Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Ok, just did the drawing for the latest book giveway....drumroll please....and the winner is: Brenda May! Brenda, contact me ASAP so I can get your book to you. To everyone else...remember, I am giving away another book at the end of the month: "Unashamed" by Robby Gallaty. All you need to get a chance to win this book is to leave a comment on any post in the month of December. You get one entry for each post you leave...the more comments, then the better your chances.

Ok, so there's that.
Pastor Dave


In 2 Kings chapter 4 we read the story of the widow who is deeply in debt and the creditors are about to come and sell her only two children into slavery in order to pay her debt. In desperation she cries out to Elisha about her situation. We’ll let scripture tell the rest of the story:

2 Kings 2:4-7 “Elisha asked her, "What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" She said, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil." Then he said, "Go and borrow empty containers from everyone—from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side." So she left. After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another container." But he replied, "There aren't any more." Then the oil stopped. She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest."

Now I want us to stop for a second and think about a couple of things here.

First, the woman said she had nothing except a jar of oil. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been down and out before, but I’ve never been so down and out that all I had was some Crisco. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, and had to rob Peter to pay Paul, and have had to humble myself and go to Dad and Mom and ask for some help, but I’ve never been so broke that all I had of any worth was one jar of oil. Now the oil here was valuable as it could be used for a variety of things, but one jar was not going to get anyone very far….or was it?

You see, no matter how little you or I have, if it is given for use by God, if it is offered up for the Lord, if we are willing to let go of what we have for Him and for the sake of the gospel, God will take it and multiply it and expand it far beyond what we could ever imagine.

Another thing we see is that she had to pour out the oil from her container into the other containers. God wants us to pour our lives into the lives of those around us. God wants us to give away our most valuable asset we have to those around us. No, I’m not talking about your house, your car, your 401K, or your computer…I’m talking about yourself. Your experience in walking with the Lord, your knowledge of the Word of God, your spiritual depth…He wants you to give it to others. The church is not to be a holy huddle, but an ambulance with a spiritual emergency kit to take to a lost and dying world. We are to be a lean, mean disciple making machine!

And lastly, notice that the widow told her son in the end:

"Bring me another container." But he replied, "There aren't any more." Then the oil stopped.

I think that often the reason we don’t see more of the Lord working in and around us, the reason we don’t have revival in our homes and in our churches and in our country, and the reason we don’t see the lost coming to Jesus all around us is that we are satisfied with far less than all.

Jesus doesn’t want much from you and I. Only all. Everything.

The oil flowed until they ran out of containers. What if they had held back a container or two? You know, the one they got from Grandma the last time they saw her…or that one that was special because it was from the widow’s childhood…or maybe the one that was won as a prize for the best oil at the county fair…or that one that is the collectible one - you know it’s worth a lot on eBay as long as it has never been used.

You see, we have all sorts of excuses as to why we don’t bring Jesus all of us. We like to have a little control here and there. We have our pet sins. We have no problem giving God a certain portion of our live, a certain amount of our time, a certain (10 %) amount of our money, but we feel free to do with the rest what we want.

And because we do not give all of our containers to God, we do not get all the oil that we could have.

When it comes down to it, we get all of Jesus that we really want. We get as much revival as we desire.

How much do you and I really want to see a mighty move of God across this land? How badly do we really want to see our loved ones come to know Jesus? How serious are we when it comes to our relationship with the Lord? The real question we must ask, is how full do we want to be? How full of Jesus do we want to be?

Are you, and I ready to give all of containers to God? Are willing to allow Him to fill them up completely with Him? Are we willing to say, “This is all I have Lord…and all I have is Yours.”?

Well, I cannot answer for you…but for me…well, I gotta go know. I think I have a few more containers in my closet that I need to find.

Pastor Dave

Monday, December 6, 2010


A few weeks ago I was in our local Christian Book store (Crosspointe Christian Books and Gifts, find them here: http://www.crosspointebooks.com/), and I came across this book by Robby Gallaty:


To be honest, the first thing I noticed about it was that it carried the following recomendation by David Platt, the author of "Radical". "I wholeheartedly recommend this pastor and this book to you." Now the book "Radical" has had, for lack of a better word, a radical affect on my life. So I thought, if David Platt recommends not only the book, but the pastor, maybe this is worth checking out.

So I bought the book. I took the book home. I put the book on the shelf. The book stayed there. I forgot about the book.

Last week I was on vacation, and I saw the book on my shelf of "books I want to read", and decided to give it a go.

All I can say is "WOW!" Just in case you didn't get that let me say it again: "WOW!"

Robby has taken his messages from the book of 2 Timothy and turned them into chapters for this book, and although most read 2 Timothy from the perspective of Paul writing to Timothy as a pastor, Robby takes this and makes it applicable to anyone who calls themselves a Christ follower.

Reading the short biography of the author in this book goes along way to appreciating the content of the book. You realize that Robby did not grow up with a spiritual "silver spoon" in his mouth. He lived a hard life...and then lived a redeemed life. The contents are not dry knowledge...it is the stuff you find that has been lived out and put into practice by the author.

If you are a pastor...you need to read this book. If you are a Bible teacher...you need to read this book. If you are a believer in Christ...you need to read this book.

Very few books have moved me to tears...but by the end of the chapter, as Robby is talking about finishing well and the Apostle Paul, I was crying, crying tears and crying out to God that I might finish well. I have been convicted by the words in this book and the teaching of Robby Gallaty. It has inspired me to crank up the ministry that God has given me, so much so, that I am considering taking some of my sermons and attempting to put them into book form...you can pray for me about that, ok. It has motivated me to dig deeper into the Word of God. It has caused me to refocus my energy and my attention to those things that have eternal value. It has reminded me that to run the race that has been set before me and to offer my life up as an offering to the Lord, poured out in ministry all for His glory!

There is much more I could say about this book, but let me just sum it up in three words: Buy this book! Ok, let me sum it up in six words: Buy this book! Read this book! Ok, nope. Let's try nine words: Buy this book! Read this book! Live this book! No, that's not it either. Hmmm...ok, let's try twelve words: Buy this book! Read this book! Live this book! Share this book! Yeah, that works. Twelve words.

In fact, I'm so pumped about this book that I want to give one away.. Yep, I will give one of these away to anyone who comments on any of the blog postings this month. (And no, I haven't forgotten the "Think" book giveaway...the winner will be announced tomorrow).

The only "negative" thing I have to say is that the book does have some errors that a good proofreader should have caught. At least my printing did. But that is a minor quibble...nothing that would cause you to misundertand what Robby was trying to get across in the pages of this book.

You can check out the church that Robby pastors here: http://www.brainerdbaptist.org/index.php

Taking a radical stand for Christ,
Pastor Dave

Friday, December 3, 2010


I’ve been reading 2 Kings over the last couple of days, and right at the beginning something jumped out at me. As Elijah is getting ready to go home to be with the Lord, he tells Elisha that he should leave him (Elijah) at this time. As Elijah is going forward, he tells Elisha to stay put and not to follow him any longer.

This is not a one time statement from Elijah. It happens several times.

2 Kings 2:1-2 “The time had come for the LORD to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal, and Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD is sending me on to Bethel." Elisha responds in verse 2: “But Elisha replied, "As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you."

Once again in 2 Kings 2:4 Elijah instructs Elisha to stay behind while he (Elijah) goes on where the Lord has instructed him: “Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here; the LORD is sending me to Jericho." And in verse 4 we see the answer of Elisha, the same as before: “But Elisha said, "As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you."

A third time (2 Kings 2:6) Elijah tells Elisha: 6 Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the LORD is sending me to the Jordan." And the response from Elisha? You guessed it, the same as before. Here is the response of Elisha from verse 6: “But Elisha said, "As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you."

Three times Elijah tells Elisha not to go with him. Three times Elisha responds with “I will not leave you.”

Now, Elisha knew where Elijah was heading. If you read, you will know that Elisha knew that Elijah was going home to be with the Lord. We find this in verse 3 of the same chapter: “Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, "Do you know that today the LORD will take your master away from you?"
He said, "Yes, I know. Be quiet."

He knew where Elijah was going, and although he also knew that he could not follow him all the way to glory, he was determined to follow him as far as he could…he was determined to see him off. Even when the sons of the prophets were basically telling Elisha, “Hey, you DO KNOW what is happening here right? Why go any further? He told them to be quiet…in other words, “Don’t distract me. I know where Elijah is going, and I know what is going to happen, and I will follow him to the end.”

As a pastor, I think this is huge.

Let me say it again, as a pastor, I think this is HUGE!


Well, simply, every pastor needs an Elisha.

