Pastor's Blog

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians1:18

Have you ever witnessed kiddos trying to slurp up the last bit of a delicious drink?  With a straw?  They’re passionate about it . . . that gurgling sound is unmistakable, isn’t it?  They want every sugar-infested drop.

Recently at a ball game I observed . . . heard . . . experienced, parents that were not happy with a call by the umpire.  Wow!  Life or death decisions fits T-ball to a tee!  We can become passionate about the most curious things – from sugar-filled drops to a game where the players themselves hardly even care that they’re there!

Here’s the thing . . . (and you knew there would be one).  Most Christians I know are just the opposite.  They can take it or leave it.  They can take or leave an opportunity to grow, or an opportunity to be strengthened, or an opportunity to invest themselves more fanatically.  Unless there’s conflict or casserole (either seems to bring out the Baptists) they would just as soon not be bothered with it.  Keep it peppy . . . Keep it brief . . . and keep it predictable . . . so we can keep on with our day!  Hey that sounds like a winning formula.

Just one little observation.  (I genuinely hesitate to mention it.)  Jesus . . . God the Son, truly seems to be the antithesis of every thing I just mentioned.
• He is all in because it's all Him.
• He doesn’t slurp the lukewarm liquid, He vomits it right back out.

I know it’s hardly worth mentioning, carry on!

– Dale


One of the myths of our culture is that control of ourselves and others is what gives us freedom.  If we are in control, then obviously we can make decisions, and that leaves us free.  But that is a myth.  The paradox is that as we give up control to God, we actually live in a deeper freedom.  The freedom of God may call us to turn all of our most precious definitions of faithfulness on their heads.  It may be that the most difficult call for us to respond to is not a call that demands of us great sacrifices but a call that offers to us great gifts.  — Judith E. Smith

Great gifts often come with great responsibilities.

Just take a moment to dwell upon the gift of salvation.  Our God is under no obligation to offer this hope – and yet we seek to control every aspect of it in all its possible forms.  From the giving of it, all the way to how this incomparable prize will play itself out in our daily lives.  The shame of it is that we actually feel no shame.

We quote verses that speak of freedom and then unhesitatingly apply our personal definitions to the very word!  Control is the issue, whether hidden or exposed.  It was the issue in the garden – and it’s our issue today!

God, may I be free to lose control!

– Dale


“There is a necessary change in each breakthrough into further spiritual growth, a necessary change of heart that will lead to a new conversion of ones attitudes and behaviors.  There must be a letting go of something in our lives in order to make room for the “laying hold” of a new and higher consciousness of the presence and claims of God.”   — Norman Shawchuck

In Christ we become . . . and in this creative process we continue to become more.  As each vestige of the old person falls away there is reborn within us that “something new” that can only be brought about through Divinity!

God’s presence within cannot not be contained by the old – it is always new, always fresh, always leading us deeper . . . always creating!  The new creature – as a new creation – knows no bounds!

– Dale


“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  2. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  3. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  4. Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  5. I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  6. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  7. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”  John 15:1-8 ESV

The kingdom of God is a violent realm, requiring as Michael Card writes, “a Violent Grace.”  For Jesus, this reality was stark!  Its cost . . . severe!

Much to our enemies delight, we as disciples, seldom frame our faith in this light – nor characterize our state of being, in these terms.  However, Jesus’ figurative language in John 15 begs to differ.

• If we are disciples, then we are His!

• If His, then we are to bear fruit.

• If for some reason we do not perform this natural act . . . we are removed.

To prove we belong, says Jesus, then we must perform.  Why?  Because with His Spirit dwelling within us, we can do nothing less.  Those who prove otherwise, that they are not of the vine, are tossed as refuse into the fire!

Dainty as we have become, this is unsettling, unnerving, causing most of mankind to search for alternatives.  But for those who know, they understand that the Kingdom – from the Garden forward – is a violent place!

– Dale


Our identity as God’s beloved children embraces both who we are and who we are becoming. 

We are infinitely loved!

We are, with all our vastly varied gifts, being renewed in the divine image, and we bear this image back into the world.  We each do this in our own way – a thousand different ways, indeed a million ways and infinitely more.

Our core identity comes with particular gifts.  Unique gifts and graces are an expression of God’s personal love for us, a confirmation of our
belovedness.  No two of us act, think, or serve alike.  And God’s love sets each one of us wholly free, free to be ourselves and free to be for others the image of the loving God.
— “The Way of Discernment”

I have personally observed and experienced in the past week, church families whose love and compassion seemed to be without limit!

To them, I would like to say thank you for allowing God’s love to flow freely and abundantly without hesitation!

God bless you!

– Dale

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