Friday, November 2, 2012


There is this old joke about being a pastor.  I don't remember much about it, but it has something to do with how you only work one day a week (Sundays) - of course, if you have a mid-week service, I guess that would mean you work a little bit of overtime.

The reality of course is that pastors work 24/7.  The truth is that when we are on vacation, or at the movies, or anywhere else, the church that we have been called to be the under-shepherd of, never leaves our mind for long.  

There are a lot of misconceptions about what a pastor is and what a pastor does, but one thing that I have never heard about the calling / position / job of pastor is that it is dangerous.  To be honest, I have never thought of being a pastor as dangerous.  

Oh, I know there have been those few times where someone has gone into a church and shot at the pastor, but in our day in age, that sort of thing happens in almost every occupation and location.

So when I got the book in the mail:  "Dangerous Calling" by Paul David Tripp, 
I was intrigued.  I had ordered it based on the recommendations of some pastors that I highly respect:  James MacDonald, Joshua Harris & Tullian Tchividjian.  And so began my journey into a book that has shaken and stirred me.

I am not finished with the book yet, but at this point I will say that being a pastor just may be the most dangerous calling / job / position there is.  It can be dangerous to your faith, your health, your relationships, your marriage and your family.  In fact, I would say after reading this book as far as I have, I would say that IT IS DANGEROUS to all of the above...but the book does not leave it there.  It also offers solutions to the danger.  

At this point I am almost done with chapter 9, and the book has 15 chapters.  The first few were rough...and sometimes I thought Paul David Tripp had been reading my mail.  By the time I got to where I am, I would say that the book is worth both the price and the time to read it,  just for chapters 8 and 9 alone.

It is also not just a book for pastors, but for everyone who is a member of a local church.  Pastors need this book so that they can recognize where they are in the midst of these dangers, and realize that they are not alone.  While I did not see myself in every danger listed, I must admit that I saw myself in far too many of them, and Paul David Tripp helped me to be aware of dangers in the pastorate that I had not even known were there.  Church members need to read this book so they might see just what the dangers are in  being a pastor and how they can hurt or help their pastor to navigate this dangerous calling.  

I want to close this post by stating that for me, among all the trials, tears and testing, being called to be a pastor of a local church brings me much joy.  I love the church I get to pastor.  I am truly blessed...but that does not make it any less dangerous.  Thank you Paul David Tripp.  

Holding onto Christ in the middle of the danger zone,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



What a word.


The longer I live, the more I need it.

The longer I live the more I need to give it.

The longer I live, the less I understand it.

Last week, I turned 55, and for my birthday, my wife gave me a book on Grace.

Now, I have been reading books by Max Lucado for many, many, many years.  I read "No Wonder They Call Him Savior" when it first came out, which I think was over twenty years ago.  I have always appreciated his writing, but over the years I quit reading his books.  

I moved on to other authors.  Authors that seemed to me, to dig deeper than Max did.  I read books by John Piper, John MacArthur, Randy Alcorn, Phillip Yancey and James MacDonald.  These books were generally not as easy or as breezy reading as a Max Lucado book.  

But in the end I was fooled by my own false pseudo-intellectualism.  

This book by Max Lucado, has, quite simply, rocked my world.

If you are familiar with his books, then let me assure you that it contains everything you expect from a book by Max Lucado.  It has some good stories that will help you relate to the truth revealed in this book.  It has  humorous moments that will make you laugh and smile.  It has revealing moments when Max pulls back the curtain on his life and gives you a glimpse of his struggle with sin and following Jesus.

But most of all, it will cause you to look at grace in a whole new way.

I have a very hefty respect for grace now.

I have a very deep love for grace now.

I am so very, very, very thankful for grace now.

Pick this book up.  

You need it.


What a concept.

Trembling and pierced by grace,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


In Acts 28:23 we read: “After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets.”

I hear from people quite often how they don't like or even know much of the Old Testament, and yet, here Paul was preaching Jesus from the Old Testament.  I started thinking about when was the last time I heard a sermon on Jesus preached from the Old Testament...and I'm talking about a "Jesus is the Savior / Son of God / You must be born again" type of Jesus message.  And you know what?  I can't recall that I ever have. Now, I have been around at the time of this writing for 55 years and the vast majority of those years have been spent in regular church attendance, as well as many years of listening and watching others preach and teach the Word whenever I have the opportunity....and I'm sure that I've heard someone preach Jesus form the Old Testament during all of the many, many, many sermons I have heard...but I don't remember it.

