Pastor Dave’s Blog
Were you were brought up going to church? If you were, did you also bring your children up going to church? If were said “yes” to either one or both of these questions, let me ask you one more thing. Is there anywhere in the Bible where we’re told to “go to church”?
No. The New Testament is clear. The followers of Jesus “are” the church.
As part of the church, Jesus has high expectations for us. Luke 9:23-24 says, “23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Jesus said his followers are to be disciples who deny themselves, take up their cross daily, lose their own lives and follow him.
For those of you who were brought up in the church, were you also taught to be a disciple of Jesus? If you brought your children to church, did you also teach them to be disciples of Jesus? Many of us who profess to be Christians can’t say “yes” to these two questions. There’s a reason for this. Continue reading
If I asked you to write down a definition for the word “worship”, what would you write? We’re familiar with the word. We use it all of the time. But do we really understand the meaning and importance of Biblical worship?
Let’s look at one passage in the Bible which discusses it. John 4:1-26 tells us, “Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” Continue reading
In his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, author and pastor Jim Cymbala wrote, “You can tell how popular a church is by who comes on Sunday morning. You can tell how popular the pastor or evangelist is by who comes on Sunday night. But you can tell how popular Jesus is by who comes to the prayer meeting.” While we don’t have Sunday evening services or scheduled prayer meetings, this quote makes an important point. One of the best ways to measure our dedication and devotion to Jesus is by looking at our prayer life. The more we love Jesus, the more we pray. The less we love Jesus, the less we pray.
What does your prayer life reveal about your relationship with Jesus? Continue reading
A rare event happened to parts of our nation on Monday, August 21, 2017. They experienced a total solar eclipse. According to astronomy.com, it was the first total eclipse in the U.S. since February 26, 1979. That one covered only 5 states in the northwest and the weather was bleak. As we all know from the news coverage, solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the earth and the sun. The moon then blocks the sun’s rays from hitting the earth.
The sun is 400 times bigger than the moon but coincidentally, it’s 400 times further away from the earth than the moon. This means both the sun and the moon appear to be approximately the same size when the eclipse happens.
It’s not that big of a deal to us when the sun gets eclipsed by a much smaller moon. But, for us Christians, what happens when our understanding of God gets eclipsed by small thinking? Continue reading
Please take a moment and reflect on the following question: How do I define “faith” in Jesus Christ?
Even though we talk about faith all the time, it isn’t so easy to define it. According to the New International Dictionary of the Bible, “Faith is trust in the person of Jesus, the truth of his teaching, and the redemptive work he accomplished at Calvary, and, as a result, a total submission to him and his message, which are accepted as from God.” Basically, faith is submitting to Jesus because we believe he is who he said he is, he did what he said he’d do and that God sent him.
This brings us to another question: What should faith in Jesus look like in our lives? Continue reading
Isn’t it amazing how we enjoy blowing bubbles no matter what age we happen to be? A $1 bottle of liquid can keep us entertained for a long time. The problem with bubbles is they typically only exist for a few seconds before they pop. The interesting this is, though, that bubbles don’t burst themselves. An outside force putting pressure on the bubble service pops it.
Last week I challenged us to wrestle with whether or not we’ve ended up in a “Christian bubble.” The four main steps that take us there are:
1) We become Christians. This is a good thing.
2) We become part of the church. This too is good.
3) We become part of the Christian bubble. We quit associating with non-Christians. Evangelism is something the church does. It isn’t something we need to do. Many people start “going to church” instead of “being the church.”
4) We become Jonah. We run away from sharing the Gospel with the lost because we think they don’t deserve it. Continue reading
The last words in Matthew 28:16-20 are, “16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Let’s look closely at the things Jesus commands his followers to do: Make disciples. Baptize them. Teach them to obey his commandments.
If we’re not careful, we’ll completely ignore this passage at Snake Spring Valley CoB. Right now, our congregation is growing in numbers. This is a great thing. To those who are new to Snake Spring Valley and to those who came back after drifting away, we say, “Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.” However, Jesus didn’t say to grow the church by bringing in people who are already Christians. He said to go out among those who don’t know Jesus and bring them in. Continue reading
Fear is something we have to deal with in every stage of life. Our fears typically change as we do. When I was a young boy, I was afraid my parents would die and I wouldn’t have anyone to raise me. As a young parent, I was concerned about the kind of world our children would have to live in. Now that I’m in my late 40s and more mature in my Christian faith, I try not to fear. The truth is sometimes fears still arise in me.
If you’re honest, you have fears too because we live in a world of uncertainty and evil. We understand the uncertainty. The state of the U.S. economy is always on our minds because it affects our livelihood. Every year we wonder if there will be the proper mixture of rain and sunshine for our crops and gardens to be fruitful. We never know when accidents, sickness or financial problems will come upon us. Continue reading
Unless there are medical issues, helping conceive a child isn’t too difficult for most men. Being a good father to that child is one of the hardest things any man can do. Thankfully, all throughout the Bible, God gives men commands about how they should live. Ephesians 5:25-33 says, “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Many times, husbands hear this command and automatically think, “I do love my wife like Christ loved the church. He died for his bride. I’d die for mine.” If this is you, let me ask you a question. How many men do you know of that have actually had to die for their wives? Continue reading
How many times have you or someone you know asked God a “why” question? Why did this illness have to strike me? Why did I lose my job? Why did you allow this person to hurt me? Why do you allow 20,000 people a day to starve to death around the world? God, why did you take this person away from me?
The difficult problem with these questions is we simply can’t answer them in ways which brings complete understanding and healing to our hurting hearts. This causes many people to doubt God and possibly even walk away from their faith altogether.
Some Christians, with the best of intentions, try to bring comfort by taking this concept and turning it from a negative question into a positive statement. “Well, God is in charge of who gets elected president.” “God gave me this chronic illness so I’m going to trust him.” And, to quote Job 1:21, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Here’s a question we need to wrestle with: Is God really responsible for the difficulties and suffering that are in the world? Continue reading