We need someone who is determined to walk with us, to travel the faith journey with us, to not be deterred or sidetracked. When the end is near, and we are ready to depart, we need to know that we have poured our life into others that will continue on the work of the Lord.

Before I was a pastor I could be very critical of the pastors that I sat under. I have since found that almost every criticism that I leveled at one of my pastors in the past, has now been leveled at me. I have found many who have told me how great I was as a pastor, as a teacher and as a preacher. Unfortunately, somewhere down the road, most of those have leveled criticism at me to the point where they have left the church that I was the pastor at.

I’m not saying that you should only give your pastor glowing compliments. That would not be honest, or realistic. I’m also not saying you should not have any criticism when it comes to your pastor. As a pastor I try to turn my critics into my coaches. I try to learn from the critical comments and emails I receive. However, many times the critics main concern is that things did not go their way.

Let me speak plainly here. Your need to be careful before you lob your criticisms at your pastor, and your pastor does not necessarily need compliments. What he needs are a few good “Elisha” men. Men who will stand beside him. Men who will walk with him. Men who will say, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you."

Ok, so there’s that.
Pastor Dave

Thursday, December 2, 2010



When I was a child and we would have family over for the holidays, there were two tables set up. One was for the adults…and the other was for the kids. Of course, those of us at the kids table always wanted to sit at the adult table. We always felt marginalized at the kids table. This would become even more humiliating to us as we entered into our teenage years….how dare they make me sit at the kids table…I’m not a kid any longer…I’m 13!

As the years passed, so did the kids table, until one day I found myself at the adult table and my kids were now sitting at the kids table. As I looked at my kids, I wondered what the hurry was for. The conversation at the adult table did not seem to be nearly as entertaining as what was going on at the kids table. No one at the adult table was putting olives on the ends of their fingers! No one at the adult table was making a lake of gravy in the middle of their mountain of mashed potatoes! Or pretending that the gravy running down the side of the mountain of mashed potatoes was molten lava about to destroy the village made of cranberry sauce. And no one at the adult table was eating a turkey leg while pretending to be an ancient barbarian!

This whole idea of separation seemed to be merely for the sake of convenience for the adults. I understand there may be space issues, and such, but mostly it often seems as if the adults don’t want the kids to enter into the adult conversations that they are having…and while there is a time and place for adult conversation…it hardly seems to me that the best time and place is the holiday dinner table.

As adults, we need to spend this time when our families are together, sharing our lives with our children. Sharing our family history together. And most of all, sharing the Lord, His Word and what He has done in our lives together.

Psalm 18:3-4 expresses this: “things we have heard and known
and that our fathers have passed down to us. We must not hide them from their children, but must tell a future generation the praises of the LORD, His might, and the wonderful works He has performed.”

I come from a family of believers in Christ (on my Mothers side), and yet rarely did I hear any stories of how the Lord worked in her family. Her Dad (my grandfather), was a preacher and a pastor, and yet I don’t remember her ever sharing a sermon he preached, a revival she saw, or an answer to prayer they experienced. The results of this lack of sharing what the Lord had done resulted in a salvation experience for me that was limited to church. Church is where Christians went. Church is what Christians did. Church is where God was. There was life outside of church, and that was yours, and then there was church life and that belonged to God.

It took me years to come to the point that what I had with Jesus was not a religion but a relationship. It took me years to come to the place where I understood that my whole life was to be offered up to the Lord as an act of worship. It was years before I realized that I did not need to come back to church, but that I needed to come back to Jesus. Once I was back with Jesus, well, church took care of itself.

This year, when you gather with the family, even if you have to have a kids table and an adult table…take time to share what the Lord has done in your life. Take time to sing the praises of the Lord. Take time to tell of the wonderful works that He has done.

In fact, why wait for the holidays? Why not make it a tradition to share every day with our children something that God has done?

Excuse me now, I’ve got to go….kids come here…you’ve got to hear this, did I ever tell you about the time the Lord…….

Pastor Dave

Sunday, November 14, 2010



"Church is boring...it is sooooooo booorrriiiinnnnggg!" I remember saying those words as a teenager many, many times. I also remember when we would have week long revivals, which is how I learned how long eternity was, by my teenage calculations, having to go to church every single night seemed to last for an eternity. We went to church every Sunday morning and Sunday night, which explains the fascination I have today with the tv show "Bonanza". You see, every Monday morning during the first recess at school the guys would get together and talk about "Bonanza"...and Hoss and Little Joe, and Pa Cartwright...and I had nothing to contribute, because I had to go to church on Sunday nights, and that is when Bonanza came on. My response was always a depressing sounding, "I didn't get to see it...I had to go to church."

I could not think of any worse punishment than having to sit on a hard wooden pew (anyone remember those?), and listen to some "old" guy go on and on about stuff that I felt had no application to me or to my life at the time. This is why I know God has a sense of humor...because you fast forward several years and here I am...the "old" guy that other people listen to now.

Of course, my opinion of church has changed over the years as well. I not only enjoy, but look forward to meeting and worshiping with my brothers and sisters every chance I get! I love to hear preachers and teachers break open the Word of God and how it is active and living and breathing! I no longer see church as something I HAVE to go to, now I see it as something I GET to go to!

For some reading this, maybe you still find church boring. Don't feel bad...I get it. As I grew from childhood to my teenage years and into adulthood, nothing much changed...I still found church boring. But what I have learned through the years is that it is not church that is boring...it is us. God (and His Word) are magnificent, spectacular, awesome, and more exciting than we can imagine...but we settle for so much less and because we do, church becomes boring.

This week I ran across some principles that if you will apply them to your life, I believe you will leave "boring" church behind you, and enter into a worship service and time of teaching, preaching and learning that will not only change your life, but change the life of your church. My thanks and appreciation go out to Greg Laurie for these nine listener principles.

1. Support your pastor with prayer before and after the message.
2. Bring your Bible.
3. If you know the Scripture passage in advance, read it and become familiar with it.
4. Prepare your heart with prayer to accept God's Word and that you would be open to its truth.
5. Look for ways that you will use the key Scripture or ideas in your life in the next week.
6. Seek to hear the truth for your life, not someone else's life.
7. Listen carefully and think how you would share this message with someone else. Could you summarize the message clearly?
8. Take careful notes. Don't assume you will remember everything that is said. Also, write down the scripture reerences to look up later.
9. Trust God for the results in your life.

Doing what I can to eliminate boring church services forever,
Pastor Dave

Saturday, November 13, 2010



Acts 5:12 "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people, and ALL THE BELIEVERS used to meet togethr in Solomon's Colonnade." (Emphasis added)

All. Three letters. One simple word. So why do we have such a problem with it?
I know, you're thinking that we don't have a problem with it, but as a pastor it is my experience that we do have a problem with this word.

If you don't believe me, take a look at your church. When was the last time ALL the members were there? When was the last time ALL the members came together for a Bible study? Now some might say that since their church is of a large size that they have several different services so there is no way that all of the members could be there at once...but even so, when was the last time on one Sunday that all the members showed up even if it was spread over all of the services?

In this country we tend to take attending worship services as not a big deal. Yeah, we go if we want, but if not, no bigee....it will be there next week.

But the early church was not like that. Take a look at how serious they took meeting together:

Acts 1:14 "They ALL JOINED TOGETHER CONSTANTLY in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."

Acts 2:1 "When the day of Pentecost came, THEY WERE ALL TOGETHER in one place."

Acts 2:42 "THEY DEVOTED THEMSELVES to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

Acts 2:46 "EVERY DAY THEY CONTINUED TO MEET together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts"

Have we forgotten this in our country, in our culture?

I hear from Christians all the time how they want revival, and I do believe that when revival comes, then God's people will want to come together to worship...on the other hand, until God's people are committed to meeting together to worship I don't believe revival will be here.

Sadly, this has been going on for a long, long time. It rears it’s ugly head from time to time. J.C. Ryle ( May 10, 1816 - June 10, 1900 who was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool) said, “For another thing, let me warn all careless members of churches…You live on year after year as if there was no battle to be fought with sin, the world, and the devil. You pass through life a smiling, laughing, gentlemanlike or ladylike person, and behave as if there was no devil, no heaven and no hell. Oh, careless churchman, or careless dissenter, careless Episcopalian, careless Presbyterian, careless Independent, careless Baptist, awake to see eternal realities in their true light! Awake and put on the armor of God! Awake and fight hard for life! Tremble, tremble and repent!”

Oh, that we might unite in the spread of the gospel, in time spent in prayer…in reaching out to the needy, in going out into the fields that are ripe for harvest, in holding up one another when we cannot walk any longer, in lifting our voices in praise and worship to God the creator of the sun and the moon, who gives us our very lives!

