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