Thursday, December 1, 2011



While reading 2 Chronicles, chapters 6-15 today, one particular verse jumped out at me. It was 2 Chronicles 7:1 "When Solomon finished praying, fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple."

I read that and paused for just a moment picturing what happened in my mind. I remember thinking..."WOW!" I mean, wouldn't you have wanted to see that! Here you are praying...and then suddenly the fire descends from heaven...consumes your offering...and the glory of the Lord fills the place you are at!!!! I'm serious people, I'm thinking "WHOOOAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!"

And then it hit me...this should be you and me...this should be our church services...our private prayer times...our private worship time...our corporate prayer time...this should be anytime we worship!

I say that because we have the glory of the Lord filling our temple (our body), the fire from heaven (the Holy Spirit) indwells us and should consume us!

But most of the time it doesn't happen. At the very least, if it is happening, somehow, someway, we have turned a blinde eye towards it...or we have become deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to the supernatural presence of the one, true, almighty, all powerful God of the universe!

I don't have all the answers here, but I have begun a journey this week, a journey of losing myself in the Lord, a journey of immersing myself in the Word, a journey of worship, a journey of prayer, a journey of living out the gospel, of not just knowing the gospel, or knowing the Lord, or knowing the Word, but one of walking the gospel, walking with the Lord, walking in the ways of the Word.

I desire, more than any other time in my life to be consumed by the fire of the Lord, to be filled with His presence, to see the glory of the Lord made manifest in my life and in the lives of those around me. I desire to come to worship with my brothers and sisters, rejoicing, expecting, anticipating the glory of the Lord to come fill this place!

If the church, both the individuals and the local gathering, would be consumed by the fire of the Lord, if the offering of our lives was consumed by holy fire from heaven, then those around us would come rushing to find out what is happening!

There is a quote attributed to John Wesley that goes something like this: "Set yourself on fire with passion & people will come for miles to watch you burn.” I have done some research and have found that some say Wesley never said this. Whether he did or not, I do not know, but what I do know is that this quote is very true. But I would like to state it this way instead, "Be set on fire by the Holy Spirit and people will be drawn to the Lord."

Glory come down, and heaven, fill my soul.
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Thought I would keep my thoughts to myself today...but wanted to share with everyone my favorite verses that I read in my daily reading today from the book of Deuteronomy. So read, think, pray and worship as you read these.

Deuteronomy 1:3 "...Moses told the Israelites everything the LORD had commanded him [to say] to them."

Deuteronomy 1:29-33 "So I said to you: Don't be terrified or afraid of them! The LORD your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. And you saw in the wilderness how the LORD your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. But in spite of this you did not trust the LORD your God, who went before you on the journey to seek out a place for you to camp. He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel."

Deuteronomy 4:1 "Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live..."

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 "Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don't forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don't slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren. The day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, 'Assemble the people before Me, and I will let them hear My words, so that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth and may instruct their children."

Deuteronomy 4:29 "But from there, you will search for the LORD your God, and you will find [Him] when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul."

Deuteronomy 4:31 "He will not leave you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your fathers that He swore to them by oath, because the LORD your God is a compassionate God."

Deuteronomy 5:6-9 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 9 You must not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God..."

Deuteronomy 5:11-12 "Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will punish anyone who misuses His name.Be careful to dedicate the Sabbath day, as the LORD your God has commanded you."

Deuteronomy 5:16-21 "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and so that you may prosper in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give dishonest testimony against your neighbor. Do not desire your neighbor's wife or covet your neighbor's house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 "Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Deuteronomy 6:18 "Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that you may prosper and so that you may enter and possess the good land the LORD your God swore to [give] your fathers"

Ok, that's it. No comments from me. Just the Word. Let it speak to you today.

Pastor Dave

Tuesday, November 29, 2011




Reading about faith in Hebrews this morning...and I had some random thoughts that I decided to share on the blog...especially since I haven't posted anything in a long time.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen."

I love this! Faith is the reality of what is hoped for. Who doesn't hope for a better life? Who doesn't hope for something more than this?!?! I remember when the movie "The Goonies" came out. I was an adult, but it struck a chord deep within me, as it did for every other guy I knew who saw it. What "chord" was it? The adventure that we all desired when we were kids!

My buddies and I were always on the lookout for hidden treasure...for and adventure! We grew up, got married, had kids, jobs, responsibilities...and forgot about the great adventure we all wanted to go on...but when I embraced Jesus as my Lord & Savior, I embarked on a great adventure! This was the inner longing I had as a child that had expressed itself in the desire for hidden treasure, for adventure, for discovery!