For too many the church is only something to do, someplace to go as long as you don’t have anything better to do.

About now, someone will cry out that all this talk of not missing church sounds like legalism. Well, maybe it is...but only in the same way that it is expected for a husband to come home to his wife each evening...only in the same way that it is expected for a skydiver to put on a parachute...only in the same way that it is for a deep sea diver to strap on an oxygen tank.

The church is not the church of one...it is the church of many. As a pastor of a small but growing church, let me cry out to you today....your church needs you! We need you when we come together, we need to worship with you, we need to study the Word with you, we need to pray with you.

I cannot help but wonder how believers in countries where they are persecuted for meeting together would perceive us, how they would look at our faith? What would believers in other countries think of us? Those followers of Christ who can only imagine meeting in a well lit building with protection from the elements and cooling and heating…and the freedom to meet and study the Word, and yet they see us coming together when it is convenient?

How will the world ever take the church serious, if the church doesn't take itself serious? How will the world ever see the need to worship Jesus if His own followers don't see the need to meet together?

Why has the word, "all" slipped from the vocabulary of most believers today?

On one hand, some will say that the answer to that question is varied one and has many layers and is tough to answer.

I don't think it is that hard to answer...I just think we don't like to look at what the answer really is.

The reason we have a problem with "all", the reason "all" has slipped from our vocabulary is because we "all" don't want take corporate worship serious. We don't want to go to church services. We just plain don't want to.

Now, this is not addressed to those who have to work when worship time arrives, or those who may be on vacation, and of course it is not addressed to those that are sick. But how many of truly HAVE to work during worship time and how many CHOOSE to work during that time? How many vacations do you really need to take that fall on Sundays? How many times have we gotten sick on Sunday morning...only to feel much better by two or three in the afternoon?

Come on people, let's at least be honest with ourselves.

Maybe you disagree with me. Maybe you think I'm way out in left field with this one...well, then prove me wrong...and show up for church services this Sunday...and every Sunday that you possibly can.

Ok, so there's that...hope to see you ALL in church on Sunday!

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Sorry....Really, I Am


Ok, I am really, really, really, really sorry. If the picture of the sad dog with the "sorry" sign doesn't convince you, then I don't know what will.

In all seriousness, I am very sorry that waaaaay back in August I blogged about having a drawing to increase traffic on the blog...and then I dropped the ball big time.

But, I'm back, and here are the winners of the book drawing:




You will need to send me your mailing address so I can mail you the book. Send your address to my email: pastor_dave2004@yahoo.com, and let me know what book you want. The books will be given out as they are requested, so the best thing is to send me your first choice, second choice and then third choice.

The books available are:

"The Last Christian" by David Gregory (a novel of the future)
"Crave" by Chris Tomlinson (wanting so much more of God)
"A Tale Of Two Sons" by John macArthur (the inside story of a father, his sons, and shocking murder)

And now, because I feel really bad about all of this, I am going to offer another book giveaway.

Check this out:

Yes, I will be giving away a copy of the new book "Think" by John Piper.


I will give this away on the first of December. All you have to do to be entered into this drawing is be a follower of the blog. That will get you one entry. After that....you will get another entry for every comment you leave. I promise, to blog more often...hopefully daily, and to not neglect the giveaway this time.

I'll be back sometime tomorrow with a new post.

Still following Jesus, one step at a time,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I just finished reading a book that was loaned to me...and now I think I have to go buy my own copy...because you cannot mark up a loaned book with yellow highlighter, and this is one book I will need to read again and mark up.

The book is called: "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobsen.


Now, to be honest, when I first started reading this book I was not real sure about it. In fact, there were two main reasons that I kept reading the book even though I was not in agreement with what the author said at first. Reason One: the people who loaned it to me are the kind of followers of Christ that we should all strive to be. They are not perfect, no that is not it, they just love Jesus and His people, and so if they thought it was good enough to loan to me, I thought I should finish it. Reason Two: I'm stubborn. If I start a book and invest a little time in the first few chapters, I'm bound and determined to finish the book. This is a bit of stubborness that I have had since I was a little kid. In fact, in all my many years of book reading, there has only been one book that I did not finish...just couldn't get through it, and I was determined that this book would not be unfinshed book number two.

Truthfully, I do not agree with a few things that Wayne Jacobsen writes in this book, and some of it, if you are not grounded in the Word of God could trip a new believer up. Some of it is hard to accept, but that is the way it is when you're learning about the grace and love that the Lord extends to His children. But by the end of the book, I found this one of the most rewarding books I have ever read. In one way or another, it will impact my relationship with the Lord, His church, the lost and my even my family.

The premise of the book is that most of us don't have any idea how much God really loves us, and that even those who have tasted of the relationship with the Lord that is provided to us only through the sacrifice of Jesus, still try and earn the approval and love from our heavenly Father. While I had grasped the concept many years ago that God has never loved me more than He did when Jesus died for me, living out that knowledge and living in that love has not always been easy. This book paints the love of God in brilliant colors and vivid pictures.

The last two or three chapters alone are enough reason to read this book. In one chapter it shows how the love of Christ is lived out in us as we in turn love those around us who are unloveable or have hurt us.

I want to share just one short story that the author tells in chapter 21, "In Exactly The Same Way" :

"Recently I met a woman from the Midwest who had been divorced when her ex-husband told her he was gay, that he had AIDS, and that he wanted to live with his partner. A few years later as the disease progressed, she felt compassion for her former husband and felt God wanted her to help care for him as the disease worsened. She did just that. With her husband's permission she moved back in, not as wife but as nurse, and cared for him as the disease progressed...she talked about it as one of the greatest experiences of her life. Before he died, her husband and his partner came to repentance and faith (MY NOTE HERE: while it does not state it in the book, if, they came to repentance and faith, I would assume they ceased their homesexual relationship as you cannot repent and stay the same way you used to be). What's more, after her former husband's death, she took care of his former partner as he died. While she was doing that, other AIDS patients came to the door and asked for help. During the next decade she cared for more than sixty other patients and watched them all come to faith."

Now I don't know what you would call that, but I would call it POWERFUL LOVE! That is the kind of love that the world needs to see from the church. That is the kind of love that is able to be poured out on those that hurt us, those that sin the sins that disgust us, those that live the lives that repulse us...because we have experienced and are secure in the love and relationship that Jesus gives us.

Thank you Kitty and Jessica for this book...and thank you Jesus for loving me, even when I was not your child and yet You loved me enough to die for me.

Pastor Dave

Friday, August 20, 2010



Ok, pop quiz time.

What is the best selling book of all time? Answer: The Bible.
What is the most stolen book? Answer: The Bible.
What is the most unread book? Answer: The owners manual for your car.

I know, you thought the answer was going to be the Bible.

If we are going to be technical, the owners manual is not an actual book, but then again neither is the Bible. The Bible is actually 66 books, written by about 40 different people, from Kings to fishermen, over a period of about 1500 years, all inspired by God. This makes the Bible unique among all other books.

Unfortunately, next to your cars owners manual, sits the Bible, the 2nd most unread book ever written.

Many people have a Bible. It sits on the shelf somewhere. It lies in a drawer somewhere. It gathers dust in a closet somewhere. Yes, many people have a Bible, but few use it. This is to be expected among those who are not professing Christians. For them, the Bible is nothing more than a coffee table type book...something to glance at, but no one expects you to actually READ it, much less spend any time attmepting to undertand it.

Sadly, statistics tell us that it's not much better among those who profess to follow Christ. A recent poll by the Barna Group showed that just 4 out of 10 Christians read the Bible on a weekly basis….people that is less than 50%!!!

To make matters worse, of those that DO read the Bible on a weekly basis, commit on average, about 1 hour per week….that is 1 HOUR PER WEEK, NOT PER DAY! In other words, the average Christian in America will spend more time in the shower each week than in the Word of God! Which goes along with our consumer mentality believe-ism in this country. We’re more concerned about LOOKING good than being set apart, and living holy lives honoring to God!

Why have we lost the desire to read the God-breathed words of the creater of the universe? Why do we no longer desire to dig for the nuggets that God has hidden in the Scriptures? This is not a dusty old book with a lot of nice philosophical sayings. This is the only book that has the cure for the disease that each and every human being is infected with: sin.

One of the tragedies of the modern church is that we are largely Biblically illiterate. We know more about the Kardashians than we do the Scriptures. We can name all the top ten finalist of the current season of American Idol, but cannot recall the names of the 12 apostles. We have lines from our favorite movies memorized, but can only recall John 3:16 and maybe the 23rd Psalm from the live giving, inspired word of God.


