What do we do when they are struggling? What do we do? We love. We encourage. Not the sin, just the sinner.
Don't misunderstand me, and I want this to be crystal clear, sin is sin and it is layed out in scripture and is black and white. We should not sugar coat it or excuse it, but we must learn to forgive it and to restore the one who has committed it.

Sin is layed out in scripture in black and white. But ever since the fall of man, we have been living in a grey world. Sin gets messy and hard to nail to the wall. So forgiveness and restoration must be worked at and be readily available to anyone who is looking for it.

Now, some want forgiveness and accpeptance of them and their sin. We cannot do that. We cannot camp with sin. We cannot embrace sin, but we must embrace the sinner. If some will not repent (which means turn from their sin....and sometimes the turning is hard work, and a long process, not an overnight victory with a snap of our fingers), then we still need to forgive them, but we will not be able to support them while in the midst of their sin.

But if a brother or sister is hurting because of bad choices (sin), and those consequence, and are desiring to make things right, then we need to be there. We need to support them. Gal 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

When someone runs down another brother or sister we need to not listen, but to work it out according to scripture (which would be a good idea for a future post).

Sometimes our brothers and sisters are just going through a rough time in their life and they need us. Too often we just want to slap a "Praise the Lord" on it and think it will all go away. This is both naive and just plain wrong.

Or we pull out our favorite scripture in the face of the hard things we all go through, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28), and use this as an excuse not to be there for our hurting brothers and sisters, because after all if you love the Lord, this will be a good thing. WRONG! The passage doesn't say that the struggles, trials, tragedies and hard times are good, it says that God will work something good out of them, which should give us encouragement and hope, but does not lessen the pain and suffering we go through while dealing with these things.

So the next time you encounter a hurting brother or sister, whether hurting from sin or from life, and they are asking "Are you my brother?" or "Are you my sister?", let's be quick to say, "Here I am." "Let me walk with you."

I know this is a lengthy post, but hey, it's been awhile, so I'm making up for lost time.

I want to close with a song from one of my favorite Christian artists, Steve Camp.


And I dedicate it to my brother Tim, who even though he is my little brother, spiritually I have always looked up to him as my brother in Christ. I'm here for you Tim.

I Believe In You
by Steve Camp and Rob Frazier

Have you ever felt forsaken
Like nobody really cares for you
They just walk on by
Yeah they walk on by

Is there a hole in your resistance
I thought I saw your lonely heart show through
Oh they just walk on by
Oh they let it pass you by

Because I know you wonder
Will you have to make it on your own
But you can count on me brother
You don't have to face the hurt alone

Cause if there's trouble in your life I'll face it with you
If there's mountains to climb I'll climb there too
We're in this together, I'll see you through
Oh, I believe in you

Well I was cruising down the street
I heard somebody kick around your name
I couldn't walk on by
I don't believe their lies
Cause a friend is always faithful
Through the fire and the rain
I'll stand by your side, I'll be by your side

We'll always be together through the thick and the thin
Through all the stormy weather I want you to know you've got a friend
Cause I know you wonder will you have to make it on your own
You just count on me brother, you don't have to face it all alone

...oh, I believe in you

Still crawling towards the light,
Pastor Dave

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Romans 4:17

I know I said I was going to post some more about the book, "Starving Jesus", and I will, but for now I want to share just a little about what I just read in Romans.

I was reading this verse in Romans, when the Holy Spirit used it to hit me upside the head with the force of baseball bat being swung by Babe Ruth!

Romans 4:17
As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Did you get that last part?

Let me put it up here again, only this time, all in caps. I don't want you to miss this.

"...God who gives life to the dead AND CALLS THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE."

Why did this hit me so hard? Well, maybe this is a no-brainer to you, but I saw this in a whole new way tonight.

In my sermon this morning I told our church that we needed to see the goal, the finish line in what God has called us to do. I am in a very unique and blessed position at this time. Hopefully I can explain it to you. We had 69 people in our services this morning, with at least 5 people who are normally there absent for various reasons. I know, I know, it doesn't sound like a big deal, unless you know that three years ago when I first preached at this church there was ten people there. Yup, you read right, ten people. How did we get from ten people to almost seventy people in three years?

Because God called things that were not as though they were.

God saw us and said, "You're not a little church of 10 people. You are an exploding church of 70!"

Which takes me back to what I asked the church this morning. What do they see for the future of our little church? I beleive that God has called us a church of waaaaay more than 70. I'm believing that God is ready to burst the doors open and knock down the walls. After all, He has no limitations.

Why this is all amazing to me is that I really didn't think He was going to do this when I first took on this little church. I was going to be jazzed if we could hit the low twenties within three years. I figured doubling our size and having a 100% increase would be pretty phenomenal. I found out that I think too small. I serve a big God.

I ask you to pray for us.

We have a lot of work to do.

We have people who have many spiritual, physical, financial and emotional needs.

We need to build a new building. Our present building only holds about 80 people. We're closing in on maximum occupation soon.

But I know that God doesn't see it like I do.

He calls things that are not, as though they were.

I just need to step out in faith.

One of those things is that I want to be able to leave my "tent-making" occupation and be able to devot all my time to building this church that God has called me to.

I don't know how that will be possible. I have medical insurance, a good salary, and a great retirement plan and to walk away from all of that, well, it is scary.

But I need to see truth.

And truth is not a "thing".

Truth is a person. Truth is Jesus.

And Truth tells me that I serve a God who can supply all of my needs. After all, he calls things that are not as though they are.

I will close this time with a contemporary song by the group, Casting Crowns.

The song is called, "The Voice Of Truth".

"Voice Of Truth"

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again "boy, you'll never win!
"You'll never win"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Starving Jesus


Once again I have neglected my blog. It has been over a month since my last post! It seems as though my blog is a mirror of my own life as a follower of Jesus. Too often I let all the "stuff" in my life get in the way.

It has caused me to stop, pause and contemplate just what it means when I call myself a "christian".

I have been reading a very interesting and unique book called "Starving Jesus".


It is about getting out of the pew and into the street and making a difference in the lives of those around us. The authors have coined a phrase called "Born Again Lazy". I'm afraid that I have been guilty of that too many times in the past.

I am not going to ramble on and on in this post, I just want to encourage you to go out and get this book.

Read it.

Pray about it.

And then do something.

This book has changed my life.

I pray that I will never go back.

Over the next week or so, I will be posting some favorite quotes and some things that the book has driven me to consider.

Again, read this book. I am not the same person I was when I started reading this book, and I don't think you will be either.

I close with a beautitful, yet convicting song by the late Keith Green.


Make My Life A Prayer

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light You gave
Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You're really there

Well I wanna thank You now
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what You say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free

I wanna tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head
You're God the Son and You've risen from the dead


I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free

Pastor Dave