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

Family

The birth of “Acorn Ridge”

Over the last several weeks I’ve had several people ask me about our property and how things are coming along. If you remember I shared with you all our dream of opening up a retreat center for Pastors, Missionaries, Military and Law Enforcement Chaplains, and other leaders in our post when we were selling our home.  Since moving in on December 23rd…yes you read that correctly two days before Christmas, (oh and we had family staying with us, we just like to do things difficult) we have made a ton of progress!

The most exciting and recent development is that we are now an officially recognized non-profit business in the state of Indiana. I went through the process of writing our Articles of Incorporation (yeah that was fun), jumping through the appropriate hoops, and cutting the necessary red tape, and we received our notification on Monday. So, we now are officially Acorn Ridge Retreats Inc. Now, I get to go through the exciting and exuberayting process of applying for 501 c3 status with the Federal government…anyone want to help with that?

Here are some of the physical things we’ve been up to:

  • There are two houses on the property, one is the main log cabin, and the other is a 2
    IMG_0221

    Daisy looking very despondent because of all the work to do

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    One bedroom after drywall and primer

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    The flooring that made me limp for a month!

    bedroom stick-built home that was pretty much trashed. I pretty much gutted the house, and I am still in process of putting it all back together again. Our oldest daughter Kaitlyn, is currently living in the house, but once she moves on from us…a little tear just fell…we will open up that house to our guests.

  • There is a small, 400 sq ft, cabin that the previous owners used as a practice run for the main cabin. It is just an empty shell, but our plan for that is to turn it into a ‘tiny home’ for our guests as well. Unlike the stick built home, I haven’t had a chance to do anything with this yet. But, I’m hoping as I wrap up some of the other projects currently going on around the property I’ll be able to start getting this piece ready for guests as well.

 

  • Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a piece of the property that I hadn’t even thought of before, but after a conversation with a friend, I realized what a cool tool it could be. I took an overgrown, but fairly level piece of the land and tore IMG_0520it all up, I removed trees, shrubs, a few woodland creatures…don’t worry there’s lots of land for them to move to…and created a nice ‘camping’ area where those who travel around the country in RV’s could come and park and enjoy the retreat area as well. Yesterday afternoon I had 12 cubic yards of stone delivered and I began the process of graveling so that they could easily level their traveling homes and enjoy an extended stay. The IMG_4540only thing left to do is to run a 50Amp line for them to plug in and water. Hey, anyone have a trencher or Ditch-Witch just laying around???
  • There is an extensive flower bed and stone bed system on the property. However, all of the beds were badly overgrown. We’ve killed, uprooted, and hacked out about 80% of the vegetation and now are preparing to lay a ton…literally…a ton of mulch.

You may read all of this and be asking yourself, ‘why in the world would they do this, are they just that bored?’ No, I promise you, with everything going on at Friendship and all of the growth, construction, and everything that comes with it, we are FAR from bored. But, several years ago we were blessed beyond belief with our sabbatical, and from that point on we’ve been asking God to allow us to be a blessing like that in the lives of other pastors and leaders who bear such a heavy burden on a regular basis, and who rarely if ever have the luxury of just being a human being. This is not just a dream for us, but a labor of love. Our hope is that through this extension of Friendship Church we will either directly or indirectly save some leaders from burnout, some marriages from failing, and some churches from deep hurt. The verse we’ve chosen as our theme is Hebrews 6:10 NLT, here’s what it says:

For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.

Believe it or not, our first guest will be coming the weekend of June 17th, which is about 2 years before we planned on it, but hey, God always has better, bigger, and more beautiful plans than we do!

This is Traci and my dream, but it’s an extension of Friendship, and every ministry family served will be served by you! Thank you for your faithfulness, for your love of our family and all of our leadership families, and thank you for allowing me to be your pastor! You guys are awesome!!!

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


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


Husband Vs Wife Pt5

we had to cancel on Sunday because of weather, but we wanted to finish our series, so here Ya go! Grab your spouse, fiancé, or significant other and watch it together!

https://vimeo.com/121094438


Why 2,000 year old letters matter: An Impassioned Plea to Rob Bell!

Having been a ‘victim’ of exaggeration and outright lies about things I’ve said, preached, or written I always try to err on the side of grace, and when I feel it’s necessary to speak to a subject, make sure I’ve done my research.

Several years ago Rob Bell wrote a book entitled Love Wins, a book which ended up costing him his pastorate.  It felt like every evangelical/orthodox pastor with a social media account was bashing him even before the book had been released!  Knowing the world we live in and Satan’s great desire to divide those of us who claim the name of Christ I actually went out and read the book, go figure!  The book wasn’t as evil as everyone said, but Mr. Bell’s conclusions were simply made because of his emotions about the subject rather than his research of the truth on the subject from Scripture.  The biggest problem that developed from his book was not the discussion on Heaven and Hell, that was good, instead it was the increasingly embraced idea that maybe, just maybe, placing your faith in Jesus Christ in this life isn’t the only way for salvation.  Now, for fairness sake, Mr. Bell doesn’t come right out and say this verbatim, but he leads you right to the doorstep, knocks on the door, looks at you with a smile and says, ‘So, whatcha think?’.