The faith I have in Jesus is not some weak, wimpy, wishy-washy type of faith...NO! It is the REALITY of what I have always hoped for! When I live out that faith, expressed in worship, in struggle, in temptation, in trials, in the darkest times of my then becomes the "proof of what is not seen."

Hebrews 11:4 "By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain [did]. By this he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through this."

This is my desire. At the time I am writing this I am 54 years old. Now "old" is a subjective word. My kids think I am old. My Dad still thinks I'm a kid. But I know this, at 54, I'm pretty sure I have more years behind me now than I have in front of me. My death is on the way. This body will not make it to the other side...which I'm glad for. I'm looking forward to a new body one day...but between now and then, this verse is one of my most repeated prayers, that after I am gone and with the Lord, that my life, my faith, will live on.

I pray that even though I will be dead, my faith will still speak to those here. This gives me a "big picture" to shoot for. This faith of mine is not all about me, it is about my kids, my grandkids, my great-grandkids, my great-great-grandkinds, my great-great-great- grandkids, and on and on and on. It is about those whose lives I interact with and how my faith may be an instrument that draws them closer to Jesus.

Hebrews 11:8 "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going."

This is so not like us today. We have the Word of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide us to where we should go, and more often than not, we hesitate. We know where God is calling us and we argue and debate the details with Him. We look for loopholes, we try and find hidden meanings in what God is plainly telling us so that we can do what we want in His name, rather than follow Him, regardless of where He is leading. I wonder, would I follow God if He told me to just go north, or go east?

Lord, give me the faith that Abraham to follow you, no matter what.

Ok, so there's that.Pastor Dave

Monday, August 15, 2011


Over the last year or so I have been reading some books that have had a huge impact on my walk with Christ. They have caused me to rethink my commitment to Jesus, what it means to be a Christian, how to live out the Christian faith…what a life totally surrendered to Jesus might look like, and a host of other questions.

Some of these books have been: “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan; “Radical” by David Platt; “Not A Fan” by Kyle Idleman.

Most recently I have just finished the novel, “Courageous” by Randy Alcorn.

This is based on the screenplay of the upcoming movie by the same name. As a pastor, I have been able to see an advance screening of the movie, and as great as the movie is, the book is even better, and has had an even bigger impact on my life than the movie.

All of these books, and the movie, have one theme in common…how can you stay the same after you have encountered Jesus. They may not seem as if they are addressing this issue, but at the core, that is exactly what they are saying.

How can you stay the same after you have encountered the “crazy love” of Jesus? How can you stay the same if you have come into a relationship with this “radical” Jesus? How could you ever be just a “fan” and not a totally committed follower of Jesus after you realize what He has done for you? And how could you not be changed into a “courageous” follower after you have been loved to the cross by this man, who is God in the flesh, Jesus?

Reading John chapter 8 today, these thoughts and more came to my mind, especially when I got down to verse 11.

In John chapter 8 a woman was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus. Now, the first thing that comes to my mind is where was the man? As my Dad used to tell me, “It takes two to tango.” Maybe the man was a Pharisee or a scribe and so they were protecting one of their own. Maybe this woman was a prostitute, so they were trying to get rid of an unwanted person in their society. Whatever the reason, they were one sided in their presentation of their religious beliefs.

Jesus would have none of that.

After he wrote something in the dirt…(ever wonder what He was writing? Maybe it was the name of the scribe or Pharisee that was with the woman)…He answered them with this in verse 7: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Well, that ended that. One by one they left. Until only the woman and Jesus remained. It was after this that He said these words to her in verse 11: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

If I had a nickel for every person who quoted the first part of that statement from Jesus to me, well, I’d be a rich man for sure. Everyone wants the "no condemnation" Jesus, but not to many are ready to embrace the same Jesus that says, "Go, and sin no more."

But it is the second part of the statement that is essential and vital to this dialogue.

“Go and sin no more.”

In essence He was saying, “Go, and leave your old life behind. Go, and walk in a different direction than what you were heading. Go, and follow Me.”

And how could she not do so? After being forgiven by Jesus, how could her life not be changed? How could she continue in the life she once had? After this day, after this encounter, after being saved by Jesus, how could she not now live for Him?

And yet, many professing believers in Jesus seem to do just that.

Far too often, I have found myself doing just that.