This tells me that it has not happened very often.

This tells me that as a preacher and a pastor, I have not done this often enough.

And maybe this is the reason that so many have a faith that is a mile wide and an inch deep.

People, our faith goes all the way back to the garden of goes back to Genesis goes back to eternity past.  We should have a deep faith, because we have a deep Word.

For some reason, the word, "doctrine" has gotten a bad reputation in some churches.  I have heard some people say that they don't want to know doctrine, they just want to know Jesus.  Well, "news-flash" folks, Jesus IS doctrine.  When we get to know Jesus we have to know the "doctrine" of Jesus.  For instance, which Jesus do you want to know?  The Jesus of the Mormon faith that says he and Lucifer (the devil) are brothers?  Or the Jesus of the Jehovah's Witnesses who teach that Jesus and Michael the archangel are one and the same?  Or maybe the Jesus of the Muslim faith that teaches that Jesus was just a prophet, subject to Mohammed?

Well, for me, I'll go with the DOCTRINE of Jesus taught in the Old and New Testaments, that Jesus is one third of the Trinity, which makes Him God.  He took on human form, was born of a virgin, sacrificed for our sins on the cross, was buried, rose again on the third day, and it is by Him and Him alone that you and I must be saved.

Know the Word.

Know the doctrine.

I remember not too long ago, someone told me that they just weren't getting fed enough at their church....and that made me know, maybe the problem is that we have too many believers showing up for church, opening their mouths and waiting for the pastor or teacher or preacher to not only cut the word up, flavor it, add a side dish to it, and put it on the plate for them, but then they expect them to put it on the fork and put it in their mouth.

Maybe it's time that those who go to church, take notes, go home, research what was said, meditate on it, discuss it with their families and other believers, let it sink deep into their hearts, mind, soul and other words, maybe it's time to start feeding yourself.

Trembling and pierced by the Word,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


In Acts 28:17-20 we read: "After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense. Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”

He was tactful, respectful and conciliatory to the Jewish leaders at Rome.

He called them brothers.

Far too often we forget, that we were once lost like those are without Christ.  We forget, that we were once under the wrath of God, that His word says we were against Him, and even working against Him!  This is what Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:30 "Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters."  I really like the way "The Message" translates this verse:   "...If you're not on my side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things worse."

This should cause us to be humble and gracious when we present the gospel.  It should fill our gospel message with compassion and understanding, causing us to remember where we were, in opposition to Christ, working against Him.  This is amazing when you stop and think about it, because Christ died for us, while we were yet sinners, while we were on the opposite team, while we were fighting against Him, He gave Himself for us.  So in the same way, with love, compassion, mercy and grace, let us humbly take the gospel out to the world.

Paul, while a prisoner, was gracious to those he spoke to, he asked permission to speak to them, and told them that it was because of hope he was there.  

We need to recapture the spirit of humility and graciousness as we share our faith, just as Paul did.  And while I know that there were times when Paul was more aggressive in his preaching, and that he did preach judgment at times, this was after people had rejected the gospel that he delivered in humility and graciousness, and even this was an act of love, as he was warning them that there was not hope for them apart from Christ.

For the glory of God, in humility and graciousness, let us proclaim the news, Jesus saves, Jesus saves!

Trembling and pierced by the Word,

Pastor Dave

Monday, September 10, 2012


Paul preached the gospel whenever and wherever he had opportunity.  We know this from all of the missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts, but Paul did the same thing when he was in prison.

Prison - now there's a mission field!

Paul winds up under house arrest - and not in his own house, but government subsidized other words - prison.  While it was a more comfortable type prison than what he would wind up in later on, make no mistake, there is no GOOD prison.

So here is Paul, under house arrest, with a guard by his side at all times, and yet he sought people to come to him - not so he could have visitors, and he could catch up on the latest sports statistics.  Not so he could find out what was the latest celebrity gossip from wonderwall or, he sought people to visit him for the sake of the gospel!

