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