Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Defying Gravity

I like to read. I like to read a lot. Over the years, I have found a few authors that I have tried to read everything they write. They have become heroes of the faith to me. Some of them are John MacArthur, Randy Alcorn, Bruce Marchiano, John Piper, Tony Evans, Mark Driscoll, Mark Buchanan, Max Lucado & Joseph Stowell...just to name a few.

This last year I have added a new name to the list: Daniel Henderson
Daniel Henderson

While he has not written a lot of books, the two I have previously read, "Fresh Encounters" and "Pray-zing!" have impacted my life in ways that I cannot describe. All I can say is that I have not been the same after reading them. I have also attended a "Prayer Summit" that Daniel facilitated, and believe that it has been a defining moment in my ministry.

Because of that, when I found out that Daniel had a new book out, I jumped at the chance to get a copy and read it. I was not disapointed, and I don't think you will be either.

The title of the new book is: "Defying Gravity-How to Survive the Storms of Pastoral Ministry".

It is a book that I wish was available to read when I first began pastoring. Of course, that would not have been possible, because the book is new, but the information is extremely valuable and will benefit not only pastors, but anyone in any leadership position, in ministry or in the business world, although I think those in ministry will benefit the most.

Daniel compares the person in leadership or pastoral ministry with a pilot flying a plane. The analogy works very well, and it brings a perspective to the subject matter that is missing in other books on the same subject.

What Daniel writes about has been written about before, but I don’t think I have ever enjoyed reading about it as much as I did reading this book. Much of what he covers would fall under the category of “common sense”. However, since the list of fallen leaders in the church is long, and sadly, growing longer it seems every day, the information presented is vital and needs to be read, absorbed and become a part of the life of pastors and leaders today.

Daniel is often known as the “prayer guy”, and if you have read any of his other books (which I highly recommend), or have been to one of the many Prayer Summits that he facilitates, you know why. This book though is not about prayer, although it is touched upon in the book. This book is about making sure you end the journey intact.

The length of the book is just right. At 179 pages it makes for a fairly quick read, and yet it is long enough to tackle a subject that I have gotten bogged down in while reading lengthier books on the subject. Throughout the book I found myself smiling, nodding in agreement and feeling the need to correct the current course of my ministry. I feel that I am not only a better pastor after having read “Defying Gravity” and putting the information inside to practice, but I am also a better husband, father, friend and brother.

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“…the Enemy does not have to destroy us but simply distract us. Little distractions tolerated over a long period of time result in big disasters.”

“The issue of intimacy with God is core to spiritual health and leadership survival.”

“Our identify should rest securely on the unchanging truth of who we are in Christ.”

“Accountability is not always safe, but it is always worth it.”

The book is filled with facts, but also life stories, including that of the author, who have lived out and experienced the subject matter of the book. This is not a dry academic read, but one that engages you with personal stories, real life anecdotes and quotes from others who have gone before. A few of those quotes reached out and grabbed me, like these from E.M. Bounds:

“To give prayer the secondary place is to make God secondary in life’s affairs.”

“It is better to let the work go by default than to let the praying go by neglect.”

I am not a professional book reviewer by any stretch of the imagination, however I am a pastor, and a fellow brother who is doing his best to follow Jesus. The writings of Daniel Henderson have enabled me to not only continue on this journey in a way that has enhanced my relationship with the Lord, with “Defying Gravity” he has shown me how I can complete the journey in a way that will enable me to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. And in the end, that I what it is all about.

Thank you Daniel, for being obedient to what God has called you to do, for writing this book, and for being a brother....and a friend. I think I need to go check the instrument panel now.

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To- Now, Not To-Later

When our oldest daughter Amie was just a little toddler learning how to speak, she would get upset when she wanted to do something, or she wanted us to do something and we would tell her that we would do it tomorrow, or later.

One day, she expressed her frustration, as only kids can, by mixing up the words today & now and tomorrow & later, when she said with determination in her voice, “No. To-now, not to=later!”

That thought came to my mind when I was reading this verse:

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the
reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

The very first word in this passage, “but” can also be translated “now”.
Now is when we need to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts.
But too often our heart is divided. We are always putting things off until tomorrow. Or after we finish whatever currently has our attention.

But the time to do this is not tomorrow.

Not after the big game.

Not after the audtitions on "American Idol".

Not after your favorite TV show is over.

Not after you get your taxes back.

Not after you get married.

Not after the kids are born.

Not after you retire.

Not after you‘ve done all the sinning you want to do.

Not to-later, but to-now.

We need to be clear on that? When do you set apart Christ as Lord?


Sadly , that’s not how we normally do things…

We say we’re going to start working out when…tomorrow…

We’re going to start eating healthy when…tomorrow…

We’re going to quit smoking when….tomorrow….

We’re going to start saving money when….tomorrow…

We’re going to start reading the Scriptures on a regular basis when…tomorrow….

Peter is telling us now is the day…now is the time.

Carpe diem…seize the day, the moment to set apart Christ as Lord now!!!

The urgency of doing this now hit me even harder when I was at a Prayer Summit a couple of weeks ago and I heard Daniel Henderson talking about this verse:

Ephesians 5:16 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

The word “time” is “kairos” which means a “set time” not “chronos” which means a “space of time” - even years.

You see, Paul is not telling us to make the most of our teen years, our twenties, our thirties, the rest of our life, or the time we are involved in a particular ministry (although we should make the most of those periods of time).

What Paul is saying is make the most of right now. Right now redeem the time. Right now decide to live for Jesus. Right now cash in your life for His. Right now set Him apart in your heart. Right now. The time is now.

Or as my daughter Amie would say, “To-now, not to-later!”

Trying to serve God in the here and now,
Pastor Dave

P.S. You can check out the website of the ministry of Daniel Henderson here: