My random, sometimes insightful thoughts on life, God, family, and everything else

Christian Life

“You’re all going to die today…”

By now I’m sure that you’ve heard about the incredibly tragic events that took place in Las Vegas. Not only is this deeply disturbing to us as a nation, it should be even more so to us as Christians. Many people, including the shooter, entered into eternity. The Bible tells us:

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment – Hebrews 9:27 NLT

Events like this shatter our personal feelings of immortality and safety. We tend to walk around in a cocoon of embraced ignorance believing that every day will end the same way it always has, and that each morning we will wake up to go through our daily routines. But, that is simply a facade, the reality is that it takes very little for these fragile bodies of our to cease functioning properly, or functioning at all.

Reports on the scene of the massacre say that a woman was walking around in the crowd just prior to the shooting telling anyone who would listen, ‘You’re going to die to today, you’re all going to die.’ I don’t know about you but that is just plain sick…but that could be true for anyone of us today as well. Today could very well be our last day on this earth, will you live it well? It could also be the last day for someone you love, do they know you love them? More importantly do they know that God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them?

I am in no way trying to be morbid or emotionalize something horrific, instead I’m hoping to stir your mind to action. If we can each begin to remove the blindfolds from our eyes and if we each begin to realize that our time on this planet is short and start making the most of every day then this tragedy doesn’t go without a positive outcome. We, by how we allow this to change our actions, can give some sense of meaning to an otherwise meaningless and evil event. Evil in our world isn’t new, and it isn’t going to end until Christ’s return. But, if we can take the Apostle Paul’s words to heart we can make a difference in the world around us:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV

Dave


par-ent(s): A New Series at Friendship Church!

This Sunday we will be launching a new parentsseries simply entitled parents. During this 4-week series we will be giving practical and biblical helps to enable you to not only feel more confident and capable as a parent, but also more successful! Far too often, because we feel like failures or we feel overwhelmed we give in, we ‘go along to get along’ as it were, and that only leads to greater feelings of failure and defeat.

Here are the 4 parts of this series:

  • It’s Never Too Late, 6/28: Every parent at one time or another has felt like they’ve completely failed as a parent and their best opportunities to help their child, even as an adult, has passed them by. Well it doesn’t matter if your child is 6, 16, or 60 it’s never too late, and as long as you don’t quit there’s always hope!
  • The 1 Thing, 7/5: If I told you that there was 1 thing that if your child learned it would guarantee he would have an easier more successful life, would you want to know what that 1 thing is? Yeah, I thought so! Every parent wants what’s best for their children, wants them to live a long life, and wants them to be successful, if you’ll do this 1 thing you’ll be setting them up for long-term success!
  • Start At The End, 7/12: What kind of Man/Woman do you want your child to become? Have you ever stopped and thought that through or are you just parenting for the moment? Until we take a long look at where and who we want them to be we won’t really know what to do as a parent to help them to get there.
  • Doing It Solo or Blended, 7/19: It’s an unfortunate reality today that many people are trying to do parenting under even more than normal, difficult conditions. How do you parent well when there is supposed to be two of you, but you are on your own? How do you work together with your child’s other parent when they don’t even live in the same house anymore? When we realize that we are not alone and God loves our kids even more than we do, it’ll give us a whole different perspective!

I really hope that you’ll join us for all four weeks of this series, even if your not a parent yet or your kids have kids of their own, this will be a great learning and encouraging time for all of us!

See you Sunday,

Dave


What did you want to be when you grew up?

We all remember what we wanted to be when we were growing up, a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, fireman, etc… We all remember because it was really our first big dream. For some of us we wanted to be that because our mom or dad was one, or someone we idolized was. Others wanted to be that because we looked up to them, felt like they were people who made a difference, who made an impact in others lives.

I remember several years ago (1999) Monster.com came out with a tremendous ad campaign with children sharing ‘their dreams’.

At that point in time I was just 5 years removed from college and although I thought the commercial was funny, the power of the commercial was somewhat lost on me. Now, fifteen plus years later, and hundreds of conversations with people just like you I realize that this commercial isn’t so much funny as it is sad. To think about all of the people in our world whose dreams have become nothing more than a cherished memory of childhood, and thought of as a naive childhood fantasy. How incredibly sad!