No more.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that I can be sinless…but I am saying that I can sin less. I am saying that I can follower Jesus closer. I am saying that I can love Him more.

And after all, isn’t that what it is all about.

Having this crazy love, this radical love, this courageous love, this love that causes me to be a follower and not a fan, of the one who gave His life for me…Jesus.

Will you join me?

Let’s go.

Pastor Dave


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Incarnation


We are currently going over basic doctrines at our Bible study on Wednesday nights. Tonight we will finish up studying the incarnation. This has been one of the most enjoyable for me to teach so far. It has really got my brain and imagination spinning.

It is one BIG HUGE GINORMOUS miracle. The 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus, God the Son, confining and limiting Himself in the womb of a young jewish virgin named Mary. We often think of all the pain and suffering that Jesus went through from the Garden of Gethsemane to Calvary, and yet the incarnation has had me reflecting on the pain and suffering of everyday life that Jesus had to endure because He loved us so much.

It has driven home the fact that His whole life was offered up as a sacrifice for me. His whole purpose for coming was to be offered up as a sacrifice for our sins, to pay the penalty that we could not pay. However, to get to Calvary, the suffering that He had to deal with began long before that night in the Garden.

Even the birthing process is a tramatic part of life for the newborn...and Jesus went through it. He endured stubbed toes and skinned knees. Did he cry the first time he got a splinter from pretending to be a carpenter like His earthly father Joseph? Was He ever made fun of as a child? How many times did the one who formed and fashioned limbs, bones, muscles and nerves trip and fall while He was learning to walk? How often did the One who spoke the sun into existence get sunburned?

I would encourage you to spend some time reflecting on the incarnation and all that it means. I cannot speak for you, but for me, I will never be the same.

Matthew 1:22-23: "Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel ,which is translated "God is with us."

Isaiah 9:6: "For a child will be born for us,a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

The incarnation. Wow. Mighty God indeed!

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Got Vision?


I finished reading the book of Daniel yesterday, and it struck me just how many times the word "vision" was used in the last few chapters. So I did a little search and found that the word "vision" or "visions" was used 31 times in the whole book. That is more than 2.5 times per chapter. Sounds like "vision" in one form or another, is the underlying theme of the book of Daniel.

Daniel was a man of strong conviction, one who saw the big picture and could see beyond his circumstances and the immediate future. As such, I believe Daniel not only was allowed to see visions from God, but that he had a personal vision...he could see clearly that the world around him was not all that there was.

The church today could use some men like Daniel. Not just men of strong conviction, men who would be willing to stand up to the ways of the world so much that they would be willing to be thrown into a den of lions, but men (and women) of vision.

There are more than one Hebrew word that has been translated as "vision" in the book of Daniel, but the one I want to focus on is used in chapter ten. It is the word "ma-raw" which means "looking glass". The term "looking glass" has two meanings. The first is: mirror. The second is: with normal or familiar circumstances reversed.

It's the second definition of looking glass, or vision that I want us to look at.

Normal or familiar circumstances reversed.

We need some men and women of God who are willing to see things that are not normal, who are willing to take a look at what is familiar and reverse it...turn it around.

You see, as I look around at the church I see most beleivers living for the same thing that the world is living for. Nice house, two cars...and maybe a recreational vehicle or two, money for a couple of vacations, a nice retirement and enough money to afford the "normal" entertainment the world delivers - tv, movies, dvds, etc.

Now, there is nothing wrong with any of theses things in and of themselves. But too often I see people, good Christian people who remind me of the lyrics of a Gary Paxton song. The lyrics go like this:

"There goes a cigar smoking a man, There goes a shiny car driving a man."

I meet Christians all the time who seem more interested in keeping their house up, working more hours to pay for their toys, planning vacations until they are stressed to the max...and it seems to me that they aren't buying a house, a house is buying them. They aren't taking a vacation...a vacation is taking them. They aren't playing with their toys...their toys are playing with them. They are entertained to death spiritually, with more knowledge about our plastic culture than about the Word of God.

But after all, they are just normal...they are just natural...but God has called His people to be more than normal...He has called us to be people of vision, to be people who reverse the normal or familiar things, people who are not natural, but supernatural.

I am praying for more men and women who claim the name of Jesus to have a vision that turns this world upside down. More men and women who will look past the homes and the cars and the tv shows and retirement and see eternity...see what they have invested not in this earth, but in the new earth.