I am amazed at the number of times I have heard of people going to church and they don't have their Bible with them...that's like going to work or school and not having any pants on! When you ask them where their Bible is, the general response is, "I couldn't find it." You couldn't find it. You couldn't find it?!?! Do you use it so sparingly that you cannot remember where you last had it? The other day at church someone told me that they could not find their Bible. I lovingly, with a smile on my face asked them when the last time was that they forgot where their underwear was. They replied, "I've never forgotten where my underwear is." And of course, they looked at me kind of puzzled. I went on to explain to them, "You've never forgotten where your underwear is for two reason: 1) You put it in the same place all the time, so you always know where it is and 2) You've developed a good habit over many years that you don't go anywhere without your underwear. It is the same with the Scriptures. If we got into the habit every day to read it the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, we would soon always know where it was, because we would seek it out at the end of the day and at the beginning of the day. In addition we would develop a pattern over the years of daily, ongoing, regular Bible reading and would find that we just don't go anywhere without it." They smiled at me, nodding their head and told me, "I get it. I get it."

I hope they do get it. I pray that they get it, and that it gets them. If those who call themselves followers of Christ, disicples of the living Savior, students of the Messiah do not read the owners manual that He has written for them...how do we ever expect to carry out what He told us to do? The great commission will not be carred out as long as we remain a part of the great ommission of Bible readers.


So join me won't you, on one of the greatest adventures you will ever have. Turn off the tv and tune into the Word of God.

Pastor Dave

Thursday, August 19, 2010



Well, sorry that I didn't get around to doing this "tomorrow" as I said on my last post. It has been a very busy week, but it has been a good busy. As I said on the last entry, I wanted to share what others have had to say about prayer, so here are some of my favorite quotes on prayer:

"If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word - prayer. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell." Charles Spurgeon

"Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into
harmony with Him.” Hudson Taylor

"The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor" Charles Stanley

Prayer is the highest intelligence, the profoundest wisdom, the most vital, the most joyous, the most efficacious, the most powerful of all vocations. Edward M. Bounds

"When I am praying the most eloquently, I am getting the least accomplished in my prayer life. But when I stop getting eloquent and give God less theology and shut up and just gaze upward and wait for God to speak to my heart He speaks with such power that I have to grab a pencil and a notebook and take notes on what God is saying to my heart." A.W. Tozer

"God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." John Wesley (who spent 2 hours daily in prayer)

“Prayer is where the action is." John Wesley

"Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still." E.M. Bounds

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." A.T. Pierson

“I have seen many men work without praying, though I have never seen any good come out of it; but I have never seen a man pray without working.” James Hudson Taylor

"A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men." Leonard Ravenhill

"We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results." R. A. Torrey

"God is not the author of boredom - especially when we are conversing with Him." Daniel Henderson

"Prayer is dangerous..." Eugene Peterson

"Prayer is the most-often talked about, but the least practiced discipline in the Christian life." Daniel Henderson

"I would rather teach one man to pray than ten to preach." Charles Spurgeon

"Prayerlessness is my declaration of my independence from God." Daniel Henderson

And now, for a story or two on the power of prayer:

"In 1857 there were 30,000 men idle on the streets of New York. Drunkenness was rampant, and the nation was divided by political issues. God raised up a praying businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier. On September 23, 1857 he began a noontime prayer meeting on Fulton Street in the Financial District of Manhattan. Out of a city of 1 million people, six people showed up a half hour late.
The group decided to meet the next week and there were 14. The next week there were 23. The following week there were 40. Within weeks there were thousands of business leaders meeting daily.
God moved so powerfully that the prayer meeting spread across the nation.
Newspapers reported that over 6,000 were attending various prayer meetings in New York, and 6,000 in Pittsburgh. Daily prayer meetings were held in Washington, D.C. at 5 different times to accommodate the crowds. Other cities followed the pattern. Soon, a common mid-day sign on business premises read, "We will re-open at the close of the prayer meeting". By May, 50,000 of New York's 800,000 people were new converts
It is estimated that nearly 1 million people were converted out of a national population of 35 million, including 10,000 weekly conversions in New York City for a season."

And here is another story linking prayer and revival:

"In Wales in 1904 a revial began with Evan Roberts praying. Seventeen men began to pray with him and committed themselves to these four principles: 1) you must confess every known sin to God; 2) you must remove every doubtful habit from your life; 3) you must obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting; and 4) you must go public with your witness of Christ.
In this revival, thirty-seven thousand people were saved in one month and one hundred thousand in five months. Colleges closed down, and students marched, singing and praising God on their way to prayer meeting. For a time, crime came to an end—there were no more murders, robberies, rapes and burglaries. This revival also spread to America."

When I read these stories of prayer and revival in the past, I ask myself, "Can it happen again?" And the answer I recieve is in the form of more questions: "Has God changed? Have His promises changed?" The answer to the first question is "YES" and the answer to the second two questions is "NO".


Join me in praying for revival. Revival in our hearts. Revival in our families. Revival in our churches. Revival in our neighborhoods. Revival in our towns. Revival in our counties. Revival in our states. Revival in our country. Revival in the world. It can happen, but it will not happen without prayer.

On my knees,
Pastor Dave

Monday, August 16, 2010



Last night, (Sunday, August 15, 2010), our church met for our weekly prayer meeting, which we call "Fresh Encounters". It was the highest attended prayer meeting since we started this about two months ago. There were about 30 people there.

Now, 30 sounds like a lot, and it is....but Sunday morning...just a few hours earlier on the same day we had about 90 for our morning service. Only one third came back to pray together.

What has happened to the prayer meeting?

I read in Acts 1:14 "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."

They ALL joined together in prayer. Not 10%, not 25%, not 33%, not 50%, not 75%...but they ALL joined together in prayer. Now that got me thinking, and please, don't misunderstand what I'm about to say here, because I LOVE Loma Rica Baptist Church where I pastor, but if we were the first church, it is obvious that the passage would instead have read, "And one third of them joined together constantly in prayer." How sad.

I hear all the time that people wish the church was more like it used to be in the early days of the church. That they wish church was more like it was in the book of Acts. Well, truthfully, I don't think most people know what they are asking for when they make this type of statement, but the bottom line is, we are the church. If the church is not what it should be, then whose fault is it?

I really believe that one of the major problems of the church is that they don't meet for corporate prayer, seeking the face of God together. Think about it. If we were to travel in time for just a moment, and if you or I were part of the early church there, would you have been there? Would I have been there? No fair using the excuse that of course you would have been because that's where the Christians were back then...based on our prayer habits today....would we have been there?

I hear from every corner of Christianity today that we want to see revival in America, that we want to see a move of God, that we want to see the Holy Spirit poured out on the church, and yet what do we do to prepare the way?

Those words "joined together" means unanimously...they were all for it! Think about that for a moment. Can you imagine what it would be like for everyone who goes to your church (or mine) to join together, unanimously in prayer? GLORY TO GOD THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!!!

Verse 14 also says that they joined together "constantly". Other translations use the following words: "steadfastly" (AMP), "continued" (KJV), "devoting" (ESV). Now we have to ask ourselves, do any of those words describe the prayer life you have with your church? If not, why not? Is this not the example set before us? Now stay with me here, while we unpack this word "constantly" a bit more. The word, "constantly" is a combination of two greek words, one (en) meaning to “have hold, use” and the other (proskartereo) meaning o be earnest towards, to persevere, be constantly diligent, or to attend assiduously all the exercises, or to adhere closely to - attend (give self) continually (upon), continue (in, instant in, with), wait on (continually).

When you put that all together you have a description of prayer that is energetic and muscular...it is having a tight hold of prayer...and persevering in prayer, being earnest in prayer, and continuing in prayer.

Our biggest problem with prayer in the church is that we have developed into such a "me" churh. We want what we want and we don't want to have to coninue in anything, much less persevere...oh no, that would require time, sacrifice, and that really bad word: commitment. We want McChurch! We put in our order for a little McSermon, heavy on the grace, but light on the doctrine and commitment please. We will take a small serving of McPrayer, but super-size the blessings please!

I want to encourage you to be men and women of prayer. I want to encourage any pastors who are reading this to become pastors who pray! The church will never rise higher in prayer than where the pastor is. If the pastor is small in prayer, so the church will be.

I wasn't always so fired up about prayer, but I went to a "Prayer Summit" put on by Daniel Henderson through his ministry, "Strategic Renewal". I will post the link to his website at the bottom of this entry, and tomorrow I will share a little about what others have had to say about prayer, and some stories of prayer meetings throughout history.