The Bible, however, teaches that childhood dreams are not something to simply be dismissed, but to be celebrated! A child isn’t tainted with the disease of what we call reality and therefore can see things with a clarity that escapes most adults. By the time we are ‘grown up’ we know better, we are seasoned, we are more mature…we are cynical, jaded, and realists! Our innocence and trust has eroded away as the years slipped by, leaving us with the inability to believe in anything that we cannot taste, touch, feel, or see and our imagination, dreams, and faith dissipate into the vast nothingness of adulthood.

I think it’s time for us to rekindle our dreams and passions to pursue all that God has for us.  Jesus said;

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. – Luke18:17 NLT

The Bible tells us that God has incredible plans for your life (Jer 29:11; 1 Cor 2:9) but those plans, although promised to you, will never become reality until you are willing to reach out, take them, and pursue them. Much like needing to have the faith of a child is necessary for salvation, believing that our Heavenly Father wants good and not evil for us takes a child like trust of our divine parent. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, the world will tell you that it’s unrealistic. Yes, it may take longer than you planned. BUT, Yes, God can be trusted!

So, what did you want to be when you grew up…it’s not too late!

Dave


Just Say No!

Logo-no-just-say-no-480I am old enough to remember the anti-drug and alcohol campaign that touted and launched this iconic saying. Even as I watched these commercials as a preteen and teen I realized that even though the commercials themselves were more than ‘lame’ (80’s throwback reference) the power of the statement really did make an impact. I mean I started saying no to my teachers, my coaches, my parents…I may have taken that out of context, and it most definitely got me in trouble!

As I’ve grown older, gained more experience, and grown a touch more mature, I’ve realized there is incredible power in that little two-letter word.  I’ve also learned that if I’m going to be able to say ‘yes’ to the things in my life that are really important, I’m going to need to learn how to say ‘no’ to the things that are less important. Now, this isn’t to say that things others are asking me to do are bad, in fact, many if not all of them are very good, but it’s not what is best for me.

Over the years I’ve gleaned from some masters in the art of saying no, and I’ve taken some of the best ‘no’s’ I’ve received over the years and incorporated them into my own personal repertoire, but for the sake of time and space I’ve boiled down some of the best, so without further ado:

Dave’s Top Five Ways To Say No With A Smile!

  1. I would love to, however, my schedule simply doesn’t allow me the time to do that.
  2. Thanks so much for thinking of me, as awesome as it may be, I cannot do that.
  3. I am so sorry, but that is just not something that I can do at this point.
  4. Unfortunately, do to my other commitments, I must decline. However, (so-and-so) might be a perfect fit.
  5. Thank you so much for the offer, but in an effort to honor my time with my family, I cannot take you up on it.

I’d love to hear some of your great ‘no’s’ in the comments, just maybe I’ll steal one for my own personal collection!

And hey, don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’, they won’t have to give an account for how you used the time God gave you…but you will!

Dave


Living an unscripted life!

Do you ever feel as if your life is about as predictable as a bad ‘B’ movie?Unscripted_Web You know the type of movies I’m talking about right? You know who the villain is in the first 5 minutes, or you know that ‘so-so’ is going to end up with ‘so-so’, or the fact that the guy who says ‘let’s split up and search for them’ is the first one to bite the bullet!

What’s amazing is that is the exact opposite of how God wants and intends for you to live your life. Jesus said that his desire was to give you a “…rich and satisfying life” (Jn 10:10) yet so many of us have settle for safe and predictable. I think that it’s time for all of us who claim to know Christ and want to live like Christ to flip the script and start living the way God intended.

Our reason’s for not letting loose tends to revolve around things like what others will think of us, how will it all turn out, what if I fall flat on my face?  Well, think about this, Jesus was never in a hurry, rarely did what was expected, and often didn’t do what people wanted, yet he is the most influential person in human history! If you want to live a life of impact, a life that makes a difference you cannot just go with the flow and be like everyone else. You’ve got to be willing to ‘go off script’ and break away from the safe and predictable.

I’d like to personally invite you to be my guest this Sunday as we launch this brand new series simply called “Unscripted”, and if you do come, make sure to say “Hi”!

Dave

PS: Here’s a trailer video our amazing Creative Team put together for the series:


Soul Alignment

SoulAlignment_WebThis coming Sunday, March 8th, 2015, I’ll begin teaching a series that has been 20+ years in the making.  I have had the privilege of being a pastor for just over 20 years and during that time I’ve counseled hundreds, if not thousands of people.  If there is one common thread among them all, it’s that they all, in fact, we all are looking for satisfaction, fulfillment, and peace in this life.  For most of humanity this search seems endless, we look for it in every person we meet, in every job we take, in every day that we live, and the majority of us walk away, unfulfilled.