I know we need homes, and in our culture a car is more than a luxury, it is a neccessity. I also have no problem with tv and entertainment or taking vacations. The problem is not with having or doing any of those things, the problem is when the things have us and when the things are in control of us. Think about all that you have and then really think hard about what you have that is a neccessity. If you're's kind of scary. We (myself included) have a lot of stuff...but we need very little. After all, when we stand before God and he asks us to give an account of the life He has given us, a life full of His mercy, grace and love...a life that is to be lived out in worship to Him, and in taking the gospel to those around us, do any of us really think we're going to show off our vacation photos or our title deeds as evidence of being good stewards of the gifts He has given us?

I'm not advocating poverty here. I'm advocating vision.

Got vision?

Ok, I need to take a peek in the looking glass.
Pastor Dave

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trembling At The Word

I know quite awhile ago I said I would follow up on the previous post about church, and I never did...but I haven't forgotten about it. It is coming, along with another attempt at posting on a regular basis. Until then, here are some thoughts I have had lately concerning the Bible.

I have been reading a daily devotional lately by John Piper. The only problem with it is that Piper is so good it's hard to read just one devotion per day, but I am trying to contain myself and make it last! This devotional is called "Pierced By The Word".

Piper has a way of making the profound very simple and opening up your eyes to the magnificence and glory of God and His Word...and this little devotional does just that. It has got me to thinking a lot about how we treat the Word in our country...and in our churches.

I have begun to feel as if we have turned the Word of God into just another product for sale. We have so many versions now, and on top of that we have an amazing number of different study Bibles. At my desk as I type this I have within my reach seven different study Bibles from six different translations (yes, I have two copies of one translation, the ESV). When is enough, enough?


I went to one publisher of Bibles...and this is only one of several, Zondervan, and they had a total of 24 different study Bibles! Now don't misunderstand me, I am not sure you can ever have too many Bibles available...but is it possible that we have so many Bibles that we have become complacent to what the Bible really is?

I have found everything from comic book Bibles to one called "The Duct Tape" Bible, which is just what it says, a Bible, where the cover is made up of duct tape! I cannot help but wonder if when Tyndale first began to translate the Word into the english language, could he have ever imagined such a thing?

It makes we wonder if we have forgotten just what the Bible is. This is the Word of God! It does not just contain the Word of God, it IS THE WORD OF GOD!

This little devotional book by Piper has come to open my eyes wider to what I have always known, but have not always experienced, nor have I always lived out what I have know, which is that this book, The Bible, is a HOLY book, a book to be handled carefully, a Book to not just read, but a Book to study, to break down, to make a part of our lives. It is meant to be lived out, applied to our lives, weaved into the fabric of our being, change us, rearange us, mold us, shape us, convict us, inspire us, drive us to our knees and lift us up to heavenly places!

And yet, for most of us it goes unread unless we are in church, and treated as though it were not even as important as a cheap paperback novel.

If you think I'm over reacting, let me share a couple of verses that Piper shares in his book.

Isaiah 66:2 "...This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and TREMBLES at my word". Now seriously, when was the last time you or I, or anyone you know TREMBLED when they read the Word? The word "trembles" means: fearful, reverential or afraid. When we open up this BOOK, we should be aware of just what it is that we are handling. While I understand some of the ways we refer to it, I think that the familiarity with the Bible has caused us some damage when it comes to how we approach it. It is not "the good book" or the "owners manual for life" is the WORD OF GOD! It is God breathed! It has the power to change lives for eternity! This is big stuff people! It is a really big deal!

Another verse that Piper uses and one with which I am very familar with is found in Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 12, where it says: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

What other book can do that? What other book is living and active? What other book penetrates so deeply, so carefully that it can divide the soul and spirits? What other book can judge you thoughts and your attitudes? This is an amazing book. Words cannot begin to describe just what it is that we have in the printed Word of God. It is no wonder that our enemy, Satan, has done all he can to destroy this Book, and now since that has failed, he has turned to destroying our desire for the Book. The church today knows more about the latest season of Survivor than she does about the Word of God. How many people do you know are HUNGRY for the Word?

Thank you John Piper for renewing a passion in me for the Word of God. Thank you for opening my eyes to the incredible depth of this Book. Thank you for making me see that when I open this Book to read, I should not do so casually with one eye on the scriptures and the other on the television...but that this is the Word of the Lord.

May the Holy Spirit convict the church in America today of her complacent attitude toward the Word of God, and may He start with me.