If you find Daniel Henderson is conducting a prayer summit anywhere near where you can get to, my advice to you is: GO! Churches, if your pastor wants to go to a prayer summit, let me just say that you should encourage him and pay for his way and for his wife to go as well...you, as a church, will reap blessings from having a pastor who is convinced of the need and the power of prayer.

Praying for all who will read this,
Pastor Dave

Sunday, August 15, 2010



I got my first job when I was 12 years old. I became a paperboy. It was my job to deliver over 50 copies of The Hanford Sentinel newspaper every afternoon (except on Sundays-there was no paper on Sunday). If you are reading this and you have no idea what a paperboy is...well, go ask someone who is older because I don't have the time to explain it to you here.

I found myself pushing myself on this job. Nobody made me do it, but there was something in me that made me try to be the best paperboy I could. I tried to porch every paper. I tried to see how fast I could roll my papers and get them delivered. I set a record and continually tried to break that record. While a paper route is not what I would call a hard job, I will say that I worked hard at it.

Three years later, a the age of 15 I went to work for the same newspaper in the Circulation Department. I was one of many who inserted the ads into the paper, as well as the separate sections (section B, C, etc.), when there was one. I also eventually helped bundle the papers, fill newspaper racks and deliver the bundles of papers to the houses of the paper boys (and paper girls). As with my paper route, I also pushed myself at this job. I began to "race" with others who were inserters to see how fast we could insert 25, 50, 100 or more papers. I would try and finish my delivery of the bundles and the filling of the racks in record time. As with the paper route, I don't think the job I had was hard work, but I did work hard at it.

While I think that some of that desire to work hard at the job I was given is due to the instruction I received from my Dad while growing up, what I think continued to drive me on to work in that way was the satisfaction I got out of it. It always felt good when I was done...especially if I was a little "spent" once it was over, and even more so if I had broken a personal record.

All of that crossed my mind briefly while I was reading this passage in Acts. Acts 1:12-14 "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. THEY ALL JOINED TOGETHER CONSTANTLY IN PRAYER, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." (emphasis added)

The way I see this is that if they were "joined together constantly in prayer" they must have been praying HARD! Why is it that too often, the least attended meeting of the church is the prayer meeting? The prayer room was the delivery room for the birth of the church! The church was born during a prayer meeting!

I realize that some of the problem is the kind of prayer meetings we have had. I've been to some of "those" prayer meetings, so I get it.

But hasn't god promised to "show up" when we pray? Has the Spirit not moved in mighty ways in prayer meetings of the past? Is God dull and boring? Then if our prayer meetings are that way the reason is not God...the reason is US! We don't desire deep communication, deep communion, on a deep spiritual level.

But it shouldn't be that way. If God's people will join together, to seek the face of God, the face of the ALMIGHTY, the face of ADONIA, the face of ELOHIM, the face of EL SHADDAI, the face of JEHOVAH, the face of I AM, He says He will meet us...and He will hear us...and He will be with us!

Is anything better than that? Oh that the people of God would start to seek the face of God before we approach Him for His hand.

This is praying hard. There is much satisfaction in being "spent" for God in prayer. There is a strengthening of your relationship with the Lord, a boldness that will come in sharing your faith, and a love for the brothers and sisters like never before. How can you not be changed after you encounter the living God in prayer!

Charles Spurgeon wrote, "We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general until the prayer meeting occupies a higer place in the esteem of Christians."

I'll write more about praying in the blog tomorrow, but for now I want to leave you with these passages.

Colossians 4:2 "Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving."

1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];"


Praying for you this morning,
Pastor Dave

Sunday, August 8, 2010



Nothing strikes fear in the heart of most believers than this one word:

Witnessing! I can hear the shrieks in my head as you read this word. It conjours up sermons from the past that produced guilt because you didn't leave a tract at McDonalds, that you have not shared your faith with your neighbor, and that you still have not memorized the Roman Road verses. It brings to mind those strange people that carry signs by the road side, or the ones that go around your neighborhood knocking on doors, invading the private homes of people they don't even know.

Believe me...I can feel your fear. I have been there. Fear of witnessing...of sharing your faith is very real...and very common.

But it shouldn't be.

I think often that the reason for much of our fear is two-fold.

One: We think witnessing is something that it isn't. We feel that whe have to have a degree in greek and hebrew and that we have to be able to answer any and every question that someone throws at us.

Two: We have bought the lie that we don't know how to be a witness.

I want to offer you some ideas, some thoughts of mine that just might relieve you of your fears and release the inner-witness inside of you.

First of all, if you know the Lord as your Savior, then you are a witness. You see, being a witness is not something you do, it is something you are. If Jesus has changed your life, brought you from darkness to light, from lost to found, from dead to alive, then you are a witness to what He has done in your life.

Second, a witness does not have to have a degree in anything. If you are called to be a witness at a trial, you don't have to go to law school. You simply have to testify to what you have seen and heard. When it comes to being a witness for Christ, it's the same thing. All we have to do is testify to what we have seen and heard. You may not know all the ends and outs of theology. There are people that use big words to impress people, but we are called to be a witness and you don't need to have a degree to be a witness of anything...you just tell what you have seen and heard, and experienced.

Third, you don't have to have all the answers to every question you will get asked. In fact, there is no way you will have the answers to every question you are asked, and even if you did, some people wouldn't believe the answer anyway.

Fourth, don't think you are the one that is responsible for the salvation of anyone...because you're not. That's the job of the Holy Spirit. Don't worry if you might say something wrong...in fact, let me assure you of this, you probably will say something wrong, but it's not about you, how well you speak, how good you look, how smooth your voice soungs, or how convincing of a case you make...you and I just need to be obedient, and let the Holy Spirit do His thing...after all, He's much better at it than we are.

So remember when you wake up tomorrow, when you go to work tomorrow, when you go shopping, go to school or go get your hair cut....you are a witness. We're not called to be the judge, jury, executioner or a super salesman. Just share what happened to you....share WHO happened to you.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Pastor Dave



I finished reading "Dug Down Deep" by Joshua Harris yesterday. I have come away with a very high level of respect for Joshua Harris and a conviction that everyone who calls himself a Christian should read this book.

As a pastor, one of the things that I am aware of is that we are raising a generation of biblically illiterate believers. The sub-title of the book by Joshua Harris is "Unearthing What I Belive and Why It Matters."

What we believer will determine how we act, and sadly, many believers have no clue as to what they really believe.

While the word "deep" is in the title, the book itself is not a deep theology book, and Harris acknowledges that. In fact, if you don't generally like theology type books, I think you will enjoy this one...consider a theology book for people who don't like theology. You may not even consider yourself a theologian at all, but as Harris states in the first chapter, "We're all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true."

But just because it is not deep, does not mean that it is not good. In fact, it is very good. Harris weaves autobiographicaly stories along with sound theology, making the book not only readable, but memorable as well. While I have read "deeper" books on the subjects Harris addresses, I have not read about theology in more entertaining, while still thought provoking way.

Some of the subjects Harris tackles are God, the Bible, Jesus, the death of Jesus, redemption, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, the church....and humble orthodoxy. In my opinion the chapters on the Holy Spirit and the church are worth the price of the book all by themselves.

But don't take just my word on it...here is what some others have to say about the book:

J. I. Packer: “Via vivid autobiography, Pastor Harris takes readers on a personal journey into the biblical theology that, belatedly, he found he could not manage without. A humbling, compelling, invigorating read.”

John Piper: “When the apostle Peter says, ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…casting all your anxiety on Him,’ he implies that humble people are fearless. They have the courage to stand up for truth humbly. I love the term ‘humble orthodoxy.’ And I love Josh Harris. When they come together (Josh and humble orthodoxy), as they do in this book, you get a humble, helpful, courageous testimony to biblical truth.”

Joni Eareckson Tada: “More than forty years of quadriplegia has underscored to me the matchless value of knowing—really knowing—the doctrines of the Christian faith. Dug Down Deep reveals how biblical doctrine provides a pathway to understanding the heart and mind of God. If you’re looking for ‘that one book’ that will push you farther down the road to faith than you’ve ever journeyed before, Dug Down Deep is it. I highly recommend it!”


Get "Dug Down Deep" and get your spiritual shovel out...you'll need it.

Pastor Dave

Saturday, August 7, 2010



Free? Really? Nothing is free, right? Well, that is what my Dad always told me, and in some ways he was right, even concerning this.

Let me try and explain here.