It wasn’t always this way; in the beginning things were perfect, and then sin came in and destroyed it all.  But, what if there was a way to experience that fullness, that peace, that joy once again?  What if, say our Creator, actually had a plan in place to connect us to those things that would fill our hearts with peace, our lives with meaning, and our relationships with joy? Jesus, in fact, promises as much when he says in John 10:10:

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

The process isn’t some 10 step program, or a list of rules or regulations.  No, it’s something far more profound, you see our souls are out of alignment with the purposes and plan of God for our life.  And, because of this, just like when a car is out of alignment, there is all sorts of vibration, chaos, and unsettledness in our soul.  It doesn’t matter how much we have, how many relationships we engage in, or how much accomplishment we can find, there will always be something that’s “off” and we feel it.  But, when our souls become aligned with Him, the world around us can be spinning out of control and we will be in absolute peace.

If you want to discover how you can get your soul back in line with God’s, I’d like to invite you to come to Friendship Church this weekend, or listen online at experiencefriendship.com.

I’ll see you then!

Dave


6 Positive Habits That Keep You Spiritually Healthy! PT 3

So far in our little series we’ve talked about Reading Your Bible and Prayer.  Two personal and often private habits that help develop our faith and bolster our spiritual health.  Positive Habit #3 however, is anything but private, in fact, it is one of the most public of the habits, Celebrating Community. This habit has many different names or verbiage attached to it: Corporate Worship, Services, Worship Services, Small Group, Life Group, Connection Group, going to church, etc…  So, it would stand to reason that there are a lot of opinions as to what it is supposed to be and look like.  The truth is there are about as many opinions as there are churches on the way “It’s supposed to be done”.  So, I am going to make a WIDE circle around the methods of Celebrating Community and veer straight into the why’s.

As I begin sharing the why’s allow me to first address a statement that I’ve heard many, many times, “You don’t have to go to a church to be a Christian.”  This statement is 100% true, salvation is not found inside a church, salvation is found in accepting Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as your substitute for your sinfulness.  Just as true is the statement, “You don’t have to go to a Colts game to be a fan.”  Interestingly though, if you were given free tickets to a Colts game, with free parking, and free food and you instead chose to sit at home and watch women’s golf (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I would have every right to question the authenticity and passion of your fandom!  The same is true of those who claim to follow Christ but rarely find the need or desire to actually join in with others who have the same passion and love to celebrate the one they claim to follow.  You certainly can be a Christian without going to church, but you won’t be a growing one, a passionate one, a knowledgable one, or an obedient one. So, here are some reasons why being a part of a local church body is absolutely essential to becoming Spiritually healthy:

  • It’s a clear instruction in the Bible.  I find it interesting that the first church did not have to be told to Celebrate Community, it was something that they did naturally.  They gravitated towards one another and enjoy developing those essential relationship that not only created accountability, but unity.  However, as the church began to spread around the world, it became evident that some of the people groups, more than likely because of their cultural backgrounds, had to be taught the necessity of Celebrating Community.  So, the writer of Hebrews lays it out in chapter 10, verse 24:

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

  • It is a sign that I truly know and love Christ.  Yes, you read that correctly, being an active part of a local church is something that identifies or marks you as a genuine believer.  Now, again, I emphasize, being a church member/attender doesn’t save you (Eph 2:8:9), but it is evidence to the fact that you are a believer.  Look at what the Apostle John, half-brother of Christ, has to say about it:

But, if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all our sin. – 1 John 1:7

  • It is essential for my spiritual growth and development. The New Testament writers list multiple benefits for those who obey this command and engage within a local body of Christ.  Here are just a few:
    • We experience genuine love (1 Jn 4:12)
    • We are held accountable for our behavior (Gal 6:1-2)
    • We are challenged to grow more (Heb 3:13)
    • We learn from each other and our spiritual teachers (Col 3:16)
  • The body is incomplete without me! You are absolutely essential to the growth and success to the local church.  Your gifts are not only wanted, they are needed.  Just like you as a believer will never reach your full potential on your own, your church will never reach it’s full potential without you completely engaged.  Paul says that each and every part of the church is necessary, that no one part is more important than the others, and that only when all of the parts are doing their part, will the church truly thrive:

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. – I Corinthians 12:22-27

You matter, you are needed, and what you have to offer is valuable to the Kingdom of God!  Invest your time into something that literally has the capability of changing your world…your church!

 

I’ll see you on Sunday,

Dave