Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The other day my wife was reading a book. Now, that is not unusual in itself, as my wife has a blog where she reviews books. You can check it out here if you would like to:

She reads LOTS of books. I read a lot of books, and you might think you read a lot of books, and maybe you do, but my wife reads LOTS of books.

And this particular day while reading this particular book, she kept making noises. Sort of like, “Oh my”, and “Ohhhh” and “Wow”. Stuff like that.

I finally asked what she was reading. She told me. I asked if it was good. She replied that if I would read it, it would ruin my life. Ok, now I was very interested.

So, once she was done, I started to read this book that she said would “ruin my life”. She was right. It did. It has. And I’ve only read two chapters.

Here’s some snippets from the book that I have highlighted:

“…I couldn’t help but wonder if our generation has conveniently forgotten how inconvenient it can be to follow in the footsteps of Christ. I couldn’t help but wonder if we have diluted the truths of Christianity and settled for superficialities. I couldn’t help but wonder if we have accepted a form of Christianity that is more educated but less powerful, more civilized but less compassionate, more acceptable but less authentic than that which our spiritual ancestors practiced.”

“He calls us to faith on the far side of doubt, joy on the far side of sorrow, and love on the far side of anger.”

“Does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God? If it doesn’t, you need to repent.”

Those I got from chapter one. From chapter two I got these:

“…we’ve engaged our culture mind-first instead of heart-first.”

“…minds often remain closed to truth until hearts have been opened by compassion.”

“…compassion is the ultimate apologetic. There is no defense against it.”

“…compassion is always the right reaction. I’m not saying there isn’t a place fo rebuking, correcting, and exhorting. Sometimes that’s the most loving thing you can do. But even those things can be and must be done in the spirit of compassion.”

“In my experience, it’s much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one. Anyone can put on an act. But your reactions reveal what is really in your heart. And if you love God with all your heart, you won’t just act like it. You’ll react like it.”

“…what will kill you if you don’t do it?”

“There is something that breaks your heart because it breaks the heart of God…what are you going to do about it?”

Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but these and other statements the author made have really caused me to stop and think.

Do I really love God?

Does it show?

Does anyone else know it?

Do I really care about the lost?

Do I really care about suffering?

Do I really care about reaching out to the lost and the suffering?

If I do, then why aren’t I doing anything about it?

I’m not done reading the book, and I’m still asking questions. At this time I have more questions than I have answers, but this I know: it is time for the church, to be the church. It is time for the followers of Jesus to really follow. It is time for the light to shine…like a blazing sun!

I’m looking forward to the rest of this book…and I don’t know if I will write more about what I find…but at this point I would encourage you to get the book yourself, read it, think about it…and if you feel like it, drop me a line and let me know what you think about what the author has written.

The books is called: “PRIMAL: A quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity” by Mark Batterson.
Small primal

Ok, I'm going to try and read a bit more before Bible study tonight.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Dangers Of Being A Pastor

Being a pastor comes with it’s own unique set of problems and obstacles. It comes with it's own set of dangers.

One of those is that you can begin to read and study the Word of God because it is your “job”, and not because you desire to grow closer to God, and in your relationship with Him.

Rather than read your Bible because you are in love with Jesus and His Word, you wind up reading it only in an academic sort of way as you prepare for a message or a study each week.

While that must be done if you are going to preach and teach Biblically, if that is the ONLY time you spend in the Word you wind up with a sort of clinically sound, theologically correct religion rather than a life changing vital relationship.

The thing is, this can happen before you realize it.

I know.

It happened to me.

In October I celebrated my fifth anniversary as the pastor of Loma Rica Baptist Church. I felt a renewal in my calling and my mission. I felt a revitalization in my relationship with Christ. I was excited, passionate and on fire.

And then….it happened.

I got distracted.

I began to settle into my “job” as a pastor instead of living my life as a child of God. I worked hard on my sermons and Bible studies, but little on my relationships.

And then I hit the brick wall this week.

As I read through the text for this weeks sermon, nothing was happening. They were just words on a page. White page….black letters. I read it….but I couldn’t see how to apply it. I read it….but I couldn’t see how to LIVE it.

After a week, all I had was an introduction, but no real message. I knew what it said in my mind, but could not seem to move it from my mind to my heart.

So, I began to pray. I prayed for insight. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for knowledge. I prayed for something…anything that would make these words more than just something from a spiritual textbook.

And after a little while, as I was reading the text for the sermon AGAIN…something happened.

The only way I can describe it is that I felt as if something that was hidden was suddenly found. I felt as Saul must have when it said in Acts 9:18 that “…something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again.” I could really SEE the passage. It came alive to me.

Of course, this is the way the Scriptures should be-alive. It says in
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

These should never be just words on a page, or another dusty religious book….these are the WORDS OF GOD….in fact they are “God breathed” words…inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I cannot describe how this felt.

There was activity all around me, as I was doing this at my home computer, but I was absorbed in what I was discovering, in many ways oblivious to what was going on around me. I was sitting in a chair and at a desk on the outside, but on the inside I was dancing, and leaping, and shouting and rejoicing. If this has never happened to you, I suppose you cannot understand it, and maybe you think I’m a little bit crazy….but that’s ok….because once again the Word became REAL to me. It revitalized my relationship with Jesus once again.

I don’t know where this is going to take me (who knows, maybe I will start to blog more often)….but I’m going to hold onto Jesus real tight….because I have the feeling I’m about to be in for the ride of my life.

Ok, I’m done now.
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Comment Moderation

Well, due to someone posting ads and links for sexual products in the comment sections of some blog posts, I have now switched to monitering all comments. As long as your comment is legit, I will allow it to be posted. I have deleted all of the offensive comments. Some people have way too much time on their hands.

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Living For The Future

I think it was the late Waylon Jennings who said, "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself!"

Too often, we are just like Waylon when it comes to thinking about the future in a spiritual way. Oh, we take care of heaven...we have come to know the Savior and our ticket is punched and we are on the way...but what about our kids..yep, they know Jesus...and our grandkids...well, most of them do...but what about after that?

What about our future generations. What about 50 years from now when we will be gone and only a distant memory or a picture in a worn out photo album...what about those great-great-great-great-great-great grandkids?

Look at what Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:10-12 "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things."

This blew me away when I realized what it meant. The prophets of the Old Testament...dudes like Moses, Elijah, Malachai, Amos, and even the reluctant ones like Jonah...they did what they did, not fully understanding it all, but so that we would benefit from it. They recorded what they did so that when Jesus came around, the people coulds say, "Yep, this is the ONE, I know from the directions that the prophets gave us in their writings."

Of course, a lot of people missed it...but that is not the prophets fault.

What about us. Are we living in such a way that future generations will be able to turn and point to us and say, "I've embraced Jesus as my Savior because my great-great-great-great-great-great- grandfather lived a life that is still impacting us today!"

I want to run into someone in Heaven, who lived a hundred years from now and have them tell me, "Because you stood for the truth....because you lived a life of ministry....because you followed Jesus....I'm standing here today."

That is my desire. I hope it will be yours as well.

See you there, or in the air
Pastor Dave

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Secondhand Jesus

Finally finished reading the book, "Secondhand Jesus" by glen Packiam.


As mentioned in the previous entry, this book has really made me stop and think. Glenn doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table in this book, but he does bring it in a new and fresh way.

The book is about those, "what the heck" moments we all have in our lives. You know the ones where you are doing everything you are supposed to do and then you don't get the results you think you should get. You're being obedient, folloing the Lord and instead of blessings, tragedy strikes, pain enters in, problems arise and your world seems to crumble down around you.

Without going into details, Glenn speaks from experience. He worked for a church that was rocked by scandal, and then by disaster. Through it all, he came out closer to God, redfining what it meant to follow Jesus and to know Him.

He got a firsthand faith.

While the title and premise of the book intriqued me, I didn't think I suffered from secondhand faith. I was wrong. I came away realziing just how much I defined who I am in Christ by what I do, what I hear others say, and not enough on what HE HAS DONE FOR ME.