I have been blogging for awhile now (4 years), but have not been very regular at it. I have learned the truth in what someone once told me, “Starting a blog is much easier thank keeping a blog going.” But I have been very moved by the Lord to jump start my blog and to post on a daily basis. Now, I know I might miss a day or two, but it is my desire to now share with you…whoever you might be…what the Lord is teaching me these days, so missed day will be the exception, rather than the rule.

In order to try and increase the readership of my blog, I am going to give away three books. The titles and descriptions are listed below.

On August 31, I will draw the names of three people and they can win the book of their choice. I will send the book to the winners with no cost to them…I will cover the postage.

That’s right. No cost to you. Nada. Zip. Nothing.

Well, then again, that is not entirely true. It will not cost you any money, but it will cost you a tiny bit of effort on your part.

Here’s the deal. The three drawings will be from these three areas:

One: Followers of the blog. If you choose to follow the blog, then I will draw a name from all of those who are followers and they will win a book. Even if you are already a follower of the blog you will still be put in for this drawing.

Two: Comments posted. If you post a comment on the blog itself (not on the facebook post of the blog, but on the blog post itself), your name will be put in for a drawing for a book. On this one, only comments from today’s post and forward will count. And yes, a comment on this post counts. For every comment you post, your name will be entered, the more you comment, the more chances you have to win. One special note here: All comments have to be approved by me, so no spam, no rude comments, and no generic comments (“Hi, read your blog.” and stuff like that.).

Three: If you refer someone to the blog and they become a follower, you will be entered for a drawing. So if you refer someone to the blog and they become a follower they will need to send me an email to let me know who referred them, or they can let me know in a comment, and that way they get put in for the comment drawing and for the drawing for being a follower, and you will be put in for the drawing for referring a follower to the blog.

In fact, some can have their name put in for all three. If you are a follower, you are entered in a drawing! If you leave a comment on a post, you are entered in a drawing! If you refer someone to the blog and they become a follower, you are entered in a drawing!

Once the names are drawn, I will contact the winners. They will give me their first, second and third choices for the books they want. First one to respond back, wins the first book of their choice, second one will win the first book of their choice that is left, and same for the third.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at: pastor_dave2004@yahoo.com

And now: here are the books:

A TALE OF TWO SONS by John MacArthur


Charles Dickens. William Shakespeare. Garrison Keillor. They're all part of the chorus of literary geniuses who expressed admiration for The Parable of the Prodigal Son as outstanding literature. After all, it is a powerful drama, rich in detail, powerfully succinct, and intensely personal. But beyond the literary critiques-besides being one of the most celebrated written works of all time-the message of this parable is one we can't afford to ignore.
In The Prodigal Son, John MacArthur takes the story back to its roots, when Jesus' words were absolutely revolutionary. As one of America's most beloved Bible teachers, MacArthur leads us through the minefields of interpretation and restores the simple yet profound brilliance of this passage. Giving engrossing historical background, The Prodigal Son will reveal Christ's original message as intended for the Pharisees, the disciples, and the world today.
Gain an enlightening perspective into the prodigal son's story and embrace God's love anew with The Prodigal Son.

About the Author
John MacArthur, the author of numerous best-selling books that have touched millions of lives, is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and president of The Master's College and Seminary. He is also president of Grace to You, the ministry that produces the internationally syndicated radio program Grace to You and a host of print, audio, and Internet resources. He authored the notes in the Gold Medallion Award-winning The MacArthur Study Bible. For more information, contact Grace to You at 1-800-55-GRACE.



From Publishers Weekly:
This first book by Tomlinson, a management consultant, is a perfect fit for the booming spirituality market, particularly for enthusiastic, evangelical 20- and 30-something audiences. He begins his personal musings with a simple thesis: it is too easy to become a “comfortable Christian” and we must always search for ways to express our active devotion to God and Jesus Christ. This premise is not particularly innovative, but his writing style is straightforward and personally honest. The author acknowledges his own struggles with pride while retelling, often with humor, his only-too-human attempts to reach lofty spiritual goals such as charity and purity. Every chapter opens with vivid and iconic imagery—a spoon, a bit of floss, a pager—tangible symbols throughout the book for more abstract ideas like obedience, joy, and comfort. In sum, the product is endearing and inspiring, especially appealing to young, male evangelicals. One chapter specifically devoted to the intersection of his spirituality and military service will also draw the interest of Christian men and women in the armed forces. Tomlinson’s debut leaves room for future development while it meets the expectations of readers and the genre as a whole; he is worth watching.

"Chris Tomlinson addresses the noblest and most necessary question in the most disarming style. It is the theme which engaged the best thoughts of writers from Augustine to Pascal to C.S. Lewis. That question seeks to explore what Pascal called the 'God-shaped vacuum': How do we satisfy our hunger for God? No mortal can answer the question with finality. But this book takes us a long way in the right direction." --Ronnie Collier Stevens, Pastor, Danube International Church, Budapest, Hungary

"Chris Tomlinson possesses a skill rare in Christian writing today: a clean, clear, powerful perspective. Crave is deftly written, with a sneaky comedic sense, but what sets Chris apart is his heart. He'd never say it himself, but he has a lot to teach, and we have a lot to learn." --Jordan Green, Editor-In-Chief, Burnside Writers Collective

"In this creative blend of autobiography and devotional, Chris Tomlinson paints for us a Christ who satisfies our cravings for himself. An inspiring work from a gifted and anointed writer." --Christian George, Author of Godology, Sex, Sushi, and Salvation, and Sacred Travels

"Part autobiography, part theological musing, Chris talks about God in a very personal and compelling manner in Crave. His message is clear and told through the introspective and often hilarious experiences of his own life: that God is great and should be praised. An engrossing read that not only had me laughing out loud but also thinking about my own personal beliefs, even from an atheist’s perspective." --Andy Wang, Friend and Atheist

"Tired of fluffy books on the spiritual life? Chris Tomlinson has written a biblical, God-centered antidote. Crave takes us on a frank and honest journey through the challenges of the Christian walk in today's world. It is at once a wise, practical, and readable guide, useful for those who recognize spiritual mediocrity in themselves but want to grow beyond it." --Duane Litfin, President, Wheaton College



From Publishers Weekly:
The hit sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica meets the New Testament in the new novel by Gregory (Dinner with a Perfect Stranger). In the year 2088, Christian missionary Abigail Caldwell leaves her New Guinea village to seek help for fellow villagers, who have all been stricken by a mysterious disease. A message from her grandfather, an American neuroscientist who is the co-inventor of a silicon brain replacement, draws her to America, where religion has died out. Abby joins forces with a historian who has a connection to Abby's family as they investigate the death of her grandfather and face the spiritual implications of transhumanity—humans with replacement silicon brains that promise eternal life but make impossible personal connection with God. The plotting is intricate and imaginative, and the religious elements go beyond formula, though the political intrigue plot thread is less convincing. Gregory's approach is fresh, and he's produced a page-turner.

Product Description:
In the future, it’s possible to live forever—but at what cost?

A.D. 2088.

Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.

But a larger threat looms. The world's leading artificial intelligence industrialist has perfected a technique for downloading the human brain into a silicon form. Brain transplants have begun, and with them comes the potential of eliminating physical death altogether—but at what expense?

As Abby navigates a society grown more addicted to stimulating the body than nurturing the soul, she and Creighton Daniels, a historian troubled by his father's unexpected death, become unwitting targets of powerful men who will stop at nothing to further their nefarious goals. Hanging in the balance—the spiritual future of all humanity.

In this fast-paced thriller, startling near-future science collides with thought-provoking religious themes to create a spell-binding "what-if?" nove

Ok, so get to commenting, following and referring.

Hope to see ya there, or in the air.
Pastor Dave

Friday, August 6, 2010




A word that we use so casually....we say that we love pizza, we love our dog, we love football and we love our spouses...and each time we use the word, it means something different. It is the most covered subject in all of music. Just imagine a world where there were no songs about love. Yet, even there the word is used casually, without any real thought to the meaning, and often it is is sung without the singer even experiencing what they are singing about. Many musicians and artists have gone through multiple spouses and / or partners that they live with, all the while singing great songs that move us emotionally about love, but that they themselves have never experienced.

Even the Beatles sang, "All you need is love, love is all you need." And then they broke up and sued each other multiple times in the years that followed the recording of that anthem to love from the sixties.

Yes, indeed we use the word "love" so very, very caually in our culture.

But there was nothing casual about the love of Christ.

John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

His was the greatest love that has ever existed.

No one can really question the love exhibited by the Son of God. He who gave His life so that you and I might live forever. He who gave His body at the whipping post. He who shed His blood for an uncaring world and a generation of perverts. he who left His home in heaven and came to a world of sinners who rejected Him and nailed Him on a cross. He who in love cried out to the Father, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." He who bowed His head in shame and suffering and then died for a world who hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him.