Ok, time to tremble some.
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Up With Church?


Yeah, I thought the sign was kind of funny when I first read it…but I’m not laughing anymore.

I’m not laughing anymore because of a visit I had with a 99 year old saint today.

I’m not laughing anymore, because I no longer see anything funny in the sad fact that more and more it seems as if people who claim the name of Christ; who say that they will abandon all to follow Jesus, and call Him their Lord and Savior, seem to see meeting together with their brothers and sisters, with the body of Christ, the bride of Jesus, as optional.

In the seven years that I have been the pastor at Loma Rica Baptist Church (LRBC), I have heard and seen just about every excuse there is…but there is only one reason for those of us who are called Christians to meet together. We are told to.

In Hebrews 10:24-25 it says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

These two verses tell us some very crucial things about the role the church is to have with itself.

First: We are to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. This shows that while the church may be saved and sanctified, she is also still sinful. While our identity is no longer as sinners, but saints, we still must be encouraged to do what would have come naturally back in the garden…loving and doing good deeds. The author of Hebrews is telling us that we need to encourage one another to love…one of the ways we do that is by having to learn to love people we spend time with that are different than us in many ways and on many levels. We also need to encourage one another to do what we should: to read the Word, to share the gospel, to reach out to the poor and the needy, to be a light in a very dark world.

Two: We are told to not give up meeting together. In simple terms, that means: “Don’t stop going to church.” Whether it’s a home church or a rented high school auditorium, or LRBC, just don’t stop going.

Three: Not only are we to not stop going…but we are to go even more, the closer it gets to the return of Christ. Now, since we are closer today, than we were when the letter was written, we need to ask ourselves a simple question: “Are we meeting together more often than they did then, or less?” Now, I know some may say that this “more often” is in reference to the statement of “encouraging one another”, and this is true, however, that statement itself is said in connection with “not giving up meeting together”. It’s tough to encourage your brothers and sisters that are at a Wednesday night prayer meeting while you’re out bowling that night.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. I recognize that we all live busy lives, and that we have family, homes, vehicles and “stuff” to take care of, but what a shame that we use these blessings that have been given to us by God as an excuse not to meet together. In addition, with all the options that most churches have for meetings, there is no doubt in my mind that all of us could attend at least once per week, and most of us could attend more than that.

For some reason though, we have seen church attendance, meeting together for study, and for prayer as optional. The meeting of the body of Christ has become something many professed believers attend as long as there is not something better to do.

Let me share some personal statistics with you. Our Sunday morning service has about 100 people in attendance every Sunday. Those who know my history with LRBC know how humbled I am by this. It is nothing short of a mighty work of God, and I pray constantly that I will not get in the way of what He is doing.

We also have a Sunday evening prayer meeting, and yep, it is an honest to goodness prayer meeting we call “Fresh Encounters”, inspired by the ministry of Daniel Henderson. You can check out his website here:

Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 8:00 we have a Bible study. The attendance on Wednesday runs about 20 to 30. The prayer meeting attendance is around 10 to 15. This means we experience a drop of 85 to 90% on Sunday evening and 70 to 80% on Wednesday night. Now, I do live in the real world, and so I don’t expect everyone who is there on Sunday morning to make the other meetings, but a drop from 70 to 95% is huge folks!

While I’m not sure why this is the way it is, I have a two thoughts as to why it may be this way.

The first is this: Our prayer and Bible study meetings (we have a Sunday morning all ages Bible study as well, that generally is only attended by about 20% of the people who are there for the “worship” portion of the Sunday service) require more out of you than just showing up. They require participation and attention. Sadly, many want to come and feed on Sunday, but not to come and serve and give on the other nights.

The second is: Believers in the Western church don’t seem to want to meet together if sacrifice is required. If it is hard, or difficult, or requires any extra effort, they just opt out. Of course, it may just be that the lack of commitment to meeting together is just a snapshot of our western culture when it comes to commitment in general.

So, no, I’m not laughing anymore.

I’m not laughing anymore because of a visit I had today with a 99 year old saint. Esther is her name, and she has a brain tumor. She has been going to LRBC faithfully for the last 30 plus years, long before I got there. She will soon be going home to be with Jesus, to worship Him as she never could here. But while visiting her today, she shared two regrets with me.

The first one is that she regretted that she could not remember more Scripture. I laughed with her and told her that I was just glad I could remember to tie my shoes and at her age, anything she could remember would be counted as a success. She could quote quite a bit of Scripture though, but she regretted that she could not quote more.