One of the interesting things Glenn does in this book is he uses his own personal life stories, interwined with the stories of the Ark of the Covenant from the Old Testament to describe just what this secondhand faith, or secondhand Jesus is all about. I love it when an author makes the Old Testament (or any Scripture for that matter) come alive and fell fresh.

But don't take my word for it.

God out and get the book....learn about what Glenn is talking about...firsthand.

Jehovah Adonai
Pastor Dave

Friday, September 18, 2009


I am currently preaching through the book of Habakkuk at our church. This Sunday the message will be based on Habakkuk 3:1-2 "A prayer of habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth. Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy."

This short passage has penetrated my heart this week. I have been feeling worn out, drained, tired and empty. I had lost my joy in service to God and His people. I tried to "work it up" over and over again, but found that I couldn't do it. I began to question if I should still pastor. I did not feel a release from God concerning pastoring, but I didn't feel as if I had anything left to give to anyone...I felt as if I was trying to pump water from a dry well.

So I spent time in prayer Sunday. I spent more time in prayer on Monday. I began to read the third chapter of Habakkuk in preparation for the coming Sunday. I prayed some more....I read some more. As I meditated on the first part of the thrid chapter God began to stir things up inside of me. He began to make me see that I had been living off of rumours of Him, that I had been living in the past while I was trying to move into the future. He began to show me that HE IS HERE and HE IS ACTIVE in my life.

He did this in three ways:

First, by His Word: I read that Habakkuk had HEARD of His fame, and that He STOOD in awe of His deeds, and asked God to RENEW them in our day and in our time make them KNOWN.

You see, I had heard of revivals of the past, and desired to see revival break out across this country again, yet I had gotten sidetracked in my walk with Christ. I was beginning to be more concerned with building a church than building The Kingdom. I needed to stand still, to observe all that God is doing across this great nation and across the world. I then began to experiecne renewal in my heart, in my relationship with Christ...I began to feel energized with a desire to know Christ and to make Him KNOWN.

Second, this was all given a spirtual boost when God put this book in my hands, courtesy of my loving wife:


This book merely confirmed what God has showed me in Habakkuk and what God had impressed upon in my time in prayer. I was shown that although one plus one always equals two in math, it doesn't always work that way when following Christ. In other words, one obedience plus one obedience does not equal out to a trouble free life where everything will always turn out the way we think it should. Although I have always known that the Christian life was not a paint by numbers canvas, I had become to live it as though it was, and if you just put the right color of paint in the right place you would have a masterpiece. Instead, I had to come to terms once again with the fact that you can do all the right things, for all the right reasons and still come out with more of a "mess" than a masterpiece, but regardless, God is still God, God is still good, and He will never leave me or forsake me. I realized that I wanted to KNOW God all over again.

And then came the third thing that God did, in only a way that God could do.

He friended me through facebook.

Well, not God Himself, but through one of his followers, I began to experience a freshness in my own relationship with God. Let me try and explain. I have a friend on facebook that I used to barely know in high school. Her name is Barb. Barb found another person on facebook that we both went to school with. His name is Bob. Now Barb and I were not good friends during our high school years. In fact we really didn't know each other, it was more like we knew of each other, and when she recommened Bob to me as a friend, I couldnt even remember who he was, so it was not like we were good friends in high school either. But after I requested to be Bob's friend he responded with a praise that it was good to hear that I was following "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Now this was not the Bob I remembered from high school, so I asked him about his faith journey. He responded by directing me to his web site, which you can check out for yourself here:

Through his testimony on his site, and ongoing correspondence I have come to know a man, a fellow brother in Christ, a fellow traveller on God's trail, a believer who has had his share of trials and tragedies, and yet one who has a vital, contagious relationship with Jesus. He encouraged me and inspired me to KNOW Christ all over again. I cannot fully put into words just how much of an impact getting to know Bob has had on me. It was as if Jesus was telling me, "Here you go Dave. You need a fresh vison of me. I'm going to show myself to you through the most unlikely person you could imagine: Bob Craine. Everytime I see Bob's picture now on as status update on facebook, or in a comment I see Jesus.

And this has led me back to what I so desired not long ago. Revival. Revival in my life. Revival in my family. Revival in my walk with Christ. Revival in my church. Revival in my town. Revival in my county. Revival in my state. Revival in my country. Revival in my world.

I am reminded of a scene in the movie Braveheart. Mel Gibson plays freedom fighter William Wallace. He is captured and sentenced to death. As they execute him....literally ripping his body apart and gutting him with a sword he screams out the word "FREEDOM!!!" and it sent chills down my spine.

I want revival in that way. I want every fiber of my being, every facet of my life, every breath I breathe to scream out "REVIVAL!!!!!!!!!"

I believe in God. I beleive in Jesus. I believe in revival. I believe that revival is possible. God has already begun revival in my heart and in my life. He used His Word, a book, and a brother.

Will you join me?


Pastor Dave

Name Change

Yes, this is the blog formerly known as "Pastor Dave Lets His Hair Down" to be known as "Confessions Of A Small Church Pastor".

I chose the name change for a couple of reasons:

1) My hair is not all that long anymore...and the original name for the blog was a play on the fact that most of the members of the church that I pastor had never seen me with my long hair "down". I had always worn it in a ponytail at church.

2) I find that being a pastor of a small church (just under 100 in Sunday morning service...although it used to be much smaller than that), affects my perspective on many things.

And so, I thought that the change in name was needed.

Hopefully it will spur me on to post more frequently and on a regular basis.

And with that....I'm off to make a REAL blog entry.

See ya in the funny papers.
Pastor Dave

Friday, August 28, 2009

One Thing

30 Days has been thirty days since I last posted a blog. When I first realized that I could not believe that much time has passed. I thought to myself..."What have you been doing this past thirty days?" "How could you go so long without posting something...anything?"

Then I thought over the last thirty days.

Since I last posted I have:

1) Prepared and began teaching an intensive 24 week study on Heaven for our mid-week Bible study.

2) Finished preaching through the book of Hebrews (which took over a year to complete).

3) Began preaching through the book of Habakkuk (an often forgotten book of the Old Testament).

4) Performed two weddings, with a third to do in two days.

5) Officiated at a funeral.

6) Gave the "charge" for graduates at a Christian based drug program.

7) Had a car break down (which if you would, keep a 2nd car for us in your prayers, as we REALLY need a 2nd car with two college students at the house and a third child in high school), and it is still broken down.

8) Had a washing machine break down (thankfully we got a used one to use for now...)

9) Did four weeks of marriage counseling with two different couples.

And when I came to the end of the list I realzied...I'd been pretty busy. Very busy. But I still want to blog, and I still want to finish a book that I started writing, and I still want to have a weekend seminar on how to study your Bible, and I still want to put together a "Saturday in the park" preaching & worship day in the Yuba / Sutter area, and I still want to.....well, you get the picture.

There is much I want to do.

There is only one thing that I must do.

Follow Jesus.

When all is said and done, that is what I want to be known for.

I don't want to be so busy about the work of the Lord that I forget the Lord of the work.

So hopefully, tomorrow, I will blog again.

But if not....tomorrow, as today, I will follow Jesus. Then I know that not matter what I accomplish (or don't accomplish), I know that I will be doing the ONE thing that He would have me do.

I leave you with the lyrics of a song by one of my top five Christian artists: Rich Mullins.