Again, Mr. Bell and now along with his wife, have come out with a new book on marriage called The Zimzum of Love.  Now, I will readily confess that I have not read the book, nor do I plan to, but Mr. Bell and his wife gave an interview with Oprah, which I watched in it’s entirety.  It is this interview and the words that he and his wife chose that I now have to address.  I could address the fact that they include homosexuality as a viable option for humanity, but I’ve done that before.  Suffice to say that I believe like all sins, homosexuality is a cheap imitation of God’s relational design, that will leave all those who participate in it more broken, more wounded, and less fulfilled.  Satan is the ultimate deceiver and he’s garnering more and more of professed believers into accepting the lie that God is keeping something from you, when in reality it’s that God is wanting to protect you, because He’s got something better for you!

Here are my previous posts on the subject:

However, that is not why I write this post.  I write this because of a statement that Mr. Bell makes while trying to defend his position on homosexuality.  Here is the quote verbatim:

“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life.”

And here is the salient clip, just in case you think I might be taking it out of context:

For clarity sake, what Mr. Bell has just said is that the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it makes it’s best defense the Bible.  Allow that to sink in for a moment…  He has just said that ‘flesh-and-blood people’ not a holy, sovereign God should determine what is right for them.  He has just implicated that the Bible is in fact, irrelevant in our world today, it cannot be relied upon, it cannot be trusted as truth.  He has finally hypothesized that if the church keeps as it’s focus the truth found in the Word of God, they will cease to be an influence on the world around them.

I am most certain that Mr. Bell will not read my small, inconsequential blog, but hopefully people who listen to him will.  Hopefully, my friends who have read some of his previous writings, which for the most part were solid, will veer away from this new iteration of his faith.  My friends, I beg of you to consider the implications if indeed the Bible is irrelevant:

  • The mission of the church is founded in those 2,000 year old letters.  I have often stated that I believe that the local church, as the messenger of Jesus Christ, is the hope of the world.  If the Bible is irrelevant, our world is without hope.
  • The message of the gospel is found in those 2,000 year old letters.  Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man can come to the Father except through me.”  If this truth cannot change culture, than culture cannot be changed!
  • The key to genuine fulfillment is found in those 2,000 year old letters.  Jesus says that He came to give us life in all of it’s fullness!  If His words are irrelevant than we as a human race are living empty lives, void of fulfillment, and without the possibility of real enjoyment.

My friends, those 2,000 year old letters are precious to me, not because I am some stuck in the mud, fundamental, traditionalist who still believes that a fat adulterous King was the only one who could authenticate Scripture (King James if you’re wondering), but because I have tried them, tested them, and applied them to my life year after year, and they have proven faithful!  Those 2,000 year old letters change lives, saves marriages, and alters eternal destinies, they are far from irrelevant, they are essential!

Think about it,

Dave


Laziness – Andy Wendling

One of Friendship Church’s elders has just started a blog…or at least I just found it, one or the other!  In any sense this is a great post and you should read it!  Laziness.


Part 3: What About Gay Marriage?

To get the ball rolling I’m not going to talk about whether or not Gay Marriage should be legal, illegal, banned, or supported.  This series of posts is written from a Biblical not political standpoint.  The one and only thing I’ll say in that regard is this; you cannot legislate morality, at the same time you should not legalize immorality…I’m sure that everyone will read into that whatever they like!

So, biblically is Gay Marriage something that a Christian can support?  Since homosexuality is clearly laid out as a sin (see last post) then a homosexual union of any kind is not something that a Christian can support and still be biblically authentic.  Now, before you print this off and start taking victory laps around your living room, consider this.  Sex and sexual promiscuity before marriage is also a sin and something that a biblically authentic/consistent Christian cannot support; as is an affair, as is pornagraphy (yes, “Magic Mike” and “Fifty Shades” would fit here), as is a marriage where the husband doesn’t love his wife and the wife doesn’t respect her husband.  God’s plan for marriage (as laid out in Creation through Adam and Eve) is one man, one woman, for life in a meaningful, fulfilled relationship.  God’s plan for sex, and when it is best and most thoroughly enjoyed is within the context of marriage where the husband and wife are completely vulnerable and open to one another and are more interested in fulfilling each other’s needs than their own.

How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. – Matthew 7:4-5 NLT

Jesus makes an unbelievably powerful statement here!  He is saying, if you look at other people with judgment you will always see their problems and end up ignoring your own, this is to your and their detriment.  Instead, look at yourself first, make sure that you are on the right track, and then come along side those who are hurting or blinded and assist them in seeing.  For far too long Christians have been focusing on the sins of the world around them and not focusing on their own sins.  Do you want to change the world, change our political landscape, change the cultural decay, increase the spiritual temperature, free people from bondage?  Then the church needs to do 2 things.

  1. Be consistent in our application of Biblical truth.  The world around us sees our inconsistencies, you see they have a hard time believing in biblical marriage when even in the church it doesn’t “seem to be working”!
  2. Be Christ-like in your relationships.  Do you remember what Jesus did with the woman who was caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)?  Did Jesus, who by the way was perfect, condemn and attack her?  Did he vilify her and belittle her?  Did he scream in her face and tell her she was going to Hell?  No, in fact, he defended her from those who would do that.  Then he gently instructed, after she accepted him, to go and sin no more.

Listen friends, Jesus says that he is the “Light of the world” and that when he is lifted up he will “draw all men to himself”.  Instead of proclaiming your political agenda, proclaim Christ.  Politics cannot and will not fix the cultural decay that we see in America, but Christ can.  No, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox news probably won’t cover it, but he is imminently more powerful and influential than any political party, piece of legislation, or candidate.