Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Let it Go!

     Yesterday, I read that former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton refused an invitation by President Obama to join his former teammates for a visit to the White House.  The Bears were the 1985 Superbowl champions and had been scheduled to meet with President Reagan in January of 1986, but the Challenger disaster forced the White House to cancel the planned meeting.

     Hampton gave three reasons for refusing...  I want to focus on the last one.

Reason 3:  "It was 25 years ago. Let it go."  
    I tend to agree with him.  This would have been exciting when it was supposed to happen but now, 25 years later, it seems a little anti-climatic. It sounds like he let it go a long time ago.  

     So let me ask you a question:  "What are you still holding on to from your past that you would be better off to "just let it go?"  
  • Anger?
  • Bitterness?
  • That pair of lucky socks (that you never washed) from your brief time on the basketball team? 
     Ephesians 4:31 (KJV) says this: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"
     All of these are bad things to keep holding on to.  And except for the socks, can sometimes keep you from getting on with your life. 

      But you need to replace it with something.  I heard that Dan Hampton has opted to go to Disney World* instead.  Now that is a great substitution.  The Apostle Paul goes on to say this (verse 32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

     Listen, life is too short to be holding grudges.  There are too many other things to think about to keep harboring on the past.  Just Let It Go! (And if you can afford it Go to Disney World*!)  

*Disclaimer:  Disney did not pay me to say that.  But if they want to I can give an address where they can mail the check.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fire is Coming

     Amazon unveiled its new Kindle Fire, a 7-inch Android-based tablet  yesterday.  It is purported to rival Apple's Ipad.  Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos stated that "Fire is Coming".  Now where have I heard that before hmmmmmmmmm?

     Wait I know, let me find it...ah here it is in 2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare."     

      Now what in the world was Peter talking about?  Well to get the full understanding of that verse we need to read the one just before and just after that one.  Here they are in context:

     2 Peter 3:9-11" 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives." 

     Now verse 9 is the says that God doesn't want anyone to perish...but that everyone will come to repentance.  Hmmmmm so he is holding back the fire for a little while longer...but exactly how long?  No one knows.  One thing we do know is FIRE IS COMING.  So we need to be ready, because that fire is going to destroy Apple and everything else.

Hmmmm Apple.....isn't that where this all got started?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guilty of Murder?

     Last night, I listened as the prosecutors for the case against Michael Jackson's doctor played an eerie audio tape of the pop star himself sounding very drunk.  Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray wept as he listened to his former client speaking.  Murray has been charged with manslaughter for administering an anesthetic drug to Jackson to help him sleep.  The drug was the cause of the pop star's death.
     I found it ironic that he wept.  Perhaps he is experiencing remorse for his actions. That is not a bad thing.  What I find more ironic is that we seldom display any remorse for our actions.

     OK, admittedly we have not been charged with the death of someone...or have we?  Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." 

       We are all indicted in the murder.  And if we get what we deserve, we will face the penalty for our crime.  But God has provided a way to avoid the penalty.  Interestingly, the solution to our problem is found in the one against whom we have committed our crime -- Jesus. 

     You see, while it was our sins that put him on the cross, is is because he died on the cross that we can have hope.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."   The words "We might become"  leaves us with a choice:  We can accept or reject the offer he makes.  It is totally up to us...the prosecution is offering us a deal -- an offer we can't is totally up to us.

     All we have to do is:

A - Admit that we're sinners, repent and turn from our sins
B - Believe that Jesus is God's Son and that he came into the world to save everyone.
C - Confess that Jesus is your Savior and Lord.

Here is a sample prayer:
Dear God, I admit I am a sinner in need of you. Please forgive me of my sins and give me abundant life here on earth and eternal life with you in heaven. I believe Jesus died and rose again for my sins. I confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. Thank you for saving me.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flattery Can Get You Kicked Out of Heaven

     A little over a year ago I read a book entitled Demon: A Memoir by by Tosca Lee.  While I understand it was a fictional account of the fall of Satan, it did connect the dots for me.  Now only that, it was a page turner (as opposed to Paige Turner, the head cheerleader from my old high school).  But seriously...the book does purport that it was flattery that lead to Satan's downfall (Pun intended).

     Isaiah 14:12 says this about that legendary downfall: "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!"