Rich Mullins

The song is called: My One Thing

Everybody I know says they need just one thing
And what they really mean is that they
need just one thing more
And everybody seems to think
They've got it coming
Well I know that I don't deserve You
Still I want to love and serve You
More and more
You're my one thing

Save me from those things
That might distract me
Please take them away and purify my heart
I don't want to lose the eternal for
The things that are passing
'Cause what will I have when the world is gone
If it isn't for the love that goes on and on with

My one thing, You're my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God
You're my one thing
You're my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God

Who have I in Heaven but You Jesus
And what better could I hope
To find down here on earth
I could cross the most distant reaches
Of this world, but I'd just be wasting my time
'Cause I'm certain already, I'm sure
I'd find You're


Every night and every day
You hold on tight
Or you drift away
And you're left to live
With the choices you make
Oh Lord please give me the strength
To watch and work and love and sing and pray

'Cause who have I in Heaven but You Jesus?
And what better could I hope
To find down here on earth?
Well I could cross the most distant reaches
Of this world, but I'd just be wasting my time
'Cause I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find

You're my one thing (one thing)
You're my one thing (one thing)
And the pure in heart shall see God

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave

Monday, July 27, 2009

50 People Every Christian Should Know

I have just finished reading an amazing book. It is called, "50 People Every Christian Should Know".

And if there was ever a book that lived up to its title, it is this book.

It tells us the stories of men and women of God who lived a life of devotion to God. The stories present a brief biography of each person, and it doesn't sweep any issues that may have raised questions or controversy concerning the people portrayed.

While many of these are well known to most beleivers, such as: C.H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Oswald Chambers, D. L. Moody, A.W. Tozer and a few others, there are many that I have never heard of before.

The book has educated me on such preachers of days gone by such as: William Culbertson, Henry Drummond, R.A. Torrey, W.E. Sangster, Alva Jay McClain, William Whitting Borden and so many others.

Three things that seem to be repeated often in each of the individuals stories is this: obstacles that had to be overcome (poverty, physical disabilities, and lack of education), as well as much time spent in prayer, and much time spent in Bible study.

It also appeared that many of these preachers preached much more than we do today. I read of several of these men who preached five, six, seven times each week or more. It also seemed as though most of them were prolific writers. In fact the author, Warren Wiersbe gives you a critique of the books that each of these saints of old has written, and which ones are the best ones to purchase. If you bought all of the ones reccomened by Wiersbe, well, let me just say that I would probably have to get a second job!

What impacted me the most thought wss the amount of time spent in prayer and study of the Word. One of the preachers in the book is stated to put in 60 hours of study for each message he preached. That is amazing. When you also realzie that they did their study often by candlelight and without any of our modern day aides such as comptuters, computer programs, several different translations of the Scriptures and various other helps, it makes me wonder about many of our preachers today, including myself.

What would happen if I spent 4 or 5 hours per day in study of the word....each day? What would happen if I prayed daily for several hours?
What difference would it make in my spiritual life?
What difference whould it make in the spiriutal life of the church that I pastor?
What difference would it make in my family?
What difference would it make to my neighbors?
What difference would it make to my country?

Is this what may be missing in the church in the USA today?

Could this be the secret to revival in our country?

Have we sold out Jesus, not for thirty pieces of silver as Judas did, but for our favorite tv show?

Have we fallen asleep, not while our Lord is praying in the garden of Gethsemane, but while He weeps for the lost in this country and we are too tired to personally share the gospel because of late hours on the internet?

And that leads me to the last thing I want to share about the men and women portrayed in this book: they were passionate about sharing the gospel to the lost.

We need to be the kind of people who, if the Lord does not come back soon, and they write a new book, of the 2nd 50 people every Christian should know, that you and I are listed in that book....not for personal fame and glory, no....may we never ever seek for attention on us, but for the glory of God, for the sake of future generations, to inspire those who come after us to live their lives in a passionate pursuit of the Lord, in leading the lost to salvation and to leave a legacy of faith, long after we are gone.

I'm off to bed now, planning on rising early...time in prayer, and time in the Word...maybe you will join me?

Pastor Dave

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prostitution In The Church

I found this while doing some blog surfing and thought I would share it here. I foundit on this blog:, but it is not by the author of that blog. The author of the article is David Ryser. This is a very thought provoking article. Read on.

The Question that Changed My Life

By David Ryser

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, "An enterprise. That's a business." After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha's raised hand, "Yes, Martha." She asked such a simple question, "A business? But isn't it supposed to be a body?" I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, "Yes." She continued, "But when a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?"

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, "Wow, I wish I'd thought of that." I didn't dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha's question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. "When a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?" There is only one answer to her question. The answer is "Yes." The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don't even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

What do I mean when I say "really know Him?" Our understanding of knowing and knowledge stems from our western culture (which is based in ancient Greek philosophical thought). We believe we have knowledge (and, by extension, wisdom) when we have collected information. A collection of information is not the same thing as knowledge, especially in the culture of the Bible (which is an eastern, non-Greek, culture). In the eastern culture, all knowledge is experiential. In western/Greek culture, we argue from premise to conclusion without regard for experience--or so we think. An example might be helpful here. Let us suppose a question based upon the following two premises: First, that wheat does not grow in a cold climate and second, that England has a cold climate. The question: Does wheat grow in England? The vast majority of people from the western/Greek culture would answer, "No. If wheat does not grow in a cold climate and if England has a cold climate, then it follows that wheat does not grow in England." In the eastern culture, the answer to the same question, based on the same premises, most likely would be, "I don't know. I've never been to England." We laugh at this thinking, but when I posed the same question to my friends from England, their answer was, "Yes, of course wheat grows in England. We're from there, and we know wheat grows there." They overcame their cultural way of thinking because of their life experience. Experience trumps information when it comes to knowledge.

A similar problem exists with our concept of belief. We say we believe something (or someone) apart from personal experience. This definition of belief is not extended to our stockbroker, however. Again, allow me to explain. Suppose my stockbroker phones me and says, "I have a hot tip on a stock that is going to triple in price within the next week. I want your permission to transfer $10,000 from your cash account and buy this stock." That's a lot of money for me, so I ask, "Do you really believe this stock will triple in price, and so quickly?" He/she answers, I sure do." I say, "That sounds great! How exciting! So how much of your own money have you invested in this stock?" He/she answers, "None." Does my stockbroker believe? Truly believe? I don't think so, and suddenly I don't believe, either. How can we be so discerning in the things of this world, especially when they involve money, and so indiscriminate when it comes to spiritual things? The fact is, we do not know or believe apart from experience. The Bible was written to people who would not understand the concepts of knowledge, belief, and faith apart from experience. I suspect God thinks this way also.

So I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God--much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don't care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ--that's pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don't even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha's question again one day, and considered the question, "What's the difference between a lover and a prostitute?" I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, "What would happen if God stopped paying me?"

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

Dr. David Ryser

Questions, questions, questions.

I put my faith and trust in Jesus when I was ten years old. After a ten year period of prodigal living, beginning around the age of fifteen, and ending around the age of twenty-five, I have been following Jesus now for almost 27 years.

During this time I have studied the Bible much (not as much as I should have), and shared my faith as often as possible. By studying and sharing over the years I have come up with more questions than answers.

Don't misunderstand me. I still believe. I trust the Word of God and I trust in Jesus as my Savior, and I trust that God will keep me.

But the Bible has a lot of stuff in it. A lot.

And the more I learn, the more I realize that I don't know.

The more answers I find, the more questions I have.

So, I thought I'd share some with you. Maybe one of my readers out there have had the same questions. Maybe somebody has an answer for one or more of the questions. Or maybe it will help someone else who has questions to not feel so alone and not be afraid to ask the questions. I have asked many fellow pastors some of these questions and have received every kind of response you can think of, from, "I never thought of that before?", to "You think too much.", but have not gotten an answer to any of these here goes.

In Genesis when the serpent talks to Eve she doesn't freak out. Could animals talk back then? Or could only serpents talk? Was this a "special" serpent that the devil took over? Why did God curse the serpent by saying it would crawl on it's belly if the serpent was posessed by the devil? The first part of the verse seems directed at the serpent as an animal, while verse 15 is a prophecy of Christ being born of the seed of a woman (virgin birth) and the devil crushing his heel (Calvary) and then Christ crushing the head of the serpent (the resurrection), so is the whole thing a spiritual event, or a physical event? Does this mean that snakes used to have feet and legs?