The second regret is that she knew she would not be able to meet with her brothers and sisters at LRBC again. Oh, she knows she will worship with us again in heaven, and on the new earth one day, but she said she just wished she could meet together in that little country church one more time. With tears in her eyes, she repeated those words, “Just one more time.”

As I drove home I began to cry. “Just one more time,” I thought. All she wants is just one more time…and yet tonight, Wednesday night, more than likely, 75 to 80% of people coming to LRBC will not show up for “just one more time.” Instead, they will go bowling, watch tv, read a book, surf the internet, wash their car, or a hundred other things.

I have read many stories of the persecuted church, and how they will walk for miles in the dark, to meet in secret, and that they will worship together for hours before leaving. I have often wondered why they would do that when here in the good ol’ US of A, too many believers complain if the church service goes past noon. I think I know why now. They never know if the present meeting might not be their last. They never know if they will soon be wishing, like Esther, for “just one more time,” so they grab onto all the worship and fellowship and Bible study and prayer time together that they can.

I’ll be posting about this some more tomorrow, but I have to go now. I have a Bible study to get to. Thank you Jesus for the Bible study tonight…who knows, it just might be my last one.

Pastor Dave

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



I have been working out a bit lately in order to lose weight and get in shape. I'm 53 years old and was about 80 pounds over weight (down to about 69 pounds over weight as I type this), and I felt that not only was I not being a good steward of the body that God has given me, but that I wanted to feel better, live longer and enjoy the life that God has given me more.

When I am at the gym, I see all sorts of people, all ages, sizes, shapes, colors...both males and females. I wonder how many of them are working as hard on their spiritual lives as they are on their physical lives. I wonder how many of them realize that the shape of their spiritual life is much more important than the physical shape they are in. After all, every one of them will one day die, not matter how great of shape they are in.

This came to my mind as I read 1 Timothy 4:7-8: "...train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." The word "train" there means "exersize". I wonder how many of have gotten spiritually flabby? We don't exersize our godliness...we don't train at being godly...we eat the wrong spiritual foods, or no spiritual foods at all, and then wonder why we get tired walking the God trail. It's no wonder we get winded serving the Lord when we spend more time with the tv or the video games than we do in the Word...and too many of us expect to get our entire spiritual nourishment from one hour on Sunday...the church is week because she has forgotten that she is in training.

Paul pursues this line of thought throughout this letter to Timothy. In chapter 4, verses 12-14 he tells Timothy, "...set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you." Timothy (and all pastors and teachers, but really, all who claim the name of Christ) needed to set the example in his training. He needed to devote himself to the Scriptures, both privately, and as Paul says here, publicly as well. He was not to neglect the gift that he had. Thirty years ago I used to lift weights and play raquet ball several times a week. I was in good shape...but over time I began to neglect the gift that God has given me...the gift of this body (ok, you can stop laughing now...I realize it may not seem like much of a gift to you, but I'm kind of partial to it). In the same way, my salvation, my relationship with Jesus is a gift I have been given...I need to flex the spiritual muscles that God has given it up and work it out a bit.

To continue this line of thinking Paul then tells Timothy in chapter 6, verses 11-12: "...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." The word "pursue" conjours up images of a man running...and running fast. Straining to reach an object that is just ahead of him. One of the definitions of the word translated "pursue" is also "persecution". This gives the idea that the pursuing will be so intense, so all consuming that there will be pain and sacrifice involved.

The western church knows very little of pain and sacrifice when it comes to service. Oh, we know of pain, but not pain associated with service to the Lord and His church. We know of sacrifice, but not a sacrifice that could literally cost our lives. As a pastor of a church I see far to many people who claim the name of Christ, but see sacrifice as only for those "super-Christian-missionary-freaky" types. One hour a week sacrifice is about all they can muster up, and that only if they don't have anything better to do.

I wonder just how many of us will be able to say what Paul did to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Are we truly fighting the good fight...or just shadow boxing? Will we finish the race, or poop out halfway through the last lap? Do we keep the faith...or drop it before we can pass it off to the next generation? What will be in store for us when we finally stand before Jesus?

I will close with the chorus from a song by Rick Cua. The song is called "Flex" from his album, "Wear Your Colors".



"Flex. Use the power. Flex. You're not on your own."
"Flex. It's your hour. The flesh is weak, but the Spirit's strong."

Ok, time for some spiritual calisthenics.