That is love.

That is a love unlike any other.

There is no one who will read this (including myself) who would do tht for a world of people who do not care.

He did for you. He died for me. He died for us.

Because He loves you. Because he loves me. Because He loves us.

Because He IS LOVE!

But what gets me is that after this love has been discovered by so many people, after they have embraced Jesus as their Savior, after they have have recieved the gift of eternal life, then so often they...no, WE, WE (myself included), have the audacity, the arrogance, to indulge willfully in sin, to entertain ourselves with wickedness, to excuse or trivialize sin and neglect meeting together for worship and prayer. How sad is that!

I'm reminded of the verse in the book of Revelation, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me."

This verse is usually used in the context of someone who does not know Jesus and explaining to them that Jesus is wanting to come into their life, and to be their Lord and Savior...and while I have no problem when people use this verse in that way, that is not the context or purpose of this verse.

This verse, which is Revelation 3:20, is Jesus talking to a church! Do we realize the implication here? Maybe this can be applied to our church...or to break it down on a personal level...to us! Quite possibly Jesus has been left on the outside of our church services! It is possible that He has been left on the outside of our lives! This is what happens whenever the people of God leave behind their first love. Whenever they begin to love their position, prosperity, and programs more than they love Jesus. It happens whenever they love their time, their stuff, their things, their hobbies, their movies, their tv shows, their music more than they love Jesus. When that happens Jesus is on the outside saying, "Hey! Let me in! I want to eat with you. I want to share a meal...to be intimate with you." And we cannot hear Him knocking over the sound of our tv, movies, music, stuff, and most of all over the sound of our own selfish desires. We have invited Jesus into our hearts, but we want Him out of our lives.

We read in Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."


Now this is love people! Oh, I know it's not pretty, but real love is not pretty, it's messy. Real love winds up getting it's hands messy. It's dirty...sweaty...bruised...and yes, pierced. That is real love.

You see, Jesus didn't love me once I got it all together....He loved me when I was a mess! He didn't love me so that I could get it all together either! I've been following Jesus now for about 26 years, and I still don't have it all together...in fact, the more I follow Jesus, the more I realize just how much I don't have it all together. Jesus loved me, loves me, and will continue to love me so that I can have His "togetherness".

Let us love.

Let us show love.

Let us BE love.

Let us BE Jesus.

I know that I have a long way to go...but my goal, with each step I take, and with each breath I breathe...is to be more like Jesus...to love more like Jesus.

Hey, I've got a wild idea...why don't you join me?

Pastor Dave

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"To Do" List

My main employment history is in the area of retail. I got my first job at the age of 15 (which was not in retail, but in the Circulation Department of my local newspaper), but since that first job I have worked for eight different retail business, either in sales or in management. One of my more enjoyable jobs was working for Walgreens.
I was in their management training program, and generally was the swing shift manager at the location I worked at. When I first began the program, the manager and/or executive assistant manager would leave a "to do" list of things to be done each day. I would bust my butt trying to get that list done each night. Part of what you did was delegate jobs to the other employees...and I was determined to get the list done each night. Each day the list kept getting longer and longer until finally, I just could not get everything done. I went to the manager and apologized to him. He just laughed. I thought, "What the heck is so funny here?" And then he explained it to me. The "to do" list was put up so that the people working the shift would not run out of things to do...it was never meant to be a list that they expected to get done every night. When he would come in each morning and see that the list was done, he would make it longer the next day so that we would not run out of things to do.

I was thinking about this when I was reading Acts 1:1-2 "In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving INSTRUCTIONS through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen." (Emphasis added).

Notice that Jesus gave us some instructions...a "to do" list if you will. What was it? You can find it very clearly listed in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

Now the list is not long...or is it. This list was given around 2,000 years ago, and it is still not finished. As long as there is one person who has not heard the message of salvation that is found in Christ, the job is not finished. I pastor a small but growing church, but we have not grown enough...in fact we will never grow enough. As long as there is one more person who needs to be ministererd to, as long as there is one more broken heart to be healed, as long as there is one more lost soul to be found, as long as there is one more hurting person to be comforted, as long as there is one more person who needs Jesus our church is not done growing.

But this "to do" list does not just include salvation of the lost, but also discipleship. I'm all for evangelism, but I'm also for discipleship. It is not "either, or" but both...both of these are on the "to do" list that Jesus left. Many churches are doing ok on the salvation end, but poorly on the discipleship end. For too many churches we get 'em saved, dunk 'em, throw them at the wall, and if they stick, cool, if not, oh well, we just move onto the next one so we can carve another notch in our Bible. This is not the way it is supposed to be. Salvation and discipleship are two sides of the same coin.

Even in our little church we have several ministries and programs going on...but we struggle with an ongoing discipleship program...and that means that the "to do" list remains unfinished.

What about you? How are you doing with discipleship? Does that part of your life remain unfinished?

Do we hear the cry all around of us "unfinished"?

The mission field cries out "unfinished"!

The voices of your neighbors cry out, "unfinished"!

Some of your family members cry out, "unfinished"!

Maybe even your own soul is crying out, "unfinished"!

Taking the good news to those who need it...and discipling those who recieve it...that is the "to do" list of the church....how are you doing with it?

So, just how do we accomplish this?

Well, following the example of Jesus is a good way to start, since He is the one who left us the list in the first place. Let's look again at Acts 1:1-2, only this time we will put the emphasis on a couple of other words:

“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began TO DO and To TEACH until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen."

As the Church, we must DO and TEACH. If we want to impact our nation, we must DO and TEACH. If we want to impact our state, we must DO and TEACH. If we want to impact our towns, we must DO and TEACH. If we want to impact our families we must DO and TEACH.

Notice that DO comes before TEACH. I think this order is important. Why? Because people will follow what you do before they follow what you teach. We must "do" the gospel. Share our faith. Care for the lost. Genuinely love them. Too often they become a "project"...and people can tell if you really love them, or if they are just a project. I don't know why we hesitate so much to share the good news...we'll share a sale at Targe before we share the fact that we have been redeemed, sanctified, bought with a price, have eternal life, been justified and recieved the righteousness of Christ...and I'm telling you a relationship with Christ and my sins forgiven beats a 12 pack of toliet paper for 1.99 any day!

And then, after we DO the gospel, we need to TEACH the gospel. The gospel is more than just salvation, just as life is more than being concieved...yes life begins at conception, but it does not end there. The same is true of salvation. It begins with being born again, but it does not end there. We have been given the opportunity to live a life of work and worship of the creator of the universe. How cool is that!!!

So, let's get out our "to do" list and get busy. It may not be long, but it is still unfinished...

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Does It REALLY Mean To Follow Christ?

In the last year I have read two books that continue to plague my thoughts. They brought up questions that I cannot answer. They have made me rethink many things that I thought I already knew. The information found in these books continue to roll around in my brain....like a never ending blender, slowing down at times, speeding up at other times, but never, ever shutting off.

The first book was called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.
crazy love

I read this book a year aqo...it bothered me...in a good way. But I guess it didn't bother me enough. I didn't change anything because of the book. I just put the information in my mental blender.

And then a month ago I read another book. "Radical" by David Platt.

If possible, this book bothered me even more than "Crazy Love" did. But again, not enough I guess. I still haven't done anything about what I have read, just went and put in the mental blender.

But now I can't seem to turn the blender off. Questions keep coming to the surface. Questions that I cannot seem to find solid answers to. Maybe that is the problem. Maybe there are no solid answers....but that doesn't mean that there aren't any answers.

So, I thought I would put my questions up here. Maybe someone who reads this can help me with the answers....maybe not. Maybe we'll just have a group of us with more questions than answers....but if the questions won't go away, maybe we can search for the answers, and in the searching, while we might not find an answer, maybe we will BE the answer.

What does it really mean to follow Christ?

Matthew 4:19 (New International Version)
19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

How many REAL "fishers of men" do you know? Does following Jesus mean that you would be a fisher of men if you follow? If you're not fishing for men, are you really following?

Matthew 10:39 (New International Version)
39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

What does it mean to lose your life? How many people who go to church every week, how many pastors have truly lost their life? I'm not talking about physical death, but death to self.

Luke 14:26-27 (New International Version)
26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple

What does this look like? I know what I've been TOLD it means...my love for Jesus in comparison to my family will make what I feel for my family look like hate....but is that REALLY what it means? If so, how does this look in our society? How is it lived out? And the taking up and carrying the cross thing....what does that look like? It's waaaaaaay more than just having to deal with the unpleasent things that come our way...a man in the days of Jesus who was carrying a cross was a dead man...on his way to the execution...so how is that life lived out here? What does it look like?