Here's another one: When the serpent questioned Eve about the forbidden fruit, she says in verse 2 that God told them " must not touch it, or you will die." But in the Genesis account we only find God telling them not to eat it, but nothing about touching it. I know that when my children added to the truth, we called that lying. If so, does that mean that Eve sinned before she ate the fruit?

Now, jump forward to verses 22-24 in the 3rd chapter of Genesis we find this:

"And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

So what is this tree of life? Is it a literal tree with fruit that would give you eternal life, but in an ever decaying body? Sort of like a fountain of youth, only without the youth? And how does this connect to what we find in these verses in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 22:2
down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:14
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:19
And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Is this the same tree of life found in Genesis, only transplanted? Is this a real tree, or is it to be taken figuratively? I want you all to know that I DO BELIEVE that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and yet this sound as thought this tree of life has something to do with our eternal life.

Ok, that's enought questions for one post. Let me know what you think. And remember, if you're a follower of Christ, I'm on your side. I'm one of you. I believe...but I also KNOW that if you read your Bible, you're going to have questions. These are some of mine. What do you think?

Still following Jesus,
Pastor Dave

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Follow Me

Matthew 4:18-22 "While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."

I went to bed in amazement at the total abandon with which Peter, Andrew, James & John followed Jesus. He shows up, says "Follow Me" and they leave everything to follow Him. They literally walk away from their jobs! In the case of James and John it means leaving the family business.

As I began to drift off to sleep I had these thoughts swirling around in my mind: "Is it possible to follow Jesus like that today? Does anyone do that today? If it is possible, why don't we? Is it that we do that today, but it "looks" different than it did then? Why do I feel that I am "holding back" when it comes to following Jesus? Is this lack of total commitment, with total abandon, without a backup plan, or even a plan at all, is that part of the reason, or the entire reason that so few of us today could be called "fishers of men"?

Now I know that these men had met Jesus before (see the first chapter of John, verses 35-42), so maybe they did have some time to think about this...but when the call came, they went and followed. I too met Jesus before I became a committed follower. I met Jesus when I was ten years old. I am ashamed of the fact that around the age of fifteen, I began a path that led me away from Him and out into the barren wasteland of this world for about ten years. At the age of twenty-five I returned to Jesus...and have been trying to follow Him for twenty-six years now...but I don't know if I have ever followed Him with this type of radical commitment.

What do you think? Do you know of anyone who follows Jesus as Peter, Andrew, James & John did back then? Why do you think we don't? What do you think that would look like? What would it cost us today? Is it possible today?

I have more questions that I do answers.

Pastor Dave

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Romans Six

Reading Romans chapter six today, and just wanted to share some random thoughts about some of the verses I read.

Romans 6:4 says, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

That verse rang so true to me today. I FEEL new in my relationship with the Lord and NEW in the way I see my life (including the past, the present & the future). More than ever before I feel as though God has a plan and a purpose for my life. I want to teach people about the Lord and His Word....I want to follow Jesus as close as I can, I want to lead people to the throne of show them the joy, peace and contentment that comes from relationship with God.

But two weeks ago, I don't think I would have felt that way. Bad habits plagued me at every turn. Sinful habits that I had thought conquered long ago reared their ugly head once again. Anger and other emotions began to creep over me, casting a shadow of doubt and depression.

I am glad that Jesus rescued me from that place, but after reading this verse I now realize I should not have been there in the first place. I have to remember that my relationship with the Lord and my standing before God has NOTHING to do with my FEELINGS...but it has everything to do with what HE HAS ALREADY DONE in me. I am His. I am a new creation. I walk in NEWNESS of life whether I feel it or not. It is not what I do, but what I am through Jesus.

When I read verse 11 it just reinforced that my standing with Christ is a "done deal" once I have put my faith in trust in Him. Verse 11 says, "11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

This just reminds me that I am alive to God and dead to sin. Sin doesn't rule in my life any longer. Oh, I still sin...just ask my family. But I'm no longer identified as a sinner. My identity is now in Jesus. I'm dead to sin. It no longer reigns in my body. It still "resides" there, and will until I receive a new body...but it doesn not sit on the throne of my life any longer.

Now, I know for many of you this is pretty basic stuff for a lot of you, and it is for me too. But I think what happened in my life, and maybe it has happened in yours too is this:

We forget some of the elementary things we know, and before long we drift from the foundation that we know. We aren't doing the "big bad sins" any longer, but living in a sinful fallen world, in a sinful fallen body begins to chip away at where we know we are in Christ until before long we find ourselves FEELING different than what we actually are.

Anyway...I just rejoiced for God reminding me of this truth and then capping it off with such a wonderful scripture that closes out the sixth chapter of Romans.

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And with that, I sign off on this blog, not resting in my feelings, but KNOWING who I am in Jesus.

Pastor Dave

Friday, June 26, 2009

From John Piper

John Piper is one of several well known preachers that I admire.


His books are not easy to read, but always rewarding. I came acrosse this well written blog by Brother Piper on the subject of television. It was reprinted from another blog, and I found it here:

Just like the above blogger, I too found this worthy to pass on here to the readers of my blog. Great food for thought. Would appreciate any and all comments.

Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies:

“Now that the video of the Q&A at Advance 09 is available, I can look at it and feel bad all over again. Here’s what I regret, indeed what I have apologized for to the person who asked the question.

The first question to me and Mark Driscoll was, “Piper says get rid of my TV, and Driscoll says buy extra DVRs. How do you reconcile this difference?”

I responded, “Get your sources right. . . . I never said that in my life.”

Almost as soon as it was out of my mouth, I felt: “What a jerk, Piper!” A jerk is a person who nitpicks about the way a question is worded rather than taking the opportunity to address the issue in a serious way. I blew it at multiple levels.

So I was very glad when the person who asked the question wrote to me. I wrote back,

Be totally relieved that YOU did not ask a bad question. I gave a useless and unhelpful, and I think snide, answer and missed a GOLDEN opportunity to make plain the dangers of the triviality you referred to. . . . I don’t know why I snapped about the wording of the question instead of using it for what it was intended for. It was foolish and I think sinful.

So let me see if I can do better now. I can’t give an answer for what Mark means by “buy extra DVRs,” but I can tell you why my advice sounds different. I suspect that Mark and I would not agree on the degree to which the average pastor needs to be movie-savvy in order to be relevant, and the degree to which we should expose ourselves to the world’s entertainment.

I think relevance in preaching hangs very little on watching movies, and I think that much exposure to sensuality, banality, and God-absent entertainment does more to deaden our capacities for joy in Jesus than it does to make us spiritually powerful in the lives of the living dead. Sources of spiritual power—which are what we desperately need—are not in the cinema. You will not want your biographer to write: Prick him and he bleeds movies.

If you want to be relevant, say, for prostitutes, don’t watch a movie with a lot of tumbles in a brothel. Immerse yourself in the gospel, which is tailor-made for prostitutes; then watch Jesus deal with them in the Bible; then go find a prostitute and talk to her. Listen to her, not the movie. Being entertained by sin does not increase compassion for sinners.

There are, perhaps, a few extraordinary men who can watch action-packed, suspenseful, sexually explicit films and come away more godly. But there are not many. And I am certainly not one of them.

I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, and zero tolerance for nudity. There is a reason for these differences. The violence is make-believe. They don’t really mean those bad words. But that lady is really naked, and I am really watching. And somewhere she has a brokenhearted father.

I’ll put it bluntly. The only nude female body a guy should ever lay his eyes on is his wife’s. The few exceptions include doctors, morticians, and fathers changing diapers. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). What the eyes see really matters. “Everyone who looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Better to gouge your eye than go to hell (verse 29).

Brothers, that is serious. Really serious. Jesus is violent about this. What we do with our eyes can damn us. One reason is that it is virtually impossible to transition from being entertained by nudity to an act of “beholding the glory of the Lord.” But this means the entire Christian life is threatened by the deadening effects of sexual titillation.