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Thoughts From Ezekiel


As I read the last few chapters of Ezekiel today two things impressed me. One was how often Ezekiel mentioned "the glory of the Lord" and his reaction to it was usually the same..."and I fell on my face" in chapter 43, verse 3, and then in chapter 44, verse 4 once again, "And I fell on my face."

I couldn't help but contrast the reaction of the prophet of God with how many of us are sometimes. We go to church as if it is just a weekly appointment, not a time to worship God. We treat church as if we can take it or leave it...and maybe that is because in our experience we have never encountered the glory of God when we worship. Other times I have heard people (myself included), say things such as, "When I stand before God, I have a lot of questions for Him." Based on what I read in Ezekiel, I get the impression that questions will be kind of difficult to express when we are face down on the ground due to the majestic holiness of the glory of God.

We must realign our thinking to that of Scripture. God is not an old man in a rocking chair, nor is he sitting on cloud somewher pontificating about the sin in the universe, and He is certainly not "the big guy upstairs". He is also not some buddy that we will slap on the back when we finally get to heaven. He is GOD! GOD! GOD! And He is alltogether not like us, high above us and so different and set apart from us that we have to hide our face when we encounter His glory! Rich Mullins was right when he sang, "Our God is an awesome God". In fact, that song is so rich, and yet many have not heard all of it, as usually just the chorus is sung in most churches. Here are the lyrics, with all the verses:

When He rolls up His sleeves
He ain't just putting on the ritz
(Our God is an awesome God)
There's thunder in His footsteps
And lightning in His fists
(Our God is an awesome God)
And the Lord wasn't joking
When He kicked 'em out of Eden
It wasn't for no reason
That He shed His blood
His return is very close
And so you better be believing that
Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God


And when the sky was starless
In the void of the night
(Our God is an awesome God)
He spoke into the darkness
And created the light
(Our God is an awesome God)
Judgement and wrath He poured out on Sodom
Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross
I hope that we have not
Too quickly forgotten that
Our God is an awesome God


Our God is an awesome God
(Our God is an awesome God)
He reigns from heaven above
(He reigns from heaven above)
With wisdom, power, and love
(With wisdom, power, and love)
Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God

Ok, that was the first thing that impressed me...just how awesome God truly is and how we treat Him as so much less than that. The second thing was this verse (23), found in chapter 44, speaking of the priests: "they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean."

I thought of comparing this to the pastors of the church today. I thought of myself as a pastor. Do I teach the people the difference between the holy and the common? Do the people of God today realize that they have been set apart for a purpose...that they are now holy...and do we live like holy people, or like common people? Now there is nothing wrong with "common", but "common" is not "holy"...and why would you settle for a common life, when you have been set apart for a holy life? I thought of all the mindless entertainment I used to consume...not bad stuff...but nothing that would point to my life as anything other than common. I'm not here trying to put a yoke of legalism on anyone, simply trying to express my own thoughts on the fact that I may have lived a more common life than a truly holy one, a truly set apart life.

Then there is that part about the clean and the unclean. I don't think many Christians even think about this any more. We have become a culture where being a Christian is just something you do on Sundays...and the result is that we no longer influence society, instead society tends to influence us. Somewhere along the way the church has bought into the lie that we can receive forgiveness of our sins and yet never abandon our lives to Jesus. The Scriptures know of no such salvation. In a book I am reading right now called, "Costly Grace" by Jon Walker, he states, "Costly grace justifies the sinner: Go and sin no more. Cheap grace justifies the sin: Everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are." Sadly, cheap grace is run amok in the churches in the western world.

May we as shepherds of the flocks that God has graciously given us be about the business of teaching the difference between the common and the holy, and between the clean and the unclean.

Ok, so there's that,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thoughts On Ezekiel


Been reading Ezekiel this week and I should finish it by tomorrow, so I thought I'd share some passaged and thoughts on the last few chapters that I read.

Chapter 33 is familar to many, with the analogy of the watchman often used to show how we are responsible to warn the lost that judgment is coming. Here are verses 1-9:

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. 5 Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’
7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for[a] his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.

It just got me to thinking about the "job" of the church. If we are not leading people to Jesus...taking the gospel out of the four walls and into the street, then no matter what else we are doing, it really amounts to nothing more than rearanging the furniture while the house burns down around us.