Matthew 13:44 (New International Version)
44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

And now for the last set of questions for the day....how is the above scripture lived out? If the kingdom is worth EVERYTHING...why do we spend more time entertaining ourselves than we do advancing the kingdom? Why do we spend more money on ourselves than we do advancing the kingdom?

Ok...that's enough for one post...but I have more questions...and maybe I'll post more later...but it all boils down to this:

What does it REALLY mean to follow Christ? Do you know? Do you know anyone who TRULY follows Jesus?

Stil rolling the questions around in my mind....
Pastor Dave

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ice Cream Lessons

Today I enjoyed one of the good things in life. A vanilla ice cream cone, dipped in chocolate.


I had my first chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cone at a little roadstand burger joint between Lemoore and Armona in central California with my grandpa when I was just an itty bitty dude. Since that time I have been hooked. But as good as they are, and as much as I like them...well, let's just say that there is a time and place for them....and driving in the car while trying to merge onto the freeway is neither the time or the place.

If you've ever had one of these heavenly ice cream delights you will know exactly what I'm talking about and I bet you will be smiling as I describe to you what happened. If you've never had one, well, hopefully you will still get what this blog is going to be about, but you won't get the full effect.

Anyway, while driving and trying to merge onto the freeway, my delicious chocoloate dipped vanilla ice cream cone turned evil on me. It did what they always do, which is kinda cool when you're a ten year old boy eating at a picnic bench with your grandpa...but not so cool while trying to merge into traffic at about 65 miles an hour.

The ice cream began to melt and run down the cone....and then onto my hand...getting my hand all sticky. I tried to steer with my knees, while wiping my hand with a napkin...and then a big piece of chocolate broke off and fell onto my lap somewhere, so I looked down trying to find it.

Not a good idea.

There's a reason why you're not supposed to take your eyes off of the road.

While you are trying to find the chocolate before it melts and leaves a stain that will be there until Jesus comes back, the chocolate has moved from your lap to the seat and your car has just merged into the lane next to you while there is still a car occuping the lane next to you there. Now as we all know it is impossible for two cars to occupy the same space...one must move...or the two cars will become as one...and that is not a good thing.

While all this is going on, and I'm still looking for the rapidly melting chocolate I happen to turn the cone upside down....and get some vanilla ice cream in my lap. So now here I am, a sticky, melty, chocolate mess, as well as a bit on edge having almost caused a pile-up on the freeway.

Thankfully, everything ended up fine. I finished the ice cream cone, the chocolate wound up on the floor mat, the ice cream in my lap was easy to clean up and some handi-wipes took care of the rest.

So what is the point of this blog...well, other than the very good lesson that you should not eat a chocolate covered vanilla ice cream cone while driving on the freeway?

The point is a little three letter word.


Yep. Sin.

You see, the chocolate covered cone is kind of like sin. It looks good. We've had it before and it tasted fine. But once the newness begins to wear (melt) off, you're left with a mess. And unlike the ice cream cone mess, you cannot make everything better with a handi-wipe.

In fact Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death..." And sin always pays its wages. Every sin we commit results in death. Death of trust. Death of health. Death of innocence. Death of a marriage. Death of relationships. Death of friendships. Death of a job. Death of life. And the worse....eternal death.

Sin looks good...and honestly, for a little while it is pleasing and pleasurable. But then the chocolate coating begins to melt...and it gets messy. One addiction leads to another. One lie leads to a lifetime of habitual lies. One broken relationship leads to a string of broken relationships and hardened hearts. What started out as pleasing and pleasurable winds up a mess.

You know one of the "funny" things about my chocolate covered ice cream story is that it was not the first time it had happened. I had done this before. But this time I told myself it would be different. I was more experienced. I was more mature. I talked myself into something that I knew from experience was a bad idea.

We do the same with sin. "One last time", we tell ourselves. "I can handle it this time", we say. "This time it will be different" we lie to ourselves.

Sin cannot be managed, excused, coddled, trivialized or played with. It must be dealt with...it must be hated. It must repulse us. We need to move from being sin-sick to sick of sin.

And there is only one way to do that. The same verse in Romans that tells us that sin pays its wages also says, "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Oh man, you gotta love that! Eternal life!!! Wooo-hooo! Now there's something to shout about!

But how does that help us deal with sin in the here and now? Read it again...."but the gift of God is eternal life IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD." Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, once we have comitted to following Jesus with our lives, we are IN CHRIST...and not in sin. We have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to help us combat sin. We are no longer identified as sinners, but as children of God! I understand that we will still struggle with sin. We will even still sin...but we are no longer on sin's payroll. We have been forgiven and cleansed from our sin. While it is true that we will never be sinless before we are untied with Jesus, we will sin less. We are set free from sin. When sin calls, I don't have to answer the phone any longer. When sin comes knocking at my door I don't have to open it. I am so grateful to Jesus for this. It took me years to appreciate this part of my relationship with Him. But I am so glad that sin no longer has a hold on me. Thank you Jesus, for dying for me, for saving me, and for keeping me safe....even when I'm making a chocolate covered vanilla ice cream mess.

Ok, that's all for now.
Pastor Dave

Friday, April 9, 2010

God is God

I have been reading through the book of Isaiah the last few days, specifically chapters 42 through 55, and I've been working my yellow highlighter overtime. There is so much great stuff in this book. Of course, that could be said about every book in the Bible, but I guess that even though I have read Isaiah several times, this time it was different. This time, the place I am in my life, in my ministry, caused the Lord to use Isaiah in a different way.

I noticed that over and over again God keeps telling us that there is no one like Him. Chapter 43:11 "I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior." Chapter 44:6;8;22 "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god....Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any." Chapter 45:5-6 "I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God...I am the Lord, and there is no other...Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." Chapter 46:9 "...for I am God and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like me."

I have just begun to realize these past few weeks how much I put before God. There is NO ONE like the Lord...there is NO OTHER GOD...nothing and no one else offers salvation, peace, security and contentment. Maybe I should rephrase that last statement...lots of "things" offer salvation, peace, security and contentment...but God is the only one who can actually deliver on the offer. Everything the world has to offer will let us down...even our friends and family will let us down...but God will always be there for us. Our salvation is secure in Him.

So why do we chase after so much? Why are we a people who must be constantly entertained? Why does the average Christian spend more time watching televison in one day than they will spend in the Word of God all week? Why does culture and popular opinion shape our decision making process more than God?

We have so many Bibles to choos from in this country. Go to any Christian book store and you will find a variety of translations to choose from: KJV, NKJV, NIV, TNIV, ESV, NLT, The Message, The Living Bible, RSV, Amplified and more. On top of that, we have more "types" of Bible than you would ever think we need: There are Men's Study Bibles, Woman's Study Bibles, Army, Navy, and Marine study Bibles. You can choose from the Bible that looks like a magazine, or you can even pick up the comic book Bible. You can find a Bible that looks like a tennis shoe, a Bible with a metal case, and even the duct tape Bible! There are Bibles with special helps for single men and women, married couples, mothers, fathers, and new believers.

Sadly, the most common type of Bible you will find is the one that is not read.

We need to get back to the Word of God. We need preachers who will not follow the flavor of the day, the trend of the moment, the hottest thing on the market, but will open up the Word of God and feed it to their flocks!

The church chases after the things of the world and seeks advice from Oprah and Dr. Phil more than we do from Obadiah and the Apostle Paul! Why? Because our eyes are glued to the televison instead of having our nose in THE BOOK!

Why is it that we get all excited over a multitude of things, but can't muster up even a sparkle of excitement over the Word of God? I've seen Christians get more excited about getting a good parking spot at Wal-mart than they do about finding a life changing verse in the scriptures! I've seen Christians get more worked up over someone pulling out in front of them in traffic than they do about the reality of their friends and family members that are heading for hell!

Why are we not burning for revivial in the church today? Why are we not passionate for the lost? Why are not more of God's people on fire for the Lord? Because you cannot start a fire without fuel...and the Bible is the fuel, but it sits in the container instead of being poured out on the lives of believers where the Holy Spirit will then strike the match to start a blazing inferno!

After reading Isaih, I have been on my knees and face crying out to God for revival, for passion, for a downpour of the Spirit and to see a movement of God in my life, my church, my town, my state and my country.

God I pray that you will rend the heavens and ignite in your people a passion for YOU, for YOUR WORD and for the LOST....may your people begin to realzie that You are the Lord and besides You there is NO Savior.

In His service,
Pastor Dave