All Christ-exalting transformation comes from “beholding the glory of Christ.” “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Whatever dulls the eyes of our mind from seeing Christ powerfully and purely is destroying us. There is not one man in a thousand whose spiritual eyes are more readily moved by the beauty of Christ because he has just seen a bare breast with his buddies.

But leave sex aside (as if that were possible for fifteen minutes on TV). It’s the unremitting triviality that makes television so deadly. What we desperately need is help to enlarge our capacities to be moved by the immeasurable glories of Christ. Television takes us almost constantly in the opposite direction, lowering, shrinking, and deadening our capacities for worshiping Christ.

One more smaller concern with TV (besides its addictive tendencies, trivialization of life, and deadening effects): It takes time. I have so many things I want to accomplish in this one short life. Don’t waste your life is not a catchphrase for me; it’s a cliff I walk beside every day with trembling.

TV consumes more and more time for those who get used to watching it. You start to feel like it belongs. You wonder how you could get along without it. I am jealous for my evenings. There are so many things in life I want to accomplish. I simply could not do what I do if I watched television. So we have never had a TV in 40 years of marriage (except in Germany, to help learn the language). I don’t regret it.

Sorry again, for the bad answer. I hope this helps.

Pastor John”

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I just got finished watching a movie about a traveling preacher in the 1800,s by the name of Robert Sheffy. The movie is just called "Sheffy".


Now it is not the best produced movie. It doesn't have a Hollywood budget or any big name actors in it. It was produced by Bob Jones University. I know there has been some controversy in the past concerning BJU, but I don't want to address that in this blog, rather I want to share what this movie did to me, or rather for me.

With all of it's shortcomings and faults, it showed a man who was sold out to Christ and the gospel. It showed a man who prayed to God, listened to God and counted on God to answer his prayers.

It is about a man who knew who he was, whose he was, and what he was called to do. It is about a man who never gave up. He never gave up preaching the gospel. He never gave up following Christ. He never gave up believing people would be saved. He never gave up asking forgiveness for his owns sins and shortcomings.

It is a movie about a man that I long to be.

For some reason, this poorly made movie touched something deep within my soul. At the end I was in tears, literally sobbing until my nose ran. I felt revival well up from within me. I repented of my negligence in following Christ. I repented of my pride. I repented of my laziness. I repented of my unbelief.

I asked God to not let me go back to what I was before I encountered Him through this film. I promised Him I would not give up. I will not give up preaching the gospel. I will not give up following Christ. I will not give up believing and trusting that He will bring my prodigal daughter back home to Him. I will not give up asking forgiveness of my sinful behavior, and I will not give up doing the best that I can for the Kingdom of God.

I don't know if this is a movie everyone would enjoy. You might not be able to overlook the fact that the quality is not the same level as a professional film. But if you think you can, then I suggest you find this film (you can rent it from Netflix), and sit back and see what God can do in the life of one man sold out to Him.

I close with the lyrics of a song that is featured several times in the film. It just happens to be a favorite of mine.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Praying for revival for us all,
Pastor Dave

Monday, May 25, 2009


I got a link on facebook from my good brother Bob about entertainment.

It was a link to something written by John Piper. I have copied it here for you to read, and then made my own comments/questions afterwards:

"How can I Break Free From An Addiction To Entertainment?"

By John Piper May 25, 2009

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

I believe I do love Jesus, but most of the time I'd rather spend time being entertained than spend time in God's word. How do I break this hold that entertainment has on my heart?

That's a very good question. And I think it's especially relevant because we live, I think, more now than ever, in a day when entertaining kinds of things are immediately accessible.

I was thinking the other day of the difference between our temptations and, say, 250 years ago, the day of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards would write about the folly of young people getting together to do "frivolous conversation" or other worse things. ("Bundling" it was called: getting in bed together and keeping your clothes on, that sort of thing. Just spice up life a little bit. Life gets boring in New England 250 years ago.)

Today we carry in our pockets radio, television, internet, and games, and anything that would be titillating, fun! And "fun" is a word in the church today that's just rampant! It's an adjective, it's a noun, it's a verb, because we do ministry in order to fit this mentality.

I'm deeply concerned about that. I want to stand for seriousness about God, instead of making him palatable by making him "fun"! Turning him into another piece of entertainment.

So this question is, "How do you break free from that kind of addiction?"

Recognizing it is a huge step in the right direction.
Seek the Lord earnestly about it. Pray like crazy that God would open your eyes to see wondrous things out of his law.
Immerse yourself in the Bible, even when you don't feel like it, pleading with God to open your eyes to see what's really there.
Get in a group where you talk about serious things.
Begin to share your faith. One of the reasons we are not as moved by our own faith as we are is because we almost never talk about it to any unbeliever. It starts to feel like a kind of hothouse thing, and then it starts to have a feeling of unreality about it. And then the powers of entertainment have more sway in our life.
And so those would be some of the things, but ultimately it's a gift of grace to feel the glory of God.

One last suggestion: think about your death. Think about your death a lot. Ask what you'd like to be doing in the season of life, or hours or days, leading up to meeting Christ. I do that a lot these days. I think about the impact of death, and what I would like to be found doing, and how I would prepare to meet him and give an account to him.


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It is no coincidence that Bob sent this to me as I have been going over these very issues this past week.

How much entertainment does one person need?

Does the average believer spend more time in the Word, giving of their lives, sharing their faith, building up the brethren.....or....

....watching tv, going to movies, listening to music (even "christian" music can become an idol if we are spending more time in it than with the Lord), reading books and magazines?

I will be 52 years old this year. Now I realize that unless I have a tragic accident or an unforseen fatal illness, I probably have a good 20 years left, and maybe even a bit more than that. However, while that would mean that death is not knocking on my door, he certainly is walking in my neighborhood. Twenty years will go by very fast.

What good will all the entertainment do me then?

Why do we waste so much time entertaining it to numb the pain and realization that there are people all around us that are lost without Christ and headed for eternal separation without Him?

Maybe it is because we don't want the quiet time, the introspective time, the time it would take to look good, hard and long at our own lives and where we need to improve on our relationship with the Lord?

I don't know that I have any of the answers to these questions....but I look forward to your thoughts and comments on what John Piper wrote and what I brought up.

Still trying to follow Jesus,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reading Joshua

I am reading through the book of Joshua right now, and have just finished chapter five. I thought I would share some thoughts on what I read. Feel free to share with me your thoughts on the following:

In the first chapter, the Lord tells Joshua to "be strong and courageous" three different times. He is about to lead the nation of Israel to take the Promised Land...and so I'm sure he had a mixture of emotions, concerns and fears that ran through his mind. Yet God encouraged him by saying you be strong and courageous. I think this is a good idea for the beleiver in these days. We sometimes get discouraged when we look at the world around us. Sin seems to be running rampant, not only without restraint, but with encouragement and endorsement. Yet we have been intrusted with the gospel message that will enable those witout Christ to come to salvation and gain access into the promised land. How can we be strong and courageous in the face of such wide spread sin and ungodliness? God answers that for us and for Joshua in the same chapter.

Look at what the Lord says in verse eight: "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

Just as Joshua and the Hebrews were promised prosperity and success if they kept the Word of the Lord, and memorized it, used it, lived by it, so we too are promised the same. Not in material success and prosperity, but in a spiritual way. The Word of God has the answers to the questions that people are asking. The problem lies in the sad state we find the church in today, where we are biblically illiterate to a large degree. We are not usually "careful" in handling the Word, instead we quote it out of context, and twist it to fit our pre-concieved idea of what God "really means".

I'm surprised at the number of christians who state they cannot understand the Bible, or have trouble memorizing scripture, yet they know all the plot details and intricacies of tv shows such as "Heroes" and "Lost". They can follow all of the different versions of "Law & Order" and "CSI" along with all the details of each character on the show, yet have no solid biblical knowledge.