     Did you pick up on his titles?  Morning Star....Son of the Dawn.  Now I don't know the exact rank structure of the Angels but these sound like pretty impressive titles, especially since we use that first title to refer to Jesus himself: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16)

     So get this scenario:  Satan is way up there in rank among the angels being the morning star and all.  Another angel who, for a split second took her (or her) eyes off of God Almighty and turned to Lucifer (Back then it was a good name) and said something like, "Wow, you are beautiful."
     What happened next is only speculation but it seems that this whole scene took place because one angel took his/her eyes off of God for a split second -- just long enough to give a little flattery -- just being honest.  This led Lucifer to take his eyes off of God and onto himself.
     The same things still happens today.  Bad things happen to us when we take our eyes off of Jesus and onto ourselves or our circumstances.  It happens to everyone. Even if you are walking on water -- it can cause you to sink. (Matthew 14:27-29)

     So the next time you are doing something for God and someone wants to give you a little glory, don't absorb it, reflect it to God.  When you do you will avert your own downfall. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Bait and Switch


     That's the headlines on USA Today's "Newsline".  The rest of the story explains that because of recent federal banking rule changes, banks are scrambling to find ways to recoup their losses caused by the changes.  According to Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate, "Banks are adding fees to recover from new regulations that could cost billions in lost revenue"  

      Wait a minute!  I chose your bank BECAUSE the checking was free.  Now you are going to start charging me?  What's up with that?   And this on the heels of Netflix increasing their fees too.  Everything is changing.  Or is it?  I was reminded that there is something, or actually someone that never changes:

     Did you see that coming?  Probably.  But it is true.  While literally everything around us is changing, it is good to know that the one who created us and who knows us best is not in the chameleon mode. In fact, His favorite nickname is "I Am".  How original is that? -- well after all, He is the ORIGINAL original.  And yet the One who never changes did something 2,000 years ago to change everything:

He sent Jesus, the greatest game-changer of all

     Hebrews Chapter 13  admonishes us (Admonish -- oooo big word Pastor Dave, can you break that down for us a little?  OK-- admonish simply means "to warn")  So Hebrews 13 warns us to "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “5Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
   What can man do to me?” 7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

     Now that really is change we can believe in!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Facebook is Stressing Me Out!

     OK, I admit that I used that title to get you to read my blog today, but the truth is that all the changes that have been made to FaceBook have made a LOT of people mad.  I think I know why.

     A wise old Command Sergeant Major once told me, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  What he was expressing was the feeling that most of us have:  Change is hard. I taught stress management for many years.  As a part of the training I provided the participants something called the the Social Readjustment Rating Scale.  This little test measured the amount of change -- both good and bad -- a person had experienced over the last 12 months.  I was teaching this before the age of the internet (read- old guy) so, of course, I handed out a piece of paper.  Now you can take an on-line version of this test.  I found it here.  I would encourage you to take a couple of minutes to take this test...then come back and finish reading my blog.  I will just stand over here and wait for you...    hmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmm.
     What did you discover?  Ah! That explains the way you have been behaving lately.  You are STRESSED.

     So now I am sure you are thinking, "Thanks alot Pastor Dave, now I have one more thing to worry about on top of all the stinking changes FaceBook made."

    Well, I leaarned a long time ago that you don't present a problem unless you can offer a solution.  So here is my solution:

Philippians 4.  Yep that is it.  Philippians 4 is the Apostle Paul's solution to stress.  Here I picked out a few of my favorite verses from that chapter.  I offer them to you from "The Message":

Verses 6&7:  6-7Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. 

Here are a few more:  10-14I'm glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you're again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. 

Still want more?   Then here is some advice from Pamela Pettler, The Joy of Stress: It's called.... 
"The Stress Diet"

1/2 grapefruit
1 piece of whole wheat toast
8 oz. skim milk

4 oz. lean broiled chicken
1 cup steamed zucchini
1 Oreo cookie
Herbal tea

Mid-afternoon snack
Rest of the package of Oreo cookies
1 qt. rocky road ice cream
1 jar hot fudge

2 loaves garlic bread
large mushroom and pepperoni pizza
large pitcher of root beer
3 Milky Ways
Entire frozen cheesecake, eaten directly from the freezer.

I promise after a couple of days of this diet you will completely forget about FaceBook.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Westboro Baptist to Picket the Funerals for Members of Bikers who Care

The headlines read, "Members of the Bikers Who Care organization are still reeling from the deaths of five people at their weekend festival."

     It seems that the five people related to this group were found dead inside a recreational vehicle Sunday morning. Carbon monoxide that seeped into the camper from a generator is believed to be the cause of death.  They were staying in the camper at the end of a very long and successful day as this local organization hosted an annual "Toy Run".  

     As the funerals were announced, the news came that the Westboro Baptist Church, which is described by a local pastor as  "neither Baptist nor a church...[but a] demented cult."  was planning to picket these funerals.  You may remember this group as the same ones who often picket the funerals of service members who have been killed in combat.  They usually hold up signs that read, "Thank God for IEDs" and "God Hates Fags".

    According to the unnamed pastor, "Westboro "Baptist Church" is a satanic cult from Westboro, KS, led by Fred Phelps. It's primarily his family and ...a bunch of 'em (sic) are lawyers whose reason for living is to sue people. They say and live the exact opposite of God's heart and blame Him for all they do. They operate as pawns in Satan's army to pervert true Christianity." 