We have such difficulty preaching the gospel to people even when our lives are going well, and here Paul is in prison, and he calls for people to come to him so he can explain his situation and the gospel to fact it is because of the gospel that he is in prison.

In Acts 28:20 we read,  “For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”

And in verse 23 it continues: “After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets.”

This was no wimpy presentation of the gospel.  Paul was not ashamed to be in prison for the sake of the gospel.  He was ready to share his faith no matter where he was an no matter what the circumstances.  Prison was not punishment to Paul, it was just another mission field.  Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure that Paul would have rather been free and sharing the gospel instead of in prison and sharing the gospel, but that was not the issue - the issue for Paul was the gospel.

Our lives are so cluttered, so fractured, that we normally only think of the gospel at certain times and in certain places..not so for Paul, for him, his life was all about the gospel, and the gospel is all about Jesus.

He was not a gospel sprinter either, he was a gospel marathon runner.  He was in this for the long haul.  This was not a one shot deal.  Take a look at verse 30:  “Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him,”

For two years while under arrest he welcomed people to tell them about Jesus.

If Paul was so gospel focused while in prison, surely we can be gospel focused while we are free...if not, what will we do if we have to go to prison for the gospel?

The mission of the church has not changed and it did not stop at the end of Acts Acts 29 church still takes the gospel to the streets and yes, to the prisons.  We must unleash the gospel to the world...wherever and whenever we go, let us go with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Trembling and pierced by the Word,
Pastor Dave

Sunday, September 9, 2012

ACTS 29 

Acts 28:30-31 "Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance."

The book of Acts concludes rather abruptly…Paul is still in prison, nothing about his court date, or about those who visited him. No further details...if this was a movie or a novel, we would be disappointed. There are many thoughts and ideas about why this is, but if we believe, and I do, that the Scriptures are God-breathed, that men wrote as moved by the Holy Spirit, then the ending is as it should be…but what happened next, is the question that many still ask.

While there is some debate over the details, what we appear to know is this: Paul waited for two years for his case to be brought to trial. This was not uncommon in his day, especially when evidence was to come from some distance. If the information on Paul & his case was lost in the shipwreck, then they would need to send for it again, which would have been very time consuming. So they waited for the Jewish authorities to come and present their case, and it appears that they did not show up. There may have been many reasons for this as well, but two that stand out are that Paul was out of sight, and then out of mind. He wasn’t a present issue, and time and distance made pursuing him as a threat even less of an issue. The other reason may have been that they knew they did not have much of a case, and they did not want to incur the wrath of Nero if they were to present a case with no merit. As a Roman citizen, Paul had the right to face his accusers, and most likely, once adequate time had lapsed, the charges were dropped, and Paul was set free.

During this brief, 2 to 3 year period of freedom, Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. He most likely visited Philippi, Colosse, and several other Asian churches. He may have even made his intended trip to Spain that we read about in Romans 15:24 & 28. He was imprisoned again around AD 66, and this time his prison accommodations were not as comfortable. If you will read 2 Timothy, written at that time, you will see the loneliness and suffering he endured. He was martyred sometime around AD 66 or 67. As a Roman citizen, he could not be crucified, and tradition says that he was taken outside of the city and beheaded. He had finished his course and kept the faith. 

And so the earthly life of this follower of Jesus, comes to an end.

Of course, Paul did not come to an end...he went to glory to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In a similar way, although the book of Acts seems to end reality, it has never really ended.

You see, the book of Acts is all about the church.
The church is all about the gospel.
The gospel is all about Jesus.

And the church, the gospel, and Jesus does not end in chapter 28.

With that, I have decided to change the name of this blog to: ACTS 29

Acts 29 - The Story Continues

Acts 29????

"Where do you find ACTS 29 in the Bible?" you may ask..but the reality is this: YOU ARE ACTS 29!!!!

Because the book of Acts is about the church, the growth of the church, and the church is still growing today!

But for her to grow we must be about the gospel message, we must preach the gospel message, and there is no better example of this than Paul.

Over the next few days we will look at the way that Paul preached this message, and how you and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, followers of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sent out with a commission from our Lord, must be about our Father's business. This is no time for us to look fondly back at the book of Acts, or at times of great revival and long for the days of old...the church must boldly proclaim the gospel, knowing that for those who love Jesus the best days are always ahead of us!