The problem is that we have been seduced by the culture instead of being led by the Spirit. Our salt has lost its saltiness and our light has grown dim. We pray for revival in our nation, but revival needs to first come to the church, and more specifically, it needs to come to you and I.

Just like Joshua, we have a huge land to conquer...and we cannot do it ourselves. Join me in praying for personal revival. May the Spirit come and blow fresh wind into our lives.

Lord, make me strong and courageous, so that with the love of the gospel we can begin to "take this land" for YOU.

Pastor Dave

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pastor Dave STILL Lets His Hair Down

Ok, back in March I posted about changing the name of the blog to something different since I have cut off my hair. I mentioned that if I chose one of the names that was submitted, that I would send the winner a prize.

Here are some of the ones that I liked the best:

Pastor Dave on:Holding our minds to the fire.

Pastor Dave's Show and Tell.

Pastor Dave keeps it short.

...and my very favorite of them all....

Pastor Dave gets jiggy for Jesus.

(My public apology to Bim for losing the ones you sent me through Facebook.)

But I have decided to keep the blog under the current name, "Pastor Dave Lets His Hair Down." I decided to do this for two reasons. One, is that I think it really reflects the intentions of this blog. As one person commented, "Letting your hair down" can mean a candid expression of feelings -- isn't that still legitimate?".

The other reason is that I have decided to let the hair grow back out. From the very first time people at the church saw me with short hair I keep being asked if I'm going to grow it back out. My response has always been, "I've been growing it back out since the day I got it cut."

Now how long I will let it go is another subject. At one time it was fairly lengthy. It was several inches past my shoulders. I cut it to just above shoulder length once before and then it grew back out to just barely past my shoulders when I cut it this last time. So what that all means is that I have no idea how long I will let it go this time, but as it grows I will be sure to change the picture to keep everyone updated.

And in case you're wondering what all this has to do with anything.....ummmm...not much.

Still letting my hair down,
Pastor Dave

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How To Survive A Toxic Church

How can we be followers of Christ who extend grace to one another, yet stand firm for the faith and against sin? That was how I ended a blog post a few posts ago.

It is a question that deserves an answer. Grace is key to the Christian life. We are saved by the grace of God, not of works, so no one can boast about how great or how good they are. In additon, we must extend the grace that we have been given to others who are walking this path of faith with us.

The answer to extending grace and staning firm for the faith and against sin is simple, yet often overlooked in the life of a believer. Here it is, in just five short words:

Read the Bible and pray.

Yup. That's it.

Read the Bible and pray.

There is no magic formula. There is no special annointed prayer or sprinkling with magic water from the sea of Galilee. In order to extend grace and yet stand firm for truth and against sin, we must read the Bible and pray.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 (New International Version)
"and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

It is by reading scripture, over and over and over again that we will begin to see through the errors of false doctrine. We will learn how to live for the Lord, and we will continually see the grace of God poured out on us while we were yet sinners. Not only that, but we will experience the continuing grace of God through our relationship with Jesus, even though we will still sin after salvation. This should give us much grace to give others, yet enable us to speak up and say when something is a sin and what the Word has to say about the sin, as well as what the Word has to say about righteous living.

And how/where does prayer fit into this?

James 5:16 (NIV)"...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

If you know the Lord as your savior, then you have beome a righteous man, or woman, and your prayers are powerful and effective. Let me say it again, your prayers are POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE. Over the years I have met many, many, many Christians and a common denominater with many of them is the lack of an intense prayer life. Prayer is a chore, or a shopping list at best. It is the last thing we do, rather than the first thing we do. We pray for "little" things because we are afraid that God will not come through on the "big" things. We don't see our prayers as powerful and effective because we don't pray in a powerful and effective way. We spend our time asking God for a closer parking place at Wal-mart, when He wants us to park further away from the store so that on the walk in we might share our faith with someone, plant a seed of the gospel - yet we don't pray for that, so we don't see any power in our prayers or any effects.

Jesus chastised Peter, James & John because they could not pray for one hour, but we have a problem being able to pray for half of that, or even for ten minutes. Yet Paul tells us to pray much more than that. Here is what he says:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)"pray continually"

How do we do that? By having a continuous open communication with the Father. By keeping Him in the forefront of our minds. When I think of how many times I have prayed to God to get me out of a jam, only to realize that if I had prayed to start with there would be no jam!

You may be wondering how this relates to the title of this blog though, but all will be explained now, as I share a little of my history.

I was severly backslidden for about ten years. When I came back to the Lord, I prayed this sincere prayer more than once. It went something like this, "Lord, I know that I have learned a lot about You when I was a child, but I don't want to take any of that for granted. I want to make sure I know what I believe. I want to make sure I believe what I know. So please open up your Word to me, that I might see it with fresh and new eyes. Reveal to me if there is anything I used to beleive that is not right."

And then I began on a journey to read the Bible. First I read certain books over and over again (John & Acts several times), then I began to read through the Bible each year.

Eventually God began to show me that some things that the church(es) that I belonged to taught that was not in scripture. This was a long and painful process, and was not without it's own problems. When I raised questions, I was shot down and shunned. I developed a reputation for being un-conventional and rocking the boat. Eventually, I left the church(es) that I was familar with. This was not easy. I was saved and baptized in one of their churches. I met my wife in one of their churches. I surrendered to the ministry in one of their churches. I was ordained in one of their churches. The first church I pastored was one of their churches. There was a loooong history here.

But as grateful as I was (and still am) for all they did for me spiritually, the time had come where they had moved from a help to a hindrance. The area of their teaching that was toxic was infecting myself and my whole family. (For those who are curious as to the teaching that I could no longer follow, I will let you know what it is in a private email if you would like, but will not do so in a public forum such as this blog).

Now I realize that with many toxic churches the "victim" is a new believer, and so they are unlearned and still a baby in the Lord. However, I stand by the formula for growth, and that is Bible reading and prayer. As the infant in Christ grows, then they will be led by the Spirit as they spend time with Christ in the Word and in communication. Will it hurt? Probably. Growing up is not without it's pains, but the affects of remaining in a toxic church and in a stage of stunted growth will hurt more in the long run.

Read the Word.


God is faithful and He will honor your commitment in theset two areas.

Ok, next blog will be a little lighter. We will discuss the new name for the blog.

Still following Jesus,
Pastor Dave

Monday, April 20, 2009

On The Eighth Day God Created Rock 'n' Roll

Ok, weird post, and for those enquiring minds, I am going to continue my post about toxic churches.....soon, I promise.

I love rock 'n' roll. Always have. My earliest memories of music are of my Mom watching Elvis movies on tv. I soon discovered my Dad had records by Fats Domino and The Platters. Before long, The Beatles arrived through the screams of my older sister. By 1971 my world was emmersed in rock 'n' roll. Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Zeppelin, Bad Compan, BTO, ELO, The Stones, Clapton and more.

Fast forward several years and I discovered Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Love Song, Don Fransisco, Darrell Mansfield, Chuck Girard and all the way to Stryper, Bloodgood, Guardian, Whitecross, Whiteheart, Petra and more.

I know I could live without a tv (because I have) and without the computer (because I have), but without's never happened.

I have decided today to go on a secular music fast. Not sure for how long, but it starts now. Now that is not the same as doing without music alltogether as I have quite a bit of music that is done by Christians, for Christians - if you know what I mean.

I have done this before. Sometimes for a day, a week, a month, and one time for over a year.

I'm curious if any of you have done so, and if so, for how long? What were the benefits? Any "withdrawal" symptoms? Any of you given up secular music alltogether? If so, have you also given up secular television, books and movies?

I'm not trying to put anyone under any kind of law here, just wanting to know what your thoughts and your experiences are. I know that at times, secular entertainment has hurt my walk with Christ. In my past there were "triggers" that would trip me up, which I can now spot.

I know this subject has been debated ad nausem, but I am curious to see what some of you might think.

I know what the scriptures say, but sometimes the problem comes in where the rubber meets the road of our daily lives.