     If the rumors of their arrival are true, then they are mistakenly targeting an extremely well respected, benevolent organization that does lots of good things for this community.  

     We need to pray for the families of those who lost their lives.  We also need to pray that the folks from Westboro will have no impact on this community as Clarksville grieves the loss of these lives.  

     By the way, Bikers Who Care Charity has established four memorial funds for the families through Planters Bank. At this time, donations must be made in person at a bank branch until an on-line giving link is established. Planters Bank branches are located at:

  • 325 Commerce Street
  • 1971 Madison Street, Clarksville
  • 2019 Fort Campbell Blvd # A, Clarksville - (931) 648-7160

For more information about Bikers Who Care, visit their website: 



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who Are You Reaching?

As many of you know, Living Waters Church was established as a church plant in 2004, shortly after my retirement from the Army, It was based on a vision from God given in 1998 while I was still on active duty as a Chaplain.  One aspect of our vision statement is that we would be a reproducing church.  The vision statement ( says this specifically, "It is my goal that we seriously set a goal to begin a new church, similar to this one in its purpose and vision, outside the gates of another military installation within 3 years of this date."

     We met that goal (in part) when we established our first church plant.  The one exception to the vision statement is that it was right next door.  Let me explain.  You see, we saw the need for a church that would meet the needs of a very large segment of our population -- the Korean population that is estimated at between 5,000 and 6,000 in this area.  Many of these are military family members.  So our original target group, the military family, was still being reached in a new way right here in our community.  I am happy to say that our Korean congregation -- Eternal Living Waters is alive and doing well. 

     Recently, I was contacted by Pastor Larry Robertson, the Senior Pastor at Hilldale Baptist Church about the possibility of partnering with them to start yet another church -- this time right in our building.  My excitement grew as he explained that this new congregation would reach another segment of our local population that is largely unreached with the Gospel -- the deaf community.  

     I am happy to announce that this group, who is now meeting at Hilldale Baptist Church as a bible study will be holding a revival beginning September 30th and culminating October 2nd with a joint service between our congregation and this new church plant.  From that day on, this new church will begin meeting in our building on Saturday evenings.  
     So I go back to my original question, "Who are you reaching?"  Or to put it more succinctly, what segment of your local population is not being reached with the Gospel?  My follow-up question is this, "How might you reach them?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Romance and Security-Two Sides of the Same Coin

“Husbands…live with your wives in an understanding way.”1 Peter 3:7

      Tomorrow will be the 37th anniversary of the day I asked my wife, Renee, to marry me.  As I reflect on the time between then and now, I am filled with gratitude for the way God has blessed our marriage.  While our relationship is not perfect, we have discovered the things that make a marriage work.  I want to speak to the men about our responsibilities to our wives.
      Part of husbands loving their wives is showing understanding toward them. God’s Word says, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.” Part of understanding is knowing their need for romance. But another part of understanding your wife is meeting their need for security. God’s Word says that we are to remember they are the “weaker vessel.”
      Now ladies, before you start screaming, realize that this does not mean women are weaker than men intellectually, spiritually, emotionally or relationally. Often women are stronger than men are relationally. But they are usually weaker physically.
     In a world where some men may not have the best intentions toward women, women can feel vulnerable and in need of protection. Providing security for your wife is a way of letting her know that you love her. It meets a great need she hopes you’ll fulfill.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Prison Break

One of the most interesting, unusual and fulfilling assignments I had as an Army Chaplain was the 18 months I served, “Behind Bars” as a chaplain at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (U.S.D.B.).  I was actually the chaplain for the Military Police Battalion that served as the guard force for this Maximum Security Prison. 

Have you ever wondered what life behind bars would be like?  Well for most Christians the thought of experiencing life behind bars is a hard truth but did you know that of all the places Jesus told his followers to go, prison was near the top. 
In Matthew 25:45 it says “He will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”  Jesus makes it clear that the eternal future of those who claim his name is directly tied to visiting “Him” in prison.  But then Jesus identified himself with the least, the last, and the lost.
While serving his own prison sentence for his part in the Watergate scandal, Chuck Colson, the former Nixon aide, found Christ.  After his release in 1976, he founded Prison Fellowship (  His organization gives prisoners the opportunity to experience the radically transforming power of Christ that he had already experienced.

Many Christians, like most people in the general public, seem to believe that prisoners are simply getting what they deserve and the more they suffer for their crimes, well, so much the better.

But remember, Jesus himself was convicted of crimes against the state.  Max Lucado reminds us that we are people who have been saved by a death row convict. 

