Wednesday, October 31, 2007

bogeymen under the bed

I still remember my home in Columbia, South Carolina, and the little bedroom I shared with my older brother. For some reason, I have a memory of running to bed, bare feet slapping the wood hallway floor from the den, until I arrived at the doorway of our room. I calculated the threshold-to-mattress distance, multiplied it by my sudden heart rate increase and divided it by toy obstacles between me and safety (I should have cleaned my room before bedtime). At five years old, it was me against the bogeymen under the bed.

They're still there...unseen monsters that try to grab my feet and threaten my peace. You probably have a few keeping you awake at night. The monster of failure spooks me into thinking that the whole success of my church and family rests on my feeble shoulders. The monster of rejection leads me to read into what other people say or do as an indication of whether or not I am significant. The monster of comparison taunts me with stories of "better" dads, "better" husbands, "better" pastors, "better" friends. When those gremlins grow weary, there are a few others in the closet on standby.

I eventually overcame my dread of the bedtime bogeyman. Today, I overcome resident fears by remembering who I am and whose I am. God brought 1 John 4:18 to mind today: "But perfect love drives out fear." The Father's perfect love for me provides such security that all fear is chased away. All irrational fears (not legitimate ones like the fear of falling into Niagara Falls if I lean over the railing) are tricks of the enemy to call into question my identity. The treat today is that I am loved. That's not just an action; It's a unchanging reality. God overcame monsters, turned on the light and made my path clear because of His great love for me! It makes me sleep a whole lot better at night.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

amazing grace

Today, we explored grace, and how we can show grace to our neighbors. As I think about grace, and especially God's grace to me, I am reminded of a great definition of grace that I learned in college. It is worth repeating and remembering:

Justice is getting what you deserve.
Mercy is not getting what you deserve.
Grace is getting what you don't deserve.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

Saturday, October 27, 2007

young and the restless

Recently, I was invited into a group of young men to join a discipleship process. It's where my heart beat for 10 years in Austin: the opportunity to impact the next generation through intentional relationships leading to life-transformation. I'm still passionate about investing in collegians, young singles and 20-something married couples.

Recently, I searched the database at Pantego Bible Church and discovered that we have more than 1000 entries for singles who are 19-29 years old. Yet, this demographic is noticeably absent in our church. Even though young singles make up almost 50% of the DFW population, we are missing this incredible group and missing the opportunity to impact the next generation as a result.

I'm grateful to Paul and Lynn Gibbs and the faithful leaders who have been meeting a small group at their home for the last 18 months. I dream of dozens of similar communities planted all over the Arlington-Ft. Worth and surrounding areas. While PBC has several established groups of older singles, our staff has been discussing specific initiatives to reach the 20-something crowd. I'm excited to be in a place that is committed to making disciples of all people. Please be in prayer with us as we explore our possibilities and potential. Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Suy Chhun Ey

Meet my newest friend...that I've never met. Suy Chhun Ey is a carpenter in Cambodia. And, tonight, I made my first $25 investment in his business through, a poverty alleviation organization that helps fund small, international business people in order to give them a helping hand up. Once Mr. Ey is able to turn a profit and better support his family, my investment will be repaid. I am so excited to see what a difference my small investment will make. Perhaps you'd like to read more about Kiva and join me in getting a carpentry shop going in the Kampong Cham Province!

BIO: Mr. Suy Chhun Ey, age 34, works as a carpenter producing beds, tables, cupboards, wardrobes, and other furniture. His wife sells the products her husband makes, earning the family about $4 per day in profit. They have four children, one who works in a garment factory earning $2 per day, one who is a welder making $2 per day, and two who are students. He would like to request a loan of $400 in order to purchase more wood to supply their carpentry business. Purchasing in bulk will save costs, and increasing the stock of wood will allow him to fulfill larger orders for the customers. This will increase both margins and revenue. He plans to use the additional income to reinvest in the growth of their business and support their children’s education. His wife is pictured in the photograph.