Trembling and pierced by the Word,
Pastor Dave

Thursday, May 31, 2012


This week my son graduates from High School. He is the baby of the family. The last of the kids to make it through the halls of High School. Because of all the preparation for this monumental event, my time is very limited, and so I have not changed the name of the blog yet, but it is coming after the weekend. By the way, did I mention that my son is the salutatorian for his graduating class? So, for the post today, I am going to keep it rather short and sweet. I wanted to share with you the books that I have on my bookshelf that I hope to read over the next several weeks. Let me know if you are planning on reading any of these, or if you have a book or books that you are hoping to get through over the summer months. I will start with the first book by Matt Chandler, "The Explicit Gospel".
A small but power packed devotional book is up next. I have already started on "Pierced By The Word" by John Piper. Piper has always impacted me with his writing and his passion for the Gospel and for the lost. So far, for a little book, it carries a big message.
Years ago I read "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" by Jim Cymbala, and it made me rethink my prayer life. Then I went to a prayer summit put on by Daniel Henderson and my life was never the same. Jim an Daniel have joined together to promote prayer as a way of life in seminars and prayer summits across the country. So I am anxious to read the latest book by Jim Cymbala, "Spirit Rising", which carries a forward by another of my favorite authors and preachers, Francis Chan.
Then there is "Soul Detox - Clean Living In A Contaminated World" by Craig Groeschel. If you've never heard of Craig, I highly recommend you check out some of his other books, such as "It" or "The Christian Atheist" and be prepared to be stimulated and challenged.
And finally, I want to try and read "Mark - The Gospel Of Passion" by Michael Card. Michael is a singer, musician, author and teacher, and his books are rich with imagery and imagination. You cannot go wrong with either his music or his writings.
So, that's all for now...time to get reading! Pastor Dave

Monday, May 28, 2012


Well, after much thought and prayer, I have decided to fire up the old blog again. It has been some time since I last wrote anything to share out here in the "blogosphere." In fact, my last post was back on December 1, 2011, and since it has been so long, and since I found there is another blog that goes by the name of "Confessions Of A Small Church Pastor," I have decided to rename the blog.

I have also decided to expand the scope of this blog. Originally it came from going through the Bible in a year along with the church that I pastor. Then it shifted to some random thoughts on books and Biblical passages from the perspective of a small church pastor. The blog will now be expanded to not only cover books that I read, music that I enjoy and my thoughts on biblical passages, but also politics, movies, and current events, all from a Christian perspective.

In order to help kick off my return to blogging, I am going to give away two CD's and one book. I will list them along with a brief description at the end of the blog. How can you win one of these? Well, it is simple. For every comment that you leave (and it has to be posted here on the blog, not on Facebook or emailed to me), here on the blog you will get your name put in for a drawing. The more times you comment, the better chance you have of winning. If you have never posted a comment on my blog before, let me know in your post and that is worth three entries for the drawing, increasing your chance to win. If you go back through the blog and post a comment on any blog entry before this date (05/28/12), you will get two entries into the drawing.

Finally, the person who posts the most comments from now until June 30th, will be entered into the drawing five extra times.

So let the reading and commenting begin! The entries for comments begins with the blog and runs through the end of June, 2012. I will notify the winners on the blog on July 2nd, and you will have to email me your address in order for me to send you CD or book, which will be mailed out by July 9th, if I have your mailing address by then. The first name drawn will get to pick which one of the prizes they want, the 2nd name drawn will get to pick between the two left, and the last name drawn will be left with whatever prize has not been claimed.

So, exactly what am I giving away...well, here they are: Book: NO COMPROMISE: The Life Story Of Keith Green (original hard cover limited edition).

CD: REBEL TRANSMISSION by Newworldson. This is my newest favorite CD, and it has hardly left the CD player in the car. 

CD: ORDINARY DREAMERS by Group 1 Crew. Something for the young and the young at heart. My 22 year old daughter really loves this, not so much, but I'm glad that there are groups like this for those who appreciate this music: funky, hip-hop

Thought I would leave you with a sample of the music made by Newworldson, and remember, check back tomorrow for the unveiling of the new name of the blog and don't forget to leave your comments!

Pastor Dave