What I discovered during my time behind bars is that prisons are not limited by brick and mortar.  There are people everywhere who are imprisoned by their circumstances:  poverty, abusive marriages, demeaning jobs, attitudes, anger and a whole host of other feelings that rise to the surface during times of stress. 
In fact, many of the inmates inside “The Castle” were more free that some of you.  They were free on the inside. 

When we are unable to manage the complexities of life or our circumstances, we are drawn to the power of the Holy Spirit to help us deal with those areas of life for which we find ourselves ill-equipped, uninformed, or unprepared.  In times like these remember that the Holy Spirit works within us to bring a sense of joy-centered peace, and a deep sense of compassion in our work and witness with others.

As Christians, we are called to tear down the prison walls.  Maybe that is exactly what Jesus intended for us to do.  Why not start today!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Anticipation -- The Year of the Lord's Favor

Luke 4:14-30 (The Message)
14-15Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone's acclaim and pleasure.
16-21He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God's Spirit is on me;
he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to
the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, "This is God's year to act!"
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."
22All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?"
23-27He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, 'Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.' Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian."
28-30That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
Have you ever waited a long time for something? If you have, then the closer you get to that event, the greater the anticipation increases. Do you remember the turning points as you moved from dating, to engagement and then marriage? Maybe you are a high school or college student in your senior year and you are anticipating graduation and your future. Perhaps you are awaiting the arrival of a child. The moment when it comes is full of joy and the emotion that often accompanies that which has been anticipated.
God had promised the decisive demonstration of his salvation for his people for a long time. Now Jesus turns to declare the day as come; opportunity is present. After two-thousand years of promise stretching all the way back to Abraham, Jesus claims that the promises of the prophet Isaiah are now being decisively realized.
But as in many great moments, questions arise. Is this really it? Have we moved from the days of promise to the time of the beginning of realization? Is God at work to fulfill his promise?
Jesus’ synagogue declaration brings a moment of decision for those who hear his claims. A snapshot of his entire ministry flashes in this brief exchange. Jesus offers much, but the crowd questions what is offered. In the tension of the contrast, Luke’s readers are left to choose sides.
God has called us to do these very same things:
  • Preach the Message of Good News to the poor
  • Announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind
  • Set the burdened and battered free.
  • Announce, “This is the year of the Lord’s favor.”
It’s time to choose sides. Whose side are you on?
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:11(NIV)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Who is Your BFF?

Romans 5: 9-11 (The Message)
 9-11Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah! 

     BFF.  I remember when this phrase first came out.  I thought it sounded a little strange and was such a "girl thing."  I read something recently that reminded me of the phrase and I began to think. God want's to be your BFF --Best Friend Forever.

     You see there are many different aspects of your relationship to God:  God is your Creator and Maker, Lord and Master, Judge, Redeemer, Father, Savior, and much more.  But above all of these  God yearns to be your best friend.

     Think about the creation of man.  Adam and Eve had a personal relationship with God that was so unique they didn't share it with anyone else.  Think about it:  no rituals, ceremonies, religion --just relationship unhindered by guilt or fear.  They delighted in Him and He delighted in them.

     We were made to live in God's continual presence but after the Fall, that ideal relationship was lost.  Since that time, only a few people have enjoyed that closeness of relations with God:  Moses and Abraham were called "Friends of God", David was known as a Man after God's own heart." and Job, Enoch and Noah had "an intimate relationship with God"  But in the Old testament it seemed that fear, not friendship, was more common.
     But Jesus changed all that when he split history and tore the veil that separated the people from the Holy of Holies.  Now access is available to all of his children.

I don't know about you but I find it amazing that god would want me for a close friend.  But the Bible says, "He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you."  

How do we become BFFs with God?

1.  Through Constant Conversation:  You will never grow close to God by simply attending church once a week.  We need to establish constant communication with him.  Instead of "getting away" to spend time with God, learn how to spend time with God along the way. No place is any closer to God than where you are right now, whatever that happens to be.
     The Bible says we should pray with ceasing.  How do we do that? One way is to use "breath prayers".  Choose a brief sentence or phrase that can be repeated in one breath.  For example, "You are with me"; "I receive your grace"; "I'm depending on You" "I want to know You".  Practice makes perfect.  By doing this sort of thing, you will become more aware of God's continual presence in your life.

2.  Through Continual Meditation:  Thinking about God's word throughout the day is another way to establish a close friendship with God.  You see, it is impossible to be God's friend without knowing what He says.
     We do this sort of thing all the time with other things.  When we think about a problem over and over in our minds that is called "worry".  When we think about God's word over and over in our minds that is called "meditation".  When you hear a sermon or read your Bible, don't just walk away from it.  Mull it over in your mind.  Go over the points relating it to your own life and situation.

Start today by practicing constant conversations and continual meditation on His Word.  Prayer lets you speak to God.  Meditation lets God God speak to you.  Both are essential to becoming a friend of God.