Friday, October 19, 2007

light your world

Last Sunday, I began a new sermon series called StreetLights. The title came from Tom Anthony, our Ft. Worth Area Pastor, and reflects our ongoing commitment to let Christ shine in our neighborhood [Matthew 5:14]. The concept is simple. My neighborhood has street lights every 5-6 houses. Each light shines on the home yard where it is located, the homes on either side and several homes across the street. What if I began to see my street as my mission field--Not the whole neighborhood. Just those who live right around me. On the same Sunday, we commissioned Dave and Christy Johnson as Pantego Bible Church missionaries to Ethiopia. We want to see people from every nation, tribe and tongue come to know Jesus Christ personally. But, reaching the whole world begins with reaching our world next door.

To explore this topic further, we will use the acronym L-I-G-H-T-S. Each letter stands for a simple way to connect with our neighbors. Each connection means a greater possibility that people living around me might come to know Jesus Christ and dive into the community I already experience. I can't wait to see what God does through His church as we light our world with the light of Christ within us!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

going deeper

Looking for some great tools to assist you in your own study of the Bible? Check out the website of my very dear friend, Dr. Bruce Hurt, in Austin, Texas: The site is filled with commentaries, dictionaries, maps and devotionals. If you run into Bruce, tell 'em David sent ya!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

cleared for take-off

A 747 taxis down the runway and prepares for flight. But, before journey gets underway, the pilot must get clearance from air traffic control. They must be approved for take-off. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul urges his disciple Timothy to "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." In other words, when preaching or teaching the Bible, we must check our instruments, buckle up, be ready. This responsibility weighs on me with every message that I present.

Today and tomorrow, I am attending a Morris Proctor Seminar that helps pastors and teachers use a fantastic Bible Study program called Logos. A gracious benefactor equipped me with these tools several years ago and since then, this program has greatly helped me get ready for flight. I'd highly recommend it for anyone who wants to great tools to correctly handle the Word of God.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

staff infection

Our staff retreat last week at Sky Ranch was incredible! What a great connection we have with one another. The laughter was contagious and our unity powerful. Now, if I could only get the image of Lupe Salazar in a dress out of my mind...

Monday, October 8, 2007

10.88 seconds

A 16-year-old took the top prize at the Rubik's Cube World Championship last Sunday, solving the puzzle five times in an average of 12.46 seconds. But the fastest single attempt was a cool 10.88 seconds, just off the world record of 9.86 seconds. What are you doing with your spare time?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

sprititual treasure

What a book: Haggai. Two chapters, 38 verses, rich with spiritual implications for life. Who would have thought that Old Testament prophecy could yield such abundant resources for our own lives? I have so thoroughly enjoyed preaching the 5 messages in our "Spiritual Treasures" series at Pantego Bible Church. I have especially appreciated the spiritual response of our congregation who has embraced diving headlong into this study. What a journey!

To summarize the series:

Haggai 1:1-11 ["You Are Here"]
We run to whatever we are most passionate about. The wrong treasure can end in a wasted hunt. But, when my highest treasure is God, my greatest pleasure is gained.

Haggai 1:12-15 ["Mapping New Coordinates"]
God supplies all that we need to follow Him: a God-sent message, a God-sized vision and a God-stirred spirit.

Haggai 2:1-9 ["Hidden in Plain Sight"]
When we don't feel that we're making headway in our spiritual journey, we can be confident of the hidden treasures of God with us in our work and us with God in His work.

Haggai 2:10-19 ["Striking it Rich"]
We can get stalled in our spiritual progress because holiness in one area doesn't cover every other area of our life, but past sin does carry forward in consequences and life contamination. The only answer is grace...amazing grace.

Haggai 2:20-24 ["X Marks the Spot"]
We live in the tension between two worlds by looking forward to the treasure of God's Kingdom come and living faithfully as the treasure of God's Kingdom choice.

Friday, October 5, 2007

grace that taught my heart to fear

Since my sermon on grace last week [Haggai 2:10-19], I have been reflecting a bit more on grace. I remember a phrase I first heard in college: "Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is getting what you don't deserve, and grace is getting what you don't deserve." In spite of His people's disobedience, God said, "From this day on, I will bless you" [v. 19]. That's grace...amazing grace that relieves my fear of God's anger.

The song "Amazing Grace" highlights the flip side of grace. Grace has "taught my heart to fear" and that same grace "my fears relieved." In other words, by grace, I am free from condemnation [read Romans 5:1 and 8:1 together]. But, grace doesn't free me to do anything I want. The grace that liberates from wrath at the same time liberates me to worship. By God's grace, I come to see God as He is and live in awesome, fearful humility before Him.