I would like to get feedback concerning the following verses in connection with the thought of secular entertainment.

Matthew 15:17-19 (New International Version)
"Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

John 17:15–16 (ESV)
15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Now, I know that there is the argument that there is no division between sacred and spiritual for the beleiver, and I fully understand the premise behind such a statement, yet we cannot ingore the fact that some things are better for our spiritual growth than others. Some things draw us closer to Christ, others drive us away, or at the very least these things may put a barrier up that interferes with our relationship with the Lord.

The seed of this fast came from reading a book.

This book:


If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to do is thought provoking.

Looking forward to your thoughts, on the subject of fasting, or on fasting from secular entertainment in its various forms, or the subject of the secular vs. the sacred, or thoughts on the book if you have read it.

Pastor Dave

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I've been preaching now for almost 25 years.

I pastored my first church about 16 years ago, and was there for five years.

I just completed my fourth year in October 2008 at Loma Rica Baptist church.

Give or take a Sunday or two, that means I have preached over 200 messages in the last four and a half years.

I say all of this to give a little bit of perspective to what I am about to post here.

Last Sunday I preached a "normal" Easter message. This week I was back in the book of Hebrews as part of our onging series of messages through the book of Hebrews. In my opinion, both last week and this weeks messages were "flops".

My wife told me that last weeks message "rocked". I realize she might be biased, but beleive me, she will tell me when she thinks I did a "stinker", so I trust her judgement.

But it doesn't change my personal opinion of how I viewed the message.

Out of all the sermons I have ever preached, I have only been given negative criticism once....and that was about 20 years ago, and the part they didn't like is that I spoke well of Billy Graham, and they were upset because Billy had shaken hands with the Pope (yeah, I know what you're thinking, but I'm not making this up, it really happened...they were very upset about that & me speaking highly of Billy wonder we Christians have a bad reputation with a lot of people).

Anyway, this has made me think today about this. Just what makes a sermon good or bad? The message itself? The preacher? The delivery? The special effects? The humor? References to the original languages? Funny stories? What? Have you ever heard a great sermon from a bad speaker? Have you ever heard what seemed like a great message, yet couldn't remember any of it the next day? Have you ever told a preacher the message was good, when you know it really wasn't?

I take preaching very serious, but I don't take myslef serious. I'm a goof. I tell stupid jokes. I make lots of mistakes. Sometimes I fight with my wife and/or my family before we leave for church...I know shocking isn't it.

And yet every once in awhile, someone comes along and shares what a particualr message meant to them. Or someone comes and wants to know bout salvaion, or about how they want a closer walk with the Lord. These are precious times.

Still, when you preach and you feel unconnected to the people, or when you feel as though your words are falling to the ground like they are made of concrete, you wonder if you are doing any good.

But I know that through all of the faults, the failures, the foibles, the fallings, that God has called me to preach. I read the scriptures and sometimes the message just jumps out at me...with the words right on my lips.

I don't even know exactly why I'm posting this particualr blog. I meant to get back to the continuation of the last entry, and I will get to that, but I just felt like I had to get this off of my chest. I don't know maybe it is just the rambings of a tired pastor.

Ok, thanks for reading.
Pastor Dave

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Used To Go To Church

If I had a quarter for each time that I have heard the above statement, I would be a wealthy man today. It seems that as soon as someone knows that I am a pastor, they feel the need to explain why they don’t go to church any longer.

While I have gotten used to hearing “I used to go to church” from a wide variety of people, I have never gotten used to hearing why they no longer go. With very few exceptions, the reason given always has to do with an unhealthy church experience. These unhealthy church experiences are not easy to categorize. They usually include a variety of experiences, from emotional pain, cliques, heartbreak, betrayal, hypocrisy, and the list could go on and on. One thing that seems to be a common thread woven amongst all of the stories is this: legalism.

Now it has been my experience that as soon as you bring up the word, “legalism”, someone begins to think that you are going soft on discipleship and Christian living. I do not consider myself as soft on either of those things, rather I believe we should be hard, or heavy with grace. I believe that if we claim to belong to Jesus, then others have the right to expect that we will live lives worthy of the high calling we have received, and that includes celebrating the grace we have received as well as extending that grace to others.

Several years ago Steve Arterburn wrote a book called, “Toxic Faith” which addressed the issue of unhealthy churches. As much as I like the book, I have always felt that the title is misleading. It is not the faith that is toxic, rather it is the unhealthy church that is toxic.

A legalist is always easy to spot. You can see them constantly checking out their “legal” list to see if you and I are measuring up to their “do’s” and “don’ts” of the Christian life, usually with a heavy emphasis on the “don’ts”.

They remind me of the Galatians that Paul wrote to in Galatians 3:1-3 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

Please don’t misunderstand me here. I strongly believe that even though we do not become sinless once we are born again, I do believe that as we grow in our faith and in our relationship with Christ we should sin less.

If God has enough grace to save us (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 1:9), then surely we should be able to have enough grace to extend to each other as we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

How can we be followers of Christ who extend grace to one another, yet stand firm for the faith and against sin? That will be addressed in the next post.

Still following Jesus,
Pastor Dave

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sickness & A New Book

I've been sick for about a week....the longest I can remember being sick. I'm on the mend now, but it knocked me out for about 6 days. I didn't blog, I didn't study, and I hardly read.

But, now that I am better, I picked up a new book, "Sitting At The Feet Of Rabbi Jesus" by Ann Sangler & Lois Tverberg.


I have only read four chapters, but I have done something while reading this book that I have never done before. I just finished reading the fourth chapter, "Following The Rabbi", which deals with discipleship, mentoring and apprenticeship. When I was done, I went back and read it again. This chapter alone makes this book a must read for everyone who wants to know what it means to be a true follower of Jesus.

We have reduced being a disciple in the western world to completing a class or keeping a list of "do's and don't's". We have not really comprehended what it means to "leave all" and follow Jesus. This chapter has shown me that it is all about following Jesus with our entire life. Discpleship is not something we do, it is something we are. To leave everything and follow Jesus is not about leaving family, jobs, or possessions, it is about leaving self. It is about leaving our wants, our desires and pouring our life out as an offering to Him. It is about living our life in such a way that everything we do points to our love of Jesus.

It is living out Romans 12:1-2(The Message)
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

I think I'm going to go back and read chapter four again, and then move on from there. I'm enjoying sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus, and I think you will too.

Still learning,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pastor Dave Cuts His Hair Off

Ok, when I started this blog I thought I would be real clever and title it "Pastor Dave Lets His Hair Down". This was because the majority of the people at the church I pastor had never seen me with my long hair "down" it was normally kept neat and tidy in a ponytail. It also was to let people know that these were the ramblings and thoughts of my mind and my journey with Christ and not in any way, shape or form to be taken as the general consesus of the church that I pastor or as some sort of an official church blog.

Now after seven years of letting my hair grow out I have taken the plunge and chopped it off, so I thought a new picture was in order.

So, to any of my readers I ask this question: Should the name of the blog remain "Pastor Dave Lets His Hair Down", or should I change the name to something else?

Let me know what you think, and if you think it should be changed, let me know what you think might be a good name. If I pick a new name from one that is submitted I will send the "winner" a prize.

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave


If there is one word that seems to send fear (or often guilt) into the heart of a follower of Jesus it is that one word: witness.

I used to wonder why more Christians didn't share their faith. These days I have shifted that question to myslef. Why do I not share what I believe more often?

I just finished a book by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron called "Thanks A Million".


In this book, Ray and Kirk share the adventures they have sharing their faith using a method that is called "The Way Of The Master", along with tracts that they hand out. Now our church has gone through "The Way Of The Master" series and I have to say I learned a lot about sharing my faith. Ray and Kirk have a lot of critcs when it comes to what they do, but I wonder if anyone else is spreading the gospel on such a consistent basis?