I wonder how many Christians, how many churches really believe in hell. I wonder how many really believe that people will die and go there and burn forever without Jesus? I wonder, because I don't see a lot of churches reaching the lost...maybe it is just MY church...maybe we are the only ones with the problem...but I have to come to the realization that the guy next door is on his way to hell...and the guy acorss the street, and the one at the corner...I have to let this sink in...and maybe, maybe it will cause me to move, to take action.

I understand that we cannot make people believe, and that it is not our job to make them believe even if we could. But it is our job to take the message to them, to warn them of their condition.

Yes, it will be inconvienient. I know it might make us a little uncomfortable. And maybe that is the root problem. The job the church was given, commissioned by Christ Himself to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, has been seen, not as the normal life of a believer, but instead it is seen as an option. After all, it seems that too many believers won't even adjust their schedule to make a church service, much less adjust their lives to reach the lost. What's sad is that there has to be an adjustment at all.

Isn't the proclaimation fo the gospel supposed to be a part of the normal Christian life? Isn't the church called to be the watchman to the world? If the watchman does not sound the alarm...then who will?

Thoughts on Ezekiel...thoughts on the church...thoughts on me. Lord, give me the boldness, the passion and the love for the lost so that I will set the trumpet to my mouth and sound the alarm.

Just some thoughts...
Pastor Dave

Monday, March 28, 2011

A God Sized Vision

Sometimes I am amazed at my ability to drop the ball (spiritually speaking), to get complacent, to coast, to let things ride, to just go through the motions. A few months ago I was so very fired up about this blog...ready to go, both guns blazing...and then three months went by and

It has only been in the last week that God has shaken me to my very core. He has convicted me of my sin, driven me to my knees, and shown me the coldness of my heart. He has served up a plate of steaming, tasty food in His Word! I have devoured the written Word of God as never before, and renewed my commitment to be not only a man of the Word, but a man of prayer, and a man who seeks the face of God.

As a part of this process He has done two things that have led me to this point. First he directed me to a book that has caused me to question the state of the church in America as never before. I am more sure than ever before that if Revival does not come to the church in the United States of America, that judgement will. For the sake of our children, and our childrens children, but even more for the glory of God Almighty, the church must once again march on her knees, cry out to God to send the Holy Spirit with fire and wind and for God to bend us towards Him, His ways, His Word, and His throne.

The book that has impacted me is this one: "A God Sized Vision - Revival Stories That Stretch And Stir" by Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge:

Room does not allow me to post all the quotes that are recorded in this book by those who lived through past revivals. But I will post this one by Jonathan Goforth, who was used to bring revival to China in the early 1900's. The quote is not really about revival, but it is inspiring to me as it reveals the heart of this missionary when it comes to revival and the plight the church in the US finds herself in:

"Brethren, the Spirit of God is with us still. Pentecost is yet within our grasp. If revival is being witheld from us it is because some idols remain enthroned; because we still insist on placing our reliance on human schemes; because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that 'it is not by might, but BY MY SPIRIT.'"

To be honest, if you can read this book and not be moved...if you can read this book and not desire to see revival in your lifetime, well, you don't need to be revived, you need to be resurrected.

The second thing He did was inspire me to preach the boldest most evangelistic sermon that I have ever preached in my life...and with good reason. The Sunday that I preached this message, two people showed up who did not know the Lord...and one of them has cancer, and it is terminal. Although they did not respond to the message and accept Christ, the intensity of the Spirit that morning was evident. I cried more during this message than any other as I sensed that here was someone who was knocking on the very door of death itself and yet would refuse the offer of eternal life. In my heart as I was preaching God began to speak to me that I needed to share my faith more, that as a pastor I was to teach the church, but as a Christian I am to take the gospel to the lost and the dying and the hellbound. I got a very clear picture of hell in my minds eye....and I cannot be quiet any longer.

My desire is to be used by God and to sacrifice anything and everything that takes away from this goal. I want to pour my life and love into my wife, to give myself to my children, to shepherd the church God has given me with the heart of the Great Shepherd, to pour my life out as an offering to the One who has given me not only the purpose of my life, by my very life itself. I want to have a broken heart for the lost and a fresh heart for the Lord and His people.

Part of that, I pray, will include firing up this blog once again. How often I will post I do not know, but this one thing I do know, that God has called me to a work and I dare not fall asleep on the job. I pray that from this day on I will be found ever pressing on to the high calling in Christ Jesus.

Join me in praying for the church, for the lost and if you would be so kind, pray for me as I embark on the next stretch of my journey on the God trail.

No turning back,
Pastor Dave