Paul said that we are to take the gospel to those who need to hear it.
Romans 10:12 "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

We must take the gospel to the lost...this is not for the "professionals". This is for all of us who call ourselves beleivers.

If I have any criticism of the book, it is that they don't seem to "close the deal" very often when they let people know they need the Lord. In other words they don't ask them if they want to repent and ask the Lord into their life. In their defense, they beleive if someone really wants to know the Lord after hearing that they are on their way to hell and that Jesus has paid the price so they can have a relationship with God, be forgiven and have eternal life, that the person will not need any prodding, but will be moved to do this themselves. Some in the book did just that.

Others might be critical because they seem to lead people to faith in Jesus, but don't disciple them. I beleive this is a valid point, not just in regards to Ray and Kirk, but for the Western Church as a whole. Remember what Jesus said in the great commission:

Matthew 28:18-20: "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

One of the ways that the the church has dropped the ball is in the area of discipleship. I stand just as guilty as the next beleiver in this area and it is something we plan on correcting in our church very quickly.

To be fair to Ray and Kirk, this was a book on witnessing, not on discipleship. They may have a disicpleship program in place that I am not aware of.

Myself, I beleive the best way to share our faith is to build relationships with those who don't know Jesus and then speak the gospel into their lives. However, this is not always possible. Jesus did not wait until he developed a friendship with every person he came into contact with. Can you imagine standing before God and explaining to God that we did not share our faith more because we did not have more friends? Sounds kinda lame doesn't it?

I have been motivated and convicted by the testimony of this book. So much so, that I took some tracts along with a witnessing card I printed on my computer and began to pass them out yesterday. I left them at various places that I went to all day, and have decided that I would not go anywhere that I will not leave a tract and a card. The tract explains the gospel message and the card gives a phone number that they can contact. I had to go to the hospital three times yesterday to visit someone and left one in the waiting room each time. Each time I went back, the card was gone...who got it...did it do any good...only God knows the answer to that, but I don't beleive it did any harm.

We have a local coffe house here called "The Brick". I'm thinking about going down there to share the gospel next week when they have their "open mic" night. Pray for me.

And to Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, thanks a million for what you do for the sake of the gospel.

Pastor Dave


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

True Worship

Does anyone besides me get annoyed when people refer to the music portion of a church service as the "worship" time, or the "worship" portion of the service?

As a pastor, I have always seen the whole meeting time as a time for worship. Sunday School is worship....singing is worship....praying together is of the tithes and offerings is worship...and the preaching is worship.

Then today I read a passage in Romans that I have read many, many, many times. But, as often happens when reading scripture, it hit me different today.

Here is the scripture:

Romans 12:-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is TRUE WORSHIP. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Now I think the main reason is that I normally have read this out of the NIV and this time I was reading out of the TNIV. In the NIV the word "true" is not used. Instead it uses the word "spiritual act" instead. In the KJV it says it is your "resonable service", while the ESV uses the word "spiritual" like the NIV. The Amplified version translates that portion of the verse this way: "your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship", so it includes resonable, service, spiritual and worship all joined together.

I went to the original languages to try and see if it could shed any light on this for me. I found that the word for "service" in the KJV and "worship" in some of the other translations was a greek word "latreia" and that it meant "ministration of God, i.e. worship - (divine) service". It comes from the word "latreno", which means ""to minister (to God), i.e. render relgious homage: serve-do the service, worship(er)"

So I by looking at this it tells me that my whole life is to be an act of worship. That our whole life is to be an act of worship. I'm to offer up myself, I am to become worship, (don't misunderstand me here-I did not say I am to be worshipped, only God is to be worshipped). My life is to be worship. I am to serve God in all that I do.

What does that look like?

Well, I can only imagine. I think it would look something like this:

That job that I hate, those people I work with that get on my nerves, I am to present myslef in such a way that they can look at me and say, "Wow. There's something different about him. He isn't working for a paycheck, or just putting in his time. It's like he's doing this for a higher cause."

With our families, we would live as though we are a worshipper. The way we handled ourselves around them, the things we did for entertainment, the things we do for education, the things we do for each other, would all show that our purpose in life is not self pleasure, self fullfilment, self satisfaction, instead it is for an audience of ONE.

This has made me think harder about what true worship is.

Can I worship God on Sunday morning if I live a life of 'un-worship" Monday through Saturday? Can I turn worship on and off at my will? Is it a feeling? Is it an emotion? Is it Sunday morning rituals?

To answer the first question, yes I can worship God on Sunday morning if I live a life of "un-worship" Monday through Saturday, but is it true worship? I don't think so.

To answer the other questions, I beleive the answer is "no". True worship is life. It is living for Christ in all that we do. Is Sunday morning worship special? Sure it is. But so is looking up at the stars at night and giving thanks to the maker of the stars. So is going to a childs softball game and enjoying all that God has made, the weather, the food, the yelling, the celebrating, the people all around us.

The way we live our lives is to be a sacrifce to God. That is a life of worship. To tie it all together, it is to do all the things I just mentioned, but doing it with the attitude that it is all a gift from God and that you are willing to offer it all back up to him at any time, because He is worthy. Because He is God. Because He is merciful to us.

Ok, I gotta go worship God now by picking my son up from school...hope to see some of you at worship sometime soon, maybe at a church service, or maybe at Wal-mart.

Pastor Dave

Friday, March 13, 2009

What Is Your Heart's Desire

Tonight I was reading in Romans and I stopped at Romans 10:1.
Here Pauls says, "Brothers and sisters, my heqrt's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved."

It caused me to take a hard look at my life.

I asked myself, "Dave, what is your heart's desire?" For a long time it was to not have to be a bi-vocational pastor, so that I could devote myself full time to the work the Lord has given me. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. The Lord has given me a church to pastor, and I am to teach and to lead them as they journey on this road of faith.

Paul too had brothers and sisters he taught and led. He wrote letters to the churches about doctrine, about things they had right and things they had wrong. He wrote to those who he had mentored, and reccomended brothers and sisters as co-laborers in the work of the Lord.

And yet here he states that his heart's desire is to see his fellow Israelites saved.

I realized that my passion for the lost had slipped away somewhere on this journey of faith. I had misplaced it with study, teaching and preaching. All of those things are good and necessary, but they will all be done so much better once I get to glory.

Sharing my faith, leading people to the Lord is the only thing that has to be done now, before we get to eternity. I wonder how many believers will step into eternity, never having shared their faith in Jesus and never having led one person to the Lord. And then it will be too late. Too late for them to experince this, and too late for those who they did not take the time to share with.

Pray for me in this area. I am spending this weekend in prayer for the lost. For some specific friends and relatives, and for a boldness in my life to take the gospel wherever I go. I want not just boldness, but wisdom, kindness and compassion as well.

Don't get me wrong. I love pastoring. I love teaching the Word of God. I love preaching. But I have never had an experience that equals what it is like when you have the privledge and honor of leading someone to faith in Jesus.

I'ts time I get back in the battle. Maybe it is time for you too.

I close with the lyrics from a song by Steve Camp; Run To The Battle.

Run To The Battle

Some people want to live
Within the sound of chapel bells
But I want to run a mission
A yard from the gates of Hell
And with everyone you meet
I'll take them the gospel and share it well
And look around you as you hesitate
For another soul just fell

Let's run to the battle
Run to the battle

Do you have your armor on
We're in the middle of a raging war
We've been training for so long
Have we learned to use His sword?
We may not be ready
But we serve a mighty Lord
And He's made us more than conquerors
So what are you waiting for?

Let's run to the battle
We got to run, run to the battle

He has trampled down the enemy
And has given us the victory
When we pray we learn to see
That His army
We are marching on our knees

There'll be times when we grow weak
Let's keep our faith alive
Let your faces shine with glory
For He's helped us to survive
And in that final hour
When you feel like you're ready to die
Will you hear the trumpet sound
Will you hear the warrior cry

Run to the battle
We got to run, run to the battle

Ok, so there's that
Pastor Dave